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75 28 Poko and Raôgo Go Up To the Sky A woman had twins, a girl named Poko and a boy named Raôgo. One day she went to look for wood in the bush. She put the children down at the foot of a tree which she then climbed up. Unfortunately, she fell to her death. A hawk took the children, brought them back to its nest, and raised them. The hawk gave the children these instructions: ‘‘If you see a hawk coming towards you, know that it is I who is bringing you something to eat; but if you see a hawk coming from the east, kill it, for it is another hawk that is coming to take you away.’’ And he gave them a heavy iron club so they could defend themselves if necessary. One day the father hawk went the wrong way. He returned home by the east, and the children killed him with the iron club. After the death of the father hawk, the children came down from the tree. They decided to go where men lived. After walking for a long time, they found a chief sitting with his people. Raôgo asked Poko to go see what was happening. The chief was pleased to receive a visit from the beautiful children. He adopted them. The day the chief and his family were out in the field, Raôgo told Poko that he was going to set fire to the palace. Poko advised him strongly against this, saying that the chief 76 Alain-Joseph Sissao (Translated from the French by Nina Tanti) took care of them as he did his own children. Raôgo did not listen to her and set the palace on fire. From the field, the chief ’s family saw the fire and ran quickly home. Running, the chief said: ‘‘My children, my beautiful foreign children, what will become of them?’’ Just when the whole palace was covered in flames, Raôgo and Poko climbed up into a Kapok tree. When the chief arrived home, he did not find them. He thought they had died in the fire, and he wanted to hang himself. The people calmed him, had him sit down, and consoled him. Sitting under the Kapok tree, he went on crying. Then Raôgo told Poko that he was going to relieve himself on the chief. Poko tried to dissuade him because of the suffering the chief was going through at their disappearance. Despite all that, Raôgo relieved himself and sullied the chief. The latter raised his head and saw the children up in the tree. He ordered the tree to be cut, so that his enemies would have to come down. He was deeply hurt for he would never have thought that the children could set fire to his palace, since he had always considered them as his own children. So the blacksmiths were called to chop down the Kapok tree. When the tree was about to fall a salamander crawled out of a hole and cried: ko! ko! ko! The trunk of the tree became all smooth again, as if it had never been cut. Raôgo told Poko that he was going to eat the salamander. Poko advised him against this, saying that if he ate it, the tree would fall over and they would be captured. But Raôgo did not listen to her. He seized the salamander and cut off its head. He gave the head to Poko, telling her to put it in her cheek, and he ate the rest. 77 Folktales from the Moose of Burkina Faso Meanwhile, the blacksmiths went back to cutting down the Kapok tree. When the tree was about to fall, the head of the salamander that was in Poko’s cheek cried: ko! ko! ko! and the tree returned to the way it was. But Raôgo took the head out of Poko’s cheek and ate it. The blacksmiths went on with their work, the tree fell, and the children died. The chief ordered their bodies to be thrown away without being buried. So, they were thrown away. But, mysterious things were about to happen! When those who had thrown away the bodies turned around, Raogo and Poko stood up and set off on their way. They saw another group of people. Raôgo told Poko to take a detour in order to go and ask the people what was going on. When...


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