WHEEL Council, Inc.
Origin: U.S. African American
Theme: The mystical can help one transcend adversity.
There was a time long ago in Africa when the people could fly. They flew like blackbirds up above with their wings shining against the blue sky. When these people were captured into slavery they forgot that they could fly. They shed their wings on the long boats to America. As slaves the people lived in misery, they got sick on the waves of the sea and they no longer could breathe and smell the sweet scent of Africa.
Once in America, they were slaves and they had a master, and the master had an overseer, and the overseer had a driver. All of these people were very cruel to the people from Africa who once could fly.
There was an old man among the slaves who remembered about flying, his name was Toby. There was a woman among the slaves named Sarah and she had a baby tied to her back. It was hard to work in the cotton fields when you had a baby on your back. The overseer would yell at the slaves when they slowed down, and the driver would ride close with his horse and beat the slaves who were slow with his whip. That whip would cut a person so blood would run.
Sarah would work and work, hoeing and chopping, but the baby would get hungry and start to cry.
“Keep that baby quiet,” the overseer would yell. But the baby cried and cried. The driver would come close and crack his whip.
Sarah fell down. Toby came to her and helped her up.
“I must move on,” Sarah said.
“It will happen soon,” Toby said.
Sarah was so weak, she said now. The drive came and started whipping, and Sarah’s legs started bleeding.
Toby came back.
“Now, Toby, help me, before it is too late,” Sarah cried.
Toby replied, “Yes it is now.” Toby started chanting, “Kum yali, kumbuba tabe.”
Sarah repeated the words and started rising. She felt the African magic and rose as light as a feather, flying like an eagle, black wings against the blue sky.
The next day, it was so hot in the fields, people started falling from the heat. The overseer yelled. The drive cracked his whip and brought blood.
Toby whispered, “Kum kunka yali kum tambe.”
Man and woman began rising from the fields and rising above, flying like hawks and eagles. Toby was still there and the master yelled at the drive to kill Toby. But Toby started rising.
“Take us with you,” the remaining slaves said.
But Toby said, “I don’t have the time to teach you. Run to freedom.”
“Goodbye!” Toby said as he released his black wings into the blue sky.
The overseer told a lot of people about this. The master said it never happened.
But you know, everyone knows, they all flew towards FREEDOM!