Wele and the House in the Air

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The world was created by the supreme being, Wele Xakaba (Were, Isaywa, Khakaba, Nabongo, Nyasaye), giver of all things. He first created, by himself and like lightning, his own home, heaven, a place ever bright, supporting it with pillars.

The first human couple lived at a place called Embayi, in a house that stood in the air, supported by poles. They descended by a ladder, and, when they went into the house, they pulled up the ladder so no one could enter their home. This was because there were monsters, Amanani, on earth, and they might attack the humans.

The first humans did not know how to have intercourse, so lived many years without children. Later, Mwambu and Sela did have intercourse, and Sela bore a son, Lilambo. She bore another child later, a girl, Nasio. When Lilambo and Nasio grew up, they did not live in the air with their parents; they moved down to earth. They, too, had children, but they were in constant danger of being swallowed by the Amanani who stalked the earth. Sela bore two other daughters, Simbi and Nakitumba, and they were married to the sons born to Lilambo and Nasio. And so humans multiplied on the earth.

The sun is a powerful, wealthy chief who lives in the sky. A young woman, having refused all the young men of her community, is carried to the sky by a rope. There she is received by the sun's mother, who tells her that her son wishes to marry her. The sun, returning from work in the gardens, courts her, offering her as gifts sorghum and eleusine and everything that grows on the earth. But the young woman refuses these gifts. Then the sun presents her with the rays of his brightness, and she agrees to be his wife. The rays of the sun are kept by her in a pot, which she keeps, covered, in her house. She gives birth to three sons, then asks her husband, the sun, for permission to return to earth to visit her parents. She takes her sons and her servants, and goes to earth by means of the same rope that had lifted her into the sky. Her parents are happy to see her; her father chooses a black cow as a purification sacrifice for her. But she refuses, and she continues to refuse cows of other colors, until her father selects a white cow. He sacrifices that cow; then, the next day, he gives her two white cows to take with her to heaven. She goes back to heaven with her sons and servants on the third day. When she arrives at the place of the sun, she opens the pot that contained the sun's rays so that they may shine down on the earth. There are cows in the rays, and they fall on her father's homestead. The whole earth is warmed by the rays of the sun, and things begin to grow luxuriantly, and the people live well. See also: Wele (Vugusu).


Subjects: Religion.

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