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 2210-2240

E nder ngenu duu mo womnete nii. 2210
Ngoonga nguurndam yo ƴeewam mi ƴeewe.
Nyaamondiren ne nii nyaamtondiren ne.
Nii nii sakitoo nyaama en fuu leydi ndii nii. »
Nayewel waylitoy newe peewti Hamma
ngel wii: 2215
— « Foofoo maaɗa ee kaananke mawɗo
mo kanŋe ɓutii to muuɗum kaa jaɓoowo
leyɗuɗe leyɗa faa tennoya
gariibu hono am
gorel nayewel mo juuɗe ɓolaaɗe 2220
ngel keni talli ana tartarta dudoya.
Mi haanaa haawnoyeede
walaa ko haawnii
so diƴƴe ndewii
e loowol maayo asoyii 2225
diƴƴe adiiɗe gaawtii nyonngi maayo. »
Ngol tinndol tabintina wonde tagu fuu
yo takkere, Hamma ɗum ɓeydani mo faamu
mo yananaa hebi haqiiqa ko gorko wardii
yo mo gaddoowo anndal cuuɗoyaangal 2230
damal e damal nii omo hakkille belɗo
bernde yo teddinoore mo hokka ɗum ndii
jawdi ndi hokkitirgol ɓuytataa ɗum
ndii ndi haybaaka faa fota qiima muuɗum
ndii maa jawdi ndii woni ndii yo anndal. 2235
Moodibo hokkoyan taalibo anndal
kala ngal anndi taalibo fota mo anndal.
Anndal mobbo ɓuytortaako fay ngel;
hondi fuu jawdi dow ndii leydi men ndii
heɓi ana hokkitiroyee tawa mi ɓuytortaako? 2240
Ndii maa jawdi haawnii seeki aadi!
so seedere ittoya e mum nyannoyan ɗum.
— « Hammadi gorko teenudo teddi donngal
nde ronkoy hunca fiirtoya teena ɓeyda

and makes you dance in eternity.’
To be sure, life is a process of looking at oneself.
We eat ourselves, re-eat ourselves
and finally the earth has us all.”
The old man turned his palms up to Hammadi
and said:
“Praised be you, great monarch
filled with gold, who accepts
lowering yourself to the ground to de-flea
a beggar such as myself,
poor, disinherited old man
whom the capricious winds carry as they will.
But I should not be surprised;
there is nothing startling
in the new waters of a river
following a path 159
that the ancestors have dug and followed.”
This maxim proving that every creature
is double confirmed Hammadi's opinion:
this man was in fact a messenger
bringing hidden knowledge
from door to door, for the fertile mind
and the humble heart to whom he offers
a fortune which generosity has nothing to do with,
but which is not always taken at face value, either;
this fortune is knowledge.
A master dispenses all the knowledge he has
to an adept; and thus the adept equals him in knowledge.
But the master's knowledge does not thereby diminish.
Now, what other wealth on earth
can be given away without decreasing?
However fabulous a fortune may be,
if a single cowrie is taken away, it will be lessened.
“Hammadi, the man who felt the weight of a heavy burden,
lessening and increasing it even while failing

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
159. This metaphor means that habit is second nature. This will intensify Hammadi's intuition which has allowed him to guess that the little, old man was not a true beggar, but a messenger of hidden knowledge, disguised emissary going from door to door, seeking a fertile mind and humble heart into which he can invest this miraculous fortune that the possessor can use up entirely without ever breaking into: knowledge.