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.

       Table des matieres      

Kaydara — Strophes 65-75

kanyum wona huunde battane mum weloore.
Njehee mbuuwee karal ngal yiite monnoo
e muuɗum yeendu mon fade mbeeyu moɗde
ko monnoo yeendu mooɗon nduu moɗannde. »
Taton giƴiraaɓe ɓee njehi mbuuwi nokku. 65
Temmbu ɓe njiiti ɗoon ɗeppere tefaare,
be kuulii tatte mum kala tatte huulii.
Tayɓere pilndi muuɗum kuule jeenay.
Ɓanŋe e hayre ndee berkaa ɓaleeri,
oo too ɓanŋe duu tardaa ndaneeri. 70
Sawtu mbeeyunkeejo wii:
— « Ee mon waayiraaɓe! paɗeeji ɓoornee,
ɓamee danngaaji mooɗon mbakko-ɗonno.
Kala fuu gooto mooɗon jagga sawru
saanga e saanga fuu heɓa tuugoyoo hen, 75
noon duu soggiroya daabaawa riiwndi ».
Ɗoon nii temmbu mi wiirniingo junngo
hono du bidiga wayliti tayɓiniinde.
Nde suuɗoy banŋe mayre gaɗaado ɓalewol

will be an adventure with a hopeful outcome.
Go and clean the site 15 where the fire swallowed 16
your anteater before the air can do so 16,
the air that indeed swallowed 16 your sacrifice.”
The three friends went to clear the site.
As they did so they came upon a flat stone 17
which they measured on all edges.
Triangular stone, nine elbows around.
One side of the stone was painted in black,
the other in white.
An aerial voice said:
“My friends! Put on your sandals 18,
take up your sacks, carry them over your shoulders.

Each of you take a walking-stick 19
to lean on when you need to
and to urge on the carrier-oxen.”
At the same moment, in an instant, like an invisible hand
a force turned the triangular stone over.
It hid the side painted in black

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
15. Purification ritual; the ashes are those parts Geno has not accepted; they must then be returned to the earth, for “if it isn't useful to yourself, it is useful for something, and the earth will find a way of using it”; everything that is taken from a body and thrown away is returned to the earth, and any ashes are sacred and must be scattered over the earth.
16. In nature, beings and forces mutually swallow up one another, that is, each annihilates the other (see below, the schema of universal mutual devouring).
17. The flat stone represents the two sciences: the exoteric (the white side) and the esoteric (the black side); the nine elbow-lengths around correspond to the nine openings in the body of man and relate to more of exoteric science (while the wife-mother has 11 openings that relate to esoteric knowledge). The stone is triangular, for it is a reminder of the basic Fulɓe triad; finally, the stone also represents the three countries: the two sides are the countries of lighf-and darkness, the thickness of the stone is the country of shadows; in initiation, the disciple asks, “How can I pass from the dark to the light without turning over the stone?” and the master answers, “You must turn yourself into toad oil,” for toad oil can penetrate stone; likewise, man does not need to move things in order to penetrate into their deepest points, he needs only his acuity of perception. This stone is therefore the symbol of the world, symbol of the two sciences, and bears the path since it is the limit between the country of the living and the country of the dwarfs of Kaidara. Finally, it is the primary force of Fulɓe cosmogony, from which the ten others will arise, which constitute the earth-force.
18. For the disciple-travelers will no longer be under absolute respect; they will have permission to ask questions, to “tread on the secrets.”
19. This is the tutor, the master indispensable to initiation; the motif of “urging on the carrier-animals” only serves to mask the true meaning of the staff; in fact, only Hammadi seems to have understood it, for he will accept, following the advice of his masters.