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 480-505

Hoto hen moƴƴo-jinni
semmbina kille faama 480
fa miin keɓa maale faamu
anndal layli kuɗɗe? »
Yo ɗoon ɓii henndu jaabii
Mo wii:
— « Suka baylo kaa wifoyan 485
fa ɗum waɗa duuɓi keewɗi
fade mobbo mum jannginde
anndal ngoonga kala kuɗɗe
gaɗoowal faa mo waawa
waylude jamɗe waɗa kaaki 490
gollirteeɗi soobee.
Ko haɗi oo nyemtinonno
ee moon ɗannoyiiɓe
to Kaydara leyɗe kaawɗe! »
Ɓinngel henndu tuma deƴƴi 495
yo ndeen tiba lekki kii saytii
wirfiti faati e ki wonnoo.
Ɗum waɗi watti laabi tati.
Nde Hammadi wii be : « Sikke walaa
ɗee ɗiɗi duu e maale jeyaa ». 500
Yo ɗoon nii foondu wordu diwi,
noondundu leeɓi faa sanne
sonndu e koyɗe mum ngojji
hakkunde leɗɗe diw-diwni,
endu wiya : « Jooni on kewtii 505
faa ley wuddu gure gotte; »
njaadini daaɗe leɗɗe ɗiɗi :
— « Minen ko min funeeɓe ɗiɗon.
Minen ngoni ngora ndewaaɓe ɗiɗon.

Where will the spirit come from
that will develop understanding,
that will allow us to fathom signs
and know the true meaning of things?“ Then a sylph answered 46;
he said:
“The apprentice blacksmith works the bellows
many long years
before his master teaches him
the secret meaning of the things
giving him power
to transform metals
in order to make useful tools.
Why not imitate him,
oh you who are travelling
in the mysterious land of Kaydara?”
When the sylph was silent,
the foliage left the new tree
to resume its place on the first one.
The scene was repeated three times.
Then Hammadi said to them, “There is no doubt,
these two trees are also derived from symbols.”
At that moment a male bird burst forth;
multicolored plumage,
red beak and feet;
and flew between the two trees,
saying, “Now you have reached
the navel of the village of the dwarfs;”
and the two trees answered together:
“We are two twins.
We are the hermaphroditic couple 47.

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
46. The sylph makes a new appeal to order to the three companions; for Demburu who complains, he reminds him of the long apprenticeship of the blacksmith, even though it is only a manual trade; in order to know the “true meaning of things,” how much longer the apprenticeship must be, and how great the patience of the student!
47. Reference to a frequent notion in African cosmogonies: that man at his origin possessed both sexes. For the Bamana this is “a fundamental law of creation, with each human being both male and female in its body and in its spiritual principles” (G. Dieterlen, Essai sur la religion Bambara (Paris, P.U.F., 1951). Rites of circumcision and excision are often explained in terms of the necessity of passing the child on definitively in its apparent sex.