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 100-125

Ɓe ɓetti ɗe konnunoo kala ɓiɓɓe Aada. 100
Ɓe peƴƴoy togge cukke ɗe cuumtoyaaka.
Ɓe saami e feeyo yoorngo waɗoyngo koɗɗoy;
engo nii daɗɗoyii faa kaaddi yitere.
Walaa keccol; e ley ngoo huunde yiyataa
so naa taw naange tan ana womna ɓiɗɗo. 105
Ndiyam ko ɓe njooɓinoo kala hanti timmi.
Ɓe ɗomɗii ɗomka annii ŋaasa konondol.
Doonyorgal ɓe sooynii na yaara heese
e dow balangol na fonndi e maɓɓe warde,
na ƴeewira tatte fuu gite baylitiiɗe 110
tawee waylaali fey fey hoore maggal,
waylita noone muuɗum wonta noone
ko fiiltii kuɗɗe winnde no muuyi nannda.
Hammadi ƴeewi ndeen yaadiiɓe noddi,
mo wii : « Ee mon! onon ɓee ɓiɓɓe yaayam. 115
ngaree! daabaawa ceekunga aadi ƴeewee!
ɓodoowa, jaƴoowa hakkunde yaa e warta!
nga waylita noone, noon gite talla ndaaraa
kala tatteeji hoore nga sottinaali. »
Doonyorgal wii: 120
« Ɓinngel Aada laawol maaɗa jokku.
So taw taykaade nii woni sommu lobbo,
anndude deƴƴa ɗum haɗa halkoyeede.
Min mi arannde ndaamaa maale leyɗe
yaamana-juuju, Kaydara sirru kam jey, 125
goɗɗudo sanne kaa ɓalliido Kaydar.

and laid bare the side coated in white 20.
A stairway 21 with nine steps 22 leading underground
appeared before the three friends, who took it
without hesitating at all, without hesitating at all at all.
The stairway guided them, led them to a site.
There they found three carrier-oxen awaiting them,
laden with water and food for the journey.
“Hail to you who are going to the country of the dwarfs!
Here are three carrier-oxen to serve you.
Further on you will find others, given to you
by the source of knowledge, the termite-hill of wisdom!”
“What is its name and where is it?” asked Hamtoudo 23.
He went on to say, “Oh you who are speaking!
You yourself who are speaking to me, where are you?”
“You will know where, when you know that you do not know 24,
when you can put off knowing, then will you know.”
The three friends set about their journey,
each pushing on in front of him a carrier-ox;
they set about walking, walked on and on, walked for good;
if ever there was a walk, this was it!

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
20. Because the symbols the travelers will see will not be unveiled to them, even though they are already in the esoteric zone.
21. Stairs are always the symbol of progression towards knowledge; if they rise up to the sky, it will be a symbol of the apparent world; if they go underground, this will, of course, symbolize occult knowledge. There are times when white represents higher knowledge, and black represents black magic.
22. In Islamic esoteric science, going down nine steps means mastering the nine senses. In Fulani esoteric knowledge, there is no other meaning besides one more allusion to the nine openings of the body.
23. It will be seen throughout the tale that the traveler's questions will be eluded, despite their right to pose them. A Fulɓe proverb says, “He who is curious has bitter blood, but he does not loose his head,” which means he is importunate but knows how to proceed.
24. An essential maxim for the neophyte initiate. In initiation, one listens much more than one questions; one waits until the master has finished his tale; for at his convenience he will one day provide the explanation for what is obscure; he purposely tests the patience of his disciples; this is not for harassment due to his intellectual liveliness; for after an exposé, the master provokes questions, even a discussion.
But the disciple must get used to not interrupting, to “feel” which question he may pose, and which he must not. This patience in knowledge is imposed as an indispensable condition; it is a true mental education and for the master its acquisition will be proof of the maturity of his student. From this he will know that he can confide secrets to all initiates, for the latter will have the necessary discretion not to go about divulging them.