Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/428

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

392 Reviews.

I have no doubt that some objections will be raised by the apparently puzzling accentuations ; but, if one keeps in mind that the texts can be read without taking any notice of these accents, one is easily reconciled to this concession to phonetics. What is more inconvenient is the fact that whole sentences are written as if they were a single word ; by this, research is made un- necessarily difficult for those not acquainted with Edo, e.g. Oma^niukpalamemila ("He did not find tip of the cow's tongue.") This ought to have been rendered as follows, — Oma{i)mi{pi) ("He did not find") — ukp{d) { tip ")—alam{e) ("tongue") — efrn'Ia ("cow."), — "He did not find the tip of the cow's tongue." It is no good trying to give only the verbatim translation, for any person unacquainted with the negro way of expression could scarcely understand this. Many of these stories are well worth a second translation, being of great interest. First of all we find hero stories, of which the following is a fair sample, and shall in consequence be transcribed. I am not sure that my attempt is successful, but the native text is unavoid- ably obscure in many places : —

Emigaheme, a slave of Ehenbuda, said one day that he was tired of life and was going to kill himself. He went to his master, and, presenting him with four kola nuts, said, — "I want to do things that my companions are unable to do. Take these nuts and dispose of me ; I am tired of the world." So Ehenbuda said to his Ezomo,' — " Listen to what he says. He is tired of doing what everybody else does, and gives me these kola that I may put him to a test."^ The Ezomo asked Emigaheme, — "Are you powerful, Emi- gaheme ?" " I am," he answered. " You are not," replied the Ezomo, " for, if you were, you would go and catch the murderer who hides in the bush, and bring him here." "This I will do," was the answer. Emigaheme then went home to his mother, and told her on what errand he had been sent. She told him to undertake it, and wished him good speed. " I shall sacrifice a goat for you," she said, "for, however powerful you may be, the task may be beyond you."^ So she took a goat and killed it, and put the blood into a calabash, which she gave him ; he then started on his errand. When he came to a

^ It would be interesting to know whether Ezomo stands for the same person as Osuma, who, according to Dennett, is the messenger connected with the king's wants. Mr. Thomas gives us no information on this point.

- This sentence is very freely translated.

' Literal translation, — Even a plantain tree may wear out the edge of a knife, if the sap makes it rusty and useless.