Meketa and the First Blacksmith's Bellows

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(Kono/Sierra Leone)

Meketa (Yataa), the supreme being, is omnipotent. The Kono believe that once death comes all trouble is at an end. They believe in a resurrection but in no judgment after death.

After Meketa made all the earth and the animals in it, there were no men and women. God came down to earth and built two houses, the doors facing each other. He made four balls of mud, two large and two small, put a small ball in each house, and fastened the doors. Next morning, there came out of these houses a man and a woman. God came to them and told them they belonged to him; he took the two large balls of mud and rubbed them, telling them never to forget that they would one day become earth again. God told them what to do and left them. Many children were born to these two. The first was a son who became a great farmer and is the father of all farmers. The second was a son who became a hunter and is the father of all hunters. The third was a daughter who learned to weave cloth and is the mother of all weavers. The fourth was a daughter who learned to fish and is the mother of all fisher-people. There were many more who learned different trades and became the mothers and fathers of all these trades. The last child was a son; there was no trade for him to follow, so he thought out one for himself, and began to make implements for his brothers: hoes for the farm, knives for the hunter. The fisher-girl went out one day to fish, and, as she came to the waterside she met a great snake, so large that it was thicker than she was. She at once killed the snake and cut it open, and a wonderful deer leapt out from the inside of the snake; it thanked her and ran off. The hunter had his nets spread in the forest, and this deer got caught in the net. When the hunter came and saw the deer and was going to kill it, the deer told him that if he killed it, he should give its skin to a blacksmith. The hunter killed the deer, skinned it, tied the skin at the neck and at the back, and went home. When he got home, the youngest brother was making knives at the fire and the hunter threw the skin down by the fireside and told his brother about the wonderful deer. The hunter was tired and he sat down on the skin, which was full of air. When he sat on it the air came out and blew up the fire. The youngest cried out at once, “Then I will be a blacksmith.” This is how the first bellows was made, and the blacksmith got his trade. See also: Dugbo, Yataa.

Subjects: Religion.

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