Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 15, 1904.djvu/340

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Specimens of Somali Tales.

{Collected by J. W. C. Kirk, Lieut. VI. King's African Rifles.)

The following stories are offered to the student of folklore for what they are worth. He will perhaps be able to determine how far they are the genuine native product, and how far they are borrowed from Arabic or other sources. As a matter of fact the narrators were quite unacquainted with Arabic, with the exception of the Mullah of Burao, who told me the story No. XL They were all collected from men of the Ishhak tribes from the Burao district, and I have in each case stated under the title the name of the individual narrator with his tribe and subtribe. Nos. I.-V. may be classified as romantic fiction, VI. -VIII. as gnomic or pro- verbial in their purport, and IX. -X. as beast fables. No. XI. looks like a variant of the story of the sons of Judah, and may, I dare say, have been derived by my priestly informant from Moham- medan hterature.

I may add that all these tales were told me in the native language, and that I have in my possession copies of the Somali originals (except XL), which I hope to publish shortly. There are no signs of the stories having been handed down word for word, their phraseology being that of the spoken language of the day, whereas Somali songs are full of obsolete forms and expressions, often unintelligible to the average Somah.

Dr. A. W. Schleicher's Somali Texte, by Reinisch (Wien, 1900), contains an excellent collection of Somali tales.


Habiyo Butiya {Lasne Habiyo).

(Mohammed Jibril, Habr Toljaala, Musa Abokr, clerk, aged about 26.)

There once was a Sultan who had a son, whose mother was dead. But the Sultan married another wife, and went on a