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Writing with Writers
Myth Brainstorming Machine



Hare looked out over his field. If he was going to have food to eat, he would have to plant a crop. But if he was going to plant a crop, he'd have to clear the field first. That was a lot of work — more work than Hare wanted to do.

Hare was a clever animal, so he soon had an idea. He dragged a length of rope behind him and lay in wait in the bushes outside his field. A big African elephant came lumbering along. Hare bet the elephant he could beat him in a tug-of-war. The large elephant laughed at the idea, coming as it did from such a small animal. He scooped up the rope with his trunk. Hare picked up the other end and scampered through the bushes and across his field. There he hid behind another row of bushes.

Soon enough a muddy hippopotamus waddled by. Hare dared the hippo to beat him in a tug-of-war. The proud hippo picked up the rope with his teeth. Hare hopped into the bushes and gave the rope a tug. When the elephant and the hippo felt the rope move, they each pulled hard. The powerful animals dragged the rope, back and forth, back and forth, until night fell. Each time the rope moved, it plowed another row in clever Hare's field.

Africa did not develop one overall myth system because Africa itself does not have one people, one history. Its different peoples speak more than 1,000 languages and its mythologies are just as vast and varied. African myths, legends, and tribal histories were shared through ritual storytelling, proverbs, chanted poems, or songs. Stories about wily animal tricksters like Hare or Anansi the Spider, are particularly popular.