Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/73

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Soi7te Notes on East African Folklore. 63,

" But there is no difference," they said, " Svvahili stories are just the same as Pokomo." This is in so far true that a great many of the latter — such as the adventure of the Hare already referred to and many others — have passed into Svvahili tradition, and may fairly be considered as their own by those Swahili who are of Pokomo descent. At a later date I obtained some very good Pokomo texts, chiefly of Hare stories, which I hope may be published in extenso- on a future occasion. But one of the MSS. handed to me took my breath away — for it was a version, written out in Swahili by Andrea Kinape (a teacher at the Neukirchen Mission, Ngao) of the Merchant of Venice. He told me the story had been related to him by a " Banyan " at Kipini : he could not tell whether this man had heard it from a European or got it from one of his own Indian books — he thought the latter most probable. Internal evidence, I think, is in favour of the Indian origin. The translation of the Swahili text is as follows :

" This is the Story of the Flesh of the Thigh.

" Long ago there was a Banyan who was very rich. And there was another Banyan, and he was not poor, but had just money enough to live on. One day he met a woman (whom he wished to marry) ; and she was the daughter of a rich man. So they two came to an agreement, and he set about providing money in order to marry, but he (found he) had not enough to pay for the wedding. So one day he went to the rich Banyan and said to him, ' Sir, I pray you, be so kind as to lend me a thousand rupees, for my property is insufficient for my wedding.' That man said to him, ' I, for my part, cannot lend you even one pice, for you are not able to repay me anything.' His neighbour said, 'Even though I have nothing, yet you may trust that I will pay you.' The rich man said, ' If you want me to pay you all this money, you must tell me the day of your repaying it.' The poor man said, ' Be patient for the space of one