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 945-965

gorel nayewel na ɓaacii licce coɓɗe
gere funnaange fewtini yeeso hooynii
anni yheewa kammu majaali fey fey;
joopoto sukkoyaa nii wonnde denngii 945
hoodere maa ko dammbitoyaa e kammu.
Kanko e laatoyaade moɗaaɗo millo,
omo te'i calɗi makko ngalaa ko ngatta
so naa nde mo muuyi dillintaako fay ɗoo,
di ngattaa huunde fuu nde mo immanaaki. 950
Hammadi taykoyii faa huunde juuti
mo faami nayeejo oo jooliiɗo miilo,
artoytaako haalda e neɗɗo fuu pus.
Hammadi needi ɓattiroyii mo tippii,
konngol hunduko ana yallini mo jaaboo. 955
Mo jowtiri teddungal:
— « Jam waali abba! »
Nayeejo wa'oy no paho fey jaaboyaaki.
Hammadi ɗimmitii jowtaango muuɗum.
Tampii meere kiikala jaaboyaaki. 960
Hammadi tampataa anniima doonii,
omo nii waalna jam nayewel na nuurni,
fay lettaade seeɗa waɗaali fay ndee.
Mo yheewoytaa mo haalda e kaaldo makko.
Hammadi, Demburu sekanii ɗum no ɗuuɗi, 965
mo teɓɓii ɗum e balawal dukkinaaɗo:
— « Ngaalla giyham mo wii, sel haanɗiɗinde!
E bando suka hecci'en ɓee nyaaɗa ngaasa
ɗo tenɗi e nyebere nyallata durde yiiloo! »

an old man covered with dirty rags,
seated, facing east 74, his face lifted up,
looking at the sky without a tremor.
He seemed to be waiting for the appearance
of a star or some other heavenly body.
Although engulfed in his thoughts,
he had controlled his limbs 75 until they were motionless.
Aside from his desires, nothing stirred within him.
All his body's movements were deliberate.
Hammadi observed, and understood
that the old man was so drowned in thought
that he would never be the first to address anyone.
Hammadi approached him politely, and spoke
to him, hoping for a response.
He greeted him with deference:
“Hello, father!” 76
The old man seemed deaf; he did not answer.
Hammadi, however, repeated his greeting 77.
It was a loss, the man answered nothing.
Hammadi persevered, undaunted.
He continued saying hello to the old man who noticed nothing.
He felt not the slightest irritation.
The old man did not even look at his questioner.
Demburu flared up against Hammadi.
He took him by the shoulder and scolded him.
“For God's sake, my friend, stop being so stupid,” he said,
“What can you expect from this mop-haired beast
where lice and cockroaches graze and play all day long?”

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
74. This is the direction of Kaidara; they say that, “news always comes from the rising sun”; and more generally, the Fulbhe are supposed to have come from the east, to West Africa, to return to the east one day.
75. This is one of the degrees of initiation. Each gesture is planned, deliberate; in the Tijaniyya sect, when a so-called “pearl of perfection” prayer is recited, perfect stillness is kept. Likewise, Cerno Bokar, who had achieved a synthesis between Islam and Fulbhe initiation, could remain motionless for the whole time of his teaching; it was said that he was “clear as peanut oil.” Control of the limbs does not happen by itself; as in all asceticism, it comes from training, “for mastery of the body enables mastery of the soul.”
76. This is not a familiar greeting, but an incantatory exorcism.
77. Several greetings that go without response make up a test of humility, frequent in Fulbhe society; the old man tests the young man and allows for the young man to persist without impatience so as to draw a response from him.