Kono Cosmology

By: Peter C. Andersen

The points of light seen in the sky at night are called in Kono “tכmbכaka.”

Both the stars above and the fireflies in the long grasses blow are given the same name: “stalait” in Krio. According to Kono tradition, stars are only fireflies that have flown too high.

Venus, the Evening Star, is called “kau a toomusu,” — “the moon’s jealous wife,” because she accompanies him through the sky. Several days before the new moon, the star appears alone, looking for him.

When the moon fails to show up as usual at 8:00 p.m. and instead delays its appearance until 11:30, people say “nyanguma a kaudaun,” or “the cat has eaten the moon.”

When it comes out at the late hour of 12:00 to 1:00 a.m., they say “kau a kamagboosiiia ta — “the moon has put elephant skin over the fire.”

Since elephant skin takes a long time to cook, the moon has an excuse to be late. When the moon appears during the day, people say “kauambεndaanfeteea”— “the moon and the sun have met.”