Stories were collected in the Benishangul-Gumuz region in September 1999. The project worked with Shinasha and Berta storytellers in Assossa, and with Gumuz storytellers in Chagni. Dires Gebremeskel of the Benishangul-Gumuz Education and Culture Bureau facilitated the visit, organised the necessary travel and assembled the storytellers. Stories were translated into Amharic from Shinasha by Habasha Feyisa, from Berta by Captain Hamis Balla and from Gumuz by Belay Makonnen. They were translated from Amharic into English by Mesfin Habte-mariam.
Egassi Reta, Gumuz storyteller
The stories collected in this region differed widely. Some (eg The Monkey's Justice and The Woman and the Lion) were encountered in different forms in many parts of Ethiopia. The Fishing Story contains an interesting echo of the Biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea. Other stories are markedly original, reflecting traditional beliefs and customs (eg The Hunter and the Elephant, The Honey Hunters and The Origin of Man). However, in this remote region, spread over such a large area, it was not easy to find story-tellers, or to encourage them to tell stories, and more time would have been needed to make a comprehensive collection.