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Eloko

Artist's rendering of Eloko

The Eloko (plural Biloko) is a dwarf that lives in the forests, and is the spirit of ancestors living there. They haunt the forest because they have some grudge to settle with the living and are generally quite vicious. They live in the darkest and densest part of the rainforest of central Zaire. They ferociously and jealously guard their treasures, that are the game and rare fruits of the rainforest. To survive in the darkest and densest part of the forest, you need to be an intrepid hunter, because successful hunters need to possess strong magic, without which they would never see game at all. The Biloko live on trees and dress themselves with leaves. They are hairless; instead of hair, they have grass growing on their bodies. They have piercing eyes, snouts with mouths that can admit a human, dead or alive. They also have long, sharp claws. They eat human flesh and possess little bells, which cast a spell on passersby that can only be repelled by wearing an amulet or fetish.

An example of a tale about the Eloko:

'"One day a hunter took his wife, at her insistence, into the forest, where he had a hut with a palisade around it. When he went out to inspect his traps, he told her: "When you hear a bell, do not move. If you do, you will die!" Soon after he had left, she heard the charming sound of a little bell coming closer, for the Eloko has a good nose for feminine flesh. Finally, a gentle voice asked to be let in to his room. It was like the voice of a child. The woman opened the door and there was an Eloko, smelling like the forest, looking small and innocent. She offered him banana mash with fried fish but he refused: "We eat only human meat. I have not eaten for a long time. Give me a piece of your arm." At last the woman consented, totally under the spell of the Eloko. That night, the husband found her bones."'

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