The History of a Forgotten People

The Tribe of Ka


Written from a past life experience by Evangelos Rigakis


The setting is in 5,000 b.c.e. at the foothills of mount Olympus


Just beyond the hills the rumble of what sounds like a thousand horses shakes the land. I can see the women gathering the children, taking them below ground, into deep caves. I feel my own mother’s hand taking mine to drag me off with the others. And I hear myself screaming “ No ! No ! I want to fight !!! I am not a child ! My father needs me !” but she dragged me off while I yelled “FATHER!!!”

Two moons past before my mother let us out of the caves. All the men have been killed and now with some of the women dead from the sickness, we are all that is left of our people. It was the children and a handful of women before our whole people would be but an unknown people, a forgotten memory.

My mother was the Wise Woman of the tribe, and all that our people were she now became. She began to teach me the ways of our people that she told me began when we still lived in caves in the mountains. She taught me the history of our people but most importantly she passed over the secrets of our ways to me to carry them on. She was constantly teaching and talking to me of all these matters, letting me not to rest. But I looked into my mothers eyes and I seen that she also had the sickness, she knew she was dying though her death never left her lips. Day and night she taught me and I listened and learned that which I was taught, though my vision was blurred by my tears, seeing my mother slowly dying before me. Mother !!! But we are a strong people and our survival takes president over the sorrow of a child losing his mother. I was the hope of the people, and I knew that my mother would not allow herself to die until she was sure that this hope I would fulfill. And this hope burned as a great fire in my soul.

            I learnt that our people came from the mountains where they lived as wild animals before they took to the caves as their homes. It is these same caves that we now hold as our sacred grounds and where we go to worship. In these caves my people found great gods of fire who came from deep, deep within the caves. They showed my people that fire is a good thing and taught them to take the fire into hand. My mother told me it was my very, very great grandmother who was the bravest of our people and first took the fire in hand. She said that fire from the sky hit a tree and the tree was aflame. A large branch of the tree fell to the ground and she ran before the ground would catch fire and took up the flaming branch. She brought it to the cave and the people say that the cave became warm and there was light in the darkness. This is why we hold the torch so sacred amongst our people. And from this the people learnt to keep the fire and use it. From our gods we learnt to bring the fire out of the cave and into dwellings we made with our own hands. Our gods showed us the wonder of fire and taught how the great fire in the sky makes the seed grow. We are the people of the Fire, our gods are Fire and this Fire we call KA. It is for this great reason that my people call themselves KARI and other tribes call us Kabiri.

            My mother is not well now, she fades in and out, death is near. Every word she utters becomes a lesson in our ways and she teaches me to call the Ka and celebrate them with meat, wine, drum, dance and fire. Her breathes have become strained and she hasn’t slept for days. Her lips are dry and I bring water for her to drink. I take up a wet cloth and try to cool her hot forehead and at that moment she looks into my eyes and says “I can see the fire in your eyes” she smiled and remained that way, looking into my eyes and smiling. And there, my mother dead in my arms, my last words to her were “I Promise”. It was my sacred oath that I would not let my people disappear. I feel my head heavy and my soul crying for my mother, I promise mama I promise. For thirty-one days I remained in mourning, as it is the custom of my people. Though, were it not for my people, I would have stayed in mourning for the rest of my days.

            The day broke over the mountains and in the rays of the morning sun I felt my people and my mother. This awoke new hope in me and I mourned my mother no more. She was still with me, and I still had my two younger sisters. The oldest of the two, my mother told me to teach all that I knew when she would come of age. It is our custom that the knowledge be past down from mother to daughter. My sister Pasi was half my age and was to be the wise woman of our people. When my mother died there were only four women left but the two were sick already. For the longest time we searched for the reason of the sickness and it’s cure but even the Ka told us nothing. We never found out why the adults became sick and died and the children did not. When the last adult died I had just come of age. Though I was not the oldest of the tribe, I, Pais, being the son of Kana, became the leader of my people. We were a tribe of children left to carry on all that our parents had worked so hard to achieve. After the last of the adults died, there ran a great spirit of fear throughout all the children. So I gathered them all together and spoke to them of the strength of our people. This strength is found in our ways and our history. For this reason I gathered them every setting of the sun, and told them tales of our ways, of our people and of our gods. This became a custom amongst us, for stories and songs helped the very young children to sleep. I come to realize this custom to be very important, for our ways and history will be kept alive through these stories and songs.

            We cared for the fields as our parents taught us and the older ones hunted, both the boys and the girls. Though most of us enjoyed working with the earth, the sowing and the harvest. We began singing while we worked and we would sing of our gods that they would enter the seed and our harvest would be ensured. Some of the girls were more bound to the earth than the others and they would take special care in understanding the earth and the crop. Of the three girls, Dama was the oldest, she had come of age many moons ago, when the women were still alive. We would often see Dama out in the golden fields by herself during the hours of nyx. She seemed to really talk with the crop and the earth. We began to rely on her when something would go wrong with the crops. The Ka have taught us that the earth is our Mother and the Sky our Father and this was the story I was telling when Dama stood up among the others. She told us that the Ka come into her body and speak to her when she is alone in the fields. They tell her of a certain worship where only the girls could go and worship for many days. She also said that it would help the crops to grow strong and even bigger. Some of the boys argued that they wanted to be part of the worship. But Dama wouldn’t have it and was very stern, that the Ka had said only the girls. These boys were not understanding this well and one night, while Dama was in the fields by herself, they went to scare her. As the boys came to the edge of the fields, many snakes came out and the boys ran away, except for one. This was Tarmas, he was one of our bravest and he challenged the snakes, kicking them away from himself. He stood there yelling “I’m not afraid of anything !” and Dama heard him and ran towards him, screaming. But she was too late, a very large black serpent came from behind Tarmas and smit him down. The whole tribe mourned his death and we buried him with the others, at the foot of our sacred caves.

            The following season, just before sowing, Dama gathered the girls and took them out towards the fields and we did not see them for nine days. On the last day I went out to where they were, without being noticed. But all I saw was something they were laying into the earth of the fields. Some of these things were too small for me to see but I did see something that looked like a dead animal. After sowing we noticed that the crop began to sprout a little earlier than before and this raised great hope and celebration throughout the tribe. The harvest then was even more than what Dama had promised it would be. That harvest celebration was the greatest ever and we all hailed Dama the true daughter of the earth. We made for her a grand seat with all our best skins and furs and laid golden grain at her feet. Before her we raised the great fire, we painted our bodies and put on our Ka masks, as we do in our worship, and danced round the fire for our Dama. Even the Ka celebrated with us round in the fire dance.

            During this time many things of great importance were going on, we were getting older, growing more and more curious about everything. After hunting, the group that had gone came back with one boy missing. The others said Ermo went into a cave and didn’t come out again. They searched for him but couldn’t find him and they left thinking that he was dead. The group began to mourn Ermo but seven days later Ermo came back to us. He brought with him food, meat and some fruit that we never seen before. His eyes were lit up with the news he brought with him and we all sat round to hear. He told us of the cave he entered and how he followed it through to it’s depths until he saw a light coming from within it. He followed on to come to the light and found that the light was the other end of the cave. As he came out of the other end, he saw before him a great water, the sea that we had only heard of from our parents. He described funny trees, funny shaped rocks and much prey for the hunt. What he brought back with him he had found there, and said the strange fruit were sweet and nourished him these days he was away. This sparked something in Ermo and from then on, he would disappear for days and come back with fabulous tales of what he saw. In time everyone had used the cave to go to the sea where they would fish, hunt but especially swim and play in the sea.

            Though the most remarkable event during this time was that three of the older girls began to have very large bellies. We all knew what this meant that soon there would be three babies amongst us. Now they are no longer girls but women. This made me very happy for this meant the tribe was growing. It also told me that I should now seek to be with mate and I thought of Mara. We had been together since I could remember, playing and being as children were, her father and mine would hunt in the same group. Our families spent much time together and I felt very close and good with Mara. I went to her that first night, speaking not a word but taking her hands in mine. Nothing was said, I seen the fire in her eyes and we laid down together. We have been together ever since and in fact we had never been apart. After this harvest Mara’s belly began to swell and this awoke a feeling in me I never known before, more than just happy. Just after the following sowing, Mara brought me a baby girl and for five days I celebrated. On the fifth day Mara and I took our baby girl to the fireplace of our dwellings, our sacred place. Together, in our place, we did the ritual. Three times round the fire and we named her Doka, which in our tongue meant Gift of the Ka. I took Doka then and lifted her over the fire. As my hands began to heat up I called out “Father!” and brought her back to my chest. I stood there with Doka and Mara beside me, and I began to feel that my promise was being fulfilled. We had many children, eleven though four died by the time they could walk. But we held Doka above the other children for she was our first born, the beginning of the next generation. It would come that Doka took care and looked over her brothers and sisters. I took Doka everywhere I went, I taught her to walk and to talk and she taught me to discover things round me that are not seen. It was a very happy time for me and Mara.

            We were all getting older and the tribe was growing, it was truly a time of creation. Wherever I was, working or resting, my Mara and the children were always with me. Then came that special day. The children had found funny colored rocks that were strangely shaped and heavy. They used these rocks as toys and the played with them everywhere. That night one of these rocks had ended up beside the fire on the circle of rocks. In the morning, as I went to care for the fire, I seen that the funny rocks had disappeared and a white water was in it’s place. I went to touch that white water and I burned my fingers and was thrown back in surprise. I seen that I could touch the rock it was on and so I took the rock from the fire circle. This burned and I thought that the fire was making it burn. I left it and when the sun was beginning to set I went back to it. I found that it had changed color and it was no longer water but like rock again. I dared to touch it again and found that I could. I seen that it had the shape of the rock underneath it and it was very hard, harder than rocks even. I took up a large rock and hit it with all my strength but the rock broke. I hit it again and again, breaking rocks, until suddenly the funny rock came off the rock beneath. It rolled on the ground and I saw that it was hollow underneath. I picked it up, it was heavy and as I turned it over to look inside it, I seen that it looked like a small basket. I found where the chidren were finding these rocks and gathered more to see what I could do. I knew that this was a very important discovery and I showed this to the older boys to see what they thought. It was Faro who had the vision of what this could become and asked where to find more of these funny rocks. I seen the Ka come into him as he began to work with the funny rocks. After four moons Faro came out of his work and showed us what he made. We were all amazed to see tools and knives, sharper and stronger than anything we knew. Faro called these funny rocks Metal and this changed our lives forever. In time we found even more uses for metal and we came to call ourselves keepers of the secret of metal, who is but a child of our fire.

            One day Ermo came over the hills, returning home after a very long trip. This time he was very different and didn’t speak to anyone. He came straight to my dwellings and requested to talk to me in private. I took him then for a walk and he began to tell me what he found. His voice trembled and I realized that he was truly frightened as he said how many days from here he came upon others like us, another tribe. He was terrified cause they reminded him of those others, years ago, who came and killed our fathers. This news did disturb me but to ease Ermo I showed nothing and simply reminded him of a story I once told the tribe. I reminded him of the time greatly long ago when certain families in the tribe decided to leave the tribe and find a better place to live. Many moons later when these families became memory, one of them came back and told of another place that was truly magnificent. They were to return there and many more families decided to return with them. Every so long a party from those families comes to visit and keep contact with the tribe. It has been many many years since they last visited. I told Ermo that these others that he seen could be the families and not those others. So I decided to put together a search party and send them to this tribe, that they may spy on to find out who and what they were. I sent out this group of three of our eldest, many moons later they came back with news of the worship of the Ka, just as we had learnt them. I then gathered the tribe and told them of what had happened and how we may have found the other tribe. There was a long discussion as to what we should do about this……