Enter a world of warriors and devils, monkeys and hyenas, earthquakes and comets — a magical realm, in which everyday life takes on supernatural elements. These enchanting tales originated among the Masai of East Africa, a nomadic culture of hunters and cattle raisers who remain close to their ancestral lifeways. At the turn of the twentieth century, when the Masai were even more sheltered from outside contact and influence than they are today, an experienced anthropologist entered their society to record these ancient tales, myths, and proverbs.
For the past hundred years, this book has been cited as an authentic and authoritative source for studies of Masai culture. Thanks to the engaging simplicity and imaginative power of the stories, it has proven far more than an anthropological document. Readers of every age and background can delight in these tales from the Masai world — a landscape the people share with giraffes, ostrich chicks, elephants, and a tremendous diversity of other wildlife. In the stories, the animals talk, make mischief, and provide a lively background for the book’s other features: fables, creation myths, wise sayings, and fanciful explanations for the origins of the stars lunar eclipses, and other aspects of nature. The final sections of the book exploring Masai customs, songs, prayers, and oaths, opens a window into all aspects of Masai culture — from yawning, hiccoughs, sneezing, and tooth extraction to circumcision, marriage, and mourning.
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