Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/199

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ancestress of the blacks appropriated the black liver of the victim. The Ovakuru Meyuru, or "old ones in heaven," once let the skies down with a run, but drew them up again (as the gods of the Sataphatha Brahmana drew the sun) when most of mankind had been drowned.[1] The remnant pacified the old ones (as Odysseus did the spirits of the dead) by the sacrifice of a black ewe, a practice still used to appease ghosts by the Ovaherero. The neighbouring Omnambo ascribe the creation of man to Kalunga, who came out of the earth, and made the first three sheep.[2]

Among the Namaquas, an African people on the same level of nomadic culture as the Ovaherero, a divine or heroic early being called Heitsi Eibib had a good deal to do with the origin of things. If he did not exactly make the animals, he impressed on them their characters, and their habits (like those of the serpent in Genesis) are said to have been conferred by a curse, the curse of Heitsi Eibib. A precisely similar notion was found by Avila among the Indians of Huarochiri, whose divine culture-hero imposed, by a curse or a blessing, their character and habits on the beasts.[3] The lion used to live in a nest up a tree till Heitsi Eibib cursed him and bade him walk on the ground. He also cursed the hare, "and the hare ran away, and is still running."[4] The name of the first man is given as Eichaknanabiseb (with a multitude

  1. An example of a Deluge myth in Africa, where M. Lenormant found non.
  2. South African Folk-Lore Journal, ii., pt. v. p. 95.
  3. Fables of Yncas (Hakluyt Society), p. 127.
  4. Tsuni Goam, pp. 66–67.