Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/84

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74 Some Azotes on East African Folklore.

in consequence. Women at Lamu, when they see it, call out, ^' kande, iisinhvange — do not count me ! "

A little yellow wagtail {kitzvitivi) is very tame and often seen hopping about close to houses. People, when they see it, sing "kiizuitzui, tauibaa tiatiV ("creep along the ground") — no doubt in allusion to its peculiar, gliding motion.

A kind of owl (yuinatiii, or nyiini iva ynii) is very unlucky. If, when flying over a house at night, or perching on the roof, it hears a baby cry, the child is seized with convulsions.

If a black slug called vibwasheJie enters a house where food is cooking, it will never be done, however long a time the pot may be left on the fire.

The ruins of Gede, about three hours' march south of Malindi, are supposed to be guarded by an enormous snake, which would kill anyone attempting to remove — e.g. the china plates cemented into the walls. People go there to make vows, pray for rain, etc., as they do to a ruined mosque at Kibirikani, in the jungle north of Mambrui. At the latter place, Mwana Somoye Binti Haji assured me that she and other women who had gone there to pray in time of drought, heard voices within the ruins, chanting La IllaJi il Allah, when they had finished their prayers, and presently a long, slender, black and white spotted snake appeared and shortly after vanished among the stones. I never heard it expressly stated that these snakes are embodied ancestral spirits — probably among the Moslems this idea has become somewhat obscured.

A large snake has sometimes been seen in or about the einclosure containing Sharif Abudi's grave at Mambrui (this is at a little distance from the pillar referred to atiie, p, 467) — " it never does any harm to any one."

It is supposed to be unlawful to kill a cat, the reason given being that the Prophet had a cat of which he was very fond — so much so that once, when he was obliged to CTo to prayers, he cut off a piece of his sleeve on which she