Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/457

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CORRESPONDENCE,

Basutoland : its Legends and Customs.

{Anfe, p. 204.)

I HAVE just read in Folk-Lore for June 24th Mr. Hartland's review of my little book on Basutoland, and I must thank him very much for his criticisms, which have given me courage to go on, while at the same time they make me wish to offer a few words of explanation. No thought of writing a scientific book ever entered my head. While still a young girl I married and went out with my husband to South Africa, and we spent all our married life in Basutoland. From the first the Basuto interested me, and I learnt their language, not, as Mr. Hartland thinks, in order to study and write about their customs, but because my servants could hardly speak or understand a word of English. In those days I had no idea of studying the Basuto with a view to writing. It was merely a friendly interest, and my natural love of knowing the whys and wherefores of everything, that actuated me. The people soon got to know me, and explained their custom freely. They were very good to me and often showed their gratitude in very charming ways. They always give white people Sesuto names, by which they are known far better than by their English ones. My first name was " Ma rara," the mother of grapes, because I had rosy cheeks and rather a plump figure When they knew me better they said I must have a new name, and accordingly from that time I was known as " Ma batu," or the mother of the people ; the name given to Letsie's mother, Mosesheshue's chief wife. This name was given me after I had been five years in the country by the people of Thlotsi Heights ; and I have been called " Ma-batu " ever since, even in the most southern parts of Basutoland. The name does not signify any special authority on native matters, but was given