Mythical Monday: The Diminutive Atbatwa by Mae Clair

Last week for Mythical Monday, I focused on the dark faerie race of Southern Wales, the Benedith Y Mamau, who most everyone would agree are horribly wretched creatures. This week I’m realigning my mythical microscope to Southern Africa and a shy race of people known as the Atbatwa.

bigstock-Zulu-Hut-31587269Atbatwa are identical to Zulu tribesman but stand only one-half inch tall. Their homes are crafted from anthills, the interior chambers twining deep into the bowels of the earth. Skilled workers, they have successfully domesticated ants and rely on them for labor and mobility much as humans do horses. Atbatwa hunting parties ride ants when embarking on a quest for game, always seeking out prey much larger than they are.

How can a miniscule race of people bring down an animal so big? Their arrows are tipped with a lethal poison, certain to bring instant death.

By nature, Atbatwa are elusive and shy, rarely ever seen by human kind. If they do allow themselves to be glimpsed, it is usually only by pregnant women, children under four years of age and old wizards. A woman in her seventh month of pregnancy who spies an Atbatwa male, knows she will give birth to a baby boy.

Though Atbatwa are not aggressive by nature, they will take offense if an unwitting human comes upon them in the grass. Should this happen, the Atbatwa will pose a single query: “From where did you first see me?”

The traveler must be clever with his response for his life depends on it: “From the mountain far off in the distance.” Or… “From many miles out at sea.” Anything to convince the Atbatwa, who are sensitive about their size, that their stature is so imposing they are easily spied from many miles away. Answer incorrectly and blurt that you only just stumbled upon the Atbatwa, and your demise will follow courtesy of a poisoned arrow.

This gives new meaning to “watch where you walk,” and “avoid stepping into trouble.” 🙂

It’s amazing how many mythical races of beings exist in folklore, each native culture claiming legends of their own. Is this the first time you’ve “met” the Atbatwa?

18 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: The Diminutive Atbatwa by Mae Clair

    • At least there wasn’t anything about blood-letting this time, LOL. I liked the word “shy” in this post. Although it seems, that shy can quickly turn to lethal when it involves a ticked-off Atbatwa. 🙂 Thanks for checking out my latest legend, Cd!


    • Thanks, Debbie 🙂 It’s amazing all the nuggets of wisdom people in days of yore had to remember. It seems every mythical being had some kind of quirk that made those around them tread softly!


    • Uh-oh! Pesky Atbatwa could have travelled there and hooked up with those impish faeries 🙂 Sad to see the end of gardening days and faeries frolicking under mushrooms. We’re scheduled to get that yucky wintry mix tomorrow. It’s COLD here right now. Hope you are staying snug and toasty inside 🙂


    • Yep, another phrase to remember. Hopefully, neither of us will mess up and tip our hat to the Atbatwa and then tell the Old Lady of the Elder Tree we saw her from way out at sea, LOL!


    • I have to admit it was a new one on me too, Emma. I love the collection of mythical stories I discover in my library of books. So many good tales from places across the globe. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!


    • Thanks on both of those, Sue! 🙂 I still have to upload my novel but I’m holding off in case I decide to tack on another 1000 words or so before time runs out. As it stands now, the ms needs approximately another 30K for a proper conclusion, but I’m going to take it slower with that word count, LOL! NaNo was definitely a challenge. I think I may try it again next year! 😀


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