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Oral Text 5: How a Mursi became a Kwegu

Ages ago, when our fathers were on their way to the Omo from the west, there were two brothers. The elder brother's wife was pregnant, and when they got to Dirka [a hill, 30 kilometres west of the Omo] she was ready to give birth. So the younger brother took the cattle on to drink at the hot spring at Dirka, while the elder brother stayed with his wife. After she had given birth, the placenta would not come away. Her husband saw vultures in the sky some way off and said 'I will go and get some meat so that my wife can drink soup.' When he reached the spot where the vultures were, he found some Kwegu eating the meat. He took some of the meat and made soup for his wife, eating the rest himself. It was giraffe meat - something we priests never eat.

When the younger brother came back with the cattle, the elder brother said `Don't come near. We have eaten giraffe.' His brother was shocked and said,

`Why did you eat it?'
`Because my wife was ill. You take the cattle on yourself. I will stay with the Kwegu.'

So the younger brother went on with the cattle. When he had crossed the Omo and reached the plain on the other side, he built compounds for his cattle and asked whether anyone had seen his brother.

`My brother who ate giraffe and joined the Kwegu — where is he?'
`He is at a place called Alaka, on the Omo.'

So the younger brother went to see his elder brother, here at Alaka.

`Are you my brother?'
`I am he.'
`Is this your place now?'
`Yes, it has become my place.'
`Then let us both eat from it.'

The elder brother asked how the cattle were and his brother said, 'They are fine.'

"Now I herd the cattle; I am descended from the younger brother. The elder brother's descendants are my Kwegu, so we are brothers."

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