Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this epic myth of the Nyanga people.
Mwindo now stood before Mukiti, the serpentine river god himself. The semidivine hero still held his conga-sceptre (a riding-crop sized club made from an antelope tail) in one hand, his axe in another and had his pouch of magic implements slung around one shoulder.
Mwindo and Mukiti exchanged challenging words with Mwindo’s being the most overstated and foolhardy. (Remember, part of the point of this epic is that Mwindo eventually learns to be humble and to be a good ruler, similar to Gilgamesh in Sumerian myths.) Before the two powerful figures could engage in all-out combat they were interrupted by the arrival of the woman Iyangura, who was Mwindo’s aunt and Mukiti’s ritual wife.
Mwindo greeted her as his “aunt of the body,” a Nyanga expression denoting the fact that Iyangura was the blood sister of his father Shemwindo. “Aunt of the body” refers to her having come out of the same woman’s body that his father emerged from.
Iyangura averted any immediate conflict by inviting her nephew back to her designated home in the river god’s underwater kingdom. Mwindo accompanied his aunt while Mukiti, still distrustful of the young hero, ordered his amphibious manling Kasiyembe to set traps to kill Mwindo while pretending to go about his normal duty as Iyangura’s bodyguard.
While Kasiyembe went about his work of setting deathtraps for Mwindo in the form of pits with large razor-sharp blades in them, Iyangura had her handmaidens serve a meal to her nephew. Mwindo’s rapid growth had continued all this time and he was now at a stage of development equivalent to a Nyanga male at young adulthood.
That being the case Iyangura permitted Mwindo to have sex with each of her handmaidens as well. Mwindo was as impressed with his carnal abilities as he was with his other qualities and loudly boasted about himself some more.
Kasiyembe took advantage of the situation to tease the conceited Mwindo into showing off his dancing abilities. His plan was that Mwindo was bound to step on at least one of the straw-covered holes with blades, fall in and be skewered.
In some versions of the Mwindo epic Katee the god of the hedgehogs speaks to our hero through one of his avatars and warns him about the holes Kasiyembe dug in the hedgehog’s usual underground turf. Those same versions have Mitandi the spider-goddess instruct his creatures to spin webs under the straw like nets so that Mwindo can dance on the holes without falling through to the blades below.
I prefer the versions that let the hero take care of himself with as little outside help as possible, so I go with the notion that Mwindo’s own personal magic or good fortune or kahombo or Force Powers (I’m kidding) or whatever are the reason he is able to dance right on the deathtraps without plunging through to his doom.
Mwindo sings a song mocking Kasiyembe while dancing around the room, purposely dancing on the traps with no harm resulting. Infuriated by this Kasiyembe calls on the Nyanga lightning god – the bad-tempered Nkuba – to strike the upstart Mwindo dead. Nkuba is only too happy to accomodate nearly anyone who personally appeals to him to strike their enemy down with lightning, so the deity begins raining lightning bolts down upon Mwindo. +++
I WILL EXAMINE ADDITIONAL PARTS SOON. CHECK BACK ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK FOR UPDATES.
FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE: PART ONE OF MWINDO
FOR ANOTHER EPIC MYTH CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/03/17/iroquois-epic-myth-hodadeion/
FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/top-lists/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.