Hippopotamus “Water Horse” for Strength, Courage, Sensitivity and Family
Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.
This amazing creature symbolizes many wonderful qualities. In the River Ubangi, in Africa, there is a folktale of a Hippopotamus goddess named Sangu, who demands the fishermen to sacrifice fish to her before they set out on a fishing trip or she will attack their boats.
“The Affair of the Hippopotamus and the Tortoise” is a well known folktale from Nigeria. It tells why the Hippopotamus stays in the water in the daytime and how the Tortoise correctly guessed the name of the Hippopotamus so as to make sure he kept his promise to stay in the water during the day. The Hippopotamus must have water to survive as it has sensitive skin that will crack if it stays in the daylight for long periods.
In Egypt, Tarewet / Tauret the Goddess of childbirth, protector of mother and child was sometimes depicted as part Hippopotamus, part Crocodile and Lion and is heavily pregnant. Perhaps due to the strong association with water, the Hippopotamus is symbolic of fertility and abundance. Where water is in abundance, healthy village life prospers, crops are successful, fish are abundant and animals of the wild can rely on its life giving qualities.
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