Amadou Hampâté Bâ

Translated by Daniel Whitman
With “Kings, Sages, Rogues: The Historical Writings of Amadou Hampâté Bâ”

Washington, D.C. Three Continents Press. 1988.

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Kaydara — Strophes 20-40

so mo fina fajiri maa duu jemma leloyoo.20
Bulii gite makko, ŋari kiin nannyinii mo
faa Hamtuuɗo fappitorii e gootol
ɗati tati paaɗi boowal nde mo tinaali.
Ko yaaɓata teppe muuɗum du mo nanaali.
Noon Hamtuuɗo duu ŋari fooyre fajiri 25
mo duule gaɗaaɗe baage jeɗaaɗe ɗuuɗɗe
ɗe nanndi e suudu laamu sukaaɓe cinkaa
fa kawra e ummagol kaananke laamɗo.
Gite Hamtuuɗo teeroy teetorii ɗum
Noppi dahaama ŋari kii siiroyii ɗum. 30
Mo ronkii yiide aadee ardimaa mo.
Nde ɓooyoy seeɗa, Demburu darii e luunde.
Mo sooynii ɓe ɗiɗon artii mo warde
so naati e feeyo ngoo fay tinondiraali
no ɓe poti nannyireede ɓe keptinaali 35
Ɗoon Hamtuuɗo eewnii : « Ɓiɓɓe yaayam!
turee faa leyɗa haya koo korga laamɗo
mo wootere aniyiima hunyoyde kuurle.
Cuurki kaɗoyki gite mon yiya na ummoo
Laamɗo mo juuɗe ujune ɗelmitooje. » 40
Ko wonnoo siiri ɗaltoy worɓe ɗiiwti.
Ɗiɗon kala tottitii faa ndaara kaalɗo.

when he rises with the dawn and sets with night.
His eyes stunned, Hammadi was lost in this beauty
and when Hamtoudo 6 appeared at one of the three roads 7
which led to the crossing, he took no notice.
He even failed to hear his friend's heavy steps. Hamtoudo also was taken by the beauty of the dawn
with its many clouds interspersed with sprites
seeming like servants at the royal house
decked out to attend the rising of the great monarch.
Hamtoudo's eyes were seized and ravished.
His ears were captive; such splendor bewitched him.
He could not see the man walking in front of him.
A little later, Demburu stopped at the crossing.
He gazed at the two who had preceded him,
reaching the same place without even seeing each other
and so fascinated, they could hardly come to their senses.
“Oh son of my own mother!” shouted Hamtudo suddenly,
“Bow low because the great servant
of the One-Eyed King will soon lift the veils of smoke
that kept your eyes from seeing the rising
of the King with thousands of luminescent arms.”
The enchantment left them, they came back to themselves.
The two men turned around to see who was talking to them.

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
6. Hamtudo and Demburu are names of captives; respectively, captives of Demba and of Hammadi. Even from the beginning of the adventure, therefore, there is a difference between the characters, and their whole behavior will be affected by this indication of their origin; only Hammadi will conduct himself as a nobleman.
7. Reference to the Fulɓe triad. In fact there are three sorts of shepherds: those who lead caprines (goats) to pasture, those who lead ovines (sheep), and those who lead bovines (cows); three is also a highly esoteric number, as are two, seven, eleven, twelve in Fulɓe initiation; in this tale there are three travelers, three stones for the sacrifice, three loads of gold, three words of advice. It is said that three is the product of incest by “oneself and one's flesh,” for unity is hermaphroditic and copulates with itself to reproduce.