Silamaka and the Sacred Serpent of the Woods

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Silamaka, a historical figure, is also a mythic hero. As a leader, Ardo, of the Fulani, he lived under Da Monzon, King of Segu, and rebelled against him.

Silamaka, shortly after birth, reveals great ability. When Da Monzon's messengers see a horsefly sucking blood from his forehead, they conclude that he is to be feared, and Da Monzon concludes that he must be killed. But nothing can kill Silamaka and his companion, Puluru, the son of a slave. When Silamaka grows up, a young woman challenges him to confront Da Monzon. Silamaka discovers that, to become invulnerable, he has to capture a sacred snake alive and wear it as a belt. He does what no other warrior has been able to do. A hero, Hambodedio insults Puluru, and, during their struggle, Silamaka spares him. The next year, Silamaka insults Da Monzon, and defeats Da Monzon's armies. But in the end, he has to flee to his home, and is assisted by Puluru and his sister. Now Da Monzon's armies set out against Silamaka, and Silamaka's small group is able to fend them off. A diviner prophesies the death of Silamaka. Before his final battle, he sends Puluru with a message to Hambodedio, telling him he is about to die and that Hambodedio will assume leadership. Silamaka is then killed by an uncircumcised albino, and his horse carries him home to a grieving Puluru. Puluru and Silamaka's sons then flee from the armies of Da Monzon, and, with the mystical spear of Silamaka, Puluru is able to disperse those armies. When night comes, everyone disappears, some say to heaven. Hambodedio becomes ruler of the area claimed by Silamaka. See also: Da Monzon.

Subjects: Religion.

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