Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/78

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68 Some Notes on East African Folklore.

by Mwenyi Ombwe — see ante, p. 6o), to eat them. The Hare filled a sack with "snails, tortoises and millipedes" ; the Hyaena put his mother into a sack, and both went to the coast to exchange the sacks for grain. The Hare advised the purchaser not to open his sack till he was gone. " If you let my mother out, she will see me and run after me." By the time the sack was opened (it seems to be implied that the Hyaena's was opened first and found satisfactory) the two were out of reach with the grain they had received in exchange. The Hare divided his share into two parts, and secretly carried one part to the place where he had hidden his mother, which seems to have been a cave in the hillside, inaccessible from below. Every time he came near he uttered a cry which was their secret signal iyunapiga kaweba), and she answered him ; he then said, " Mama, iiitsuvira lubwe — let me down a rope ! " which she did, and drew him up to the cave. The Hyaena's sus- picions were aroused, he tracked the Hare to the cave, listened to the signal, and returned by himself, but could not gain entrance to the cave, as the mother knew that the voice was not that of her son. He consulted the Leopard in this difficulty, and the Leopard referred him to the Lonia (ant-bear), who told him that, to soften his voice and make it resemble the Hare's, he must let his tongue hang into an ant-hill till the ants {tsalafit) had eaten off part of it. Finding that his voice had thus acquired the right timbre, he tried again, and succeeded in imposing on the Hare's mother, whereupon he killed and ate her. The Hyaena's trick is new to me in this connection, and recalls the stratagem employed by the cannibal in the Suto tale of Tselane}^ who swallows a red-hot hoe.

Professor Meinhof suggests ^^ — quoting Dr. Friedrichsen — that the Hare stories are derived from India, also that the rapid multiplication of the hare is the reason for his popularity in folklore and for his being credited with

i^Jacottet, p. (><) sgq. '^'^ Die Dichtting der Afrikaner {\<j\\), p. 17.