Tore: The Arm of God

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Tore (Arebati, Baatsi, Epilipili) is the creator, the supreme being.

Tore, with the help of the moon, created Baatsi, the first man. The body was made by kneading, then clothed with a skin; blood was poured in, and the man lived. His creator then whispered to him that he would live in the forest and father children, that these children could eat of all of the trees of the forest save one, the tahu tree. Baatsi, warning his many children of the one forbidden thing, departed to join Tore, his creator, in the heavens. Then, one day, a pregnant woman craved the forbidden fruit. Her husband got it for her, hid the peel, but the moon, having seen it, told the creator what had happened, and he became so angry that he cursed the human race to die.

Another myth about death tells how, in the beginning, there was only Masupa, who created for himself two sons and a daughter. He would speak unseen to them, and he gave them one commandment: never to try to see him. Masupa lived in a large house, apart, from which the sounds could be heard of hammering and forging. That was an altogether happy time, with no need to work. Or at least the two sons had no such need. To the daughter, the daily task had been given of fetching water and gathering firewood, to be placed at Masupa's door. She wanted to know what the one she was serving looked like, so one evening, as she set the water pot down, she decided to wait and see. She hid behind a post, and when Masupa's arm reached out for the pot, she saw it, richly adorned. Masupa was enraged. He informed his children that he now would leave them and that the days of their ease were ended. He gave them weapons and tools, taught them the use of the forge and of other things necessary for their maintenance; and, especially angry with his daughter, he told her that she would henceforth be a toiling wife and bring forth her children in pain. Then, secretly, he left them, passing downstream along the banks of the river, and no one has seen him since. Death came with the death of the woman's first child two days after its birth. She had named him, with a premonition, Death-is-coming. No one has escaped death since. For the Efe versions of these myths, see: Baatsi, Masupa.

Subjects: Religion.

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