The African Creation Story
One day, God felt lonely and decided to make the world and people to keep him company.
He molded rocks together into a ball and breathed fire into it. Then, he slowly cooled it with his breath. After that, he carved the shape of the continents and made deep indentations that became the oceans and lakes. The first continent he made was Africa. God made all the other continents and brushed off his hands, and the dust and dirt specks fell and scattered to make the islands.
God then made plants and animals: this went according to plan until he made chicken. Immediately after he breathed life into the chicken, it flew off and refused to come back. “Come back, come back; don’t leave your teeth.” The chicken said, “Forget it; I don’t need it.” Today, chicken and his ancestors, the birds, have no teeth.
But God was not satisfied, because the sea was empty. It took most of the day to make fish. He wanted fish to look pretty, and fish looked great. The crab was next in line. First, the legs were fashioned, and they were strong; his body was made with a shell for protection. It was late and getting dark, and the Creator told the crab that he had to wait for the next morning. Right after the Creator left, crab set out to play and make trouble.
He had no head and was blind, but he had many hands and could feel around. Crab went to gatherings of the animals and started pushing, pinching and biting with his claws; he hurt the other animals. This created a commotion. The next day, the animals reported crab, and God was angry. He decided that he would do no further design on the crab. He did not add a neck or head as he had previously planned; he simply placed eyes on the body of the crab. The crab did not care and left happily. Today, crab and his cousins have no neck or head and have eyes stuck on the body as punishment
Later, he took special clay to make man. The first man he made was heated a little longer and looked very black; God placed him in the south. He then made a second version of man, and this time heated him so little he came out white; God put him in the north. The third man was heated just right, and he came out golden brown, and he placed him in Ethiopia. God was happy that they were all the same except for color.
God noticed that man became sick and old after some time and realized that man would die. He put his life energy in a package with a message, tied it tightly and called the pigeon to take it to man.
This was the cure for death and sickness. The eagle was jealous and angry when he saw that God had chosen the lowly pigeon and not him. So, while the pigeon was slowly soaring, taking the package, he swooped down, injured the pigeon and took the package. He did not realize he had torn the package with his talons. As he flew, the life substance scattered on the trees below, and when he delivered the package to man, almost nothing remained. What remained was only enough to allow man to recover from sickness if it was not severe but not enough to prevent death. The plants, however, benefited well. Today, many plants can grow even after dying or being cut into twigs.
The package also had a message to man instructing us to love and respect the animals so they can teach us how to live a better life. Over the years, the spider taught man how to weave and make cloth, and the otter taught man how to fish; tigers and lions taught us how to hunt. We also learned the best healing herbs from following the animals and observing the herbs they ate when they were sick.
One day, as man returned from hunting, there was a sudden heavy downpour of rain, and he ran under the branch of a tree, seeking shelter. He was anxious to get back before dusk, but the torrential pour continued. Later, he heard a tiny voice speaking to him: “You don’t have to wait; you can cut and fashion the branches you are standing under to cover you and walk home.” This benevolent spirit stayed for many years and taught humans wisdom and made us the wisest beings on the face of the earth.
Michel Dioubate (excerpt from book, Laughter of a Crazy Man)