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Jeremeeh Kousse collections: Tales from the Savannah 17.

By Jeremeeh Kousse.
Jeremeeh Kousse is a playwright. A griot and a comedian.
He is also a crypto researcher.

From his collections: Tales from the Savannah 17.

Once upon a time, in the heart of the dense forest of present-day East Africa, there lay the village of Diadia. This village was not just any ordinary settlement; it was the remnant of a once mighty kingdom. Back in the days when Egypt ruled as a world power and the Kingdom of Israel flourished under King Solomon and his son, the ancestors of Diadia had already established their roots in this verdant land. During the era when the Queen of Sheba journeyed through Ethiopia to Sudan and Israel, the Diadia people were already thriving.

The men of Diadia were first hunters, then farmers, fishermen, and tanners. It is said that their ancestors were driven out of Ancient Mesopotamia because tanners were forbidden there. Though this story isn’t verified, it’s often said that there’s no smoke without fire.

In Diadia, a democratic form of government prevailed. The kingdom was divided into age groups, each representing the people at the court of the king. Women, although not hunters, took on almost every other role that men did. They managed the households and were known for their hospitality, and they too had a voice in the kingdom’s matters. The Diadia people were happy and peaceful, yet they faced a significant problem: elephants.

Herds of elephants would invade the village, destroying homes and trampling crops. These rampages often resulted in the deaths of villagers, yet the king remained unmoved by the people’s pleas. This changed dramatically one tragic day when the king’s son, the heir to the throne, was killed by an elephant along with his friends while playing in the field.

The king, grief-stricken, called an emergency meeting with the prime minister and representatives from every age group. After long deliberations, it was decided that a head count of the elephants was necessary. Over 69 market days, the villagers counted and discovered a staggering 6.8 million elephants living among their population of 400,000 people.

Elephants were revered in Diadia, considered gods and sometimes believed to be the spirits of ancestors. The idea of killing and eating elephants was controversial and deemed sacrilegious by many. Nevertheless, it was decided that to protect their people, the villagers would start using elephants for meat, their skin for various items, and their ivory for decoration and instruments.

This decision did not sit well with faraway kingdoms, who viewed elephants as sacred and valuable creatures. These kingdoms mobilized against Diadia, accusing them of potentially driving elephants to extinction. Despite offers from Diadia to share the elephants, the distant kingdoms refused, demanding instead to protect the elephants in their natural habitats.

The conflict escalated as these powerful kingdoms, with some internal support from within Diadia, sought to impose their will. Eventually, these foreign powers deposed the king of Diadia and installed a new ruler more aligned with their interests. The Diadia people were left powerless as the new regime allowed periodic hunts for elephants by these distant kingdoms, who took the ivory for unknown purposes.

Thus, the once mighty and independent kingdom of Diadia found itself under the control of external forces, its traditions and way of life forever altered. Yet, the resilient spirit of the Diadia people lived on, a testament to their storied past and the trials they had endured.

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