Edited by Lisa Grainger.
A storyteller lives in almost every village in Africa. Telling stories is not her official job. By day she may be a Gog (or granny), a teacher, a farmer or a seamstress. But by night, round the fire, she will sit, surrounded by young children, old friends, neighbours and travellers, and will tell of how it was in the olden days, when the Earth was young, when man was a hunter-gatherer, and when the animals roamed whild throughout the continent.
The stories are for old and young alike, but it is usually children who beg her to sit down after supper. 'Please, please, Gogo,' they will plead in unison. 'Sit and tells us a story.' If she isn't too busy, tending to food or family or her home, she will. Sitting on a little wooden stool under the stars, she will close her eyes, and think back to the tales her grandmother told her when she was a girl. Then slowly, by the light of the fire, her face will light up and she will begin with the words everyone loves to hear: 'Once upon a time . . . '