Kamba Elephant myth

The Kamba are a tribe in Kenya and they tell a tale of how elephants came to be as smart as humans:

Once upon a time, a poor man went to a wiseman Ivonya-Ngia and asked him how he could be rich.  The wiseman offered him a flock of sheep, but the poor man thought it was too much work.  He offered him a herd of cows, but the poor man again thought it was too much work.  Finally, he offered him ointment to rub on his wife’s teeth.  “You don’t have to do anything else.  When her teeth grow long, you cut them off and sell them to the highest  bidder.”  The poor man happily went home and rubbed the ointment on his wife’s teeth as she slept.

Sure enough, she grew tusks.  The man cut them off, even though his wife screamed in pain.  He sold the tusks for a high price.

Once again, he put ointment on his wife’s teeth as she slept. He then thought he could make more money if he put ointment on her body.

When she awoke, she saw she was an elephant.  Furious with her husband, she ran away into the forest to live peacefully.  She had elephant children and they were a happy herd.  But, whenever men came into the forests to take the tusks, she would lead the fight.  Now that elephants had human brains, the elephants and men battled as equals.

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