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.

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Kaydara — Strophes 1585-1610

mo hiisaa hiisa maayɗo mo darnoyaama.
Ɓiɗɗo dimaaɗo caggal makko laɓoyaa
mo inndiraama Hammadi-Hammadi.
Hammadi ɓiɗɗo Hammadi ɗum firoyta.
Ko Hammadi kam e deekum kam e ɓii mum 1585
dukoyta fa deende fini seyoyii fa weeti
ngam nii suudu Hamma yo teddinaandu
Hammadi-Hammadi e yummum yo yimɓe.
Hammadi heddii tan ana wiya:
— « Geno albarka welnii hoore am min 1590
faa cili keewi kanŋe a hokkorii kam!
Mi danyii duu ɓiɗɗo jom-suudam manaama. »
Nde weeti fijooji darna Hamma wartii.
Saraandu mo wartii waddii jawdi keewndi
saakii e leydi wontoy janta mawɗo. 1595
Hammadi darni galle potoyɗo ngalu mum.
Wunndummbaare nyawɓe mo roondoyii ɗum,
mo waɗi garwal-tiyaabu ɗo waayɓe njippoo;
silatigi'en mbileeɓe corinke'en fuu,
daggada'en e annduɓe kuɗɗe kala fuu. 1600
Caggal duuɓi keewɗi ngadii ɗi ɓennii,
kala fuu warnde ɓuri ɓettiinde welde,
ndeen nii maayi ndeen laamiiɗo leydi.
Wakkati ubbugol jam'aare nyaagii
Hammadi ardoyee naɓa ngooski laamɗo 1605
sabu kaananke oo maayii yo guddo,
ɓiɓɓe ɗalaali noon mo na ɓamta laamu.
Hammadi toownoyaa hokkaama laamu.
Hammadi-Hammadi waɗoyaa donoowo.
Hammadi haybi faa kala yimɓe nyaama, 1610
ɓe nyaama ɓe kolta faa ɗum moƴƴa sanne.
Hammadi nodda annduɓe leyɗe wadda,
omo ɗaminii mo hawra e silatigiijo

and then was declared dead.
The son born afterwards
received the name Hammadi-Hammadi,
which means Hammadi, son of Hammadi.
To the noise made by Hammadi, his wife and son,
the neighborhood awoke and spent the night in happiness,
for Hammadi's family commanded respect,
Hammadi-Hammadi and his mother being highly honorable.
Hammadi cried out all alone:
“Praised be the Eternal one who has made me happy
many times over, and has given me gold!
I have a son and a model wife.”
The next day Hammadi's return was celebrated.
The news of his arrival, and of his immense fortune
spread throughout the country, became a public matter.
built a house at the level of his wealth.
He took in the very ill from all around
and constructed a house to receive
the poor, the initiated, magicians,
astrologers, scholars of all types 112.
The years went by,
each year more pleasant than the previous.
Then the sovereign of the country died.
At the time of the burial, the assembly asked
Hammadi to direct the royal procession,
for the monarch had died “shortened,” 113
leaving no child to succeed him at the throne.
Hammadi was elevated to power.
Hammadi-Hammadi became crown prince.
Hammadi saw to it that all his people
ate all they wanted, and dressed well.
He brought scholars from all countries,
hoping to find an initiate

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
112. Mbileejo, the sleight-of-the-hand magician, is the one who transforms things; silatigiijo (or silatigi) is the knower of very profound things; coorinkeejo (or coorinke) is a physiognomist while daggadaaja (or daggada) is a full magician. These are the four degrees of the hidden sciences. In addition, sukunyaajo or sukunya are encountered, a type of sorcerer of whom it is said, “everything he sees, he can do as well.” But the latter has not learned under a master; his virtues are natural gifts.
113. A “shortened” king is one without posterity, a very rare case; custom dictates nothing in this case, and the most worthy of the men of the village is elected.