36. The First Fish

A woman took bark-cloth and wrapped it around herself.
When she was bathing in the river, the water took the bark-cloth from her.
“Help!” she shouted to her companions. “The water took my bark-cloth!”
They waded into the water to find the bark-cloth while the woman sat beside the river, naked.
Then she saw her bark-cloth. “Look!” she shouted. “It’s moving like an animal.”
They grabbed the bark-cloth, which had become a fish, and cut it open. It was full of eggs which they threw into the water.
More fish hatched from the eggs.
That is the origin of fish.

[a Yao story from Malawi] 

Inspired by: "Fishes" in Africana by Duff Macdonald, 1882.
Notes: You can read the original story online. This is a legend of the Yao people of Malawi. 

bark cloth (Uganda)

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