Africa | Barker: Kwofi and the Gods

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Kwofi and the Gods

KWOFI was the eldest son of a farmer who had two wives. Kwofi's mother had no other children.

When the boy was three years old his mother died. Kwofi was given to his stepmother to mind. After this she had many children. Kwofi, of course, was the eldest of all.

When he was about ten years old his father also died. Kwofi had now no relative but his stepmother, for whom he had to work.

As he grew older, she saw how much more clever and handsome he was than her own children, and grew very jealous of him. He was such a good hunter that day after day he came home laden with meat or with fish.

Every day she treated him in the same way. She cooked the meat, then portioned it out. She gave to each a large helping, but when it came to Kwofi's turn she would say, "Oh, my son Kwofi, there is none left for you! You must go to the field and get some ripe paw-paw." Kwofi never complained. Never once did he taste any of the meat he had hunted. At every meal the others were served, but there was never enough for him.

One evening, when the usual thing had happened, Kwofi was preparing to go to the field to fetch some paw-paw for his supper. All at once one of the gods appeared in the village, carrying a great bag over his shoulder. He summoned all the villagers together with these words: "Oh, my villagers, I come with a bag of death for you!"

Thereupon he began to distribute the contents of his bag among them. When he came to Kwofi he said: "Oh, my son Kwofi, there was never sufficient meat for you, neither is there any death."

As he said these words every one in the village died except Kwofi. He was left to reign there in peace, which he did very happily.

The text came from:

Barker, William H. and Cecilia Sinclair. West African Folk-talesLagos, Africa: Bookshop, 1917. Buy the book in paperback.

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