Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/295

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Reviews. 259

tunately, only in a free translation, without the original text. The first of these is a curious variant of the well-known chameleon myth told to account for the origin of death. It begins, — "There was once a frog Chua, a chameleon Kimbu, and a bird called lioroko." The frog, however, takes no real part in the story, and it is the Itoroko who contradicts the chameleon's message, as the lizard does in the Zulu version. This Itoroko is "a small bird of the thrush tribe, with a black head, bluish-black back, and a buff- coloured breast ; its Luganda name is Nyonza and Swahili name Kurumbizi {Cossypha imolaens)." This bird, kurumbizi, (or kurumbiza, so given by Krapf, s.v.), figures in the Swahili tale of "The Carpenter and the Amulet," {Folk-Lore, Dec. 1909, pp. 452, 456). Its note is heard very early in the morning, before the other birds begin, and this introduction into the tale seems designed to explain this circumstance : —

" Engai believed the story of the Itoroko, and being very vexed with the way the chameleon had executed his commands, reduced him from his high estate and ordained that ever after he should only be able to walk very slowly, and he should never have any teeth. The Itoroko came into high favour, and Engai delegated to him the work of waking up the inhabitants of the world " (p. 108).

Several other points in this story differ from the Zulu, which for our present purpose we may consider the typical version. The frog, the chameleon, and the Itoroko were sent out by Engai, not to give the message, " Let not men die," but " to search for human beings who died one day and came to life again the next day." When they came to "some people lying apparently dead," the chameleon "called out to them softly, '■ Niwe, ntwe, niwe.^ " They opened their eyes and listened to him, but the Itoroko, who had just declared that their errand was an impossible one, said to them, — " You are dead to this world and must stay where you are, you cannot rise to life again." The chameleon's subsequent entreaties were ineffectual ; and after he had told his story, on returning to Engai, the Itoroko, when asked for his version, " stated that the chameleon was making such a mess of his errand that he felt obliged to interrupt him."

The hyaena story on p. 109 reminds us of the one current in Nyasaland (with many variants elsewhere), where that animal