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Lisa, God's Son, Goes to Earth


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(Fon/Benin)

Lisa is a creator. Mawu is one of twin creator deities; the other is Lisa.

Mawu created the earth, and after the creation retired to live in the sky from which he (Mawu is sometimes considered female) never desired to descend and return to earth. From his place on high, he saw that nothing went well on earth, and that men showed no interest or intelligence in putting to use the things on earth. They had no way of cultivating the earth, or of making cloth, or of building a shelter; they seemed to be unable to cope with the simplest problems. One day, Mawu sent his only child, Lisa, to earth. In his hand Mawu had put a certain metal that could cut. Mawu had held it like a wand when he had created the universe. He told Lisa to go to earth and clear the forests, and show human beings the use of the metal so that they might fashion tools which would enable them to obtain food, to cover their bodies, and to make shelters. Lisa came to earth with Gu, the god of metal and of war, and he cut down the trees, taught men how to make shelters, and instructed them how to dig the ground. He gave them his father's message, saying that without metal man could not survive. Lisa reestablished the world, then re-ascended to the sky and returned the wand to his father. For a reward, Mawu gave Lisa the sun as his dominion, since from that place he could watch over the universe. See also: Gu, Mawu, Mawu-Lisa, Nana-Buluku, Sagbata, Segbo.

Subjects: Religion.


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