Aruan- Kyama (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire) – A mythical king of the Kyama people. Aruan was one of two sons born to King Ozolua on the same day by different wives. According to legend, the child that cried first would be the heir to the kingdom. Although Aruan was born first, he made no sound. His half-brother Esigie cried out when he was born, so he became the heir. However, King Ozolua favoured Aruan over Esigie. When Aruan was grown, Ozolua gave him the royal necklace and a magical sword. He instructed Aruan to choose a place and plant the sword in the ground. That place would become the new capital of the kingdom, and Ozolua was to be buried there. Esigie tricked Aruan into planting the sword in an undesirable location. One of Aruan’s slaves dug a great pit there and filled it with his tears, creating a magical lake that he said would be Aruan’s home. When Ozolua died, Esigie had him buried in Benin before Aruan could claim the body. Esigie then demanded that Aruan give him the royal necklace. When Aruan refused, the two went to war. Aruan wore a large bell on his chest. He told his servants that if he lost, he would ring the bell. He instructed them to throw his wives, slaves, and all of his possessions into the lake at the sound of the bell. Unfortunately, as Aruan entered Esigie’s city, the bell fell off and rang loudly against the ground. Before Aruan could return to stop them, his servants carried out his orders. Aruan cursed the lake and threw himself into it. The myth says that every five days he emerged from the lake and wandered around moaning in anguish over the loss of all he had.

Taken from African Mythology A to Z – Library Binding – May 1, 2010- Second Edition – Written by Patricia Ann Lynch (Author), Jeremy Roberts Dr (Editor) – Copyright © 2004, 2010 by Patricia Ann Lynch