Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this epic myth of the Nyanga people.
Mwindo prepared to pursue his cowardly father Shemwindo into the land of the dead ruled by the god Muisa. The semidivine hero’s Aunt Iyangura was frightened for Mwindo’s safety but he assured her he could take care of himself in the land of the dead.
To further comfort his aunt he pulled the rope from his pouch of magical implements and tore it into two pieces. He gave one piece to Iyangura and he kept the other on his person. Mwindo told Iyangura that her end of the rope would act as a life token so she would know he was still alive.
(Life tokens such as this have been covered previously at Balladeer’s Blog in Vietnamese, Malagasy and Philippine myths. They were usually a plant of some sort which would reflect the physical state of the myth’s hero on their travels. As long as the plant was alive then his loved ones would know the hero was still alive as well.)
Iyangura’s half of the rope would perpetually coil and vibrate as long as Mwindo still lived. Mwindo now pulled up the kikoka ferns which covered the portal to Muisa’s realm and descended therein to hunt down his father and exact revenge on him.
Following his long climb down to the land of the dead Mwindo came upon a well beside which sat Kahindo (also called Kahombo) the Nyanga goddess of good fortune. Kahindo suffered from yaws, the disease of the skin and cartilage common to hot, humid countries.
Kahindo was the daughter of the death god Muisa and often greeted newcomers to her father’s realm. After she and our hero exchanged a few words she asked him where he was traveling to. Mwindo replied that he was pursuing his father who had sought refuge in Muisa’s kingdom.
At first Kahindo tried to warn Mwindo away from his mission, fearing her father might destroy him but the semidivine hero remained adamant. Finding herself attracted to Mwindo, Kahindo led him to her father’s home and gave him instructions on how to survive his first encounter with the god of the dead.
Kahindo told Mwindo that when he entered Muisa’s hut he would be lying in the ashes in the hearth, since ashes were his favorite food and he often wallowed in them. When Muisa offered Mwindo a stool to sit down on he was to refuse it. The stool left anyone sitting on it motionless while her father chopped off their head.
Furthermore the goddess of good fortune advised Mwindo that when her father offered him a drink he was to refuse it since it would be Muisa’s urine and was poisonous. When her father offered Mwindo food he was to refuse that, too, since it would be Muisa’s feces and would also be poisonous.
The hero thanked Kahindo and, to further show his gratitude he used his powers to heal her yaws so that her body was now completely free of them. While she waited behind he strode into her father’s hut and as predicted, saw Muisa lolling in the hearth’s ashes. Seeing that he had a visitor Muisa composed himself and offered the intruder a seat, a drink and food all of which Mwindo wisely declined per his instructions from Kahindo.
Stymied by Mwindo’s survival of this initial gauntlet of traps the god of the dead asked the hero his purpose in his kingdom. Mwindo confessed that he was after his father Shemwindo and Muisa then told him to go spend the night with Kahindo in her hut.
Come morning Muisa said he would assign Mwindo tasks to perform and if he succeeded at them the death god would tell him where to find his father. If Mwindo failed Muisa would kill him and he would never leave this land of the dead. +++
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/
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