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 570-595

Gorel yoga neɗɗo noon yoga muni yo mbooddi
diccinii wii ɓe : « Jam Jaɓɓiima ɓiɓɓam! 570
Moƴƴere naannu on nder suudu am nduu;
tinnee ndonto pati duumaare yalta. »
Taton giƴiraaɓe keddii anni lamndoo
ko ɗum waɗi koyɗe mbooddi wanyoy ndi yalta.
Keɓaali e hoore maɓɓe jawaabu lamndii. 575
Juhi tan ndonto fiiroy weeyi yalti.
Worɓe taton ndi diwi faa hewti yaasi.
Gorel nayewel tawii tewtoyno nyaamdu.
Warii tawi hoɓɓe muuɗum ana maaya hersa.
Sabu dee foondu diwi faa hewti yaasi. 580
Gorko mawɗo wiyani ɓe:
— « Hono waɗi on taton kala njeebi-ɗonno
fa ndontoori ndii heɓi yalti yaasi ?
Mi nekkii on njohon nanngonno ndonto
pati danya hewta ley boli saare sarkoo. 585
Taton giƴiraaɓe ummii fa maɓɓa ndonto.
Ɗoon nu ndonto waylii wonti njawdi
luwe ana mblidinii ɓoccooɗe ɓutte
fa cukkaa teyfe basi ɗiɗi takkaa so loowaa.
Ndi heddii na jagga dow nay koyɗe mayri. 590
Taton yiɗiraaɓe ngarti e gorko mawɗo
be mbii : « Ee abba baajol! ndaa ko min njii.
Ko min ceedii mugii min haƴƴinii min.
Nanii ndontoori maa wayliima njawdi,
wonii kalaldi wolwoldeeri buuran. 595
Darii e damal na faddii ɗoon na falkii
heɓataa gooto ley dumaare naata. »
Mawɗo ɓadiima nyammini hoɓɓe mum ɓee.

Then the half-man, half-serpent 51,
told them calmly, “Welcome, my children!
Enter in peace in this my home;
Make sure the rooster doesn't leave the yard.”
The three friends wondered why
the snake-form wanted the rooster not to leave.
To their mind, there was no answer to this question.
Taking them by surprise, the rooster flew off.
Up above the three men, it took flight outside.
The old man had gone off to fetch some food to serve.
He returned and found his guests cringing with shame;
The bird had escaped, in fact.
The old man asked them:
“How is it that all three of you were so negligent
as to let the rooster get outside?
I call on you to go chase the flyer
before he comes back to escape in the street.”
The three friends arose to capture the rooster.
But he metamorphosed and became a ram
with bent-back horns and giant pouches
like two unstuffed cushions pressed together.
He took off on his four feet.
The three friends returned to the old man.
“Oh venerable father! What we have just seen,” they said,
“We have seen a stupefying spectacle.
Imagine it, your rooster turned into a ram.
He became a male sheep, enormous and fearsome.
Standing in front of the door, he is waiting threateningly.
No one can come into the yard.”
The old man bade his guests eat 51.

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
50. It is said that the child lies for 33 months in its mother: the nine months of pregnancy and 24 months of breastfeeding. It is also said that each of these months consolidates one vertebra.
51 Hybridism, like all deformity or strangeness, is always important in African legends; if custom and natural order are upset, it cannot be by chance. Besides, hybridism has its laws: thus, in the phenomenon of “the animal-human fused to the animal-animal,” the lower part being closer to noble things than the upper, it is not a matter of indifference whether it is the one or the other that is animalized: here, with the manserpent, the fact that it is his feet that are animalized is a favorable sign, for he is the “upper in the upper,” in other words, his head is human: it is initiation, then, that puts the travelers to the test. But the Fulɓe also know the lion-headed man (symbol of royalty and power) or the bullheaded man (pastoral initiator). This law does not therefore seem to apply in all cases.