35. The First Baboons

A woman once had three children.
As she gazed upon grain growing in other people’s fields, she decided, “We will take that grain for our family.”
Her children stole the grain, but the chief caught them. He killed two of the children, and one escaped.
Her friends told her to cut her hair in mourning, but she refused. “I won’t cut my hair!”
After this, the woman ran away together with her surviving child.
The woman’s hair kept growing, and so did the hair of her child.
They walked on all fours. They were covered with fur.
They became baboons.

[a Yao story from Malawi] 

Inspired by: "Baboons" in Africana by Duff Macdonald, 1882.
Notes: You can read the original story online. The sequence of events was not entirely clear in the telling, so I reordered things to make it flow more easily. Macdonald collected these stories from the Yao people at the Blantyre Mission in Malawi

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