The funding myth of the baoulé people
the story of the queen pokou
There is a tribe in wester Africa called Baoulés. Their story begins with a legend that origins in the XVIII century. All over western Africa (especially in Ghana and Ivory Coast), this story is now being passed on from one generation to the other: it is the story of beautiful queen who sacrificed what she treasured the most to save and protect her people whilst she led it out of Ghana to escape from fratricidal wars. Her name was Queen Abla Pokou and here is how the story goes...
Once upon a time, a young found herself leading an entire group of people away from war and violence. She was gracious and beautiful and they all looked up to her. While they were running away, and being tracked by their enemies, she would reassure her people and make sur all of them were safe while carrying and caring for her own baby. A beautiful boy named Kaoukou.
After walking for days and nights, looking for a new land to settle in, the people, who had to flee and leave behind plantations ans lagoons rich in fish, found refuge near the Comoé river, between the Ghana and Ivory Coast boarder.
After resting for a few moments, the queen decided to continue their travel but she realized that the stormy river was impossible to cross. They were trapped and the threat was getting closer abs closer, she turned to her advisor and asked him to pray the Gods of the water.
As usual in such a situation, leaders seek advice from the man representing the power to interpret the wishes of invisible forces.
Here is what the advisor told her with a solemn voice
« Queen the river is very angry and will appease only when a male child of royal descendent will be given to it, this child being covered with one hundred piles of gold. ».
The queen's heart broke in two pieces when she heard that. She turned to her people and saw in their eyes that none of them was ready to make that big of a sacrifice. She also knew that to save her people, she had no choice but to give her only child, her beloved baby boy, her prince to the river, so that the Gods of the water would be at peace and let her people cross. As for the one hundred piles of gold, one woman named Amoin Blé accepted to cover the child with all the gold in her possession. Before the sacrifice, Quenn Pokou held her baby really tight in her arms, covered him with kisses and whispered in this ears:
«Kouakou forgive me, but I took it that I had to sacrifice you for the sake of our people for it is because of my family that I had to flee. More than a woman or a mother, a queen is a queen, first and foremost».
She then advanced in the water, closed her eyes presented her ultimate gift, her precious boy covered with gold to the Gods of the water and let the baby slide down into the river...
The forest became quiet and the furious waters of the Comoé River calmed down. Amazed at such a scene, the tribe peaceful crossed the river.
The queen, closing the walk, shattered by grief, cried from her heart "Ba-ou-li", meaning "the child is dead"
This name may be given either of the three following meanings:
-it may mean «the child is dead»
-it may refer to the moments and hopes associated with the birth of child
-it may also refer to the invaluable price of a child saving an entire population
As for the woman with the one hundred piles of gold (amounting to 5.2kg) whose diminutive is « Taya Amoin », she was ennobled by the queen. She was my ancestor to me who have been living in Toumodi for several generation now.