By Henry Bradford Smith
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The Mossi masses actually result from the fusion of a conquering population (the Mossi, properly speaking) and a conquered population which was probably related very early to the Habe, Kipirsi, Gourounsi, Boussanse, etc. ] Binger (1892: I, 491), with his interest in Muslims and trade, conceptualized the society differently, emphasizing the Yarse presence and ignoring other distinctions: One can divide the population into two races. The most numerous, not Muslim, is so ancient that one might consider it up to a certain point as autochthonous; one distinguishes its subjects under the name of Moro'o and Mossi.
However, since the discrepancies in the myths center around precisely this point - the identification of the Mossi - the answer seems to lie, not in a single myth, but in the total body of myths. A comparison of conflicting versions, all of which must be assumed to have some meaning for some part of the population, leads one to conclude that within Mossi society the Mossi cannot be identified with any one ethnic category to the exclusion of the others. The myths demonstrate this, for in them the primary identity of all the actors attributed with the founding of the Mossi state is always something other than Mossi.
Successful traders, generally Yarse, were able to use the proceeds of trade to purchase slaves. By the colonial period families who had a number of young men at home were more fortunate than those whose young men had all migrated to Ghana or Ivory Coast. In any one year some Mossi would offer their labor services to their neighbors in exchange for needed grain, but the following year they were likely to find their neighbors working for them. Thus, despite inequalities in wealth, it is not clear that a stable class system existed or that the inequalities which did obtain corresponded to ethnic divisions.