The Bush-fowl and the Hare

Here is another short animal tale from Daffo. It was recorded by Mr. Mafulul Lek in 1992. Sorry for the low sound quality!


Nahwai si kamo’

Nahwai ti niyis kamo’ mar ma ungguryat: “Lai, lai ti hyau kwa!” A niyet: “Lai, lai ti mimai shaa fwaahan can a ndwish ti hwaam la, shi nii, ti hyau kwa-ha? Nai ren ɗiin ɓa shi laken, ɓa i no’ yish, ci yu, ci shitai lai.”

Nai ren sani, ti niyis: “A no’ yish!” Ti shitai ɓwe tima naf mi wan a far. Nai ti lakis, ti niyis: “Kwai ti, ci wan a shitai lai.” Nai si rang, itii a no’ yish, itii ɗes ti no’ yish. Si yu, ti niyis: “A lang a sok ma mgbang sai kil!” Nai a lang ti. Itii ti luket a fa mer ɗiin hai. Ti shitai naf ma far mi a mayes, ti niyis: “A masai yish kong, a mwin, inii i masai mmin, lai nda mayes!”

Naf ma far nai si yes, si ndok sis, si nii: “Nahwai ɗiin nda a fa mer a te’e. Ca masai tite, ca kai ɗak?” Si nii: “Caa wan a ɗwai nahwai al ti ndaret ha?” Si nii: “Yee, ca hwi ti mwan a fa sok sai!”

Nahwai ti niyis kamo’: “A shengat kong a yish – lai mwan ti yesan.” Mar ma da a halai a mashwis a nya mmis, ɓa ɗamani ta nyis ɗong! Nai si hwi ti mwani, ti mun a maliu kong, nahwai ti luket, ti heret la a te’e. Kamo’ nai a yes, a dum ti kurkudung ti nya kong, a langis a tutok ma ndukul. Naf si walai a dash ɗamani mma uwu walis a manyesh ti a mwan kil ti hai nzis. Lai ndai kong, tima nahwai ti lakis, a kwis.

The Bush-fowl and the Hare

The bush-fowl once spoke to the hare about the evils of this world. But the hare said: “When will you stop complaining! You are a coward! We should go one day and see what life really is.”

Then, one day, the bush-fowl said: “Get ready to go!” She had chosen a day when people were going to hunt. She said to the hare: “Today we will see what the world is like.” They got ready and went. She said to the hare: “Enter into that tall grass!” The hare did it. She herself flew on top of a tree. When she saw the hunters coming, she said to the hare: “Now be careful, the world is about to come!”

When the hunters reached the place, they saw the bush-fowl on top of the tree. They discussed whether they should try to catch it. They said: “We won’t get it easily, it’s too clever!” They decided to set fire on the tall grass around.

The bush-fowl said to the hare: “Now be careful, my dear, the world has come.” The hare had fallen asleep, because he had taken the whole thing for a joke. They threw the fire and it started to rise. The bush-fowl flew away and escaped. The hare woke up and jumped about confusedly. He was burnt by the fire and finally beaten to death by the hunters. That was the way of the world which the bush-fowl had warned him about, but he had refused to listen.

The Frog and the Fly

Here is another short animal tale from Daffo. It was recorded by Mr. Mafulul Lek in 1992. Sorry for the low sound quality!

Ka mbokol-fiɗok si kukwish

Ka mbokol-fiɗok si kukwish si yu a yang.  Nai si nang yang kong, si nwaak. Nai mbokol-fiɗok ti niyis kukwish: „A teken hai!“ A niyet: „A mbokol-fiɗok, shi teken hai!“ Ti niyis: „A kukwish, a teken hai!“ A niyet: „A mbokol-fiɗok, shi teken hai!“ Mbokol-fiɗok nai ti nii: „Yee, a tek nza ɗamahi, i tek nzin ɗamini!“ Ti har manjeng la, ti har manjeng la, ti tik a har manjeng la, ti nii, mu tek yang a hai, tu ti wa kpa’ ti taɗaset! Nai ha kukwish a lang a yahot a sisali kong. Aa yahot; aa yahot, aa yahot, aa yahot, yir si mashu ti sisali. A nii kong, ma was yiri la, a mbukai hai fo, a hwi ti la a ndik a te’e. Miis nai ɗes a wal, fat ma mbokol-fiɗoki!

The Frog and the Fly

One day, the frog and the fly went to cut thatch-roof grass. After cutting it, they bundled it. Then the frog asked the fly to put it on her head. But the fly asked the frog to take up his own bundle first. The frog asked the fly to take up her bundle first. The fly asked the frog to take up his bundle first. The frog then said: „O.k., you take up your own yourself, I will take up my own myself. She summoned up all her strength and lifted up the bundle, but (due to its weight she fell down on her back and) her intestines burst. Then the fly started to throb with laughter. He laughed and laughed and laughed, till tears ran down his face. He wanted to wipe off his tears, but accidentally knocked his head so hard that it fell down. Now the fly was also dead, like the frog. (That’s why it doesn’t pay to laugh at someone’s misfortune, let alone to cause it.)

The Lion and the Hare

Mr. Mafulul Lek, a former journalist who lives in Daffo, has collected and written down a number of animal tales in the Daffo variety of the Ron language. Here is one of them. You can also listen to the recording. Sorry – the quality of this recording is poor. Continue reading

The war for Umgbaleng

Here is another story written by Mr. Mafulul Lek in 1992. It is about Umgbaleng, a beautiful woman from Daffo who is said to have caused a tribal war between the Eastern Ron and the Daffo. Continue reading

Malim memorial song

In the past, different subgroups of the Ron people have fought against each other and also against their neighbours. Here is a story about a prisoner of war taken  from the Birom people by the Butura people. It was written down by Mafulul Lek in 1992.

Continue reading

The magic of sewing clothes

Here is the last of a number of stories dealing with the conflict between traditional and modern life. Mr. Mafulul Lek from Daffo recorded it in 1992 and helped me transcribe and translate it.


Kike ti tor Ɗaam

Kike ti tor ɗaam ɗes, mmit findel ma kang kwa. Ɗaam ma yish ndee si yaas ti a kasuwa, naf si gon kek, si shitai ɗam mama si twaar tihi kwa. Si haalai kek, wa’ ɗamani a ti’ kike. Si niyai, nan kike ti ngguli tuni ti. Taa, andai ti kwa.

Ɗamani nai ti lang la kong, shin ta gon fata’ ti mwa, ta yu, ɓa si toris. Naaf ma tori – Makpan ɗiin – ta wal a mba sis, ta kiris ren tima ta tik la, ta mat ɗaami. Nai ta niyis wawa’, ma fuk, ta toris, ta wop a wis ti ɗama mmis.

Nai Makpan ta shitai wet, ta niyis ye, ɓa ta mun a mamun, ta toris. Nai ta kir nggong a mamuni. Maɗam ta tek bakam ti lef ɗaami, ta ɓaak ti fata’i la, shin mma yit yis a shyaatan fo. Ta kinggit hai, ta kir a ndik, ta shitis Maɗam fo, ta niyis: “Mimai nai a masayi?” Ta niyis: “Ɗaman fat mi?” Ta niyis: “A tek ɗam, a lyaafen ti fata’ la pasarak, yo tite ndai?” Ta nii, miis ma manii, ngga’ mama si masaahai nai, si ku si tik a tof la ti yo gugwini; ta niyis, yit a shyaatai tindai masut ti mburati kwa. Ta niyis, ye, ɓa ta mun a mamun, ta shitai; ta niyis, a kwis.

Ta niyis wa’, mma ma wis a matik ti cif ma fata’ tima a goni kwa, naf ma ɓur si shitis kek. Ahun wa’, ɗam mama a mba sis ti, a ku a ɓaak fata’i la sai, a ti’ mi? Ta niyis wa’, a ngyaa’ai sis ti ɗaman sai, ko mmis a tek kwa. Wa’ ɗakwai yit fata’i ti, ta mbiis ti a yish ɗak!

Naf ndee si tof, si kai yit a wis a mbayat, Maɗami yit a nun mwat, yis a tor ɗaami. Ta wal, ta faris naf a mamun, ta ku ta tal cif ma tor ɗaami, ta rang ti. Ɗes, wa’ ta yu a wur, yit a nan ta mburu, ta mbiis ham a hai ta wa’ ngga’ mama naaf ma tor ɗaami a nggyaa’ai sis ti tep, ahun ɗam mama si mbaa ti ɗaam ma tori.

Taa nani, naf ma tor ɗaami ndee si tyaak a lef ɗaami, naf ma ɗaami sin a shitayi, kwa – mma si shitai miis ka’ ti kurkwil a hai. Ɓiil gbum gbum, si waan mmis ɗaam, mama si walan a tori a kaswa a fa wa’ ko mmis a fuk, si nggyaa’is yish ti ɗam mama si mbaa ti ɗaam ma tori sai kwa. Andai ɗes, si kwis ti ɗaam ma gonjong mama si gwaan la kyani. Si nii wa’, ɗaam ma naf ma mamot mi. Wa’ motan tima ti hek naf ma ɗaami mu yet ti a yish ta ɗaami. Ahun, mma si kai ko, si gon ɗaami, nai si wop a wan ta mburai, si faris shir, si damai hai tawe, si ku si shu a yish – ka ndok wa’ ɗama ɗiin a niyis.

The sewing machine

In Ron land, the sewing machine, too, caused a lot of trouble, when it first appeared. Before its arrival, people only bought ready-made clothes in the local markets. They did not know how the clothes were sewn and what the sewing machine looked like. Some people took it to be a kind of bicycle, since it was called Keke (‘bicycle’) in Hausa.

When the sewing machine first appeared in the Ron land, a certain Ron man bought a piece of cloth and took it to the tailor. The tailor, an Ibo man, took the man’s measurements and told him to come and collect the clothes the next day. But the man wanted to wait until he had finished sewing it.

So the tailor asked the man to sit down and wait. Then he took his scissor and cut the cloth. When the man saw this, he became annoyed and asked the tailor what the hell he was doing. The tailor was surprised about the man’s reaction. The man asked him: “Why did you cut my cloth into pieces?” The tailor replied: “But that is how it is done!”. The man would not believe anything like that.

He threatened to take the tailor to court, unless he would pay him the piece of cloth he had torn. He was also suspicious of the tape with which the tailor had taken the measurements. When the tailor told him that he had only measured him with it, he wouldn’t believe it. He had expected that the measurements would be taken with the cloth, not with the tape.

Other people gathered at the tailor’s shop when they hard them quarreling. They had to stand by until the tailor had finished sewing the man’s clothes and the man had paid him. Afterwards, the man immediately went to a native doctor to find out whether his second self had been harmed by the tailor’s tape.

After this incident, tailors never again cut the cloth in presence of their customers – unless they already knew about the sewing machine. On the other hand, some people only buy ready-made clothes, in fear of the measuring tape.

In the same way, some people suspect second-hand clothes sold in the markets. They fear that if these are clothes of dead people, the disease which killed the former owner may still be inside the clothes. If they still buy it, they will at least ask a native doctor to remove any disease found in it before they will wear it.

More stories by Mafulul Lek dealing with the conflict between traditional and modern life:

The wrist-watch used as oracle


A Rolex wrist watch (Photo: Wikimedia)

Would you think that a wrist watch (the type with hands, not the digital type) could be used to divine? Here is another funny story Mr. Mafulul Lek from Daffo told me in 1992. Continue reading