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Tlam and the Fifty Virgins


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(Kabyle/Algeria)

Tlam is the underworld.

In the beginning, there were only one man and one woman, strangers to each other, who lived in Tlam beneath the earth. At a well, they had a quarrel, then they struggled, and ended by having sexual relations. In time, they had fifty sons and fifty daughters, but the two sexes remained strangers to each other. Their parents sent them, by separate ways, upward from Tlam. The fifty female virgins, curious, climbed out of a hole in Earth's crust and, addressing the plants, asked who made them. They replied that Earth had made them. When the virgins asked Earth who made him, he responded that he was always here. When the virgins asked the moon and stars who made them, they received no answer because the moon and stars were so distant. At the same time, the young men were also roaming on Earth's surface. They were bathing in a stream, when the boys and girls caught sight of one another. The virgins were shy, but a girl approached a handsome boy. Like their parents, they learned the joy of sexual intercourse, and the human race originated.

Subjects: Religion.


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