The Wrath of Sande-Nyana

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Three brothers who were hunters lived in a village near Piso Lake, and their names were Khamah, Voanii, and Zuke. Early one morning they went into the forest to hunt, taking spears and a little food, and they walked to a distant part of the forest where they had never been before. Here they found a sacred shrine, long abandoned, and lying within the shrine was a bag of gold.

“It is the shrine of Sande-Nyana,” Khamah whispered fearfully, and glanced about. Sande-Nyana was the women’s devil-god, dangerous and cruel.

“He is not here,” said Voanii. “The shrine is old, there is no longer any village here.” But Voanii was nervous too, for Sande-Nyana would kill them if he saw them standing there.

“It is gold, real gold,” murmured Zuke as his eyes stared greedily at the yellow pieces. “Just let us feel it . . .”

Finally they took one coin, and Khamah said to Zuke, the youngest brother:

“Take this piece of gold and buy wine at the nearest village. We will wait under this cotton tree.”

Zuke set off towards a village some distance away, and here he purchased a large calabash gourd of palm wine: but, planning to take possession of all the gold himself, he added poison to the wine before returning.

In his absence Khamah and Voanii talked earnestly together. They decided to kill Zuke and share the gold between themselves; so, when he returned and placed the wine-gourd on the ground, they fell on him with their spears and killed him instantly. But when they drank the poisoned wine, Khamah and Voanii also died, so that the three wicked brothers lay and rotted together under the cotton tree.

The bag of gold still lies within Sande-Nyana’s shrine.

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