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Nyambe and the Origin of Death


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(Luyi/Zambia)

Nyambe was the creator.

He had a wife, Nasilele, who wanted humans to die forever. But Nyambe wanted them to live again once they had died. Nyambe had a favored dog that, when it died, he wanted to restore to life. But his wife objected because, she said, the dog was a thief. Later, Nasilele's mother died. When she asked her husband to restore her mother to life, he refused, reminding her that she had been opposed to giving new life to his dog. But after a time he relented. As he was bringing the mother to life, Nasilele, because of her curiosity, interfered, and the mother stayed dead. They then discussed the issue of whether eternal life should be given to mankind, and Nyambe sent the chameleon with that message. But the hare arrived on earth first, and told men that once dead they would remain dead.

Subjects: Religion.


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