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The Nupe, a semi-nomadic people living in northern Nigeria, revere Soko. At the beginning this creator god told men how to take the advantage of certain cosmic forces by means of ritual, kuti. But he also put the power of witchcraft into the world. The dead, according to the Nupe, are intimately linked with Soko and act as intermediaries for the living. However, the latter have to be on guard against deception as the following folk-tale indicates.

Once a hunter went into the bush and found an old human skull. When the hunter asked aloud what had brought it to this pass, the skull answered: ‘Talking brought me here.’ Excited, the hunter ran off and informed the king about the talking skull. Baffled, the king decided to send guards out with the hunter into the bush to find out if he had spoken the truth. The king ordered the guards to kill the hunter if he had lied. When the guards and the hunter reached the skull, the latter was dismayed to find that all his entreaties were ignored. In the evening of that day the guards told the hunter to make the skull speak, and when he could not they slew him, and departed. The skull then asked: ‘What brought you here?’ And the dead hunter's head replied: ‘Talking brought me here!’

Subjects: Religion.

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