Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 336
Maghan Kon Fatta's first wife, Sassouma Berete, fears that the prophecy, which seems to be coming true, will mean that her own son Dankaran Touman will not rule Mali after his father. She is pleased when it becomes evident that her rival's son cannot walk. Sogolon and the king try remedies of all sorts, but Sundiata remains lame. The king marries a third wife, Namandje, whose son Manding Bory becomes Sundiata's best friend. The king seeks more advice about his sons, and is reassured that Sundiata is the foretold heir. The king gives his own griot's son, Balla Fasseke, to Sundiata to be his griot.
The king dies not long after this. Sassouma plots with the council of elders to have her son Dankaran Touman put on the throne. Sassouma encourages others to ridicule Sogolon and her other children, but especially Sundiata, who is still crawling at the age of seven. One day, in tears from being mocked, Sogolon laments to Sundiata that he cannot go and pick baobab leaves for her as other boys do for their mothers. Sundiata calls for an iron rod. He uses it to haul himself to his feet and takes his first steps. Striding to the baobab tree, he pulls it roots and all from the ground and brings it to his mother. From that day on, Sundiata excels at all physical pursuits, in particular hunting.
As the years pass, Sassouma grows more worried that Sundiata will take the throne from her son. When Sundiata is ten, she asks the nine great witches of Mali to kill him. They agree to try, but when Sundiata returns their deceit with kindness, they find they cannot harm him and instead offer their powers in protection.
Sundiata's mother Sogolon realizes that her family is in danger at the Mali court. When the regent prince Dankaran Touman sends Sundiata's griot, Balla Fasseke, to the court of the sorcerer king Soumaoro, Sogolon and her children leave. Sundiata vows to return and reclaim the throne someday.
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