Why Men No Longer Hunt With Fire

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There was a hunter so skilled at hunting with fire that no animal could escape him. He would set fire to the forest in such a way that all the animals therein would be forced to flee along a narrow trail, and there they would fall prey to the hunter’s spears. One day the animals appealed to the Bush Devil for protection.

“Then live in my town,” Bush Devil said, and they went to live in his town. They were safe there. Bush Devil went to the hunter with an empty rice-hamper and said:

“Hunter, get into my hamper.”

The hunter called him a fool and beat him with a stick. The next day when Hunter was sitting by his home Bush Devil appeared again and said:

“Hunter, get into my hamper.”

The hunter’s wives picked up sticks and beat Bush Devil. Bush Devil kept on repeating the same words, for the beating did not hurt him. The Chief of the town called all his men and threw spears at Bush Devil, but it made no difference. They seized him and flung him into a house, then burned the house. Everything burned except Bush Devil. He came out and said:

“Hunter, get into my hamper.”

The hunter found he could not eat. He began to grow thin, and the men of the town held council. They told the hunter to get into Bush Devil’s hamper and finish the palaver. He might be killed and he might not, but if he did nothing he would soon die of thinness anyway. The hunter climbed into the hamper.

Bush Devil tied him up and hurried off with him. He went to his town and untied the hunter. He showed him all the animals.

“The animals have asked for my protection,” he said, “and I have promised they will never be hunted again by fire. As you know I can kill you, but you cannot kill me. If you hunt animals again with fire I will kill you. If you promise you will never hunt with fire again, all the animals will return to the forest and you will be free to find them if you can.”

The hunter swore he would never use fire again to hunt, and the animals went back to the forest. That is why fire is no longer used to hunt.

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