In the beginning of time Lightning, a handsome young goat lived on the earth, in a village with his mother, Thunder, an old mother goat. Neither of them had many friends. Lightening had a very bad temper. When he got angry he would set fire to barns and huts and on a few occasions, people. Whenever this happened, Thunder would raise her voice at her son, demanding he behave. The people of the village were upset.
The fires were getting out of control and the noise Thunder made to try to keep her son in line, was getting too much. The elders decided to call on their Creator, Kalunga to discuss the matter with him. After a long meeting about the fire and the noise, Kalunga decided he would move Thunder and Lightning to the edge of the village where they would be out of the way of the other villagers.
Lightening was angry about the move and he often ventured into the village to find people he could challenge in a quarrel. When he got angry, he would set fire to something. Thunder was heard trying to pull her son back to the edge of the village, but Lightning would not listen to his mother.
Kalunga called Lightning to see him. “You are still causing upset in the village. I have given you many chances, but it seems you are not able to live with people. The villagers agreed, “We cannot go on living like this”, explained one of the elders. “Thunder and Lightning are making life unpleasant for us all”. Kalunga thought for a while and when he had made a decision, he said “I will have to banish Thunder and Lightning from the village. They will have to live in the bush away from the people where they cannot cause distress.”
And so Thunder and Lightning were banished from the village into the bush. Lightning was furious! He got so angry he set fire to the bush, splitting all the trees he could find. It was devastating as it was the dry season and the fire spread rapidly onto farmlands of the villagers and to their barns and killed their livestock. Thunder could be heard desperately trying to get her son to calm down. She was louder than ever.
The villagers had run out of patience. This had to stop. Again the chief called his counsellors together. They decided to plead with the Creator to take Thunder and Lightning away. The chief spoke to Kalunga, “Please take Thunder and Lightning into the sky with you so you can keep an eye on them”. Kalunga could see the desperation of the chief, the elders and the villagers. Kalunga sighed. This was the only solution.
Kalunga granted the wish of the villagers and banished Thunder and Lightning into the sky. The people were relieved and hoped they would never have to experience the fire of Lightning and the noise of Thunder again. But Kalunga could not always watch over the actions of Lightning.
Sometimes, still today, when Lightning loses his temper, and Kalunga is not around, he still sends fire to the earth and not far behind, Thunder is hear rumbling at her son. But even she has grown tired of Lightning’s actions, and sometimes the villagers still see Lightening but may only hear Thunder far away in the distance and sometimes, her voice is completely silent.
So, that is how Thunder and Lightning came to live in the sky.
An Ovambo tale