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 910-940

mo wellita ɓe weeɗa ruggoyanoyooɓe. 910
Taton yiɗiraaɓe kaaldi tefi feere.
Gotte jabiyaajo ɗokko gere nyaamo
noon mo ƴuugaaɗo duu mo ƴoogaaɗo
yalti nder saare heddii na doga
no koppi mum moofi mbaawri fuu na ŋasa. 915
Mo wiyani ɗanniiɓe : « laamɗo wii njehon
kanko woni laamɗo ndii mo joomi am,
daakoyon ɗowdi bantineeje tati tutii.
Laamɗo sankiima jawdi moon e wonkiili moon kala. »
Taton ɗanniibe ruubiri maayde gordugal wooɗanaa be fay ɗoo, 920
pooɗii faa e todɗaaɗe telloyii
taykoyii bantineeje cate ɓutte,
ɗowdi sukkiima carfe fey ngalaa.
Teemeɗɗe tati sogone ɗum ɗe ngoɗɗorii
ngenndi ndii ndi naannataa goɗɗo. 925
Ujunaaji pooli na cannyi cuuɗi muuɗum ley cate.
Ujunaaji koowondere na miira mirmirta dow leydi.
Pooɓal bantineewal ɗaɗi na ƴooltii,
ana ngaɗi kooli kokowol nii na toowi
faa ana mbaawi suuɗɗe tomotte wiirna 930
a yiyataa ɗum e ley leppaango wooto.
Hamtuuɗo e waayiraaɓe ndenti tellii,
ɓe deeƴi e feeyo mawngo kenuuli ndaakii.
Hammadi kaa woni e taykaade leɗɗe
ɗee tati hettinaaɗe ko pooli cirki 935
hono omo nana mo faama ko colli maaki.
Ɓaawo wiɗaaɗe makko nii mo sooynii
ko wa'i hono neɗɗo leggal kaa na deemtii
dillintaako fay ɗoo nanndo tooru
waɗaandu fa yimɓe ngara ngaɗa ɗoon yelaaji. 940
Hammadi ɓattitii faa heptinoy ɗum

exposing them to the danger of passing brigands.
The three friends discussed what action to take.
An albino dwarf, missing his right eye,
hunched over in front and crooked in back,
came out of the village and began running
as fast as his knock-knees would allow.
He said to the travelers: “The King of this country,
my master, sends word you are to camp
in the shadow of those three giant trees.
The King will answer for your riches and your lives.”
The three travelers, dead tired, accepted the offer,
dragged themselves to the place in question, and pitched camp.
They found trees with heavy branches.
Their shade was so thick that no light could enter.
Three hundred elbow-lengths separated them from the town
where no stranger could enter.
A thousand birds 72 had built their nests in the branches.
A thousand insects swarmed on the ground.
Veins popped from the tree-trunks.
A sort of high wall had appeared
that could hide a man and cover him so well
that he could be lost at first glance.
Hamtoudo and his friends set camp in peace
on the immense plain where winds blew.
As for Hammadi, he observed the three trees,
listening to the singing of the birds
as though he could hear and understand their language.
After looking carefully, he made out
a human form 73, perched high in the tree
and immobile as a wood statue,
placed there so people could come and make a wish.
Hammadi approached until he could see

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
72. A thousand birds and insects, put there to ward off the travelers, to discourage them from settling under the tree.
73. The man hidden in the hollow of the tree is a little, old man, monstrous in his ugliness and dirtiness; worse even than the albino dwarf who led the travelers in distress to him; in Africa, deformity is a sign of mystery, whether evil or good; however, like deformity, anomaly is always just as repugnant; it is a preferred place for hiding precious things that require an effort to be won. This explains the respect mixed with fear which African society bears for the insane or handicapped, especially for the blind who are said to see the reverse side of everything.