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 260-280

Mo maayaa ɗomka leydi amam. 260
Pati jaɓu fonndondirde kala.
So taw ɗum enɗi nagge ɓurii
ɗi kala daabaaji kanji sami. »
Hammadi ɓaawo nii yimrii,
Demburu heɓi kille ana ŋuura 265
konngol yaare jannginnoo.
Caakanneeri ɗoon yalti
nder njaareendi ndee nawre,
wari e ɗanniiɓe ɓee ndi yimi
— « Ee mon biɓɓe Aada ! fotii 270
no ngorroy-ɗon e yurmeende.
Yo miin daabaawa yeru malfal,
mi baatuɗo terɗe dee mi fuuyaa
saayam noone mum oolɗu;
ka genndam wojja-oola waɗaa. 275
Ɗiɗi fuu diidi niɓɓi jogii.
Miɗo anndaa ɗo kala daɗɗii
Geno waɗi ceene njaareendi.
Mi war hokkorde on kanna,
mi waaltina wonki torraaji. 280
Uuhun ngoonga fuu mi jeyaa
e nder ɗi leƴƴi pallaaɗe.
Uuhun ngoonga miɗo nanndi

No one dies of thirst in our country.
Things must not be confused and seen as the same.
Thus the cow's teats surpass
and rank first among those of all animals.”
After Hammadi ended his chant
Dembourou had the good idea of repeating
the words the scorpion had taught.
A salamander 38 then emerged
from the sand by the pond,
came over to them and chanted:
“Oh you sons of Adam! Worthy
of pity is your present state.
1, the blended animal,
am naturally heavy but far from useless;
my dress is yellow;
my husband's is red.
Both are striped dark.
I am present in every place
that Geno has covered with sand.
I have come to offer you a solution,
to answerthe hopes your souls bear.
Yes, I belong
to the race of lizards.
Yes, I seem like

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
38. The salamander is the only animal met in the country of the dwarfs that the account will not explicate later on; we have sought to bridge this gap (insufficiently, to be sure), with an inquiry into the role and meanings that this curious reptile represents in the populations neighboring the Fulɓe who tell the tale of Kaydara. Among the Bamana, for example, the salamander is seen as bringing good luck. The Bamana in fact do not eat salamander, whereas they do eat lizard. In addition, it is used in the composition of certain remedies, and its appearance is a sign of quick recovery if one is ill. Among the Marka, the salamander is called the “ladies' serpent,” for it is entirely harmless; it is seen as being both gentle and sacred. Finally, there is a popular legend in which the salamander, when it becomes old, metamorphoses into a two-headed serpent; is this because its tail grows out of proportion, or does this explanation reveal another legend we do not know? And, what is the exact meaning of that metamorphosis? The question remains open.