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 1905-1930

Mi lamndike maama ee maa mobbo moƴƴo
mo anndal danndinoy ɗum leeɓi hoore! »
Gariibu nayeejo hommbi peɗeeli nano mum
mo wattoy junngo nano ngoo e nyaamo makko, 1905
mo naƴƴini jokke sanyondiri sappo makko
mo foocoy juuɗe ɗiɗi tawi seendaa peɗeeli,
mo wayliti nebbe makko juuɗe nyoofaa
mo waɗi ley nebbe makko ɗe peewti Hamma.
Ndeem mo uumi juuti mo foofi mawɗum 1910
mo wii : « Ee Hamma nawre nde beero naattaa
maanaa mum nyalooma yo suudu baaba
ndu ɓiɓɓe mum kawri doomoyteendu sanne.
Ndiyam ɗam wuɗɗataa ɗum hakkille deeƴo.
Maanaa jamma nawre nde bolle ndoomii, 1915
ɗum ammboowo jaɓataa gooto hennyu
feccirtaake ɗum ko jogii mo wondi
fay si tawiino joomum na maaya saɗɗa.
Hammadi maale ɗee tan njiino-ɗaa toon;
Joonin kaa a anndii ko maale pirata 1920
nayaɓal maale yaamana-juuju leyɗe
woɗɗa ɓadaajo Kaydara sirru kam jey. »
Fooyre mawnde yayni Hammadi wii:
— « Ko woni koro maale joyaɓe ɗe leyɗe gotte?
Maanaa majji ɗiɗi lamndii-mi mobbo, 1925
aan janngoowo koode nanoowo pooli
hono noon pobbi jamali ŋuunye majji! »
Me'oy faa juuti kiikala rewti nii wii :
« Gaygel batte lewla na yarna sette,
maanaa mura nyalooma yo kinnotooɗo 1930
so neɗɗo so leydi jom yurmeende sanne
e seeɗa jogii na hennyora baayɗo huunde.
Ngalu fay neeɓataa ɓuttan so ɓeeɓii

I ask my ancestor, the good master
whose knowledge has taken even his hair!”
The old beggar placed his left hand,
fingers folded 129, in his right hand
and snapped 130 the ten, interfaced fingers.
He stretched out his two arms without unclenching his fingers
and turned back his hands, his arms still out-stretched,
with his palms towards Hammadi.
He groaned deeply 131, breathed heavily
and said, “Hammadi! The pond 132 that no guest
can penetrate, diurnally symbolizes
a well-guarded fatherland whose sons are unified.
The water that nothing can tarnish is a tranquil spirit.
Nocturnally, the pond defended by snakes
symbolizes the egotist who accepts no one
and refuses to share his wealth among his neighbors,
even when they are dying and naked.
Hammadi, you saw only the signs.
But now, you know the meaning
of the fourth symbol of the land of the dwarf-spirits
whose secret belongs to the distant, the nearby Kaydara.
A great light shone and Hammadi asked:
“Then what is the fifth symbol of the dwarf country?
I mean to know the two meanings, master
who reads the stars, interprets the birds 133,
deciphers the howl of the spotted hyena!” 133
The old man hesitated and finally said:
“The small hole, the antelope track, which quenched
the thirst of a caravan, diurnally means charity.
It is the man, or country, filled with compassion
who shares with the poor the little he has.

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
129. Sign of submission, exemplary humility.
130. It is also said “Draw the salt out of the hand.” This gesture is made to draw the attention of the adept and means “it is not only from the mouth that sound can be drawn.”
131. Spontaneous gesture after sleep, but if it is done at another time and by an initiate, it means the death of ignorance and the birth of knowledge.
132. The pond is the family, or everything that is so unified that the stranger cannot penetrate within; analogous symbol to the forbidden village.
133. Birds and hyenas are the most auspicious animals. It is the spotted hyena which is auspicious, not the others; its cries are interpreted; likewise those of turtledoves.