Sacred Pythons :
African Folk Tales Index
One day, a very long time ago, some of Naayire people went hunting. They walked and walked in the bush but found nothing. When night came, they were very far from home.
"We must sleep in the bush," the chief sad, "we must find a good place to sleep."
The hunters were not afraid to sleep in the bush. But they knew elephants, lions and other animals sometimes killed sleeping hunters. And there were some bad people, too, in the bush.
The hunters came to a place with big trees round it. They decided to rest and sleep on the grass. They did not make a fire and ate only some nuts which they carried in their bags. That was their supper. Then they went to sleep. All of them were tired.
They slept soundly and did not hear anything. They did not hear that their enemies were coming nearer and nearer to them. But in one of the trees above the sleeping men something moved and fell down on the head of a young hunter. He jumped up and cried a big python was on his head! :
The Naayire hunters got up quickly and saw the enemies round them. A fight began. Soon the enemies ran away and that was the end of the fight.
The Naayire hunters came up to their chief to talk about the fight.
"What made you jump up?" the chief asked the young hunter.
"It was a python," he said. "It fell on my head, but it did not kill me."
Then the chief said, "From this day on our people will never kill a python. That python saved our lives. Pythons will be sacred animals in our country."
Even today the Naayire people love pythons. If you go into their houses in the rainy season, you will find a python there. The pythons never harm anyone. They don't eat even the chickens.
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