Mngwa: The Bestiary Tales

By Allison Graham

Copyright 2011 Allison Graham

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Mount Meru, Africa - 2006

Mayasa swept her hair out of her face, berating herself for at least the third time that day for having forgotten her hair ties. Certainly the mountain was cold, which made it nice to have her hair protecting her neck, but it was also windy, and she didn’t need her hair obscuring her vision in the territory of Wawindaji Pepo.

She dropped to one knee in the thin crust of snow, looking down at the ground seriously. “Wawindaji Pepo, I ask you for permission to hunt in your lands. So long as the wind blows cold, I will walk under your permission. When the wind blows warm, I know my welcome is worn.” Mayasa’s tribe was very advanced in many ways, but when it came to this, they were superstitious beyond compare. She stood slowly, tapped the butt of her spear against a nearby rock, and stepped into the lands which she had always been warned to be wary of.

High-dwelling antelope were difficult to hunt, but tasty and a good way to prove oneself as a skilled hunter. Woman hunters were still looked on with skepticism, but Mayasa aimed to change that. If she could bring back one, they would respect her. If she brought back two, the tribe could enjoy a filling, thorough meal which put them all in top condition. Any more than two would be wasteful, which was wrong in the first place, but also involved the risk of angering Wawindaji Pepo. It took its territory very seriously, according to legend, and by that reasoning, so should anyone who entered it.

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