Kory – Companions

The Kory people are famous for their companions. In the West, the closest equivalent would be pets. They are called “kèo”, which roughly translates to “companion”. I will endeavour here to describe their relationship. Before we start, I must stress that the way in which these animals are to be considered as pets is that they have a special relationship with their human keeper. They don’t necessarily live together, yet they are not totems as in other cultures either.

Kèos may be turtles, birds, reptiles, insects. They are very autonomous yet consider the keeper part of their family. They are usually, but not always, adopted early in their lives by the human keeper and considered sacred by other humans. Making fun of somebody’s companion is a very serious offense and meted with punishement. A companion will come when called but is also very attuned to its human and so will choose to be by the keeper’s side even when not called. It is not a random animal but one with a serious bond with its keeper. The keeper will groom it and be groomed by it. Their relationship is one of tender affection and good humour. A distressed companion will go to its keeper for consolation and, in turn, will console its keeper as needed.

There are no rules governing the relationship between a keeper and its companion. It is not gender-based, not mandatory, not necessarily exclusive. For example, if you befriend a bee, you will more likely than not be followed by a few bees so that you are part of that beehive. Because some animals have very short lifespan compared to us, they will succeed each other. In this sense, you are attuned to the animal spirit more than to a single animal. The relationship is closer to a totem and the keeper will naturally protect their environment and work with them to give them an advantage. These mutually beneficial relationships are common in the animal kingdom. The Kory do not consider themselves separate from other animals and find it natural to collaborate across species. Their whole environment is dear to them and they tend it with care. Animals are an extension of this caring. It focuses their efforts.

A small child might be close to turtles and reptiles and grow up to adopt an iguana. Roughly, a Kèo will be part of an element – it will fly, or live in water or on the land. A keeper may prefer a type of bird, but he will be attuned to the Air spirit. Animal and environment are so intertwined as to be undifferenciated. For the sake of discussion, we create categories, but fluidity reigns as animals do not restrict their habitats to make our categorization easier. Roughly 20% of the population is without a Kèo. Those people have not yet found their place in society. They live more isolated lives or are more human-oriented. their understanding of the world is limited by their own senses, not augmented by other animals’ keener senses.

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