Almost everything S. B. said and did bespoke the values his father had insitlled in him. Yet these manly injunctions to withstand hardship without complaint and keep one's own counsel were not Tina Kome's alone, but derived from inititation, when every Kuranko boy learns to bear pain without flinching, to respect the words of his elders without demur, and to overcome his fear of the spirits of the wild and of death. As the old medicine master Saran Salia Sano once told me, "Even when they are cutting the foreskin you must not flinch. You must stand stock-still. You must not make a sound from the mouth. Better to die than to wince or blink or cry out."
This control of one's emotions, and of one's speech, was undoubtedly connected to the value the Kruanko place on keeping secrets and promises, and of choosing one's words wisely. To nurse malicious thoughts is to risk malicious acts, and to speak of the devil is to conjure him. Perhaps this was why S. B.'s story was so conspicuously devoid of any ill will, grudges, or snide comments. . . ..