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 815-835

Yo min kurkaaji Kaydara min njabii ma. »
Kaydara wil ɓe : « ŋarɗii haala mooɗon.
Ko kaal-ɗon koo welii kam faydinii on. » 815
Nanee oogirɗe Kaydara gotte ndoomi.
Mo eewnii e majji wooturu wii yo hokku
tat-tati diiwle kanŋe ko ɗaandi roondoo
mo hokkoya ɗum taton ɓee waayiraaɓe.
Hammadi wii: 820
— « Eehee maaɗa Kaydara min torii ma
njaɓaa piranaa mi kala fuu maale min njii
e dow laawol naɓoowol faa e maaɗa. »
Kaydara wii:
— « Mi hokkii kanŋe faa nii ngollironno 825
so moƴƴii kuuwɗe moon kala njiitoyonno
ɓaargal fay naɓoowal faa e kammu
kanyum e kaliile paaɗe to suttu leydi. »
Karkal laamu Kaydara giisini e mum,
ana waɗa ngiifu Kaydara faa na ɗelma, 830
ɗelmere naange fey waawaa sifeede.
Ndaamaa koyɗe karka na wowla wanngoo
aranal majje ana wiya Henndu-Mawndu;
ɗiɗaɓal majje wiya Jerɓaali-Leydi;
tataɓal ngal kanyum kaa Waame noddi; 835
nayaɓal ngal kanyum Cumu-Yilte toɗɗii.

We are thy servants, Kaydara, and accept thee as our master!”
Kaydara answered them: “Your words are well spoken,
and what you say pleases me and distinguishes you.”
Now, Kaydara's mines had dwarfs for guards.
He called one of them, spoke an order to bring
enough gold to load three carrier-oxen
to give to the three friends.
Hammadi spoke:
“Oh Kaydara, I beg thee, please explain each
of the signs we saw
on the road to thy place.”
Kaydara responded:
“Make good use of the gold I have just given 66.
You will find all within, if your actions are righteous;
even the ladder 67 that leads to the heavens
and the stairs 67 leading to the center of the earth.”
The throne Kaydara sat upon
turned unceasingly, shone on Kaydara
whose sunlit splendor was indescribable.
The throne's foot-symbols 68 spoke as they turned:
the first said Great Wind;
the second said Earthquake;
as for the third, it invoked Flood.
The fourth brought on Conflagration.

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
66. Conditions that Kaydara imposes in order to give over the meaning of the symbols, for “only the rich man can truly reveal who he is”; the poor man has neither the means nor the opportunity. This is certainly why it is also said that “gold is the throne of wisdom: but if you confuse the pedestal with knowledge itself, the pedestal will fall over and crush you.” Likewise, it is said “be the rider, not the horse, of your fortune,” for everything goes back to its origin; the rider always leads his mount; since fortune comes from fire, if it rides you it will lead you to fire; whereas since man comes from happiness, if you ride your fortune, you will go together towards happiness. These maxims will be revealed in detail throughout the tale: those who have had similar behavior in a destitute condition will act differently, once they have been provided for; this is evidence for the fact that the condition imposed by Kaydara was for a reason. Gold is the esoteric metal par excellence because of its purity and unchanging quality; “with one gram of gold, a thread can be made which is long enough to stretch around a whole village.” According to the myth, it is formed beneath 11 layers of earth and minerals. It procures happiness if it is well used, for the quest of knowledge; otherwise it brings on the demise of its owner; an ambiguous metal, then, bearing the original dualism as well.
67. Symbol of the quest of exoteric and esoteric knowledge.
68. The four legs of the throne are the four elements, and prefigure the four cataclysms that will destroy the world.