The Singing Bird of Heaven
Ama Terassu, the Glorious, the Light of High Heaven, commanded, saying, “His Augustness, my August Child, who is called the Conqueror, shall descend to the land. For it is a Land of Luxuriant Reed Plains, a Land of Fresh Rice Ears, a Land of a Thousand Autumns. So of this land he shall be king.”
Now his Augustness, the August Child, the Conqueror, stood upon the Floating Bridge of Heaven and looked down, and he saw that there was a great unquietness upon the Land of the Reed Plains. For earthly deities made strife, and blood ran, and fearful sounds of war arose, even to High Heaven. So the August Child, the heavenly born, turned back across the Floating Bridge, and swore he would not descend to rule the land until it should be cleansed.
And Ama Terassu, the Light of High Heaven, who had the sun set fast between her eyes, bound her head with jewels, and gathered the deities together in a divine assembly, to hold council in the Tranquil River Bed. And she spoke and said, “Who shall subdue the land that I have given to the August Child?”
And all the deities cried, “O Thine Augustness, send down the Lord of Spears.” Therefore the Lord of Spears went lightly down by the Floating Bridge; and there were bound upon his back eight hundred spears. Howbeit, he made a truce with the Lord of the Reed Plains and tarried there; and for three years there was no report.
Therefore, once more the Queen of Heaven called him whom the gods name Wonderful, and she called the Lord of Deep Thoughts, and likewise she called every deity of Heaven, and they came to council in the Tranquil River Bed, so that upon the sand there was left the print of their august feet. And Ama Terassu said, “Behold now the Lord of Spears is faithless. Whom shall we send to rule the land?” And the Young Prince answered, “O Mother of Heaven, Thine Augustness, send me.” And all the deities assented with one accord and cried, “Send him, send him,” till there was a sound like thunder in the River Bed.
So the Young Prince bound on his sandals, and they brought to him the great bow that stands in the Hall of High Heaven, and bestowed it upon him, and they gave him many heavenly-feathered arrows.
The Fish and the Leopard's Wife; or, Why the Fish lives in the Water
Category: Nigerian folktales
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