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Author of the Entry:
Divine Che Neba, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Age of narrator: 86 (in 2018)
Social status: Member of Council of Elders
Language of narration: Gbaya
Bio prepared by Divine Che Neba, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: Moumba is a village found on the geographical coordinates Latitude 40 46' 0” North, Longitude 100 0’ 0” East in the Moungo, Littoral region of Cameroon. Being part of the Basa communities, the Moumba’s believe that their closeness to sacred places and oracles connect them with their ancestors. They also have different Gods, such as the God of the soil (isi), creation God (Hilôlômbi), healing God (V) and God of vengeance (Njeg).
Occasion: Live performance
In distant times; the very olden days,
Which no man can remember with exactitude,
There lived a man and his family in the forest.
This man was called Kombo and he had two wives:
The first wife, Songou, gave birth to two boys,
And the second, Nadamba, gave birth to one boy and many girls.
Kombo was happy because he had three sons who would continue his lineage:
Gbabio and Lamy were the sons of the first wife, and
Garba, was the son of the second.
Kombo constructed an estate where he lived with his family.
Formerly, he was living in the bush because his brothers
Were quarreling over their parent’s wealth and since he was the youngest,
They gave him nothing.
Not even a cockerel to remind him that the day was dawned.
He had nothing to remind him of his father.
He had simply taken his two wives and left the land of his grandparents.
He was living harmoniously with his two wives in his refuge until the
Day that the first wife died.
He didn’t take her corpse to the land of her father,
For when a woman gets married, she loses her place in her father’s hut.
For this reason, they buried this woman near the main hut.
Moons passed after Songou’s death.
The second wife started giving very difficult tasks to Songou’s orphans.
And these children were still very young.
They complained to their father but he remained indifferent.
There was partiality between the children of the first wife and the second.
One day, the two small boys entered into a bush and walked and walked
Not knowing where they were going to.
Their father and step-mother did not bother about their disappearance.
The two boys got lost inside the bush.
Hunger “dug” their bellies and they fell asleep under a tree.
The spirit of their mother came and spoke to them in a dream, asking them to wake up.
When they woke up, they found a huge bird near them.
They climbed on the bird and it carried and left them on a path.
The two boys walked until they found themselves in another village.
The village was very large;
They were so astonished, for they had never seen such a large village.
They were taken to the house of the paramount chief, who gave them a meal,
And a room to sleep.
The first day passed and the boys discovered that people sleep very early in the village.
When they asked the Chief why people sleep so early in the village,
The latter responded that “there is a dragon that kills
Whosoever walks around the village at night”.
Both boys started to gather wood and stones in great quantities.
Their plan was to kill the animal.
They continued the same activity everyday.
The villagers were passing and mocking at them everyday.
They did not relent their efforts in planning how to kill the dragon.
Then, the night fell on special day that they planned to kill the Dragon.
The two boys lit a huge fire,
They started playing near the fire, dancing and laughing aloud.
Suddenly, they saw the dragon approaching- the ferocious beast,
It opened it mouth to devour them.
The brave little boys sent the burning coal into the mouth of the animal.
After a while the animal fell down and died.
The two boys cut the tail of the dragon and left.
But before leaving, the younger one left one of his sandals on the dead dragon.
In the morning, everyone was surprised to find the dead dragon lying on the ground.
So, the king summoned a meeting:
“Who saved us by killing this ferocious animal?” he asked.
Everyone claimed to be the hero of the act.
So the king ordered everyone to pass and measure the sandal that was left on the animal.
People passed in turns, but the sandal didn’t fit anyone.
Then, they suddenly thought of the
Two boys who were still asleep.
The Chief sent for them.
The younger appeared wearing just one sandal.
While the older one held the tail of the dragon.
The King thanked them, and there was celebration in the whole village.
The king was very happy, and divided his kingdom and gave part to them.
He offered horses to them
The two boys ruled their part with wisdom.
When it was time to get married,
Each of them got married to more than three wives.
The lineage of these boys multiplied
And the kingdom expanded.
The two boys decided to divide the kingdom
Into two, so that each one would be Chief in his own part.
Each had many children.
The more time passed, the more the kingdom expanded and new Kingdoms emerged.
Today, we can understand why there are many kingdoms on Mounba.
The dragon has always been a threat to humankind in world mythology. Its evil actions, though often protracted, are often counteracted with the emergence of a savior, after long-drawn-out attempts by the society to stamp it out of the human milieu. The savior, as most myths record, often emerged in the form of a human being, imbued with superseding wisdom or supernatural qualities. Some appear as Gods, goddesses or spirits. Cases in point in the above myth are the two orphans, led by the spirit of their mother to save the Moumba people.
Myth of Issah (accessed: December 28, 2020).
Senter, Phil, Uta Mattox and Eid E. Haddad, “Snake to Monster: Conrad Gessner’s Schlangenbuch and the Evolution of the Dragon in the Literature of Natural History", Journal of Folklore Research 53 (2016): 67–124 (abstract at JSTOR, accessed: January 18, 2019).
The Tikary Messiah (accessed: December 14, 2020).
Researcher: Divine Che Neba
Assistant researcher: Hamadou Ezechiel
Method of data collection: Tape recording and note taking