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"'Better to eat, than be, the dinner,' toasted the banker."

The idea of cannibalism-- teshuacrei (Nac.)-- appalled ancient Bergonians in all cultures, in all eras, appearing as a motif in their storytelling and their art.  Compared to Eurasian civilizations Bergonians seemed obsessed with teshuacrei, but this is because eating someone was a common metaphor for the ultimate evil, and because teshuacrei was a figurative as well as a literal term.  Poems and literature employed the cannibal motif.  Victims have always been heard to complain that their oppressor was "eating" them.  The Iregemi were cannibals of the lives of the peasants they exploited, and of course in modern times the capitalist is portrayed dining on the workers.

The Mineowaithi and the other ancient chronicles all relate that in the worst of primordial times-- just after the cataclysm that sunk most of Catlantia (Atlantis)-- men went mad with privation, and that many turned to cannibalism.  It also relates how the Enemy Gods were worshipped with sacrificial murder and cannibalism.

The first urban civilizations in western Bergonia during the Second Millennium B.C. displaced a Neolithic culture, the Orisai, which apparently practiced cannibalism, ritual or otherwise.  The Lasa and Kuna people warred on the Orisai, wiped them out around 1200 B.C., and wrote histories portraying the Orisai as depraved flesh-eaters.  Archeologists have found in Orisai sites human bones with marks consistent with using stone tools to strip meat, and have also found human bones fragments which had been subjected to the heat of cooking fires.  Many have theorized that the Orisai learned to sail boats on the ocean and (at least a remnant) migrated to central America and somehow influenced the birth of Mesoamerican civilization, where human sacrifice and ritualistic cannibalism prevailed for centuries. 

The Orisai apparently influenced other incipient cultures in Bergonia before their mythic flight, for both Lasa and Kuan chronicles describe several cities and tribes that practiced ritual cannibalism.  Three ancient chronicles describe a curious sort of ritual feuding between two warriors that culminated in a contest to the death, with the winner partaking of the flesh of the loser and sacrificing the remains to the bloody gods in a pyre.  The chronicles often declare that this atrocity could occur only in worship of the Enemy Gods. 

The First Ceiolaian Empire claimed (probably accurately) that its army wiped out the last open redoubt of the horrid practice in 330 B.C. when it conquered and razed the iniquitous city of Bilac.  There was without question a small city named Bilac along the Zein River near the present-day city of Faucilles, but no artifacts nor ruins survive to us, much less any texts.  Thus all we know about Bilac is mostly from the records extant from the First Empire, and one can doubt if any real humans anywhere could act so .  The Ceiolaians portray a city completely devoid of of the essentially taboos that comprise the ur-culture that all humans supposedly belong to-- not only cannibalism but incest.  According to legends told for thousands of years thereafter, Bilac was a Sodom & Gomorrah, known not just for its residents' extreme licentiousness and limitless paraphilia, but for their eating of human flesh. The legends relate that the people of Bilac were eager to raid neighboring cities and wage war against them in order to take prisoners that they could eat.  Theirs was no "flower-war" like the Aztecs and their like-minded opponents, who took prisoners on ritualized battlefields for purposes of human sacrifice and cannibalism they believed was necessary to maintain the cosmos.  The Bilaci were motivated by pure appetite, and their behavior is more suggestive of Night of the Living Dead ("Send more police") than any description of the cannibals of ancient Mexico.  Indeed the Bilacis were described by the Ceiolaians as terrifying on the battlefield, but worse, routinely raiding the villages of neighboring states and seizing peasants and travelers to rape, torture and eat.  Thus the Ceiolaians described themselves as sacrificing heroes who were justified in slaughtering all the Bilacis and leveling the city, for the benefit of people all around.  Other contemporaneous records surviving from the Kuan, moreover, describe the Bilac as aggressive, terrifying and cannibalistic.  There has, of course, been legends that some Bilacis survived the slaughter, and relapse into their cannibalistic appetites periodically.  A weird-looking stranger would pass through town and an old lady would whisper, "He looks like he's from Bilac." 

In the Bilaci sense, cannibalism is inextricably connected to sexual license, so that the one serious taboo against cannibalism was necessarily correlated with the serious taboo against incest. The legend of Bilac was almost a storybook legend, gruesome though it was, all throughout pre-Columbian Bergonia, and included in secondary school lessons to adolescent students.  One must remember the Bergonian definition of incest is broader than that of any other culture in the world.  While it is legal to marry your first cousin in the American South, in pre-columbian Bergonia it was incest to have sex with anyone of your same clan, which in theory included one out of every 31 people.  Such an expansive incest definition probably requires more reinforcement; thus many stories and fairy-tales exist about the dire consequences of clan incest, with horrible things happening to couples of the same clan.

However for centuries afterward people circulated reports of cannibalism.  They mythologized the Teshuacralei, a secret society whose members worshipped the Enemy Gods and kidnapped innocents to devour them in perverse communion.  It was recounted in many chronicles and stories that if a bitter soul was not sufficiently mollified by the death of their enemy, he (or she!) might interrupt the funeral by rushing up to the pyre and slicing at the body with a dagger.    

Cannibalism is associated with the tluca, the gray-skinned ghoul known in folk tales to populate caves, defiles and deep forests.  A tluca feeds on dead human flesh, so it murders from time to time, drags the corpse back to its underground lair, and gnaws on it as it rots.  Worse yet, tlucas sometimes disinterred the buried dead and absconded with them.  No image repels and horrifies Bergonians as much as this. This forms part of the Bergonian abhorrence of burial and insistence on cremation, or perhaps instead the abhorrence produced this myth. The worst fate in the archaic imagination a person can suffer after death is for a sorcerer to transform him into a tluca.  Many a stout man alone in the forest or the night, with tlucas on his mind, has jumped in fright at a strange noise.  Many Bergonians correlate this legend with their common fear of caves.  It is not surprising that linguists have theorized that the word tluca derives from the ancient Lasa language's word for "westerner," a term the Lasa used to refer to the Orisai. 

The mythological monster named Red-Lips practices cannibalism, but with the refinements and accoutrements of civilization.  Here evil is portrayed as a vile, perverted sort of gourmand. Red-Lips engages in the orderly consumption of men and women, as if they were goats. He relies upon his little ugly chefs, gnome-like, to carefully clean, cleave and cook the victims, and serve up the innumerable side dishes that this Evil enjoys.  A twisted shrunken soul, with a smile of bloodied lips, Red-Lips picks daintily at his abomination with a silver knife.  He habitually comments that babies made for quite delicate fare.  The stories were used to frighten and tease children around generations of hearths and campfires.  He was ancient Bergonia's version of Hannibal Lector, and both are poignant reminders that the refinements of civilized life are by no means significant of moral superiority.  It was oft said in the Medieval Era that "Prakai set a most beautiful table," and indeed all the letters, journals and biographies of the times agree that the murderous dictator Prakai Eleusi did within his palace enjoy the finer things in life.  

The metaphor of cannibalism certainly fits all conquerors and dictators like Praka Eleusi.  In the same way Capitalism and all other forms of economic exploitation (slavery, feudalism) replicates cannibalism in how one man consumes the life of another.  For this reason Bergonian revolutionaries of all times and eras have insulted the established interests by calling them teshuacrei.  Thousands, actually millions of paintings, drawings, cartoons and posters throughout Bergonian history have portrayed lords and rulers eating their subjects.


Rev. 3 Oct  05

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