In the beginning, in the dark, there was nothing but water. And Bumba was alone.
One day Bumba was in terrible pain. He retched and strained and vomited up the sun. After that light spread over everything. The heat of the sun dried up the water until the black edges of the world began to show. Black sandbanks and reefs could be seen. But there were no living things.
Bumba vomited up the moon and then the stars, and after that the night had its light also.
Still Bumba was in pain. He strained again and nine living creatures came forth; the leopard
named Koy Bumba, and Pongo Bumba the crested eagle, the crocodile, Ganda Bumba, and one little
fish named Yo; next, old Kono Bumba, the tortoise, and Tsetse, the lightning, swift, deadly,
beautiful like the leopard, then the white heron, Nyanyi Bumba, also one beetle, and the goat named
Last of all came forth men. There were many men, but only one was white like Bumba. His name
was Loko Yima.
The creatures themselves then created all the creatures. The heron created all the birds of the air
except the kite. He did not make the kite. The crocodile made serpents and the iguana. The goat
produced every beast with horns. Yo, the small fish, brought forth all the fish of all the seas and
waters. The beetle created insects.
Then the serpents in their turn made grasshoppers, and the iguana made the creatures without
Then the three sons of Bumba said they would finish the world. The first, Nyonye Ngana, made
the white ants; but he was not equal to the task, and died of it. The ants, however, thankful for life
and being, went searching for black earth in the depths of the world and covered the barren sands
to bury and honour their creator.
Chonganda, the second son, brought forth a marvelous living plant from which all the trees and
grasses and flowers and plants in the world have sprung. The third son, Chedi Bumba, wanted
something different, but for all his trying made only the bird called the kite.
Of all the creatures, Tsetse, lightning, was the only trouble-maker. She stirred up so much trouble
that Bumba chased her into the sky. Then mankind was without fire until Bumba showed the people
how to draw fire out of trees. 'There is fire in every tree,' he told them, and showed them how to
make the firedrill and liberate it. Sometimes today Tsetse still leaps down and strikes the earth and
When at last the work of creation was finished, Bumba walked through the peaceful villages and
said to the people, 'Behold these wonders. They belong to you.' Thus from Bumba, the Creator, the
First Ancestor, came forth all the wonders that we see and hold and use, and all the brotherhood of
beasts and man.