Thursday, January 1, 2009

Karen Legend About the Bible

The following is an interesting exerpt from Courtney Anderson's biography on Adoniram Judson, describing the Karen people whom Judson began to work with some time after his first wife's death.

"The Karens had some peculiar legends which suggested the Bible, even including one about the consequence of the eating of forbidden fruit from a 'tree of death'. One of these involved a Creator called 'Y'wa', who had seven sons, of whom the Karen was the first-born, the white man the youngest. Y'wa was to go on a journey and invited the Karen to go with him. The Karen refused because he had to clear his field. The Burman refused, too, but he and the Karen each gave their father a gift. Finally the white brother went with Y'wa. When they reached the 'celestial shore', Y'wa made a silver and gold book for the Karen, a palm-leaf book for the Burman and a parchment book for the white man. But the white man kept the silver and gold book for himself, and sent the Burman with the parchment book to the Karen. The Karen, who was still busy clearing his field, scarcely looked at the book. Instead, he left it on a stump. While he burned his clearing the book was ruined and the pigs and chickens ate what was left. But, said the legend, some day the white brother would bring the Karens the lost book from across the water. Naturally, some of them took the missionaries for that 'white brother' of the legend."

-Anderson, Courtney: To the Golden Shore. (Judson Press, Valley Forge, 1987) pages 401, 402

4 comments:

Alaina said...

That's really neat!

juli said...

Hmmm...is'nt it interesting how nearly every kind of people all have some sort of 'creator' in their legends that have been passed down from generation to generation?

Happy New Year!

Melanie said...

Yes, it really is incredible!

Rosebud said...

Ooooh, I remember reading that!!!