Saturday, 28 November 2015

How Lions became the Rulers of Gaana (a Ghanaian Folktale)

Long long ago, when the Earth was still young, Man and all animals lived at peace in the great forest called Gaana that Mawu Sogbolisa, God of all things, had created.

Man's reign in Gaana was a time of peace and prosperity. The forest flourished and the animals grew fat. In the Forest's hierarchy of Power, after man came the monkeys who despite their mischievous ways were actually very wise, did their jobs well and kept their shenanigans to themselves. Next came the Lions who were creatures of great avarice and power, yet, they too did their jobs.

Somewhere along the line, Man and Mawu had a big falling out for reasons that are now lost to myths and legends. Mawu was so brokenhearted by whatever it was the Man did that he drove him out of the great forest into the wilderness. Then Mawu ascended into the Heavens and the forest was left ungoverned for centuries.

Various religions have their own version on this falling out but no one can say for sure what actually happened. This story is not a story about Man and Mawu's fallout; this is about what happened after.

Things changed when Man was removed from the forest of Gaana. The monkey tribe and the Lion tribe fought a bloody war over Gaana for so long that what was once paradise became a hellhole.

One day the other creatures had a secret meeting at which they decided it was time to once and for all pick one tribe to rule over them. Most of the animals agreed they didn't have the technical know how to rule a great forest and grudgingly agreed to choose between the Monkey Tribe and the Lion Tribe. It was decided that the two tribes would have to convince the animals they were worthy of being the royal family. The elections were to be held on the memorial of Man's treachery which was three months away. The Crow was sent to tell the Monkeys and Lions of this decision.

The Lion tribe immediately launched themselves into campaign mode. They agreed among themselves that they would tell any animal who would listen that they had become herbivores. No Lion was supposed to be seen eating anything but fruits in public. They started spreading the stories through the forest grapevine. Though no animal wanted to believe it they never saw any Lion eating any other animal. When they pointed out that some animals were mysteriously disappearing, the Lions said they saw some of the animal leaving the forest because they missed Man and were going to live with him. There was no proof to suggest otherwise so the animals started to believe Lions were now herbivores.

The Lions also came up with a story about how they had fought side by side with Man in a great war to protect the forest from Sasabonsam and his horde of Demons. No other animal could remember such an incident happening but the Lions repeated this story so often that it became the truth. Soon other animals started telling these stories. The more the story was told, the more fantastic it became.

Meanwhile, the Monkey tribe were busy jumping from tree to tree having and engaging in all sort of mischief. They were constantly seen throwing rotten fruits and sometimes their own faeces at each other and sometimes at passersby. They couldn't be bothered about convincing the other animals to vote for them. In their opinion, they were the animals who looked like Man the most and since the other animals missed Man so much, they would vote for Monkeys as the next ruler.

The older animals who really wanted the Monkey as ruler were disappointed in their tactics and sent a delegation to tell the Monkeys to behave more seriously, at least during the campaign period.

However, when the Monkeys saw the delegation at a distance, they threw rotten fruits at them and wouldn't even get down from the trees to listen to whatever the delegates had to say. On the other side of the forest the Lions were becoming more popular everyday. 

Finally the day of the elections came and all the animals showed up to vote. The Monkeys showed up handing out fruits to everyone and reminding them of how much monkeys looked like man. Everyone in the queue was seen eating a fruit on their way to cast the vote.

That evening when the results were announced, Lions won by a huge margin to the Monkeys surprise. They screamed and protested insisting that the elections were rigged but no one listened.

A fortnight later, the chief Lion was made King of the Jungle and the Lion tribe was declared the royal family. The monkeys went back into the forest and to this day are still throwing rotten fruits and faeces at each other.

This is the story of how Lions and not Monkey became rulers of the forest called Gaana.

The End!

Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents are either a product of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.