Collection of Stories: The Legends of Dinka “FROM THE NILE VALLEY” – Part 1

Posted: August 30, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Books, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Kur Wël Kur, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

The Legends of Dinka: The Arrogant and Ignorant Young Men Who Killed Their Fathers

By Kur Wël Kur, Adelaide, Australia

Aesop’s Fables in Dinka, translated by Atem Yaak Atem

Friday, 30 August 2019 (PW) — Restless. Wild. Ruthless. This description fits one of the generations of youth that once lived in the Nile valley. The Dinka elders, especially elders of the eastern bank Dinka, had narrated this story of those arrogant and ignorant young men a million times to draw a moral lesson as a warning to the young men of any time.

IT GOES … Once upon a time, emerged a restless, wild and ruthless generation of young men. They set out to shake up fundamentals—fundamentals of life. So, they initiated wars between their village and the neighbouring villages, and they won those conflicts.

They committed heinous crimes, crimes that ranged from vandalism and assaults to inhumane humiliations of girls and women. Their fathers and grandfathers had held countless group meetings. Sometimes, their fathers or grandfathers opted for one-on-one meetings, each father or grandfather trying to talk his son or grandson out of infamous violence and venomous insults. But nothing seemed to bridle those ill-mannered young men. They ran wild, and lived wild, listening to no one but their youth leader.

Having conquered the retaliations of their neighbours and the aggressiveness of the most dangerous African animals – the hostilities of elephants; the fierceness of a lioness or a tigress; and the ferociousness of a buffalo – without any advice from their fathers or grandfathers, they thought they could live without their fathers or grandfathers.

So, on one of their restless days, their youth leader summoned them to a meeting. The youth leader used unknown reasons to convince the youth to accept his wildest idea and behaviour, the idea of killing the elders who were mostly their fathers or grandfathers.

Committed to the resolution of their meeting, the ruthless, wild and restless youth raced each to his homestead and those whose fathers were in the cattle camp remained in the camp to devise their plan of killing them. They wanted to make it as secretive as possible. Each of the young men was ordered to kill and bury his own father. So, all but one committed patricide.

However, one intelligent young man never bought the idea of killing his father. He ran away with his father and sought refuge for him in another village. When he returned some hours later, he appeared troubled like the rest who had wholeheartedly killed their beloved fathers. This gesture suggested that he had also killed his father. He remained unchallenged.

For a while, the normalcy of their lives ran smoothly. They settled with an air of not regretting anything. Problems, great or small, difficult or light came and disappeared without the young men and their leader missing the elders. To them—in that time—nothing needed inputs of an elder.

However, the wisdom of the Swahili people came true: the wisdom that says a thief enjoys forty days of freedom, but the minutes, hours or a day after forty days doesn’t belong to him. One day in a foggy winter, a dangerous encounter confronted the youth. The most deadly, venomous snake coiled around their leader and threatened the youth leader with a number of strikes if perturbed. Just a single strike was needed to inject enough venom into his bloodstream to send his heart to rest.

The young men were as dumb as their young selves. They didn’t know what to do to the snake that wouldn’t make things worse. They pondered and considered many options and opinions but none made any sense. Every mistake made on his watch, every insult slung towards the elders in his earshot, every drop of blood of all fathers – including his own father – that doused the soil on his demand, clouded the youth leader’s memory. Death, was certain because the snake that had coiled around him wasn’t a bad dream, but a live reality. His death was a strike away!

Then the intelligent young man who hid his father injected an opinion into the many hopeless and useless opinions from other young men. “An elder could handle this problem with ease,” he said while throwing glances at a faraway distance. And all of them jumped into the energy of supporting this option. “Where could we find an elder?” they asked in unison.

“I know of an elder, but I am concerned for his life in your hands” he said with a great reluctance. “If I bring him forth to help with this problem, will he be safe?” he asked for assurance. And the youth leader nodded with tears brimming and threatening to spill over. And so the intelligent young man raced to the nearby village where his beloved father was enjoying asylum.

“Dad, we need your help” he said with a troubled heart.

“What happened?”

“It’s a snake!”

As they raced to their village, the old man fired a series of questions to his son, questions that helped him to understand the problem.

“Has it struck someone?”

“No, but it’s about to.”

“Where’s the snake?”

“Coiled around the youth leader”.

The old man stopped questioning his son and paced in silence. On reaching the youth leader and the group of young men who had huddled around the youth leader, the old man ordered the young men to break up,

“Fetch me a frog,” he said.

As it was the middle of winter, searching and getting a frog wasn’t big deal. They scurried around like a bunch of slaves at the sound of their master, and in no time, they brought one unlucky frog. The old man tied the frog’s hind legs with a string and let the frog struggle at the end of the string in the snake’s view.

On seeing the helpless and favourite prey, the snake uncoiled with an intuitive speed of a predator and sank its hollow fangs on the sacrificial frog. The freed youth leader, rubbing the parts on which the snake had been – parts that would scale days later – gave the old man a nod of gratitude.

And so the arrogance and ignorance of the youth remained the dregs and empty signs of adolescence hangover forever…

Extracted from;


~~~Legends of Dinka ~~~, a collections of stories.

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