While writing The Butterfly Heart I read many folk tales that come from Zambia. Some of these I have included in my book. All over Africa there are tales of wonder and magic, tales that have morals, tales of the way the world began, cautionary tales for naughty children and tales of fear. In Zambia there is a rich tradition amongst all the different groups of storytelling, and through my book I hope I have brought some of these stories to an audience who may not have come across them yet. In my view these stories are timeless, long before they were written down they were told around fires under starlit skies. People from Zambia have written these tales down and in this way given us access to them. I, for one, thank them for that.
It struck me while I was researching some of them that this is another thing that links all of us throughout the world – we tell stories to explain our world, and we pass these stories down through our children.
Kalulu the Hare was always the hero of the tales we read in school. Kalulu outwitted everyone, from Hyena to the lioness to the hippo. He was smaller than all of them but thought himself a whole lot cleverer and he loved nothing more than telling everyone what to do. We probably all know someone who is just like Kalulu! I will post links to some of the folk tales from Zambia in another post for those of you who might like to read some of them.