About a week ago, I observed a group of children playing happily outside their house when one of them suddenly dropped a candy he was eating. He was about picking up the candy to put back in his mouth when he was asked not to. The oldest among them shot him a look and asked him not to put the candy back his mouth because the devil had kissed it!
The younger boy immediately threw the candy back on the floor and resumed playing with his friends. I was shocked at what I heard the children say and pondered on why the older boy would spew such lies. But I noticed that although he lied about the devil kissing the candy, he helped prevent the boy from putting the candy back in his mouth which would have made him sick.
I began thinking of versions of such stories I was told as a child. As children, we were told not to whistle at night or else we would be kidnapped by dwarfs. Thinking about it now, I guess the logic behind such a story was to prevent us from disturbing the peace and quiet in the house.
We were also told not to sweep at night because sweeping at night drives away wealth from a home. This was the time when we didn’t have electricity in the house thus, one risks sweeping valuables away when they sweep their house at night.
I will also never forget the time my uncle told me never to sing or talk while bathing because one of my parents would die. Hence, I don’t sing or talk in the shower even as an adult. Although all these stories are myth they are used to teach morals, instil discipline and encourage orderliness among people.
Furthermore, aside using these stories to instil discipline in citizens, they also regulate human activities and preserve our natural resources, promote good and healthy living, good morales and others. For example, in most Ghanaian communities, fishers are prohibited from going to sea on Tuesdays because this encourages the natural resources to have some fallow period while allowing fishers to rest too.
I am not sure if parents still tell their children some of these myths but if you know any please share with us.
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