By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Where Animals Talk - West African Folk Lore Tales
Author: Nassau, Robert Hamill
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Where Animals Talk - West African Folk Lore Tales" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                           WHERE ANIMALS TALK

                      West African Folk Lore Tales


                            ROBERT H. NASSAU

                 Author of "Fetichism in West Africa,"
                       "The Youngest King," etc.

                           RICHARD G. BADGER
                            THE GORHAM PRESS


The typical native African Ekano or legend is marked by repetition. The
same incidents occur to a succession of individuals; monotony being
prevented by a variation in the conduct of those individuals, as they
reveal their weakness or stupidity, artifice or treachery.

Narrators, while preserving the original plot and characters of a Tale,
vary it, and make it graphic by introducing objects known and familiar
to their audience. These inconsistencies do not interfere with belief
or offend the taste of a people with whom even the impossible is not
a bar to faith; rather, the inconsistency sharpens their enjoyment
of the story.

Surprise must not be felt at the impossibility of some of the
situations; e.g., the swallowing by an animal of his wife, baggage
and household furniture, as a means of hiding them. The absurdity of
such situations is one of the distinctive attractions to the minds
of the excited listeners.

Variations of the same Tale, as told in different Tribes, were
inevitable among a people whose language was not written until within
the last hundred years; the Tales having been transmitted verbally,
from generation to generation, for, probably, thousands of years. As to
their antiquity, I believe these Tales to be of very ancient origin. No
argument must be taken against them because of the internal evidence of
allusion to modern things, or implements, or customs of known modern
date; e.g., "cannon," "tables," "steamships," etc., etc. Narrators
constantly embellish by novel additions; e.g., where, in the original
story, a character used a spear, the narrator may substitute a pistol.

Almost all these Tales locate themselves in supposed pre-historic
times, when Beasts and Human Beings are asserted to have lived together
with social relations in the same community. An unintended concession
to the claims of some Evolutionists!

The most distinctive feature of these Tales is that, while the actors
are Beasts, they are speaking and living as Human Beings, acting as
a beast in human environment; and, instantly, in the same sentence,
acting as a human being in a beast's environment. This must constantly
be borne in mind, or the action of the story will become not only
unreasonable but utterly inexplicable.

The characters in the stories relieve themselves from difficult or
dangerous situations by invoking the aid of a powerful personal
fetish-charm known as "Ngalo"; a fetish almost as valuable as
Aladdin's Lamp of the Arabian Nights. And yet, with inconsistency,
notwithstanding this aid, the actors are often suffering from many
small evils of daily human life. These inconsistencies are another
feature of the Ekano that the listeners enjoy as the spice of the

From internal evidences, I think that the local sources of these Tales
were Arabian, or at least under Arabic, and perhaps even Egyptian,
influences. (Observe the prefix, Ra, a contraction of Rera equals
father, a title of honor, as "Lord," or "Sir," or "Master," in names
of dignitaries; e.g. Ra-Marânge, Ra-Mborakinda, Ra-Meses.)

This is consistent with the fact that there is Arabic blood in the
Bantu Negro. The invariable direction to which the southwest coast
tribes point, as the source of their ancestors, is northeast. Such an
ethnologist as Sir H. H. Johnston traces the Bantu stream southward on
the east coast to the Cape of Good Hope, and then turns it northward
on the west coast to the equator and as far as the fourth degree of
north latitude, the very region from which I gathered these stories.

Only a few men, and still fewer women, in any community, are noted
as skilled narrators. They are the literati.

The public never weary of hearing the same Tales repeated; like our
own civilized audiences at a play running for a hundred or more
nights. They are made attractive by the dramatic use of gesture,
tones, and startling exclamations.

The occasions selected for the renditions are nights, after
the day's works are done, especially if there be visitors to be
entertained. The places chosen are the open village street, or, in
forest camps where almost all the population of a village go for a
week's work on their cutting of new plantations; or for hunting; or
for fishing in ponds. The time for these camps is in one of the two
dry seasons: where the booths erected are not for protection against
rain, but for a little privacy, for the warding off of insects, birds
and small animals, and for the drying of meats. At such times, most
of the adults go off during the day for fishing; or, if for hunting,
only the men; the children being guarded at their plays in the camp
by the older women, who are kept occupied with cooking, and with
the drying of meats. At night, all gather around the camp-fire;
and the Tales are told with, at intervals, accompaniment of drum;
and parts of the plot are illustrated by an appropriate song, or by
a short dance, the platform being only the earth, and the scenery
the forest shadows and the moon or stars.

The Bantu Language has very many dialects, having the same grammatical
construction, but differing in their vocabulary. The name of the
same animal therefore differs in the three typical Tribes mentioned
in these Tales; e.g., Leopard, in Mpongwe, equals Njegâ; in Benga,
equals Njâ; and in Fang, equals Nze.


In all the dialects of the Bantu language, consonants are pronounced,
as in English; except that g is always hard.

The vowels are pronounced as in the following English equivalent:--

                    a   as in father  e.g., Kabala
                    â   as in awe     e.g., Njâ.
                    e   as in they    e.g., Ekaga.
                    e   as in met     e.g., Njegâ.
                    i   as in machine e.g., Njina.
                    o   as in note    e.g., Kombe.
                    u   as in rule    e.g., Kuba.

A before y is pronounced ai as a diphthong, e.g., Asaya. Close every
syllable with a vowel, e.g., Ko-ngo. Where two or more consonants
begin a syllable, a slight vowel sound may be presupposed, e.g.,
Ngweya, as if iNgweya.

Ng has the nasal sound of ng in "finger," as if fing-nger, (not as in
"singer,") e.g., Mpo-ngwe.



Mpongwe Tribe

  TALE                                                     PAGE

     1   Do not Trust your Friend                            13
     2   Leopard's Hunting-Camp                              18
     3   Tests of Death: 1st Version                         25
                         2nd Version                         27
     4   Tasks done for a Wife; and, The Giant Goat          30
     5   A Tug-of-War                                        37
     6   Agenda: Rat's Play on a Name                        41
     7   "Nuts are Eaten Because of Angângwe": A Proverb     49
     8   Who are Crocodile's Relatives?                      53
     9   Who is King of Birds? and, Why Chickens live with
         Mankind                                             54
    10   "Njiwo Died of Sleep:" A Proverb                    58
    11   Which is the Fattest:--Manatus, Hog, or Oyster?     60
    12   Why Mosquitoes Buzz                                 62
    13   Unkind Criticism                                    63
    14   The Suitors of Princess Gorilla                     65
    15   Leopard of the Fine Skin                            68
    16   Why the Plantain-Stalk Bears but One Bunch          76


Benga Tribe

     1   Swine Talking                                       81
     2   Crocodile                                           82
     3   Origin of the Elephant                              82
     4   Leopard's Marriage Journey                          85
     5   Tortoise in a Race                                  95
     6   Goat's Tournament                                   99
     7   Why Goats Became Domestic                          100
     8   Igwana's Forked Tongue                             103
     9   What Caused their Deaths?                          106
    10   A Quarrel about Seniority                          109
    11   The Magic Drum                                     113
    12   The Lies of Tortoise                               121
    13   "Death Begins by Some One Person": A Proverb       126
    14   Tortoise and the Bojabi Tree                       129
    15   The Suitors of Njambo's Daughter                   134
    16   Tortoise, Dog, Leopard, and the Njabi Fruit        140
    17   A Journey for Salt                                 145
    18   A Plea for Mercy                                   149
    19   The Deceptions of Tortoise                         153
    20   Leopard's Hunting Companions                       159
    21   Is the Bat a Bird or a Beast?                      163
    22   Dog, and his Human Speech, 1st Version             165
                                    2nd Version             168
    23   The Savior of the Animals                          173
    24   Origin of the Ivory Trade, 1st Version             177
                                    2nd Version             184
    25   Dog and his False Friend Leopard                   189
    26   A Trick for Vengeance                              192
    27   Not My Fault!                                      195
    28   Do not Impose on the Weak                          196
    29   Borrowed Clothes                                   198
    30   The Story of a Panic                               200
    31   A Family Quarrel                                   201
    32   The Giant Goat                                     202
    33   The Fights of Mbuma-Tyetye; and, An Origin of
         Leopard                                            208
    34   A Snake's Skin Looks like a Snake                  226


Fang Tribe

     1   Candor                                             233
     2   Which is the Better Hunter, an Eagle or a
         Leopard?                                           234
     3   A Lesson in Evolution                              234
     4   Parrot Standing on One Leg                         235
     5   A Question of Right of Inheritance                 237
     6   Tortoise Covers His Ignorance                      238
     7   A Question as to Age                               239
     8   Abundance: A Play on the Meaning of a Word         240
     9   An Oath: With a Mental Reservation                 242
    10   The Treachery of Tortoise                          243
    11   A Chain of Circumstances                           245




The following sixteen Tales were narrated to me, many years ago, by two
members of the Mpongwe tribe (one now dead) at the town of Libreville,
Gaboon river, equatorial West Africa. Both of them were well-educated
persons, a man and a woman. They chose legends that were current in
their own tribe. They spoke in Mpongwe; and, in my English rendition,
I have retained some of their native idioms. As far as I am aware
none of these legends have ever been printed in English, excepting
Tale 5, a version of which appeared in a British magazine from a
writer in Kamerun, after I had heard it at Gaboon. Also, excepting
Tale 14. It appeared, in another form, more than fifty years ago,
in Rev. Dr. J. L. Wilson's "Western Africa." But my narrator was not
aware of that, when he told it to me.




    Country of the Animals


    Njegâ (Leopard)
    Ntori (Wild Rat)
    Ra-Marânge (Medicine Man)
    Nyare (Ox)
    Ngowa (Hog)
    Nkambi (Antelope)
    Leopard's Wife; and others


A story of the treachery of the Leopard as matched by the duplicity
of the Rat.

In public mourning for the dead, it is the custom for the nearest
relative or dearest friend to claim the privilege of sitting closest
to the corpse, and nursing the head on his or her lap.

At a time long ago, the Animals were living in the Forest
together. Most of them were at peace with each other. But Leopard
was discovered to be a bad person. All the other animals refused to
be friendly with him. Also, Wild Rat, a small animal, was found out
to be a deceiver.

One day, Rat went to visit Leopard, who politely gave him a chair, and
Rat sat down. "Mbolo!" "Ai, Mbolo!" each saluted to the other. Leopard
said to his visitor, "What's the news?" Rat replied, "Njegâ! news is
bad. In all the villages I passed through, in coming today, your name
is only ill-spoken of, people saying, 'Njegâ is bad! Njegâ is bad!'"

Leopard replies, "Yes, you do not lie. People say truly that Njegâ is
bad. But, look you, Ntori, I, Njegâ, am an evil one: but my badness
comes from other animals. Because, when I go out to visit, there is no
one who salutes me. When anyone sees me, he flees with fear. But, for
what does he fear me? I have not vexed him. So, I pursue the one that
fears me. I want to ask him, 'Why do you fear me?' But, when I pursue
it, it goes on fleeing more rapidly. So, I become angry, wrath rises
in my heart, and if I overtake it, I kill it on the spot. One reason
why I am bad is that. If the animals would speak to me properly, and
did not flee from me, then, Ntori, I would not kill them. See! you,
Ntori, have I seized you?" Rat replied, "No." Then Leopard said,
"Then, Ntori, come near to this table, that we may talk well."

Rat, because of his subtlety and caution, when he took the chair
given him on his arrival, had placed it near the door.

Leopard repeated, "Come near to the table." Rat excused himself,
"Never mind; I am comfortable here; and I came here today to tell
you that it is not well for a person to be without friends; and, I,
Ntori, I say to you, let us be friends." Leopard said, "Very good!"

But now, even after this compact of friendship, Rat told falsehoods
about Leopard; who, not knowing this, often had conversations with him,
and would confide to him all the thoughts of his heart. For example,
Leopard would tell to Rat, "Tomorrow I am going to hunt Ngowa, and next
day I will go to hunt Nkambi," or whatever the animal was. And Rat,
at night, would go to Hog or to Antelope or the other animal, and say,
"Give me pay, and I will tell you a secret." They would lay down to him
his price. And then he would tell them, "Be careful tomorrow. I heard
that Njegâ was coming to kill you." The same night, Rat would secretly
return to his own house, and lie down as if he had not been out.

Then, next day, when Leopard would go out hunting, the Animals were
prepared and full of caution, to watch his coming. There was none of
them that he could find; they were all hidden. Leopard thus often went
to the forest, and came back empty-handed. There was no meat for him to
eat, and he had to eat only leaves of the trees. He said to himself,
"I will not sit down and look for explanation to come to me. I will
myself find out the reason of this. For, I, Njegâ, I should eat flesh
and drink blood; and here I have come down to eating the food of goats,
grass and leaves."

So, in the morning, Leopard went to the great doctor Ra-Marânge, and
said, "I have come to you, I, Njegâ. For these five or six months I
have been unable to kill an animal. But, cause me to know the reason of
this." Ra-Marânge took his looking-glass and his harp, and struck the
harp, and looked at the glass. Then he laughed aloud, "Ke, ke, ke--"

Leopard asked, "Ra-Marânge, for what reason do you laugh?" He replied,
"I laugh, because this matter is a small affair. You, Njegâ, so big
and strong, you do not know this little thing!" Leopard acknowledged,
"Yes: I have not been able to find it out." Ra-Marânge said, "Tell me
the names of your friends." Leopard answered "I have no friends. Nkambi
dislikes me, Nyare refuses me, Ngowa the same. Of all animals, none
are friendly to me." Ra-Marânge said, "Not so; think exactly; think
again." Leopard was silent and thought; and then said, "Yes, truly,
I have one friend, Ntori." The Doctor said, "But, look! If you find a
friend, it is not well to tell him all the thoughts of your heart. If
you tell him two or three, leave the rest. Do not tell him all. But,
you, Njegâ, you consider that Ntori is your friend, and you show him
all the thoughts of your heart. But, do you know the heart of Ntori,
how it is inside? Look what he does! If you let him know that you are
going next day to kill this and that, then he starts out at night,
and goes to inform those animals, 'So-and-so, said Njegâ; but, be
you on your guard.' Now, look! if you wish to be able to kill other
animals, first kill Ntori." Leopard was surprised, "Ngâ! (actually)
Ntori lies to me?" Ra-Marânge said, "Yes."

So, Leopard returned to his town. And he sent a child to call
Rat. Rat came.

Leopard said, "Ntori! these days you have not come to see me. Where
have you been?" Rat replies, "I was sick." Leopard says, "I called you
today to sit at my table to eat." Rat excused himself, "Thanks! but
the sickness is still in my body; I will not be able to eat." And he
went away.

Whenever Rat visited or spoke to Leopard, he did not enter the house,
but sat on a chair by the door. Leopard daily sent for him; he came;
but constantly refrained from entering the house.

Leopard says in his heart, "Ntori does not approach near to me,
but sits by the door. How shall I catch him?" Thinking and thinking,
he called his wife, and said, "I have found a plan by which to kill
Ntori. Tomorrow, I will lie down in the street, and you cover my body
with a cloth as corpses are covered. Wear an old ragged cloth, and take
ashes and mark your body, as in mourning; and go you out on the road
wailing, 'Njegâ is dead! Njegâ, the friend of Ntori is dead!' And,
for Ntori, when he shall come as a friend to the mourning, put his
chair by me, and say, 'Sit there near your friend.' When he sits on
that chair, I will jump up and kill him there." His wife replies,
"Very good!"

Next morning, Leopard, lying down in the street, pretended that he
was dead. His wife dressed herself in worn-out clothes, and smeared
her face, and went clear on to Rat's village, wailing "Ah! Njegâ is
dead! Ntori's friend is dead!" Rat asked her, "But, Njegâ died of
what disease? Yesterday, I saw him looking well, and today comes word
that he is dead!" The wife answered, "Yes: Njegâ died without disease;
just cut off! I wonder at the matter--I came to call you; for you were
his friend. So, as is your duty as a man, go there and help bury the
corpse in the jungle." Rat went, he and Leopard's wife together. And,
behold, there was Leopard stretched out as a corpse! Rat asked the
wife, "What is this matter? Njegâ! is he really dead?" She replied,
"Yes: I told you so. Here is a chair for you to sit near your friend."

Rat, having his caution, had not sat on the chair, but stood off,
as he wailed, "Ah! Njegâ is dead! Ah! my friend is dead!"

Rat called out, "Wife of Njegâ! Njegâ, he was a great person: but
did he not tell you any sign by which it might be known, according to
custom, that he was really dead?" She replied, "No, he did not tell
me." (Rat, when he thus spoke, was deceiving the woman.) Rat went
on to speak, "You, Njegâ, when you were living and we were friends,
you told me in confidence, saying, 'When I, Njegâ, shall die, I will
lift my arm upward, and you will know that I am really dead.' But,
let us cease the wailing and stop crying. I will try the test on Njegâ,
whether he is dead! Lift your arm!"

Leopard lifted his arm. Rat, in his heart, laughed, "Ah! Njegâ is not
dead!" But, he proceeded, "Njegâ! Njegâ! you said, if really dead,
you would shake your body. Shake! if it is so!" Leopard shook his
whole body. Rat said openly, "Ah! Njegâ is dead indeed! He shook
his body!" The wife said, "But, as you say he is dead, here is the
chair for you, as chief friend, to sit on by him." Rat said, "Yes:
wait for me; I will go off a little while, and will come." Leopard,
lying on the ground, and hearing this, knew in his heart, "Ah! Ntori
wants to flee from me! I will wait no longer!" Up he jumps to seize
Rat, who, being too quick for him, fled away. Leopard pursued him
with leaps and jumps so rapidly that he almost caught him. Rat got
to his hole in the ground just in time to rush into it. But his tail
was sticking out; and Leopard, looking down the hole, seized the tail.

Rat called out, "You have not caught me, as you think! What you are
holding is a rootlet of a tree." Leopard let go of the tail. Rat
switched it in after him, and jeered at Leopard, "You had hold of my
tail! And you have let it go! You will not catch me again!" Leopard,
in a rage, said, "You will have to show me the way by which you will
emerge from this hole; for, you will never come out of it alive!"

Some narrators carry the story on, with the ending of Tale No. 6,
the story of Rat, Leopard, Frog and Crab.

Leopard's pretence of death appears also in Tale No. 3.




    Ntori (A very large forest Rat)
    Njegâ (Leopard)
    And other Animals


Besides the words for "hunger" and "famine," the Bantu languages have
a third word meaning, "longing for meat." In this story, Leopard's
greed is matched by the artifice of Rat:--It was a practice of African
natives to hide their ivory tusks in streams of water until a time
convenient for selling them.

Polite natives will neither sit uninvited in the presence of their
superiors, nor watch them while eating. If need be, to secure privacy,
a temporary curtain will be put up, and the host will retire, leaving
the guest alone. Rude or uncivilized tribes are offensive in their
persistent effort to see a white foreigner's mode of eating.

One of the tricks of native sorcerers is to jump into a fire.

It was a time of ngwamba (meat-hunger) among the Animals in Njambi's

Leopard, being the eldest in his tribe, said to Rat,
"Ntori! child! this is a hard time for meat. I think we better go
to the forest, and make a olako (camp) for hunting." Rat replied
"Good! come on!"

So they began to arrange for the journey. The preparation of food,
nets, baskets, and so forth, occupied several days. When all was
ready, they started. Having come to a proper place in the forest, they
selected a site where they would build up their booths. Leopard was
to have his own separate camp with his wives and his children and his
people; and Rat his, with his wives and his children, and his people.

So they began to make two camps. Leopard said, "Ntori! child! I
have mine here. You go there yonder." So they built their booths
for sleeping-places; and rested another day; and then built their
arala (drying frames) over their fire-places for smoke-drying the
meat that they hoped to obtain. Next day, they prepared their guns,
and started out on the hunt. On that very first day, they met game,
and, ku! (bang) went their guns, killing an Elephant, and, ku! a wild
Ox. Then Leopard said, "Ntori! child! we are successful! Let us begin
the work of cutting up!"

After all the carcasses had been cut up, came the time to divide the
meat between the two companies. So, Leopard said, "As I am your Uncle,
I precede; I will choose first, and will give you the remainder." So
Leopard chose, taking out all the best pieces. When Rat saw that most
of the meat was going to Leopard's side, he thought it time to begin to
get his share. But when Rat laid hold of a nice piece, Leopard would
say, "No! child! do not take the best: that belongs to your Uncle"--
and Leopard would claim the piece, and hand it over to his women. So it
went on in the same way; to every nice piece that Rat chose, Leopard
objected that it belonged to him. After Leopard had taken all he
wanted, there were left only the bowels and the heads and legs for Rat.

Then they each went to their own camping-place, to spread the meat
on their arala, and to cook their dinner. But, all the while that
Rat was spreading bones and bowels on his orala, he was vexed; for,
there was very little meat on those bones; while Leopard's people's
arala were full of meat, and savory portions were simmering on their
fires tied in bundles (agewu) of plantain leaves. At the noon meal,
Leopard sat down with his family, and Rat with his. But Rat had only
poor food; while Leopard and his people were rejoicing with rich meat.

The second day was very much the same as the first. It was Rat who
did most of the hunting. With him it was, ku! (bang!), and some beast
was down; and, ku! and some other beast was down. Whenever Rat fired,
Leopard would shout out, "Ntori! child! what have you got?" And it was
Rat who would shout in reply, "Nyare" (ox), or "Njâku" (elephant),
or "Nkambi!" (antelope), or whatever the game might be. And it was
Leopard who offensively patronized him, saying, "That is a good boy,
Tata! (Little Father); bring it here to your Uncle." Then Rat and
all the servants would carry the carcass to Leopard. So that day,
the cutting and dividing was just like the first day; Leopard claiming
and taking the best, and leaving the skeleton and scraggy pieces and
the bowels for Rat.

After that second day's hunt, Rat was tired of this way of dividing,
in which he got only the worthless pieces. So he decided to get back
some of Leopard's meat by artifice, for his own table, even if he
had to take it from Leopard's orala itself. He began to devise what
he should do. As he was out walking, he came to a brook in which were
sunken logs of hard heavy wood. They had lain there a long time, and
were black with outside decay. With his machete in hand, he dived;
and remaining under the water, he scraped the logs till he had removed
the dark outside, and exposed the white inner wood. He kept on at
the job scraping and scraping until the logs appeared white like
ivory. Then he went back to Leopard's camp, and, with pretence of
excitement, exclaimed, "Mwe Njegâ! I think we will be going to be
rich. You don't know what I've found! Such a big ivory-tusk hidden
in the water! I think we better leave off hunting meat, and go to
get this fine ivory." Leopard replied, "Good! come on!"

The next day, they first arranged their fires so that the smoke-drying
of their meat might continue during their absence; and then started
for the ivory. They all prepared themselves, for diving, by taking
off their good clothing, and wearing only a small loin-cloth. Their
entire companies went, men, women, and children, leaving not a single
person in the camps.

Leopard says, "You, Ntori, go first, as you know where the place
is." Rat says, "Good! come on!" And they went on their way.

Arrived at the brook, Rat says, "You all come on, and dive." Leopard
asks, "My son! is it still there?" Rat, pointing, answers, "Yes! my
ivory is there." Leopard, looking down in the water says, "I see no
ivory!" Rat, still pointing, replies, "There! Those white things! Don't
you see them?" Leopard says, "I never saw ivory look like logs." Rat
answered, "No? But this is a new kind. I assure you they are ivory! I
have been down there, and I cleaned the mud off of them." Leopard
was satisfied, and said, "Good! come on!" And they all dived. They
laid hold of the supposed ivory, and pulled, and pushed, and lifted,
and worked. But it was stuck fast, and they could not move it.

While they were thus working, Rat suddenly cried out, "Njegâ! O! I
forgot something! I must go quickly back to the olako. I will not be
gone long. I shall return soon."

Rat came out of the brook; ran to the camp; took of his own bundles of
bones and scraggy pieces, and put them on Leopard's drying-frames,
and took the same number of bundles of good meat from Leopard's
frames. Then he ran back to the brook, to continue the work at the
so-called ivory.

Soon after that, Rat says, "Mwe Njegâ! it is time to return to the
olako; we have worked long; I am hungry." Leopard says, "Good! come
on!" So they returned to the camp to eat.

Rat says, "Njegâ! as I am so hungry, I will not wait with you, but
will go to my own olako at once. And I will put up a curtain between
us, as it is a shame for one to eat in the presence of his elder."

So Rat put up a curtain; and opened a bundle of nice meat; and he
and his people began to eat.

When Leopard took down one of his bundles, and opened it to share
with his women, he was amazed, and said, "See! only bones and mean
pieces! Ah! what is this matter!" And he called out to the other camp,
"Ntori! Tata!" Rat responds, "Eh! Mwe Njegâ?" Leopard inquires,
"What kind of meat are you eating?" Rat answers, "My own, from
my own bundles. But what kind have you, Mwe Njegâ?" Leopard says,
"My women prepared meat that was nice; but now I have only bones. I
am surprised at that."

The next, the fourth day, Rat said to Leopard, "I think we better
change from the hard work on the ivory. Let us go hunting today;
and tomorrow we will resume the ivory." Leopard assented "Good! come
on!" And they started out to hunt. They were successful again as on
the previous days. At the time of the division of the meat, Rat showed
no displeasure at Leopard's taking the best pieces; as he had now his
own artifice to get them back. And the meats of the day were placed
on their owners' respective drying-frames. By this day's doings,
many of Leopard's baskets were full, ready to be taken to town,
while most of Rat's were still empty.

On the fifth day, they went to the brook again, to their fruitless
work of pulling at the so-called ivory. The same things happened as
before; Rat remembers that he has forgotten something; has to go in
haste to the camp; rapidly changes the bundles on his and Leopard's
frames; returns to the brook; they all come back to the camp to eat;
and there were repeated Leopard's surprise, and his questions to
Rat about the kinds of meat they were eating. Thus they continued;
on alternate days hunting, and working at the ivory that was stuck
immovably fast in the mud; and Rat stealing; and Leopard complaining.

Finally, Leopard became tired of his losses; and, one day, without
letting anyone know what he intended doing, he said, "I will take a
little walk." Rat says, "You go alone? May I accompany you?" Leopard
said, "No! I go alone; I won't be long away; and I do not go far."

So Leopard went to the wizard Ra-Marânge, whom as soon as he saw him,
exclaimed, "What are you come for? Are you in trouble?" Leopard told
him the matter of the losses of the meat. Then Ra-Marânge jumped into
his fire, and emerged powerful and wise. And he said, "I will make
for you something that will find out for you who it is that takes
your meat."

So Ra-Marânge made a little image of a man, and conferred on it
wisdom and power, and gave it to Leopard, who took it to his camp,
and hid it in his hut.

The next day they all resumed the work at the brook, with the
ivory. There was the same diving, the same fruitless pulling,
Rat's same need of going back to the camp, and his same attempts at
stealing. While he was doing this, he sees something like a little
man standing near him. Rat puts out his hand to take from Leopard's
bundles as usual, and the image catches him by the wrist of that
hand. Rat indignantly says, "You! this little fool! leave me! What do
you catch me for?" But the image was silent; nor did it let go its
hold. So Rat struck at it with his other hand. And the image caught
that hand with its other hand. Then Rat was angry and kicked with one
foot at a leg of the image. And that foot was retained by that leg of
the image. Rat kicked with his remaining foot; it also was retained
by the image's other leg. He was thus held in the power of the image.

Rat, in desperation, said, "Let me go!" The image spoke, and simply
said, "No!" Rat felt he was in a bad situation; but he put on a bold
face. He knew that, by his long delay, the others must have given up
the work at the brook, and would by now be returning to the camp;
and, in a little while, he would be discovered. To forestall that
discovery, he shouted out, "Mwe Nejgâ, come quickly! I've found
the person who changes your bundles!" Leopard, on the path, heard
his voice, and replied, "My child, is that so? Hold him fast!" Rat
still daringly said, "Come quickly! He wants to get away from my
grasp!" Leopard replied, "Hold fast! I am coming!" They all came
hastily, both of Rat's people, and of Leopard's people; and there they
saw Rat held fast by the hands and legs of the image. Leopard asked,
"Where is he?" Rat, daring to the last, said, "This little man here
that I am holding." Leopard said, "Now that I am here, let go of him,
for I will take charge of him." Rat struggled, but in vain. Leopard
several times repeated his direction to Rat, "Let go of him!" But
Rat was utterly unable to withdraw his limbs from the power of the
image. And he gave up the effort, in shame. Then Leopard had to help
release Rat; the conferred power of the image being subservient to
him. He did not strike Rat, he being his relative. But rebuked him,
"Ah! Ntori! now I know it was you who made all the trouble about my
meat!" And he took back all his fine bundles, and returned Rat his
poor bundles. Rat went to his own camp ashamed, but still angry at
the unjust division of the meat.

As Leopard's baskets were now full, he announced that they should
prepare to break camp, and return to town. Rat's women murmured,
"Ah! all going away, and our baskets almost empty!" Rat comforted them,
"Yes; it is so; but, we will find a way to fill them!"

So, the next day, while the others were gone to get leaves and vines
with which to tie up their baskets, Rat took his empty ones to the
brook and filled them with stones, and tied them up with leaves,
as if they contained meat.

On the following day, as they were about to start on their journey,
Rat said to Leopard, "As you are the elder, go you first, and I will
follow." Leopard said, "Good! come on!" And they went on the path,
Rat keeping close behind Leopard's people. (Baskets being carried
tied on the back with a strap over the forehead, the bearer leans
heavily forward, and cannot see what is happening behind.) Rat had
prepared a hook with a handle. From time to time, as they came to
narrow places in the path where thorny branches met, he would strike
the hook into some basket before him, and in pretence, would say,
"Wait! a thorn on this branch has caught your basket! Let me unfasten
it." While the carrier would stand still for Rat to release the branch,
the latter seized the chance to take pieces of meat from the basket,
and substitute stones from his own baskets. The way was long; and,
at every obstructed place, Rat kept on at his pretence of helping
to free some basket of Leopard's from the thorns that caught it,
and changed pieces of good meat for his stones.

Before they reached Leopard's town, darkness began to fall, and
both companies were very tired, especially that of Leopard; for,
their baskets seemed to have grown heavier. Rat said, "Njegâ! All
this hard day's walk! Hide our baskets, yours in one place, and mine
in another, and let us go on to town and sleep; and we will send
back our women for the baskets in the morning." Leopard assented,
"Good! come on!" So they left their baskets, and all went to town.

The next morning, Rat sent his people very, very early. Leopard sent
his later, at the usual time of morning business. When his people
were going they met Rat's people coming back with their loads, and
exclaimed, "You are loaded already!"

When Leopard's people brought their baskets to the town, and opened
them, they were amazed to find that they had little else than stones
and bones. Leopard was very angry; and, going to Rat, he began to
scold, "You have taken away my meat!" "No I have my own. Look! these
baskets, you know them, they are mine! Perhaps some one stole your meat
in the night and put the stones in place. But, as you are in such a
trouble, I will share with you of mine." So he called to his women,
"Give Njegâ a few pieces of meat." Leopard took the meat, and Rat
and his people went away to their own town.

But Leopard was not satisfied. He was sure that Rat had played him
a trick. He had forgiven Rat his stealing at the camp; but, for this
last trick, he meditated revenge.




    Njegâ (Leopard)
    Ntori (Wild-Rat)


It is the proper and most friendly mode, that relatives and friends
should hasten to visit their sick, on the very first information,
without waiting to be invited or summoned.

Leopard told his head-wife, "Ntori has taken our meat and deceived
me in all these ways; I will kill him and eat him."

So he pretended to be sick.

The next day, news was sent to Rat that his Uncle Leopard was sick
of a fever.

The following day, word was again sent that he was very sick indeed,
and that he wanted a parting word with Rat. Rat sent back a message,
"I hear; and I will come tomorrow."

Rat suspected some evil, and did not believe that Leopard was sick. So
he went to the forest, and collected all kinds of insects that sting,
and tied them into five little bundles.

Next day, word came to him, "Njegâ is dead." Rat went quickly, taking
the five little bundles with him.

When he reached Leopard's town, he joined the crowd of mourners in
the street, and lifted up his voice in wailing. Leopard's head-wife
went to him, and said, "Come into the house, and mourn with me, at
your Uncle's bed-side." Rat went with her; but he did not take the
seat that was offered him, as a near relative, at the supposed dead
man's head. He first explained, "After a person is reported dead,
it is proper to make five tests to prove whether he is really dead,
before we bury him."

So he stood by the bed, at a point safe from Leopard's hands, and
opened a bundle, and lifting the shroud, quickly laid the bundle on
Leopard's naked body. The insects, infuriated by their imprisonment,
flew out and attacked Leopard's body, as it was the object nearest
to them, and they were confined under the shroud. Leopard endured,
and did not move.

Rat opened a second bundle, and thrust it also on another part of
Leopard's body. Leopard could scarcely refrain from wincing.

Rat opened a third, and laid it in the same way on another
part. Leopard's face began to twitch with the torture. Rat opening a
fourth, used it in the same way; and Leopard in pain began to twist
his body; but, when Rat opened the fifth bundle, Leopard could endure
the stings no longer. He started up from the bed, holding a dagger
he had hidden under the bed-clothing.

But Rat was too agile for him, and ran out before Leopard could fully
rise from his supposed death-bed, and escaped to his own place. The
mourners fled from the furious insects, and Leopard was left in agony
under the poison of their stings.




    Njegâ (Leopard)
    Ibâbâ (Jackal)
    With Ngomba (Porcupine)
    Nkambi (Antelope)
    Njâgu (Elephant)
    Iheli (Gazelle)
    Ekaga (Tortoise)
    With Ndongo (Pepper)
    Hako (Ants)
    And Nyoi (Bees)
    And Others


All of a neighborhood go to a mourning for a dead person. Failure to
go would have been regarded, formerly, as a sign of a sense of guilt
as the cause of the death. Formerly, at funerals, there was great
destruction. Some of a man's wives and slaves were buried with him,
with a large quantity of his goods; and his fruit trees adjacent to
the houses were ruthlessly cut down. All, as signs of grief; as much
as to say, "If the beloved dead cannot longer enjoy these things,
no one else shall."

The ancestor of the leopards never forgave the ancestor of the
gazelles, but nursed his wrath at the trick which the latter had
played on him with the insects. Unable to catch gazelles, because of
their adroitness, the leopard wrecks his anger on all other beasts
by killing them at any opportunity.

These two beasts, Leopard and Jackal, were living together in the same
town. Leopard said to Jackal, "My friend! I do not eat all sorts of
food; I eat only animals." So, one day, Leopard went to search for
some beast in the forest. He wandered many hours, but could not find
any for his food.

On another day, Leopard said to Jackal, "My friend! let us arrange
some plan, by which we can kill some animal. For, I've wandered into
the forest again and again, and have found nothing." Leopard made
these remarks to his friend in the dark of the evening. So they sat
that night and planned and, after their conversation, they went to
lie down in their houses. And they slept their sleep.

Then soon, the daylight broke. And Leopard, carrying out their plan,
said to Jackal, "Take up your bedding, and put it out in the open air
of the street." Jackal did so. Leopard laid down on that mattress,
in accordance with their plan, and stretched out like a corpse lying
still, as if he could not move a muscle. He said to Jackal, "Call
Ngomba, and let him come to me." So Jackal shouted, "Come! Ngomba,
come! That Beast that kills animals is dead! Come!"

So Porcupine came to the mourning, weeping, and wailing, as if he
was really sorry for the death of his enemy. He approached near the
supposed corpse. And he jeered at it. "This was the person who wasted
us people; and this is his body!" Leopard heard this derision. Suddenly
he leaped up. And Porcupine went down under his paw, dead. Then Leopard
said to his friend Jackal, "Well! cut it up! and let us eat it." And
they finished eating it.

On another day, Leopard, again in the street, stretched himself on the
bedding. At his direction, Jackal called for Antelope. Antelope came;
and Leopard killed him, as he had done to Porcupine.

On another day, Ox was called. And Leopard did to Ox the same as he
had done to the others.

On another day, Elephant was called in the same way; and he died in
the same way.

In the same way, Leopard killed some of almost all the other beasts
one after another, until there were left only two.

Then Jackal said, "Njegâ! my friend! there are left, of all the beasts,
only two, Iheli and Ekaga. But, what can you do with Iheli? for,
he has many artifices. What, also, can you do against Ekaga? for,
he too, has many devices." Leopard replied, "I will do as I usually
have done; so, tomorrow, I will lie down again, as if I were a corpse."

That day darkened into night.

And another daylight broke.

And Leopard went out of the house to lie down on the bedding in the
street. Each limb was extended out as if dead; and his mouth open,
with lower jaw fallen, like that of a dead person.

Then Jackal called, "Iheli! come here! That person who wastes the
lives of the beasts is dead! He's dead!"

Gazelle said to himself, "I hear! So! Njegâ is dead? I go to the
mourning!" Gazelle lived in a town distant about three miles. He
started on the journey, taking with him his spear and bag; but, he
said to himself, "Before I go to the mourning, I will stop on the
way at the town of Ekaga."

He came to the town of Tortoise, and he said to him, "Chum! have you
heard the news? That person who kills Beasts and Mankind is dead!" But
Tortoise answered, "No! go back to your town! that person is not
dead. Go back!" Gazelle said, "No! For, before I go back to my town,
I will first go to Njegâ's to see." So Tortoise said, "If you are
determined to go there, I will tell you something." Gazelle exclaimed,
"Yes! Uncle, speak!"

Then Tortoise directed him, "Take ndongo." Gazelle took some. Tortoise
said, "Take also Hako, and take also Nyoi. Tie them all up in a bundle
of plantain leaves." (He told Gazelle to do all these things, as a
warning.) And Tortoise added, "You will find Njegâ with limbs stretched
out like a corpse. Take a machete with you in your hands. When you
arrive there, begin to cut down the plantain-stalks. And you must cry
out 'Who killed my Uncle? who killed my uncle?' If he does not move,
then you sit down and watch him."

So Gazelle went, journeyed and came to that town of mourning. He
asked Jackal, "Ibâbâ! This person, how did he die?" Jackal replied,
"Yesterday afternoon this person was seized with a fever; and today,
he is a corpse." Gazelle looked at Leopard from a distance, his eyes
fixed on him, even while he was slashing down the plantains, as he
was told to do. But, Leopard made no sign, though he heard the noise
of the plantain-stalk falling to the ground. Presently, Jackal said
to Gazelle, "Go near to your Uncle's bed, and look at the corpse."

Leopard began in his heart to arrange for a spring, being ready
to fight, and thinking, "What time Iheli shall be near me, I will
kill him."

Gazelle approached, but carefully stood off a rod distant from the body
of Leopard. Then Gazelle drew the bundle of Ants out of his bag, and
said to himself, "Is this person, really dead? I will test him!" But,
Gazelle stood warily ready to flee at the slightest sign. He quickly
opened the bundle of insects; and he joined the three, the Ants,
the Bees, and the Pepper, all in one hand; and, standing with care,
he threw them at Leopard.

The bundle of leaves, as it struck Leopard, flew open. Being released,
the Bees rejoiced, saying, "So! I sting Njegâ!" Pepper also was glad,
saying, "So! I will make him perspire!" Ants also spitefully exclaimed,
"I've bitten you!"

The pain of all these made Leopard jump up in wrath; and he leaped
toward Gazelle. But he dashed away into the forest, shouting as
he disappeared, "I'm not an Iheli of the open prairie, but of the
forest wilderness!"

So, he fled and came to the town of Tortoise. There he told Tortoise,
"You are justified! Njegâ indeed is not dead! He was only pretending,
in order to kill."

And Tortoise, remarked, "I am the doyen of Beasts. Being the eldest,
if I tell any one a thing, he should not contradict me."




    In Njambi's Kingdom


    A Rich Merchant and his Daughter
    Njâgu (Elephant)
    Njegâ (Leopard)
    Njina (Gorilla)
    Nguvu (Hippopotamus)
    Ekaga (Tortoise)
    Mbodi (An Enormous Goat)
    Servants, and Townspeople


The artifices of Tortoise compete with the strength of Leopard. The
story of the Giant Goat is a separate Tale in No. 32, of Part Second.

In the time when Mankind and all other Animals lived together, to all
the Beasts the news came that there was a Merchant in a far country,
who had a daughter, for whom he was seeking a marriage. And he had
said, "I do not want money to be the dowry that shall be paid by a
suitor for my daughter. But, whosoever shall do some difficult works,
which I shall assign him, to him I will give her."

All the Beasts were competing for the prize.

First, Elephant went on that errand. The merchant said to him, "Do
such-and-such tasks, and you shall have my daughter. More than that,
I will give you wealth also." Elephant went at the tasks, tried,
and failed; and came back saying he could not succeed.

Next, Gorilla stood up; he went. And the merchant told him, in the
same way as to Elephant, that he was to do certain tasks. Gorilla
tried, and failed, and came back disgusted.

Then, Hippopotamus advanced, and said he would attempt to win the
woman. His companions encouraged him with hopes of success, because
of his size and strength. He went, tried, and failed.

Thus, almost all beasts attempted, one after another; they tried to
do the tasks, and failed.

At last there were left as contestants, only Leopard and
Tortoise. Neither was disheartened by the failure of the others; each
asserted that he would succeed in marrying that rich daughter. Tortoise
said, "I'm going now!" But Leopard said, "No! I first!" Tortoise
yielded, "Well, go; you are the elder. I will not compete with you. Go
you, first!" Leopard went, and made his application. The merchant
said to him, "Good! that you have come. But, the others came, and
failed. Try you." Leopard said, "Very well." He tried, and failed,
and went back angry.

Tortoise then went. He saluted the merchant, and told him he had come
to take his daughter. The merchant said, "Do so; but try to do the
tasks first."

Tortoise tried all the tasks, and did them all. The first was that of
a calabash dipper that was cracked. The merchant said to him, "You take
this cracked calabash and bring it to me full of water all the way from
the spring to this town." Tortoise looking and examining, objected,
"This calabash! cracked! how can it carry water?" The merchant replied,
"You yourself must find out. If you succeed, you marry my daughter."

Tortoise took the calabash to the spring. Putting it into the water,
he lifted it. But the water all ran out before he had gone a few
steps. Again he did this, five times; and the water was always
running out. Sitting, he meditated, "What is this? How can it
be done?" Thinking again, he said, "I'll do it! I know the art
how!" He went to the forest, took gum of the Okume (mahogany tree)
lighted a fire, melted the gum, smeared it over the crack, and made
it water-tight; then, dipping the calabash into the spring, it did
not leak. He took it full to the father-in-law, and called out,
"Father-in-law! this is the calabash of water." The merchant asked,
"But what did you do to it?" He answered "I mended it with gum." The
father said, "Good for you! The others did not think of that easy
simple solution. You have sense!"

Tortoise then said, "I have finished this one task; today has
passed. Tomorrow I will begin on the other four."

The next morning, he came to receive his direction from the merchant,
who said, "Ekaga! you see that tall tree far away? At the top are
fruits. If you want my daughter, pluck the fruits from the top,
and you shall marry her."

Tortoise went and stood watching and looking and examining the
tree. Its trunk was all covered with soap, and impossible to be
climbed. He returned to the merchant, and asked, "That fruit you
wish, may it be obtained in any way, even if one does not climb the
tree?" He was answered, "Yes, in any way, except cutting down the
tree. Only so that I get the fruit, I am satisfied."

Tortoise had already tried from morning to afternoon to climb
that tree, but could not. So, after he had asked the merchant his
question, he went back to the tree; and from evening, all night and
until morning, he dug about the roots till they were all free. And
the tree fell, without his having "cut" the trunk at all. So he took
the fruit to the Merchant, and told him that he had not "cut down"
the tree, but that he had it "dug up." The merchant said, "You have
done well. People who came before you failed to think of that. Good
for you!"

On the third day, the merchant said to the spectators, "I will not
name the other three tasks. You, my assistants, may name them." So
they thought of one task after another. But one and another said, "No,
that is not hard; let us search for a harder." Finally, they found
three hard tasks. Tortoise was ready for and accomplished them all.

Then the merchant announced, "Now, you may marry my daughter; and
tomorrow you shall make your journey." They made a great feast;
an ox was killed; and they had songs and music all night, clear on
till morning.

But, while all this was going on, Leopard, who was left at his town,
was saying to himself, "This Ekaga! He has stayed five days! Had he
failed, he would not have stayed so long! So! he has been able to do
the tasks! Is that a good thing?" (On the day that Tortoise started
on the journey to seek the merchant's daughter, Leopard had been
heard to say, "If Ekaga succeeds in getting that wife, I will take
her from him by force.")

When Tortoise was ready to start on his return journey with his wife,
the father-in-law gave him very many things, slaves and goats and a
variety of goods, and said, "Go, you and your wife and these things. I
send people to escort you part of the way. They are not to go clear
on to your town, but are to turn back on the way."

Tortoise and company journeyed. When the escort were about to turn
back, Tortoise said, "Day is past. Make an olako (camp) here. We sleep
here; and, in the morning, you shall go back." That night he thought,
"Njegâ said he would rob me of my wife. Perhaps he may come to meet me
on the way!" So, he swallowed all of the things, to hide them,--wife,
servants, and all.

While Tortoise was thus on the way, Leopard had planned not to wait his
return to town, but had set out to meet him. So, in the morning, the
two, journeying in opposite directions, met. Tortoise gave Leopard a
respectful "Mbolo!" and Leopard returned the salutation. Leopard asked,
"What news? That woman, have you married her?" Tortoise answered,
"That woman! Not at all!" Leopard looking at Tortoise's style and
manner as of one proud of success, said, "Surely you have married;
for you look happy, and show signs of success." But Tortoise swore
he had not married.

Leopard only said, "Good." Then Tortoise asked, "But, where are you
going?" Leopard answered, "I am going out walking and hunting. But
you, where are you going?" Tortoise replied, "I did not succeed in
marrying the woman; so I am going back to town. I tried, but I failed."

"But," said Leopard, "what then makes your belly so big?" Tortoise
replied, "On the way I found an abundance of mushrooms, and I ate
heartily of them. If you do not believe it, I can show you them by
vomiting them up." Leopard said, "Never mind to vomit. Go on your

And Leopard went on his way. But, soon he thought, "Ah! Ekaga has lied
to me!" So he ran around back, and came forward to meet Tortoise again.

Tortoise looked and saw Leopard coming, and observed that his face
was full of wrath. He feared, but said to himself, "If I flee,
Njegâ will catch me. I will go forward and try artifice." As he
approached Leopard, the latter was very angry, and said, "You play
with me! You say you have not married the woman I wanted. Tell me
the truth!" Tortoise again swore an oath, "No! I have not married
the woman! I told you I ate mushrooms, and offered to show you;
and you refused." So Leopard said, "Well, then, vomit." Tortoise
bent over, and vomited and vomited mushrooms and mushrooms; and then
said triumphantly, "So! Njegâ you see!" Leopard looked, and said,
"But, Ekaga, your belly is still full,--go on vomiting." Tortoise
tried to excuse himself, "I have done vomiting." Leopard persisted,
"No! keep on at it." Tortoise went on retching; and a box of goods fell
out of his mouth. Leopard still said, "Go on!" and Tortoise vomited
in succession a table and other furniture. He was compelled to go on
retching; and slaves came out. And at last, up was vomited the woman!

Leopard shouted, "Ah! Ekaga! you lied! You said you had not married! I
will take this woman!" And he took her, sarcastically saying, "Ekaga,
you have done me a good work! You have brought me all these things,
these goods, and slaves, and a wife! Thank you!"

Tortoise thought to himself, "I have no strength for war." So, though
anger was in his heart, he showed no displeasure in his face. And they
all went on together toward their town. With wrath still in his heart,
he went clear on to the town, and then made his complaint to each of
the townspeople. But they all were afraid of Leopard, and said nothing,
nor dared to give Tortoise even sympathy.

There was in that country among the mountains, an enormous Goat. The
other beasts, all except Leopard, were accustomed to go to that Goat,
when hungry, and say, "We have no meat to eat." And the Goat allowed
them to cut pieces of flesh from his body. He could let any part of
the interior of his body be taken except his heart. All the Animals
had agreed among themselves not to tell Leopard where they got their
meat, lest he, in his greediness, would go and take the heart. So
they had told him they got their meat as he did, hunting.

Tortoise, angry because Leopard has taken his wife, said to himself,
"I will make a cause of complaint against Njegâ that shall bring
punishment upon him from our King. I will cause Njegâ to kill that
Goat." On another day, Tortoise went and got meat from the Goat, and
came back to town, and did not hide it from Leopard. Leopard said to
him, "Ekaga! where did you get this meat?" Tortoise whispered, "Come
to my house, and I will tell you." They went. And Tortoise divided
the meat with him, and said, "Do not tell on me: but, we get the meat
off at a great Goat. Tomorrow, I go; and you, follow behind me."

So, the next day, they went, Tortoise as if by himself, and Leopard
following, off to the great Goat. Arrived there, Leopard wondered
at the sight, "O! this great Goat! But, from where do you take its
meat?" Tortoise replied, "Wait for me! You will see!" He went, and
Leopard followed. Tortoise said to the Goat, "We have meat-hunger:
we come to seek meat from you." The Goat's mouth was open as usual;
Tortoise entered, and Leopard followed, to get flesh from inside. In
the Goat's interior was a house, full of meat; and they entered
it. Leopard wondered at its size; and Tortoise told him, "Cut where
you please, but not from the heart, lest the Goat die." And they began
to take meat. Leopard, with greediness, coveting the forbidden heart,
went with knife near to it.

Tortoise exclaimed, "There! there! be careful." But Leopard, though he
had enough other flesh, longed for the heart, and was not satisfied. He
again approached with the knife near it: and Tortoise warned and
protested. These very prohibitions caused Leopard to have his own
way, and his greediness overcame him. He cut the heart: and the Goat
fell dying.

Tortoise exclaimed, "Eh! Njegâ! I told you not to touch the
heart! Because of this matter I will inform on you." And he added,
"Since it is so, let us go."

But Leopard said, "Goat's mouth is shut. How shall we get out? Let us
hide in this house." And he asked, "Where will you hide?" Tortoise
replied, "In the stomach." Leopard said, "Stomach! It is the very
thing for me, Njegâ, myself!" So Ekaga consented, "Well! take it! I
will hide in the gall-bladder." So they hid, each in his place.

Soon, as they listened, they heard voices shouting, "The Goat is
dead! A fearful thing! The Goat is dead!"

That news spread, and all who had been accustomed to get flesh there,
came to see what was the matter. They all said that, as the Goat was
dead, it was best to cut and divide him. They slit open the belly,
and said, "Lay aside this big stomach; it is good; but throw away the
bitter gall-sac." They looked for the heart; but there was none! A
child, to whom had been handed the gall-bladder to throw it away,
was flinging it into some bushes. As he did so, out jumped something
from among the bushes; and the child asked, "Who are you?" The thing
replied, pretending to be vexed, "I am Ekaga; I come here with the
others to get meat, and you, just as I arrived, throw that dirty thing
in my face!" The other people pacified him, "Do not get angry. Excuse
the child. He did not see you. You shall have your share."

Then Tortoise called out, "Silence! silence! silence!"

They all stood ready to listen, and he said, "Do not cut up the Goat
till we first know who killed it. That stomach there! What makes
it so big?" Leopard, in the stomach, heard; but he did not believe
that Tortoise meant it, and thought to himself, "What a fool is this
Ekaga, in pretending to inform on me, by directing attention to the
stomach!" Tortoise ordered, "All you, take your spears, and stick
that stomach! For the one who killed Goat is in it!" And they all
got their spears ready.

Leopard did not speak or move; for, he still thought Tortoise
was only joking. Tortoise began with his spear, and the others all
thrust in. And Leopard holding the heart, was seen dying! All shouted,
"Ah! Njegâ killed our Goat! Ah! he's the one who killed it." Tortoise
taunted Leopard, "Asai! (shame for you) you took my wife; and now
you are dead!" Leopard died. They divided the Goat, and returned
to town. Tortoise took again his wife and all his goods, now that
Leopard was dead. And he was satisfied that his artifice had surpassed
Leopard's strength.




    Ekaga (Tortoise)
    Njâgu (Elephant)
    Ngubu (Hippopotamus)


African natives are sensitive about questions of equality and
seniority. A certain term, "Mwera" (chum) may be addressed to other
than an equal, only at risk of a quarrel.

A story of the trick by which Tortoise apparently proved himself the
equal of both Elephant and Hippopotamus.

Observe the preposterous size of Elephant's trunk! But everything,
to the native African mind, was enormous in the pre-historic times.

Leopard was dead, after the accusation against him by Tortoise for
killing the great Goat. The children of Leopard were still young;
they had not grown to take their father's power and place. And
Tortoise considered himself now a great personage. He said to people,
"We three who are left,--I and Njâgu and Ngubu, are of equal power;
we eat at the same table, and have the same authority." Every day
he made these boasts; and people went to Elephant and Hippopotamus,
reporting, "So-and-so says Ekaga." Elephant and Hippopotamus laughed,
and disregarded the report, and said, "That's nothing, he's only to
be despised."

One day Hippopotamus met Elephant in the forest; salutations were made,
"Mbolo!" "Ai, mbolo!" each to the other. Hippopotamus asked Elephant
about a new boast that Tortoise had been making, "Have you, or have
you not heard?" Elephant answered, "Yes, I have heard. But I look
on it with contempt. For, I am Njâgu. I am big. My foot is as big as
Ekaga's body. And he says he is equal to me! But, I have not spoken of
the matter, and will not speak, unless I hear Ekaga himself make his
boast. And then I shall know what I will do." And Hippopotamus also
said, "I am doing so too, in silence. I wait to hear Ekaga myself."

Tortoise heard of what Elephant and Hippopotamus had been threatening,
and he asked his informant just the exact words that they had used,
"They said that they waited to hear you dare to speak to them; and
that, in the meanwhile, they despised you."

Tortoise asked, "So! they despise me, do they?" "Yes," was the
reply. Then he said, "So! indeed, I will go to them." He told his wife,
"Give me my coat to cover my body." He dressed; and started to the
forest. He found Elephant lying down; his trunk was eight miles long;
his ears as big as a house, and his four feet beyond measure.

Tortoise audaciously called to him, "Mwera! I have come! You don't
rise to salute me? Mwera has come!" Elephant looked, rose up and
stared at Tortoise, and indignantly asked, "Ekaga! whom do you call
'Mwera'?" Tortoise replied, "You! I call you 'Mwera.' Are you not,
Njâgu?" Elephant, with great wrath, asked, "Ekaga! I have heard you
said certain words. It is true that you said them?"

Tortoise answered, "Njâgu, don't get angry! Wait, let us first have a
conversation." Then he said to Elephant, "I did call you, just now,
'Mwera'; but, you, Njâgu, why do you condemn me? You think that,
because you are of great expanse of flesh, you can surpass Ekaga,
just because I am small? Let us have a test. Tomorrow, sometime in the
morning, we will have a lurelure (tug-of-war)." Said Elephant, "Of what
use? I can mash you with one foot." Tortoise said, "Be patient. At
least try the test." So, Elephant, unwilling, consented. Tortoise
added, "But, when we tug, if one overpulls the other, he shall be
considered the greater; but, if neither, then we are Mwera."

Then Tortoise went to the forest, and cut a very long vine, and coming
back to Elephant, said "This end is yours. I go off into the forest
with my end to a certain spot, and tomorrow I return to that spot;
and we will have our tug, and neither of us will stop, to eat or sleep
until either you pull me over or the vine breaks." Tortoise went far
off with his end of the vine to the town of Hippopotamus, and hid
the vine's end at the outskirts of the town. He went to Hippopotamus
and found him bathing, and going ashore, back and forth, to and from
the water. Tortoise shouted to him, "Mwera! I have come! You! Come
ashore! I am visiting you!" Hippopotamus came bellowing in great
wrath with wide open jaws, ready to fight, and said, "I will fight
you today! For, whom do you call 'Mwera'?"

Tortoise replied, "Why! you! I do not fear your size. Our hearts are
the same. But, don't fight yet! Let us first talk." Hippopotamus
grunted, and sat down; and Tortoise said, "I, Ekaga, I say that
you and I and Njâgu are equal, we are Mwera. Even though you are
great and I small, I don't care. But if you doubt me, let us have a
trial. Tomorrow morning let us have a lurelure. He who shall overcome,
shall be the superior. But, if neither is found superior, then we
are equals." Hippopotamus exclaimed that the plan was absurd; but,
finally he consented.

Tortoise then stood up, and went out, and got his end of the vine,
and brought it to Hippopotamus, and said, "This end is yours. And I
now go. Tomorrow, when you feel the vine shaken, know that I am ready
at the other end; and then you begin, and we will not stop to eat or
sleep until this test is ended."

Hippopotamus then went to the forest to gather leaves of Medicine
with which to strengthen his body. And Elephant, at the other end,
was doing the same, making medicine to give himself strength; and at
night they were both asleep.

In the morning, Tortoise went to the middle of the vine, where at its
half-way, he had made on the ground a mark; and he shook it towards
one end, and then towards the other. Elephant caught his end, as he
saw it shake, and Hippopotamus did the same at his end. "Orindi went
back and forth" (a proverb of a fish of that name that swims in that
way), Elephant and Hippopotamus alternately pulling. "Nkendinli was
born of his father and mother" (a proverb, meaning distinctions in
individualities). Each one, Hippopotamus and Elephant, doing in his
own way. Tortoise smiled at his arrangement with each, that, in the
tug, if one overcame, it would be proved by his dragging the other;
but, if neither overcame, they were not to cease, until the vine broke.

Elephant holding the vine taut, and Hippopotamus also holding it taut,
Tortoise was laughing in his heart as he watched the quivering vine.

He went away to seek for food, leaving those two at their tug,
in hunger. He went off into the forest and found his usual food,
mushrooms. He ate his belly full, and then took his drink; and then
went to his town to sleep.

He rose in late afternoon, and said to himself, "I'll go and see about
the tug, whether those fools are still pulling." When he went there,
the vine was still stretched taut; and he thought, "Asai! shame! let
them die with hunger!" He sat there, the vine trembling with tensity,
and he in his heart mocking the two tired beasts. The one drew the
other toward himself; and then, a slight gain brought the mark back;
but neither was overcoming.

At last Tortoise nicked the vine with his knife; the vine parted; and,
at their ends, Elephant and Hippopotamus fell violently back onto
the ground. Tortoise said to himself, "So! that's done! Now I go to
Elephant with one end of the broken vine; tomorrow to Hippopotamus." He
went, and came on to Elephant, and found him looking dolefully, and
bathing his leg with medicine, and said, "Mwera! How do you feel? Do
you consent that we are Mwera?" Elephant admitted, "Ekaga, I did not
know you were so strong! When the vine broke, I fell over and hurt
my leg. Yes, we are really equal. Really! strength is not because
the body is large. I despised you because your body was small. But
actually, we are equal in strength!"

So they ate and drank and played as chums; and Tortoise returned to
his town.

Early the next morning, with the other end of the broken vine, he went
to visit Hippopotamus, who looked sick, and was rubbing his head,
and asked, "Ngubu! How do you feel, Mwera?" Hippopotamus answered,
"Really! Ekaga! so we are equals! I, Ngubu, so great! And you,
Ekaga, so small! We pulled and pulled. I could not surpass you,
nor you me. And when the vine broke, I fell and hurt my head. So,
indeed strength has no greatness of body." Tortoise and Hippopotamus
ate and drank and played; and Tortoise returned to his town.

After that, whenever they three and others met to talk in palaver
(council) the three sat together on the highest seats. Were they
equal? Yes, they were equal.




    Njegâ (Leopard)
    Ntori (Rat)
    Rângi (Frog)
    Igâmbâ (Crab)


In native African etiquette, a company of persons is saluted with the
use of the verb in the plural; but only the oldest, or the supposed
leader, if his name is known, is mentioned by name.

The native custom among polite tribes, is to leave a guest to eat
without being watched.

The twitching of a muscle of an arm, or any other part of the body
(called okalimambo) is regarded as a sign of coming evil. Compare
Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1.

   "By the pricking of my thumb
    Something wicked this way comes."

The absurd and the unreasonable (e.g., the swallowing of a wife,
goats, servants, etc.) are a constant feature of the native legends
in their use of the impossible.

All native Africans have more than one name, and often change their
names to suit circumstances. But, while all their names have a meaning
(just as our English names, "Augustus," "Clara," etc.) those meanings
are not thought of when denominating an individual; e.g., "Bwalo"
which means canoe.

Leopards do not like to wet their feet.

Leopard wanted a new wife. So he sought for a young woman of a far
country, of whom he heard as a nice girl, a daughter of one of the
Kings of that country. He did not go himself, but sent word, and
received answer by messenger. Neither the woman nor her father had
ever seen Leopard. They knew of him only by reputation.

The King was pleased with the proposed alliance, and assented,
saying, "Yes! I am willing. Go! get yourself ready, and come with
your marriage company." So Leopard went around and invited many
other beasts, "Come! and help me get a new one!" They all replied,
"Yes!" And they all started together for the King's town.

When they had gone half-way, one of their number, a big forest Rat
said, "Brothers! let us begin here to change our names, so that when
we get to the town, we shall not be known by our usual names." But
Leopard refused, "No! I won't! I stick by my old name. My name is
Njegâ." All the others said the same, and retained their own names.

But Rat insisted for himself, "I will not be called Ntori. I will be
called 'Strangers.' My name is Agenda," (the plural of ogenda which
means "stranger").

When they approached the town, the inhabitants, with great
politeness, ran out to welcome them, shouting, "Agenda! Saleni,
Saleni!" (Strangers! Welcome ye! welcome ye!) Rat turned to the
company and said, "Hear that! you see they are saluting me as the
leader of this company."

Upon their entering the town, they were shown to the large public
Reception-House; and the people said to them, "Now! strangers
(Agenda!), march in!" Rat turned again to his companions, and said,
"You see! they have again addressed me specially by name, asking me
to take possession of this room."

They all went in feeling uncomfortably; but Rat said to them, "Never
mind! though this room was evidently prepared specially for me,
I am not selfish, and I invite you to share it with me."

After the visitors had all been seated, the people came to give them
the formal final salutation, saying "Strangers (Agenda), mbolani! (long
life to ye)." Rat promptly whispered to his companions, saying,
"This mbolo is to me for you, I alone will respond to it." So, only
he replied, "Ai Mbolani! Ai." (Mbolani is the second person plural
of the irregular defective verb Mbolo equal to "live long.")

The day passed. In the evening, the people brought in an abundant
supply of food, and set it down on the table, saying, "Strangers
(Agenda!), eat! Here is your food!" And they went out, closing the
door, so that the guests in their eating should not be annoyed by
spectators. Then Rat said, "You see! All this food is mine, though I
am not able to eat it all." He alone began to eat of it. When he had
satisfied his appetite, he said, "Truly this food is my own, but I
am sorry for you, and I will give you of it." So he gave out to each,
one by one, very small pieces of fish and plantain.

In the morning, the people thoughtfully sent water for the usual
morning washing of hands and face. Rat hasted to open the door; and
the slaves carrying the vessels of water, said to him, "These are
sent to the strangers (Agenda)." So Rat took the water and used it
all for himself.

This second day was a repetition of the first. The townspeople
continued their hospitality, sending food and drink and tobacco and
fruits; and making many kind inquiries of what "the Agenda" would like
to have. Rat, received all these things as for himself; while the rest
of the company felt themselves slighted, and were hungry and disgusted.

On the third day, the company said among themselves, "Njegâ told us
that our visit was to last the usual five days; but we cannot stand
such treatment as this!" And they began to run away, one by one. Even
Leopard himself followed them, provoked at his expected father-in-law's
supposed neglect of him. But, before Leopard had gone, Rat went to
the bride elect, and said, "I never saw such a party as this! They
do not eat, and are not willing to await the Marriage Dance for the
Bride on the fifth day."

When they were all secretly gone, leaving Rat alone, he said to the
woman, "I will tell them all to go, even my friend Njegâ whom I brought
to escort me. But I will not go without you, even if we have not had
the dance; for, I am the one who was to marry you." And the father
of the girl said to Rat, "Since they have treated you so, never mind
to call them again for the Dance. You just take your wife and go."

So the King gave his daughter farewell presents of boxes of clothing,
and two female servants to help her, and a number of goats, and
men-servants to carry the baggage.

Rat and wife and attendants set out on their journey. When they were
far away from the King's town, Rat exclaimed, "I feel okalimambo
(premonition)." (He suspected that Leopard was somewhere near.) So
he dismissed the men-servants, and sent them back to the King. And
then quickly, in order to hide them, he swallowed the woman and the
two maid-servants and all the boxes of clothing, and the goats.

Rat then went on, and on, and on, with his journey, until at a
cross-roads, he saw Leopard coming cross-ways toward him; and he
called out, "Who are you?" The reply came, "I am Njegâ. And who are
you?" Rat answered, "Ntori."

Then Leopard called to him, "Come here!" "No!" said Rat, "I am in a
hurry, and want to get home--" And he went on without stopping. So
Leopard said, "Well, I pass on my way too!" "Good!" said Rat, "Pass
on!" And they went on their separate ways.

But Leopard, at a turn in his road, rounded back, and hasted by
another path to get in front of Rat. When Leopard again saw Rat a
short distance before him, he calls out, "Who are you?" The reply was
"Ntori; and who are you?" Leopard answered, "I'm Njegâ. Stop on your
way, and come here to me!" Rat replied, "No! you asked me once before
to stop, and I refused. And I refuse now; I must pass on."

Because of Rat's unwillingness to stop, Leopard began to chase him,
and to shout at him, "You have my wife!" Rat answered back, "No! I
have no wife of yours!" "You lie! You have the woman with you. What
makes your body so big?"

Rat ran as fast as he could, with Leopard close after him. Rat's home
is always a hole in the ground; and, as he was hard pressed in his
flight, he dashed into the first hole he came to, which happened to
be a small opening into a cave. But his tail was not yet drawn in and
Leopard was so near that he seized it. Projecting from the mouth of
the hole there was also the small root of a tree. Rat called out,
"Friend Njegâ! what do you think you have caught hold of?" "Your
tail!" said Leopard. Said Rat, "That is not my tail! this other thing
near you is my tail!" So Leopard let go of the tail, and seized the
root. Rat slid quickly to the bottom of the hole, and called out,
"O! Njegâ! I did not think you were so silly! You had hold of my
tail, and you let me go! You just look at your hand; you will see my
tail-hairs clinging to it!"

Leopard went away in wrath; and, finding Frog at a near-by brook, he
said to him, "Rângi! you just watch. I do not want Ntori to escape
from that hole. Watch, while I go to get some fire, with which to
burn him out."

Shortly after Leopard had gone, Rat began to creep out. Seeing Frog
standing on guard, he said, "Good Rângi! let me pass!" But Frog
replied, "No! I have my orders to watch you here." Then said Rat,
"If that is so, why don't you come close here, and attend to your
duty? You are too far from this hole. If a person is set to watch,
he should be near the thing he watches. As far as you are there, I
could, if I tried, get out without your catching me. So, it is better
for you to have a good look down this hole." While Rat was saying
all this, he was near the mouth of the hole; but, as Frog approached,
he receded to the bottom, and went to the back end of the cave, where
cayenne pepper bushes were growing. Frog came to the edge of the hole,
and looking down, saw nothing.

During this while, Rat was plucking pepper-pods and chewing them,
retaining them in his mouth. Returning again to the entrance, he
saw Frog still watching, and he said, "Rângi! get out of my way,
and let me pass. Let me out!" Frog replied, "I will not!" Rat asked,
"Do you know me?" Frog replied, "Not very well." Then Rat said, "Come
near! Open your eyes wide, and take a good look at me!" As soon as
Frog's eyes were wide open, Rat blew the pepper into them. This so
startled Frog that he fell back, his eyes blinded by the smarting;
and Rat jumped out and ran away. Frog, heedless of his prisoner,
was jumping about in pain; and, abandoning his post, crawled to the
water of the brook not far away, and tumbled into it to wash his eyes.

Now, by this time, Leopard had returned with his fire. Seeing no
one on guard, he called out, "Rângi! Rângi! where are you?" Frog, at
the bottom of the brook, was still in agony with his eyes. He knew
well that Rat was gone; but, in his vexation, he answered, "Ntori
is there! Put in your fire!" So, Leopard put fire into the hole,
and made a great smoke, but there was no sign of Rat.

After a long time, Leopard became tired at not finding Rat, and
called out, "Rângi! Rângi! Where indeed is Ntori? He has not come
out by this fire!" Then Frog answered, "Ntori is not there. I just
lied to you in vexation of the pain I got through serving you." So,
Leopard was very angry and said to Frog, "You have deceived and fooled
me! I will just come and eat you up!" Said Frog, "Good! come on!"

Leopard ran to the brook, but, as Frog was at the bottom, Leopard
had first to drink all the water, before he could reach him. Leopard
drank and drank. But, as soon as the water was nearly drunk up,
Frog jumped out, and hopped away to an adjacent pond. There Leopard
followed, and began to drink up that water also. He drank, and drank,
and drank, until he became so full and his belly so swollen that
his feet no longer touched the ground; and he fell over on his back,
before he had entirely emptied the pond. He was in such great pain, in
his swollen belly, that he was helpless, and cried out to passersby,
"Please, open a little hole in my body, and let out this water!" But
each of the passersby said, "No! I am afraid that after I have helped
you, then you will eat me."

At last, among those who passed by, came Crab. Leopard pleaded with
him, "Igâmbâ! please! open my skin. Let out this water, so that I may
live!" At first, Crab replied as the others, "No! I fear that after I
help you, you will eat me." But Leopard begged so piteously that Crab
consented, and scratched Leopard's skin with one of his claws. And
the water spurted out! It came in so fast a current that it began
to sweep Crab away. So Leopard cried out, "Igâmbâ! Please! do not
let yourself be taken away! Catch hold on some root or branch!" Crab
did so, holding on to a projecting root. When the water had subsided,
and Crab was safe, Leopard was able to rise; and he said, "Igâmbâ! you
have been kind to me; let me take you home, and I will be good to you;
I will cook dinner, so we can eat together." Crab agreed, and they
went together.

Leopard began to cook a kind of yam called nkwa, making a pot full
of it. (When it is thoroughly cooked, it is soft and sticky.) The
yam being finally ready to be eaten, Leopard said, "We do not put
this food out on plates, but we bring the entire pot, and every one
will help himself from it with his hands." Leopard thereupon began
to take out handfuls of the nkwa, and to eat it. Crab tried to do
the same, putting a claw into the sticky mass. But its heat burned
his tender skin, and, in jerking his claw away, it stuck fast in the
nkwa, and broke off. As soon as that happened, Leopard snatched up
the claw and ate it. Crab protested, "Ah! Njegâ! you are eating my
claw!" Said Leopard, "Excuse me! No, I thought it was nkwa." So the
dinner went on; Leopard greedily eating, Crab trying in vain to eat,
and losing claw after claw, which Leopard in succession promptly ate.

Now, when Leopard had finished eating all the food, Crab's claws
were all gone, and he had not been able to eat at all, and was left
hungry. So Leopard says to Crab, "Now, as you are so helpless, what
must I do for you?" He hoped that Crab, in despair, would tell him
to eat him. But Leopard really was not hungry just then; and, when
Crab said, "If you will just put me into some shallow water for two
months, then all my claws will grow all right again," Leopard replied,
"Good!" and he took Crab and placed him in a small stream of water.

The next day, Leopard, being now hungry to eat Crab, came to the water
and called out, "Igâmbâ! Igâmbâ! have you your claws grown now?" The
reply was, "Why! No! I told you two months yesterday, when you put
me in here."

On the third day, Leopard came again to the water, and cried out to
Crab, "Have your claws sprouted? Have they grown again?" "No!" said
Crab curtly.

Leopard continued thus day by day, vexing Crab with inquiries, as if
anxious about his health, but really desirous of an excuse to eat him,
yet ashamed to do so by violence, because of Crab's kindness to him
when he had the water-colic.

At last, Crab became tired of Leopard's visits. Hopeless to defend
himself if Leopard should finally use force, he gave up in despair,
and said, "So! I see why you ask me every day. You know that I told
you two months. If you are determined to eat me, come on, and end
the trouble at once!" With this permission as an excuse, Leopard was
glad. He stepped to the edge of the water and took away Crab for his
dinner. That was the return for Crab's kindness to him. After this,
Leopard went out again to try to find Rat, but he never found him.




    Kingdom of the Hogs; The Forest; and Towns


    Angângwe, King of Hogs
    A Hunter
    Ingowa (Hogs; singular Ngowa)
    Njina (Gorilla)
    Nyare (Ox)
    Nkambi (Antelope)
    Njâgu (Elephant)


"Inkula si nyo o'kângâ 'Ngângwe."

This is a proverb expressing the obligation we all owe to some superior
protecting powers.

The Hogs had cleared a space in the forest, for the building of their
town. They were many; men and women and children.

In another place, a Hunter was sitting in his town. Every day, at
daybreak, he went out to hunt. When he returned in the afternoons with
his prey, he left it a short distance from the town, and entering his
house, would say to his women and children, "Go to the outskirts of
the town, and bring what animal you find I have left there."

One day, having gone hunting, he killed Elephant. The children went
out to cut it up and bring it in.

Another day, he killed Gorilla.

And so, each day, he killed some animal. He never failed of obtaining

One day, his children said to him, "You always return with some animal;
but you never have brought us Ngowa." He replied, "I saw many Ingowa
today, when I was out there. But, I wonder at one thing; that, when
they are all together eating, and I approach, they run away. As to
Ingowa, they eat nkula nuts and I know where the trees are. Well, then,
I ambush them; but, when I go nearer, I see one big Ngowa not eating,
but going around and around the herd. Whether it sees me or does not
see, sure when I get ready to aim my gun, then they all scatter. The
reason that Ingowa escape me, I do not know."

The Hogs, when they had finished eating, and were returning to their
own town, as they passed the town of Elephant, heard mourning; and
they asked, "Who is dead?" The answer was, "Njâgu is dead! Njâgu is
dead!" They inquired, "He died of what disease?" They were told, "Not
disease; Hunter killed him." Then another day, when Ox was killed,
his people were heard mourning for him. Another day, Antelope was
killed; and his people were mourning for him. All these animals were
dying because of Hunter killing them.

At first, the Hogs felt pity for all these other Beasts. But, when
they saw how they were dying, they began to mock at them, "These are
not people! They only die! But, as to us Ingowa, Hunter is not able
to kill us. We hear only the report that there is such a person as
Hunter, but he is not able to kill us."

When Hogs were thus boasting, their King, Angângwe, laughed at them,
saying, "You don't know, you Ingowa! You mock others, that Hunter kills
them?" They answered, "Yes, we mock at them; for, we go to the forest
as they do, but Hunter does not touch us." Angângwe asked, "When you
thus in the forest eat your inkula-nuts, you each one eat them by his
own strength and skill?" They answered, "Yes; ourselves we go to the
forest on our own feet; we ourselves pick up and eat the inkula. No one
feeds us." Angângwe said, "It is not so. Those inkula you eat si nyo
o'kângâ wa oma (they are eaten because of a person)." They insisted,
"No, it is not so. Inkula have no person in particular to do anything
about them." Thus they had this long discussion, the Hogs and their
King; and they got tired of it, and lay down to sleep.

In the morning, when daylight came, the King said, "A journey for
nuts! But, today, I am sick. I am not able to go to gather nuts with
you. I will stay in town." The Hogs said, "Well! we do not mistake
the way. It is not necessary for you to go."

When they went, they were jeering about their King, "Angângwe said,
'Inkula si nyo o'kângâ w' oma'; but we will see today without
him." They went to the nkula trees, and found great abundance fallen
to the ground during the night. The herd of Hogs, when they saw all
these inkula, jumped about in joy. They stooped down to pick up the
nuts, their eyes busy with the ground. They ate and ate. No one of
them thought of Hunter, whether he was out in the forest.

But, that very morning, Hunter had risen, taken his gun and
ammunition-box, and had gone to hunt. And, after awhile, he had
seen the Hogs in the distance. They were only eating and eating,
not looking at anything but nuts.

Hunter said in his heart, "These Hogs, I see them often, but why
have I not been able to kill them?" He crept softly nearer and
nearer. Creeping awhile then he stood up to spy; and again stooping,
and again standing up to spy. He did not see the big Hog which,
on other days, he had always observed going around and around the
herd. Hunter stooped close to the ground, and crept onward. Then,
as he approached closer, the Hogs still went on eating. He bent his
knee to the earth, and he aimed his gun! Ingowa still eating! His
gun flashed! and ten Hogs died!

The Hogs fled; some of them wounded. Those who were not wounded,
stopped before they reached their town, and said, "Let us wait for
the wounded." They waited. When the hindmost caught up and joined
the others, they showed them their wounds, some in the head, some in
the legs. These wounded ones said, "As we came, we saw none others
behind us. There are ten of us missing; we think they are dead." So,
they all returned toward their Town; and, on their way, began to mourn.

When they had come clear on to the town, Angângwe asked, "What news,
from where you come?" They answered, "Angângwe! evil news! But we
do not know what is the matter. Only we know that the words you
said are not really so, that 'nuts are eaten because of a certain
person.' Because, when we went, each one of us gathered by his
own skill, and ate by his own strength, and no one trusted to any
one else. And when we went, we ate abundantly, and everything was
good. Except that, Hunter has killed ten of us. And many others
are wounded."

The King inquired, "Well! have you brought nuts for me who was left
in Town?" They replied, "No; when Hunter shot us, we feared, and could
no longer wait." Then Angângwe said, "I told you that inkula are eaten
because of a person, and you said, 'not so.' And you still doubt me."

Another day, the Hogs went for inkula; and the King, remained in
town. And, as on the other day, Hunter killed them. So, for five
successive days, they went, the King staying in town; and Hunter
killing them.

Finally, Angângwe said to himself, "Ingowa have become great
fools. They do not consent to admit that nuts are eaten by reason
of a certain person. They see how Hunter kills them; and they still
doubt my words. But, I pity them. Tomorrow, I will go with them to
the nuts. I will explain to them how Hunter kills them."

So, in the morning, the King ordered, "Come all to nuts! But when
we go for the nuts, if I say, 'Ngh-o-o!' then every one of you who
are eating them must start to town, and not come back, because then I
have seen or smelt Hunter; and I grunt to let you know." All the Hogs
agreed. They went on clear to the nkula trees, and ate, they stooping
with eyes to the ground. But Angângwe, not eating, kept looking here
and there. He sniffed wind from south to north, and assured them,
"Eat you all! I am here!" He watched and watched; and presently he
saw a speck far away. He passed around to sniff the wind. His nose
uplifted, he caught the odor of Hunter. He returned to the herd,
grunted "Ngh-o-o." And he and they all fled. They arrived safely
at town.

Then he asked them, "Who is dead? who is wounded?" They assured,
"None." He said, "Good!"

Thus they went nutting, for five consecutive days, they and their King,
Angângwe only keeping watch. And none of them died by Hunter.

Then Angângwe said to them, "Today let us have a conversation." And
he began, "I told you, inkula si nyo o'kângâ w' oma; you said, 'Not
so!' But, when you went by yourselves to eat nuts, did not Hunter
kill you? And these five days that we have gone, you and I together,
and you obeyed my voice, who has died?"

They then replied, "No one! no one! Indeed, you spoke truly. You are
justified. Inkula si nyo o'kângâ wa 'Ngângwe. It is so!"




    Ngando (Crocodile)
    Sinyani (Birds)
    Sinyama (Beasts)


An Argument in Evolution--When and How does Life begin?

Crocodile was very old. Finally he died. News of his death spread
abroad among the Beasts; and his relatives and friends came to the
Mourning. After a proper number of days had passed, the matter of
the division of the property was mentioned. At once a quarrel was
developed, on the question as to who were his nearest relatives.

The tribe of Birds said, "He is ours and we will be the ones to
divide the property." Their claim was disputed, others asking, "On
what ground do you claim relationship? You wear feathers; you do not
wear plates of armor as he." The Birds replied, "True, he did not wear
our feathers. But, you are not to judge by what he put on during his
life. Judge by what he was in his life's beginning. Look you! In his
beginning, he began with us as an egg. We believe in eggs. His mother
bore him as an egg. He is our relative, and we are his heirs."

But the Beasts said, "Not so! We are his relatives, and by us shall
his property be divided."

Then the Council of Animals demanded of the Beasts on what ground
they based their claim for relationship, and what answer they could
make to the argument of the birds as to Crocodile's egg-origin.

The Beasts said, "It may be true that the mark of tribe must be found,
in a beginning, but not in an egg. For, all Beings began as eggs. Life
is the original beginning. Look you! When life really begins in the
egg, then the mark of tribe is shown. When Ngando's life began, he
had four legs as we have. We judge by legs. So we claim him as our
relative. And we will take his property."

But, the Birds answered, "You Beasts said we were not relatives because
we wear feathers, and not ngando-plates. But, you, look you! Judge
by your own words. Neither do you wear ngando-plates, you with your
hair and fur! Your words are not correct. The beginning of his life
was not, as you say, when little Ngando sprouted some legs. There was
life in the egg before that. And his egg was like ours, not like what
you call your eggs. You are not his relatives. He is ours."

But the Beasts disputed still. So the quarrel went back and forth. And
they never settled it.




    The Country of Birds in Njambi's Kingdom
    Njambi's Town


    Ra-Njambi (Lord or Master of all)
    Njâgâni (Chicken)
    Ngozo (Parrot)
    Ngwanyâni (Eagle)
    Ugulungu (Schizorhis, Plantain-Eater)


1st--Ability to Speak a greater gift than ability in Walking, Flying,
or any other Force.

2nd--Why Chickens live with Mankind.

All the Birds had their dwelling-place in a certain country of
Njambi's Kingdom. The pelicans, chickens, eagles, parrots and all
other winged kinds all lived together, separated from other animals,
in that country under the Great Lord Njambi.

One day, they were discussing together on the question, "Who is King of
the Birds?" They all, each one, named himself, e.g., the Chicken said,
"I!;" the Parrot, "I!" the Eagle "I!" and so on. Every day they had
this same discussion. They were not able to settle it, or to agree to
choose any one of their number. So, they said, "Let us go to Ra-Njambi,
and refer the question to him." They agreed; and all went to him so
that he might name who was the superior among them. When they all had
arrived at Njambi's Town, he asked, "What is the affair on which you
have come?" They replied, "We have come together here, not to visit,
but for a purpose. We have a discussion and a doubt among ourselves. We
wish to know, of all the Birds, who is Head or Chief. Each one says
for himself that he is the superior. This one, because he knows how
to fly well; that one because he can speak well; and another one,
because he is strong. But, of these three things,--flight, speech,
and strength, we ask you, which is the greatest?"

Immediately all the Birds began a competition, each one saying,
"Choose me; I know how to speak!" Njambi silenced them, and bade them,
"Well, then, come here! I know that you all speak. But, show me,
each one of you, your manner of speaking."

So Eagle stood up to be examined. Njambi asked him, "How do you
speak? What is your manner of talking?" Eagle began to scream,
"So-o-we! so-o-we! so-o-we!" Njambi said, "Good! Now call me your
wife!" The wife of Eagle came, and Njambi said to her, "You are
the wife of Ngwanyâni, how do you talk?" The wife replied, "I say,
'So-o-we! So-o-we! So-o-we!'" Ra-Njambi said to Eagle, "Indeed! you
and your wife speak the same kind of language." Eagle answered, "Yes;
I and my wife, we speak alike." They were ordered, "Sit you aside."

Then Ra-Njambi directed, "Bring me here Ngozo." And he asked, "Ngozo,
how do you talk? What is your way of speaking?" Parrot squawked,
"I say, 'Ko-do-ko!'" Ra-Njambi ordered, "Well, call me your wife!" She
came; and he asked her, "How do you talk? Talk now!" The wife replied,
"I say, 'Ko-do-ko!'" Njambi asked Parrot, "So! your wife says,
'Ko-do-ko?'" Parrot answered "Yes; my wife and I both say, 'Ko-do-ko.'"

Njambi then ordered, "Call me here, Ugulungu." He came,
and was asked, "And how do you talk?" He shouted, "I say,
'Mbru-kâ-kâ! mbru-kâ-kâ! mbru!'" Njambi told him, "Call me your
wife!" She came, and, when asked, spoke in the same way as her
husband. Njambi dismissed them, "Good! you and your wife say the same
thing. Good!"

So, all the Birds, in succession, were summoned; and they all,
husband and wife, had the same mode of speaking, except one who had
not hitherto been called.

Njambi finally said, "Call Njâgâni here!" The Cock stood up, and
strutted forward. Njambi asked him, "What is your speech? Show
me your mode of talking!" Cock threw up his head, stretched his
throat, and crowed, "Kâ-kâ-re-kââ." Njambi said, "Good! summon
your wife hither." The wife came; and, of her, Njambi asked,
"And, what do you say?" She demurely replied, "My husband told me
that I might talk only if I bore children. So, when I lay an egg,
I say 'Kwa-ka! Kwa-ka!'" Njambi exclaimed, "So! you don't say,
'Kâ-kâ-re-kââ,' like your husband?" She replied, "No, I do not talk
as he."

Then Njambi said to Cock, "For what reason do you not allow your
wife to say, 'Kâ-kâ-re-kââ?'" Cock replied, "I am Njâgâni, I respect
myself. I jeer at all these other birds. Their wives and themselves
speak only in the same way. A visitor, if he comes to their towns,
is not able to know, when one of them speaks, which is husband and
which is wife, because they both speak alike. But I, Njâgâni, as to
my wife, she is unable to speak as I do. I do not allow it. A husband
should be at the head; and in his wife it is not becoming for her to
be equal with him or to talk as well as he does."

Njambi listened to this long speech; and then inquired, "Have you
finished?" Chicken answered, "Yes."

Njambi summoned all the Birds to stand together in one place near
him, and he said, "The affair which you brought to me, I settle it
thus:--Njâgâni is your Head; because you others all speak, husband and
wife, each alike. But, he speaks for himself in his own way, and his
wife in her way; to show that a husband has priority and superiority
over a wife. Therefore, as he knows how to be Head of his family,
it is settled that Njâgâni is Head also of your Tribe."

But, Njambi went on to say, "Though this is true, you, Njâgâni, don't
you go back again into the Forest, to your Kingship of the Birds. For
the other birds will be jealous of you. You are not strong, you cannot
fight them all. Lest they kill you, stay with me in my Town."

Cock went to get his wife and children, and returned and remained
there with Ra-Njambi. Therefore, the original bird to dwell among
Mankind was the chicken.

When the other Birds scattered and went back to their own forest
country without their king, they said, "Let it be so! We will not
choose another King. Our King has left us, and has emigrated to
another country, and has sat down in Njambi's Town."

So, the Birds have lived in the forest without any King.

There is another story which gives a different explanation of chickens
being the first of birds to dwell among Mankind.

The Birds had no fire. They had to eat their food raw, and to shiver
on cold days. In flying over the other countries, they saw Mankind
using, in the preparation of their food, a thing which birds did
not have. They observed that that thing seemed to add much to the
comfort of Mankind. So, they chose Chicken, not as their King, but,
because he knew so well how to speak, to go as their messenger, to
ask Mankind to share that thing with them. Chicken left the Forest,
and started on his journey, and came to the towns of Men.

He found so much food lying around, and it tasted so good because
it had been touched by that bright thing which he heard people
call "Fire," that he delayed the delivery of his message. And Men
were pleased with his usefulness in awaking them in the morning,
as he called them to get up and make their fires. The situation was
so comfortable, as Mankind allowed him to walk in and out of their
houses at will, that he forgot his errand, and chose to stay with Men,
and never went back to the Forest.

The birds, having no one else who united both audacity to act and
ability to speak, never sent another messenger on that errand, and
they remain without fire to this day.




    Njiwo (A Species of Antelope)
    Nyare (Ox)


An event (the supposed death of the red antelope) is traced to its
first cause (sleep) back of the immediate causes (the people who
actually sought to kill him). Whence the proverb, "Eziwo a juwi na
Antyâvinâ." "Eziwo" is a familiar way of pronouncing Njiwo.

Antelope and Ox went to a town to dance Bweti (a certain
spirit-dance). After the dance, Antelope, exhausted with the exercise,
fell asleep in the Bweti-house. While he was there, certain persons
made a plot to kill him. Ox heard of it, and came to warn him,
calling gently, (lest he should be overheard and himself seized),
"Njiwo! Eziwo!" But antelope did not hear, and Ox made no further
effort, and ran away to his home in fear for his own life.

Then came Antelope's wife, while he still slept, and loudly called
him. He, only half-awake, grumbled, "What do you call me for? Let me
rest. I'm tired by the dancing." She persisted, "I call you because
certain persons want to kill you." But, he, still heavy with sleep, did
not understand, and was not willing to rise, and went on sleeping. Then
his wife, unable to arouse him, went to call other people to help her.

While she was away, his enemies came and tied him with ropes, and
left him there tied, still sleeping, alone in the house. They locked
the house, and went away, intending to return and kill him when he
should awake. Before they came back, his wife returned with aid; and,
with machetes and knives, they cut open the door, and found him with
his limbs tied, and still sleeping. They roughly shook him, and he,
half-conscious, asked, "What do you want here?" His wife replied,
"I have come to carry you away." So, she untied the ropes, and they
lifted him and carried him away, still too sleepy to walk himself.

While all this was going on, the people of the town to which Ox had
fled, asked him, "There were two of you who went to dance Bweti. You
are here, but where is the other?" Ox, assuming that Antelope was dead,
and not knowing what Antelope's wife had done, told how he had been
unable to waken him, and said, "Eziwo was killed while asleep." Then
the village people said regretfully, "Eh! Eziwo! Sleep has killed him!"

In the meantime, Antelope and his wife had reached the town, where the
news of his death had preceded them; and the people wondered, saying,
"Nyare reported that you were cut to pieces!" Then Antelope's wife
explained that he would have been killed, because Ox had not made
every effort to arouse him from his deep sleep.

So the friendship of Ox and Antelope ended. And the proverb came, that,
"Eziwo died of sleep."




    King Ra-Mborakinda
    Manga (Manatus)
    Ngowa (Hog; Pl. Ingowa)
    Arandi (Oyster)


Accept no challenge whose test you know you cannot endure. Oyster,
without fat, accepted the challenge of the fat Hog and the fatter

The fat of the Manatus, or dugong seal, is delicious and very abundant.

Ra-Mborakinda was dwelling in his Town, with his people and the glory
of his Kingdom. There were gathered there the Manatus, the Oyster
and the Hog, waiting to be assigned their kingdoms. To pass the time,
while waiting until the King should summon them for their assignments,
Oyster said, "You, Manga, and Ngowa, let us have a dance!" And they
went to exhibit before the King. They danced and danced, each one
dancing his own special dance.

After that they made a fire, each one at his own fire-place, and sat
down to rest. Then Hog proposed a new entertainment. He said, "You,
Arandi, and Manga, we all three shall test ourselves by fire, to see
who has the most fat." And they all three went into their respective
fire-places, Hog into his, and Manatus into his, and Oyster into
its. Under the influence of the heat, the fat in their bodies began
to melt.

Then the King announced, "To the one who shall prove to have the most
fat, I will give a great extent of country as its kingdom." So, they
all three tried to show much fat, in their effort to win the prize.

Presently, the fat of Hog began to cease exuding, for he had not a
great deal. As to Oyster, it had no fat. What it produced was not
fat at all, but water; and that was in such quantity that it put out
its fire.

These facts about the Hog and Oyster were reported to the King,
and when he inquired how Manatus was getting on, lo! it was found
that she had such abundance of fat, that the oil flowing from her
had burst into flame and had set the town on fire.

At this, the King wondered, and exclaimed, "This Manga, that lives
in the water, has yet enough fat to set the town afire!"

Then Manatus with Hog and Oyster went and sat together in the
open court before the King's house, to await what would be his
decision. When he was ready, he sent two heralds to summon not only
those three, but all the Tribes of the Beasts of the Forest, and of
the Fishes of the Sea; and the town was full of these visitors. But,
Hog and all his tribe had become impatient of waiting, and had gone
off for a walk. All the other animals that had been summoned, came
into the King's presence, and he, having ascended his throne, said,
"I am ready now to speak with these three persons; but, I see that
the Ingowa are not here. So, because of their disrespect in going off
to amuse themselves with a walk instead of waiting for me, I condemn
that they shall no longer wear any horns."

Then the King announced that, as Manatus had the most fat, her promised
territory should be the Sea, and of it she should be ruler. But,
Manatus said, "I do not want to live in the Sea, lest I be killed
there." The King asked, "Then, where will you prefer to live?" She
answered, "In such rivers as I shall like."

That is the reason that the Manatus lives only in rivers and bays. For,
one day she and her children had floated with the tide to the mouth
of a river and into the Sea; and some of them had been killed there
by sharks and other big fish. So, the Manatus is never now found near
the Sea on ordinary tides, but only when high tides have swept it down.

Just as the King had made his announcement, the company of Hogs
returned and entered the Assembly. They explained, "We have just come
back from our walk, and we wish to resume our horns which we left
here." But the King refused, and kept possession of the horns. Hog
begged, "Please! let me have my horns!" But the King swore an oath,
saying, "O savi! (By the Blessing!) wherever you go, and whatever
you be, you shall have no horns." So the Hogs departed.

Now Oyster stood up, and said, "I wish to go to my place. Where shall
it be?" The King said, "I will give you no other place than what you
already have had. I do not wish to put you into the fresh-water springs
and brooks with Manga. You shall go into the salty waters." So Oyster
went; and its race lives on the edge of the rivers, near the Sea,
in brackish waters. And the King said to Oyster, "All the tribes of
Mankind, by the Sea, when they fail to obtain other fish, shall be
allowed to eat you."

All knew that this was a punishment given by the King to Oyster,
for having dared the test by fire, pretending that it had fat, the
while it had none.




    Mbo (Mosquito)
    Oroi (Ear)
    Aga (Hands)


It is a practice of African natives, after taking a bath, to anoint
their bodies with some oil or grease.

In the time of Long-ago, in Njambi's Town, Mosquito and Ear went
out to take a bath together. After taking her bath, Ear began to rub
an oily substance over herself; while Mosquito did not. So Ear said
to Mosquito, "Why do you leave your skin so rough? It is better to
rub on a little oil." Mosquito replied, "I have none." So Ear said,
"Indeed! I did not know that. I will give you part of mine, as I have
plenty." Mosquito had to wait the while that Ear was rubbing the soft
wax over herself. But, as soon as Ear had finished, she put back the
wax into her ear where she usually kept it, and did not fulfill her
promise to Mosquito.

When Mosquito saw this, that the wax was put away, he came near to
the door, and said, "I want the oil you promised for rubbing on my
body." But Ear took no notice of him, except to call on Hands to
drive Mosquito away.

So, to this day, Mosquito is not willing to cease making his claim
for the unfulfilled promise; and is always coming to our ears, and
buzzing and crying. Always Mosquito comes and says, "I want my oil,
Bz-z-z-z." But Ear remains silent, and gives no answer. And Mosquito
keeps on grumbling and complaining, and gets angry and bites.




    Tyema (A Black Monkey)
    Ekaga (Tortoise)


This story is probably of comparatively recent origin though known at
least fifty years ago. It seems to point to the time when white men
began to taunt negroes because of their color, the common insult by an
angry white master being "You black monkey!" The tale cannot antedate
the first coming of white men to West Africa three hundred years ago;
for, no native would have invented this insult, though they do now
imitate white men, when, in a quarrel, they wish to taunt an opponent.

The Black Monkey, up a tree, saw Tortoise passing beneath, slowly and
awkwardly moving step by step. Monkey laughed at the dull manner
and appearance of Tortoise; and, to tease one whom he thought
stupid and unable to resent insult, he jumped down onto the back
of Tortoise. There, safely perched, he jeered at Tortoise, saying
many unkind things. Tortoise was unable to throw off his tormentor;
nor could he reach him. His short hands and feet could not touch
Monkey. So, Tortoise was compelled to carry Monkey on the way,
the while that the latter was taunting him. Finally, the patience of
Tortoise was exhausted, and, his indignation being aroused, he stopped,
and said angrily, "Get off of my back, you black monkey!"

Monkey was sensitive about his color; and, at that word "black,"
he slipped off, and went away ashamed. But he was angry also, and
determined to have some revenge.

Some time after this, Monkey made a feast, and invited a number of
beasts, among the rest Tortoise. But Monkey purposely placed all
the dishes up high, so that Tortoise, unable to reach to them, could
get no food, as he vainly went around and around the table. All the
while, Monkey was sarcastically urging him to come and help himself
and eat. Tortoise bore it without complaint; and at the end of the
feast, he went away hungry. But he also determined to have his revenge.

On another day, Tortoise made a feast, and invited the same persons
who had seen his humiliation at the house of Monkey. Monkey came
to the feast. But Tortoise had prepared the food in only one dish,
around which the company were to sit on the ground, and from which
they were to eat with their hands. Before calling them to eat,
Tortoise had provided water and soap for them to wash their hands
previous to their putting them into the same dish. As Monkey was
about to put his, Tortoise reminded him that it was black, and that
he should first wash it. He said, "Here is water, and the soap by
which white people keep their hands from getting black."

Monkey was ashamed, and lathered the soap over his hands until they
were white with foam. "Now," said Tortoise, "put your hand into
the water to remove the foam." Monkey did so; and his hands were
still black.

The rest of the company objected to his black hand going into their
food. And he went away ashamed and hungry.




    Njambi's Country


    King Njina (Gorilla) and His Daughter
    Njâgu (Elephant)
    Nguwu (Hippopotamus)
    Bejaka (Fishes: Sing. Ejaka)
    Ngowa (Hog)
    Njegâ (Leopard)
    Telinga (a very small Monkey)


This story evidently dates back to the first introduction of Rum into
Africa. Gorilla's "new kind of water" was Rum.

Telinga's cheating did not finally succeed in obtaining him the wife;
but was the cause of his now living only in trees; whereas formerly
he lived in the long grass. The Telinga are very numerous, and they
all look so alike that one cannot be distinguished from another. In
the story, he had arranged with all his companions to help him drink.

In the Gorilla Country there are no lions, and there he is readily
called the King of Beasts, because of the fearful length and strength
of his arms.

How absurd that so horribly ugly a caricature of a human being should
be supposed to have a beautiful daughter!

King Gorilla had a daughter, whose beauty had been much praised. She
being of marriageable age, he announced to all the tribes that he
would give her in marriage to any one who could accomplish a certain
task. He said he would not take any of the goods usually given in
payment for a wife, as dowry. But, that he had a new kind of water,
such as had never before been seen; and, whoever could drink an entire
barrelful of it, should have the prize that had been coveted by many.

So, all the tribes came together one day in the forest country of the
King, to compete for the young woman, and the paths were crowded with
the expectant suitors on their way to the King's Court.

First, because of his size, Elephant stepped forward. He walked
with his solemn dignity, his ponderous feet sounding, tubu, tubu,
as he strode toward where the barrel stood. He could, however,
scarcely suppress his indignation, in the presence of the King,
at what he considered the insultingly small test to which he was
about to be subjected. He thought in his heart, "That barrelful of
water! Why! I, Njâgu, when I take my daily bath, I spurt from my trunk
many barrelfuls over my whole body, and I drink half a barrelful at
every meal. And this! Why! I'll swallow it down in two gulps!" He
thrust his proboscis into the barrel to draw up a big mouthful. But,
he instantly withdrew it, before he began to suck up any of it. "The
new water" stung him. He lifted his trunk, and trumpeting with rage,
declared that the task was impossible.

Many in the company, who had feared that the big elephant would leave
no chance for them, secretly rejoiced at his failure; and began to
hope for themselves.

Then Hippopotamus blundered forward. He was in haste, for he was sure
he would succeed. He was not as big or heavy as Elephant, though he
was more awkward. But he did not hesitate to boast aloud what he could
do. "You, Njâgu, with your big body, afraid of that little barrel of
water! Why! I live in water half of the time. And when I begin to
drink in a river, I cause the Bejaka to be frightened." So he came
bellowing and roaring, in order to impress the young woman with his
importance. But his mouth had not sunk into the barrel as he thrust
his nose in, before he jerked his head up with a bigger bellow of pain
and disgust at the new water. Without making even a bow to the King,
he shambled off to a river to wash his mouth.

Next came Hog. He said to Gorilla, "King Gorilla, I do not boast like
those two other fellows, nor will I insult you as they have done, even
if I fail. But, I do not think I shall fail. I am accustomed to putting
my nose into all sorts of dirty places; so I shall try." He did try,
slowly and carefully. But, even he, used to all sorts of filth and
bad smells, turned from the barrel in disgust, and went away grunting.

Then Leopard came bounding forward, boasting and jumping from side
to side to show his beautiful skin to the young woman. He derided the
other three who had preceded him. "O! you fellows! You had no chance
at all, even if you had drunk up that water. The woman would not look
at you, nor live with such blundering, awkward gawks as you. Look at
my graceful body and tail! These strong but soft paws of mine! And,
as to that barrel, you shall see in a few minutes. Though we of the
Cat Tribe do not like to wet our feet, I will do it for the sake of
the woman. I'm the dandy of the Forest, and I shall go at it more
gracefully than you." He leaped onto the barrel. But, its very fumes
sickened him. He made one vain effort. And with limp tail between
his legs he crawled away to hide his shame.

One after another of the various Beasts attempted. And all
failed. Finally, there crept forward the little Telinga. He had
left the hundreds of his Tribe of little Monkeys hidden out in the
grass field. As he advanced, there was a murmur of surprise from the
unsuccessful spectators. Even King Gorilla could not refrain from
saying, "Well! my little fellow! what do you want?" Telinga replied,
"Your Majesty, did not you send word to all the Tribes that any one
might compete?" "Yes, I did," he answered. And Telinga said, "Then I,
Telinga, small as I am, I shall try." The King replied, "I will keep
my royal word. You may try." "But, Your Majesty," asked Telinga, "is
it required that the barrel must be drank at one draught? May I not,
between each mouthful, take a very short rest out in the grass?" Said
Gorilla, "Certainly, just so you drink it today."

So Telinga took a sip, and leaped off into the grass. And, apparently,
he immediately returned, and took another sip and leaped back
into the grass; and, apparently, immediately returned again. And
apparently--(They were his companions who had come one by one to help
him!) Thus the barrelful of firewater was rapidly sipped away.

King Gorilla announced Telinga as the winner of the prize.

What the young woman thought of the loss of her graceful lovers,
the Antelopes and others, is not known. For, when Telinga advanced to
take her, Leopard and others dashed at him, shouting, "You miserable
little snip of a fellow! You've won her; but if we can't have her you
shan't. There! take that! and that! and that!" as they began to beat
and kick and bite him.

In terror, he jumped into the trees, abandoning his bride.

And he and his tribe have remained in the trees ever since, afraid
to come down to the ground.




    Town of King Mborakinda


    King Mborakinda
    Ilâmbe, His Daughter
    Ra-Marânge, A Doctor
    And Other People
    Njegâ (Leopard)
    Kabala (A Magic Horse)
    Ogula-Ya-Mpazya-Vazya, A Sorcerer


Leopards can swim if compelled to, but they do not like to enter water,
or wet their feet in any way.

At the town of Ra-Mborakinda, where he lived with his wives and his
children and his glory, this occurred.

He had a beloved daughter, by name Ilâmbe. He loved her much; and
sought to please her in many ways, and gave her many servants to
serve her. When she grew up to womanhood, she said that she did not
wish any one to come to ask her in marriage; that she herself would
choose a husband. "Moreover, I will never marry any man who has any,
even a little bit of, blotch on his skin."

Her father did not like her to speak in that way; nevertheless,
he did not forbid her.

When men began to come to the father and say, "I desire your daughter
Ilâmbe for a wife," he would say, "Go, and ask herself." Then when the
man went to Ilâmbe's house, and would say, "I have come to ask you in
marriage," her only reply was a question, "Have you a clear skin, and
no blotches on your body?" If he answered, "Yes," Ilâmbe would say,
"But, I must see for myself; come into my room." There she required
the man to take off all his clothing. And if, on examination, she saw
the slightest pimple or scar, she would point toward it, and say,
"That! I do not want you." Then perhaps he would begin to plead,
"All my skin is right, except--." But she would interrupt him,
"No! for even that little mark I do not want you."

So it went on with all who came, she finding fault with even a small
pimple or scar. And all suitors were rejected. The news spread abroad
that Ra-Mborakinda had a beautiful daughter, but that no one was able
to obtain her, because of what she said about diseases of the skin.

Still, many tried to obtain her. Even animals changed themselves to
human form, and sought her, in vain.

At last, Leopard said, "Ah! this beautiful woman! I hear about her
beauty, and that no one is able to get her. I think I better take my
turn, and try. But, first I will go to Ra-Marânge." He went to that
magic-doctor, and told his story about Ra-Mborakinda's fine daughter,
and how no man could get her because of her fastidiousness about
skins. Ra-Marânge told him, "I am too old. I do not now do those
things about medicines. Go to Ogula-ya-mpazya-vazya."

So, Leopard went to him. As usual, the sorcerer Ogula jumped into
his fire; and coming out with power, directed Leopard to tell what
he wanted. So he told the whole story again, and asked how he should
obtain the clean body of a man. The sorcerer prepared for him a great
"medicine" by which to give him a human body, tall, graceful, strong
and clean. Leopard then went back to his town, told his people his
plans, and prepared their bodies also for a change if needed. Having
taken also a human name, Ogula, he then went to Ra-Mborakinda, saying,
"I wish your daughter Ilâmbe for wife."

On his arrival, at Ra-Mborakinda's, the people admired the stranger,
and felt sure that Ilâmbe would accept this suitor, exclaiming,
"This fine-looking man! his face! and his gait! and his body!" When
he had made his request of Ra-Mborakinda, he was told, as usual,
to go to Ilâmbe and see whether she would like him. When he went to
her house, he looked so handsomely, that Ilâmbe was at once pleased
with him. He told her, "I love you; and I come to marry you. You have
refused many. I know the reason why, but I think you will be satisfied
with me." She replied, "I think you have heard from others the reason
for which I refuse men. I will see whether you have what I want." And
she added, "Let us go into the room; and let me see your skin."

They entered the room; and Ogula-Njegâ removed his fine
clothing. Ilâmbe examined with close scrutiny from his head to his
feet. She found not the slightest scratch or mark; his skin was like
a babe's. Then she said, "Yes! this is my man! truly! I love you,
and will marry you!" She was so pleased with her acquisition, that
she remained in the room enjoying again a minute examination of her
husband's beautiful skin. Then she went out, and ordered her servants
to cook food, prepare water, etc., for him; and he did not go out of
the house, nor have a longing to go back to his town, for he found
that he was loved.

On the third day, he went to tell the father, Ra-Mborakinda, that
he was ready to take his wife off to his town. Ra-Mborakinda
consented. All that day, they prepared food for the
marriage-feast. But, all the while that this man-beast, Ogula-Njegâ
was there, Ra-Mborakinda, by his okove (a magic fetish) knew that
some evil would come out of this marriage. However, as Ilâmbe had
insisted on choosing her own way, he did not interfere.

After the marriage was over, and the feast eaten, Ra-Mborakinda called
his daughter, and said, "Ilâmbe, mine, now you are going off on your
journey." She said, "Yes; for I love my husband." The father asked,
"Do you love him truly?" She answered "Yes." Then he told her,
"As you are married now, you need a present from me, as your ozendo
(bridal gift)." So, he gave her a few presents, and told her,
"Go to that house," indicating a certain house in the town; and
he gave her the key of the house, and told her to go and open the
door. That was the house where he kept all his charms for war, and
fetishes of all kinds. He told her, "When you go in, you will see
two Kabala, standing side by side. The one that will look a little
dull, with its eyes directed to the ground, take it; and leave the
brighter looking one. When you are coming with it, you will see
that it walks a little lame. Nevertheless, take it." She objected,
"But, father, why do you not give me the finer one, and not the weak
one?" But he said, "No!" and made a knowing smile, as he repeated,
"Go, and take the one I tell you." He had reason for giving this
one. The finer-looking one had only fine looks; but this other one
would some day save her by its intelligence.

She went and took Horse, and returned to her father; and the journey
was prepared. The father sent with her, servants to carry the baggage,
and to remain with and work for her at the town of her marriage. She
and her husband arranged all their things, and said good-bye, and
off they went, both of them sitting on Horse's back.

They journeyed and they journeyed. On the way, Ogula-Njegâ, though
changed as to his form and skin, possessed all his old tastes. Having
been so many days without tasting blood or uncooked meats, as they
passed through the forest of wild beasts, the longing came on him. They
emerged onto a great prairie, and journeyed across it toward another
forest. Before they had entirely crossed the prairie, the longing for
his prey so overcame him that he said, "Wife, you with your Kabala
and the servants stay here while I go rapidly ahead; and wait for me
until I come again." So he went off, entered the forest, and changed
himself back to Leopard. He hunted for prey, caught a small animal,
and ate it; and another, and ate it. After being satisfied, he washed
his hands and mouth in a brook; and, changing again to human form,
he returned on the prairie to his wife.

She observed him closely, and saw a hard, strange look on his face. She
said, "But, all this while! What have you been doing?" He made an
excuse. They went on.

And the next day, it was the same, he leaving her, and telling her
to wait till he returned; and hunting and eating as a Leopard. All
this that was going on, Ilâmbe was ignorant of. But Horse knew. He
would speak after awhile, but was not ready yet.

So it went on, until they came to Leopard's town. Before they reached
it, Ogula-Njegâ, by the preparations he had first made, had changed
his mother into a human form in which to welcome his wife. Also the few
people of the town, all with human forms, welcomed her. But, they did
not sit much with her. They stayed in their own houses; and Ogula-Njegâ
and his wife stayed in theirs. For a few days, Leopard tried to be
a pleasant Ogula, deceiving his wife. But his taste for blood was
still in his heart. He began to say, "I am going to another town;
I have business there." And off he would go, hunting as a leopard;
when he returned, it would be late in the day. So he did on other days.

After a time, Ilâmbe wished to make a food-plantation, and sent her
men-servants to clear the ground. Ogula-Njegâ would go around in the
forest on the edge of the plantation; and catching one of the men,
there would return that day one servant less.

One by one, all the men-servants were thus missing; and it was not
known what became of them, except that Leopard's people knew. One
night Ogula-Njegâ was out; and, meeting one of the female servants,
she too was reported missing.

Sometimes, when Ogula-Njegâ was away, Ilâmbe, feeling lonesome,
would go and pet Horse. After the loss of this maid-servant, Horse
thought it was time to warn Ilâmbe of what was going on. While she
was petting him, he said, "Eh! Ilâmbe! you do not see the trouble
that is coming to you!" She asked, "What trouble?" He exclaimed,
"What trouble? If your father had not sent me with you, what would
have become of you? Where are all your servants that you brought with
you? You do not know where they go to, but I know. Do you think that
they disappear without a reason? I will tell you where they go. It
is your man who eats them; it is he who wastes them!" She could not
believe it, and argued, "Why should he destroy them?" Horse replied,
"If you doubt it, wait for the day when your last remaining servant
is gone."

Two days after that, at night, another maid-servant
disappeared. Another day passed. On another day, Ogula-Njegâ went
off to hunt beasts, with the intention that, if he failed to get any,
at night he would eat his wife.

When he had gone, Ilâmbe, in her loneliness, went to fondle Horse. He
said to her, "Did I not tell you? The last maid is gone. You
yourself will be the next one. I will give you counsel. When you
have opportunity this night, prepare yourself ready to run away. Get
yourself a large gourd, and fill it with ground-nuts; another with
gourd-seeds; and another with water." He told her to bring these
things to him, and he would know the best time to start.

While they were talking, Leopard's mother was out in the street,
and heard the two voices. She said to herself, "Ilâmbe, wife of my
son, does she talk with Kabala as if it was a person?" But, she said
nothing to Ilâmbe, nor asked her about it.

Night came on; and Ogula-Njegâ returned. He said nothing; but his face
looked hard and bad. Ilâmbe was troubled and somewhat frightened at
his ugly looks. So, at night, on retiring, she began to ask him,
"But why? Has anything displeased you?" He answered, "No; I am
not troubled about anything. Why do you ask questions?" "Because I
see it in your face that your countenance is not pleasant." "No;
there's no matter. Everything is right. Only, about my business,
I think I must start very early." Ogula-Njegâ had begun to think,
"Now she is suspecting me. I think I will not eat her this night,
but will put it off until next night."

That night, Ilâmbe did not sleep. In the morning, Leopard said that
he would go to his business, but would come back soon. When he was
gone away to his hunting work, Ilâmbe felt lonesome, and went to
Horse. He, thinking this a good time to run away, they started at
once, without letting any one in the village know, and taking with
them the three gourds. Horse said that they must go quickly; for,
Leopard, when he discovered them gone, would rapidly pursue. So they
went fast and faster, Horse looking back from time to time, to see
whether Leopard was pursuing.

After they had been gone quite a while, Ogula-Njegâ returned from
his business to his village, went into his house, and did not
see Ilâmbe. He called to his mother, "Where is Ilâmbe?" His mother
answered, "I saw Ilâmbe with her Kabala, talking together; they have
been at it for two days." Ogula-Njegâ began to search; and, seeing
the hoof-prints, he exclaimed, "Mi asaiya (shame for me). Ilâmbe has
run away. I and she shall meet today!"

He instantly turned from his human form back to that of leopard, and
went out, and pursued, and pursued, and pursued. But, it took some time
before he came in sight of the fugitives. As Horse turned to watch,
he saw Leopard, his body stretched low and long in rapid leaps. Horse
said to Ilâmbe, "Did I not tell you? There he is, coming!" Horse
hasted, with foam dropping from his lips. When he saw that Leopard
was gaining on them, he told Ilâmbe to take the gourd of peanuts from
his back, and scatter them along behind on the ground. Leopards like
peanuts; and when Ogula-Njegâ came to these nuts, he stopped to eat
them. While he was eating, Horse gained time to get ahead. As soon
as Leopard had finished the nuts, he started on in pursuit again,
and soon began to overtake. When he approached, Horse told Ilâmbe to
throw out the gourd-seeds. She did so. Leopard delayed to eat these
seeds also. This gave Horse time to again get ahead. Thus they went on.

Leopard, having finished the gourd-seeds, again went leaping in
pursuit; and, for the third time, came near. Horse told Ilâmbe to throw
the gourd of water behind, with force so that it might crash and break
on the ground. As soon as she had done so, the water was turned to a
stream of a deep wide river, between them and Leopard. Then he was
at a loss. So, he shouted, "Ah! Ilâmbe! Mi asaiya! If I only had a
chance to catch you!" So, he had to turn back.

Then Horse said, "We do not know what he may do yet; perhaps he may
go around and across ahead of us. As there is a town which I know
near here, we had better stay there a day or two while he may be
searching for us." He added to her, "Mind! this town where we are
going, no woman is allowed to be there, only men. So, I will change
your face and dress like a man's. Be very careful how you behave
when you take your bath, lest you die." Ilâmbe promised; and Horse
changed her appearance. So, a fine-looking young man was seen riding
into the street of the village. There were exclamations in the street,
"This is a stranger! Hail! stranger; hail! Who showed you the way to
come here?" This young man answered, "Myself; I was out riding; I saw
an open path; and I came in." He entered a house, and was welcomed;
and they told him their times of eating, and of play, etc. But, on
the second day, as this young man went out privately, one of the men
observed, and said to the other, "He acts like a woman!" The others
asked, "Really! you think so?" He asserted, "Yes! I am sure!" So,
that day Ilâmbe was to meet with some trouble; for, to prove her,
the men had said to her, "Tomorrow we all go bathing in the river,
and you shall go with us." She went to ask Horse what she should
do. He rebuked her, "I warned you, and you have not been careful. But,
do not be troubled; I will change you into a man."

That night, Ilâmbe went to Horse; and he changed her. He also told her,
"I warn you again. Tomorrow you go to bathe with the others, and you
may take off your clothes; for, you are now a man. But, it is only
for a short time, because we stay here only a day and a night more,
and then we must go."

The next morning all the town went to play, and after that to
bathe. When they went into the water, the other men were all
expecting to see a woman revealed; but they saw that their visitor
was a man. They admired his wonderfully fine physique. On emerging
from the water, the men said to the one who had informed on Ilâmbe,
"Did you not tell us that this was a woman? See, how great a man he
is!" As soon as they said that, the young man Ilâmbe was vexed with
him, and began to berate him, saying, "Eh! you said I was a woman?" And
she chased him and struck him. Then they all went back to the town.

In the evening, Horse told Ilâmbe, "I tell you what to do tomorrow. In
the morning, you take your gun, and shoot me dead. After you have
shot me, these men will find fault with you, saying 'Ah! you shoot
your horse, and did not care for it?' But, do not say anything in
reply. Cut me in pieces, and burn the pieces in the fire. After
this, carefully gather all the black ashes; and, very early in the
following morning, in the dark before any one is up, go out of the
village gateway, scatter the ashes, and you will see what will happen."

The young man did all this. On scattering the ashes, he instantly
found himself changed again to a woman, and sitting on Horse's back;
and they were running rapidly away.

That same day, in the afternoon, they came to the town of the father
Ra-Mborakinda. On their arrival there, they (but especially Horse)
told their whole story. Ilâmbe was somewhat ashamed of herself; for,
she had brought these troubles on herself by insisting on having a
husband with a perfectly fine skin. So, her father said, "Ilâmbe,
my child, you see the trouble you have brought on yourself. For you,
a woman, to make such a demand was too much. Had I not sent Kabala
with you, what would have become of you?" The people gave Ilâmbe a
glad welcome. And she went to her house, and said nothing more about
fine skins.




    Oyila (Oil-Palm Tree)
    Mbindi (Wild Goat)
    Akândâ (Plantain-Stalk)


According to native law of hospitality, duty to a guest requires almost
any sacrifice. This is oriental. (See Genesis Chap. 19, vs. 8.) A
plantain-stalk bears but one bunch. Therefore, to gather the fruit,
the stalk with apparent ruthlessness is cut down. But, there are always
from two to five young sprouts at the base, from 2 feet to 5 feet in
height, which, in succession, take the place of the parent stem.

Observe the Cannibalism. All African tribes were formerly
Cannibals. Many interior tribes still are. This story is a marked
illustration of the characteristic impossibilities in native tales,
"Plantain" being at one and the same time a plant and a human being!

Palm-tree produced Plantain tree.

Then there stood up an animal called Wild Goat, and it went to seek
marriage with Palm-tree's daughter Plantain. It was so arranged;
and the marriage was held.

As Goat and his wife were about departing to his own town, Palm-tree
gave some parting advice to her daughter Plantain; "When you shall
be about to become a mother, come back and stay with me."

Not long after this, Plantain was to become a mother; and people went
to Palm-tree to inform her of the fact. This daughter Plantain did not
obey her mother's directions, but remained in the town until her child
was born. This was told to mother Palm-tree, who was dissatisfied,
and said, "Eh! I told Akândâ to have her child born with me!"

The reason that Palm-tree had given this direction to Plantain was,
that, as her own custom, in bearing her palm-nuts, was to have several
bunches in sight at one time, and ripening in succession, she wished
her daughter to have the same habit.

After Plantain had borne her child, it grew well and became very
strong. One day, strangers came to the town on a visit; and, when
the villagers looked for food for the visitors, to their shame,
they found they had none. Then one of the women of the village said,
"Well! let us cut down this Akândâ, and cook it and eat it." So, a
machete was seized, and Plantain's stalk was slashed, and Palm-tree's
child Plantain was taken and cooked and eaten. At this, people went
and told Palm-tree, saying, "Your child is cut down, and is cooked
and eaten." The mother Palm-tree helplessly replied, "What can I do?"

All this while, the husband Goat had been away on a journey. When he
returned, and came to his town, and found that his wife, Palm-tree's
child, was not there, he asked, "My wife; is she dead?" The people
answered him, "Yes!" "But," he asked, "for what reason did she
die?" They answered, "Because the people of the town had no food for
their guests." Mbindi complained further, saying, "So! when Akândâ was
cooked, you gave your guests only plantains; were you so inhospitable
as to give them also no meat or fish?"

At this the people were vexed, and they said, "Well then! let this
husband be killed and eaten as the meat!" So they killed and ate him.

This news, people also carried to Palm-tree, telling her that
Plantain's husband was also killed and eaten.

Then Palm-tree came to the town to speak about the death of
Plantain. The people justified themselves, saying, "But, what else
could we do? It was necessary to provide for the guests."

Palm-tree submitted, "Truly, had Akândâ obeyed me and come to me
and borne her child in my presence, she would have had abundance,
and would not have died."




The tales of this second part had their source with narrators of
Benga-speaking tribes of Corisco Island, the region of the Bonito
River, and Batanga. Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 were written in Benga by
the pioneer missionaries, Rev. Messrs. Mackey and Clemens, from the
dictation in Benga by natives of Corisco, more than 40 years ago; and
were printed as reading-lessons in the Primer used in their schools.

I have translated them into English. They having thus passed twice
through foreign thought, have lost most of their native idioms. Tale
4 was independently re-told me at Batanga within the past few years,
by a narrator living there. It differs from the version printed in
the Primer, and I have combined the two.

The remaining thirty tales were given me at Batanga; by three adult
narrators, all of them civilized men. They spoke them with me alone,
or in the presence of one or two silent attendants, sentence by
sentence, in their Bapuku dialect of the Benga language. I rapidly
made notes in an English translation of their principal words. This
was always at night, in order to leave the narrator at that ease which
he would naturally feel if he was telling the story to an audience
in the street, as he is accustomed to do in the evenings. For that
purpose also, I shaded my lamp, using its light only for my pencil;
he therefore spoke unrestrainedly. Next morning, with my memory still
fresh of the night's story, I filled out the sentences. This set of
the tales therefore is more native, in the preservation of its idioms,
than any other part.




    Ingowa (Hogs)


Unlike other native legends based on "they say," the native narrator,
now more than 40 years ago, gave the name and family name of the
man who is stated to have reported that he heard Swine talking with
human speech.

There was a certain man in the time long ago, by name Bokona, whose
family name was Bodikito. He went to the depths of the forest to do
some business. When he was about to return in the afternoon to go to
his village, he heard in advance of him, a noise of conversation. He
thought that perhaps they were people (of whose presence he was not
aware; for, there were no villages in that part of the forest). But,
when he had approached the spot, he did not see people; but only a
herd of Hogs speaking with the voices of people. He was thus perfectly
sure that they speak the language of Mankind.




    Ngando (Crocodile)
    Two Children, and Towns-People

Two children were bathing in a river; and a crocodile came where they
were. It seized one, and, grasping it with its teeth, went with it
to its hole in the river bank. It did not kill him, but said to him,
"I leave you here, and I go straight back to bring the other one who
remained." After the crocodile had left, the one thus put into the
hole, turning his eyes about, saw it full of living fish (kept on
hand by the crocodile as its food-supply). He saw also that there was
another opening in the cavity, above, just over his head. Climbing
up and jumping through it, he rapidly went straight away to his
village. He related all this incident to the people. Then they gladly
fired guns, for welcome of the child.

When the crocodile reached the bathing-place on its return, it did
not see the one whom it had left there; and it was angry. While it
was thus angry, the people shot at it with guns, but their shots
could not even wound it; and it went back again to its hole to seek
for and eat the child whom it had seized.

When it again entered into the hole and searched, and did not find
him, it was very angry, and pursued him, going up to the very middle
of the village. For three days it was there barking in the village,
and trying to kill some one.




    Uhâdwe, Bokume and Njâku Sons of Njambi the Creator
    Towns-People, Sailors and Others


I have never seen the place; but, intelligent natives, (though they
did not believe in the legend itself) told me there was the likeness
to a human foot-print in a rock on the beach of the north shore of
Corisco Bay. Doubtless a fossil.

Uhâdwe, Bokume, and Njâku were human beings, all three born of one
mother. (Afterwards Bokume was called "Njâpe.")

As time went on, Uhâdwe called his brethren, Bokume and Njâku, and
said, "My brothers! Let us separate; myself, I am going to the Great
Sea; you, Bokume go to the Forest; you, Njâku, also go to the Forest."

Bokume went to the forest and grew up there, and became the valuable
mahogany tree (Okume).

Njâku departed; but he went in anger, saying, "I will not remain
in the forest, I am going to build with the towns-people." He came
striding back to the town. As he emerged there from the forest, his
feet swelled and swelled, and became elephant feet. His ear extended
'way down. His teeth spreading, this one grew to a tusk, and that
one grew to a tusk. The towns-people began to hoot at him. And he
turned back to the forest. But, as he went, he said to them, "In my
going now to the Forest, I and whatever plants you shall plant in the
forest shall journey together," (i.e., that their plantations should
be destroyed by him). So Njâku went; and their food went.

When Uhâdwe had gone thence and emerged at the Sea, from the place
where he emerged there grew the stem of "bush-rope" (the Calamus palm);
and the staff he held became a mangrove forest. The footprints where
he and his dog trod are there on the beach of Corisco Bay until this
day. He created a sand-bank from where he stood, extending through the
ocean, by which he crossed over to the Land of the Great Sea. When he
reached that Land, he prepared a ship. He put into it every production
by which white people obtain wealth, and he said to the crew, "Go ye
and take for me my brother."

The ship came to Africa and put down anchor; but, for four days the
crew did not find any person coming from shore to set foot on the
ship, or to go from the ship to set foot ashore, the natives being
destitute of canoes.

Finally, Uhâdwe came and appeared to the towns-people in a dream,
and said, "Go ye to the forest and cut down Njâpe, dig out a canoe,
and go alongside the ship."

Early next morning they went to the forest, and came to the Okume
trees; they cut one down, and hacked it into shape. They launched it on
the sea, and said to their young men, "Go!" Four young men went into
the canoe to go alongside the ship. When they had nearly reached it,
looking hither and thither they feared, and they stopped and ceased
paddling. The white men on the ship made repeated signs to them. Then
the young men, having come close, spoke to the white men in the native
language. A white man answered also in the same language. That white
man said, "I have come to buy the tusks of the beast which is here
in the forest with big feet and tusks and great ears, that is called
Njâku." They said, "Yes! a good thing!" When they were about leaving,
the white man advancing to them, deposited with them four bunches of
tobacco, four bales of prints, four caps, and other things.

When they reached the shore, they told the others, "The white men want
Njâku's tusks; and also they have things by which to kill his tribe."

The next morning, they went to the white men; they were trusted with
guns and bullets and powder; they went to the forest, and fought with
the elephants. In two days the ship was loaded, and it departed.

This continues to happen so until this day, in the Ivory-Trade.




    Njambi (Chief of a Town)
    Njâ (Leopard)
    Etoli (House-Rat)
    Mbindi (Wild Goat)
    Vyâdu (Antelope)
    Ehibo (Red Antelope)
    Iheli (Gazelle)
    Ekwedikwedi (Fire-Fly)

Leopard wanted to marry, and he sought a betrothal at Njambi's
town. Secretly, Njambi had arranged with Leopard that he should bring
him no goods in payment of the "Dowry," but only the bodies of animals.

Leopard agreed, and said to Njambi's daughter, "I will dowry you
only with animals." He returned to his home for a few days; and
then he called Rat to escort him to the town of his prospective
father-in-law. Rat consented. And they started on their journey.

On their way, they came to a wide river; and Leopard said to Rat,
"Before one crosses this river, he must throw his knife into it." Rat
threw his knife; and so (apparently) did Leopard. They crossed; went
on their way, and came to a Kuda tree; and they stopped, and began to
gather the nuts. Leopard drew his knife from its sheath, and splitting
the nut-shells and eating the kernels, said derisively to Rat, "One who
has no knife will not be able to eat kuda." Rat, in his helplessness,
made no protest. And they went on. They came to a certain "Medicine"
tree; and Leopard said, "Etoli, if I shall fall sick on the way, and I
tell you to go back and get the bark of a certain tree for medicine,
see! this is the tree." Finally, they came to the town of the woman
whom Leopard was to marry. There, food was cooked for them. Just
before they were to sit down to eat, Leopard exclaimed, "Etoli! I am
sick! Go, and get that medicine for me!" While Rat was gone, Leopard
ate up almost all the food, leaving only a few scraps for Rat.

At night, inside of the entrance of the house where the two strangers
were to sleep, was a pit already dug. Leopard knew of it, and jumped
over it; but Rat fell into it. Leopard shouted to the town's-people,
"This is the animal I brought to pay on my Dowry! Come, and take
him!" The people came, caught Rat, and ate him.

The next morning, Leopard's father-in-law had food prepared for him; he
ate; and returned to his town. There, the relatives of Rat asked him,
"Where is the little one you took to escort you?" Leopard replied,
"He refused to return, staying there with the woman."

Again, Leopard prepared gifts of dried fish and tobacco for his
mother-in-law, and arranged for another journey. He called to his
relative, "Brother" Wild-Goat, "Come, escort me to the town of my
marriage." Wild Goat consented; and they started. They came to the
River; and, as in the case of Rat, Leopard said to Goat, "You will
first throw away your knife, before you can cross this river." Goat
actually did so; Leopard pretending to do so. Continuing their
journey, they came to that Kuda tree. Leopard was careful to stand on
a side of the tree opposite to Goat, as they gathered the nuts. But,
he said provokingly, "One can not eat kuda without a knife." Wild
Goat innocently replied, "But, you, Njâ, you are eating nuts! Did
you bring two knives?" They journeyed on, and came to the Medicine
tree. And Leopard gave to Goat the same directions about it as he
had given to Rat.

When they reached the marriage town, food was set before them. But
Leopard immediately began to groan and scream, "I'm dead! I'm
dead! I'm dead with pain!" Wild Goat sympathisingly inquired, "What
shall I do to help you?" Leopard replied, as in the case of Rat,
"Go back to that tree, and get its bark as a medicine for me." Wild
Goat went; and while he was away, Leopard ate the food, leaving very
little of it. On his return, Wild Goat protested at so little being
given him. Leopard explained, "In my great suffering from tooth-ache,
I ate nothing. Perhaps it was the town's-people who ate up the food,
leaving you only these pieces."

After they had eaten, they were called to the reception-house, and
spent the evening in conversation with the people of the town. Then,
they were shown to the house in which they were to sleep. It was
the one with the pit-fall inside the door-way. Leopard, of course,
jumped over it; but Wild Goat fell into it. And, as in the case of Rat,
Leopard called out, "People of the town! This is your dowry-goods! I
have brought it to you!" The next morning, Leopard took his journey,
and came back home. When the people of his town asked him, as in the
case of Rat, "Where is the friend you took with you?" he made the
same reply, "Don't ask me! He is entangled off there with women."

On a third journey, Leopard called Antelope to accompany him. Antelope
agreed. They came to the River; and as before Leopard told how that
river could not be crossed by travelers unless their knives were
thrown away. This, Antelope did.

Then, they came to the Kuda tree. There, Antelope heard Leopard
splitting the nuts, and asked him. "Did you not throw away your
knife? Do you travel with two?" Leopard answered, "Yes! I always
travel with two." Then, they came to the Medicine tree. And Leopard
explained about its bark being the cure for his frequent tooth-aches,
when eating at his father-in-law's town.

They came to the town. And when food was brought to them, Leopard
cried out, "O! my tooth! my tooth!" Antelope asked, "Where is your
medicine that you said you use?" Leopard answered, "At the tree
which I showed you on the way. Go, and get it." While Antelope was
gone, Leopard ate up almost all the food. On returning, Antelope
exclaimed "What! only this little food for me?" Leopard explained,
"With my great tooth-ache, I ate none. Nothing happened, except
that the town's-people came, and were eating up the food; and I,
in my kindness for you, begged them to leave at least a little for
you." Antelope handed him the medicine, and Leopard said, "Put it
down there"; and he threw it away, while Antelope's back was turned.

After they had eaten, they went to their room for the night. Leopard,
as usual, jumped over the pit; but Antelope fell in. And Leopard
gave his shout to the people to come and take the Dowry-goods he had
brought. The next morning, after breakfast, Leopard again started on
his home journey. There, again he was anxiously asked, "But, those
whom you take with you don't come back! Why?" He made the same reply,
"They know why! Off there are damsels and dancing; and they were
unable to return."

For his next journey, Leopard asked Red Antelope, who heartily
replied, "Yes, come on! There is nothing to prevent my going on a
journey!" They journeyed, and they came to the River. There, Leopard
made his statement about the necessity of throwing their knives into
the river. Red Antelope wondered a little, but he consented saying,
"Yes, but what is that to me?" Said Leopard, "Well, then, shut your
eyes, and I will be the first to throw, lest you say I am deceiving
you." Said Red Antelope, "Yes." And he shut his eyes tightly. Then
Leopard, having a stone in his hand, flung it into the water, saying,
"I've thrown mine; throw also yours!" Red Antelope demanded, "But,
you must shut your eyes also." Leopard half-closed his eyes, and Red
Antelope, knife in hand, flung it into the water. Then, wading across,
they went on and on to the base of the Kuda tree. Said Leopard,
"Mr. Ehibo, this Kuda is eaten of here only by each person on his
own side of the trunk." Red Antelope assented; and they turned,
this one to one side, and that one to the other side. There, as Red
Antelope was vainly trying to crack the nuts with his teeth, Leopard
was deriding him while himself was comfortably using his knife.

Then, Leopard said, "Let us go on; for, the day is declining." Red
Antelope agreed. As they went, they came to an Ebwehavu tree. And
Leopard said, "Let us climb for Bebwehavu fruits. But, when we
climb this particular tree, it is the practice here, to climb, one
by one. While the one is climbing, the other has his eyes shut; and,
the climbing is done, not by the trunk, but by this adjoining Bongo
tree which you see here. But, first, close your eyes, and I will
go up." (The Bongo's trunk is covered with hard sharp thorns.) Red
Antelope stood, with his eyes tightly closed. Leopard grasped a vine;
and, with one swing, he at once was up the tree. Red Antelope began
climbing that Bongo, creeping slowly to the top, his whole body
spoiled, and nothing on him but blood and blood.

Said Leopard, "This Ebwehavu is accustomed to be plucked only the green
unripe, but the dark ripe ones are to be left." That seemed strange to
Red Antelope, nevertheless he said, "Yes." But Leopard was plucking
the ripe and leaving the green. When they had finished plucking,
Leopard said, "Ehibo! shut eyes! that I may descend!" Red Antelope
shut his eyes. Leopard grasped the vine; and, with one spring, was on
the ground. Then, he said, "Now, Ehibo, descend." Red Antelope began
descending by the Bongo, down, down, landing finally on the ground.

Leopard waited for him; and then said, "Having no fire, how shall we
cook those green bebwehavu?" Just then, he saw a Fire-fly passing;
and he said. "Mr. Ehibo! Pursue! That's fire passing there!" Red
Antelope bent in rapid pursuit. Leopard turned to the base of the tree,
gathered dried fire-wood, struck his flint, lighted a fire, cooked
his fruits, ate them, finished, and put out his fire. Red Antelope,
back again, said, "I did not reach it, I'm tired." Leopard said,
"Well, let it go. I chewed mine uncooked. But, let us journey; and,
as you go, you chew yours." They went on, and came to the town of the
marriage. Food was cooked and set for them in their room. Said Leopard,
"Ehibo, sit you on the floor, while I eat at the table. And, while I
eat the flesh, you eat the bones." Red Antelope had become so utterly
wearied and humiliated that he did not resent this indignity. They
ate. And then Leopard said, "Ehibo, sweep up the scraps, and go and
throw them into the back yard." (Immediately on his arrival at the
town, Leopard had gone alone to his father-in-law, and said, "I have
brought you an animal. But, let another pit, this time, be dug in
the back yard of the room where we shall be. And, do you put spears
and daggers and all kinds of sharp sticks there. When I shall send
him to throw away the sweepings, and he shall fall in, kill ye him.")

Red Antelope swept, and scraped up the sweepings, and threw them into a
basket. He turned with them to the back yard, to fling them away. As he
was about to do so, he slipped down to the bottom of the pit. Impaled
on the spears, he was unable to jump out. When the town's-people
arrived, they thrust him through with sharp poles; and he lay dead.

When Leopard returned home, Red Antelope's people asked, "Where is
Ehibo?" Leopard made his former answer, "Ehibo was hindered by the
hospitality of that marriage town, with its food and its women; and,
he said, 'I won't go back!'"

Thus, with each journey, Leopard called for another animal. They went,
over the same route; and the same things happened each time. So,
matters went on for a long while. But, Gazelle, a very smart beast,
began to suspect, observing that none of Leopard's travel-companions
ever came back. In his heart, he thought to himself, "Leopard deceives
people!" He determined to find out, by offering to go, and watch for
himself. At last, he said, "Uncle Njâ, let me go to escort you to the
town of your marriage. When next you go on your journey, call me to go
with you." Said Leopard, "I don't want you." (He suspected Gazelle's
smartness.) Gazelle insisted, "Uncle, as to these others whom you
have invited to go with you, and not the rather me, your relative?"

So, Leopard agreed, "Yes, let us go." By the next morning they started
on their journey, going on and on, clear to the big River. There,
as usual, Leopard told about knives to be thrown into the river; and
he said, "Nephew Iheli, you first throw your knife." Said Gazelle,
"First, you throw yours, then I will throw mine also." Said Leopard,
"Well! shut your eyes!" Gazelle half-closed his hands on his eyes, and
was peeping. He saw Leopard seize a chunk of wood and fling it in the
water. Then he said, "Shut eyes! Let me also throw mine!" Leopard's
eyes shut tight. Gazelle, seizing a stick, flung it into the
water. Then, they crossed the river, and went on and on, until they
came to the base of the Kuda tree. Leopard made his usual statement
about parties eating the nuts on opposite sides of the tree. Gazelle,
with apparent obedience, said, "Yes." Leopard, with knife drawn,
began to hack and split the nuts, throwing the kernels into his mouth,
and making his usual derisive remark, "By the truth! a person without
a knife can not eat the kernels of kuda." Gazelle also, hacking his,
and throwing them into his mouth, said, "Just exactly so! a person
without a knife can not eat the kernel of kuda-nut!" Leopard exclaimed,
"What are you doing? Have you two knives?" Gazelle replied, "But,
what are you doing? Had you two knives?" Leopard answered, "Yes,
for, I am the senior." Gazelle responded, "And I also carry two
knives; for, I also am an adult." Leopard only said, "Iheli! Come
on!" They went on, until they came to the Ebwehavu tree. There,
Leopard made his usual explanation of climbing only by means of the
Bongo tree. Gazelle agreed, and said, "Yes; climb you first." Leopard
said, "Shut your eyes." Gazelle stood, with eyes apparently tightly
closed. With one swing on a vine, Leopard is up the tree. Said Gazelle,
"You also, shut your eyes. Let me go up." Leopard pretended to shut
his eyes. And Gazelle, with one swing, was also up the tree. Leopard
made his usual statement about plucking only the green fruit. To which,
Gazelle seemed to assent.

And they descended the tree, without Leopard attempting to deceive
Gazelle about the Bongo tree.

But, Leopard seeing the sun going down, said, "Iheli! Pursue! that's
fire that's going there!" But, Gazelle showed he was not deceived,
by simply saying, "That's not fire!" So, Leopard gathered fire-wood;
and they cooked and ate their bebwehavu.

Then, they resumed their journey, and came to the Medicine tree. There
Leopard told his usual story about the bark of that tree being his
great cure-all. Gazelle quietly said, "Yes." But, when they left
the tree, and had gone a short distance farther, he exclaimed, "O! I
forgot my staff! I must go back and get it!" He went back to the tree,
stripped bark from it, put it into his traveling-bag, and overtook
Leopard. And they came on together to the town. After they had entered
their house, Gazelle remarked to Leopard, "Let me go out and see the
other fellows, who came with you on your previous journeys, and who,
you said, had stayed here with the women." He went out; and returned,
saying, "I saw the women, but none of those fellows." Food was cooked
for them, and they sat down to eat. But, suddenly, Leopard broke out
in groans, "Iheli! I feel a pain in my stomach; go, get bark of that
tree I showed you. The medicine! Get the medicine!" Gazelle answered
"Yes, but just wait until I finish my plate;" and he continued eating
rapidly. Leopard was distressed to see the food disappearing; but,
as he had pretended sickness, he did not dare begin to eat. When,
finally there was but little food left, Gazelle introduced his
hand into his bag, and, handing out the pieces of bark, said,
"Here's your medicine! That's it!" Leopard said, "Yes, just leave
it there. I do not need the medicine now. The pain has ceased. Let
us first eat. We will eat together." After finishing their eating,
Gazelle swept up the scraps, and placed them in a basket. Said Leopard,
"Come, I will go with you to show you the place where sweepings are
to be thrown." Gazelle was about to fling the basket, as Leopard came
to push him into the pit. But, Gazelle lightly leaped across to the
other side of it, and cried out, "Uncle! what do you want to do to
me?" Leopard said, "That's nothing!"

It being night, they went to their sleeping-room, Leopard accompanied
by his wife. He and she carefully jumped over the other pit that was
inside of the door-way of that house. Gazelle also jumped, with careful
observation, the while that people stood outside expecting him to fall
into it. They retired for the night, Leopard and his wife on the bed;
Gazelle on a mat on the floor. Said Gazelle, "Uncle, if you hear me
stertorously snoring, then I am awake; but, if silently, then I am
asleep." In a little while, Gazelle feigned gentle snoring. Leopard
thinking Gazelle was asleep, took an iron rod, and thrust it into the
fire. Gazelle saw what he was doing. When it was red-hot, he removed
it, and, stepping softly, was about to stab Gazelle with it; who,
quickly moving aside, exclaimed, "Eh! what are you doing?" Leopard
coolly replied, "Nothing; I was only brushing away an insect that was
biting you." Gazelle thought within himself, "Njâ will surely kill
me to-night." So, he took chalk, and secretly marked circles around
his eyes, making himself look as if his eyes were open and he awake,
even if he should actually be asleep. After a while, Leopard slept,
sound asleep with his wife. Then Gazelle passed over to Leopard's bed,
and lifting the woman (unconscious in her sleep) to his mat on the
floor, laid down in her place, beside Leopard in the bed. During the
night, Leopard awoke, and, not noticing, in the darkness, the change
at his side, went with the rod, to the mat where he supposed Gazelle
was sleeping, and stabbed the woman to death.

Then Gazelle (who had remained awake) cried out, "Eh! you kill
another person? You are killing your wife!" Leopard exclaimed,
"Umph! Is that you? I said to myself that this was you!" Gazelle said,
"Yes! what did you go to my bed for? So, then! I am the one you wanted
to kill!" Leopard confessed, "It is true that I came here to kill you,
thinking this was you. But, as the matter is thus, say no more about
it. Let us cut up and eat this woman. Come, cut up!" But, Gazelle said,
"I? When the town's-people hear the chopping, then won't they say,
'What animal has Iheli killed in his brother-in-law's town, that he
is cutting it up at night?' Yourself, cut her to pieces."

So, Leopard said, "Well, leave the work on the body of the woman to
me; but, do you attend to the cooking." Said Gazelle, "I? When the
town's people shall hear the kettle boiling, then will they say,
'Whom has Iheli killed in the town of his brother-in-law, that he
cooks at night?'"

Leopard boiled the kettle. It was cooked; and he said to Gazelle, "Go,
cut down a bunch of plantains, out there in the back-yard." (This he
said, hoping that Gazelle would fall into that pit, either in going
out or coming in.) But, Gazelle said, "I? When the town's people hear
the strokes of the machete, and the crash of the fall of the bunch,
then, will they not suspect me, and say, 'What meat has Iheli killed,
that he is cutting down a plantain at night?' Cut it yourself." Leopard
went and cut down a bunch of plantains, and said to Gazelle, "Now,
come and peel the plantains, and cook them." Gazelle refused, "No;
do you peel and cook. I'm in bed. I'll eat only greens." Then Leopard
said (making a last effort to get Gazelle into the pit), "Well, go to
the back-yard, and pluck pepper for the soup." Gazelle again refused,
"No; when the town's-people hear the plucking of the pods, will they
not say, 'What animal has Iheli killed that he is gathering pepper
for the soup?'"

Finally, Leopard, having done all the work, and finished cooking,
and set the table, said, "Come, Iheli, I have finished all. Come, and
eat." Gazelle came, but said, "First, put out all the lights." Leopard
did so. And Gazelle added, "We will understand that whichever, at the
close of the meal, has the largest pile of bones by his plate, shall
be known as the one who killed the woman." Leopard agreed. The light
having been extinguished, they ate in darkness. But, while they were
eating, Gazelle chose only the bony pieces that had little meat; and,
having picked them, he quietly laid the bones by Leopard's plate. When
they had finished eating, the torches were re-lighted, and Gazelle
cried out at Leopard's big pile of bones. They were counted. And
Gazelle said, "Did you not say that whoever had the most bones would
prove himself the murderer? So! indeed! you are the one who killed
another person's child!"

Leopard evaded, and said, "But, Iheli, take a broom and sweep up the
scraps from the floor, and throw them into the yard." (Making thus a
final effort to get Gazelle into that pit.) But, Gazelle, refused,
"No; yourself do it. When the town's-people hear the bones falling
as they are thrown in the yard, will they not suspect me, and say,
'What animal has Iheli killed at night, that he is clearing away the
scraps?'" Leopard swept up the floor and table, and threw the pieces
into the backyard. As they were finishing, day began to dawn. Gazelle
said, "Njâ, the day is breaking; let us seek hiding-places; for, when
the people come in, in the morning, and find that their daughter
is dead, lest they kill us." So, they began to look around for
hiding-places. Gazelle said, "I shall hide in this big box on the
floor." But, Leopard objected, "No; that traveling-box befits me;
and, as the elder, I shall take it." Gazelle said, then, "Well,
I'll hide under the bed." But, Leopard again objected (hoping to
leave Gazelle without a place). "No; that also is my place; it suits
me." Gazelle protested, "You are claiming this and that place! Where
shall I go? Well! I see! I'll hide over the door." "Yes" said Leopard,
"that's the hiding-place for a young person like you." (This he said,
still thinking of the pit near the door.) Gazelle agreed, saying,
"I am here, by the door. You get into that box, and I'll tie it
with a string, as if no one was in it." Leopard objected, "But,
the string will hinder my breaking out." "No," replied Gazelle,
"it shall be a weak twine. You can easily burst it, when you fling
up the lid, and jump out, and run away."

Leopard got into the box, and Gazelle began to tie it with a heavy
chain. Leopard hearing the clanking, exclaimed, "With a chain,
Iheli?" Gazelle had the chain fast; and he coolly replied, "It's only
a little one." Then he piled heavy stones on the box. As day broke,
he took his stand among a bundle of dried plantain-leaves that was
over the door-way. The towns-people sent a child to open the door
of the strangers' house, to call them to eat. As the child was about
to enter, Gazelle struck him a blow on the head; and the child went
away wailing with pain. The child's father said to his family that
he would go to see what was the matter. As he pushed wide open the
door of the strangers' house, Gazelle slid down, sprang out, and ran
rapidly away, shouting, "Njâ is there! Njâ is in that box! He it is
who has killed your woman!" And the towns-people shouted after him,
"Is that so? Well, you're off, Iheli! Go!"

Leopard, when he heard that, made desperate efforts to get out of the
box. The town's-men entered the house and found the box with Leopard
tied in it. They fired their guns at him, and killed him. As they did
so, they reproached him, "Why did you kill our daughter, whom you came
to marry?" Then they gathered together a great pile of fire-wood in
the street, thrust on to it the dead body of Leopard, and burned him
there. Gazelle went back to the town of Beasts, and they asked him,
"Where is he with whom you went on your journey?" Gazelle told them,
"He is dead. He it was who killed the other Beasts who went with
him. And he is now killed by the relatives of the woman whom he was
to marry, but whom also he had murdered."

For this reason, that Gazelle informed on Leopard in the box, the
relatives of Leopard since then have no friendship with Gazelle, and
always pursue and try to kill him. The entire Leopard tribe have kept
up that feud with the Gazelle tribe, saying, "You caused our father's
death." And they carry on their revenge.




    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Mbalanga (Antelope)


Discussions about seniority are common causes of quarrel in Africa. The
reason assigned why tortoises are so spread everywhere is that the
antelope tribe, in public-meeting, recognized their superiority. At
Batanga, Gaboon, Ogowe, and everywhere on the equatorial west coast,
there are tortoises even in places where there are no other animals. On
account of this, the tortoise is given many names; and has many
nicknames in the native tribes, e.g., "Manyima," and "Evosolo."

Tortoise had formerly lived in the same town with several other
animals. But, after awhile, they had decided to separate, and each
built his own village.

One day, Tortoise decided to roam. So he started, and went on an
excursion; leaving his wife and two children in the village. On his
way, he came to the village of Antelope. The latter welcomed him,
killed a fowl, and prepared food for him; and they sat at the table,

When they had finished eating, Antelope asked, "Kudu! My friend,
what is your journey for?"

Tortoise answered, "I have come to inquire of you, as to you and me,
which is the elder?" Antelope replied, "Kudu! I am older than you!" But
Tortoise responded, "No! I am the elder!" Then Antelope said, "Show
me the reason why you are older than I!" Tortoise said, continuing the
discussion, "I will show you a sign of seniority. Let us have a race,
as a test of speed." Antelope replied derisively, "Aiye! how shall
I know to test speed with Kudu? Does Kudu race?" However, he agreed,
and said, "Well! in three days the race shall be made."

Tortoise spoke audaciously, "You, Mbalanga, cannot surpass me in a
race!" Antelope laughed, having accepted the challenge; while Tortoise
pretended to sneer, and said, "I am the one who will overcome!"

The course chosen, beginning on the beach south of Batanga, was more
than seventy miles from the Campo River northward to the Balimba

Then Tortoise went away, going everywhere to give directions, and
returned to his village. He sent word secretly to all the Tortoise
Tribe to call them. When they had come very many of them together,
he told them, "I have called my friend Mbalanga for a race. I know
that he can surpass me in this race, unless you all help me in my
plan. He will follow the sea-beach. You all must line yourselves
among the bushes at the top of the beach along the entire route all
the way from Campo to Balimba. When Mbalanga, coming along, at any
point, looks around to see whether I am following, and calls out,
'Kudu! where are you?' the one of you who is nearest that spot must
step out from his place, and answer for me, 'Here!'"

Thus he located all the other tortoises in the bushes on the entire
route. Also, he placed a colored mark on all the tortoises, making
the face of every one alike. He stationed them clear on to the place
where he expected that Antelope would be exhausted. Then he ended,
taking his own place there.

Antelope also arranged for himself, and said, to his wife, "My
wife! make me food; for, Kudu and I have agreed on a race; and it
begins at seven o'clock in the morning."

When all was ready, Antelope said, to (the one whom he supposed was)
Kudu, "Come! let us race!" They started. Antelope ran on and on,
and came as far as about ten miles to the town of Ubenji, among the
Igara people. At various spots on the way Tortoise apparently was lost
behind; but as constantly he seemed to re-appear, saying, "I'm here!"

At once, Antelope raced forward rapidly, pu! pu! pu! to a town named
Ipenyenye. Then he looked around and said, "Where is Kudu?" A tortoise
stepped out of the bushes, saying "Here I am! You haven't raced."

Antelope raced on until he reached the town of Beyâ. Again looking
around, he said, "Where is Kudu?" A tortoise stepped out, replying,
"I'm here!"

Antelope again raced, until he reached the town Lolabe. Again he
asked, "Where is Kudu?" A tortoise saying to himself, "He hasn't
heard anything," replied, "Here I am!"

Again Antelope raced on as far as from there to a rocky point by the
sea named Ilale-ja-moto; and then he called, "Wherever is Kudu?" A
tortoise ready answered, "Here I am!"

From thence, he came on in the race another stretch of about ten
miles, clear to the town of Bongaheli of the Batanga people. At each
place on the route, when Antelope, losing sight of Tortoise, called,
"Kudu! where are you?" promptly the tortoise on guard at that spot
replied, "I'm here!"

Then on he went, steadily going, going, another stretch of about twenty
miles to Plantation Beach. Still the prompt reply to Antelope's call,
"Kudu, where are you?" was, "I'm here!"

As he started away from Plantation, the wearied Antelope began to
feel his legs tired. However, he pressed on to Small Batanga, hoping
for victory over his despised contestant. But, on his reaching the
edge of Balimba, the tortoise was there ready with his, "I'm here!"

Finally, on reaching the end of the Balimba settlement, Antelope
fell down, dying, froth coming from his mouth, and lay dead, being
utterly exhausted with running. But, when Tortoise arrived, he took
a magic-medicine, and restored Antelope to life; and then exulted
over him by beating him, and saying, "Don't you show me your audacity
another day by daring to run with me! I have surpassed you!"

So, they returned separately to their homes on the Campo
River. Tortoise called together the Tortoise Tribe; and Antelope
called all the Antelope Tribe. And they met in a Council of all the
Animals. Then Tortoise rose and spoke--"All you Kudu Tribe! Mbalanga
said I would not surpass him in a race. But, this day I have

So the Antelope Tribe had to acknowledge, "Yes, you, Kudu, have
surpassed our champion. It's a great shame to us; for, we had not
supposed that a slow fellow such as we thought you to be, could
possibly do it, or be able to out-run a Mbalanga."

So the Council decided that, of all the tribes of animals, Tortoise
was to be held as greatest; for, that it had out-run Antelope. And
the Animals gave Tortoise the power to rule.




    Tomba (Goat)
    Njâ (Leopard)


The reason why leopards wander everywhere, and fight all other animals,
is their shame at being overcome by a goat. Their ancestor had said,
"I did not know that a Goat could overcome me."

The Tribe of Goats sent a message to the Tribe of Leopards, saying,
"Let us have a Wrestling Match, in an effort to see which is the
stronger." Then Leopard took counsel with his Tribe, "This Tribe of
Goats! I do not see that they have any strength. Let us agree to the
contest; for, they can do nothing to me."

So, the Goat Tribe gathered all together; and the Leopard Tribe
all together; and they met in a street of a town, to engage in the
drumming and dancing and singing usually preceding such contests.

For the wrestling, they joined in thirty pairs, one from each
tribe. The first pair wrestled; and the representative of the
Leopards was overcome and thrown to the ground. Another pair joined;
and again the Leopard champion was overcome. A third pair joined and
wrestled, contesting desperately; the Leopard in shame, and the Goat
in exultation. Again the Leopard was overcome.

There was, during all this time, drumming by the adherents of both
parties. The Leopard drum was now beaten fiercely to encourage their
side, as they had already been overcome three times in succession.

Then, on the fourth effort, the Leopard succeeded in overcoming. Again
a pair fought; and Leopard overcame a second time. The sixth pair
joined; and Leopard said, "Today we wrestle to settle that doubt as
to which of us is the stronger."

So, pair after pair wrestled, until all of the thirty arranged pairs
had contested. Of these, the Leopard tribe were victors ten times;
and the Goat Tribe twenty times.

Then the Leopard tribe said, "We are ashamed that the report should
go out among all the animals that we beat only ten times, and the
Tomba twenty times. So, we will not stay any longer here, with their
and our towns near together:" for they knew that their Leopard tribe
would always be angry when they should see a company of Goats passing,
remembering how often they were beaten. So, they moved away into the
forest distant from their hated rivals. In their cherished anger at
being beaten, and to cover their shame, Leopard attacks a Goat when
he meets him alone, or any other single beast known to be friendly
to the Goats, e.g., Oxen or Antelopes.




    Tomba-Ya-Taba (Goat)
    With Etoli, plural Betoli (Rat)
    Vyâdu (Antelope, plural Lâdu)
    Njâ (Leopard)
    Ko (Wild-Rat)
    Njâku (Elephant)
    Nyati (Ox)

Goat and his mother lived alone in their village. He said to her,
"I have here a magic-medicine to strengthen one in wrestling. There
is no one who can overcome me, or cast me down; I can overcome any
other person."

The other Beasts heard of this boast; and they took up the
challenge. First, house-Rats, hundreds of them, came to Goat's village,
to test him. And they began the wrestling. He overcame them, one by
one, to the number of two hundred. So, the Rats went back to their
places, admitting that they were not able to overcome him.

Then, forest-Rat came to wrestle with Goat. He overcame them also,
all of them. And they went back to their own place defeated.

Then, the Antelope came to wrestle with Goat. He overcame all the
Antelopes, every one of them; not one was able to withstand him. And
they also went back to their places.

Also, Elephant with all the elephants, came on that same
challenge. Goat overcame all the Elephants; and they too, went back
to their place.

Thus, all the Beasts came, in the same way, and were overcome in the
same way, and went back in the same way.

But, there still remained one Beast, only one, Leopard, who had not
made the attempt. So he said he would go; as he was sure he could
overcome. He came. Goat overcame him also. So, it was proved that
not a single beast could withstand Goat.

Then the Father of All-the-Leopards said, "I am ashamed that this Beast
should overcome me. I will kill him!" And he made a plan to do so. He
went to the spring where Mankind got their drinking-water. And he
stood, hiding at the spring. Men of the town went to the spring to get
water; Leopard killed two of them. The people went to tell Goat, "Go
away from here, for Leopard is killing Mankind on your account." The
Mother of Goat said to him, "If that is so, let us go to my brother
Vyâdu." So they both went to go to Uncle Antelope. And they came
to his village. When they told him their errand, he bravely said,
"Remain here! Let me see Njâ come here with his audacity!"

They were then at Antelope's village, about two days. On the third
day, about eight o'clock in the morning, Leopard came there as if for
a walk. When Antelope saw him, Goat and his mother hid themselves;
and Antelope asked Leopard, "What is your anger? Why are you angry
with my nephew?"

At that very moment while Antelope was speaking, Leopard seized him
on the ear. Antelope cried out, "What are you killing me for?" Leopard
replied, "Show me the place where Tomba-Taba and his mother are." So,
Antelope being afraid said, "Come tonight, and I will show you where
they sleep. And you kill them; but don't kill me."

While he was saying this, Goat overheard, and said to his mother,
"We must flee, lest Njâ kill us." So, at sun-down, that evening, Goat
and his mother fled to the village of Elephant. About midnight, Leopard
came to Antelope's village, according to appointment, and looked for
Goat, but did not find him. Leopard went to all the houses of the
village, and when he came to Antelope's own, in his disappointment,
he killed him.

Leopard kept up his search, and followed to find where Goat had
gone. Following the tracks, he came to the village of Elephant. When
he arrived there, Elephant demanded, "What's the matter?" And the same
conversation was held, as at Antelope's village, and the incidents
happened as at that village, ending with Elephant's being killed
by Leopard. For, Goat and his mother had fled, and had gone to the
village of Ox.

Leopard followed, and came to Ox's village. There all the same things
were said and done, as in the other villages, and ending with Goat
and his mother fleeing, and Ox being killed.

Then, the mother, wearying of flight, and sorry at causing their
entertainers to be killed, said, "My child! if we continue to flee to
the villages of other beasts, Njâ will follow, and will kill them. Let
us flee to the homes of Mankind."

So, they fled again, and came to the town of Man, and told him their
story. He received them kindly. He took Goat and his mother as guests,
and gave them a house to live in.

One time, at night, Leopard came to the town of Man, in pursuit
of Goat. But Man said to Leopard, "Those Beasts whom you killed,
failed to find a way in which to kill you. But, if you come here,
we will find a way." So, that night, Leopard went back to his village.

On another day, Mankind began to make a big trap, with two rooms
in it. They took Goat and put him in one room of the trap. Night
came. Leopard left his village, still going to seek for Goat; and
he came again to the town of Man. Leopard stood still, listened, and
sniffed the air. He smelled the odor of Goat, and was glad, and said,
"So! this night I will kill him!"

He saw an open way to a small house. He thought it was a door. He
entered, and was caught in the trap. He could see Goat through the
cracks in the wall, but could not get at him. Goat jeered at him,
"My friend! you were about to kill me, but you are unable."

Daybreak came. And people of Man's town found Leopard in the trap,
caught fast. They took machetes and guns, and killed him. Then Man said
to Goat, "You shall not go back to the Forest; remain here always."

This is the reason that Goats like to live with mankind, through fear
of Leopards.




    Ngâmbi (Igwana)
    Njâ (Leopard)
    Betoli (Rats)
    Vyâdu (Antelope)
    Iheli (Gazelle)
    Ehibo (Red Antelope)


Natives believe that the Igwana kills with its long tongue. This story
assigns the fear of leopards as a reason why Igwanas like to live near
water. Igwanas swim readily, while leopards (as all the cat-tribe)
do not like even to wet their feet.

There were two friends, Igwana and Leopard, living in the same
village, one at each end. Igwana had six wives; Leopard also had
six. Leopard begot twenty children; Igwana had eight. One time, at
night, they were sitting with their wives and children in the street,
in a conversation. Leopard said to Igwana, "Ngâmbi! I have a word to
say to you." Igwana said, "Speak."

Then Leopard said, "I wish you and me to have our food
together." Igwana agreed, "Well." And Leopard arranged, "For two
months, you shall come and eat in my house; and then, for two months,
I at your house."

And they separated, to go to their houses for sleep.

Soon the night passed, and day broke.

Leopard went to the forest and killed an Antelope. He and Igwana and
their families spent four days in eating it.

On another day, Leopard went to the forest and killed a Gazelle. It
also was finished in four days.

And again, Leopard went to the forest, and killed a Red Antelope. They
were occupied in eating it also four days.

So, they continued all the two months. Then Leopard said, "Ngâmbi! it
is your time to begin the food." Igwana replied, "I have no wild meat,
only vegetables."

On the following day, Igwana got ready his food and sent word for
Leopard to come to eat. He came and ate, there being on the table only
vegetables and salt. Then the day darkened; and, in the evening they
all came together in one place, as usual. Leopard said to Igwana,
"I began my turn with meats in my house, and you ate them. I cannot
eat only vegetables and salt." Igwana explained, "I do not know the
arts for killing beasts." Leopard told him, "Begin now to try the
art of how to catch beasts." Igwana replied, "If I begin a plan for
catching Beasts, that plan will be a dreadful one." Leopard exclaimed,
"Good! begin!"

Igwana promised, "Tomorrow I will begin."

And they all went to their houses to sleep their sleep. The night
passed, and day broke.

Igwana started out very early in the morning. On the way, he came to
a big tree. He stood at its base, and, with a cord, he loosely tied
his own hands and feet around the tree. Then he began to squeak as
if in pain, "Hwa! hwa! hwa!" three times.

At that same time, a child of Leopard had gone wandering out into the
forest. He found Igwana tied to the tree and crying. Igwana said to
him, "Ah! my child! come near me, and untie me."

The child of Leopard came near to him; and then Igwana thrust
his forked tongue into the nostrils of young leopard, and pulled
his brains out, so that the child died. Then Igwana untied himself,
skinned the young leopard, divided it, tied the pieces in a big bundle
of leaves, and took them and the skin to the village. There he gave
the meat to his wife, who put it in a pot. And he went to his house,
and left the skin hanging in his bedroom.

Then when the meat was cooked, he sent word for Leopard to come and
eat. Leopard came and sat down at the table, and they ate. As they
were eating, Leopard said, "Ah! my friend! You said you did not know
how to catch beasts! What is this fine meat?"

Igwana replied, "I am unable to tell you. Just you eat it." So, they
ate, and finished eating. Igwana continued that way for two weeks,
killing the young leopards.

At that Leopard said to himself, "I had begotten twenty children, but
now I find only ten. Where are the other ten?" He asked his children
where their brothers were. They answered that they did not know,
"Perhaps they were lost in the forest." The while that Igwana was
killing the young leopards, he had hidden their skins all in his

On another day, Leopard and Igwana began a journey together to a
place about forty miles distant. Before he started, Igwana closed his
house, and said to his children, "Njâ and I are going on a journey;
while I am away, do not let any one enter into my bedroom." And they
two went together on their journey. They reached their journey's end,
and were there for the duration of seven days. While they were gone,
there was no one to get meat for their people, and there came on
their village a great njangu (hunger for meat).

One of those days, in the village, so great was that famine that the
children of Leopard were searching for rats for food. The rats ran
away to the house of Igwana that was shut up; and the children of
Leopard pursued. But the children of Igwana said to them, "Do not
enter the house! Our father forbade it! Stop at the door-way!"

But the young leopards replied, "No! all the Betoli have run in
there. We must follow." So, they broke down the door. There they found
skins of young leopards, and they exclaimed, "So! indeed! Ngâmbi
kills our brothers!" And two days later, the two fathers came back
to the village.

The young igwanas told their father that the young leopards had broken
the door, and found leopard-skins hanging inside. Igwana asked them,
"Really? They saw?" The young igwanas answered, "Yes! they saw!" Then
Igwana said, "Be on your guard! For, Njâ will be angry with me."

Also, the young leopards said to their father, "Paia! so it is that
Ngâmbi killed our brothers. We saw their skins in his bedroom." Leopard
asked, "Truly?" They answered, "Yes! we saw!" He said only, "Well,
let it be."

On another day, Leopard said, "This night I will go to Ngâmbi to kill
him and all his children." The wife of Igwana heard this, and told
him, "Tonight, Njâ will come to kill you and our children." At this,
Igwana said to himself "But! we must flee, I, and my children, and
my wives!" So, they all went and hid in the water of a small stream.

Leopard came, in the dark of the morning, to Igwana's house, and
entered it; but he saw no people, only the skins of his children. So
he exclaimed, "At whatever place I shall see Ngâmbi, I will kill and
eat him. We, he and I, have no more friendship!"




    Mbwa (Dog)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Mbala (Squirrel)


Dog and squirrel were of the same age, and they met with the same
end. They each had an object of their special liking, the excessive
use of which finally was the cause of their death.

Dog, Squirrel, Tortoise and others were living in one town. They all,
at that time, ate of the same kind of food. But, they were at peace
in that village during only two weeks. Then Squirrel and Dog said
to Tortoise, "Let us divide, and have peace each at our separate
villages. You, Kudu, and the others can stay at this spot if you like."

Squirrel said he would remove to a place about three miles distant
north. Dog went about three miles in the opposite direction. So,
each had his own little hamlet.

On another day, Squirrel said to his wife, "I am going on a journey
to see my friend Mbwa." He started, came to Dog's place, and entered
the house. Dog welcomed him, played with him, and killed a fowl for
their dinner. With Squirrel had come one of his wives.

While the women were cooking inside the house, Dog and Squirrel
were sitting in the ikenga (reception-room). They were conversing
there. After awhile, Dog said to Squirrel "Excuse me, I will go to
see about the food." He went inside, and lay down near the fire,
and Squirrel was left alone.

Dog stayed there inside the house, until the food was cooked. Then
he came out to his friend, and began to set the table, while the
women came in with the food, and put it on the table. Dog drew up
by the table ready to eat; and Squirrel also; and Squirrel's wife,
and Dog's wife also, making four at the table.

During the eating, Squirrel said to Dog, "My friend! when you left me
here in the ikenga, where did you go to, the while that the women were
cooking the food?" Dog answered, "Ah! my friend, you know that I like
fire very much. While we were talking here, you and I, cold seized me."

Then Squirrel said, "Ah! my friend, you like fire too much; I think
you will die of fire some day."

They finished the food; and after that, Squirrel prepared his return
journey to his village. And he said to Dog, "My friend Mbwa, how many
days before you shall come to my place?" Dog answered, "In two days,
then will I come."

So, Squirrel returned to his village. His wives and children told
him the daily news of what had occurred in the village while he was
away. And he told them about what he had seen at Dog's. And he added,
"But, there is one thing I noticed; my friend Mbwa likes fire very

He waited the two days; Dog came on his visit; and Squirrel killed
a fowl for his guest. And he bade his woman cook the fowl. In the
meanwhile, Dog and Squirrel sat in the ikenga conversing. Presently
Squirrel said to Dog, "Excuse me, I am going. I will return."

Squirrel went out into his garden, and climbed up a banana stalk,
and began eating the ripe fruit at the top of the bunch. After awhile,
he came down again. And he went into the ikenga to prepare the table
for the food. When it was ready, Dog sat up at the table. With him
were his wife, and Squirrel and Squirrel's wife.

Presently, Dog inquired of Squirrel, "My friend! when you left
me sitting here alone, where did you go to?" Squirrel answered,
"My friend! you know I like to eat bananas. So, I was up the tree,"
Then Dog said, "My friend! you love bananas too much; some day,
you will die with them."

When they had finished their food, Dog said, "I am on my return to
my village." So he returned thither. But he was arrived there only
two days when he happened to fall into the fire-place. And he died
in the fire. The news was carried to his friend Squirrel, "Your
friend Mbwa is dead by fire." Squirrel replied, "Yes, I said so;
for he loved fire too much."

On another day, in Man's town, a person went to look for food at his
banana tree. And he saw that the fruit was eaten at the top, by some
animal. So, that Man made a snare at the Banana tree. On the next day,
Squirrel said to himself, "I'm going to eat my banana food wherever
I shall find it."

He came to the town of Man, and climbed the tree. The snare caught
and killed him; and he died there. The Man came and found the body
of Squirrel; and he exclaimed "Good!"

The news was carried to the village of Squirrel's children, "Your
father is dead, at a banana tree."

And they said, "Yes; for our father loved bananas very much. He had
said that Mbwa would die by fire because he loved fire. And himself
also loved bananas."




    Ihendi (Squirrel)
    And 2 children
        Ikundu (Vengeance)
        Ihana (Help)
    Pe (Viper)
    A Hunter


This story suggests that when a neighbor flatters another, suspicion is
raised that he is plotting some evil. Squirrel and the Adder professed
great friendship; but their friendship was soon broken.

Claims of seniority are a constant cause of native quarrels.

A certain fetish-charm or "medicine" (generally poisonous) is supposed
to be able to decide, on its being drunk by accused parties, as to
their guilt or innocence.

There is a common belief in premonitions by unusual beats of the heart,
or twitching of any muscle.

Squirrel and Adder were great friends, living in the same town. Each
of them had two wives.

One day, in the afternoon, Squirrel and one of his wives went into the
house of Adder. The latter said to his wife, "Make ready food." So,
she made a great deal of food. Then he said to his friend Squirrel,
"Come, eat!" But Squirrel said, "I won't eat alone without my wife." So
he called his wife to eat. His wife came and ate at the table. Then
he said to Adder, "Also, you call your wife to eat with us." So
Adder's wife came. And Squirrel said to Adder, "Now let us eat; for,
everything is right." So they began to eat.

While they were eating, Adder said, "I have a word to say about you,
Ihendi." Squirrel replied, "Speak your word; I will listen." Then Adder
asked, "You, Ihendi, and I, Pe; which is the elder? And your wife
and my wife; also which is the elder?" Squirrel replied, "I am the
elder, and my wife is older than your wife." But Adder said, "No! I
am the elder; and my wife is older than yours." Squirrel responded,
"I will give you my answer tomorrow in my own house." This occurred
in the evening.

Then the day darkened, and Squirrel went to his house to lie
down. Adder also went to lie down in his bedroom.

In the night, Squirrel remarked to his wife, "My wife! what sort of
a word is this that Pe has spoken about so to me? I don't know about
his birth, and he does not know of mine. We have no other person in
the town who is able to decide which of us is the elder, and which the
younger. This question has some affair behind it." His wife replied
"I think that Pe wants to get up a quarrel in order to kill you or our
children." Squirrel had two children, one named Vengeance and the other
Help. Squirrel replied to his wife, "No! I will have no discussion
with Pe; but tomorrow there shall be only a test of Medicine."

Soon the day broke. Squirrel sent word to Pe, "Chum! you and I will
have today nothing else but a medicine-test and no quarrel. For, you
and I profess to love each other. I do this to prove both yourself
and myself, lest you get up some affair against me, even though we
love each other very much." Adder consented, "Yes; get the Medicine. I
will know then what I shall say."

Squirrel went to the forest to get leaves and bark of a certain
tree for the kwai (test). On his return, he said to Adder, "Here is
the test; let us drink of it." Adder replied, "The Medicine is of
your getting. You first drink of it." Squirrel agreed, "Yes, I will
drink first."

So, Squirrel, conscious of his innocence, drank the test and swore
an oath, "If I meet Pe's mother, it shall be only in peace. Or his
father, only peace; or his children, only peace." Squirrel added,
"I have finished speaking for my part." And he sat down on the ground.

Then Adder arose from his seat and stood up. And he exclaimed,
"Yes! let it be so!" He took up the medicine from the ground; and he
drank of it greedily. And he swore, "If I meet with the children of
Ihende, it will be only to swallow them. Or, father of Ihende, only
to eat him; or mother of Ihende, only to eat her!" Then he sat down.

But, Squirrel exclaimed, "Ha! my friend! you saw how I drank my share
of the medicine, and I have not spoken thus as you. For what reason
have you thus spoken?" Adder answered, "Yes! I said so; and I will
not alter my words."

They dispersed from the medicine ordeal, and went each to his
house. Then that day darkened into night. And they all went to
their sleep.

Soon the next day broke. Squirrel and his wife prepared for a journey
to the forest to seek food. He said to his wife, "Leave the children in
the house." So the woman shut them in, and closed the doors tight. And
he and she went off to the forest.

Later on in the morning, Adder arose from his place, and he said
to himself, "I'm going to stroll over to the house of my friend
Ihende." So he came to Squirrel's house, and found no one there. He
tried to break in the door; finally, he succeeded in opening it;
and he entered the house. He found the two children of Squirrel
lying together asleep. He shook them, and they awoke. He asked them,
"Where is my friend?" They answered, "Our father and mother have gone
to the forest."

Then Adder suddenly joined the two children together and swallowed
them. (They were both of them lads.) Then he went out of the house,
and closed the door. His stomach being distended with what he had
swallowed, he went back to his house, and laid down on his bed.

Off in the forest, Squirrel said to his wife, "My heart beats
so strangely! I have eaten nothing here; what should disturb my
heart?" His wife replied, "Well! let us hasten back to town. Perhaps
some affair has happened in our house!"

They hastily gathered their food, to go back rapidly to town. On
their arrival, they went at once to their house. Looking at the door,
the wife exclaimed, "I did not leave this door so! Who has been at
it?" Her husband urged, "Quickly! Open the door! Let us enter at
once!" They opened the door; and found no one in the house.

Then Squirrel, fearing evil, said to her, "Stay you here! I will go
over to Pe's house. I know that fellow!" He came to Adder's house, and
found him distended with this stomach. Squirrel asked him, "Chum! have
you been at my house?" Adder answered, "Yes, I went to your house; but
I have done nothing there." Squirrel asked him, feeling sure of his
guilt, "But, where then are my children? Why did you not leave even
one of them? Ah! my friend!" Adder replied, "When we drank the Test,
did I not swear the truth that if I met with your children, I would
swallow them?" Squirrel answered, "Yes! and you have kept your word
well! But you shall see something just now and here!" Adder laughed,
and said, "What can you do? You have no strength like mine."

Close by the house of Adder (which was only a hole in the ground)
was a large tree. Squirrel went out of the house, and climbed to the
top of the tree. There he began to wail for his dead, and cried out,
"Ikundu ja mâ! Ikundu ja mâ!" (A play on words: either an apostrophe to
the name of one of his children, or a prayer for vengeance.) Another
squirrel, that was a mile or two away, heard the wailing; and it came
to where Squirrel was. Also his wife followed Squirrel to that tree;
and she wailed too. And other squirrels came; about twenty.

A hunter, living in the town of Mankind, started from his town to go
hunting. Coming along the path, he heard Squirrel crying. Looking
up, he exclaimed, "O! how many squirrels!" He thought to himself,
"Why do these animals make this noise, and keep looking down at the
foot of this big tree?"

He approached near to the tree; and they dispersed among the
branches. He then said to himself, "I will look around here at the
bottom; for, as those squirrels continue their cry, they keep looking
down here." Searching at the foot of the tree, he saw a hole, like
the home of some beast. Looking in, he saw the Adder sluggish in his
distention. The hunter killed it with his machete. And he took the
dead adder with him to the town of Mankind.

Squirrel, from the tree-top, shouted after dead Adder, "You have
seen my promised Ikundu." (Another play on words; either--"You saw
my child;" or, "You see my Vengeance.")




    Kudu (Tortoise)
    King Maseni, A Man
    Njâ (Leopard)
    Ngâmâ (A Magic Drum)


The reason is here given why the turtle tribe of tortoises likes
to live only in water; viz., their fear of the vengeance of the
descendants of Leopard the King, because of the whipping to which he
was subjected by the trick of the ancestor of the tortoises.

In the Ancient days, there were Mankind and all the Tribes of the
Animals living together in one country. They built their towns,
and they dwelt together in one place. In the country of King Maseni,
Tortoise and Leopard occupied the same town; the one at one end of
the street, and the other at the other.

Leopard married two women; Tortoise also his two.

It happened that a time of famine came, and a very great hunger fell
on the Tribes covering that whole region of country. So, King Maseni
issued a law, thus:--"Any person who shall be found having a piece of
food, he shall he brought to me." (That is, for the equal distribution
of that food.) And he appointed police as watchmen to look after that
whole region.

The famine increased. People sat down hopelessly, and died of
hunger. Just as, even today, it destroys the poor; not only of Africa,
but also in the lands of Manga-Manene (White Man's Land). And, as
the days passed, people continued sitting in their hopelessness.

One day, Tortoise went out early, going, going and entering into
the jungles, to seek for his special food, mushrooms. He had said
to his wife, "I am going to stroll on the beach off down toward the
south." As he journeyed and journeyed, he came to a river. It was
a large one, several hundred feet in width. There he saw a coco-nut
tree growing on the river-bank. When he reached the foot of the tree,
and looked up at its top, he discovered that it was full of very many
nuts. He said to himself. "I'm going up there, to gather nuts; for,
hunger has seized me." He laid aside his traveling-bag, leaving it on
the ground, and at once climbed the tree, expecting to gather many
of the nuts. He plucked two, and threw them to the ground. Plucking
another, and attempting to throw it, it slipped from his hand, and
fell into the stream running below.

Then he exclaimed, "I've come here in hunger; and does my coco-nut
fall into the water to be lost?" He said to himself, "I'll leave here,
and drop into the water, and follow the nut." So, he plunged down,
splash! into the water. He dove down to where the nut had sunk, to get
it. And he was carried away by the current. Following the nut where the
current had carried it, he came to the landing-place of a strange Town,
where was a large House. People were there in it. And other people
were outside, playing. They called to him. From the House, he heard a
Voice, saying "Take me! take me! take me!" (It was a Drum that spoke.)

At the landing-place was a woman washing a child. The woman said
to him, "What is it that brought you here? And, Kudu, where are you
going?" He replied, "There is great hunger in our town. So, on my way,
I came seeking for my mushrooms. Then it was that I saw a coco tree;
and I climbed it; for, I am hungry and have nothing to eat. I threw
down the nuts. One fell into the river. I followed it; and I came
hither." Then the woman said, "Now then, you are saved." And she added,
"Kudu! go to that House over there. You will see a Thing there. That
Thing is a Drum. Start, and go at once to where the Drums are."

Others of those people called out to him, "There are many such Things
there. But, the kind that you will see which says, 'Take me! take
me!' do not take it. But, the Drum which is silent and does not speak,
but only echoes, 'wo-wo-wo,' without any real words, you must take
it. Carry it with you, and tie it to that coco tree. Then you must
say to the Drum, 'Ngâmâ! speak as they told to you!'" So, Tortoise
went on, and on, to the House, and took the Drum, and, carrying it,
came back to the river bank where the Woman was. She said to him,
"You must first try to learn how to use it. Beat it!" He beat it. And,
a table appeared with all kinds of food! And, when he had eaten,
he said to the Drum, "Put it back!" And the table disappeared.

He carried the Drum with him clear back to the foot of the coco
tree. He tied it with a rattan to the tree, and then said to the Drum,
"Ngâmâ! do as they said!" Instantly, the Drum set out a long table,
and put on all sorts of food. Tortoise felt very glad and happy for
the abundance of food. So he ate and ate, and was satisfied. Again
he said, "Ngâmâ! do as they said!" And Drum took back the table and
the food to itself up the tree, leaving a little food at the foot;
and then came back to the hand of Tortoise. He put this little food
in his traveling-bag, and gathered from the ground the coco-nuts
he had left lying there in the morning, and started to go back to
his town. He stopped at a spot a short distance in the rear of the
town. So delighted was he with his Drum that he tested it again. He
stood it up, and with the palm of his hand struck it, tomu! A table
at once stood there, with all kinds of food. Again he ate, and also
filled his traveling-bag. Then he said to a tree that was standing
near by, "Bend down!" It bowed; and he tied the Drum to its branch;
and went off into the town. The coco-nuts and the mushrooms he handed
to his women and children. After he had entered his house, his chief
wife said to him, "Where have you been all this long while since
the morning?" He replied evasively, "I went wandering clear down
to the beach to gather coco-nuts. And, this day I saw a very fine
thing. You, my wife, shall see it!" Then he drew out the food from
the bag, potatoes, and rice, and beef. And he said, "The while that
we eat this food, no one must show any of it to Njâ." So, they two,
and his other wife and their family of children ate.

Soon day darkened; and they all went to go to sleep. And soon another
day began to break. At day-break, Tortoise started to go off to the
place where was the Drum. Arrived there, he went to the tree, and said
to the Drum, "Ngâmâ! do as they said!" The Drum came rapidly down to
the ground, and put out the table all covered with food. Tortoise took
a part, and ate, and was satisfied. Then he also filled the bag. Then
said he to the Drum, "Do as you did!" And Drum took back the things,
and went up the tree. On another day, at day-break, he went to the
tree and did the same way.

On another day, as he was going, his eldest son, curious to find
out where his father obtained so much food, secretly followed
him. Tortoise went to where the Drum was. The child hid himself, and
stood still. He heard his father say to the tree, "Bend!" And its top
bent down. The child saw the whole process, as Tortoise took the Drum,
stood it up, and with the palm of his hand, struck it, ve! saying,
"Do as you have been told to do!" At once a table stood prepared,
at which Tortoise sat down and ate. And then, when he had finished,
saying, "Tree! bend down," it bent over for Drum to be tied to it. He
returned Drum to the branch; and the tree stood erect.

On other days, Tortoise came to the tree, and did the same way, eating;
and returning to his house; on all such occasions, bringing food for
his family. One day, the son, who had seen how to do all those things,
came to the tree, and said to it, "Bow down." It bowed; and he did
as his father had done. So Drum spread the table. The child ate, and
finished eating. Then said he to Drum, "Put them away!" And the table
disappeared. Then he took up the Drum, instead of fastening it to the
tree, and secretly carried it to town to his own house. He went to call
privately his brothers, and his father's women, and other members of
the family. When they had come together in his house, at his command,
the Drum did as usual; and they ate. And when he said to the Drum,
"Put away the things!" it put them away.

Tortoise came that day from the forest where he had been searching
for the loved mushrooms for his family. He said to himself, "Before
going into the town, I will first go to the tree to eat." As he
approached the tree, when only a short distance from it, the tree
was standing as usual, but the Drum was not there! He exclaimed,
"Truly, now, what is this joke of the tree?" As he neared the foot
of the tree, still there was no Drum to be seen! He said to the tree,
"Bow down!" There was no response! He passed on to the town, took his
axe, and returned at once to the tree, in anger saying, "Lest I cut
you down, bend!" The tree stood still. Tortoise began at once with his
axe chopping, Ko! ko! The tree fell, toppling to the ground, tomu! He
said to it, "You! produce the Drum, lest I cut you in pieces!" He split
the tree all into pieces; but he did not see the Drum. He returned to
the town; and, as he went, he walked anxiously saying to himself, "Who
has done this thing?" When he reached his house, he was so displeased
that he declined to speak. Then his eldest son came to him, and said,
"O! my father! why is it that you are silent and do not speak? What
have you done in the forest? What is it?" He replied, "I don't want
to talk." The son said, "Ah! my father! you were satisfied when you
used to come and eat, and you brought us mushrooms. I am the one who
took the Drum." Tortoise said to him, "My child, now bring out to us
the Drum." He brought it out of an inner room. Then Tortoise and the
son called together all their people privately, and assembled them in
the house. They commanded the Drum. It did as it usually did. They
ate. Their little children took their scraps of potatoes and meat
of wild-animals, and, in their excitement, forgot orders, and went
out eating their food in the open street. Other children saw them,
and begged of them. They gave to them. Among them were children of
Leopard, who went and showed the meat to their father.

All suddenly, Leopard came to the house of Tortoise, and found
him and his family feasting. Leopard said, "Ah! Chum! you have
done me evil. You are eating; and I and my family are dying with
hunger!" Tortoise replied, "Yes, not today, but tomorrow you shall
eat." So, Leopard returned to his house.

After that, the day darkened. And they all went to lie down in
sleep. Then, the next day broke.

Early in the morning, Tortoise, out in the street, announced, "From my
house to Njâ's there will be no strolling into the forest today. Today,
only food."

Tortoise then went off by himself to the coco tree (whither he had
secretly during the night carried the Drum). Arrived at the foot of the
tree, he desired to test whether its power had been lost by the use of
it in his town. So, he gave the usual orders; and they were, as usually
obeyed. Tortoise then went off with the Drum, carrying it openly on his
shoulder, into the town, and directly to the house of Leopard, and said
to him, "Call all your people! Let them come!" They all came into the
house; and the people of Tortoise also. He gave the usual commands. At
once, Drum produced abundance of food, and a table for it. So, they all
ate, and were satisfied. And Drum took back the table to itself. Drum
remained in the house of Leopard for about two weeks. It ended its
supply of food, being displeased at Leopard's rough usage of itself;
and there was no more food. Leopard went to Tortoise, and told him,
"Drum has no more food. Go, and get another." Tortoise was provoked
at the abuse of his Drum, but he took it, and hung it up in his house.

At this time, the watchmen heard of the supply of food at Leopard's
house, and they asked him about it. He denied having any. They asked
him, "Where then did you get this food which we saw your children
eating?" He said, "From the children of Kudu." The officers went at
once to King Maseni, and reported, "We saw a person who has food." He
inquired, "Who is he?" They replied, "Kudu." The King ordered
"Go ye, and summon Kudu." They went and told Tortoise, "The King
summons you." Tortoise asked, "What have I done to the King? Since
the King and I have been living in this country, he has not summoned
me." Nevertheless, he obeyed and journeyed to the King's house. The
King said to him, "You are keeping food, while all the Tribes are
dying of hunger? You! bring all those foods!" Tortoise replied,
"Please excuse me! I will not come again today with them. But,
tomorrow, you must call for all the tribes."

The next morning, the King had his bell rung, and an order announced,
"Any person whatever, old or young, come to eat!" The whole community
assembled at the King's house. Tortoise also came from his town,
holding his Drum in his hand. The distant members of that Tribe,
(not knowing and not having heard what that Drum had been doing)
twitted him, "Is it for a dance?"

Entering into the King's house, Tortoise stood up the Drum; with his
palm he struck it, ve! saying, "Let every kind of food appear!" It
appeared. The town was like a table, covered with every variety
of food. The entire community ate, and were satisfied; and they
dispersed. Tortoise took the Drum, and journeyed back to his town. He
spoke to his hungry family, "Come ye!" They came. They struck the
Drum; it was motionless; and nothing came from it! They struck it
again. Silent! (It was indignant at having been used by other hands
than those of Tortoise.) So, they sat down with hunger.

The next day, Tortoise went rapidly off to the coco tree, climbed it,
gathered two nuts, threw one into the river, dropped into the stream,
and followed the nut as he had done before. He came as before to that
landing-place, and to the Woman, and told her about the failure of
the Drum. She told him that she knew of it, and directed him to go
and take another. He went on to that House, and to those People. And
they, as before, asked him, "Kudu! whither goest thou?" He replied,
"You know I have come to take my coco-nut." But they said, "No! leave
the nut, and take a Drum." And, as before, they advised him to take a
silent one. So, he came to the House of Drums. These called to him,
"Take me! take me!" Then, he thought to himself, "Yes! I'll take
one of those Drums that talk. Perhaps they will have even better
things than the other." So, he took one, and came out of the House,
and told those People "I have taken. And, now, for my journey."

He started from the landing-place, and on up the river, to the foot of
the coco-tree. He tied the Drum to the tree with a cord, as before,
set it up, and gave it a slap, ve! And a table stood there! He said,
"Ngâmâ! do as you usually do!" Instantly, there were thrown down on
the table, mbwâ! whips instead of food. Tortoise, surprised, said,
"As usual!" The Drum picked up one of the whips, and beat Tortoise,
ve! He cried out with pain, and said to the Drum, "But, now do also
as you do. Take these things away." And Drum returned the table and
whips to itself. Tortoise regretfully said to himself, "Those People
told me not to take a Drum that talked; but my heart deceived me."

However, a plan occurred to him by which to obtain a revenge on
Leopard and the King for the trouble he had been put to.

So, taking up the Drum, he came to his own town, and went at once to
the house of Leopard. To whom he said, "To-morrow come with your people
and mine to the town of King Maseni." Leopard rejoiced at the thought,
"This is the Drum of food!"

Then Tortoise journeyed to the King's town, and said, "I have found
food, according to your order. Call the people tomorrow."

In the morning, the King's bell was rung, and his people, accompanied
by those of Tortoise and Leopard, came to his house. Tortoise privately
spoke to his own people, "No one of you must follow me into the
house. Remain outside of the window."

Tortoise said to the King, "The food of today must be eaten only
inside of your house." So, the King's people, with those of Leopard,
entered into the house. There, Tortoise said, "We shall eat this food
only if all the doors and windows are fastened." So, they were fastened
(excepting one which Tortoise kept open near himself). Then, the Drum
was sounded, and Tortoise commanded it, "Do as you have said." And,
the tables appeared. But, instead of food, were whips. The people
wondered, "Ah! what do these mean? Where do they come from?" Tortoise
stationed himself by the open window, and commanded the Drum, "As
usual!" Instantly the whips flew about the room, lashing everybody,
even the King, and especially Leopard. The thrashing was great,
and Leopard and his people were crying with pain. Their bodies were
injured, being covered with cuts.

But, Tortoise had promptly jumped out of the window. And, standing
outside, he ordered, "Ngâmâ! do as you do!" And the whips and tables
returned to it, and the whipping ceased. But, Tortoise knew that the
angry crowd would try to seize and kill him. So, taking advantage
of the confusion in the house, he and his people fled to the water
of the river, and scattered, hiding among the logs and roots in the
stream. As he was disappearing, Leopard shouted after him, "You and I
shall not see each other! If we do, it will be you who will be killed!"




    Njâ (Leopard)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Etoli (Rat)
    Embonda (Prairie Antelope)
    Iheli (Gazelle)
    Ngando (Crocodile)
    Ngomba (Porcupine)


African natives climb the palm-tree, cut out a cavity in the heart
at the leafy top, and fasten a vessel below the cavity, to catch
the sweet, milky juice that exudes. This is unintoxicating. But,
like cider, it becomes intoxicating if kept a few days. The cutting
destroys the tree in two or three months.

The beginning of this tale is that Leopard went to the forest, to cut
an itutu tree (bamboo-palm) for palm-wine. After he had fastened the
bowl at the cavity he had cut at the top in the heart of the tree,
then he came back to town.

Tortoise came along to that palm-wine tree; and he climbed to the
top. There he found that the sap had already collected in the bowl. And
he drank three tumblerfuls. Excited by his success, he shouted out
aloud, "I'm drunk! I'm drunk!"

Off in the forest, Wild Rat heard his voice, and, following the
sound, came to the place. To Tortoise, Rat said, "Whose wine-tree is
this?" Tortoise replied, "My own!" So, Rat begged of him, "Give me a
glassful!" Tortoise told him "Climb up! Of what are you afraid?" So,
Rat climbed up the tree. He also drank two glassfuls.

Presently, Tortoise heard Leopard coming, and he said to Rat. "Await me
here, I'm just going down to the ground." When he reached the ground,
Tortoise hid his body in a hole at the base of the tree.

In a very little while, Leopard arrived at the tree. He lifted up his
eyes to the top and saw Rat there. To him Leopard said, "Who owns
this palm-tree?" Rat replied, "My Chum, Kudu." But, Leopard asked,
"This Kudu, where is he?" Then Leopard flung one of his claws at
Rat. It stuck in him, and Rat fell dead.

Leopard took Rat's body and went away with it to his town. And he
said to his wife, "Cook this; this is our meat."

Soon after Leopard had gone from the tree, Tortoise came out of his
hiding, and climbed the tree a second time. Then, having drank again,
he shouted, as before, "I'm drunk! I'm drunk!"

In his hole off among the rocks, Porcupine heard Tortoise shouting;
and he came to the tree, and asked for a drink. Tortoise told him
to climb; adding, "What are you afraid of?" So, Porcupine followed
Tortoise up the tree, and drank two glassfuls of the wine.

Again Tortoise heard Leopard coming, recognizing the thud of his
steps as he leaped on the way. So, Tortoise cried out, as if in pain,
"O! my stomach hurts me! I'm going down!" At the base, he hid himself
again in the cavity of the tree.

In a little while, Leopard appeared standing at the foot of
the tree. Looking up, he saw Porcupine there. And he inquired,
"Ngomba! who owns this tree?" Porcupine answered, "Chum Kudu!" Leopard
asked, "This Kudu, who is he? I want to see him." Porcupine replied,
"Kudu has gone off, his stomach paining him." Then Leopard exclaimed,
"So! indeed! you are the ones who use up all my wine here!" And he
added, "What day I shall meet Kudu I do not know. But, that day we
will meet in fight." While he was saying all this, Tortoise, in the
hole at the tree, heard.

Then Leopard threw a claw at Porcupine. Porcupine fell down to the
ground a corpse. Leopard taking it, went away with it to his town,
and said to his wife, "Cook this meat, and let us eat it."

After Leopard had left the tree, Tortoise emerged from his
hiding-place. He climbed the tree a third time, and took a cup, and
drank two glassfuls. Again he shouted, "I, Kudu, I'm drunk! I, Kudu,
I'm drunk!"

Out on a prairie, Antelope heard the shouting; and he came to
the tree. Seeing Tortoise, he said, "Chum, give me a glass of
wine!" Tortoise directed him, "Climb up! Of what are you afraid?" So,
Antelope went up the tree, and drank.

Soon Tortoise heard Leopard coming, bounding through the forest. And
Tortoise said to Antelope, "Chum! my bowels pain me; I'll soon
return." He descended, and hid his body as before. Leopard arrived as
before. And he spoke to Antelope; and then killed it with another of
his claws. He took its carcass to his town, and bade his wife cook it,
as had been done with the others.

After Leopard had gone from the tree, Tortoise climbed the tree a
fourth time, again he drank; and again he shouted, changing his words
slightly, "I've drank! I've drank!"

In the jungle, Gazelle heard, and came to the base of the tree,
but said nothing. Tortoise spoke first, "O! my nephew! the wine is
finished!" Gazelle asked, "Who owns this tree?" Tortoise answered,
"It's my own, and not another's."

When he came from the jungle, Gazelle had brought with him a bag. As
Gazelle still stood at the foot of the tree, Tortoise said to him,
"Come up here! What do you fear?" So, Gazelle climbed; but went up
only half-way.

While the two were thus apart, and before Gazelle had drunk any of the
wine, Tortoise heard Leopard coming, leaping through the bushes. Then
Tortoise said to Gazelle, "Ah! nephew! let me pass! My stomach hurts
me!" But Gazelle said, "No! uncle, let us stay and drink." Tortoise
heard Leopard nearing the tree; and he said to Gazelle, "Ah! Hurry! Let
me pass! How my stomach hurts!" Gazelle said, "No! uncle, we'll go
down together."

While they were thus talking, Leopard reached the foot of the
tree. Then Gazelle took Tortoise and hid him in the bag. Leopard
exclaimed, "Iheli! who owns this tree?" Gazelle replied, "This
is the palm-wine tree of my uncle." Leopard asked, "Who is your
uncle?" Gazelle answered, "Kudu."

So, Leopard began to prepare to climb the tree, in order to fight
with Gazelle. Then Gazelle put his hand into the bag, and drew out
Tortoise, tightly grasped in his hand. And he flung Tortoise violently
into Leopard's face. Leopard fell to the ground, dazed with the blow,
while Gazelle leaped to the ground, and fled off in the forest.

When Leopard rose from the earth, he found Tortoise sprawling helpless
on its back. Leopard tied a string to him, and went away with him
to town. And he said to his wife, "My wife! this is the person who
drinks at my wine-tree!" So he suspended him by the string, waiting
to kill him next day.

The day began to darken towards night; and they went to their sleep.

Then came the daylight of next morning.

Leopard said to his wife, "I'm going to a palaver (council) at a
place three miles distant. Take Kudu and cook him with udika (gravy
of kernels of wild mango). When I come back, let me find the food
all ready to be eaten at once."

So, Leopard went on his journey. And his wife remained to do
her work. But, she exclaimed, "Ah! I forget what my husband told
me!" Tortoise, overhearing her said, "Your husband said, 'Take the
dried Etoli from the shelf, and cook it with udika; give it to Kudu,
and let him eat it; and then take Kudu and wash him in the water
of the brook.'" The woman gladly listened, and said, "Eh! Kudu! you
remember well what my husband said to me!"

So, she did about the food as Tortoise had reported, and gave it to
him to eat. When Tortoise had finished eating, the woman went with
him to wash him in the water at the edge of the brook. While she was
doing this, Tortoise asked, "Throw me off into the water where it
is deep." The woman did so. And Tortoise shouted, "So! you will die
this day by your husband's hands!" The woman began to see her mistake,
and she begged Tortoise, "Come! let us go back to town." But Tortoise
said, "I shan't come! I'm here safe in my place down in the bottom
of the stream."

Then the woman went back to her town; and as she went, she went crying.

Late in the day, Leopard returned from the discussions of the
Council. And he said to his wife, "O! my wife! I'm just dying of
hunger!" She told him, "Ah! my husband! Kudu has run away!" Leopard,
in his anger, flung a claw at her; and she died on the spot.

Tortoise, in the meanwhile, went as fast as he could under the
water of the stream. And he came to the house of Crocodile, and
crept into the doorway. Crocodile, in tears, met him with the words,
"Ah! Kudu! I'm just dying here with grief and crying." Tortoise asked
her, "What is the matter?" She told him, "I've laid a hundred eggs,
but none of them had children in them." Tortoise replied, "That's my
work, the causing of eggs to have children. Shall I do it?" Crocodile
consented, "Yes, I've here three hundred other eggs; you may make
them have children." Tortoise told her, "I'm the only one to do that
thing." So, Crocodile said, "Go into this room, and do it."

Tortoise went into the room, found the eggs there; and said to
Crocodile, "Give me here a kettle, also firewood and water. Give me my
food here. For, I will not go out of this house; I will go out only at
the time when I shall have caused the eggs to have children." Crocodile
agreed, saying, "Yes, I am willing. It is well." And she gave direction
to her people, "Give Kudu all the things he has asked for there."

Then Tortoise locked all the doors, and stayed inside the room. He
began to arrange the fire-wood, and set the kettle and put water in
it. In the afternoon, he took twenty eggs, and cooked, and ate them
with his food.

At night, all went to sleep.

At daybreak, he cooked twenty more eggs, and ate them; at noon he
cooked and ate more; and at evening supper, he cooked and ate some
more. So, he spent about seven days in eating all the eggs. Then he
called out to Crocodile "Do you want to hear the little crocodiles
talk?" Crocodile replied, "Yes! I want to hear!" Tortoise took
two pieces of broken plates, and scraped one across the other,
making a rasping sound. Crocodile and the people of the town heard
the squeaking sounds, and they exclaimed in joy. "So! So, So!" They
replied to Tortoise, "We hear the little ones talking!" Tortoise
also told them, "Tomorrow, then, I will make a Medicine to cause
them to talk loudly." But Crocodile began to have some doubts. And
day darkened to night.

Very early in the next morning, Crocodile's doubts having increased,
she rose up without calling her people. And she went slowly alone to
peep through a crack into the room of Tortoise. She saw only the piles
of egg-shells; and she wondered, "Where are the little ones?" Then
she went softly back to her own room; and she told the townspeople,
"Get up! Let us open the room of Kudu!"

They all got up, and they went to the house. They broke the room
door by force; and they found Tortoise sitting among the scattered
shells of the eggs. The Crocodile exclaimed, "Kudu! have you deceived
me? Your life too ends today!"

They tied Tortoise, and put him in the kettle; and they killed him
there. They divided his flesh onto their plates. And Crocodile and
her people ate Tortoise.

This is the end of the lies of Tortoise.




    Kâ (A Very Big Snail)
    Ngâmbi (Igwana)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Lonâni (Birds)
    Kema (Monkeys)
    A Man


Trouble came to all these animals, even to the innocent, through
the noise of some of them. Igwanas are supposed, by the natives,
to be deaf.

Snail, Igwana and Tortoise all lived together in one village. One day,
Tortoise went to roam in the forest. There he found a large tree called
Evenga. He said to himself, "I will stay at the foot of this tree, and
wait for the fruit to fall." During two days, he remained there alone.

On the third day, Igwana said to Snail, "I must go and search for our
Chum Kudu, wherever he is." So, Igwana went; and he found Tortoise in
a hole at the foot of that tree. Igwana said to him, "Chum! for two
days I haven't seen you!" Tortoise replied, "I shan't go back to the
village; I will remain here." Then Igwana said to him, "Well, then;
let us sit here together in the same spot." Tortoise objected, "No!" So
Igwana climbed up the trunk a very short distance, and clung there.

After two days, Snail, who had been left alone, said to himself,
"I must follow my friends, and find where they are."

So, Snail journeyed, and found Tortoise and Igwana there at that
tree. Looking at the tree, he exclaimed, "Ah! what a fine tree under
which to sit!" The others replied, "Yes; stay here!" So Snail said
to Igwana, "I will stay near you, Chum Ngâmbi, where you are." But
Igwana objected, "No!"

There was a vine hanging down from the treetop to the ground, and
Snail climbed up the vine. Thus the three friends were arranged;
Tortoise in the hole at the foot of the tree, Igwana up the trunk a
short way, and Snail on the vine half-way to the top.

Igwana held on where he was, close to the bark of the tree. He was
partly deaf, and did not hear well.

After two days, the tree put forth a great abundance of fruit. The
fruit all ripened. Very many small Birds came to the tree-top to
eat the fruit. And very many small Monkeys too, at the top. Also big
monkeys. And also big birds. All crowded at the top. They all began
to eat the fruit. As they ate, they played, and made a great deal
of noise.

Tortoise hearing this noise, and dreading that it might attract the
notice of some enemy, called to Igwana, "Ngâmbi! tell Kâ to say to
those people there at the top of the tree, to eat quietly, and not
with so much noise."

Tortoise himself did not call to Snail, lest his shout should add to
the noise. He only spoke in a low voice to Igwana. But, to confirm
his words, he quoted a proverb, "Iwedo a yalakendi na moto umbaka"
(death begins by one person). This meant that they all should be
watchful, lest Danger come to them all by the indiscretion of a
few. But Igwana did not hear; and was silent.

Tortoise called again, "Ngâmbi! tell Kâ to tell those people to eat
quietly, and without noise." Igwana was silent, and made no answer. A
third and a fourth time, Tortoise called out thus to Igwana; but he
did not hear. So, Tortoise said to himself, "I won't say any more!"

A man from Njambo's Town had gone out to hunt, having with him bow
and arrow, a machete, and a gun. In his wandering, he happened to
come to that tree. Hearing the noise of voices, he looked up and
saw the many monkeys and birds on the tree. He exclaimed to himself,
"Ah! how very many on one tree, more than I have ever seen!"

He shot his arrow; and three monkeys fell. He fired his gun, and
killed seven birds. Then the Birds and the Monkeys all scattered
and fled in fear. The Man also looked at the foot of the tree, and
saw Tortoise in the hole. He drew him out, and thrust him into his
hunting-bag. Then he looked on the other side of the tree, and saw
Igwana within reach. He rejoiced in his success, "Oh! Igwana here
too!" He struck him with the machete; and Igwana died.

Observing the vine, the Man gave it a pull. And down fell Snail! The
Man exclaimed, "So! this is Snail!"

As the Man started homeward carrying his load of animals, Tortoise
in the bag, mourning over his fate, said to the dead Igwana and the
others, "I told you to call to Kâ to warn Kema and Lonani; and, now
death has come to us all! If you, Kema and Lonani, in the beginning,
on the tree-top, had not made such a noise, Man would not have come
to kill us. This all comes from you."

And Man took all these animals to his town, and divided them among
his people.




    Country of All-The-Beasts


    Mbâmâ (Boa Constrictor)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Etoli (House Rat)
    Vyâdu (Antelope)
    Njâku (Elephant)
    Iheli (Gazelle)
    Ngomba (Porcupine)
    Nyati (Ox)
    And the Bojabi Tree


African natives hesitate to eat of an unknown fruit or vegetable,
unless they see it first partaken of by some lower animal.

All the tribes of Beasts were living in one region, except one
beast, which was staying in its separate place. Its name was Boa
Constrictor. His place was about thirty miles away from the others.

In the region of all those Beasts, there was a very large tree. Its
name was Bojabi. But none of those beasts knew that that was its name.

There fell a great famine on that Country-of-all-the-Beasts. In their
search for food, they looked at that tree; and they said, "This tree
has fine-looking fruit; but, we do not know its name. How then shall we
know whether it is fit to be eaten?" After some discussion, they said,
"We think our Father Mbâmâ will be able to know this tree's name." So
they agreed, "Let us send a person to Mbâmâ to cause us to know the
name of the tree." They selected Rat, and said to him, "You, Etoli,
are young; go you, and inquire." They also decided that, "Whoever goes
shall not go by land along the beach, but by sea." (This they said,
in order to prove the messenger's strength and perseverance; whether
he would dally by the way ashore, or paddle steadily by sea.) Also,
they told Rat that, in going, he should take one of the fruits of the
tree in his hand, so that Boa might know it. So, Rat took the Bojabi
fruit, stepped into a canoe, and began to paddle. He started about
sun-rise in the morning. In the middle of the afternoon, he arrived
at his journey's end.

He entered into the reception-room of Boa's house, and found him
sitting there. Boa welcomed him, and said to his wife, "Prepare food
for our guest, Etoli!" And he said to Rat, "Stranger! eat! And then
you will tell me what is the message you have brought."

Rat ate and finished, and began to tell his message thus:--He said,
"In our country we have nothing there but hunger. But there is there
a tree, and this is its fruit. Whether it is fit to be eaten or not,
you will tell us." Boa replied, "That tree is Bojabi; this fruit is
Njabi; and it is to be eaten."

Then the day darkened to night. And they slept their sleep.

And then the next day broke.

And Boa said to Rat, "Begin your journey, Etoli! The name of the tree
is Bojabi. Do not forget it!"

Rat stepped into his canoe, and began to paddle. He reached his country
late in the afternoon. He landed. And he remained a little while on the
beach, dragging the canoe ashore. So occupied was he in doing this,
that he forgot the tree's name. Then he went up into the town. The
tribes of All-the-Beasts met him, exclaiming, "Tell us! tell us!" Rat
confessed, "I have forgotten the name just this very now." Then,
in their disappointment, they all beat him.

On another day, they said to Porcupine, "Ngomba! go you!" But they
warned Rat, "If Ngomba brings the name, you, Etoli, shall not eat of
the fruit."

Porcupine made his journey also by sea, and came to the town of
Boa. When Porcupine had stated his errand, Boa told him, "The tree's
name is Bojabi. Now, go!"

Porcupine returned by sea, and kept the name in his memory, until he
was actually entering the town of his home; and, then, he suddenly
forgot it. The tribes of All-the-Beasts called out to him, as they
saw him coming, "Ngomba! tell us! tell us!" When he informed them
that he had forgotten it, they beat him, as they had done to Rat.

They had also in that country, another plant which was thought not
proper to be eaten. They did not know that its leaves were really
good for food.

On another day, they said to Antelope, "Go you; and tell Mbâmâ, and
ask him which shall we eat, this fruit or these leaves. What shall
we Beasts do?"

Antelope went by sea; and came to Boa's town. And he asked Boa,
"What do you here eat? Tell us." Boa replied, "I eat leaves of the
plants, and I drink water; that is all I do. And the name of the tree
that bears that fruit is Bojabi. You, all the Beasts, what are you
to eat? I have told you."

Antelope slept there that night. And the next day, he started on
his return journey. At his journey's end, as he was about to land on
the beach, a wave upset the canoe, and he fell into the sea. In the
excitement, he forgot the name. The anxious tribes of All-the-Beasts
had come down to the beach to meet him, and were asking, "What is the
name? Tell us!" He replied, "Had I not fallen into the water, I would
not have forgotten the name." Then, in their anger, they beat him.

Almost all the beasts were thus tried for that journey; and they all
failed in the same way, with the name forgotten, even the big beasts
like Ox and Elephant. There was no one of them who had succeeded in
bringing home the name.

But there was left still, one who had not been tried. That was
Tortoise. So, he said, "Let me try to go." They were all vexed with
him, at what they thought his audacity and presumption. They began to
beat him, saying, "Even the less for us, and more so for you! You will
not be able!" But Gazelle interposed, saying, "Let Kudu alone! Why
do you beat him? Let him go on the errand. We all have failed; and
it is well that he should fail too."

Tortoise went to his mother's hut, and said to her, "I'm going! How
shall I do it?" His mother told him, "In your going on this journey,
do not drink any water while at sea, only while ashore. Also, do not
eat any food on the way, but only in the town. Do not perform any call
of Nature at sea, only ashore. For, if you do any of these things on
the way, you will be unable to return with the name. For, all those who
did these things on the way, forgot the name." So Tortoise promised,
"Yes, my mother, I shall not do them."

On another day, Tortoise began his journey to Boa, early. He paddled
and he paddled, not stopping to eat or drink, until he had gone
about two-thirds of the way. Then hunger and thirst and calls of
Nature seized him. But he restrained himself, and went on paddling
harder and faster. These feelings had seized him about noon; and
they ceased an hour later. He continued the journey; and, before
four o'clock in the afternoon, had arrived at Boa's. There Tortoise
entered Boa's house, and found him sitting. Boa saluted, and said,
"Legs rest; but the mouth will not. Wife! bring food for Kudu!" The
wife brought food, and Tortoise ate.

Then Boa said to Tortoise, "Tell me what the journey is
about." Tortoise told him, "A great hunger is in our place. There also
we have two plants; the one,--this is its fruit; and this grass,--the
leaves. Are they eaten?" Boa replied, "The tree of this fruit, its
name is Bojabi; and it is eaten. But, I, Mbâmâ, here, I eat leaves
and drink water; and that is enough for me. These things are the food
for All-us Beasts. We have no other food. Go and tell All-the-Beasts
so." Tortoise replied, "Yes; it is well."

Then the day darkened, and they slept.

And another day came. And Tortoise began his journey of return
to his home. As he went, he sang this song, to help remember the
name:--"Njâku! Jaka Njabi. De! De! De!" (Elephant! eat the Bojabi
fruit. Straight! Straight! Straight!) The chorus was "Bojabi," And,
in each repetition of the line, he changed the name of the animal,
thus:--"Nyati! jaka njabi. De! De! De. Bojabi" (Ox! eat the Bojabi
fruit. Straight! straight! straight! Bojabi!)

He thus nerved himself to keep straight on in his journey. And,
as he went, he kept repeating the chorus. "Bojabi, bojabi! bojabi!"

He had gone about one-third of the way, when a large wave came and
upset the canoe, and threw him, pwim! into the water. He clung to the
canoe, and the wave carried it and him clear ashore, he still repeating
the word, "Bojabi! bojabi!" Ashore, he began to mend the canoe; but,
all the while, he continued singing, "Bojabi!" When he had repaired
the canoe, he started the journey again, and went on his way, still
crying out, "Bojabi!"

By that time, All-the-Beasts had gathered on the beach to wait
the coming of Tortoise. He came on and on, through the surf near
to the landing-place of the town. As he was about to land, a great
wave caught him, njim! and the canoe. But, he still was shouting,
"Bojabi!" Though All-the-Beasts heard the word, they did not know
what it meant, or why Tortoise was saying it. They ran into the
surf, and carried the canoe and Tortoise himself up to the top of
the beach. And they, all in a hurry, begged, "Tell us!" He replied,
"I will tell you only when in the town." In gladness, they carried
him on their shoulders up into the town. Then he said, "Before I
tell you, let me take my share of these fruits lying out there in the
yard." They agreed; and he carried a large number, hundreds of them,
into his house. Then he stated, "Mbâmâ said, 'Its name is Bojabi.'" And
All-the-Beasts shouted in unison, "Yes! Bojabi!"

Then they all began to scramble with each other in gathering the fruit;
so that Tortoise would have been unable to get any, had he not first
taken his share to his mother, whose advice had brought him success.

He also reported to them, "Mbâmâ told me to tell you that himself
eats leaves and grass, and drinks water, and is satisfied. For,
that is the food of All-the-Beasts."

Had it not been for Boa, the Beasts would not have known about
eating leaves. But, though that is so, the diligence and skill,
in this affair, was of Tortoise.

So, All-the-Beasts agreed:--"We shall have two Kings, Kudu and Mbâmâ,
each at his end of the country. For, the one with his wisdom told what
was fit to be eaten; and, the other, with his skill, brought the news."




    In Njambo's Town


    Njambo and His Daughter Ndenga
    Etoli (House Rat)
    Njâ (Leopard)
    Ko (Forest Rat)
    Nyati (Ox)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Njâku (Elephant)


Africans cut down trees, not at the base, but some 12 or 20 feet up
where the diameter is less. They sit in the circle of a rope enclosing
the tree and their own body, the rope resting against their backbone
at the loins, and their feet braced against the tree trunk.

The reason why Tortoise lives in brooks is his fear of Leopard.

All the Beasts were living long ago in one place, separate from
the towns of Mankind; but they had friendship for and married with
each other.

Among the towns of Mankind was living a man named Njambo. There was
born to him a female child named Ndenga. In the town, at one end of
it, there was a very large tree.

Njambo said of his daughter, "This child shall be married only with
Beasts." So when the Beasts heard of that one of them, House-Rat,
said, "I'm going to marry that woman!" So he went to the father to
arrange what things he should pay on the dowry. Njambo said to him,
"I do not want goods. But, if any one shall be able to hew down this
tree, he shall marry my child."

At once, Rat took the axe that Njambo handed him, and began to hack at
the Tree. He tried and tried, but was not able to make the axe enter
at all. At last, he wearied of trying and stopped. He said to himself,
"If I go to Njambo, and tell him I am unable to do the task, he will
kill me." So, he left the axe, at the foot of the tree, and fled to
his town.

Njambo waited a while, but seeing no signs of Rat's coming to him to
report, himself came to the Tree, and found only the axe, but saw no
person. He took up the axe, and went with it back to his house.

Off in the Forest, all-Beasts saw Rat returning, and were surprised
that he came alone. They asked him, "Where is the woman?" Rat answered,
"I wearied of trying to get the woman, by reason of the greatness of
the task of cutting down a tree. So, I gave up the work, and fled,
and have come home."

Then all the Beasts derided him, saying, "You like to live in another
person's house, and scramble around, and nibble at other people's food,
but you are not able to marry a wife!"

Then Forest-Rat said, "I will marry that woman!" So he went to
Njambo for the marriage, and came to the town. Njambo said to him,
"I do not object to anybody for the marriage, but, I will only test
you by that Tree off yonder. If you are willing to hew the Tree,
you may marry this woman!"

This Forest-Rat replied, "Yes! I shall wait here today; and will
cut down the Tree early tomorrow morning." That day darkened. And
Njambo's people cooked food for Forest-Rat as their guest. They all
ate; and then they went to lie down to sleep.

Then after awhile, the light of another day began to break.

They arose. And they gave Forest-Rat an axe. He took it, and went to
the foot of the Tree. He fastened two cords, with which to climb up
to where the Tree was at half its thickness. There he tried to cut
the Tree. But he was unable to cut away even the smallest chip. At
last he exclaimed, "Ah! brother Etoli is justified! I am not able to
cut this tree, because of its hardness."

So, he came down the Tree, and left the axe at the foot, saying, "If
I go back to the house of this Man, he will kill me. No! I am fleeing."

When he arrived at his town, the other people asked him, "Where's
the woman?" He answered, "The woman is a thing easy to marry, but
the Tree was a hard thing to cut."

After waiting awhile for the Forest-Rat, Njambo came to the foot of
the Tree; and, seeing the axe lying, took it, and went with it to
his House.

Then Leopard tried for the woman; and failed in the same way as the
two who preceded him.

Next, Elephant tried, and failed in the same way.

So did Ox in the same way.

And all the other Beasts, one after another, in the same way, wearied
of the task for obtaining this woman.

But, there was left still one Beast, Tortoise, that had not made
the attempt at the marriage. He stood up, and said, "I will go;
and I shall marry that woman at Njambo's town!" Ox heard Tortoise
say that; and struck him, saying, "Why! even more so we; and the
less so you, to attempt to obtain her!" But Elephant said to Ox,
"Let Kudu alone! Let us see him marry the woman!"

So, Tortoise made his journey to Njambo's town, and came there late
in the afternoon. He said to Njambo, "I have come to marry your
child." Njambo replied, "Well! let it be so!"

Tortoise said to Njambo, "First, call your daughter, to see if she
shall like me." When she entered the room, Tortoise asked her, "Do you
love me?" She answered, "Yes! I love you with all my heart." This made
Tortoise glad; for the woman was very beautiful to look upon. Then
Njambo told him, "Kudu, I want no goods for her; only the cutting of
the Tree." Tortoise assented, "Yes! I will try."

So they all went to sleep that night.

And then the next day broke.

An hour after sunrise, Njambo called Tortoise, and, showing him the
axe, said, "This is the axe for the tree." Tortoise took the axe,
and went to the foot of the Tree. He looked at its sides closely,
and saw there was a difference in them. He also looked very steadily
at the top of the tree. Then he took rattan ropes, and mounted to the
middle of the thickness of the Tree. He chose also the side opposite
that at which the others had cut. He found it soft when he began to
cut; and, at once the chips began to fall to the ground. He had begun
the chopping early, and by the middle of the morning, the Tree began
to fall. And it fell to the ground with a great crash, nji-i!

Njambo heard the fall of the tree, and he came to see it. And he
said to Tortoise, "You have done well, because you have cut down
the Tree. But, finish the job by cutting off the top end with its
branches. That will leave the trunk clear." Tortoise asked Njambo,
"What will you do with the log?" Njambo answered him, "To make
a canoe."

So, Tortoise cut off also the end of the Tree with its branches.

Then Njambo told him, "Come on, into the town, to take your wife;
because you have cut down the tree; that is the price I asked." The
two came to the house in the town; and Njambo brought his daughter
to Tortoise, saying, "This is your wife. And I give with the woman
these other things." Those things were only different kinds of food.

Tortoise made his journey with his wife towards his town. He journeyed,
going, going on, until he had reached half of the way. Then he said
to his wife, "What shall I do? For, Njâ is ahead in the way?" The
wife replied, "No! go on! I think Njâ will do nothing to us."

Shortly afterward, they met with Leopard in the path. Leopard said
to Tortoise, "Ah! Chum! this wife is not proper for you to marry,
only with me, Njâ." Tortoise said "No!" But Leopard insisted, "No! I
take this one! I will give you another wife in her place." So, he
snatched the woman from Tortoise, and ran away with her to his town.

Tortoise went on his way, as he went, crying, till he came to his
own village. There Elephant asked him, "Why do you cry as you go? Has
Njambo struck you about the affair of the marriage? For, we had heard
the news that you had cut down the tree, and had taken the woman. What
then is the reason?"

Tortoise answered, "Yes! I married the woman, because I had cut down
the Tree. But Njâ took the woman away."

Then Elephant called all the Beasts together to take counsel. He said
to them, "What shall we do, because Njâ has taken away the wife of
Kudu?" They all replied, "We are all afraid of Njâ. None of us can dare
to say anything to him. For, he kills us people. So, our decision is:
Let Kudu give up his wife to Njâ."

But Tortoise said, "I am unable to leave her. If it be death, I will
die because of my wife."

So, they all dispersed from the house of Tortoise, and went to their
own houses.

At that time, Leopard had eight wives.

Tortoise removed from the Town-of-all-the-Beasts, and built a village
for himself, about one-and-a-half miles away. He built on the public
highway, where passed by all people. He put a very large stone in
front of his door-yard, large enough for one to sit down on it. He
made also a bench near the stone. And he put a plate with water in it
on the ground by the stone. Then he placed a certain magic-medicine
on the seat of the bench. And he uttered a Charm: "Let any one else
who sits on this seat go free from it. But, if it be Njâ, let him
not go from it."

He finished all these things late in the afternoon. The day darkened,
and he went to his house, and slept his sleep.

Soon the day broke.

That day, Elephant said, "I'm going to the forest, and my wives with
me." As he came on his way, he passed by the street of Tortoise's
House. He observed the stone and the bench and the water. He exclaimed,
"Ah! I'll sharpen my machete here!" So, he sat down on the bench,
and sharpened his machete. Then, went on his way into the forest with
his wives.

After a while, Ox came on his journey, and saw the stone and water. He
also sat down on the bench, and sharpened his machete. And then went
on his way into the forest with his wives.

Soon afterward, Leopard journeyed along with all his eight, and the
new one, the ninth, the wife of Tortoise. He came to the house of
Tortoise. Looking into the door-yard, he exclaimed, "Ah! good! and
fine! that Kudu has prepared these things."

Tortoise was in the house; he saw Leopard coming, and he rejoiced,
"Very good! indeed! for the coming of this person." Leopard sat down
on the bench, and sharpened his machete on the stone with the water
of the plate. His women standing by, waited for him to finish the
sharpening. When he had finished, he said, "I will get up, and start
the journey again." But, he stuck fast to the bench. He exclaimed,
"My women! I am unable to rise! What shall I do?"

The "medicine" on the bench began to sting him like bees. And he
cried out, "Ah! I'm dead! For, I am unable to rise!"

Tortoise, coming out into the yard, said to Leopard, "I am the one
who caused you this. You will not move thence until you give me
back my wife. If you do not, you will remain there a whole month,
a whole year."

At this, Leopard felt very much grieved; and he inquired of his women,
"The wife of Kudu is here in this company?" The woman answered,
"Yes! I'm here." Then Leopard said, "Please, Kudu, take your wife,
and remove me from this bench. It hurts me." So, Tortoise took his
wife. And he added, "I want also my food you took from us in the path."

Leopard sent a child back to his town in haste to cut plantains. The
child went; and the plantains were brought. Tortoise took them, and
said, "Njâ! you are done, for your part. I have taken all I owned. But,
if I release you, you will kill me, and take again my wife. You shall
be released only after I have fled."

So, Tortoise fled with his wife and all his goods into a stream of
water. When safely there, he shouted, "Let Njâ remove from that seat!"

At once, Leopard stood up, and was free. And he went back to his town,
giving up his intended journey into the forest.




    Njâ (Leopard)
    Mbwa (Dog)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Inâni (A Bird)
    And Other Beasts

Note: Observe the cannibalism of the human-animals.

At first, all Animals were living in one region. Of these, Tortoise and
Dog lived together in one place, and built a town by themselves. But,
all the others, Leopard, Hippopotamus, Elephant, Ox, etc., lived
together in another place.

After some time, a great famine fell on the part of the country where
Tortoise and Dog lived; and they had to seek for any kind of food.

One day Tortoise said to Dog, "I'm going awalking into the forest." So,
early at daybreak, he started off to seek for mushrooms. All those
other Beasts that were living together had a kind of tree called
Bojabi, bearing a very large heavy fruit called Njabi. And they had
all agreed, "There are no other Animals, but our own companies, who
shall eat of the fruit of this Tree." They were accustomed, whenever
they had eaten of this fruit, to go to an adjacent prairie, to play.

So that day, on his journey, Tortoise happened to come to the foot of
that Tree. The ripe fruit were falling from it, and quantities were
lying on the ground. He exclaimed "Eme! (indeed!), Ibele! (splendid),
Eme! Abundance of food!" He gathered, and ate, and stayed a while
gathering others, which he would carry back to his town.

While doing this, a fruit fell from the branch above, and struck him
hard on the back. The blow hurt him; but he only said, "Ah! the back
of an aged person!" (My back feels like that of an aged person.) This
he said because of the pain it gave him; but he made no out-cry.

He had with him a bag, into which he put food on a journey. So,
he filled it with the fruits, and resumed his journey to go back
to his town. On his arrival at his house, his wife said to him,
"Why did you delay so long?" He replied, "I found a Tree belonging
to the Tribes-of-All-the-Beasts. Had they seen me, they would have
killed me." And, he drew the fruits from the bag, and gave his wife
and children, saying, "Eat ye!" But, he added, "While you eat of it,
do not allow Mbwa to see it."

One of the children ran out into the street, with the fruit grasped
in his hand. Just then, Dog happened to meet the child in the street,
and asked him, "Who gave you this fruit, child of Kudu?" The child
answered, "My father came from the forest, and brought this fruit
with him." In the evening, when the day had darkened, Dog came and
said to Tortoise, "My friend! you are a bad fellow; for, we live
together in one place, and you do not share with me! Chum! is it
possible that you eat such good things here? Where did you discover
them?" Tortoise then gave Dog and his children a share. But, he was
not willing to tell the place of that Tree. He evaded, by saying,
"As I went, I forced my way through the jungle of the forest. But,
I did not find any mushrooms; they are about done. Also, we are not
allowed to go to the place where this fruit grows." So it went on
for some time.

On another evening, Tortoise remarked, in conversation with Dog,
that he would be going into the forest next day. Dog said nothing,
but went back to his house, as if to sleep; while Tortoise remained
in his house, and went to bed.

Tortoise had left his hunting-bag hanging in the public
reception-room by his house. At night, Dog arose from his house,
and slowly and stealthily went to the house of Tortoise, clear into
that room. Entering it secretly, and finding the bag, he threw ashes
into its mouth and then, with his knife, made holes in it at the lower
end. For, he said to himself, "When Tortoise shall go out early, then I
will follow him." Then he went back to his house, and laid down again.

When day-light began to break, early in the morning, Tortoise arose,
took the bag, and started on a journey to that forest tree which
belonged to the Beasts. As he went the ashes sifted through the holes
in the bottom of the bag, and fell on the path. He finally arrived
at the tree.

Dog also arose early, and found which way Tortoise had gone, by the
dropping of the ashes; for, as he went, Dog was looking out for the
marks on the way; and, following the signs, they clearly showed him
the route, until he reached the tree, soon after Tortoise had arrived.

Tortoise exclaimed, "Ah! Chum! What have you come here to do? Who
called you, you with your loud howling? Do you know who own this
Tree? Can you endure if one of these fruits should fall down on
you? For, if you cry out in pain, then the owners of this Tree will
catch both you and me. If they seize me, who am Kudu, what shall I
do? For, I, Kudu, do not know how to run rapidly." Then Dog said, "If
they come to seize you, I will come to take you from their hands." At
this, Tortoise laughed out aloud, "Those beasts of strength! When
they seize me, you will come and take me from them? Really?"

Just then while they were thus speaking, two of the fruits fell on
Tortoise's back, at the same time, with a thud, ndu! ndu! Though in
pain, he only unconcernedly remarked, "The hardened skin of an aged
person! Ah! the back of an old man!" and went on eating.

Dog exclaimed, "O! Chum! that big thing struck you, and you were able
to refrain from crying!" Tortoise replied, "Wait till yours also!"

Presently a very small fruit thus fell, and hit Dog on the head. He
howled lustily, "Ow! ow! ow! ow!" Tortoise said to him, "Did I not
tell you so!"

There came down another fruit, and fell on Tortoise; he quietly
disregarded it. Another then fell on Dog with a thump, ngomu! And he
ran off howling, "mwâ! mwâ!"

All this while, Leopard had been up the Tree. It was he who had flung
the fruit at Dog and Tortoise.

When Dog ran, Leopard instantly descended the Tree, and, disregarding
Tortoise, chased Dog; but could not overtake him. Had he caught Dog,
seizing him tightly, he would have killed him with one blow of his paw,
ndi! and would have eaten him on the spot. While Leopard was away,
Tortoise was in fear and did not know what to do, for he knew that he
could not run from Leopard. A Bird whistled, "Pu! pu! pu! Chum Kudu,
Hide! hide!" So Tortoise went into a hole at the base of the tree,
and hid there.

Leopard, on his return, sought for Tortoise, but could not find
him. So, he climbed the Tree again, and gathered his fruits, and
went off towards the town of the Beasts. But, he met those Beasts
coming; for, they had heard the howls of Dog, and had shouted at him,
"He! e. e.! Wait for us! Don't be afraid!"

All those People-of-the-Tree came and gathered about its trunk. They
searched; and presently they saw Tortoise. They exclaimed, "So! you
are the one who eats for us the fruit of this tree! You shall die!"

They tied him, and took him with them to their town. There they
suspended him from the roof of a house, saying, "To-morrow, you will
be eaten!" Off at his town, the wife of Tortoise asked Dog, "Where is
my husband?" Dog answered, "I think that the Tribes-of-all-the-Beasts
have caught him." After a while, Dog, thinking, said to himself,
"I remember my word that I said to Kudu, 'If they seize you, I will
come to take you.'" So, Dog went and gathered shells of a very large
snail named Kâ. He took a large number, pierced each one with a hole,
and strung them all on a string. These he placed about his neck;
and, as he went along, he wriggled his body, and the shells struck
together like little bells. Then said he to himself, "The time is
fulfilled for taking away my friend." So, he went rapidly to where
the Tribes-of-the-Beasts had a spring for their drinking-water. Those
Beasts had sent one of their lads to get water with which to cook
Tortoise. The lad came to the spring. Dog jingled the shells; and,
the lad ran back to town screaming, "There's some Thing at the spring,
which kills!"

Then the Tribes sent a young man stronger than the lad, and said to
him, "Go you, and get water at the spring." When the young man came
near the spring, Dog jingled the shells, as before. And, the young
man fled in fear. So, the people of the town said, "Let us all go to
the spring together; for, that Thing can not hurt us all."

So they came to the spring. Dog seeing that all were coming, left the
spring, and ran around to their town by another path, to take Tortoise
away. Dog found Tortoise suspended by a rope. He bit through the rope,
and, with Tortoise on his back, he ran rapidly to their town.

Those of the Tribes who first arrived at the spring, searched,
inquiring, "Where is It? Where is It? Where is It?" Discovering
nothing, they returned to the town. Then, they could not find
Tortoise. And they said, "Let be! Kudu has slipped away."

One day after this, the wife of Dog and the wife of Tortoise went
into the forest to their gardens to seek for food. And their children
went out on the prairie, to play. Dog and Tortoise both remained
in the town. Notwithstanding that Dog had saved his life, Tortoise
was still angry at him for having spoiled their going to the Njabi
Tree. Tortoise came to Dog's end of the town and said to him, "Let
us shave our foreheads." Dog was pleased, and said, "Kudu, you first
do me; then I will do you."

So Tortoise took the razor, and he shaved away Dog's front locks.

Then Tortoise said to Dog, "Let me shave also your neck." Dog bent
down his head. Tortoise slashed the entire neck, cutting Dog's head
off. And Dog fell down a corpse.

Tortoise cut up the body, and put the pieces in a kettle of water
on the fire. Also, he gathered pepper pods, and ground them for the
seasoning. He looked for salt, and saw it was up on top of a shelf. So,
he took three chairs, putting them on top of one another, by which to
climb up. As he was creeping up, the chairs fell over on the ground. As
they fell, he tumbled also down, almost into the kettle of hot water,
where were boiling the pieces of Dog. But, Tortoise scrambled away,
and went off to his end of the town.

After a while the children of Dog came back from their play, and
not finding their father in his house, they came to the house of his
friend Tortoise, and asked, "Where is our father?" Tortoise replied,
"As for me, where I was, I did not see him. When he went from here,
who sent for him?"

When the two women returned, Dog's wife found, but did not recognize,
the pieces of meat in her kettle. She wailed and mourned for him as
dead. When, by the next day, the people of Dog did not find him,
they said, "He is dead." But they suspected Tortoise. The wife of
Tortoise also doubted him, and deserting him, returned to the house
of her father. So, Tortoise left them all, and went to another place,
fearing they would charge him with the death of Dog.




    Njâbu (Civet)
    Mbâmâ (Boa)
    Ngweya (Hog)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    A Man, and Hunters


Interior tribes formerly obtained their salt from sea-water evaporated
by the coast tribes in large shallow brass pans, called "neptunes,"
imported by foreign traders.

All these four Beasts were neighbors, living together in one town.

One time, in the evening, about an hour after the regular six
o'clock sunset, they all, were sitting conversing in the street. Then
Tortoise said to the others, "Here! I have something to say! I wish
to talk with you. Tomorrow, let us go on a journey, to take a walk
through the forest down to the Sea, to buy salt." They all assented,
"Yes! so let it be!"

Late at night, they dispersed to their houses, to lie down for sleep.

After awhile, the day began to break.

Early in the morning, they prepared for their journey. And Tortoise
said to them, "I have here another thing to say; my last word. That
is: As we go, no one of us is to start any new affair on the way; only
steadily down to the Seacoast." They all said, "Yes! we are agreed."

So, they started through the forest, going on their journey. They
went, and they went, on and on, expecting to go a long way, until
they should by evening come to their camping-place for the night. But,
on the way, Civet began to say, "Ah! my stomach aches! Ah! my stomach
aches!" Tortoise asked, "What do you mean by 'stomach-ache?'" Civet
answered, "'Stomach-ache' means that my bowels trouble me, and that
I need to go."

Tortoise said, "Well! go! step aside from the path into the bushes,
and we will wait for you here." But Civet said, "No! not in the
bushes; for, I must go back to the kitchen-garden of my mother in our
town." Tortoise exclaimed, "By no means! When we arranged for this
journey, what did I say in the town?" They all admitted, "You said that
none of us should start any affair on the way." Therefore Tortoise
said, "But, you, Njâbu, have begun a new matter on the way. If so,
this journey is going to end in trouble!"

Nevertheless, Civet ran rapidly back before night to his mother's
kitchen-garden in his town, at the place where he usually went, while
the three others sat down in the path to await his return. After a
long time, Civet, having relieved himself, came again by night to
his companions, saying, "I am feeling very well."

The next day, they all rose, saying, "Now! Let us resume our
journey!" and they started again.

They walked, and they walked, until Boa cried, "O! my stomach! O! my
stomach aches!" Then Tortoise asked him, "What is 'stomach ache'?" Boa
replied, "It means that hunger has seized me." So Tortoise said, "Yes,
that's right. We have with us food for the journey ready. So, come, all
of you, let us all eat." But Boa said, "No! not this food. I must go
and seek other food." Tortoise inquired, "What other kind of food?" Boa
said, "Let me go over yonder a little way; and I shall return."

As he was going, he came in sight of a red Antelope. Boa curled his
body in folds, according to his manner of crushing his prey. The
Antelope happened along; and Boa seized and killed it. He covered it
with saliva very much, as is its manner in swallowing its prey. And,
carrying it to their camp, Boa lay down with it. Tortoise said, "We
will all eat together of it." But Boa replied, "We do not give each
other in the town; shall we give each other on the journey?" Then he
swallowed the entire carcass. Presently he called the other three;
and they went to him. And he said to them, "I have finished eating,
and I am satisfied."

So, Tortoise said, "Come on, then; let us continue our journey." But
Boa said, "No! I shall leave this place only when this Beast I have
eaten dissolves." Tortoise expostulated, "Indeed! Chum! I said in
the town, 'Let no one begin any matter on the way,' yet, first Njâbu
began his affair; and now you, Mbâmâ, begin yours!"

However, they all sat down, and waited for Boa's food to digest. For
an entire month they waited there, delaying while that food was
being digested. Finally, Boa said, "Now, we will journey, but first I
will go to the river to drink." He drank a very great deal of water,
which acted as a purgative to relieve his bowels of the bones of the
Antelope. Then he reported to the others, "I am feeling very well. Let
us go."

They went, and they went. And they came to a large tree so recently
fallen across the path that its leaves were still green. Hog jumped
over to the other side of it. Also, Boa crawled over it. And Civet
leaped over it. They called to Tortoise, who was vainly trying to
climb over it, "Come on! Let us go ahead! Jump!"

But, Tortoise being vexed, said, "No! I won't go! You know I have no
long legs. What can I do! So, I shall leave this spot only when this
tree has rotted through, giving me an open way!" They all wondered, and
said, "No! this tree is new and fresh. It will rot in how many days?"

Tortoise replied, "Not me! you! For, had not you two, Njâbu and Mbâmâ,
delayed us, we would already have passed this spot long before this
tree fell. You, Njâbu, first began a matter; soon, you, Mbâmâ,
began your matter; now, this is my matter. Now wait for me." So,
they waited and waited.

But, while waiting, the other three went out sometimes by early
daylight in the morning to an adjacent plantation, and found there
corn, yams, plantains, and all kinds of food. Civet and Hog said,
"We must eat!" They ate up the corn, and finished the plantains.

One day, a Man of another town, was wandering in the forest. As he
journeyed, he was looking from side to side on the way, peering for
what he might find. And he saw many tracks of Beasts. Examining them
closely, he said, "This track looks like that of a tortoise! Yes,
and this like a hog's! And, here, O! this other is of a civet! And,
ha! ha! a trail of a boa is this!" He exclaimed, "How many Beasts this
place has! I will call the townspeople to come and kill these Beasts;
for, there must be many." So, he hurried rapidly back, and arrived
at the town.

When there, he shouted, "Come on, men! Come to the forest! I've found
many Beasts!" The owner of the Plantation came along. His people took
their guns; and some took machetes; and some, spears and knives. Others
took nets. And they all went together at once. They also had with them,
dogs, to whose necks they tied little bells.

When they came to that place where the four Beasts were, the dogs
barked and shook their bells as they raced. And the men began to shout
"Hâ! hâ!" to drive the Beasts into the net. They first came upon
Hog, fired a gun at him, and he died. Next, they came upon Civet,
and pierced him with a spear. They killed also Boa, who was lying
dormant by the log. And they saw the other Beast, Tortoise, on one
side of the log, trying to conceal itself among the decayed leaves,
and seized it. Having the three dead bodies, they kept Tortoise alive,
and tied him with a cord.

They had begun the killing of these Beasts late in the afternoon,
and they reached their town about sunset. And they said, "Put all
the carcasses in one house; but suspend Tortoise from the roof." They
consulted, "We shall eat those Beasts only tomorrow; for, the evening
is too late to cut them up and cook them." So, they all went to sleep.

Near midnight, Tortoise, after a long effort, wriggled out of the
coils of the cord. He came to the corner of the room where were the
bodies of the other three Beasts. He said over Civet's body, "Did I
not say to you, 'Begin no new matter on the way?' And now you are a
corpse." And over Boa, he said, "You too; I told you not to begin a
matter; and now you are a dead body. Had we not begun these matters
on the way, we would have finished our journey safely."

Then he scratched a hole under the wall of the house, and escaped to
the forest.

After that, the day broke. And the townspeople said among themselves,
"Bring the Beasts outside of the house; let us cut them up." They
did so with the three dead bodies. And they told a lad, "Bring the
Kudu that is suspended from the rafters."

The lad looked and reported, "I have seen no Kudu." They all went to
look for it, and could see nothing of it. So, they said, "Let us eat
these. Let the other go; for, it has run away."




    Njâbu (Civet)
    Uhingi (Genet)
    Kuba (Chicken)
    Vyâdu (Antelope)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Ivenga, A Woman and Her Husband Njambo


This Tale seems to be a version of No. 17. The plea of Tortoise that
he did not spoil the fruits of plantations is true; it does not injure
the gardens of the natives.

These four Beasts were living in one town; Civet, in his own house;
Tortoise in his; Antelope also in his; Genet too in his own. But
their four houses opened on to one long street.

One day, in the afternoon, they all were in that street, sitting
down in conversation. Tortoise said to them, "I have here a word to
say." They replied "Well! Speak!"

At that time, their town had a great famine. So, Tortoise said,
"Tomorrow, we will go to seek food." They replied, "Good! just as
soon as the day, at its first break."

Then they scattered, and went to their houses to lie down for
sleep. Soon, the day broke. And they all got up, and were ready by
sunrise at six o'clock.

They all went on their journey to find food. They searched as they
walked a distance of several miles. Then they came to a plantation
of Njambo's wife Ivenga. It was distant from Njambo's town about
one hour's walk. It had a great deal of sugar-cane; also of yams
and cassava. It had also a quantity of sweet potatoes. There also,
the chickens of Njambo were accustomed to go to scratch for worms
among the plants.

At once, Civet exclaimed, "I'll go no further! I like to eat
sugar-cane!" So he went to the plot of cane.

Antelope also said, "I too! I'll not go any further. I like to eat
leaves of potato and cassava." So he went to the plot of cassava.

And Genet said, "Yes! I see Kuba here! I like to eat Kuba! I'll go
no further!" So, he went after the chickens.

But first, the three had asked Tortoise, "Kudu! what will you do? Have
you nothing to eat?" Tortoise answered, "I have nothing to eat. But,
I shall await you even two days, and will not complain." So, Civet
remarked, "Yes! I will not soon leave here, till I eat up all this
cane. Then I will go back to town." Antelope also said, "Yes! the
same. I will remain here with the potato leaves till I finish them,
before I go back." Genet also said, "Yes! I see many Kuba here. I
will stay and finish them."

Tortoise only said, "I have nothing to say."

In that plantation was a large tree; and Tortoise went to lie down
at its foot.

They were all there about four days, eating and eating. On the fifth
day, Njambo's wife Ivenga in the town said to herself, "I'll go today,
and see about my plantation, how it is."

She came to the plantation, and when she saw the condition in which
it was, she lifted up her voice, and began to wail a lamentation. She
saw that but little cane was left, and not much of potatoes. Looking
in another part of the plantation, she saw lying there, very many
feathers of chickens.

She ran back rapidly to town to tell her husband. But, she was
so excited she could scarcely speak. He asked her, "What's the
matter, Ivenga?" She answered, "I have no words to tell you. For,
the Plantation is left with no food." Then, the Man called twenty
men of the town; and he said to them, "Take four nets!" They took
the nets, and also four dogs, with small bells tied to the necks
of the dogs. The men had also guns and spears and machetes in their
hands. They followed into the forest; and they came on to three of
the Beasts. They came first upon Antelope, with their dogs; and they
shot him dead. Then the dogs came on Genet, and they followed him; and
soon he was shot with a gun. They came also on Civet, and killed him.

Taking up the carcasses, they said to each other, "Let us go back
to town." On the way, they came to the big Tree, and found Tortoise
lying at the base. They took him also, and then went on to their town.

Arrived there, Njambo ordered, "Put Kudu in a house and suspend him
from the roof." Also he ordered, "Take off the skin of Vyâdu and hang
it in the house where Kudu is." He added, "Take off also the skin of
Njâbu." They did so, and they put it into that house. He directed that
Genet should also be skinned, and his skin hung in that same house. So,
there was left of these beasts in the street, only the flesh of their
bodies. These the men cut up and divided among themselves. And they
feasted for several days.

On the fourth day afterward, Njambo said to his wife, "I'm going on
a visit to a town about three miles away. Do you, while I am away,
kill Kudu, and prepare him with ngândâ for me, by my return." The
woman got ready the ngândâ seeds (gourd) for the pudding, and then
went into the room to take Tortoise. In the dim light, she lifted up
her hand, and found the string that suspended Tortoise.

But, before she untied it, Tortoise said, "Just wait a little." The
woman took away her hand, and stood waiting. Tortoise asked her,
"This skin there looks like what?" The woman replied, "A skin of
Vyâdu." And Tortoise inquired, "What did Vyâdu do?" The woman answered,
"Vyâdu ate my potatoes in the Plantation, and my husband killed him
for it." Tortoise said, "That is well."

Then Tortoise again asked, "This other skin is of what animal?" The
woman replied, "Of Uhingi." Tortoise inquired, "What did Uhingi
do?" The woman answered, "Uhingi killed and ate my and my husband's
Kuba; and he was killed for that." Then Tortoise said, "Very good

Again Tortoise asked the woman, "This other skin?" She answered,
"Of Njâbu." Tortoise asked, "Njâbu, what did he do?" She answered,
"Njâbu ate my sugar-cane, and my husband killed him." Tortoise said,
"A proper reason! But, you, you are going to kill me and cook me with
ngândâ-pudding. What have I done?" The woman had no reason to give. So
she left Tortoise alive, and began to cook the gourd-seeds with fish.

Soon, Njambo himself came back, and his wife set before him the ngândâ
and fish. But he objected, "Ah! my wife! I told you to cook Kudu; and
you have cooked me fish. Why?" The woman told him, "My husband! first
finish this food, and then you and I will go to see about Kudu." So,
Njambo finished eating, and Ivenga removed the plates from the
table. Then they two went into the room where Tortoise was suspended.

The woman sat, but Njambo was standing ready to pluck down
Tortoise. Then Tortoise said to Njambo, "You, Man! just wait!" The
woman also said to Njambo, "My husband! listen to what Kudu says
to you."

Tortoise asked, "You, Man, what skin is this?" Njambo answered, "Of
Vyâdu. I killed him on account of this eating my Plantation." Then
Tortoise asked, "And that skin?" Njambo answered, "Of Uhingi; and
I killed him for eating my Kuba." Tortoise again asked, "And this
other?" Njambo answered, "Of Njâbu; for eating my sugar-cane."

Then Tortoise said, "There were four of us in the Plantation. What
have I eaten? Tell me. If I have eaten, then I should die." Njambo
told him, "I've found no reason against you." Tortoise then asked,
"Then, why should I die?" So, Njambo untied Tortoise from the roof,
and said to Ivenga, "Let Kudu go; for, I find no reason against
him. Let him go as he pleases."

So, Ivenga set Tortoise free; and he hasted back to his town in peace.




    Njâ (Leopard)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Ngâmbi (Igwana)
    Mbâmâ (Boa)
    Ngando (Crocodile)
    With Men, A Woman, and Child


A portion of this Tale seems to be a version of No. 12.

Leopard and Tortoise built together a large town. Leopard said to
Tortoise, "I will live with you, but I shall not be able to eat with
you; for, I am a great man, and I eat alone."

Some time after this, Tortoise went away, and married a wife. One day,
his wife being hungry, he went off into the forest to seek food for
her. And he found mushrooms. He gathered them; took them and returned
with them to the town. There he said to his wife, "Eat!" and she ate.

Some time after this, the woman was about to become a mother. And,
on another day, Tortoise went again into the forest to find food for
his wife. As before, he gathered mushrooms. But, when he brought them
to his wife, she said to him, "I don't like these things; the same
every day!"

So, Tortoise went off again to seek food in the forest. He came near
a strange town, and heard voices of Mankind talking. In fear, he hid
himself, and watched what would happen. He observed that there were
Men going off into the forest, with implements of search for wild
animals. He saw them, but kept himself closely hidden.

When they had gone, he came out of his hiding, and went into one of
these houses of Men, and sat down there. Then he walked into the
rooms. On the shelves of the kitchen, he saw a large quantity of
wild meat drying. He took of that meat, and went away with it to his
own town.

He found on his arrival that his wife had already borne her child,
the little tortoise. When Tortoise showed her the meat, she asked him,
"Where did you get all this meat?" He replied evasively, "You told
me to get you meat; so I went; and I have come with it." The woman
was glad, and said, "Do so every day!"

So, another time, Tortoise again went off into the forest. And he came
to the town of those Men. They were not there; for, they had gone off
on their hunting. He went again into their house; took of their meat,
and returned to his place. On giving the food to his wife, he said
to her, "Do not show Njâ this meat!"

After this, little Tortoise grew, and began to go by itself, walking
about the town. Tortoise told the child, "Do not show Njâ the things
you eat." But, the child did not obey. One day, it went off toward
Leopard's house, having in its hand the flesh of the wild animal it
was eating. Tortoise saw his child going and called him back, but,
he ran rapidly away to Leopard's; who, seeing the child with food in
its hand, cried out, "Come here!" Leopard took hold of the child's
hand to see what meat he was eating, and said to him, "Your father
has no gun; where does he get all this meat?" The child was silent,
not knowing whence the meat came, and did not answer; and he returned
to his father's house.

So, Leopard said to himself, "Kudu and I must have a talk." He told
his wife to make ready their food. She did so. Then he told one of his
children, "Go! call Kudu to come and eat with me." The child went and
told as he was bidden. Tortoise sent word, "I can't come." His wife,
however, said to him, "Go!" Tortoise objected to her, saying, "I'm
afraid of that man!" Still his wife said to him, "Go!" So, he went.

Leopard set out the food that had been prepared. Then he asked
Tortoise, "Where did you get the meat which I saw with your
child?" Tortoise replied, "I picked it up." Leopard said, "No! don't
tell lies!" They changed the conversation, and went on eating. When
they were done, Tortoise went back to his house.

Next day, Leopard said to his people, "I'm going to visit Kudu." So he
went, and entered into the house of the wife of Tortoise. There he saw
much dried wild meat. He exclaimed, "O! Kudu! you told me falsely! You
and I living in the same town, can't you let me know what happens?"

Then Leopard went back to his house. That evening he said to his
children, "Go to the house of Kudu. If you see a hunting-bag hanging
there, take hold of it; with a knife pierce holes in the bottom; and
fill the bag with ashes." They did so, putting in much ashes. They
returned to their father, and told him what they had done. He replied,
"Very good!"

That night, Tortoise said to his wife, "Tomorrow, I shall not go
out hunting." But, she said, "Yes! Go! and kill me some animal." So,
he consented.

Then day began to break. Tortoise went into the entrance-room;
thence he took his hunting-bag; but, in the dark of the morning,
he saw nothing wrong about it. And he went on his way.

Soon, also, Leopard came out of his house; and, going to the house of
Tortoise, he inquired, "Kudu is in the house?" The wife of Tortoise
from her bed-room, replied, "Kudu is not here." Then Leopard went
into the entrance-room of Tortoise; and looking about, he saw that the
bag was not there. So, he followed after Tortoise; and, as he walked,
he looked out for marks of the ashes. He followed, and he followed;
and finally overtook Tortoise.

Tortoise, as soon as he saw Leopard coming, said to him, "I'm going
back to town!" Leopard asked, "Why? Don't go! Why do you go?" Tortoise,
remembering his having said he was "a great man," answered, "Because
you are proud." But, Leopard insisted, "No! go on where you were
going." So, Tortoise consented, "Well, let us go!"

They went, and came to the town of Men. And they found that the
men were gone off into the forest. Tortoise observed that the house
was closed and locked. Leopard said to him, "Open the house!" But
Tortoise replied, "You, Njâ you open the house!" But, Leopard said,
"I am a stranger here; you travel here continually; you know the
way!" So, Tortoise opened the house; and they both entered.

Leopard saw the bodies of many wild animals drying in the
house. Tortoise said to him, "Carry the meat, and let us go!" But,
Leopard said, "No! I'm staying here, and will cook some meat
here." Tortoise objected, "No! take the meat and let us go. For,
here are great Men who kill us people."

However, Leopard insisted, "No! first let me eat." So, Tortoise said,
"Very well! I'll carry away my share; for, I'm going." But Leopard
still insisted, "No! wait for me." So, Tortoise yielded, and waited
for him in the house.

Leopard cooked his meat. While the pot was on the fire-place, and
before he had eaten, suddenly the Men returned. Tortoise exclaimed,
"The Men of the Town have returned! What shall we do?" For himself,
Tortoise said, "I'm going to hide in the bedroom!" But, Leopard said,
"No! I'm the elder; the bedroom is the place for me." He went into
the bedroom. Tortoise remained in the reception-room, and hid himself
in a pile of the women's cassava leaves.

Soon afterward, the Men also came into that room. And a woman said,
"I left those leaves here when I was cooking. I must throw them into
the back yard." So, she swept the leaves (with Tortoise unseen among
them) in a heap, and threw them out doors.

In the bedroom, where Leopard had hidden, there was a child of this
woman, sick with a skin-disease. The woman called out to her child,
"My child! are you there?" The child replied, "Yes!" The Men in
the entrance-room, observing the pot on the fire, asked the woman,
"While we were away, did you leave a kettle on the fire-place?" The
woman, thinking the pot belonged to someone else who had been cooking,
answered, "No." The Men then directed her, "Make food for us!" So,
she made them food in that pot which Leopard had left, adding other
meat to it.

The child in the bedroom, smelling the odor of cooking, called out,
"Mother! I want to eat!" So, the mother made food for him. And she
took the plate to him, setting it down in the doorway, (but did not
enter the room, and so did not see Leopard).

Leopard took the child's food. The child, in terror, made no
out-cry. Leopard ate up all the food. Then the child began to
weep. The mother, hearing, asked, "Why do you cry?" The child answered,
"For hunger."

She wondered that that plateful had not been sufficient; but, she made
him more food. And she brought it to him into the room, but she did not
see the Leopard; nor did the child tell her. She left the food there,
and went out. The child was about to take the food to eat it, when
Leopard again snatched it away. But, even then, the child, in fear,
did not scream out. And Leopard ate all the food.

Then the child began to weep out aloud. The mother again asked,
"What do you want?" The child answered, "I want food." The mother
wondered much, and, hastening into the bedroom, she saw Leopard. Then
she shouted, "Men! Here's Njâ!" The men came, and they killed Leopard.

All this while, Tortoise remained hidden in the bushes outside;
and he heard all that was happening. He said to himself, "I'm going
to town to tell the children of Njâ that he is dead." So, he went
back to his town. At first, he told only his wife, "Men have killed
Njâ." Then he said, "I must now call the children of Njâ."

So, he called all the people of Leopard. And he said to them, "I
will tell you something; but, don't kill me for my evil news. So,
I tell you, Njâ is dead!" They all laughed in derision, as if it was
not possible, "We will know about that matter tomorrow!"

And that day darkened. In the evening, Tortoise told his wife
and children, "We must flee to another place." For, he feared that
Leopard's people would charge him with their father's death. So, that
night they fled. And they built their town far away at another place.

When the children of Leopard saw that Tortoise had fled, they
believed him guilty; and they said, "The day we shall see Kudu,
we will kill him."

Tortoise and his family had been living at their new place only
about a month, when, one day, he said to his family, "I'm going
on a journey to the town of Mbâmâ." So he went to that town. He
stayed there visiting about a week. While there, he said to Boa,
"If a child of Njâ comes here, hide me." Shortly afterward, a child
of Leopard did come. Boa took Tortoise, and set him for safety on a
rock in the middle of the river. Tortoise sat there a long time; and,
while there, he laid what looked like an egg. Surprised, he threw it
into the water; and it floated away. Finally it came ashore at the
landing-place of Crocodile's town.

Crocodile saw it, and said, "Go, and seek the person who made this
thing." His children went to seek. They journeyed, and found Tortoise,
and took him. They brought him to their father, and told him, "This is
the person." Crocodile asked Tortoise, "You made this Thing?" Tortoise
said "Yes!" Then Crocodile told him, "Make me many of these Things." So
Tortoise told him, "Bring me here a great many plantains; and arrange
the house in order." Crocodile arranged all the house nicely. Tortoise
entered it, and was given an inside room. He remained there in that
room all by himself with the plantains.

At last, one day he emerged. And he said to Crocodile, "Send me in
company with one of your people across the river." Crocodile told
him, "You yourself name the person who shall go with you." Tortoise
said he wanted Crocodile's cousin Igwana, who was living there with
Crocodile's people.

So Igwana and Tortoise got into a canoe, and started to cross
the river. Crocodile then entered the room where Tortoise had
been. Searching there, he did not find any of the Things which
Tortoise had promised to make. So Crocodile shouted after Tortoise,
whose canoe had not yet crossed the river, to come back. Tortoise
heard; and he asked Igwana, "Do you hear how Crocodile is calling to
you? Don't you know what he is saying?" (Natives believe the Igwana
to be deaf.) Igwana answered, "No! what does he say?" Tortoise said,
"He tells you to paddle faster! Don't be so slow!" So, Igwana paddled
rapidly; and soon his work was finished; and they reached the other
side. There, Tortoise got out of the canoe; and he told Igwana to go
back. Igwana did so. And Tortoise went on his way.

After a while, a child of Leopard met with Tortoise on the path. The
child asked him, "Is not this Kudu?" Tortoise replied, "Yes, I am
he." Then the child of Leopard said to him, "You killed my father! I
shall also kill you!" So, he killed Tortoise.




    Njâ (Leopard) and His Nephew
    Etoli (House-Rat)
    Ngomba (Porcupine)
    Iheli (Gazelle)
    Nyati (Ox)
    Njâku (Elephant)
    Ko (Wild-Rat)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Indondobe (Wagtail)

Leopard and other Beasts, with a son of Leopard's sister, were residing
in the same town. One day, Leopard said to the others, "I have here
a word to say." They replied, "Tell it." "We must go to kill Beasts
(not of our company) for our food, at a place which I will show you
a number of miles away." And they made their arrangements.

After two days, he said, "Now, for the journey!" So they finished
their preparations. And Leopard said to his nephew, "You stay in the
town. I and the others will go to our work."

They began their journey, and had gone only a part of the way, when
Leopard exclaimed, "I forgot my spear! Wait for me while I go back to
the town." There he found his nephew sitting down, waiting. Leopard
said to him, "I have come to tell you that, every day, while we
are away, you must come early to where we are killing the animals;
and secretly you must take away the meat and bring it here to my
house." The nephew heard and promised.

Leopard returned to the others who were awaiting him on the road,
and told them to come on. They went, and they arrived at the spot
which he had chosen. There they hastily built a small house for their
camp. The next day they said, "Now, let us go and make our snares
for the animals." They began making snares; and set their traps
early in the afternoon. A few hours later, they returned to the
camp. Later still, before sunset, they said, "Let us go to examine
our snares." They found they had caught an Igwana. They killed it
and put it on the drying-frame over the fire in the house.

Then the day darkened. And they went to their sleep.

And then the day broke.

And Leopard said, "While we go to the snares, who shall remain
to take care of this house?" They agreed, "Let Etoli stay at the
camp." House-Rat assented, "All right." So the others went away

The camp had been made near a small stream. At that same hour,
Leopard's nephew came to the camp, according to his uncle's
directions. He had in his hands a plate and a drum. He came near to
the house cautiously. With the plate he twice swept the surface of the
water, as if bailing out a canoe. Rat heard the swish of the water,
and called out, "Who is splashing water there? Who is dabbling in
this water?" The nephew responded, "It is I, a friend." And Rat said,
"Well, then come."

The nephew came to the house. After a little conversation, he said to
Rat, "I have here a drum, and, while I beat it, you dance for me." Rat
was pleased, and said, "Very well." So, the nephew beat the drum,
and Rat danced. After a while, the nephew said to Rat, "Go you, out
into the front, and dance there, while I beat the drum here." As Rat
went out, the nephew snatched the dried meat and ran away with it,
suddenly disappearing around a corner of the house. He came to the
town, and placed the meat in his own house.

Rat waited a while in the front, and, not hearing the drum came back
into the house, and called out, "Chum! where are you?" He looked about,
and his eyes falling on the drying-frame, he saw that the dried meat
was not there. He began to mourn, "Ah! Leopard will kill me to day,
because of the loss of his meat."

While he was thus speaking, the company of trappers, together with
Leopard, came back from their morning's work. Leopard told Rat all
that had occurred to them in the forest at their traps and snares;
and then said, "Now, tell me what you have been doing, and the
happenings of this camp." Rat told him, "Some one has come and taken
away the dried meat, but I did not see who it was." Leopard said,
"You are full of falsehood. Yourself have eaten it while we were away
in the forest." So, Leopard gave him a heavy flogging. Then they put
on the drying-frame the animal they had trapped that day.

The next day they went again to the forest; and Wild-Rat was left
in charge of the camp. The nephew came, as on the day before, with
his plate and drum, and did in the same way at the water. And he
deceived the Wild-Rat with his drumming, in the same way as he had
done to House-Rat.

When Leopard and the others came back from the forest, Wild-Rat told
him of the loss of the meat; and said that he had seen no one, and
did not know who took it. Leopard said to him, "You, Ko, have eaten
the meat, just as your relative Etoli ate his yesterday."

Thus Leopard and his company went each day to the traps. On the third
day, Porcupine was caught; on the fourth Gazelle; on the fifth, Ox;
on the sixth, Elephant. Beast after beast was caught, killed and
dried; and, day by day, the meat of all was stolen. The last to be
thus caught and stolen was Tortoise.

The nephew in Leopard's town, looked with satisfaction on the pile
of dried meat that had been collected in his own house. He said to
himself, "My uncle told me to gather them; and I have done so. But,
I will not put them in Uncle's house."

In the camp, there was left only one animal of Leopard's companions
that had not been placed on guard. It was a Bird, a water Wag-tail. It
said to Leopard one day, "While you all go on your errand today, I
will remain as keeper of the house." Leopard replied, "No! my friend,
I don't wish you to remain." (For, Leopard knew that that Bird was
very cautious and wise, more so than some other animals.) Nevertheless,
they went, leaving the Bird in charge of the house.

The nephew came, as usual, with his plate and drum. He splashed the
water of the stream as usual, to see whether there was anyone in
the house to respond. And the Bird asked, "Who are you?" The nephew
answered, in a humble voice, "I." He came on through the stream, on
his way, catching two cray-fish. He entered the house, and he said
to the Bird, "Get me some salt, and a leaf in which to tie and roast
these cray-fish." When the Bird gave him the leaf, he tied them in
it, and laid the small bundle on the coals on the fire-place. But
he at once took up the bundle, opened it, and ate the fish, before
they were really cooked. The Bird said to him, "Those fish were not
yet cooked. Your stomach is like your Uncle Njâ's. Both you and your
Uncle like to eat things raw."

The Bird at once suspected that the nephew was the thief. When the
nephew said, "I have here a drum," Bird at once, as if very willing,
replied, "Drum! I want to dance." The nephew was standing in the front
with his drum, and he said to Bird, "Come and dance out here; for,
the drum sounds much better outside." But the Bird said, "I will not
dance in the same place with you." The nephew then said, "Well, then;
change places; you come here, and I go into the house." But the Bird
refused, "No! I stay in the house."

Most of the morning was thus spent by the nephew trying to deceive
the Bird, and get into the house alone. Finally, the nephew wearied,
and gave up the effort and left.

Soon the company of trappers with Leopard returned from the forest. He
told the Bird all the news of their forest work. Looking at the
drying-frames, Leopard saw that the dried meat was still there. He
thought in his heart, "My nephew has not come today to get this meat."

The Bird then told Leopard all the news of the camp, and how the nephew
had been acting. At the last, he exclaimed, "So! it is your nephew
who has been coming here every day to take away the dried meat!" And
all the animals agreed, "So! so! that's so!" But Leopard replied,
"I don't believe it. But, let us adjourn and examine." (He supposed
the meat was hidden in his own house, and would not be discovered.)

They all scattered, and hastened to their town. There they entered
the nephew's house; and there they found a great pile of dried
meat. They proved the theft on Leopard himself, pointing out, "Here
is the very meat in the house of one of your own family. We are sure
that you yourself made the conspiracy with your nephew for him to do
the stealing for you." And they all denounced him, "You are a thief
and a liar! You shall not join with us any more in the same town."

Leopard went away in wrath saying, "Do you prove it on me? Well
then! all you beasts, whenever and wherever I shall meet you, it will
be only to eat you!"

So, leopards are always enemies to all other animals, and they kill
them whenever they are able.




    Ndemi (Bat) and his Mother
    Joba (The Sun)
    Vyâdu (Antelope)
    Hako (Ants)
    Other Animals and Birds


In Tropical Africa, it is not usual to retain a corpse unburied as
long as 24 hours. Bat retained his mother's corpse too long. The
"Driver" Ants of that country are natural scavengers.

A reason why bats are not seen in the day time:--Also, why they make
their plaintive cry at night, as if they were calling for their mother.

Bat lived at a place by itself, with only its mother. Shortly
after their settling there, the mother became sick, very near to
death. Bat called for Antelope, and said to him, "Make medicine for my
mother." Antelope looked steadily at her to discern her disease. Then
he told Bat, "There is no one who can make the medicine that will
cure your mother, except Joba." Having given this information,
Antelope returned to his own place.

On another day, early in the morning, Bat arose to go to call Sun. He
did not start until about seven o'clock. He met Sun on the road about
eleven o'clock. And he said to Sun, "My journey was on the way to
see you." Sun told him, "If you have a word to say, speak!" So Bat
requested, "Come! make Medicine for my mother. She is sick." But
Sun replied, "I can't go to make medicine unless you meet me in my
house; not here on the road. Go back; and come to me at my house
tomorrow." So, Bat went back to his town.

And the day darkened. And they all slept their sleep.

And the next day broke. At six o'clock, Bat started to go to call
Sun. About nine o'clock, he met Sun on the path; and he told Sun what
he was come for. But Sun said to him, "Whenever I emerge from my house,
I do not go back, but I keep on to the end of my journey. Go back,
for another day." Bat returned to his town.

He made other journeys in order to see Sun at his house, five
successive days; and every day he was late, and met Sun already on
the way of his own journey for his own business.

Finally, on the seventh day, Bat's mother died. Then Bat, in his grief,
said, "It is Joba who has killed my mother! Had he made medicine for
me, she would have recovered."

Very many people came together that day in a crowd, at the Kwedi
(mourning) for the dead. The wailing was held from six o'clock in
the morning until eleven o'clock of the next day. At that hour, Bat
announced, "Let her be taken to the grave." He called other Beasts to
go into the house together with him, in order to carry the corpse. They
took up the body, and carried it on the way to the grave.

On their arrival at the grave, these Beasts said to Bat, "We have
a rule that, before we bury a person, we must first look upon the
face." (To identify it). So, they opened the coffin. When they had
looked on the face, they said, "No! we can't bury this person; for,
it is not our relative, it does not belong to us Beasts. This person
indeed resembles us in having teeth like us. And it also has a head
like us. But, that it has wings, makes it look like a bird. It is a
bird. Call for the Birds! We will disperse." So, they dispersed.

Then Bat called the Birds to come. They came, big and little; Pelicans,
Eagles, Herons and all the others. When they all had come together,
they said to Bat, "Show us the dead body." He told them, "Here it
is! Come! look upon it!" They looked and examined carefully. Then they
said, "Yes! it resembles us; for, it has wings as we. But, about the
teeth, No! We birds, none of us, have any teeth. This person does not
resemble us with those teeth. It does not belong to us." And all the
Birds stepped aside.

During the while that the talking had been going on, Ants had come
and laid hold of the body, and could not be driven away. Then one of
the Birds said to Bat, "I told you, you ought not to delay the burial,
for, many things might happen." The Ants had eaten the body and there
was no burial. And all the birds and beasts went away.

Bat, left alone, said to himself, "All the fault of all this trouble
is because of Joba. If he had made medicine, my mother would not be
dead. So, I, Ndemi, and Joba shall not look on each other. We shall
have no friendship. If he emerges, I shall hide myself. I won't meet
him or look at him." And he added, "I shall mourn for my mother
always. I will make no visits. I will walk about only at night,
not in the daytime, lest I meet Joba or other people."




    Mbwa (Dog), and His Mother
    A Man Njambo, and Daughter Eyâle


In the pre-historic times, from which these tales come, all animals,
both human and (what we now call) the lower animals, were supposed
to associate together, even in marriage. This son Mbwa, in form
(and speaking also) like what we now call a "Dog," spoke also with
human speech. The reason is here given why this ancestor of Dogs left
the country of the Beasts. But, though Dogs now live with Mankind,
they cannot use human speech as their ancestor did. They can only say
"Ow! Ow!"

Dog and his mother were the only inhabitants of their hamlet. He had
the power to speak both as a beast and as a human being.

One day the mother said to the son, "You are now a strong man; go,
and seek a marriage. Go, and marry Eyâle, the daughter of Njambo." And
he said to his mother, "I will go tomorrow."

That day darkened. And they both went to lie down in their places
for sleep.

Then soon, another day began to break.

Dog said to his mother, "This is the time of my journey." It was
about sun-rise in the morning. And he began his journey. He went the
distance of about eight miles; and arrived at the journey's end before
the middle of the morning.

He entered the house of Njambo, the father of Eyâle. Njambo and his
wife saluted him, "Mbolo!" and he responded, "Ai! mbolo!" Njambo
asked him, "My friend! what is the cause of your journey?" Dog, with
his animal language, answered, "I have come to marry your daughter
Eyâle." Njambo consented; and the mother of the girl also agreed. They
called their daughter, and asked her; and she also replied, "Yes! with
all my heart." This young woman was of very fine appearance in face
and body. So, all the parties agreed to the marriage.

After that, about sun-set in the evening, when they sat down at supper,
the son-in-law, Dog, was not able to eat for some unknown reason.

That day darkened; and they went to their sleep.

And, then, the next daylight broke. But, by an hour after sunrise in
the morning, Dog had not risen; he was still asleep.

The mother of the woman said to her, "Get some water ready for the
washing of your husband's face, whenever he shall awake." She also
said to her daughter, "I am going to go into the forest to the
plantation to get food for your husband; for, since his coming,
he has not eaten. Also, here is a chicken; the lads may kill and
prepare it. But, you yourself must split ngândâ (gourd-seeds, whose
oily kernels are mashed into a pudding)." She handed Eyâle the dish
of gourd-seeds, and went off into the forest. Njambo also went away
on an errand with his wife. The daughter took the dish of seeds,
and, sitting down, began to shell them. As she shelled, she threw
the kernels on the ground, but the shells she put on a plate.

Shortly after the mother had gone, Dog woke from sleep. He rose from
his bed, and came out to the room where his wife was, and stood near
her, watching her working at the seeds. He stood silent, looking
closely, and observed that she was still throwing away the kernels,
the good part, and saving the shells on the plate. He spoke to her
with his human voice, "No! woman! not so! Do you throw the good parts,
to the ground, and the worthless husks onto the plate?"

While he was thus speaking to his wife, she suddenly fell to the
ground. And at once she died. He laid hold of her to lift her up. But,
behold! she was a corpse.

Soon afterwards, the father and the mother came, having returned from
their errands. They found their child a corpse; and they said to Dog,
"Mbwa! What is this?" He, with his own language replied, "I cannot
tell." But, they insisted, "Tell us the reason!"

So Dog spoke with his human voice, "You, Woman, went to the forest
while I was asleep. You, Man, you also went in company of your wife,
while I was asleep. When I rose from sleep, I found my wife was
cracking ngândâ. She was taking the good kernels to throw on the
ground, and was keeping the shells for the plate. And I spoke and
told her, 'The good kernels which you are throwing on the ground are
to be eaten, not the husks.'"

While he was telling them this, they too, also fell to the ground,
and died, apparently without cause.

When the people of the town heard about all this, they said, "This
person carries an evil Medicine for killing people. Let him be seized
and killed!"

So Dog fled away rapidly into the forest; and he finally reached the
hamlet of his mother. His body was scratched and torn by the branches
and thorns of the bushes of the forest, in his hasty flight. His
mother exclaimed, "Mbwa! What's the matter? Such haste! and your body
so disordered!" He replied, using their own language, "No! I won't
tell you. I won't speak." But, his mother begged him, "Please! my
child! tell me!" So, finally, he spoke, using his strange voice,
and said, "My mother! I tell you! Njambo and his wife liked me for
the marriage; and the woman consented entirely. I was at that time
asleep, when the Man and his wife went to the forest. When I rose
from my sleep, I found the woman Eyâle cracking ngândâ, and throwing
away the kernels, and keeping the husks. And I told her, 'The good
ones which you are throwing away are the ones to be eaten.' And,
at once she died."

While he was speaking thus to his mother, she also fell dead on the
ground. The news was carried to the town of Dog's mother's brother,
and very many people came to the Mourning. His Uncle came to Dog,
and said, "Mbwa! what is the reason of all this?" But Dog would not
answer. He only said, "No! I won't speak." Then they all begged him,
"Tell us the reason." But he replied only, "No! I won't speak."

Finally, as they urged him, he chose two of them, and said to the
company, "The rest of you remain here, and watch while I go and speak
to these two." Then Dog spoke to those two men with the same voice as
he had to his mother. And, at once they died, as she had died. Then he
exclaimed, "Ah! No! If I speak so, people will come to an end!" And
all the people agreed, "Yes, Mbwa! it is so. Your human speech kills
us people. Don't speak any more."

And he went away to live with Mankind.




    Njambo, His Wife Nyangwa-Mbwa, and His Son Mbwa (Dog)
    The Prophet, Totode, and a Sorcerer, Nja-Ya-Melema-Mya-Bato
    His Three Other Wives,
        Mamendi; and Her Two Twins.


Some African ant-hills are built in upright pillars, varying in
diameter from 3 to 10 inches, and in height from 1 ft. to 3 ft.

The bearing of a monstrosity formerly was punished (and in some
tribes still) by driving the mother into seclusion in the forest,
and generally with killing of the child. In some tribes, twins were
considered monstrosities.

The "Heart-beat" of Nyangwa-Mbwa was the commonly believed premonition
of coming evil.

There are many kinds of food, of which women are not allowed to

Though the three sisters were daughters of the same mother, the
jealousy of two of them for the other one led them to hatred, and
an attempt at murder. Their curse laid on Mbwa caused him to be a
speechless beast; for, previous to that, he was talking as a human
being. "Heart-life" is an entity distinct from both Body and Soul.

Njambu married a woman named Nyangwa-Mbwa. She bore a creature that
looked like no animal that existed at that time. But, because he
spoke as a human being, he was not considered a Beast. He was given
part of his mother's name, Mbwa.

Njambu added other marriages. Among them he obtained three women,
each one of whom had a special office. That of Majanga was to keep
things clean. That of Inyanji for planting. Mamendi said that her work
should be to bear twins. Now, these three women were sisters. The
other two were jealous of Mamendi, because her work was greater and
more honorable than theirs.

In the course of time, Mamendi conceived; her pregnancy went regularly
on. And the time for her confinement came. Majanga and Inyanji went
to deliver her. But they tied a napkin over her face, and covered her
eyes lest she should see what they would do to her. When the time of
the birth was at hand, she bore twins.

Then Inyanji and Majanga threw the twins into the pig-pen. And they
took two ant-hills (slender conical structures). They smeared them
with blood. And they went and showed them to Njambu as the things
which Mamendi had borne. Njambu said, "Go! and throw those things
into the forest."

But Mbwa was going about; and as he went, he was scenting, till he came
to the pig-pen; and he saw the twins. He took them, and carried them
to his mother in their hut, which was isolated from the town. When
the two women had left the twins in the pig-pen, their intention was
that the pigs might kill them; and the women did not know that Mbwa
had removed them. The twins stayed with Nyangwa-Mbwa, and she fed
them and nursed them.

But, when Majanga and Inyanji heard that those children were in the
hamlet of Mbwa's mother, they said, "We will go there tomorrow."

Early in the morning, Nyangwa-Mbwa had gone to the forest to her
garden. When the two women came, they found the twins lying down. So,
they struck them a blow; and they died.

The while that Nyangwa-Mbwa was in the forest, her heart beat with
anxiety. She at once picked up her basket, and came to her village,
and found the corpses of both the twins. Then she began to cry.

Mbwa also came, and found the dead bodies stretched out. Right away, he
knew what had happened. So he went to the Prophet Totode, and inquired
what he should do. Totode asked him, "Are you able to go to the town of
Doctor Nja-ya-melema-mya-bato? (Hunger-for-the-hearts-of-people)." He
agreed "Yes, I will go there." Then he went to the town of the Doctor.

A child of the Doctor spoke to Mbwa, and asked, "What have you come
to do?" He answered, "I have come to seek heart-life; because my
father's wives have killed from me two children."

Already Nja-ya-melema-mya-bato had gone to kill people for himself. In
a little while he returned and suddenly, pieces of meat (from the dead
bodies) began to fall, kidi! kidi! being thrown out on the ground in
the street. Mbwa, awaiting a chance, hid himself under a bed.

Then came the Doctor bringing in the heart-lives of the men he had
killed. Mbwa, without permission, seized two of the hearts, and ran out
quickly. Nja-ya-melema-mya-bato followed after him, running rapidly,
da! da! da! But he did not overtake Mbwa.

Mbwa ran in haste with the hearts, on to his village. There he thrust
the new lives into the children. The twins arose again to life and
stood, to show themselves, and then they sat down.

Those twins went on growing, and became stout young men.

One day they said to Mbwa, "We want guns." He went to his father,
in the town, and said, "I want two guns." His father produced two
guns for him. He took them, went to his home, and handed them to the
twins. Then they tried the guns, and loaded them.

Next day, in the morning, they went out early to hunt; they killed two
gazelles; and they took them to their village. Mbwa cut up one of the
beasts; and he said to his mother, "Cook it." Then he took the other
one to his father. His father cut it up; and he called Majanga and
Inyanji; and, dividing the meat, he said to them, "Go ye, and cook
these in the pot, and those in a jomba." (Mbwa himself was still in
the house watching them.) They boiled, and cooked; they put in the
salt and pepper; and were about to taste the soup when Mbwa said,
"Not so! This meat is not to be eaten by women."

They took the food to the Reception-house, where their husband Njambu
ate; and he laid aside some for them. But, what he laid aside for
those women, Mbwa drew away and ate. Then he returned to his home. His
mother made food; and they ate, all four of them.

Next morning, the twins returned to their hunting. They killed also
three antelopes, and they carried them to take them to their home,
and left them in the path on the way outside of the village. In the
village, they said to Mbwa, "Go, and bring the beasts from the forest."

Mbwa started, and brought them to the village. He carried two to
his father. His brothers exclaimed, "Where does Mbwa kill all those
animals?" His father cut up the animals, and divided one with his
children. He cut up the other, saying, "This belongs to myself." Then
he prepared some to be cooked in momba (bundles tied in plantain
leaves), and some to be dried, and some to be boiled.

The women boiled the food (Mbwa still watching them). When it was
cooked, they lifted up the pot from the fire, and they were about to
taste it, when Mbwa said, "No! you must not taste it!" They put it
in bowls, and set the food before their husband; and he ate. When he
was about to give some to his wives, Mbwa said, "Not so!"

The twins continued with their hunting just the same as at the
first. Almost every day they were killing some animal. And Mbwa
continued also with carrying meat to the town of his father.

Finally, the twins became full-grown men. Then Mbwa said to himself,
"Now, I'm ready to bring this matter to the ears of the people." When
another day came, he said to his father, "Tomorrow, call all the
people of the town together, in the afternoon."

On the next day, his father did so. Mbwa dressed the twins very
finely; and brought out three chairs, two for the twins, and one for
his mother. All the people collected together. Thereupon, he brought
forward his mother, and the twins. The people fixed their eyes on them;
for they had not seen them in their little hamlet in the forest. The
people exclaimed, "What fine-looking persons!"

Then Mbwa stood up. He said, "Ye people! I have called you all that
ye may recognize these two young men." The people said that they did
not know them. He continued, "These are my father's children. For,
my father had married these three women. Also, they had three duties;
Majanga, her duty of keeping the house clean; Inyanji, her duty of
planting; and Mamendi's was the bearing of twins. Mamendi became
a mother. On the day of her confinement, her two sisters went to
deliver her. They took a napkin and covered her eyes. And she bore
these two twins. They threw them inside the pig-pen. And they took two
small earthen pillars instead, and they went and showed them to their
husband. Then, I entered the pig-pen; and I took these children out;
and brought them to my mother. So, these children grew up. And they
began hunting. You, my father, you remember when I brought you the
wild meat, and you were about to give to these women; but, I went and
took away the food. The reason is, because they are the ones who tried
to kill the children. I brought them up from childhood to be men as
now. So, this caused me to bring this case before the presence of all
people; for, I say that those two women were murderesses. So, then,
my father, these are your children; but, if you retain those women,
these two twins shall not be your sons."

Upon this, the father of Mbwa said, "Catch ye both of the women!" And
they were bound in that self-same hour. (They had supposed that the
twins had died when they had struck them in the hamlet of Mbwa's
mother.) They could not deny. In their anger, as they were led away,
they called out to Mbwa, "Mbwa-O!" He assented, "Eh? What is it?" They
replied in anger, for having informed on them. And they laid a curse
on him, saying, "You will never speak again with the voice of a human
being. You shall be a dumb beast."

But, the people took them, to be thrown into the depth of the sea.




    Njambo and Wife and Son Utigebodi
    Ngwayi (Partridge)
    The Prophet Njambi
    Yungu (Eagle)
    Etoli (Rat)
    Njâku (Elephant)
    Nyati (Ox)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Njâ (Leopard)
    Ngomba (Porcupine)
    Inâni (Bird)


This story plays on the meaning of the name U-tige-bode. It is an
ancient word, not now used, meaning, "He-Who-Saves-People." In the
Son's given name; his saving of the unworthy, in response to their
appeals for mercy; his bearing of his father's wrath; his punishment on
a tree; the derision of the very passers by, for whom he was to die, I
think the legend echoes, even though faintly, the story of the Christ.

Njambo married two women. He begot twenty-three children. And they
all died. Also one of the wives died. There were left only himself,
and one wife.

The woman was old, and the man also was old. But, the woman was again
to become a mother; and, at the proper time, she bore a child. The
child was a male. The woman called the husband, saying, "Come! and
give your boy a name." The husband said, "The name of the child
is Utigebode."

After this, the child grew to be a large man. One day, he said to
his father, "Paia! I'm going to set snares in the forest." The
father replied, "Yes! go! and catch me food!" He went. And he
returned that morning. In the afternoon, he went back to examine the
snares. And he found that two Partridges were caught. He exclaimed,
"I'm very glad! My father shall eat one today, and the other shall
be kept for tomorrow." Then the Partridges asked him, "What is your
name?" He answered, "One-Who-Saves-People." Then the Partridges said,
"If that is so, why are you about to kill us?"

On another day, in the morning, he went again to examine his
snares. And he found two Antelope (Tragelephas). He was glad; and he
said, "I feel very good! My father shall eat one; and the other can
be cooked for another day." The Antelopes asked him, "What's your
name?" He answered, "One-Who-Saves-People." Again, they asked, "Why
then are you about to kill us?" He replied, "That's so! Well! go!" And
he returned to town.

That afternoon he went out again, and found two Gazelles. And he said,
"I'll take these two to town at once; and my father shall eat one
today, and the other tomorrow." But the Gazelles said, "No!--you are
the One-Who-Saves-People! Why then should you kill us?" So he loosed
them, and let them go.

He did the same way to two Elephants. And with two Oxen. At another
time he found two Tortoises. And the Tortoises spoke to him as had
done the others. And on another day, he found two Leopards. And,
he released the Leopards, in the same way. At another time, two
Porcupines, in the same way.

One after another, almost all the Beasts were thus trapped and
released. There was not one beast brought by Utigebode to his village;
he freed them all.

So, his father said to him, "My child! since you have set your snares,
I have not seen you bring in a single beast, even an Etoli. What
are you doing? I shall change your name. For, now that I am old,
it is right for you to save me, and help me with food."

Utigebode replied evasively, "Since I set the snares, I have not
caught even a Inâni." The father said, "Well! if it is true that you
have not killed any Beast or Bird, I will know tomorrow."

The next day broke; and the father went to the village of Prophet
Njambi. The Prophet saluted him, "What have you come for?" Njambo
replied, "I come to you for you to tell me about my son, whether in
his hunting he kills beasts, or whether he does not." Njambi answered,
"He snares them constantly; but, because of the name you gave him,
he saves the lives of the people of the tribes of Beasts."

The prophet added, "If there be a doubt, I will show you a way to
prove my words. When you go back to town you will meet Iheli at the
end of the village. When you meet with him, call for the people to
set nets to catch him. But, yourself shall stand and watch what the
Beast does before your eyes."

Njambo arose to go, and bade goodbye, saying, "This is my return
journey to my village."

And it was so that, on nearing the end of the village, he met with
Gazelle. Njambo shouted, "Men! spread your nets! Here is a Beast! Let
us catch it!" His men brought their nets, and began to surround
Gazelle. And the son Utigebode came to assist. The men were shouting,
"Hâ-hâ! Hâ-hâ!" to frighten the animal towards the nets. Gazelle
looked forward, watching Utigebode closely; and it said to itself,
"If I go toward the nets, I shall be caught; but, I will go toward
Utigebode and shall be saved."

So, Gazelle ran toward Utigebode, and he caught it as if to kill
it. But Gazelle cried out, "Eh! Utigebode! you, the savior, will you
be the one to kill me?" So, Utigebode said, "Pass on! for, it is true
that I am The-One-Who-Saves." And Gazelle fled to the forest.

Then Njambo was very angry, and said to Utigebode, "Ah! my child! I
have found you in your falsehood! Was it not you who said you caught
no Beast? So! you have been releasing them!"

Then the company all went back to their village with their nets. They
arrived there during the daytime. And the father ordered his son,
"Go! climb that coco tree, and bring me a nut." The son began to climb
the tree. But, as he climbed, the father, by Magic-Power, caused the
tree to grow rapidly upward. When, finally, Utigebode reached the top,
he was unable to come down the excessively long tree-trunk. He began
to call to his father for help, "My father!" But the father was still
very angry, and replied, "Call your friends, the Beasts and Birds,
to save you. I will not help you." And Njambo went to sit down in
his village, leaving his son in the treetop.

The son saw Eagle passing, and he called to it, "Yungu! Help me!" Eagle
replied, "I am not able to carry a Man; you are heavy;" so, Eagle
passed on. Utigebode saw many Beasts one after another passing below,
and he called to them, "Save me!" But, they said, "We have no wings
with which to go up to you. How can we get you down? We are not Birds
that could let you down. We Beasts are unable to help you. Do not
expect us."

He was left there in the tree-top a period of two weeks, living only on
the coconuts; and then he died, and his body fell to the earth. Njambo
came out to see the corpse, and he said to it, "You have died through
lack of obedience. You disobeyed me; and your beasts did not help you."

The father and the mother lived another year in their village; and
then they died, because they had no children to help them with food
or clothes. And the people came from other villages to bury them.




    King Ukanakâdi, and His Son Lombolokindi, and His Mother,
    With Birds and Other Animals
    Tombeseki (A Magic-Spear); An Old Woman
    Njâku (Elephant); An Ox (A Metamorphosed Man)
    A Foreign Vessel, and Traders

Ukanakâdi lived in his great house, having with him his many wives. One
of them bore him a son whom he named Lombolokindi.

As time passed on, the child grew in size, and strength, and
skill. Because of this, his mother was treated by Ukanakâdi with
special favor. This aroused the jealousy of one of the other wives. She
took the child one day, and secretly gave him a certain evil medicine,
which caused him to be constantly hungry, hungry, hungry. Even when
he ate enormously, no amount of food could fill his stomach or satisfy
his appetite.

Ukanakâdi finally was angry at the child, and said to the mother,
"All the food of my plantations is finished, eaten up by your child. We
have no more plantains, no more cassava, no more eddoes, nor anything
else in our plantations or in our kitchen-gardens. You have brought
a curse upon us! Go away to your father's house!" (He said this,
not knowing that a Fetish-Medicine had caused all the trouble.)

So the mother went away with her child to her father's house. But
there too, the boy ate up all the food of the gardens, until there
was none left. Then her father said to her, "All my food is done here;
go with your child to your grandfather, and find food there."

So, she went to her grandfather's. But there the same trouble followed.

After she had been there some time, and the child was now a stout lad,
and she saw that they were no longer welcome, she said to herself,
"Alas! it is so! All my people are weary of me! I will not longer
stay at grandfather's. I will go wandering into the forest, and,
with the child, will see what I can get."

Taking with her only two ears of corn, she went far off with the lad
into the forest. After much wandering, and eating only wild fruits,
she selected a spot without having any idea of the locality, and
built a shed for a camp in which to stay. At this place, she planted
the corn. It quickly sprang up, and bore abundantly. And she planted
other gardens. After a time came very many birds; and they began to
eat up the corn. She exclaimed, "My son and I alone have come here,
and have planted our corn. How is this that all the birds have come
so soon to destroy it?" And the son, who by this time had grown to
be almost a young man, said to her, "Mother, why do you allow the
birds to eat? Why don't you do something?" She replied, "Why do the
birds thus destroy the corn? What can I do?" So he came out of the
shed into the yard in front of their house and shouted at the birds,
"You birds! who have come here to spoil my corn, with this stick I
will kill you all!" But the birds jeered at him, saying, "No! not
all! Only one shall die!"

The young man went into the house, took up a magic spear-head he
owned, fitted it onto a stick as a shaft; and going out again, he
hurled it at the birds. The spear flew at them, pursuing each one,
and piercing every one of them in succession. Then it flew on and on,
away out into the forest.

The young man took up another medicine-charm that he had with him, and,
calling to his spear by name, shouted after it, "Tombeseki-o-o! Come
back, back, back, Here! again, again, again, Return!" The spear
heard him, and obeyed, and came back. He laid hold of it, and put it
again in the shed. So, he and his mother lived there. She planted a
very large garden of plantains, cassava, and many other vegetables,
a very large quantity. And her gardens grew, and bore fruit in plenty.

Then there came all kinds of small Animals, hogs, and antelopes, and
gazelles, very many; and they spoiled the gardens, eating the fruit,
and breaking down the stalks. The mother exclaimed, "My son! the
animals have finished all my food of the gardens; everything is
lost! Why is this?" He replied, "Yes, it is so! And when they come
again tomorrow, I know what I will do to them!"

When they came the next day, he went into the house, took the spear,
flung it; and it flew from beast to beast, piercing all of them in
succession. Then it went off, flying into the forest, as before. He
called after it to return. The Spear heard, and obeyed, and came back
to the house.

Then he and his mother sat down in the house, complaining of their
hunger, and how the animals had spoiled their gardens. So the mother
went out, and gathered up what little remained, brought it into the
house, and cooked it, leaves and all.

When the mother had planted a third garden, and it had grown, a herd
of elephants came to destroy it. She cried out, "Ah! Njâku! what
shall I do? You have come to destroy all my gardens! Shall I die
with hunger?" The son brought out his Spear, and shouting at the
elephants, threatened to kill them all. But the herd laughed and said,
"When you throw that spear, only one of us shall fall." He threw the
spear at the one that spoke. It struck him and all the elephants in
succession; and they all died. The Spear kept on in its flight into
the forest. The young man cried after it, "Spear! Spear! come back,
come back!" And it came to him again.

Each time that the Spear had thus gone through the forest, it had mowed
down the trees in its path; and thus was made the clearing which the
mother had at once utilized for the planting of her successive gardens.

After the elephants, mother and son sat down again in their hunger;
they had nothing to eat but leaves. These she cooked; and they ate
them all at once.

Then she planted another garden, thinking that now there were no more
beasts who would come to ravage. But she did not know that there was
still left in the forest one very, very large Elephant that had not
been in the company of the herd that the son had killed.

There was also, in that forest, one very, very large Ox. When the
gardens had grown, that Ox came, and began to destroy. The young
man hurled his Spear at the Ox. It was wounded, but did not fall;
and it went away into the forest with the spear sticking in its
side. The young man pursued the Ox, following, following, following
far away. But he did not overtake it.

On his way, he reached unexpectedly a small, lonely hut, where an
Old Woman was living by herself. When she saw him, she said to him,
"Do not follow any longer. That Ox was a person like yourself. He is
dead; and his people have hung up that Spear in their house."

The young man told the old woman that he was very hungry. So she cut
down for him an entire bunch of plantains. He was so exceedingly hungry
that he could not wait; and before the plantains were entirely cooked,
he began to eat of them, and ate them all. The old woman exclaimed,
"What sort of a person is this who eats in this way?" In her wisdom,
thinking over the matter, she felt sure it was some disease that
caused his voracity.

The man, being tired with his journey, fell asleep; and she, by her
magic power, caused him to hear or feel nothing. While he was in
this state, she cut him open. As she did so, his disease rushed out
with a whizzing sound; and she cut away, and removed a tumor, that
looked like a stone of glass. That was the thing that had caused his
excessive hunger all his life. By her Power, she closed the wound.

When he awoke, she cooked food for him, of which he ate, and was
satisfied with an ordinary amount like any other person. She then told
him what she had done, and said, "As you are now cured, you may pursue
that Ox. You will reach his town, and you will obtain your Spear. But,
as you go there, you must make a pretense. You must pretend that you
are mourning for the dead. You must cry out in wailing, 'Who killed
my Uncle-o-o! who killed my Uncle-o-o!'" Thus he went on his way;
and finally came to a town where was a crowd of people gathered in
and about a house of mourning. Beginning to wail, he went among the
mourners. They received him, with the idea that he was some distant
relative who had come to attend the funeral. He walked up the street
of this town of the Ox-Man, and entering into the house of mourning,
said, "Had not the way been so long, my mother also would have come;
but, I have come to look at that Thing that killed my Uncle." They
welcomed him, commended his devotion, and said, "You will not go
today. Stay with us. Sleep here tonight; and tomorrow you shall see
and take away with you, to show to your mother, that Thing."

So, the next day, they gave him the Spear, and said, "Go, but do
not delay. Return for the closing ceremony (the "Washing") of the
mourning." He went away, and came again to the Old Woman. She said to
him, when he showed her the Spear, "I told you truly that you would
obtain it. But, go with it and this bundle I have made of the tumor
of your disease, and show them to your mother."

So he came back to his mother. She rejoiced; and, not knowing that
he was cured, she cooked a very large and unusually varied quantity
of food, for his unusual hunger, two whole bunches of plantains, and
eddoes, and potatoes, and yams, etc. Of this he ate only a little,
sufficient for an ordinary hunger. As he had not yet told her of his
being cured, she cried out in surprise, "What is this? My son will die,
for not eating!" And she asked him, "What is the matter?" He replied,
"No, I have eaten, and am satisfied. And, mother, this bundle is what
I was cured of." Then he told her of what that old woman had done.

On another day, that great Elephant that had remained in the forest,
came and began to eat in the garden. The son said, "Mother! what shall
I do? I thought I had killed all the elephants. I did not know there
was this great big one left!" (Nor did he just then know there were
left a very great many more.)

Taking his Spear, he hurled it, and wounded the elephant. It did not
fall, but went away with the Spear in its side. The man followed,
followed, followed, pursuing the elephant, not, as the other animals
had gone, into the forest, but away toward the sea; and it died on
the sea beach. There the man found it and his Spear.

The Sea was new to him; he had not seen it since his childhood. He
climbed up on the elephant's body, in order to see all around. As he
turned his eyes seaward, he saw a ship coming on the horizon. Also,
the people on this ship were looking landward, and they said, "There
is something standing on the shore like a person. Let the vessel go
there, and see what is ashore."

So, the ship anchored, and a surf-boat was launched into the water to
go ashore. When the crew landed, they saw the carcass of the elephant,
and a person standing with a spear who warned them, "Do not approach
near to me!" But they replied, "We do not want you, nor will we
hurt you. But we want these tusks of ivory of this elephant. We want
elephants." Wondering at this wish, he cut out the tusks, and gave
them to the strangers, adding, "Off in the Forest are very, very many
more tusks, more than I can number. You seem to like them; but they
are of no use to me." They earnestly said, "But, bring them, bring
them! We will buy them of you with abundance of goods." He agreed,
and promised, "I am going now; but, let your ship wait, and I will
bring all of those things as many as it is possible for me to carry."

So, he went back to his mother; and he and she carried many, many
tusks. They filled the ship full; and the crew of the ship sent
ashore an immense quantity of goods. When the vessel went away, it
left ashore two carpenters, with direction to build a fine house,
and have it completed before the vessel should come again.

The man remained there awhile with the carpenters, after the ship
had gone.

One day, looking, on a journey down the coast, at a point of land,
he was surprised to recognize his father's town, where he and his
mother had lived in his childhood. He said to himself, "That's my
father's town! I want them to come to me, and live at my town!" He
sent word to them; they removed, and all of them came to live with
him. And he married one of their young women. (In the meanwhile,
he had brought his mother from the forest.)

While he was living at his new home, one day looking seaward, he
saw the promised ship coming to get more ivory, and to give more
goods. And he went off to the vessel.

Among the women who were still living of his father's people who had
known him as a child, was the one who had given him the evil "medicine"
long ago; her object in giving it having been to kill him. After he
had gone off to the vessel, this woman came to his wife's home, and,
seeing the Spear hanging tied from the roof, said, "What is that
Thing tied there?" His wife replied, "It is a kind of "medicine"
of my husband's. It must not be touched." But the woman said, "I
know that Thing; and what it does." Then she seized it, and put into
it its handle the man had removed. She hurled the Spear out to sea,
and it went on and on, passing over the ship. The man sitting in the
saloon, said to the crew, as he recognized the Spear in its flight,
"I saw something pass over the ship!" He went up on deck, and called
after it, "My Spear! come back! come! come! come back!" And he told all
the people of the vessel to go below lest they should be injured. The
Spear turned and came back to him; and he took possession of it. Then
said he to the crew, "Come! escort me ashore!" They landed him ashore,
and waited to see what he intended doing.

He called all his father's family, and asked, "Why is it that you have
tried to kill me today with this Spear! For this, I will this day kill
all of you." He summoned all the people to come together. When they
had come, he had his mother bring out that tumor bundle, and said,
"This is the thing of long ago with which that woman (pointing to
the one who in childhood had given him the evil disease) tried to
injure me. And, for the same reason, she threw the Spear today; thus
trying a second time to kill me. None of you have rebuked her. So,
I shall kill you all as her associates."

Though they were of his father's family, he attacked and killed them
all. The whole town died that day, excepting himself, his wife, his
mother, and his sister. These four, not liking to remain at that evil
place, went off and took passage on the ship.

So, he journeyed, and came to the country of the white people at
Manga-Manene; and never returned to Africa. But, he kept up a trade
in Ivory with his native country. But for him, that trade would not
have been begun. For, besides his having brought the first elephant
to the sea coast, he told the people of Manga-Manene beyond the Great
Sea, about the tribes of people, and about the elephants that were
so abundant, in Africa. And that is all.




    King Njambu, and His Four Wives
    Ngwe-Konde (Mother-of-Queens)
    Ngwe-Lege (Mother-of-Poverty)
    Ivenga (Watching); Ngwe-Sape (Mother of a Lock)
    Njambu's Son, Savulaka (Gluttony)
    The Spirit of an Uncle; Mekuku (Spirits of the Dead)
    A Magic Spear; A Great Elephant (A Metamorphosed Man)
    Birds, and Other Beasts

Njambu built a town; and married four women. This one, Ngwe-Konde,
that one Ngwe-Lege, another one Ivenga, another Ngwe-Sape.

After Njambu had lived there a short time all his wives were about to
become mothers. Then Ngwe-konde took a net, and (by Magic Art) threw
it into the womb of Ngwe-lege. The net entered the belly of her child.

At the time of their confinement, they all gave birth. The infants
were washed. They were dressed also, and were given suck. Also, they
were assigned their names. That of Ngwe-lege's was Savulaka. When he
was given the breast, he was not satisfied, he was only crying and
crying; for, whoever held him, there were only cries and cries. When
his mother would nurse him, there was only crying. His father said,
"If it is like this, then, lest he die, feed him the food of adults."

His mother cut down a plantain bunch; she boiled it; it was cooked. The
child ate, and finished the plantains; and yet it was crying and
crying. They cut down another bunch; it was boiled, it was cooked. At
only one eating, he finished the food, with cries in his mouth. Two
more bunches were boiled; he ate. All at once, though born only
that day, he spoke, "My mother! Hunger!" Four bunches were cut down;
they were cooked; he ate, and finished them, but with crying.

Then he was cooked for ten times; he ate; and at once finished. The
people cooked, and he ate. The plantains of his father's town were all
cleared off, the entire town was left like a prairie. The father spoke
to the mother, and said, "No! go away with him to your father's town."

Ngwe-lege picked up her child, carrying him away. She with the child
went on, to the town of her father.

Her father asked her, "My child! wherefore the crying, and your
carrying the infant?" She replied, "My father! I know not! This one
whom you see, since he was born, is not filled. He has made an end to
all the plantains of his father's town, leaving the town a prairie. And
his father said to me, 'Just go and take him to your father's.' So,
I have brought him."

The towns-people all were laughing, "Kye! kye! kye!" They said,
"What? Really, food? No! it's something else, not food. But, enter
into the house." She says, "You are talking foolishly." The child
began to cry. They said, "Let us see!"

Then, at once, they began to cook; the food is ready; he eats;
and finishes it. Other food was placed; he ate it at once. Food
was cooked again. At once, all of it, and the dishes, and the jars,
and the plates, were swallowed up by him. Food is cooked again, and
he ate; and then said, "My mother! Hunger!" Food is cooked again;
he ate until he finished all the pots. All the food of the town,
and all the gardens were done.

Her father spoke to her saying, "My child! Just carry him to the town
of your grandfather."

She then carried the child, still crying with hunger, and made her
journey, and came to her grandfather's town.

The people there said, "What is it; for the crying?" She told all the
whole affair to them. They inquired, "Food?" She replied, "Yes." They
cooked, and he ate, and finished. They cooked again; and he finished
all, even to the leaves in which the food was wrapped. They said,
"Such a kind of child has never been born before!"

Suddenly, the child Savulaka ceased to be a child; and, as a man,
said to his mother, "My mother! Wash me some mekima (rolls of mashed
boiled plantains)." So, his mother made the mekima.

In the morning, very early, Savulaka starts on a journey. He went
stepping very quickly, on, still with his journey; and, as he went,
he talked to himself. He said, "This thing which has been done to me,
now, what is it?" He still went on with the journey, until, at night,
he lay down in the forest. Early in the morning, he starts again
for his journey. As he was going in the forest he met with a Person
(a brother of his mother, who belonged to a town of the Mekuku). This
Person inquired, "Where are you going to?" (Savulaka was still eating
the mekima, even its leaves going into his mouth.) This Person also
said to him, "Stop at once!" Then he stood still.

The Person said, "I, your Uncle, the brother of your mother, am
the one who is inquiring of you." Savulaka answered him, saying,
"I'm not able to tell you." But presently he did tell all the matter
to him. So, the Uncle said to him, "Come, to my town."

Then both of them returned on the path. In a moment, in the twinkling
of an eye, they are at the town. The Uncle said, "My child, you
are cured!" He put for him a medicine in a syringe, and gave him an
injection. When he withdrew the syringe, here, at once, a net began
to come out quick as ever it could move from the bowels! Then his
Uncle spoke and told him, "It is thy father's wife who put the net
into your bowels."

Food was cooked for him; he began to eat a little as people usually
eat. His Uncle said unto him, "You shall go tomorrow."

On the morrow, early in the morning, his Uncle took all kinds and
sorts of vegetables; and he took also a Spear; and malagetta pepper
("Guinea-grains," a species of cardomom), and handed them to him;
and told him, "When you reach home, you must plant a garden."

The Uncle said to him, "Close your eyes!" He closed his eyes tight. On
opening his eyes, he at once found himself near his home, and his
mother on the path, her form bent stooping down seeking for him. He
then entered their house, and sat down, and his mother greeted him
to her satisfaction.

The mother took food, and boiled it; it was cooked; she removed it
from the fire; she sat the food before Savulaka. And he ate only two
fingers of plantains. His mother began to wonder.

Then he said to himself, "Now, let me try to do as my Uncle has told
me." He said, "Ngalo! (a fetish charm) I want this forest here to be
cleared, all of it." (As quickly as I speak here, at once the garden
was finished, like the passing of yesterday.) He said to his mother,
"Take a list of all the plants I have brought; then let us go and
plant them." So, he and his mother went to plant; that very day the
garden was completely finished.

Previously to that, his Uncle had warned him, "When the plants are
sprung up, you will see Kenene (a kind of small bird) coming to eat
them. When they shall arrive, they will be many. Then you take the
Spear; fail not to use the cardomoms with it."

The food increased; and the small birds came in countless
numbers. Savulaka took up the Spear, and threw it at them; and all,
even to the young birds, perished. Then he returned to his mother,
and said, "My mother! go and pick up the sele" (another name of
kenene). She gathered them; leaving many remaining abandoned in the
forest. The village was filled with the sele.

The same thing happened with all other kinds of birds. The same with
every Beast.

Then Elephants came to the garden. The man picked up the Spear and
the cardomoms. When he came to the garden, he lifted up the Spear,
and threw it, and wounded the Elephants. Numbers of Elephants that
were eating in the garden, were killed. They were gathered, and the
whole village was filled with the smell of the rotting meat; so that
hardly any one would come to the village. I am not able to tell you
the abundance of tusks; the mendanda (long ones), and the makubu
(short thick ones), and the begege ("scrivillers," the small ones),
that cannot be counted.

The next morning, other elephants came again. The man took up the
Spear, but he forgot the cardomom-pepper. When he arrived where they
were, he did not wait, but hastily threw the Spear after an elephant,
the leader of the herd, who turned aside, and ran away with the Spear
in its body. The man followed him, but he did not reach him. Then
he returned to his mother; and said to her, "My mother! mash me some
mekima." (Food for a journey.)

In the next morning, the man started on the journey, stepping
quickly as ever, until he came to his Uncle's town. He was about to
pass his Uncle by, not seeing him (a Spirit). The Uncle said to him,
"Stand there!" So he stood. The Uncle directed, "Enter the house!" He
entered, and sat down; and his Uncle said to him, "Did I not tell
you that when you are going to kill an animal, you must not omit the
pepper-grains? Sit down there; wait. Don't you go out. I must go and
take for you your Spear."

But, lo! it was the Chief of that very town, whom he had wounded, and
who had come back to the town, and died. (That chief had metamorphosed
himself into the form of an elephant.) The uncle passed out, and
went to the other end of the town; and there he found the Spear. He
took it, and gave it to Savulaka, and said, "Go!" Savulaka went;
and met his mother on the way, waiting for him. Then they went home
to their village.

Next morning, he fastened the Spear handle. Elephants in the plantation
shouted, "We have come!" The man stood up, and snatched his Spear. The
Elephants stood waiting. The man said, "Here it is!" and flung it at
them. And the carcasses of all fell in a heap. He said to the people
of the village, "Go ye!" They went, and found dead bodies without
number; the tusks the same, without number.

After that, White-Man came with a quantity of goods. The Town of
Savulaka was crowded with goods in abundance; every kind of foreign
article. White men came to see Ivory. The sailing-vessels and steamers
came any day (not only on scheduled dates). Thus it was that Ivory was
exported, and goods imported. Business of Trading was made. Savulaka
had a great many traders. All his father's brothers, and mother's
brothers, all their dwelling was in the town of Savulaka. Rum was drunk
constantly, and they were constantly intoxicated. Ivory went to White
Man's Land. White men's things came, and were sent up to the Interior.

This Trade is going on to the present days. It was a man who commenced
with the thought of Trading; it was commenced by that one man. All
the African tribes are now changed from what they were originally.

At first we negroes had no (proper) knowledge. They spoke with wonder
over the things that are made in Europe by white men. They said,
"These are made by the Spirits of the dead; they are not made by the
living." Because our people believed that the departed spirits have
their home beyond the Sea. Why? Because Savulaka brought his wonderful
Spear (by which so much ivory was obtained) from the Spirit-Town.




    Mbwa (Dog)
    Ngiya (Gorilla)
    Njâ (Leopard)


The origin of the hatred between dogs and leopards. Friends should
not have arguments. An argument separates a company.

Dog and Leopard built a town. Dog then begot very many
children. Leopard begot his many also. They had one table
together. They conversed, they hunted, they ate, they drank.

One day, they were arguing: Leopard said, "If I hide myself, you are
not able to see me." Dog replied, "There is no place in which you
can hide where I cannot see you."

The next day, at the break of the day, Leopard emerged from his house
at Batanga, and he went north as far as from there to Bahabane near
Plantation. Dog, in the next morning, emerged. He asked, "Where is
chum Njâ?" The women and children answered, "We do not know." Dog
also started, and went: and as he went, smelling, until he arrived
at Plantation (about 15 miles). He came and stood under the tree up
which Leopard was hidden; and he said, "Is not this you?"

Both of them returned, and came to their town. Food had been
prepared; and they ate. Leopard said, "Chum! you will not see me here
tomorrow." When the next day began to break, Leopard started southward,
as far as to Lolabe (about 15 miles). Next day, in the morning, Dog
stood out in the street, lifted up his nose, and smelled. He also
went down southward, clear on till he came to Lolabe; and standing
at the foot of a tree, he said, "Is not this you?"

Leopard came down from the top of the tree; they stood; and then
they returned to their town. Food was cooked for them; they ate,
and finished.

Leopard said, "Chum! you will not see me tomorrow again, no matter
what may take place." Dog asked, "True?" Leopard replied, "Yes!"

In the morning, Leopard started southward, for a distance like from
Batanga to Campo River (about 40 miles).

At the opening of the next day, Dog emerged, and, standing and
smelling, he said, looking toward the south, "He went this way." Dog
also went to Campo. He reached Leopard, and said, "Is not this you?"

They came back to their town; they were made food; and they ate.

The next day, Leopard emerged early. He went northward, as far
as from Batanga to Lokonje (about 40 miles). Dog sniffed the air,
and followed north also. In a steady race, he was soon there; and he
reached Leopard. So, Leopard said, "It is useless, I will not attempt
to hide myself again from Mbwa."

Thereupon, Dog spoke to Leopard and said, "It is I, whom, if I hide
myself from you, you will not see." Leopard replied, "What! even if you
were able to find me, how much more should I be able to find you!" So,
Dog said to him, "Wait, till daybreak."

When the next day broke, Dog passed from his house like a flash
unseen, vyu! to Leopard's. And, underneath the bed of Leopard in
his public Reception-house, he lay down. Then Leopard (who had not
seen him) came to the house of Dog; he asked the women, "Where is
Mbwa?" They said, "Thy friend, long ago, has gone out hence, very
early." Leopard returned to his house, and he said to his children,
"That fellow! if I catch him! I do not know what I shall do to him!"

He started southward on the journey, as far as Lolabe; and did
not see Dog. So he returned northward a few miles, as far as Boje,
and did not see him. Down again south to Campo; and he did not see
him. That first day, he did not find him at all. Then he returned
toward Batanga, and went eastward to Nkâmakâk (about 60 miles); and
he did not see him. He went on northward to Ebaluwa (about 60 miles);
did not see him. Up north-west to Lokonje; he did not see him. And
Leopard, wearied, went back to his town.

Coming to the bed (not knowing Dog was there) he lay down very
tired. He said to his people, "If I had met him today, then you would
be eating a good meat now." All these words were said in the ears of
Dog, the while that Dog was underneath the bed.

Then Dog leaped out, pwa! Leopard asked, "Where have you been?" Dog
answered, "I saw you when you first passed out." Leopard said,
"True?" And Dog says, "Yes!"

Then Dog went out far to his end of the town. And, knowing that
Leopard intended evil toward him, he said to his children, "Let us go
and dig a pit." So they went and dug a pit in the middle of the road.

Then Dog told his wives and children, "Go ye before, at once!" He
also said, "I and this little Mbwa, which can run so fast, we shall
remain behind." Then the others went on in advance.

(Before that, Leopard, observing some movements of the Mbwa family,
had been speaking to himself, "I do not know the place where Mbwa
and his children will go today.")

Dog warned this young one, "When you are pursued, you must jump clear
across that pit."

Then Dog, to cover the retreat of his family, came alone to Leopard's
end of the town. He and his children chased after him. Dog ran away
rapidly, and escaped.

When Leopard's company arrived at the house of Dog, they found there
only that little dog. So they said, "Come ye! for there is no other
choice than that we catch and eat this little thing."

Thereupon, Leopard chased after the little dog; but it leaped away
rapidly, and Leopard after him. When the little Dog was near the pit,
it made a jump. (Leopard did not know of the pit, nor why the Dog
jumped.) When Leopard was come to the pit, he fell inside, tumbling,

His enemy Gorilla was following after Leopard, also in pursuit of
Dog. He also fell into the pit, headlong, volom! Finding Leopard there,
Gorilla said, "What is this?" Leopard stood at one side, and Gorilla
at the other. When the one would be about to go near the other, if
the other attempted to go near him, he would begin to growl, saying,
"You must not approach here!"

Dog, standing at the edge above, was laughing at them, saying,
"Fight ye your own fight! Did you want only me?"

But Leopard and Gorilla were not fighting in the pit. If the one
approached, the other retreated.

Dog spoke to them and said in derision. "I have no strength; but as
to your fight, was it seeking only me?"




    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Ko (Wild-Rat)
    Njâ (Leopard)


Because of deaths and sicknesses, African natives are constantly
changing the location of their villages, believing the old sites
infested by malevolent Spirits.

The whole mass of Beasts were living in one place. They built houses;
they cleared the forest for plantations.

After this, Tortoise said, "I'm going to find my own place." So, he
went and built in a place which he called Malende-ma-Kudu. The fame of
it was spread abroad, people talking about "Malende-ma-Kudu." Leopard
arose, came to the town of Tortoise, and said, "I have come to build
here." Tortoise consented, "You may build." Leopard said, "I'm going to
build at the end of the path, and by the spring." And he built there.

One day, a child of Tortoise was passing by near the spring; and
Leopard seized him, ku!

Another day, another one was passing; Leopard seized him, also, ku!

Then Tortoise said, "This is an evil place, I'm going to move from
here." So he went and built another town called Jamba. Leopard
came also, saying, "Kudu! I'm coming to build!" Then Tortoise said,
"Really! what have your affairs to do with me? Nevertheless, come
and build." And Leopard built at the end, by the spring.

When the children of Tortoise were passing by the spring, Leopard
constantly killed them.

Tortoise wondered, "This thing which is destroying my children,
what is it?"

Thus day by day, Leopard was killing the children of Tortoise.

Tortoise prepared again to remove, saying that he would go away and
build another town to be called Dang. He went there. And the fame of it
was spread around, people saying, "Dang, the town of Kudu!" Everybody
was saying, "We are going to the town of Kudu; Dang, the town of Kudu!"

Leopard comes again, and says, "I also have come to build
here." Tortoise said to him, "Wait! really; why did you leave the other
people?" However, Tortoise said to him, "Build." And Leopard built as
usual. Also, when the children of Tortoise were passing to the spring,
they were missing. And Tortoise felt sure that Leopard had seized them.

Thereupon Tortoise made a plan for himself. He called Wild-Rat
privately, saying, "I have heard that you know how to dig
holes." Wild-Rat replied, "It is my work." Tortoise said, "But,
I want you to dig me a tunnel from this room here, out to, and up
towards the street, by measure." So, Wild-Rat dug a big hole, in size
sufficient for Tortoise and his traveling-bag and his spears.

Then Tortoise went and gathered together his spears and his
traveling-bag. He went out the next day, early in the morning, and
stood and announced in the street, "All the Tribes must come! I want
to tell them the news of what I have seen."

Then all the Beasts came to meet in the town of Tortoise. It was full
of every kind of beast. Tortoise spoke, and said, "I have called you
to say, that really we are not worth anything at all. Actually, the
only dwelling we have is in the grave. All those my children who have
died here, is it possible that it is my Father (of Spirits) who takes
them? I met them sitting down in the Reception-House of that father,
playing." The people said to him, "This is a Dream." He replied,
"No! it is open to sight." Some said, "It is a lie." But Tortoise
said, "You have doubted me? Well, tomorrow you must dig me a grave;
and you shall see how I am going." They said, "Yes! let us see!"

On the next day, in the morning, they were called together. He said,
"Dig me a pit here." (He pointed to the privately measured spot over
the tunnel which Wild-Rat had already made for him.) They dug it wide
and deeply. Then, this Tortoise took his spears and his bag; and with
these under his arm, he descended into the pit, and bade the people
fill in the earth. He went to one side, until he reached and entered
that tunnel of his which Wild-Rat had dug for him. And unseen he passed
up to his room in his house, and lay down. Before that, he had promised
the people, saying, "I shall lie there (in the pit) for six days."

Before Tortoise had disappeared, the people (following his orders)
began to throw back the earth into the pit, filling it solidly.

After Tortoise had laid in his house for six days, he suddenly
appeared in the street; and he called all the mass of the Beasts,
and he told them the news. He said, "Over there is so beautiful! I
will not stay in this town any more for as long as ten days. But,
as I am here, I shall lie here only for three days, and two days over
there." At once Tortoise was regarded as a person of great importance,
and his fame was spread abroad.

Thereupon, Leopard, (feeling jealous of the wonderful experience of
Tortoise) said to his children, "Even Kudu! How much rather that I
should get to that beautiful place! Dig me mine own pit. I also am
going to see my forefathers. I and they, we have not seen each other
for a long time." So, they dug a big pit. He announced, "I will lie
there for seven days; on the eighth, then I shall come."

Then he descended into the pit. And they rapidly filled it up with
earth. Leopard, below, sought a cavity by which to pass on (as he
thought) to the Land of Spirits; but, there was none. And he died.

His children waited eight days; but they saw not their father. Then
they asked Tortoise, "As to our father, up to this day, what has
happened to him?" Tortoise answered them, "Why are you asking me
this? When I went, what did my family ask of you? Maybe, your father
remained to follow the pleasures of over there!"

The women of Leopard had kept him some food, making it ready for him
for the eighth day. But (giving up hope of him) they ate it. While
they were still waiting, actually Leopard had begun to rot there
(in the pit).

Tortoise, fearing possible difficulty, gathered together his wives
and remaining children, and fled with them into the forest afar off.




    Yongolokodi (Chameleon)
    Ko (Wild Rat)
    Men, Hunters

Chameleon and all the other Beasts built their villages near together,
making a large town. And there was a time of great hunger. After that,
there came a harvest time of large fruitage. The great produce could
not be gathered for abundance.

Then came Chameleon to the village of Wild-Rat, and he said to him,
"Chum, Ko! this harvest is a great thing!" Rat said, "Don't speak
about it!"

Not long afterward, Mankind laid their snares, and the hunters prepared
their bows. For, beasts and birds had come in crowds to eat of the
abundance; and Man had overhead them speaking of it. Gunners came;
the shots resounded; bows were twanged; the snares caught.

Rat fell into one of the traps. Chameleon seeing him, and desiring
to justify himself, reminded Rat that Rat himself had told him not
to let others know of the great abundance, and that he himself had
obeyed; that therefore he was not the cause of Rat's misfortune. So,
Chameleon said, "I did not speak of it."




    Yongolokodi (Chameleon)
    Njâ (Leopard)


Chameleons move very slowly. This story is given as a reason why, even
if one is small in body, he should not be despised, as though he had
no strength, or as though he could with impunity be deprived of his
rights, e.g., in a race or in wrestling, or in any other circumstances.

Leopard and Chameleon lived apart. This one had his village, and that
one his. This one did his own business; that one his. And they were
resting quietly in their abodes.

Chameleon had a herd of sheep and of goats.

Leopard came to the village of Chameleon on an excursion; and he saw
the herd of sheep and of goats. He said to Chameleon, "Chum! give
me a loan of sheep to raise on shares." Chameleon made food for him;
and, when they had eaten, he said to Leopard, "You can send children
tomorrow, to come and take the loan of sheep on shares." They had their
conversation, talking, and talking. When they had ended, Leopard said,
"My Fellow! I'm going back." His friend said to him, "Very good."

Leopard went on to his village. He said, "My wife! I came on an
excursion, to the town of Yongolokodi. He treated me with hospitality
to the very greatest degree. Also he has given me sheep on shares."

The next day, in the morning, he sent his children to the town of
Chameleon to take the herd of sheep. They went; and they brought
them; and goats also. (A "day" in an Ekano Tale is without limit as
to length or shortness.)

The goats and sheep increased, until the village of Leopard was
positively full of them crowded in abundance.

About three years passed, and Chameleon said to himself, "Our herd
with Chum must be about sufficient for division." Thereupon he started
on his journey crawling, naka, naka, naka, until he came to the house
of his friend Leopard. Leopard said to his wife, "Make food!" It was
cooked, they ate, and rested.

Chameleon said to Leopard, "Chum! I have come, that we should divide
the shares of the herd." Leopard replied, "Good! but, first go back
today. Who can catch goats and sheep on a hot day like this? Come
tomorrow morning." Chameleon said, "Very good." And he went back to
his village.

The next day, in the morning, he rose to go to the village of
Leopard. (Actually, after midnight, Leopard had already opened the
pens, and all the animals were scattered outside.) He protested regret
to Chameleon, and said, "Chum! go back! I don't know how those fellows
have opened their pens. I was expecting you, for this day; I had let my
herdman know that a person was coming on the morrow. So, go back. And,
as I am going tomorrow to the swamp for bamboo, you must come only
on the second day." Chameleon submissively replied, "Very good."

Chameleon continued coming; and his treatment was just so every time,
with excuses.

Leopard, hoping, said to himself, "Perhaps he will die on the way,"
because he saw him walking so slowly, naka, naka. And Chameleon kept
on patiently going back and forth, back and forth.

One night, Leopard and his wife were lying down; whereupon his wife
asked him, "What is the reason that you and Yongolokodi have not
divided the shares of the herd? Do you think he will die of this
weakness?" Leopard answered, "No! it is not weakness, Njambe is the
one who created him so; it is his own way of walking."

Finally, Chameleon said to himself, "I must see what Njâ intends to
do to me; whether he thinks that he shall eat my share." He went by
night and waited outside of Leopard's. Next day, in the morning,
as Leopard rose to go out, he found, unexpectedly, as he emerged
from the house, Chameleon sitting on the threshold. There was no
other deception that Leopard could seek; for, the animals were still
in their pens. So, he called his children, and said, "Tie the goats
and sheep with cords." So they tied them all. And he and Chameleon
divided them. Then this one returned to his place; and that one to his.




    Koho (Parrot)
    Kuba (Chicken)


A story of the cause of the enmity between chickens and parrots. When
a chicken comes near to a parrot, the latter turns to one side, saying,
"wâ!"; for fear that the chicken will take his fine feathers from him.

Parrot and Chicken were fowls living in a village of Mankind near
a town; which they had built together. They were living there in
great friendship.

Then Parrot said to Chicken, "Chum! I'm going to make an engagement
for marriage." So, he prepared his journey. And he asked Chicken,
"Chum! give me now thy fine dress!" (For the occasion.) Chicken,
said, "Very good!" and he handed his tail feathers to him. Thereupon,
Parrot went on his marriage journey.

When he came home again, he said to himself, "These feathers become
me. I will not return them to Kuba."

So, when Chicken said to him, "Return me my clothes," he replied,
"I will not return them!" Chicken, seeing that Parrot was retaining
the feathers, said sarcastically, "Accept your clothing!" Thereupon,
Parrot, pretending to be wronged, said, "Fellow! why do you put me
to shame? I did not say that I would take your clothing altogether,
only that we should exchange clothes."

At night, then, Parrot took all his family, and they flew up in the air
away. At once, he decided to stay there, and did not come to live on
the ground again. Chicken was left remaining with Mankind in the town.

Whenever Chicken began to call to Parrot up in the treetops, asking
for his clothes, Parrot only screamed back "wâ! wâ!" That was a mode
of speech by which to mock at Chicken.




    Edubu (Adder)
    Ikingi (Fly)
    Ko (Wild-Rat)
    Ngomba (Porcupine)
    Njâku (Elephant)
    Ngubu (Hippopotamus)
    Nyati (Ox)
    Bejaka (Fishes)
    Ngando (Crocodile)


Native Africans after bathing, rub more or less of some oil, either
native palm, or foreign pomade, on their bodies.

In the Dry Seasons, when the rivers are low, fish are caught by
building dams across the streams, and then bailing out the water from
the enclosed spaces. Observe flies, as carriers of disease.

Adder went to bathe. He returned, and anointed himself with nyimba oil
(oil of bamboo-palm nuts), and then climbed out on to a branch of a
cayenne-pepper bush.

Fly came and settled upon Adder's back. Adder, being annoyed, drove
Fly away. Then Fly said to Adder, in anger, "Know you not that it is
I who cause even Njâku, with his big tusks, to rot? And that I can
cause Nyati and Ngubu to rot? And I can cause Mankind to rot! Then
how much more you, this Thing who has only ribs and ribs!"

When Adder heard this, he was alarmed, and he entered into the hole
of Wild-Rat. Wild-Rat asked him, "Chum Adder! where do you come
from in such haste?" He answered, "I have seen a Being which does
not hesitate to cause Beasts and even Mankind to rot. Therefore,
I am fled, by reason of fear of Ikingi."

Whereupon Wild-Rat, frightened, arose, and entered hastily into the
town of Porcupine. Porcupine, alarmed, asked Wild-Rat, "What is it?" He
answered, "I'm afraid of Ikingi; Edubu says that it is he who causes
both Mankind and Beasts to rot."

Then Porcupine, in fear went out, running, going to the town of
Hog. Whereupon Hog, being startled, asked him, "Chum! what is it?" He
answered him, "I'm afraid of Ikingi. Ngomba says that he is the one
who causes both Beasts and Mankind to rot."

Hog at once ran out in terror, and went to a river with all his
family. And the water of the river was promptly crowded out, leaving
its channel dry.

Then the Fishes (mistaking this motion of the water) arose in haste,
saying, "The people who bail the river have come!" And they fled.

Then Crocodile opened his mouth wide; and the fishes in their flight
began to enter into his stomach. Among them was ingongo-Kenda (a young
kenda; a fish with spines like a catfish). When Crocodile was about
to swallow, the spines caught fast in his throat. And Crocodile died
at once.

Then the Fishes sang a song of rejoicing.

   "Ngando, with stealing,
    Ngando died by a sting in his throat."

Such was the death that Crocodile died, on account of his attempt
to swallow Fishes, who had rushed into his open mouth, as they fled,
alarmed by the confusion raised by the panic of the other animals.




    Iheli (Gazelle)
    Njâ (Leopard)


Among native Africans, in the case of a man and his wife, even
if they fight together, her father or her brother usually do not
interfere. For, every man who is married knows that his own wife will
some day offend himself.

Gazelle and Leopard built a town; living this one at his end of it;
that one at the other end. After they had built; they cleared the
forest for plantations; they married wives; and they sat down,
resting in their seats.

Gazelle had married the sister of Leopard who was of a proud
disposition. And Leopard had publicly threatened, "The person who
makes trouble for my sister, I will show him a thing."

One day, the sister of Leopard began to give Gazelle some
impertinence. Gazelle said to her, "Shut your mouth!" She replied, "I
won't shut it!" Gazelle threatened, "Lest I beat you!" She dared him,
"Come and beat me! You will see my brother coming to chew you!" Gazelle
ran after her, struck her, ndo! and knocked her to the ground, ndi! As
she lay there, he kept on beating her, and beating her, and shouting,
"Who has married! Who has not married?"

Leopard bristled up his whole mane, full of anger, and was about to
go to Gazelle's end of the town to fight. But the older people said
to him, "You hear what Iheli says, 'Who has not married'?"

Leopard was at once disheartened. He saw there was no place for his
bravery in a matter of marriage.




    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Njâ (Leopard)
    A Giant Goat (Mbodi)
    Ngweya (Hog)
    Betoli (Rats)
    Ngwai (Partridge)


Tortoise and Leopard had lived in peace in the same town, until
their mutual use and abuse of the great Goat, the gift of Njambe,
the Creator. A leopard is not satisfied unless he first takes the
heart of the animal he has killed.

Tortoise and Leopard built a town together. There they stayed. After
they had built, they cleared plantations. Their food was only
vegetables; for, they had no meat. Their hunger for meat became
great. Their hunters killed nothing.

One day, Tortoise, as he went in search of food, going and penetrating
in the forest, came upon the Goat of Njambe (a mythical, enormous
animal) in the forest by itself, and tied. It told Tortoise who
and what it was, and invited him to enter. He said to It, "Mbodi,
Friend-of-Njambe! open for me your house!" The Goat opened an aperture
of its body; Tortoise entered in; and It closed the aperture. Inside
of the Goat, Tortoise cut pieces of fine fat, and tied them into two
bundles. Then he said, "Mbodi, friend of Njambe! open for me the
house!" It opened the aperture; Tortoise at once went out; and It
shut it.

Tortoise returned to his town, and cut up the meat. He said to his
women, "Make ready leaves for momba!" (bundles of green plantain leaves
in which meats are cooked over hot coals). They at once plucked the
leaves, tied up the momba, and put them over the fireplace. They set
soup also on the fireplace. When it was boiled, they spread the table,
sat down together, and ate.

The children of Leopard, smelling a tempting odor, came to Tortoise's
end of the town. The children of Tortoise showed their food to them,
saying, exultingly, "Ye! do you eat such as that?" A child of Leopard
said, "Chum! let me taste it!" And he allowed him to taste it.

The children of Leopard went off hurriedly to their father, saying,
"Father! such an animal as your friend has killed! Perhaps it is
Ngweya; we do not know."

Then Leopard went to where Tortoise was, and he asked him, "Chum! as
to this meat-hunger, what shall we do? Let us arrange for the
town." Tortoise responded. "Yes, I am willing." So, in the evening, he
invited his friend Leopard that he should come and eat food. Leopard
came; they sat down together; and they ate. When Leopard had tasted,
he exclaimed, "Man! what animal is this?" But Tortoise would not
tell him. When they had finished eating, Leopard said to himself,
"I must know where Tortoise goes!"

On the next day, before the Ngwai (a Bird, that announces the first
coming of daylight) had sounded, Tortoise went out clear on to
where was that giant Goat. He spoke, as on his previous journey,
"O! Mbodi! Friend of the Creator! open for me the house!" It at
once opened the aperture; he entered in; and began to slice pieces
of meat from the Goat's inside. When he had finished, he said,
"Open for me the house!" It opened the aperture; and he emerged
and went back to his town. There he spoke to his women, saying,
"Cook ye!" They boiled the meat; it was cooked; he invited Leopard;
they ate; and finished. And Leopard went back to his house.

But, when night came, Leopard took ashes, and, going to the house
of Tortoise, thrust the ashes into Tortoise's traveling-bag, and
stabbed holes in it. Said he to himself, "When Tortoise carries it,
then the ashes will fall down." This he did, so that he might follow
to the place where Tortoise would go.

Next day, Tortoise was up at the same time with the first Ngwai. And
at daybreak, Leopard followed, observing the ground closely with
his eyes; and he saw the ashes. The fellow, at once, went on his
journey, striding quickly, quickly, until he reached to where the
great Goat was standing. It explained to him, as it had to Tortoise,
its use, and invited him to enter. Said he, "O! Mbodi of my father
Njambe! open to me the house!" And It opened the hole. He entered;
and he discovered Tortoise cutting meat. Tortoise was displeased,
and said to him, "Chum! is that the way you do?" They cut pieces of
meat, they got ready, and they went back to town.

The next day, although Tortoise was vexed at Leopard, they started
together on their journey; and they arrived at the Goat. They said
as before, "O! Mbodi! Friend! open to us the house!" It opened the
aperture; and they entered. Tortoise warned Leopard, "Chum! Njâ! don't
touch the heart!" They cut meat. Then Leopard said that he was going
to lay hold of the heart. But Tortoise said, "No!" Leopard cut and
cut, and was going on to the heart. Tortoise again said to him, "Not
so!" They went on cutting. Finally Leopard laid hold of the heart! The
Goat at once made a great outcry, "Ma-a! Mba-a!" and died instantly.

The people of the town that was near by, heard, and they said, "The
Mbodi! what has happened to it? Young men! go ye! Hasten ye! for,
that Mbodi is crying!" They went, and discovered the body of the Goat
stretched out. They went back to the town and told the people that,
"The Mbodi is dead!"

While this was going on, as soon as Tortoise inside the body knew that
the Goat was dying, he began to seek for a hiding-place. He said,
"I am for the stomach!" Leopard said, "No! that is the hiding-place
of the elder one" (himself). Then Tortoise said, "I will go and hide
in the bowels." Leopard said, "That also is the hiding place of the
elder." Then Tortoise said, "Well! I'm going to hide in the fountain
of the water of the belly" (the urinary bladder). Leopard said,
"Yes! that is the share of the younger." Tortoise thrust himself in
there. Leopard jumped into the stomach.

When the people came, they discovered the Goat lying flat, and
they said, "Tie ye it!" (to carry it away). Others said, "No! let
it be butchered here." They all said, "Yes!" And they cut it in
pieces. They took out the entire stomach, and laid it aside. They
took that fountain, and flung it out in the bushes.

Concealed by the bushes, Tortoise crawled out of the sac, and,
pretending to be displeased, called out, "Who dashed that dirty water
in my face, as I was coming here, seeking for my fungi here in the
forest?" They apologized, saying. "Chum! we did not know you were
in those bushes. But, come, and join us." So, he went there; and
he, in pretence, exclaimed, "What thing can so suddenly have killed
Friend-Creator his Mbodi there? Alas! But, Ime! what a large stomach
that is! Would you say that it was not it that killed Mbodi? Let us
send some children to pierce that stomach. But ye! when ye shall go
to pierce it, first bring spears, then jab the spears through it. I
have not seen such a stomach as that!"

They finished the cutting in pieces; and they gave Tortoise his
share of the animal. He left, bidding them await his return. He went
hastily with the meat to his town, and sat down to rest for only
a little while. Then he rapidly went back again to see what would
happen to Leopard.

The family of Njambe had taken that stomach and laid it in the water
of a stream. Then they took spears, and they stabbed it. Leopard,
being wounded, struggled up and down as he tried to emerge from
inside the stomach. The people, when they saw this, shouted,
"Aw! lâ! lâ! lâ!" And there was Leopard lying dead! For, in stabbing
that stomach, the spears had reached Leopard.

Tortoise said to them, "Give me the skin of Leopard!" So they handed
it to him. He went off with it to his house. When it was dried, he
took it into his inner room, and hung it up. He said to his children,
"Let no person bring any of the children of Njâ into this room."

Before that time, the children of Tortoise and of Leopard always
hunted small animals; and they were accustomed daily to kill rats in
their houses.

On another day, the children of Leopard having no meat, and not knowing
that their father was dead said, "A hunt for Betoli tomorrow!" The
children of Tortoise replied, "Yes!"

Early in the next day then, the children of Leopard made ready and
called for those of Tortoise; and they all started together.

They began at first at Leopard's end of the town; and, going from house
to house, opened the houses and killed rats. They passed on toward
Tortoise's end of the town, opening houses, and killing rats. When they
came to the room of Tortoise himself, his children said to the others,
"No!" The children of Leopard asked them, "Why?" As they arrived at
the door, the children of Tortoise said, "Our father said that, even
for catching rats, we should not enter that room." But the children
of Leopard broke down the door, and entered into the room. There they
lifted their eyes, and discovered the skin of their father Leopard
hanging! At once, they all hasted out of the house. But, suppressing
their sorrow and indignation, shortly after this, they all said,
"To go to throw wheels on the beach!" (a game; solid wheels, about
eight or ten inches in diameter, and some three inches thick, chopped
out of an enormous tuber). They made ready their little spears, and
they all went in a company. Their challenge was, "To the beach!" These
arranged themselves on one side, and those on the other.

The children of Tortoise began the game, rolling the wheel to the
children of Leopard. These latter, as the wheel rolled by, pierced
its center with all their spears; none failed. The Leopard company
shouted in victory. "Boho, eh?" And the Tortoise company dared
them with, "Iwâ!" Then the Leopard company insultingly retorted,
"We are the ones who are accustomed to sleep with people's sisters,
and continue to eat with them!" (i.e., that they could commit crimes
with impunity, and still be allowed the intimate friendship of eating
together, without the others daring to punish them).

Then the Leopard company bowled the wheel toward the side of the
Tortoise company. These latter pierced the wheel with all their spears;
none missed. The Tortoise company shouted for victory, "Boho! eh?" And
the Leopard company dared them with, "Iwâ!" Then the Tortoise children
shouted boastfully, "We are those who are accustomed to kill people's
fathers, and hang up their skins, eh?"

At this, the Leopard children began to rage, and joined a fight with
the children of Tortoise.

The children of Tortoise, and himself, and their wives and their
children, fled and scattered over the logs into the stream of water,
and hid themselves in holes, and never came back to town.




    Mekuku, and Two of His Sons Mbuma-Tyetye and Njâ
    King Njambu
    Betoli (Rats)
    Mwamba (Snakes)
    Ngângâlâ (Millepedes)
    Kedi (Stinging Ants)
    Njambu Ya Mekuku (Spirits), and His Town
    Women Hidden in Chests
    Ngwaye (Partridge)
    Kâ (Snails)
    Ihonga-Honga (A Giant Tooth)
    Hova (A Magic Gourd)
    Tângâ (Horn)
    Ibumbu (Bundle of Medicine)
    Kanja (A Bowl)
    Ikanga (Spear)
    Ngalo (A Magic Amulet)


Ngalo is a powerful fetish-charm. Sitting in a visitor's lap for a
few moments, is a mode of welcome.

"Njambu" is one of their forms of spelling the name of the Creator;
very commonly used also for human beings. The account of the
wrestling-match is suggestive of the surroundings of a modern
athletic field.

Njambu built a Town. He continued there a long time. After he had
finished the town, he married very many wives. After a short time
they all of them bore children. Those births were of many sons. He
gave them names: Among them were, Upuma-mwa-penda (Year-of-doubt),
and Njâ (Leopard).

And again, his wives, after a short time, all of them became
mothers. This time, they gave birth to a large number of daughters. He
gave them also names.

His town was full with men and women; they were crowded. And all
busy. They that worked at stakes, went to cut saplings; those that
made rattan-ropes, went to cut the rattan-vine; they that shaped the
bamboo for building, went to cut the bamboo-palms; they that made
thatch went to gather the palm-leaves; they that set up the stakes of
the house-frame went to thrust them into the ground; they who fastened
the walls, fastened them; they who tied thatch on the roof, tied it;
they who split the rattan vines for tying, split them.

The town was full of noise. The children of Njambu kept their father's
town in motion. They rejoiced in the abundance of people and their
force. They took dowries also for their sisters, and gave them in
marriage to young men of other towns.

Arguments were discussed; stories about White Men were told; amusements
were played; food was eaten; and the sons of Njambu married wives.

One of Njambu's sons, Upuma-mwa-penda, said to his mother, "Make me
mekima," (mashed plantain). His mother asked him, "Where are you going
with the mekima?" He answered, "I'm going to seek a marriage." And
she said "Good!"

In the morning, he took his rolls of mashed plantains, and started to
go on his journey. He said to his mother, "You must keep my house." She
replied, "It is well."

He went on, on, on, until, on the road ahead, he met with two Rats,
who were fighting. He took an ukima-roll, divided it, and gave
to them, saying, "Take ye and eat." They accepted, and told him,
"You shall arrive at the end."

He goes on stepping quickly, quickly; and meets two Snakes fighting. He
parted them. He took an ukima-roll and gave to them; they ate. They
said to him, "You shall reach the end."

He goes on with his journey, until ahead were two Millepedes
fighting. He said to them, "For what are you killing each other?" He
parted them, and gave them an ukima-roll. They took it and said,
"You shall reach the end!"

He lay down in the forest at night. At midnight, his mother saw, in her
sleep, something that said, "Go with thy two daughters in the morning,
and take food for Mbuma-Tyetye (another name for Upuma-mwa-penda)."

Early in the morning, she awoke her two daughters, and said, "Come! let
us go to follow after your brother; he is still on his way."

They started, on, on, on, until they found him sitting down in the
path. They brought out the food from their traveling-bag, and they
said, "We have come to give you food." They prepared the meal, and
they ate. And they slept that night in the forest.

Next morning, they started again, and they walked on, on, on, with
their journey. As they came on their way, they listened ahead, and
they heard something, saying, "Eh! fellows, eh! eh! fellows eh! Nobody
shall pass! Nobody shall pass here!"

When they drew near, they met an immense quantity of Red stinging
Ants spread from the ground up to the tree-tops, entirely closing the
way. Mbuma-tyetye and his company said, "Ah! these are they who were
shouting here!" He advanced to the fight, and called to his younger
sister, "Come on!"

She lifted her foot just to tread upon the Ants; and they instantly
entirely covered her. He and his company tried in vain to draw her
back. The Ants shouted, to strengthen themselves. "Eh! fellows, eh!"

He, still fighting, called to the elder sister, "On ahead!" Just as
she lifted her foot, there came all the Tribe of Red Ants, and would
have covered her up. The woman jumped to one side vigorously, and
stood there in that spot, fanning away the sweat of her exertions, pe,
pe, pe. She returned again to the Ants; and they met. She called out,
"Ngalo! hot water!" and it appeared. She took it, and dashed it at the
Red Ants. But they all went into their holes; and came out at another
opening, again closing the path. She still stood there ready to fight;
but they covered her, and dragged her behind them.

The Ants shouted over their victory, "Eh! fellows, eh! Today no person
passes here!"

The son called to his mother, "Mother! come on!" His mother said,
"My child! I am unable." He called, "Ngalo! Fire!" Fire at once
appeared. Having drawn back the corpses of his sisters, he seized
the fire, and thrust it into the nests of the Ants. He thrust it also
among the trees. The flame ignited them; and the surrounding forest
burned to ashes with all the trees. And the Ants were all burned too.

Then he brought his sisters to life, by taking that ashes, and throwing
it over them, and down their throats into their stomachs.

When the day darkened, he said, "Ngalo! a house!" A tent at once
appeared, with a table, and tumblers, and water, and all food. They
sat there and ate. When they finished eating, they set tea on the
table. They drank; they talked of their experiences. When they ended,
they said, "Let us lie down together." So they lay down for the night.

As the next day was coming, a Partridge gave forth its voice,
"Rise! tyâtyâ lâ! tyâtyâ lâ!" And the day broke also. They wash
their faces; they set tea on the table, and drank it. They folded
the tent-house, and swallowed it, (as a mode of carrying it). They
started with their journey, and went conversing on the way.

As they came along, Something was heard ahead. They listened,
and heard a song. "Gribâmbâ! eh! Gribâmbâ! eh!" Mbuma-tyetye
and his mother and sisters kept on going toward the sound, which
continued, "Dingâlâ! eh! A person will not pass! No doubt about
it! Dingâlâ! eh! Wherever he comes from, he can pass here only by
coming from above."

The man and his company approached the source of the song, and
exclaimed, "There it is!" They went on and found the entire tribe
of Snails filling the road hither and yonder. He said to his mother,
"What shall we do with the Kâ Tribe?" They sat down to consider. They
decided, "A fight! this very day!" They sat still, and rested
for a while. Then he went ahead and shouted to his younger sister,
"Come!" She called out, "Ngalo! a short sword!" It appeared. She called
again, "A strong cloth!" It appeared, and she dressed herself with it.

As she approached the Snails, one of them fell on her head with a
thud, ndi! She took the sword, and struck it, ko! The Snails shouted,
"We're nearing you!" A crowd of them came rapidly, one after another;
in a heap, they entirely covered her, vyâ! And she lay a corpse! The
Snails swarmed over her, and taking her, threw her behind them. They
shouted in victory, "Tâkâ! Dingâlâ! eh!"

Then the elder sister said she was going to help her brother in facing
the Snails. Her mother objected, "You? Stay!" But she replied, "Let me
go!" She girded her body tightly, and then she entered the fight. The
Snails surrounded her. They were about to drag her to their rear, when,
she, at the side of the path, attempted to spring from them. But they
swarmed over her. And she lay a corpse! The mother was crying out,
"O! My child!" when the Snails covered her too.

Mbuma-tyetye retreated, to rest himself for a short time, and
called out, "Ngalo! a helmet!" It appeared. He fitted it to his
head. He called again, "Ngalo! a glass of strong drink, and of water
too!" It appeared. He asked for tobacco. It appeared. "Matches!" They
appeared. He struck a match, and smoked. As he thrust the cigar in
his mouth, it stimulated him; it told him things of the future in its
clouds of smoke. After he had rested, he stood up, again for the fight.

The Snails tuned their song:

   "Iyâ! Dingâlâ! disabete!
    Iyâ! Dingâlâ! sâlâlâsâlâ! Disabete!
    Iyâ! Dingâlâ! Iyâ! Dingâlâ!
    Iyâ! Dingâlâ! Sâlâlâsâlâ!
    Iyâ! Dingâlâ! Eh! Bamo-eh!"

The Snails, in their fierce charge, killed him, and were about
to take away the corpse; when, his Ngalo returning him to life,
he sprang erect, and cried out, "Ah! my Father Njambu! Dibadi-O!"

And he took up his war-song:--

   "Tata Njambu ya milole, milole mi we.
        Ta' Njambu! milole mi we.
    Ta' Njambu! milole mi we.
        Milole mi we. Ta' Njambu!"

All that while, the mother and his sisters were lying dead.

The Snails were shouting in their victory, "Tâkâ!"

Mbuma-tyetye took a short broad knife in his hands, and shouted,
"Dibadi!" He girded his body firmly, and stood erect. He called out in
challenge, "I've come!" The Snails answered, "You've reached the end!"

They fought. The man took his sword. The Snails fell down on him,
ndwa! But the man stood up, and moved forward. He laid hold of a
small tree. He cut it, and whirled it about at the Snails. And the
Snails fell down on the ground, po! But they rose up again flinging
themselves upon the man, ndwa! The man jumped aside crying out,
"Ah! My father Njambu! Dibadi-O!"

He took fire, thrust it among the tribe of Snails, and every one fell
down on the ground, mbwâ!

Then he shaped a leaf into a funnel, and dropped a medicine into the
noses of his mother and sisters. They slowly rose and tried to sit
up. He poured the ashes of the Snails over them, po! They breathed
it into their stomachs, kii! and they came fully to life.

Then they said, "You are safe! Now! for our return home!" He said,
"Good!" And they returned.

Mbuma-tyetye continued his own journey, on, on, on, until at a
cross-roads, he found a giant Tooth, as large as a man. Tooth asked,
"Where are you going?" Said he, "I'm going to seek a marriage at a
town of Njambu-ya-Mekuku." Then, with his axe in hand, he turned aside
from the path; chopped firewood, chop, chop, chop, chop, mbwâ! Then he
kindly carried a lot of it, and presented it to Tooth. He also opened
his bag, and taking out an ukima roll, laid it down at the feet of
Tooth; also a bundle of gourd-seeds, and laid it down; and then he
said, "I'm going." But the giant Tooth, pleased with him, said to him,
"Just wait!"

So, he waited; and, while waiting, said, "Ngalo! a fine house!" It
appeared there. "A table!" There! "Good food!" There! "Fine
drink!" There! They two ate, and drank, and had conversation together.

Tooth said to him, "Where you go, do not fear." It brought out from
its hut a water-gourd, and said, "I will not show you more, nor will
I tell you anything at all, but this Hova itself will tell you." Then
Tooth said to him, "Go well!"

The man took the Gourd and clung to it as if it was a treasure.

He started again on his journey, and had gone but a little way, when he
found Kuda-nuts in immense abundance. He took up one, drew his knife,
cracked the nut, and threw the kernel into his mouth. He stooped
again, and was about to pick up another, when the Gourd warned him,
"I! I!" So, he left the nuts.

He came on in his journey, and found in abundance wild Mangoes. He
took one, split it, and bit out a piece; and was about to add
another, when the warning came, "I! I!" So, he left the Mangoes;
yet his belly felt full. Still on his journey, thirst for water
seized him at a stream. He took his cup, plunged it into the water,
filled it, drank, and was about to take more, when the warning said,
"I! I!" And he left the water. Yet his belly felt full.

On his journey still, till he came to a large river. There he stood,
and listened, as he heard a boat-song, "Ayehe! âhe! âyehe! e!" There
passed by the sound of paddles, wom'! wom'! but he saw no person; nor
did he see any canoe. Gourd said to him, "Call!" Then he called out,
"Who are these? Bring me a canoe!" A voice replied, "Who are you?" He
answered, "I!" The canoe came nearer, its crew singing, singing, until
it grounded on the beach. He saw what seemed only a great log! Gourd
said to him, "Embark!" He got in. The crew also (apparently) got in
again; for, the sound of paddles was again heard, worom'! worom'!

Instead of going straight across the river, they pulled far up stream,
and then came all the way down again on the other side. As they came,
they were constantly keeping up the song, until they grounded at
the landing-place at that other side. Still he saw nothing of the
invisible boatmen, when he landed.

Ascending the bank of the stream, he saw a strange new town. He entered
its public reception-house, and sat down. As he was looking for some
one to come, a Horn came and sat on his lap, and then moved away. A
Bundle of Medicine came, sat, and moved away. A Bowl came and sat. A
Spear came and sat. All these Things saluted him. Behold! they were
the People of that Town (in disguise); but he saw none of them.

Gourd said to him, "Come and escort me into the back-yard." He at once
stepped out; and, when in the back-yard, It said. "Put me down." (It
had been carried suspended from his shoulder.) He put It down, standing
It at the foot of a plantain-stalk. Gourd making a leaf funnel,
dropped something into his eyes. His eyes suddenly, kaa! were opened,
and he saw everything, and all the people, and the whole street.

Returning to the house, he sat down. Maidens came. Such goodness as
you have scarcely known! Forms lovely to see!

The Chief of the town said, "Make ye food!" It was made at once. Then
one whom he chose was given him for his wife.

She and this young son-in-law were left sitting in the house. The
wife began to weep, saying to herself, "What will be his manner of
eating?" (a test to be applied to him as suitor). The Gourd called
him with a voice like the stroke of a bell, ngeng! He went out to
the Gourd, and It said to him, "When you shall eat, take one piece
of plantain, flesh of the fowl, and then dip one spoonful of the
udika (wild-mango gravy), put them in your mouth; and thou shalt say
unto her, 'Take; you may remove the food.' You shall see what will
happen." He did so. His wife laughed in her heart; and she went and
told her mother, "He is a person of sense." The towns-people said to
her, "What did he do?" She evasively said to them. "Let us see!"

In the evening, the father-in-law said to him, "You have found us here
in the midst of a work of garden-making for your mother-in-law." (A
man is always expected to do some work for his wife's mother.) He
said. "That's good, Father!"

Gourd called to him, and told him, "It is not a garden; it is an
entire forest; it is not planted; it is all wild country. But,
tomorrow, at daylight, early, you say to your wife that she must go
and show you. You must take one young plantain-set, and a machete,
and an axe. When you shall arrive there, then you shall say to
her, 'Go back!' And she will go back. Then, you will slash with the
machete, kwa! and leave it. You take also the axe and cut, ka! and say,
'Ngunga-O! Mekud' O! Makako ma dibake man­jeya-O!' You shall see what
will happen. Then you insert the plantain-set in the ground. Then
you set up a bellows, and work it. And you shall see what will happen."

(All that Garden-Plan was made by the townspeople in order that
he might weary of the task, and they then find excuse for killing
him. For they were Cannibals.)

At daybreak, he did so. He called his wife. He and she went on until
they came to the chosen spot. Said he, "Go back!" The woman went
back. He did just as he had been directed, as to the clearing, and
the felling, the incantation, and the planting. The plantains bore,
and ripened at once. Every kind of food developed in that very hour.

The man went back to the town, and sat down. They set before him food.

They sent a child to spy the garden. The child returned, excitedly
saying, "Men! the entire forest! with all such foods! only ripe
ones!" They said to him, "You're telling a falsehood!" And they said,
"Let another go and see." He went; and returned thence with a ripe
plantain held in his hand.

In the evening, the Chief said to him, "Sir! tomorrow, people will have
been filled with hunger for meat. A little pond of your mother-in-law
is over there. Tomorrow it is to be bailed out." (In order to get
the fish that would be left in the bottom pools.)

Gourd called him, ngeng! He went to It, and It said, "That is not a
pond, it is a great river, (like the Lobi at Batanga). However, when
you shall go, you must take one log up stream and one log down stream
(for a pretence of dams). You shall see what will happen. Then you
must bail only once, and say, 'Itata-O!' You shall see."

Next morning, he did so. And the whole river was drained; and the
fish were left in the middle, alone. He returned to the town, and
sat down. The people went to see; and, they were frightened at the
abundance of fish. For a whole month, fish were gathered; and fish
still were left.

The Chief went to call his townspeople, saying, "We will do nothing
to this fellow. Let him alone; for, you have tried him with every
test." They said, "Yes; and he has lingered here," (i.e., was no
longer a stranger; and therefore should not be eaten). But, they said,
"Tomorrow there will be only wrestling." (This was said deceitfully.)

In the evening, the father-in-law called him, saying, "Mbuma-tyetye,
tomorrow there is only wrestling. You have stayed long here. As you
are about to go away with my child, there is left only one thing more
that she wants to see, that is, the wrestling tomorrow."

Gourd called him, and said to him, "It is not only for wrestling. You
know the part of the village where is the Wrestling-Ground. There
is a big pit there. You will take care if you are near that pit;
and you must push them in."

In the evening, food was made, and soon it was ready. He and his wife
ate, and finished. They engaged in conversation. They took pleasure
over their love that night.

The next day, in the morning, very early, the drums, both the elimbi
and the common, began promptly to tell things in the street. (The
Elimbi is a specially made drum used to transmit information by
a system of signal strokes. News is thus carried very far and
very rapidly.) The Gourd called him, and handed him a leaf of
magic-medicine, to hold in his hand, saying, "Go; fear not!"

The townspeople began to shout back and forth a song (to arouse
enthusiasm). Two companies ranged on each side of the street,
singing. "Engolongolo! hâ! hâ! Engolongolo! hâ! hâ!"

   "Engolongolo! hâ! hâ!
    Engolongolo! hâ! hâ!"

Hearing their song as a challenge, the young man went out of the
house into the street. Up to this point, the strongest wrestler of the
town, named Ekwamekwa, was not with them; he was out in the forest,
felling trees.

When the towns-people saw the young man standing in the street, they
advanced as many as a hundred all at once. He laid his hands upon
them, and they all went back; he also went back. Soon he advanced
again, and his single opponent advanced. They two laid their hands
on each other's shoulders. The townspeople began another song, as if
in derision. "O! O! A! O! O! A! O! O! A!"

At once, he seized his opponent, and threw him into the pit. Thereupon,
his father-in-law shouted in commendation, "Iwâ!"

Another one came forward; Mbuma-tyetye advanced; and as they met
together, he took him, and threw him into the pit. Again the shout,

The sisters of the two men in the pit began to cry. The others said
to the girls, "What are you doing? He shall die today! It is we who
shall eat those entrails today!" (Among cannibals, a choice portion.)

Another one was coming, and, as they met together, again the shout
of derision, "O! O! O! A! O! O! O! A! O! O! O! A!" But, at one fling,
Mbuma-tyetye cast him into the pit. "Iwâ" was repeated.

The sister of him who was thrown thus into the pit began to cry. The
people rebuked her, "Mbâbâ! mbâbâ! Join in the singing!"

Another one was coming; Mbuma-tyetye advanced; and as they came
together, he lifted him, holding him by the foot. The singers, to
encourage their man, said responsively, "Dikubwe! Dikubwe! Fear not
an elephant with his tusks! Take off! take off!" Mbuma-tyetye lifted
him, and promptly pushed him down into the pit, with a thud, 'kodom'!

The people began to call out anxiously, "We-e! we-e! O! They are
overcome! They are overcome! O! Some one must go hastily, and call
Ekwamekwa, and tell him that people are being destroyed in the town,
and he must come quickly."

Some one got up, and ran to call Ekwamekwa, wailing as he went,
"Iyâ! Iyâ! Iyâ! Ekwamekwa, iyâ-O! Come! People are exterminated in
the town!"

He heard with one ear (i.e. at once). He snatched up his machete and
axe, saying, "What is it?" The messenger repeated, "Come! a being
from above has destroyed many a one in the town!"

The man Ekwamekwa, full of boasting, said, "Is it possible there is no
man in the town?" He came, already shaking the muscles of his chest,
pwâ! pwâ (a custom with native wrestlers, as a lion his mane). His
muscles were quivering with rage, nyâ! nyâ! nyâ!

The drums, both the elimbi-telegraph and the common, were being beaten,
and were sounding without intermission. The singers were shouting;
the wrestlers' bodies had perspiration flowing from them. The noise
of the people, of the telegraph drums and other drums, and sticks
(sticks beating time) were rattling kwa! kwa! kwa!

As Ekwamekwa appeared, the women and children raised their shrill
voices. The shouters yelled, "A! lâ! lâ! lâ! â!"

Mbuma-tyetye advanced at once. He and Ekwamekwa laid hold of
one another, and alternately pressed each other backward and
forward. The one tried tricks to trip the other, and the other
tried the same. Ekwamekwa held him, and was about to throw him on
the ground. The other jumped to one side, and stood, his muscles
quivering, po! po! po! tensely. Ekwamekwa seized him about the waist
and loins. The people all were saying, "Let no one shout!" (lest
Ekwamekwa be confused). They said, "Make no noise! He is soon going
to be eaten!" And it was a woman who said, "Get ready the kettle!"

Ekwamekwa still held him by the loins. So, they called out, "Down
with him! Down with him!" But Mbuma-tyetye shouted, "I'm here!" He
put his foot behind Ekwamekwa's leg, and lifted him, and threw him
into the pit, kodom!

Then there was a shout of distress by the people, "A! â! â! â!" and
Ekwamekwa called out, "Catch him! catch him!" Mbuma-tyetye, lifting
his feet, ran to his father-in-law's end of the town, and all the men
came after him. His father-in-law protected him, and said to them,
"You can do nothing with this stranger!"

At night, the Chief said to him, "Sir, you may go away tomorrow."

At daybreak, food was cooked. The Chief Njambu-ya-Mekuku, put his
daughters into large chests. In one was a lame one; another, covered
with skin disease; and another, with a crooked nose; and others,
with other defects in other chests, each in her own chest. But,
he put the wife into a poor chest all dirty outside with droppings
of fowls, and human excrement, and ashes. In it also, he placed a
servant and all kinds of fine clothing. Then said he to Mbuma-tyetye,
"Choose which chest contains your wife."

The Gourd at once called him, and It said to him, "Lift me up!" It
whispered to him, "The chest which is covered with dirt and filth,
it is the one which contains your wife. Even if they say, 'Ha! ha! he
has had all his trouble for nothing; he has left his wife,' do you
nevertheless carry it, and go on with your journey."

He came to the spot where the chests were. The Chief said
again, "Choose, from the chests, the one which contains your
wife." Mbuma-tyetye picked up the poor one. They shouted. But, he
at once started on his journey, and on, until he came to the river,
stepped into a canoe, paddled to the other side, landed, and went on,
carrying the chest. Almost in an instant (by his magic Ngalo) he was at
the place of the Great Tooth. It asked, "How is it there?" He replied,
"Good!" The Gourd, in leaving, reported to Its mother, the Tooth,
"A fine fellow, that person there!"

He went on with his journey, his feet treading firmly. Almost with
one stride (by aid of his Ngalo), in the twinkling of eyes, he was
near the spring at his own town.

Then he said, "Now let me open the chest here!" On his opening it,
a maiden attended by her servant came stepping out, arrayed in the
clothing which had been placed in the chest for her dress. One's eyes
would ache at sight of her silks, and the fine form of her person. And
you or any other one could say, "Yes! you are a bride! truly a bride!"

Two young women rose up in the town to go to the spring to dip up
water. They were just about to come to the spring, when they saw their
brother and his wife and her servant. They two went back together
rapidly to the town, saying, "Well! if there isn't the woman whom
Mbuma-tyetye has married! They are two women and himself!"

The town emptied itself to go and meet them on the path. His father
took powder and guns, with which to announce the arrival; and cannon
were roaring. When the young woman came and stood there in the street,
there was only shouting and shouting, in admiration.

Another brother, named Njâ, when he came to see her, was so impressed
to get a wife like her, that, without waiting for the salutations to be
made, he said to his mother, "My mother! make for me my mekima, too."

Mbuma-tyetye entered into the house, he and his wife. At once hot water
was set before them, and they went to bathe. When they had finished,
they entered the public Reception-Room. Njâ, impatient to get away
and, in impolite haste, said, "Now, for my journey!" His brother
advised him, "First wait; let me tell you how the way is." He replied,
"Not so!" And he started off on his journey.

The others sat down to tell, and to hear the news. They told
Mbuma-tyetye the affairs of the town; and he responded as to how
he had come. When he had completely finished, he was welcomed,
"Iye! Oka! oka-O! But now, sit down and stay."

Now, when Njâ had gone, he met the two Millepedes fighting. He
exclaimed, "By my father Njambu! what is this?" He stood
there with laughter, "Kye! kye! kye!" He clapped his hands,
"Kwâ! kwâ! You! there! let me pass!" They asked, "Give us an ukima." He
stood laughing, kwa! kwa! saying, "I will see this today! Food that
is eaten by a human being! Is it so that they have teeth? As I see it,
they, having no mouths, how can they eat?" But he opened his food-bag,
took an ukima, and gave them a small piece. They rebuked him for
his meanness, and laid a curse on him, "Aye! You will not reach the
end." He responded, "I won't reach my end, eh? Humph! I'm going on
my journey!" He left them; and they grabbed at the very little piece
of ukima he had given them.

He cried out, "Journey!" and went on both by day and by night,
traveling until he met the two Snakes fighting. He derided them,
and took a club, and was about to strike them, when they cursed him,
"You will not reach the end!" However, he gave them, at their request,
an ukima, and passed on. As he turned to go, and was leaving them,
they made signs behind him, repeating their curse, "He will not reach
safely!" And they added, "He has no good sense; let us leave him."

He still cried out, "Journey!" and went on to that place of
Ihonga-na-Ihonga whose size filled all the width of the way. He
made a shout, raising it very loud, and repeated his exclamation,
"By my father, Njambu! Thou who hast begotten me, thou hast not seen
such as this!" Tooth asked, "Where are you going?" He, astonished,
exclaimed, "Ah! It can talk! Alas! for me!" And he added a shout
again, with laughter, "Kwati! kwati! kwati!" It spoke and said,
"Please, split for me fire-wood." He replied, "What will fire-wood
do for you?" He, however, split the wood hastily, ko! ko! ke! and
left it in a pile. It said, "Leave me an ukima." He responded, "Yes;
let me see what It will do with it now!" He opened his food-bag,
and laid an ukima down disrespectfully, and said, "Eat! let me see!"

Tooth said to him, "Sleep here!" Said he, "If I sleep here, what
is there for me to sit on?" It replied only, "Sleep here!" He said,
"Yes!" Then he invoked his Ngalo, "A seat!" It appeared, and he sat
down. In the evening, he invoked, "Ngalo, a house!" It appeared. "A
bed!" It appeared. "A table!" It appeared. "Food!" It was set out. He
ate, but did not offer any to Tooth, and fell into a deep sleep.

At daybreak, he was given water to wash his face, and food; and
he ate it. Then the Tooth said to him, "Now, this is a Hova; go;
the Hova will tell you what you should do." Said he sarcastically
"Good! a good thing!" And he started on his journey. But, when he
was gone, he despised the Gourd, and said to himself, "What can this
water-jar do for me? I shall leave it here." And he laid it down
at the foot of a Buda tree. There were many kuda (nuts of the Buda)
lying on the ground. He prepared a seat, and sat down. He gathered
the kuda nuts in one place. He took up a nut, broke it, threw its
kernel into his mouth, and chewed it. He picked up another one, and
was going to break it. Gourd warningly said, "I! I!" He replied,
"Is it that you want me to give it to you?" Gourd answered only,
"I-I!" And he said, "But, then, your 'I! I!' what is it for?" He
broke many of the nuts, taking them up quickly; and finished eating
all. And still his stomach felt empty, as if he had eaten nothing.

He then said, "The Journey!" He started, still carrying with him the
Gourd, going on, on, until he came to the Bwibe tree (wild mango). That
Bwibe was sweet. He collected the mibe fruits, and began to split
them. He split many in a pile, and then said, "Now! let me suck!" He
sucked them all, but he felt no sense of repletion, although the Gourd
had warned him. He took the skins of the mibe fruit, and angrily thrust
them inside the Gourd's mouth, saying, "Eat! You who have no teeth,
what makes you say I must not eat? But, take you!"

He goes on with his journey. And he found water. He took his
drinking-vessel, plunged it into the water, dipped, put it to
his mouth, drank, and drained the vessel. He wanted more, plunged
the vessel, and drank, draining the vessel. He took more again,
disregarding the warnings of Gourd. The water said to him, "Here am I,
I remain myself." (i.e. I will not satisfy you.) He gave up drinking,
and started his journey again, journeying, journeying, crossed some
small creeks, and passed clear on, until he came to the River. As he
listened, he heard songs passing by. He said to himself. "Now! those
who sing, where are they?"

The Gourd spoke to him, saying, "Call for the canoe!" He replied,
"How shall I call for a canoe, while I see no people?" Gourd repeated
to him, "Call!" Then he shouted out, "You, bring me the canoe!" Voices
asked, "Who art thou?" He answered, "I! Njâ!" Some of the voices said,
"Come! let us ferry him across." Others said, "No!" But the rest
answered, "Come on!" Then they entered their canoe, laid hold of
their paddles, and came singing,

   "Kapi, madi, madi, sa!
    Kapi, mada, mada, sa!"

And they came to the landing. He saw nothing but what seemed a log,
and exclaimed, "How shall I embark in a log, while there is neither
paddle, nor a person for a crew?" But Gourd directed him, "Embark!" So,
he went in the log. They paddled, and brought him to the other side. He
jumped ashore, and stood for a moment. Then he moved on with the
journey, walking on to a certain town (that town of the Spirits). He
saw nobody, but entered into the public Reception-House, and sat down.

Gourd spoke to him, saying, "Come, and escort me to the back-yard." He
curtly answered, "Yes." He carried It, and stood It at the foot of a
plantain stalk. Then he went back to the Reception-House and sat down.

A Bundle of Medicines came to salute him, and was about to sit on his
lap. He jumped up saying, "What is this?" He sat down again. Another
Bundle fell on his lap. He exclaimed, "Hump! what is that?" The Bundle
being displeased, replied, "You will not come to the end." (i.e. you
will not have a successful journey.)

The Gourd called him; and he went to the back-yard. The Gourd said to
him, "Stand up!" And he stood up. Then the Gourd took a leaf, folded
it as a funnel, and dropped a Medicine into his eyes; and he began
to see everything clearly. He said, "This is the only thing which I
can see that this Hova has done for me." He passed by, and entered
the Reception-House again, and sat down. A person came saluting him,
"Mbolo!" He responded, "Ai!" Another came, "Mbolo!" He replied, "Ai!"

They cooked food, and got it ready to bring to him.

During this while, he told his errand, and was given a wife.

Gourd called him. He went out to It: and It directed him, "When you are
going to eat, you must take only one piece of plantain, and a piece of
the flesh of the fowl. Then you dip it into the udika-gravy, and put it
into your mouth; and you will chew it; and when you have swallowed it,
then you leave the remainder of the food." He disregardfully said,
"Yes! Yes!" And he laughed, "kye! kye! kye! I do not know what this
Hova means! And that 'remainder,' shall I give it to It?" And he
entered the house again, and sat down.

The food was set out. Little children came; they said to each other,
"Let us see how he will eat." He took up a piece of plantain, and
put it in his mouth; he took a fowl's leg, put it in his mouth; and
gnawed the flesh off of the bone. He took up another piece of plantain,
dipped a spoon into the udika-gravy, and put it into his mouth; he
took a piece of meat and a plantain, and swallowed them. The little
children began to jeer at him, "He eats like a person who has never
eaten before." He rose; but felt as if his stomach was empty.

He again seated himself, and he and his wife played games
together. Soon he said, "My body feels exhausted with hunger";
food was again made and was set out; he ate. The result was the
same. The evening meal was also prepared; he ate, and finished;
and still was hungry.

In the evening, the Chief of the town called together the tribe and
said to them, "Men! I see that this fellow has no sense; let him
return to his place."

On another day, Njâ said to himself, "Let me try, as the Hova has
advised me, about the food." They cooked; they set it on the table. He
took a piece of plantain, and some flesh of the fowl; he placed them
on a spoon, and dipped them into the udika, and put them into his
mouth. He rose up, saying, "I have finished!" And his stomach felt
replete. Then he thought to himself, "So! is it possible that this
Hova knows the affairs of the Spirits?"

The next time when food was spread on the table, he did the same way;
and his stomach was satisfied.

Another day broke, and his father-in-law said to him, "On the morrow
will be your journey." When the next day dawned, the Chief brought
out the chests containing his daughters, and said, "Now, then! choose
the one that you will take with you."

The Gourd whispered to him, "Do not take the fine-looking one; you
must take the one you see covered with filth." He responded, "Not
I!" The one he chose was the fine one. He took it up, and carried
it away. The town's-people began to cry out (in pretence), "Oh! he
has taken from us that fine maiden of ours!" He was full of gladness
that at last he was married. But, really, he was carrying a woman,
crooked-nosed, and all of whose body was nothing but skin-disease,
and pus oozing all over her.

He went on his journey, on, on, on, on, until the town of the
Tooth. Said he, "Here's your Hova!" The Tooth requested, "Tell me the
news from there." The Gourd whispered to Tooth, "Let this worthless
fellow be! Let him go! He did not marry a real woman. So, he is not
a person."

The man at once went on with his journey, continuously, until he
came to the spring by his own town. Said he, "Let me bathe!" He put
down the chest, and threw his body with a plunge, into the water. He
bathed himself thoroughly, and emerged on the bank. Then he said
to himself, "Now, then, let me open the chest!" The key clicked,
and the chest opened. A sick woman stepped out! He demanded, "Who
brought you here?" She replied, "You." Said he in astonishment,
"I?" "Yes," answered she. He, in anger, said, "Go back! Do not come
at all to the town!" He at once started to go to the town; and the
woman slowly followed.

There were two children who were going to the spring. As they went,
they met with her; and they cried out in fear, "Aye! aye! aye! a
Ghost! aye!" And they went back together in haste to the town. The
town's-people asked them, "What's the matter?" They said,
"Come! there's a Ghost at the spring!" The woman continued slowly
coming. Other children said, "Let us go! Does a Ghost come in the
daytime? That is not so!"

As they came on the path, they met her. They asked her, "Who has
married you?" She replied, "Isn't it Njâ?" The children excitedly cried
out shrilly, "A! lâ! lâ!" They went back quickly to the town, saying,
"Come ye! see the wife of Njâ!" The town emptied itself to go and see
her. And they inquired of her, "Who is it who has married you?" She
answered, "Is it not Njâ?" And the shrill cry of surprise rose again,
"A! lâ! lâ! lâ!"

When they reached the town, Njâ rose in anger from his house, picked
up his spear, stood facing them, and threatened with his spear,
"This is it!"

He passed by them into the back-yard, and changed his body to that of
a new kind of beast, with spots all over his skin. At once he stooped
low on four legs; and thrust out his claws; and begun a fight with
the people of the town, as a Leopard. Then he went, leaping off into
the Forest.

From there, he kept the name "Njâ," and has continued his fight with
Mankind. The hatred between leopards and mankind dates from that
time. Some of the people of that country had said to Mbuma-Tyetye
that he would not be able to marry at the town of the Spirits, and
had tried to hinder him. But he did go, and succeeded in marrying a
daughter of Njambu-ya-Mekuku; while Njâ, attempting to do the same,
and not waiting for advice from his brother, and treating with
disrespect the Spirits on the way, failed.




    Bokeli, Son of Njambe-Ya-Manga
    Jâmbâ, Daughter of Njambe-Ya-Madiki
    Ko (Wild Rat)
    Mbindi (Wild Goat)
    Etungi, A Town Idler
    Kuba (Chicken)


Bokeli was like a snake. When a snake changes and throws off his old
skin, that slough, when it is left lying at any place, is almost as
fearful to see, as the snake itself.

The list of the dowry goods for Jâmbâ is a good illustration of
native exaggeration.

Njambe-of-the-Interior begot a daughter called Jâmbâ. And
Njambe-of-the-Sea-Coast begot a son called Bokeli.

Many men arrived at the town of Njambe-of-the-Interior, asking Jâmbâ
for marriage. There they were killed (Njambe's people were cannibals),
not being able to fulfill the tests to which they were subjected. So,
people said, "Jâmbâ will not be married!"

Finally Bokeli, the son of Njambe-of-the-Sea-Coast, said, "I am
going to take Jâmbâ for marriage." He prepared for his journey; he
went; and he arrived at the town. He at once entered into the public
Reception-House, and sat down. There the people of the town exclaimed,
"A fine-looking man!" And they saluted him, "Mbolo!" The young women
at once went to tell Jâmbâ, saying, "What a fine-looking man has come
to marry you!"

Previous to this, the mother of Jâmbâ, who was lame with sores,
was lying in the house. If a prospective son-in-law laughed in her
presence, she would say to her husband, "He is mocking at me!" Then
that visitor would die. All the men who had come there to marry,
were killed in that way.

Before this (as Bokeli understood the speech of all Beasts and
of Birds) when he entered into the Reception-House, a Cock in the
town spoke to him, and said, "If your hope for food rests on me, you
will not eat! I will not be killed for you; neither shall you eat at
all!" Also a loin of Wild-Goat meat, hanging in the kitchen, said,
"For me, you will not eat!"

But Njambe (who had overheard the Cock, and who was thinking of food
for his guest) ordered, "Today, catch ye Kuba!" But Cock ran off to
the forest. Then the people said, "Take the leg of Mbindi!" The leg
of Wild-Goat protested, "I?" And it rotted. They sought some other
thing to cook for Bokeli; but, there was nothing. So, Njambe sent
his sons hunting to kill wild beasts.

Then, the mother of Jâmbâ called for Bokeli, saying, "He must come; let
me see him." So, he entered into her house, and he sat down. They began
to converse. It was but a little while then that the mother said to her
daughter, "Search for me on the drying frame (over the fire-place);
you will find Ko there; take it for the guest, and cook it." The
Wild-Rat spoke, saying, "If it is I, he will not possibly eat!"

At this, Bokeli broke into a laugh. The mother was displeased, and
said, "You are laughing at me!" Bokeli replied, "No!" But, the woman
flung into a rage, and threw herself down on the ground, ndi! She
exclaimed, "Ah! Njambe! He laughed at me! Catch him! And let him go
to die!"

They laid hold of him, and brought him out of the house. They were
about to go a little further to the end of the town, when he suddenly
pretended he was a corpse, and leaving his body, his spirit went back
home, and assumed another body. They became quiet, all of them being
startled. When they moved him, he was as cold as cold victuals. They
said, "What shall we do here?" Some of them advised, "Let us take
Jâmbâ and this corpse, and let us go together to his father, and
explain, 'Bokeli is dead, but this woman is his wife.'" Others said,
"What! lest his father will kill us!" Then they decided, "Not so! but,
let us send as messenger some Etungi (useless person; no loss if he
should be killed) to the father's town."

The Etungi went on that errand. When he arrived at Bokeli's town,
he met Bokeli sitting at the village smithy, and, not recognizing
him, was intending to pass him by. Thereupon, Bokeli called to him,
"Brother-in-law! what are you doing? You have found me sitting here,
but you seem about to entirely pass me by. Though all your family do
not like me, come in to the Reception-House." The Etungi thought to
himself, "Ah! I am dead! Is not this a brother of Bokeli?" Bokeli
called to his mother, and told her, "Bring out that food of mine
quickly that is there! My brother-in-law has come; he feels hungry!"

They set the food as soon as possible. And the Etungi ate.

Bokeli asked him, "Where are you going to?" The Etungi replied, "I'm
on my way going to tell Njambe that his son Bokeli is dead." Bokeli
said to him, "This is I." Then he gave the Etungi a shirt and a cloth
and a hat, as proofs of his reality.

The Etungi returned to his town. And he reported to the people in the
town, "Bokeli is not dead; I met him at the bellows, working." They
thought he was lying, and they said, "Let him be beaten!" But the
Etungi replied, "True! see ye this shirt, and the cloth, and this
hat!" He added, "He that doubts must first go and see."

Then went Kombe. When he arrived, he found Bokeli at the bellows. When
Bokeli saw him coming, he arose at once, and went to his mother
in the house; he seized a machete, and cut down a plantain bunch,
yo! And he said to his mother, "Make haste to cook it!"

Kombe had by that time entered the Reception-House. Bokeli welcomed
him, sa-a! and said, "Sit down!" Kombe sat down. Food had been cooked;
and he ate. Kombe then says, "I'm going back!" Bokeli at once put
down at his feet the dowry for Jâmbâ, cloths, shirts, hats, etc,
etc. Kombe carried away the things. And having arrived at his town,
he says, "It is true!"

Their father Njambe directed, "Come ye! over there with a present
as a propitiation!" Then he gathered goats, fowls, ducks, plantains,
dried meats, fishes, all sorts and kinds. He ordered, "Make ye a bier,
and carry the corpse. I am going, even if I die!" (He still had a
doubt about the real Bokeli.) They did so. They carried the presents,
and they went, going on the journey.

When those in front had arrived at the half-way of the road, the father
said to his children, "You must now remain here. I shall first go to
the town. If you hear a sound of guns, you will know that I am killed;
then ye must go back." The father Njambe took Jâmbâ to accompany him,
and his wives with him.

When Bokeli saw them coming, at once the cannon were loaded, and were
fired in a salute of welcome, and all the guns and musical instruments
sounded, and people saying, "The bride is come!"

The children of Njambe who were left on the way, when they heard
the sounds of the cannons and guns, said to themselves that their
father was killed, and they scattered and hid themselves. But he
hastily started and went back to the place where he had left them;
and he found nobody there. He called them; and they came out of their
hiding. He commanded, "Throw away this thing (the supposed corpse);
take up the goods; come to the town of Bokeli."

Then they went to the town. They found Jâmbâ and her husband Bokeli
sitting and playing. And they were treated with much kindness. Oxen
and pigs were killed; they ate; they drank; and had great fun and
very much enjoyment.

Njambe-of-the-Interior then said that he was ready to journey back
to his town. But his friend Njambe-of-the-Sea-Coast said, "Not today,
but tomorrow in the morning; then I will give you the dowry."

On the next day, they delivered the dowry; five millions of spear-heads
(an iron currency); knives also, a million; one thousand hats; one
thousand shirts; one hundred cloths; bags and trunks one hundred; bales
of all kinds of white man's things; and native things in abundance;
cattle also in abundance. Then they went away with them to their town.

And Bokeli and Jâmbâ remained in the seaside town with their marriage.




In this Part, are tales told me by an old Batanga man, of the Banâkâ
Tribe. He could not give me the time to come to my room, and tell
me, sentence by sentence, as the other two narrators had done. But,
having some education, he wrote the stories in his native language,
and, at my leisure, I translated them. The translation is literal,
except when the short phrases, clear to native thought, would have
been an imperfect sentence to an English eye; or, where an allusion
to well-known native customs, perfectly obvious to a native, would
have been obscure to most readers. In such cases, I have sacrificed to
clearness the concise native idiom. To a student of higher criticism,
the sentences which are mine will reveal themselves. In my literal
translations of the native, I have used very simple short words,
mostly of Anglo-Saxon origin. In my own paraphrases, words of Latin
origin have appeared.

Some tales of this Part are of Fang origin from the Bulu Tribe of the
interior. My Batanga friend told me he heard them from Bulu people
visiting at the Coast, and he wrote them as they were then current on
the coast. After I had translated them from his Banâkâ vernacular,
I found, and pointed out to him, that some of them had already been
printed in Fang, as specimens of Bulu idioms, in a published Grammar
of the Bulu-Fang Language ("Handbook of Bulu, by G. S. Bates"). This
explanation is proper to be made, that while, unknown to me, Mr. Bates
was collecting direct from his Bulu informants in the interior,
my Batanga friend had collected for me, from his Bulu visitors; and
the tales were in my possession, translated into English by myself,
before I saw Mr. Bates' book, or even knew of its existence.




    Ngiya (Gorilla)
    Ingenda (A Small Monkey)

Gorilla, among all Beasts, was derided and jeered at by them. They
called him "Broken-face."

So, he spoke to Ingenda of the Monkey Tribe, and ordered it, "Just
examine for me this face of mine; whether it is really so, you
tell me." The monkey was afraid to refuse, and afraid also to tell
the truth. So it ascended a tree; and, as it went, it plucked the
fruits. It said to Gorilla, "I must first eat before answering your
question; I feel hungry." (As an excuse to give itself time to escape.)

So Ingenda went; and, by the time it had eaten two of the fruits, it
was near the tree-top. Then it called to Gorilla "Look here! with your
face turned upward." So the Gorilla looked, with its face upward. And
Ingenda, being in a safe place, acknowledged, "It is really so, really
so." Gorilla was angry; but was helpless to revenge itself on Ingenda
for its candid statement; for, he had no way by which to catch him. And
Ingenda went off, leaping as it went from tree-top to tree-top.




    Mbela (Eagle)
    Nje (Leopard)

Eagle and Leopard had a discussion about obtaining prey.

Eagle said, "I am the one who can surpass you in preying." Leopard
said, "Not so! Is it not I?"

Then Eagle said, "Wait; see whether you are the one to surpass me in
preying." Thereupon he descended from above, seized a child of Leopard,
and flew up with it to his nest.

Leopard exclaimed, "Alas! what shall I do?" And he went, and went,
walking about, coming to one place, and going to another, wishing
to fly in order to go to the rescue of his child. He could not fly,
for want of wings; therefore it was the other one who flew up and away.

So it was that the eagle proved that he surpassed the leopard in
seeking prey.




    Unyunge (The Shrew-Mouse)
    Po (A Lemur)


The development of the Shrew's long nose, and of the Lemur's big eyes.

Shrew and Lemur were neighbors in the town of Beasts. At that time,
the Animals did not possess fire. Lemur said to Shrew, "Go! and take
for us fire from the town of Mankind." Shrew consented, but said,
"If I go, do not look, while I am gone, toward any other place except
the path on which I go. Do not even wink. Watch for me."

So Shrew went, and came to a Town of Men; and found that the people
had all emigrated from that town. Yet, he went on, and on, seeking
for fire; and for a long time found none. But, as he continued moving
forward from house to house, he at last found a very little fire on a
hearth. He began blowing it; and kept on blowing, and blowing; for,
the fire did not soon ignite into a flame. He continued so long at
this that his mouth extended forward permanently, with the blowing.

Then he went back, and found Lemur faithfully watching with his eyes
standing very wide open. Shrew asked him, "What has made your eyes
so big?" In return, Lemur asked him, "What has so lengthened your
mouth to a snout?"




    Njâku (Elephant)
    Koho (Parrot)
    Iwedo (Death)


In former times, in the days of Witchcraft, it was the custom not to
bury a corpse until the question was settled who or what had caused
the death. This investigation sometimes occupied several days; during
which time decomposition was hindered by the application of salt,
and even by drying the remains in the smoke of a fire.

Elephant built his own town; and Parrot built also his.

Then the children of Parrot went a-hunting every day; and when they
came back, the town had wild meat in abundance, hida! hida!

One day Elephant announced, "I must go on an excursion to the town of
Chum Koho." He arrived there and found him, with that fashion of his,
of standing with one leg bent up under his feathers hidden. His friend
Elephant asked him, "Chum! what have you done to your leg?" He answered
him (falsely), "My children have gone with it a-hunting." Elephant
being astonished said, "On your oath?" He replied, "Truly!"

Then Elephant said, "I came to see you, only to see. I'm going
back." The other said, "Yes; very good."

Elephant returned to his town, and said to his children, "Arrange
the nets today; tomorrow for a hunt!"

The next day, the children made ready. And he, ashamed that a small
Bird should do a greater act than himself said, "Take ye a saw,
and cut off my leg." His children did not hesitate at his command,
as they were accustomed to implicit obedience. So, they cut it off;
and they carried with them, as he directed, the leg, on their hunt.

When they were gone, to their father Elephant came Death, saying,
"I have arrived!" People of the town cried for help, "Come ye! Njâku
is not well!" But, the children were beyond hearing, being still away
at the hunt. During their absence, Elephant died. When they arrived,
they found their father a corpse.

People wondered, saying, "What is this? Since we were born, we have
not heard this, that hunting is carried on with the legs of one who
remains behind in the town." When others, coming to the funeral, from
other towns, asked the children, "Who was the person who counseled
you such advice as that?" they said, "Himself it was who told us;
he said to us 'Cut.' So we cut."

Then, on farther investigation, the people said, "The blame belongs
to Koho," so, they called Parrot to account. But, Parrot said, "It
is not mine. I did not tell him to cut off his leg." So, the charge
was dismissed. And the burial proceeded.




    Utati-Mboka (A Sparrow)
    Koho (Parrot)
    A Man


Sparrow based his claim on the grounds of companionship, and community
of interests.

Parrot's claim is based on a very common line of argument in native
disputes not only about property, but in all questions of liability.

Parrot and Sparrow argued about their right to inherit the property
that a Man had left.

The Sparrow said, "The Man and I lived all our days in the same
town. If he moved, I also moved. Our interests were similar. At
whatever place he went to live, there also I stood in the street."

The Parrot spoke, and based his claim on the ground that he was
the original cause of the Man's wealth. He said, "I was born in the
tree-tops; then the Man came and took me, to live with him.

"When my tail began to grow, he and his people took my feathers; With
which they made a handsome head-dress; Which they sold for very many
goods; With which they bought a wife; And that woman bore daughters;
Who, for much money, were sold into marriages; And their children
also bore other children; Wherefore, for that reason, it is that I
say that I caused for them all these women, and was the foundation
of all this wealth."

This was what Parrot declared.

So, the people decided, "Koho is the source of those things." And he
was allowed to inherit.




    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Iheli (Gazelle)
    Nje (Leopard)
    A Vine


It is customary for men to do some service for their fathers and

Tortoise arose and went to the town of his father-in-law
Leopard. Leopard sent him on an errand, saying, "Go, and cut for me
utamba-mwa-Ivâtâ." (The fiber of a vine is used for making nets.)

Then he went. But, while he still remembered the object, he forgot
the name of the kind of Vine that was used for that purpose. And he
was ashamed to confess his ignorance. So, he came back to call the
people of the town, and said, "Come ye and help me! I have enclosed
Iheli in a thicket."

The people came, and at once they made a circle around the spot. But
when they closed in, they saw no beasts there.

Then Tortoise called out, "Let someone of you cut for me,
utamba-mwa-Ivâtâ." (As if that was the only thing needed to catch
the animal which he had said was there.)

Thereupon, his brother-in-law cut for him a vine which he brought
to him, saying, "Here is an Ihenga vine which we use for making
nets." Whereupon Tortoise exclaimed, "Is it possible that it was the
Ihenga vine that I mistook?"




    Asanze (A Shrike)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    And other Animals
        Njâbâ (Civet)
        Uhingi (Genet)
        Edubu (Snake)


Differences in age as revealed by differences in taste for food.

Shrike was a blacksmith. So, all the Beasts went to the forge at
his town. Each day, when they had finished at the anvil, they took
all their tools and laid them on the ground (as pledges). Before
they should go back to their towns, they would say to the Bird,
"Show us which is the eldest, and then you give us the things, if
you are able to decide our question."

He looked at and examined them; but he did not know, for they were
all apparently of the same age; and they went away empty-handed,
leaving their tools as a challenge. Every day it was that same way.

On another day, Tortoise being a friend of the Bird, started to go to
work for him at the bellows. Also, he cooked three bundles of food;
one of Civet with the entrails of a red Antelope; and one of Genet;
and one of an Edubu-Snake. (Suited for different tastes and ages.) Then
he blew at the bellows.

When the others were hungry at meal time, Tortoise took up the
jomba-bundles; and he said, "Come ye! take up this jomba of Njâbâ
with the entrails, and eat." (They were the old ones who chose to
come and eat it.)

Again Tortoise said, "Come ye! take up the jomba of Uhingi." (They
were the younger men who chose to pick it up and eat it.)

He then took up the jomba of the Snake. And he said, "Come ye! and
take of the jomba of Edubu." (Those who took it were the youngest.)

After awhile they all finished their work at the bellows. They still
left their tools lying on the ground, and came near to the Bird,
and they said, as on other occasions, "Show us who is the eldest."

Then Tortoise at the request of the Bird, announced the decision,
as if it was its own, "Ye who ate of the Njâbâ are the ones who are
oldest; ye who ate of Uhingi are the ones who are younger men; and
ye who ate of the Edubu are the ones who are the youngest."

So, they assented to the decision, and took away their belongings.




    A Hunter; Man
    Mbindi (Wild Goat)
    A Dwarf, with Magic-Power
    Bwinge (Abundance, or "More")
    Ngweya (Hog)
    Ungumba (Riches)


The Man's patience finally brought to him the Plenty which was
promised him.

"Bwinge" might be the name of a person or of a thing; or, it could
be the "abundance" for which the hunter hoped.

There was a certain Man who was very poor; he had no goods with which
to buy a wife. He went one day into the forest to set snares. On the
morrow, he went off to examine them; and found a Wild-Goat caught in
the snares. He rejoiced and said, "I must eat Mbindi today!"

But the Wild-Goat said to that Man, "Let me alone, Bwinge is coming
after awhile."

So, the Man, thinking that "Bwinge" was the name of some other and
more desirable animal, at once let the Wild-Goat loose, and went off
to his town. On the next day, the Man went to examine the snare,
to see whether Bwinge was there, and found Hog caught fast in the
net. And he exclaimed, "I must eat Ngweya today!"

But the Hog said, "Let me go. Bwinge is coming." The man at once left
the Hog, (still thinking that many more were coming); and it went away.

The Man wondered, and said to himself, "What Thing is it that is named

On another day, he went to set his snare. He found there a dwarf child
of a Human Being; and, in anger, he said, "You are the one who has
caused me to send away the beasts? Is it possible that you are he who
is 'Bwinge'? I shall kill you." But the dwarf said, "No! don't kill
me. I will call Ungumba for you." So, the Man said, "Call in a hurry!"

The Dwarf ordered, "Let guns come!" And they at once came. (This
was done by the Dwarf's Magic-Power.) The Man again said, "Call,
in a hurry!" The Dwarf called for women; and they came. The Man
again said to him, "Call for Goats, in a hurry!" And they came,
with abundance of other things.

Then the Man freed him, and said to him, "Go!"

The Man also went his way with his riches. And he became a great
man. This was because of his patient waiting.




    Ibembe (Dove)
    Nje (Leopard)
    Ngando (Crocodile)


Covenants among natives are made under oath, by the two parties
eating together of some fetish-mixture, called a "Medicine"; which,
being connected with some Spirit, is supposed to be able to punish
any infraction of the covenant.

Because Dove "abused" Leopard, that is, deceived him, the dove no
longer builds its nest on the ground, through fear of leopards.

Dove was building in a tree-trunk by a river, because it preferred
to walk on the ground. And Crocodile just then emerged from the river
to the bank, and lay on his log where he usually rested.

They two said, "Let us eat a Medicine-charm."

So, Dove agreed, and swore, saying, "I say to you that, when anything
at all shall happen openly, if I do not tell it to you, then may this
Medicine find me out and kill me." Crocodile also uttered his oath,
"When whatever thing shall come out from the river onto the ground, if
I do not tell it to you, this Medicine must find me out and kill me!"

When they had finished their Covenant, Crocodile returned to his
hollow in the ground by the river. Dove also arose, and went away,
walking to his place. Then he and Leopard suddenly met, on the path.

Leopard asked, "Are you able to see Ngando for me? I want to eat
it." Dove answered, "Ah! would that you and I were living in one place
with an Agreement!" Leopard replied, "Come then! let us, I and you,
eat a Medicine."

So Leopard began. He said as his oath: "Anything at all that shall come
to my place where I dwell, if I be there, and it wants to get hold of
you, if I tell it not to you, let this Medicine find and certainly
kill me!" Dove also with his oath, said, "If I see Ngando, and I do
not tell you, let this Medicine find me and certainly kill me!"

So, they made their promise; then they separated; and each one went
to his own village.

Thus Dove and Leopard ate their kind of "Medicine," after Dove and
Crocodile had already eaten theirs.

Then, one day, Crocodile came out from the river. Dove at once began
to tell Leopard, saying, "He has emerged from the river and is about
to settle on the log!" So, Leopard began slowly to come, and watching
Crocodile, as he came. When he was near, in his advance, Dove spoke,
telling Crocodile, and said, "Your watcher! Your watcher is coming! Do
not approach here!"

Thereat, Crocodile slipped back into the water.

The next time that Dove and Leopard met, Leopard demanded, "What is
this you have done to me? You swore to me this: 'If I see Crocodile I
will tell you; and you must come catch him.' Now, as soon as you saw
me, you turned around, and told Crocodile, 'Fall into the River!' You
have mocked me!"

And Leopard grew very angry.




    Mbâmâ (Boa Constrictor)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Nje (Leopard)


Observe the cannibalism of the story.

Leopard married a wife. After awhile she was about to become a mother.

Boa also married a wife; and, after awhile, she also, was about to
become a mother.

In a short time, like the drinking of a draught of water, the
month passed, both for Leopard's wife and for Boa's wife also. Then
Boa's wife said, "It is time for the birth!" So she gave birth to a
child. And she lay down on her mother's bed. When they were about to
cook food for her, she said, "I want to eat nothing but Nje!"

The next day, the wife of Leopard said, "It is time for the birth!" And
she also gave birth to a child. Food was given to her. But she said,
"I am wanting only Mbâmâ!"

When told of his wife's wish, Boa said, "What shall I do? Where shall
I go? Where shall I find Mangwata?" (A nickname for Leopard.) Also,
Leopard said, in regard to his wife's wish, "Where shall I find
Mbâmâ?" Then Leopard went walking, on and on, and looking. He met
with Manima-ma-Evosolo (a nickname for Tortoise). Leopard asked him,
"Can you catch me Mbâmâ?" Manima said, "What's that?" And he laughed,
Kye! Kye! Kye; and said, "That is as easy as play." Leopard said,
"Chum, please do such a thing for me." And Tortoise said, "Very good!"

When they separated, and Tortoise was about to go a little
further on ahead, at once he met with Boa. And Boa asked him,
"Chum! Manima-ma-Evosolo! Where have you come from?" Tortoise answered,
"I have come, going on an excursion." Boa asked to Tortoise, "But,
could you catch me Nje?" He replied, "That is a little thing." Then
Boa begged him, "Please, since my wife has born a child, she has not
eaten anything. She says she wants to eat only Nje."

Tortoise returned back at once to his village. He called to the
people of his village, saying, "Come ye! to make for me a pit." They
at once went, and dug a pit. When they had finished it, Tortoise went
to Leopard, and said to him, "Come on!"

Leopard at once started on the journey (thinking he was going to get
Boa). When they came to the place of the pit, Leopard fell suddenly
into it headlong, volomu! He called to Tortoise, saying, "Chum! Where
is Mbâmâ?" (Leopard did not understand that he was being deceived.)

Tortoise did not reply, but started off clear to the village of
Boa. He said to Boa, "Come on!" Boa did not doubt at all that he was
going to get Leopard. He started, and went with Tortoise towards the
pit. When he was passing near the spot, Boa fell headlong into the pit,
volumu! And Leopard exclaimed, "Ah! now, what is this?"

Tortoise only said to them, "You yourselves can kill each other."




    Etanda (Cockroach)
    Kudu (Tortoise)
    Kuba (Chicken)
    Uhingi (Genet)
    Nje (Leopard)
    A Man


A Cause, from which came the enmity between Leopards, and other wild
animals, and Mankind.

Observe the resemblance to "The House that Jack Built."

Tortoise was a blacksmith, and allowed other people to use his
bellows. Cockroach had a spear that was known of by all people and
things. One day, he went to the smithy at the village of Tortoise. When
he started to work the bellows, as he looked out in the street, he
saw Chicken coming; and he said to Tortoise, "I'm afraid of Kuba,
that he will catch me. What shall I do?" So Tortoise told him,
"Go! and hide yourself off there in the grass." At once he hid himself.

Then arrived Chicken, and he, observing a spear lying on the ground,
asked Tortoise, "Is not this Etanda's Spear?" Tortoise assented,
"Yes, do you want him?" And Chicken said, "Yes, where is he?" So
Tortoise said, "He hid himself in the grass on the ground yonder;
catch him." Then Chicken went and caught Cockroach, and swallowed him.

When Chicken was about to go away to return to his place, Tortoise said
to him, "Come back! work for me this fine bellows!" As Chicken, willing
to return a favor, was about to stand at it, he looked around and
saw Genet coming in the street. Chicken said to Tortoise, "Alas! I'm
afraid that Uhingi will see me, where shall I go?" So, Tortoise says,
"Go! and hide!" Chicken did so. When Genet came, he, seeing the spear,
asked, "Is it not so that this is Etanda's Spear?" Tortoise replied,
"Yes." Genet asked him, "Where is Etanda?" He replied, "Chicken has
swallowed him." Genet inquired, "And where is Chicken?" Tortoise
showed him the place where Chicken was hidden. And Genet went and
caught and ate Chicken.

When Genet was about to go, Tortoise called to him, "No! come! to
work this fine bellows." Genet set to work; but, when he looked into
the street, he hesitated; for, he saw Leopard coming. Genet said to
Tortoise, "I must go, lest Nje should see me!" Then Tortoise said,
"Go! and hide in the grass." So, Genet hid himself in the grass.

Leopard, having arrived and wondering about the Spear, asked Tortoise,
"Is it not so that this is the Spear of Etanda?" Tortoise answered,
"Yes." Then Leopard asked, "Where is Etanda?" Tortoise replied, "Kuba
has swallowed him." "And, where is Kuba?" Tortoise answered, "Uhingi
has eaten him." Then Leopard asked, "Where then is Uhingi?" Tortoise
asked, "Do you want him? Go and catch him! He is hidden yonder
there." Then Leopard caught and killed Genet.

Leopard was going away, but Tortoise told him, "Wait! come! to work
this fine bellows." When Leopard was about to comply, he looked around
the street, and he saw a Human Being coming with a gun carried on
his shoulder. Leopard exclaimed, "Kudu-O! I do not want to see a Man,
let me go!" Then Tortoise said to him, "Go! and hide." Leopard did so.

When the Man had come, and he saw the Spear of Cockroach, he inquired,
"Is it not so that this is Cockroach's wonderful Spear?" Tortoise
answered, "Yes."

And the Man asked, "Where then is Cockroach?" Tortoise answered,
"Kuba has swallowed him."

Man asked, "And where is Chicken?" Tortoise answered, "Uhingi has
eaten him."

Man asked, "And where is Genet?" Tortoise answered, "Nje has killed

Man asked, "And where is Leopard?" Tortoise did not at once reply;
and Man asked again, "Where is Leopard?" The Tortoise said, "Do you
want him? Go! and catch him. He had hidden himself over there."

Then the Man went and shot Leopard,

Who had killed Genet,

Who had eaten Chicken,

Who had swallowed Cockroach,

Who owned the wonderful Spear,

At the smithy of Tortoise.


of Names of Animals, etc., among Certain Tribes on the West African

ENGLISH           | BENGA       | MPONGWE   | BAPUKU    | KOMBE   | FANG
Adder             | Edubu       |           |           |         |
Ant, red          | Kedi        |           |           |         |
Ant, black        | Hako        |           |           |         |
Antelope          | Vyâdu       | Nkambi    | Vyâdu     |         |
Antelope,         |             |           |           |         |
  tragelephas     | Mbalanga    |           |           |         |
Antelope, red     | Ehibo       | { Njivo   | Ehibo     |         |
                  |             | { Eziwo   |           |         |
Bat               | Ndemi       |           |           |         |
Beast             | Tito        | Nyama     |           |         |
Bird              | Inâni       | Nyâni     | Inâni     |         |
Boa Constrictor   | Mbâmâ       | Mbâmâ     | Mbâmâ     |         |
Chameleon         | Yongolokodi |           |           |         |
Chicken           | Kuba        | Njâgâni   | Kuba      |         | Ku
Chimpanzee        | Kwiya       |           |           |         |
Civet             | Njâbâ       |           |           |         |
Cockroach         | Etanda      |           |           |         | Fefaye
Crab              | Jâmbâ       | Igâmbâ    | Jâmbâ     |         |
Crocodile         | Ngando      | Ngando    | Ngando    |         | Ngane
Dog               | Mbwa        | Mbwa      | Mbwa      |         |
Dove              | Ibembe      |           |           |         | Yum
Eagle             | Mbela       | Kungu     | Yungu     |         | Ndowe
Ear               | Ditâ        | Oroi      | Itâi      |         |
Elephant          | Njâku       | Njâgu     | Njâku     | Râku    | Yâwo
Frog              | Jonda       | Rânge     | Eloto     |         |
Gazelle (forest)  | Iheli       |           |           | Vizyele | Okwen
Gazelle (prairie) | Embonda     |           |           |         |
Genet             | Uhingi      | Osinge    | Uhingi    |         | Nsin
Goat (domestic)   | Tomba       | Mboni     | Mbodi     |         |
Goat (wild)       | Mbindi      | Mbinji    | Mbindi    |         | Mvin
Gorilla           | Ngiya       | Njina     | Ngiya     |         | Nji
Hippopotamus      | Ngubu       | Nguvu     |           |         |
Hog               | Ngweya      | Ngowa     |           |         | Ngowe
Igwana            | Ngâmbi      |           |           |         |
Jackal            | Ibâbâ       |           |           |         |
Lemur             | Po          |           |           |         | Ojam
Leopard           | Njâ         | Njegâ     |           |         | Nje
Lizard            | Ehelele     |           |           |         |
Manatus           | Manga       | Manga     |           |         |
Millepede         | Ngângâlâ    |           |           |         |
Monkey            | Kema        | { Ingenda |           |         |
                  |             | { Telinga |           | Tyema   | Kowe
Mosquito          | Ikungu      | Mbo       |           |         |
Mouse House       | Mpogo       |           | Ihuka     |         |
Mouse, shrew      | Unyunge     |           |           |         | Mbasume
Ox                | Nyati       | Nyare     |           |         |
Oyster            | Itandi      | Orandi    | Itambi    |         |
Palm-tree, oil    | Mbila       | Oyila     | Ilende    |         |
Partridge         | Ngwayi      | Nkwani    |           |         |
Parrot            | Koho        | Ngozyo    |           |         | Kos
Plantain          | Ekâi        | Akândâ    |           |         |
Porcupine         | Ngomba      |           |           |         |
Rat (domestic)    | Etoli       |           |           |         |
Rat (wild)        | Ko          |           |           |         |
Sheep             | Udâmbe      | Odâmbe    |           |         |
Shrike            | Asanze      |           |           |         | Asanze
Snail             | Kâ          |           |           |         |
Snail (giant)     | Idibavolo   |           |           |         |
Snake             | Mbâmbâ      | Omwamba   |           |         |
Sparrow           | Utatimboka  |           |           |         | Moakumba
Squirrel          | Ihende      | Senji     | Mbala     |         |
Sun               | Joba        | Nkombe    |           |         |
Tortoise          | Kudu        | Ekaga     |           |         | Kulu
Viper             | Pe          | Ompene    | Pe        |         |
Wag-Tail          |             |           | Indondobe |         |

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Where Animals Talk - West African Folk Lore Tales" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.