Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/72

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Some Notes on East African Folklore.

seven gardens, two for you and five for us." This was done, and the couple hoed and planted with exemplary industry, the husband's relations coming when the crops were ripe, and feeding in peace in the gardens set apart for them. This went on for some time, but at last the wife grew tired of the arrangement, and remarked, "Ah, what sort of a nuisance is this—to cultivate every day for those baboons only!" The husband agreed with her, saying, "Truly this is a nuisance!" They were overheard by a baboon hidden in the bush beside the garden, who immediately went home and informed the clan. They immediately took his tail, which seems to have been carefully preserved in the meantime, and set out for the village. Finding that he was not at home, but had gone to help thatch his father-in-law's house, they followed him there and sang:

"Nyani he! nyani! hala muchirao,
Nyani he! nyani! hala muchirao!"

"Baboon! come and fetch your tail!" So the secret was revealed to the wife and her relations, and the baboon, resuming his tail, returned to the bush with his own people.

Another story which has found its way into Swahili collections is an interesting Duruma variant of "The Children and the Zimwi";[1] the Duruma tale of Mbodze is also partly the same as one given by Velten under the title "Hadithi ya mume jini." Both of them seem to exist all over Bantu Africa.

When trying to collect Pokomo stories, I was at first perplexed by receiving palpable Swahili ones, written in Swahili; and I in my turn perplexed my informants by insisting on their supplying me with real Pokomo tales.

  1. Kibaraka, p. 25. See also the Ndjao "Child and the Drum" (Kidd, Savage Childhood), the Suto Tselane (Jacottet), "The Cannibal's Bird" (Theal, Kaffir Folk-Lore), and a Duala variant in Mitteilungen d. Sent, für or. Spr. (Berlin), Jahrgang V. (1902). Cf. also Folk-Lore, Dec, 1909, pp. 448-450, and Tremearne, Hausa Superstitions and Customs, No. 84, p. 401.