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 2390-2420

kala fuu jawdi maaɗa e laamu maaɗa 2390
e dow ɗum kala fawii hen hoore maaɗa. »
Hammadi ɗoon huyoy heddii na womoya
gorel nayewel kanyum doonii e haala.
— « A lamndike kam mo ngon-mi.
Yonii no anndaa sabu aɗa haandi hen. 2395
Miin woni irnyinooɗo e leydi saama
nde kawruno-ɗon e doonyorgal.
Mi darii dow hayre wakkati kaaldotonno
e nduu wilwilndu nii ee maaɗa Hamma!
Miɗo talloo e dow njaareendi far far 2400
wakkati yaare ɓanngani on e sella,
min darinoo e tule dow loope njamndi
nde eti-ɗon ndonku-ɗon fey yarde nawre.
Taw miɗo feƴƴa feeyo nde domɗititton
e gaygel lewla ngel waawaaka hortaa. 2405
Taw miɗo jiiɓa booke nde ndiiwotonno
doobal jaayrungal on jaayre jaayre.
Taw miɗo hiisoyoo toccooɗe kaaƴe
nde ŋoottinidonno ley ɗiɗi peewtondirɗe.
Taw miɗo ƴeewa ndeen njaareendi siindi 2410
e koɓowal kanŋe ɗoon ngonnoo-mi saanga
tuma ndontoori waylitii wonti ngaari.
Noon nii ngaari waylii wonti cumu nguu.
Miɗo yinoyoo e ley ɗiɗi ɓulli keewɗi
gadaadi yo maande keJaro tiiddo junngo. 2415
Yo min woni jaaɗo nanngoy kanŋe waddi.
Hammadi mbantineewi gorel yo min nii!
Min woni saare koɗo naattaa e muuɗum.
Yo min woni waabiliire e pooye kammu.
Noon laddeeru nduu duu fuu yo miin oo. 2420
Min woni maayo moɗungo laana kaa miin.

all your wealth and power,
and even your very head, in addition.”
Hammadi then began to dance with joy.
The old man went on.
“You ask who I am.
It is time you knew, for you are worthy.
I am the one who hid himself in the dust 166
when you met the chameleon.
I was standing on the stone when you were talking
to the bat, close up to you, Hammadi!
I lurked in the white, white sand
when the scorpion appeared to you.
I looked over the laterite cliff
when you tried vainly to drink the pond-water.
I crossed the valley when you drank
from the inexhaustible antelope track.
I kneaded the mud when you were chasing
the bustard that had you walking and walking.
I counted the piles of stones
when you took your rest between the two facing trees.
I searched in the black sand
and found myself in gold's bedrock 167
when the rooster turned into the bull
that turned into fire.
I swam in the two filled fountains
that symbolized heavy-handed egotism.
I am the one who went to fetch the gold.
Oh Hammadi! The old man by the tree was myself!
I am the town that is inaccessible to the guest.
I am the cyclone, and the lightning bolts.
The she-lion, of course, was also myself!
I am the river that swallowed, and the dugout, too.

Notes (Lilyan Kesteloot)
166. This is not a useless repetition of the inventory of symbols from the previous page; the old man enumerates the layers of elements that must be crossed in order to reach gold: dust, stone, white sands, laterite, gravel, clay, quartz, black sand, bedrock or nara in Fulfulde. It must not be forgotten that Kaidara is also the god of the earth and has followed a parallel path through the elements, while the men have been passing through the symbols. The old man plots out the symbols of the wood-gatherer; this is a trip laid out by the master for the student, who will not even notice it.
167. More precisely this refers to bedrock, a gold-washer's word designating the layer that must be removed in order to get at the gold.