Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/447

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LANGUAGE—MYTHOLOGY.

the forbidden fruit, and we have got sin from him. These men say that they have sinned; and what is sin in them is sin in us, because we come from one stock, and their hearts and ours are one thing. Ye Makare have heard these words, and you say they are lies. If these words do not conquer, the fault will lie with you. You say you will not believe what you do not understand. Look at an egg! If a man break it, there comes only a watery and yellow substance out of it; but if it be placed under the wing of a fowl, a living thing comes from it. Who can understand this? Who ever knew how the heat of the hen produced the chicken in the egg? This is incomprehensible to us, yet we do not deny the fact. Let us do like the hen. Let us place these truths in our hearts as the hen does the eggs under her wings; let us sit upon them, and take the same pains, and something new will come of them."

The language of the Bechuanas (the plural of Mochuana, a single individual) is called Sichuana, an adjective implying any thing belonging to the nation. It is exceedingly soft and mellifluous, owing to there being few syllables that end with a consonant. The only exceptions are "nouns in the ablative case, plural verbs, verbs definite, and the interrogatives why, how, and what, all of which end with the ringing n."

The first acquaintance of Europeans with the Bechuanas dates from an early period of the history of the Cape Colony. There is reason to believe that this nation once extended as far as the Orange River, but at the present day none of the tribes are found beyond the 28th parallel of south latitude.

The Bechuanas (as already mentioned in the history of the Damaras) believe that they originally sprang from a cave, said to exist in the Bakone country, where the footmarks of the first man may still be seen in the rock.

If we are to credit the testimony of some missionaries, the Bechuanas have no notion of a Superior Being. It is a