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Murungu and the Fruit of the Forbidden Tree


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(Meru/Kenya)

Murungu (Ngai, Mwene inya) is the supreme being, the almighty, all-seer, all-giver, master of life and death, creator of all things and of man.

Humans originally lived at Mbwa. At that time they did not cultivate, they did not need to eat or to wear clothes. God had created a boy first. The boy was not happy, because he had no one to play with. Then a girl emerged, and they played together. They loved each other, and bore a child. God gave them food but forbade them to taste the fruit of a certain tree. A snake, a wise creature, told them that if they ate the fruits of that forbidden tree they would have the intelligence of God. The woman ate a fruit, then offered one to her husband, who refused. The woman insisted, so he took the fruit and ate it. When he did so, his throat-apple came out; this was the origin of the throat-apple. God punished the snake by crushing its head. And he sent the mole to tell the man that all men would die and then arise. While the mole was on the way, he met the hyena. The hyena asked him where he was going. The mole said that God had sent him to tell men that they would die, then rise again. The hyena said that if that happened, what would the hyena eat? When the mole was about to go on its way, the hyena threatened to swallow it. The mole, fearful, went to the humans and told them that they would die and not come back to life. Then the mole returned to God and told him what happened, how he had been intimidated by the hyena. God told the mole that from that time he would live under the earth, far from God in heaven. And to this day, the mole lives in a hole in the earth, coming out only at night when no man sees him.

Subjects: Religion.


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