The Mountain that Spits Fire

– Mythology

“The Twas that are in Congo, they believe in the weird thing man.  They believe in the Mukelengonga.  They describe it as a mountain that spit fire.  That is what Mukelengonga means.  First people thought it was a volcano, but… but after some time they explained to them that no, it is not a volcano, because volcanoes don’t move.  This mountain moves though, when it is angry.  And some, maybe Russian scientist, came to maybe find out what it is; they took some, it’s a small, it’s a small machine that they put into the… the soil, somewhere.  It can send like signals on a distance, and you can calculate for example the weight of that thing.  And when you have the weight you can calculate how great it can be.  It comes at night sometimes, when they don’t give it weed, it just spits fire.  So you have to be nice to it.  It may be a dragon.  They grew up in a place where there was a mark in the soil, but when you look at it, it looks like a huge foot.  But it’s cracked in the soil, you see.  I don’t know if its maybe because of the imagination, but it looks like a big foot, but its cracked everywhere like this.  They used to see it, and people say it was a dragon that came one day.  And people started shooting it, and it killed ten of them.   That is what the foot mark is.  The dragon came down to attack, and so the foot mark is there because of it. The Twas there worship it.   They may give it weed, but they also give it food.  That forest is really weird, it is a forest that apart from the Twas, no one has really stepped in.  Normal Rwandan people go in, but no civilized people have stepped inside.  The forest takes up 2/5ths of Congo.  It is very big. Even on a map you can see it. You can’t go there though.  The Twas won’t let you in.  Me I read it, I red it, I knew the foot, you know.  But that story I read it like, five years ago. In a science book, its called Science and Vie.  It just talks about crazy shit like aliens like that man.  That issue came with proof, like evidences of many things.  Just mythologies and legends.  It might not be real.” (D.C.)

Informant Analysis:

“The first time they tried to fight it and they couldn’t win.  So they assumed it was God.  That is why they gave it food.  They gave weed, as this is what they gave to royalty. The Twas hoped that the food and weed would make the God less angry.  When you see something more strong than you and it looks weird- then it might be God.  Primitive people think humans are the strongest animal.  When they meet something that they can’t kill, they think it might God. That is why the Rwandas thought the colonists were God, man.  They came spitting fire with their guns, and they were dressed in white and they were white.  They didn’t tell them they were gods, but that they were sent by God to build the church.  Just because they came from God, they believed it.” (D.C.)

Personal Analysis:

It appears that the Twas hold to their beliefs as sacred truths.  Although the presence of a dragon might trigger one to think of this narrative as Marchen, the fact that the Twas worship the Mukelengonga as a God makes it more of an example of mythology.  The actual truth of this story is still questionable.  I first assumed that it was volcano, however, the informant told me that the volcanoes were all inactive.  Furthermore, the fact that the mountain “moves” helps eliminate that possibility.  Additionally, the fact that very few people have ever stepped foot inside this forest has helped preserve the folklore as potentially factual.

It is safe to assume that stories of the Mukelengonga were passed down conversationally amongst the tribes of the Twas.  Maybe these stories were used to highlight how important food and cannabis was to the tribe.  Unlike the Aztecs who sacrificed human life to the Gods, the Twas may have thought of the food and cannabis as more beneficial and important.  This might have been used to help inspire appreciation for such items amongst the youthful members of the tribe.

What I find most interesting is the parallel the informant drew to that of the white colonists.  As the date of origin of the mythology is unknown, it is hard to tell whether the colonists or the Mukelengonga came first.  However, if it had been the colonists, it is possible that the narrative may have been used as a direct metaphor.  I find this unlikely, though, as they point toward the claw footprint as a marking from the dragon.  I think the most likely case of origin would be derived from that of a volcano.  As not all volcanoes are active simultaneously, the Twas may have assumed the mountain “moved” when in actuality, it was a different mountain entirely that was “spitting fire”.  It is possible that the eruptions of multiple volcanoes helped spur the creation of this story.

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