mast2

Sunday, July 09, 2006

myth

Monday, we had Harold Scheub as a guest lecturer. He spent several years of his life walking across South Africa collecting stories. He says people can't live without stories.

He told us a few. This was my favorite. It's a take from the Mbuti people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (note: the Mbouti people are hunter-gatherers and move periodically when resourses had run out in the area they are in)

There was once a husband and wife that lived in a village deep in the rainforest. They had a child; she was a girl whose face was full of scars and open sores and her legs were crippled. One day, the elders pulled the parents aside, "Your daughter is so ugly," they said, "we cannot stand to look at her anymore. When we move, let's leave here here." The parents agreed and that is just what they did. The village packed up and the girl was left alone in the small rainforest clearing.

Day by day, she got weaker from thirst and hunger. She lied flat on her belly and could hardly move. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something very bright up in the sky. She lifted her head to see the Fifi-bird. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen- it was big and white and shining. The girl watched the bird as it grasped a vine and strung it from one tree to another. It then perched on the middle of the vine where it swung back and forth, back and forth.

The girl was so entranced by the Fifi-bird that she began to crawl towards the tree, dragging her legs behind her. With her last bit of strength, she climbed the tree. Up and up. And then the bird was gone. She crawled out onto the vine where it had sat and swung there, back and forth, back and forth.

Two men stumbled upon her there. Repulsed by her appearance, they called up to her, "You are disgusting! I have never seen something so ugly. You deserve to die!" and they shot at her. Both men missed and one was killed by the other man's fire. The man left living returned to his village and to the king.

"King, there is a girl in the forest who is possessed by evil spirits. She has put a curse on this kingdom. My friend and I tried to get rid of her, but he is now dead." The king agreed to send out a small party of soldiers. They went out into the forest and found swinging on a vine, back and forth, back and forth, the girl. Repulsed by her appearance, they called up to her, "You are disgusting! I have never seen something so ugly. You deserve to die!" and they all shot at her. The soldiers missed and all but one was killed by another man's fire. The man left living returned to his village and to the king.

"King, there is a girl in the forest who is possessed by evil spirits. She has put a curse on this kingdom. Our party of soldiers tried to get rid of her, but now all but I are dead." The king agreed to send outhis entire army. They went out into the forest and found swinging on a vine, back and forth, back and forth, the girl. Repulsed by her appearance, they called up to her, "You are disgusting! I have never seen something so ugly. You deserve to die!" and they all shot at her. Entire army missed and all but one was killed by another man's fire. The man left living returned to his village and to the king.

"King, there is a girl in the forest who is possessed by evil spirits. She has put a curse on this kingdom. Your entire army tried to get rid of her, but now all but I are dead." This time, the king agreed to take the entire village to go and find the girl. They went out into the forest and found swinging on a vine, back and forth, back and forth, the Fifi-bird.


What do you think of the story?

Oh, and speaking of folklore, I watched this clip about the English story, Robin Hood, last night. It made me laugh and laugh. Eddie Izzard rocks my socks.

7 Comments:

At 09 July, 2006 23:57, Anonymous dad-o said...

fascinating...you may find Joseph Campbell an interesting fellow...I very highly reccommend watching the Bill Moyers/Joseph Campbell PBS series, "The Power of Myth" - it's great stuff

http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC12/Campbell.htm
http://www.jcf.org/bliss.php
http://www.csulb.edu/~dsteiger/Adam%20and%20Eve%20(Campbell).pdf

 
At 10 July, 2006 04:31, Anonymous A. Gretchen said...

Entertaining! Thanks for sharing!

 
At 10 July, 2006 05:45, Blogger Lindsey said...

Auntie G- Which was entertaining- the myth or the Eddie Izzard clip? ;)

Dad-o- I'm somewhat familiar with Joseph Campbell. We studied him a wee bit in AP Lang senior year. He kind of annoyed me, mostly because I disagreed with his overarching quasi-philosophical stuff (though there must have been some other reason as well, because there are a lot of philosophers that I disagree with that I like very much). But I should take another look at what he has to say, not because I would agree more now than I did, but because I probably dismissed a lot of delectable litttle morsels just because he annoyed me. Yes, I definately should do that.

Could you guys pick out what sort of values etc. the story was transmitting (the moral of the story as Aesop would have it)?

 
At 11 July, 2006 18:08, Anonymous dad-o said...

Eddie didn't do too much for me...

 
At 12 July, 2006 07:43, Blogger Lindsey said...

This definately wasn't his best, but I included it because it had the word "myth". Actually, I love this clip (it says 'kiss with tongue' and I find that very very funny), but only after having watched hours of Eddie Izzard and knowing his other jokes. Watch more of his clips. I didn't care much for him at first either, but the more and more I watched, the more and more I laughed and laughed and laughed...and laughed.

 
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