Balla Fasséké composes the song “Hymn to the Bow” just after Sundiata, at age seven, wrenches the iron rod he’s using as a cane into the shape of a bow. This song is the first major record of Sundiata's exceptional feats and it follows him throughout his later exploits. The hymn is a symbol of Sundiata’s strength, and Balla Fasséké sings it for Sundiata's vast army to keep Sundiata’s power fresh in the soldiers' minds. When the hymn is written, it also foreshadows Sundiata's future skill using a bow—it is with a bow that Sundiata will kill Soumaoro, which leads to the unification of Mali and the fulfillment of Sundiata’s destiny.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Hymn to the Bow appears in Sundiata. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Lion's Awakening
The Names of the Heroes
...favorably, as the cocks die on their backs. The sofas advance to the sound of “Hymn to the Bow” and take the city relatively peacefully, although Kita Mansa dies. The city allies itself with... (full context)
Kouroukan Fougan or The Division of the World