Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sacred Fish in Mali

"Ask the fish a question, then toss food into the pond. If they eat the food, the answer is yes. If they do not, the answer is no."

"Do not touch the sacred fish! If you touch them .... you will die!"

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sikasso, southern Mali, I visited these sacred fish one day. It was the dry season, so the river that normally ran through the pond had dried up. I was told, a huge cavern existed below the pond, so that if the water did dry up, the fish would escape down into the cavern.

The sacred fish were huge "cat fish." I'd guess maybe between 25 and 40 pounds each .... and maybe 20 to 30 lived in the pond. During the rainy season, when water gushed through this pond, why didn't the fish leave?

That was 40 years ago! Now I wonder.... did I toss food into the pond? And if I did, was it eaten? Another question in the mystery of life!

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