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Mbori Encloses the World's Creatures in a Canoe


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(Zande/Sudan)

Mbori (Mboli, Bapaizegino), the supreme being, is all-powerful and takes an active interest in human affairs. He created the earth, air, fire, water, and animals. Mbori is involved in the creation of individuals; conception cannot take place without his tacit approval, and barrenness occurs because of him.

Bapaizegino, who is the same person as Mbori, enclosed all the world's creatures in a round canoe that he sealed up except for one hole, which he plugged with wax and marked with mbiango juice. Then he sent for his sons, Sun, Moon, Night, Cold, and Stars, to visit him as he was dying. When they arrived at court, they were set the problem of undoing the canoe and discovering its contents. Only Sun was able to do this, because Bapaizegino's messenger had revealed the secret to him. When Sun broke the wax, out poured men, animals, trees, rivers, hills, and grass.

The reason the moon does not die is as follows: A human corpse and the corpse of the moon lay at the side of a grave. It was said, “Let the frog and the toad jump with them over the grave. Let them jump over the grave with a corpse, and he will never die again.” The frog jumped over the grave with the corpse of the moon. The toad intended to jump over the grave with the human corpse, but he fell with it into the grave. Therefore, they said that the moon would not die again, but that man would die permanently. It is for this reason that the moon continues; it comes to daylight, grows old, and changes into a little moon and rises again in the west. When the toad fell with the human corpse, it meant that man would continue to die always and forever.

Subjects: Religion.


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