An old legend tells that thousands of years ago the moon did not exist. When the days faded because the sun was going to rest, the nights were completely dark and nowhere was a glimmer of light to be seen. Humans and animals could not quite get used to such darkness. Fear gripped them and it was rare to see any living being outside their home when it got dark.
In a small African village there lived a girl named Bamako. She was a beautiful young woman and loved by all. She was always ready to help her family and did everything she could to help her neighbors get along and live in peace.
Often the village of Bamako was attacked by soldiers from distant lands. They took advantage of the fact that at night nothing was seen to loot everything they found in their path. The inhabitants were so afraid of the dark that they did not leave their houses and the evil soldiers always managed to steal their horses and food from the barns.
One night, the god N´Togini appeared to Bamako and spoke to her in a soft voice so as not to scare her.
– I come to make a deal with you because I know how much you love your family and the people of your town.
“That’s right, sir,” the girl replied, bowing slightly in respect.
– Look … I know you are having a hard time because of the soldiers’ attacks. My dear son Djambé lives in a cave by the river and has always been very much in love with you. If you agree to marry him, he will take you to heaven and your precious face will light up the nights. Thanks to your light, there will no longer be darkness on earth and your neighbors will be able to defend themselves against their enemies.
– Tell me, sir … What do I have to do?
– Above the grotto where my son lives there is a rock that looks out over the river. Tonight go there and jump into the water. Do not fear, because Djambé will pick you up and take you to the top of the sky.
Bamako did not hesitate to say yes. Thinking that he could help ward off danger from his people made him very excited. When the sun went down and only the crickets chirped, the brave Bamako ran to the rock and jumped into the river, falling into the soft arms of young Djambé. Carefully, the son of the god carried her above the clouds and there they stayed to live forever.
Since then, Bamako’s resplendent face lit up every night of the year and the inhabitants were no longer afraid. Every time the soldiers approached, they saw them coming and went out to defend themselves tooth and nail. In time, the thieves stopped stalking the village and peace returned to the small town.
No one ever forgot what Bamako did for them and it is said that even today, many in the village blow kisses to the sky waiting for the sweet little girl to pick them up.