In Gassire's Lute, how is Gassire in control of his fate?
Gassire is a prince who would be the successor of his father, but his father is very powerful. Gassire wants to be king very badly, and becomes a mighty warrior to demonstrate his strength. [ Gassire consults a seer and the seer tells him that Gassire will abandon his quest to be king to play the lute. He also tells him that he will not be king and other people will become king after the death of his father, and the empire will fall. He hears the sound of the lute, and has one made for him because he loves the sound so much. When he tries to play the lute, it does not produce any sound. He
hears that it can only be played if he goes into battle. He then hears that his sons must go to battle for the lute to play; in battle, seven of his sons die, but the lute will still not play. The people exiled him because of his violence and disregard for his family. He went into the desert with his one remaining son, his wives, and a few loyal friends. He finally can play the lute when he sings of the empire and the story provides lessons to all the people who listen."(Stern) While the story has enchanted readers since it first appeared, it should be approached with caution. Frobenius attributes it to the Soninke people of West Africa, the people associated with the Empire of Wagadu or Ghana, and the name Gassire is in fact the Soninke word for a bard/singer (known as griots elsewhere in Africa). While many of the stories Frobenius collected can be confirmed by modern research in the oral tradition, this story stands alone and no analogue has yet been reported ]
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