Nigerian Burial Myth

“God was like, to this one dog – cause everyone lived together in a realm or whatever – he was like “dude, go fetch the bones of these little guys to ensure that once they die, they do the little cycle and they come back here” – it’s like a loop. And the dog is like, well let me just go ask this one random sheep to do the work for me. But that doesn’t work out well, cause the sheep is just fucking tired and lazy as hell apparently. And so that disrupts the connection between everyone, being like, in harmony with each other because they couldn’t bury the people’s bones. I think what happened is that it created the separation between the creator and his creations, and condemned the people to mortality, so they couldn’t do the loop.”

Context: The teller attributes their knowledge of the story to their Nigerian mother, who offhandedly and vaguely mentioned the story in a conversation. The teller then individually did their own research into the details of the myth through the internet out of personal curiosity. The story was told to me in a casual conversational context after I asked if they knew of any legends, myths, or stories that they could tell me. 

Analysis: The narrative presented here acts as a creation myth that works to explain the nature of human mortality and separation from the gods as well as provide reasoning for traditional burial practices. The teller does not give a specific identity to the main God, but the identities of the other figures are attributed to specific animals. While the teller originally learns of this myth from a parent, in order to gain the full story, the teller had to seek a full understanding of the story through the Internet. Their process of learning of the story points to the new role that the internet plays in the transmission of myths and other folk narrative through generations and populations; in order to gain the full picture of a particular narrative, individuals may be more inclined to look towards sources on the internet to confirm their understanding of the narrative or fill in the holes of areas that they may have missed. Even so, the telling of the myth still manages to change as it is reconveyed through human speech, and the teller chooses to focus on specific aspects of the story over the other. When comparing the teller’s version of the story to the source that they provided as a reference (, it is clear that the details and styles are changed, though the core points of the story are still conveyed due to the specific sequence of events and core details that are included.