Another in a series of stories for liberal religious kids. This story, from an extinct language group in Southern Africa, offers an explanation for the beginnings of death.
The original language this story was told in was the |Xam language, which is now extinct. The people who spoke this language are part of a larger ethnic group commonly referred to as “Bushmen”; in academic circles, the term “San” is used. Both names may have pejorative connotations for the people to whom they refer; I have chosen to use the academic term.
When the San people first saw the new moon, they would look towards it, and put their hands over their eyes, and say this:
“Star, O Star, yonder in the sky!
Take my face there. You shall give me my face there.
When you have died, Moon, you return, alive again;
We no longer saw you, and then you came again.
Take my face that I may resemble you.
You always return, alive again, after we lose sight of you.
It was the hare that told you that you should do this.
It used to be that you told us that we also should return,
Alive again, after we had died.”
Having said this prayer, once a man of the San people named Dia!kwain followed the prayer by telling this story:
In the beginning, the hares looked much like a human beings. And when they died, they did not die forever, for after a time they would return to living once again. Continue reading “The Moon and the hare”