Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Koumen: Tenth Clearing — Fifth Sun

Tenth Clearing — Fifth Sun
—Table of Contents—

The moment Koumen and Silé crossed into the space lit by the fifth sun, they heard a great commotion.

Koumen said, “We shall be taken into the presence of Foroforondou. She is my wife, but she also controls the milking and how the milk is used. It is she who watches over the kaggu and ngaynirki, the altar and sacramental objects of the laareeji. Do not submit blindly to her orders or she will get you lost. She will introduce you to our little deities and will ask you to name them.”

Koumen taught Silé the customs of the lareeji and what he ought to answer regarding each of them.

Koumen announced their arrival, “I return from the pastures accompanied by a visitor, a guest of honour, a pleasant companion. He is a Pullo, ardent in the affairs of cattle. He comes to the goddess of milk to seek her counsel.”

Foroforondou, who had been making an awful racket shaking up cream in a churning gourd made from the hollowed out shell of a calabash, stood up and approached Koumen. She scolded him, “How could you have agreed to let a human come here? Have you forgotten that the orange ray of the fifth sun is a flame? What are you letting tradition come to, the holy tradition of the sacred bull, mother-cow and heavenly lamb?”[1]

Eurika Urbonavičiūtė, Juratė (Goddess)
Foroforondou then addressed Silé, “I am mindful of your requests. But now make haste and leave, jumping like a lamb and return from whence you came.”

Silé spoke up, “With due respect to Foroforondou, goddess of milk, queen of butter, I find myself so much at ease under the ray of the orange sun that no speech and no act would be harsh enough to make me leave. I am ready, if Foroforondou wills it, to observe all the precepts of the kaggu and all the prohibitions of the ngaynirki. But I will not go. Under this sun, I fear nothing. On the contrary, I am exceedingly glad. O daughter of Mori-Mawɗo,[2]give me milk to drink and tell me the “secret name of the cow”.

The koyli tree (see footnote)
Foroforondou! I implore you in the name of your father who was the great priest of the seven suns, allow me to be led into the eleventh clearing where the red sun rules whose rays are the colour of the koyli[3] and where I shall prove to you that I am worthy of the turf.”

Visibly frustrated, Foroforondou threw a reproachful glance towards her husband Koumen. The latter said, “Silé has come to see how things are done here. He will settle down in the land of humans once the knot is unriddled in the arena of… [the eleventh clearing].

[1] Knowledge comes in three levels according to the three categories of herds: the first is associated with goats and involves certain elements of magic, the second to sheep and the third and supreme knowledge to bovines. In the ninth and tenth clearings, the guide speaks of the sacred sheep and the heavenly lamb. It is in the twelfth clearing that the hermaphrodite bovine will appear, symbol of supreme wisdom.
[2] Mori-Mawɗo, the father of Foroforondou, literally means “great-venerable”.
[3] The koyli tree is Mitragyna inermis O. Kuntze. It has a dense wide crown. With the koyli’s bark, one can make a preparation for dyeing clothes and fabrics ochre.

A. Hampâté Bâ & G. Dieterlen (1961)

English Translation:

No comments:

Post a Comment