Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/460

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

402 Bavili Notes.

very much to noise, or to being disturbed in any way. The people of the town of Mpili hold this viper in great respect and will not allow the grass around the town to be burnt for fear of disturbing it. Its skin is found in the Bibila.

Nkala iVuma Xivanji Mania in full), the crab. Kufzva nkala xifundii inizi (the claws of the crab nip even after it is dead). After having held their breath with fright, the danger being over, the Bavili give vent to a sigh or groan of relief. This action they call ku vumina. But the impression of fear remains, and the above saying is applied to it. The crab Nkala, the sea, and the sun, are opposed to the leopard Ngo^ the earth, and the moon. Thus nkala ngo come to mean the yes and no of a question, the Roe and Doe of the British law courts. The claws of the crab are found in the basket of bilongo (medicine) in the Bibila.

Nquiinbike ku vuka, the shark that devours. (The word qimnbuka is to fear, relating to that cringing fear caused by a guilty conscience). The kubu, or fin, of the shark is found in the basket of bilongo in the Bibila.

Nknfn, the turtle. Nkufi means short in stature. Nimi nknfu u i natina muanza, the husband-turtle who carries the roof (of his shimbec) on his back. This animal has a very bad character ; he is noted for his treachery and deceit, taking a mean advantage over those he has promised to reward. For instance, " he " is said to have made a trading compact with a man. They formed two traps to catch game. He chose the best one. The man agreed, as they were partners, and he said it did not matter where the game was trapped as it would be shared between them. An antelope was caught by the turtle's trap. Instead of calling his partner to share the spoil he engaged the ox to carry it to his town, promising him a share for his trouble. When the antelope had been cut up he sent the ox away to clean the plates, etc. Then