After Creator finished making the world, he sent Chameleon on a mission. “Go tell the people: after you die, you will wake up again.”
Time passed; Chameleon didn’t return.
Then Creator sent Lizard. “Go tell the people: after you die, you will not wake up.”
Lizard ran fast and reached the people before Chameleon did. “After you die, you will not wake up,” said Lizard, and the people said, “Yes.”
When Chameleon finally arrived, he said, “After you die, you will wake up again.”
But the people had already accepted Lizard’s message.
That’s why the dead do not wake up.
[a Ndau story from Mozambique]
Inspired by: "Death of the People" in "Tales and Proverbs of the Vandau of Portuguese South Africa" published in the Journal of American Folklore by Franz Boas and C. Kamba Simango, 1922.
Notes: You can read the original story online. Compare a similar story with Dog and Sheep as messengers: Why People Bury the Dead. The chameleon is a slow-moving reptile with an odd gait; more about chameleons at Wikipedia.
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