Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/135

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


of the B a- Thou gd. 119

have heard that, sometimes, the mother who had sold her daughter for some lirale, had the right to keep one of them and to transform it into an immense ring, which she wore with all the pride of a woman who has had the good fortune to marry her daughter well — de bien casersa filled as we say.

Another question which arises in the mind is this : Whence did the idea come to the natives of using a standard object for bartering purposes ? On this question I would be more willing to believe that they came to the idea by themselves and without external influence, as it is quite within the range of their capacity. They are born traders — perhaps more the Ba-Thonga than the Ba-Suto — and could easily discover the help of the use of money. Nevertheless they did not find a very practical way of pre- paring it, and this pound sterling of theirs, which might have pleased the old Lycurgus, would no longer answer to the needs of the Bank of England.

A second domain into which I want you to follow me now, and which belongs more properly to the folklore, is the domain of the popular tales of the natives.

The more I study it, the more I see that there are inex- haustible materials to be gathered here. I have published already about thirty-five of the Ba-Ronga Tales ^ and have collected a good many more lately. We have now collec- tions from all parts of Africa, and amongst the newest con- tributions to our knowledge, I beg to mention the publica- tions of my friend Mr. Jacottet, of the French Protestant Mission in Basutoland, about the Zambezi tribes. They have been edited for the Bulletin de I'ecole des lettres d' Alger ^ under the direction of Mr. Rene Basset, and contain most interesting stories. Allow me to quote this curious legend of the origin of marriage, full of fine observation, and as good as anything which we ever said on the subject.

' Les Ckattts et les Conies des Ba-Ronga^ Lausanne, Geo. Bridel, 1897.