Funeral of a whale

English: Sketch of Maine lobster fishermen

Funeral of a whale

J. BENIBENGOR BLAY

Ghana

There is great

excitement in the ancient town of Missibi in Ghana.

The previous night

had been wet and stormy and one which the fishermen were not likely to forget.

Caught in the storm, their canoes had been dashed to pieces on the rocks and

their nets swept away on the swift current. Only the fact that they were all strong

swimmers had saved the men from drowning.

The sun is not yet

up when they collect again on the shore to watch for their nets. The moon is

still shining and little waves dance merrily on the strand, while the sea crabs

scuttle among the scattered shells. But these things do not interest the fishermen,

and even the search for nets is forgotten as they catch sight of a huge object,

surround by a shoal of fish, tossing on the rolling sea. Their slow, questing

English: Fishermen at freshwater stream near T...

advance is halted as a nauseating stench greets them. Fingers to their noses,

they crane and peer. it is a whale and judging by the smell, it has been dead

for some days.

Now, such a sight is

no mere spectacle to the people of missibi. As descendants of a strong and

virile race which long ago came by sea in great barge like ships to settle in

these parts, they holed to the tradition that the sea is their home and they

worship it to this day. In any crisi whatever its nature, whether drought or

famine or war they call upon the sea for help. The whale is the king of their

sea. And it has been the custom, throughout their long history, to accord a

ceremonial to any whale that comes rolling ashore dead.

So, bound by

tradition, the fishermen must bear the people of Missibi. As descendants of a

strong and virile race which long ago came by sea in great barge – like ships

to settle in these parts

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