African Oral Epic Poetry: Praising the Deeds of a Mythic by Fritz H. Pointer

By Fritz H. Pointer

A big serious version and English translation of this crucial African epic fantasy.

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Extra resources for African Oral Epic Poetry: Praising the Deeds of a Mythic Hero

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If a soothsayer fails in the task, he is immediately beheaded by the order of Samori Toure, Kanji's general and ruler of the land. One of these soothsayers is Merikoro, head of the powerful Komo (blacksmith cult-group), which is the ultimate mystical power in traditional Mandinka society. Beheading such a man would be unthinkable; so, though Nerikoro fails to solve the child dilemma, he goes scotfree. Here is how the bard introduces the character Nerikoro into the story: Nerikoro, the Komo man has come!

In this following instance, the 'holy' man praises Bari: 40 Master, I salute You! I salute you for your hardships! The Fresh-Heart Cutter and the Fresh-Liver Cutter! Killer of the Ruthless and Killer of the Hardy! Cracker of Green Heads and Gouger of Green Eyes! Eater of Cold Meals and Drinker of Cool Water! Man, your Mother gave birth to a vicious homed viper, (11. 1178-1184) Allah. Aware of the enmity between the omen reader and the holyman, the poet immerses himself in the story, in obvious empathy with the hero, and cautions with an appropriate aphorism anticipating the hero's arrival: Praising a man is not pleasing to his enemy.

Eater of Cold Meals and Drinker of Cool Water! Man, your Mother gave birth to a vicious homed viper, (11. 1178-1184) Allah. Aware of the enmity between the omen reader and the holyman, the poet immerses himself in the story, in obvious empathy with the hero, and cautions with an appropriate aphorism anticipating the hero's arrival: Praising a man is not pleasing to his enemy. Everyday talk improves a man more than everyday argument. The hero is only welcome on troubled days. (ll. 1189-1191) These three insightful aphoristic proverbs express the anomalous (love/hate) relationship of the hero to his community.

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