Monday, September 29, 2008

Two African legends

(Fist of all I would to tell you how sorry I am not to have been able to update my blog in the last two weeks. Because of work and other preoccupation my life has been a bit hectic these last days, and I could hardly think about stamps. Let’s hope everything is back to normal…).

This post would have its place in my series about frog in folk tales pictured in stamps ! Today I would like to tell you about African legends that are illustrated on stamps which contain a frog in their design.

The first one comes from South Africa and is entitled : “When lions could fly”. First of all let me show you the stamp.
It is a part of a set of ten stamps about South African folk tales and legends issued on the 1st of July 2007. The ten stamps have been issued in the form of a small sheet.
The stamp pictures the lion, the frog and the crows that are the characters of this interesting legend.

“It is said that in the very old times, the Lion used to fly, and at that time nothing could resist him. He was very strict on the fact that the bones of what he caught should not be broken into pieces. To ensure this, he asked a pair of White Crows to watch the bones, leaving them behind at cave whilst he went hunting.
But one day the Great Frog came there, broke the bones in pieces, and said, "Why can men and animals live no longer?". And he added these words, "When Lion comes, tell him that I live at yonder pool; if he wishes to see me, he must come there."
Lion, lying in wait for game, wanted to fly up, but found he could not fly anymore. He got angry, realizing that something was wrong at his cave. He returned home. When he arrived, he asked, "What have you done that I cannot fly?"
The White Crows answered "Some one came here, broke the bones into pieces, and said, 'If he want me, he may look for me at yonder pool!"'
Lion arrived at the pool while the Great Frog was sitting at the water's edge, and he tried to creep stealthily upon him. When he was about to get hold of him, Frog said, "Ho!" and, diving, went to the other side of the pool, and sat there. Lion pursued him; but as he could not catch him he returned home.
From that day, it is said, Lion walked on his feet, and also began to creep upon game.”

The second legend is pictured on a stamp from Zimbabwe and is called : “How Hippopotamus lost his hairs”.

This stamp was issued on the 24th of July 2001 in a set of six stamps. The stamps have also been issued as a se-tenant band.

The legend tells about Nyati, an Hippopotamus who had long hairs and who was always angry. He frightened all the other animals and he was always violent with them. The only one who would talk to him was the fire, who visited him once a year. Every year the fire would come to see Nyati and would ask him to let him enter in his house to share a cup of tea. And each time, Nyati would refuse. But one day, Nyati accepted, and the fire entered in his house, burning everything including the hairs of the Hippopotamus. Nyati rushed into a lake to cool down his burns. Since that day Hippopotamus have no hair and they spend their time in water !
The stamp pictures the scene when the Hippopotamus gets burned, with all the other animals (including a frog) fleeing from the fire !

I like stamps that picture local legends or folktales, even if they don’t include frogs ;-) and this is always very interesting to search for information about those legends. If you have some interesting ones to share with me I would be happy to hear from you?

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