"The Forbidden Forest" and Other Folktales from Northeastern Gabon
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In an effort to gain an appreciation for the people of Mekambo, one of the most important aspects to consider is man's relationship to nature; in their case the immense, overwhelming forest. Time and time again, in conversations, in the perfunctory duties and actions of daily life, in people's attitudes, traditional culture, diet, medicine, magic; in short, in every situation and nuance of life, the forest and man's relationship to it come into play. This theme comes through vividly in the folktales. They portray the forest as a sacred, mysterious place, filled with danger, magic, good and evil spirits, sorcerers, riches, and wild beasts. The dense, impenetrable forest begins at the edge of Mekambo, constantly threatening to encroach and engulf.