Arebati (Arebate, Baatsi, Tore) – Efe, Mbuti (Democratic Republic of the Congo) – In Efe and Mbuti mythology, the Supreme God and Creator, god of the sky and associated with the moon. The Efe and Mbuti are two of the 10 populations of Pygmies. Among some other Pygmy groups, Khonvoum is the Arebati 11 Supreme God and Creator, rather than Arebati. Some groups make no distinction between Arebati and Tore. For others, Arebati is a lunar deity, and Tore is a god of the forests and hunting. Arebati created the world and the first man, whom he made from clay with the Moon’s help. After fashioning the man’s body, Arebati covered the clay with a skin and poured blood into the skin to bring the human to life. (See also humans, origin of.) In the beginning, there was no death. When people grew old, Arebati made them young again. One day, however, a woman did die, so Arebati went to bring her back to life. He asked a frog to move the woman’s body, but a toad demanded that he be the one to do this. Arebati allowed the toad to sit with the woman’s body on the edge of a pit, which symbolized a grave. He warned the toad that if they fell into the pit, great misfortune would come. The clumsy toad knocked the woman’s body into the pit and fell in after her. As Arebati had warned, misfortune came. The woman did not come back to life, and from then on all people were fated to die. (See also death, origin of.) In a different myth about the origin of death, the Supreme God (called Baatsi in the Efe story and Tore in the Mbuti myth) had told humans that they could eat the fruit of any tree but the tahu. As long as humans obeyed this rule, Baatsi took them to live in the sky with him when they grew old. One day a pregnant woman craved tahu fruit and had her husband pick some for her. The Moon saw this and told the Creator. Baatsi was so angry with humans because of their disobedience that he sent death as a punishment.
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