Monday, February 17, 2020

Survivor stories (Following folktales around the world 143. - Rwanda)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

The ​skin of lions
Rwandan Folk Tales and Fables
Gabriel Constans
Cacoethes Publishing, 2009.

The ten stories in this book were collected from children, aged 10-19, who were left as orphans by the 1994 genocide or the AIDS epidemic, and ended up at the El Shaddai Orphanage in Rwanda. Two of the stories are personal, telling about their life and challenges. Each chapter comes with the photo, name, and age of the storyteller. The book is a very short read, but a great initiative to preserve disappearing tales.


There was a lovely, very short story about a man who was saved by his dog. He was too sick to move, but the dog ran over to the neighbors, and kept on barking until they followed him and found the man in trouble. In another story there was a surprising moment when a man found an egg and took it home, only to see a ferocious lion hatch from the egg...


The story that gave the book its title, The skin of lions, belonged to the African tale type where a man saves a small animal, and in exchange it chases away a big predator (a lion) by yelling loudly from a hiding place, pretending to be an even bigger, more dangerous creature. There were also two versions for the "mother killed me, father ate me" tale type, where telltale trees or bushes told about the murder of a child by his parents.

Where to next?

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