The Fox and the Gray Heron

Here is another animal tale – this time about an ungrateful fox. It was written down and recorded by late Mr. Mafulul Lek from Daffo in 1992. Sorry for the poor recording quality!

Shuwir si Ɗagora

Ren ɗiin shuwir ndee a kai caan. Nai ta nii, ma cwayi ka kyasasi, kyas ta ngga’ai a worong wa wak. Ta lang a makinding, ti sharis hai, dyar si furai a rang la taa hai a kil.

Ta nii, ma mashit la, ɗagora mwan. Ta niyet: “Kabok, a naa, shi shitai shum nzin, ɓa shi bum sen – ti tuni i mapwet kwa!” Ti niyis: “Mimai a ɓula hai yo?” Ta niyet: “I shir caan ɗiin ti, nai inii yaa cwayi ka kyasasi, ɗiin a ngga’is na a worong.” Ti niyis: “Nai a ku aa nii ci masai tite tihi?” Ta niyet: “Yaa kabok shesh ti, ɓa shi ti’ fo mmish ma sambetan fat mangger sai na a la a yen, shi teken kyasi la. Yaa wesh a tal shak ɗam mama shaa fuki.”

Nai ɗagora ti niyis ye, ta ɓwai fo la. Ta ɓwai la, ti ti’ fo ti, ti re’is kyasi la. Taa tei, shuwir ta ɗul lulya, ko ta tik a tu. Ɗagora ti niyis: “A faren folal nzin tima kwai a laki kong, a yish!” Shuwir ta shitet fo, ta niyet: “Kandak, kwai ci nii wan mai yaa wesh a tali ha?” Ɗagora ti niyis: “Kwai ci kirai sum kwa, ɗam mama aa wen a fari, a faren kek, i palang.” Shuwir ta niyet wa’: “Shi ti’ hai nzish a la a yen, shi tek la cala – shi palang kwa ha? Ahun ɗaman mama yaa wesh a fari ɗiin mama a wu andai a ti’ mihi?”

Ɗagora ti niyis: “Findel mama yaa nii, i lak nai, a teken taa fo kpwyak! Yee, a ɓwai fo la, ɓa i tik a mashit ti, ahun ɗama ɗiin a kat ti a la, i walahai a tek la.” Shuwir ta ɗamai fo lulya, ta nii wa’, haling ti ɗama ɗiin, hon ti tikis a ru’ hai ti a fo, ɓa ta nyai wa hap. Nai ta ɓwai fo la wonggolong.

Ɗagora ti niyis: “A tik a ɓwai la gbanjeng, ɓa i re’ hai ti shak!” Ta matamas, ta nggifinis, ta wak fo la, ɗagora ti tik a tek kyasi, ti wakis ti a la wa suluk! Ti nii wa hwak, ti luket.

Shuwir ta nii, ma matik a nii kabok, kyas ta kai lahi nvwet. Ɗagora ti mun ti a fasa, ti niyis: “A kai ko andai, ɓa i lala mburu man, ta teka la ɓaang!”

Ti yu, ti niyis shukve: “Shuwir yit na a amot ti a tye’! Kyas ma caan mai, a ngga’ai a la. A nii, shak naaf mama a bum sis, a tekis la, ma wis a far folal ahun caan ti mburati.”

Shukve nai ta fwaar, ta wop a wan. Ta niyis shuwir: “I halai marutat ti ɗagorahi, i man i yesan – a ro cin kang!” Shuwir ta niyis: “I ro cin a yinde ɗesi? A teken kyasi la ta na a la kang, i tala folali ahun caan ti mburat nza kek kwa, mimai i lal ha tihi?” Shukve ta sisal, ta tyaakai hai, ta niyis: “Ma halingyat nai! Munggi caan tima a walan a cwayi ɗamahi, a ngga’ ti kyas a la ti, aa wen a matik a fari hi? Ahun kyas ma caan mama a ngga’a a lahi mai, aa wen a fari hi? Yee, i cwaai kyasas kwa. A walai a ɗuk ko la kek, i cu fo mmin, i honis murum si cire kyasasi!”

Shuwir ta lang a manii lawa, lawa ɗak! Ɗakwai a sun, ɗakwai ta laket ɗagora tima ti bum sis findel ma fwash sai kwa. Nai ta har sakwar wa wyak. Yit mai, findel a nii: “A bwaam cira, ta ku ta nggor ha.”

The Fox and the Gray Heron

One day the fox stole a fowl. He ate the whole thing, even the bones. Then a bone got stuck in his  throat. He desperately tried to get rid of it but couldn’t. He was nearly suffocated.

He saw a gray heron passing by. He called her: “Please, mother, have pity with me! I will die if you  don’t rescue me.” She asked him what had happened. He replied: “I stole a fowl and ate it together with the bones. Now one  of the bones has got stuck in my throat. She asked him how she could help him. He said: “Please, put your long beak into my throat and remove the bone.  I will pay you whatever reward you want!”

The gray heron agreed and asked him to open his mouth. He opened it and she removed the bone. The fox made a great sigh of relief and came back to life again. The gray heron then asked for the promised reward. The fox played the fool and said: “Please, remind me! I have forgotten  which reward I have promised you.” The gray heron said: “You didn’t fix it exactly. Just give me whatever  you deem fit.” The fox then said: “Are you not grateful that you put your head into my  mouth and got it out safely. Is there any greater reward than this?”

The gray heron said: “You have taken these words from my mouth! But  please, open up your mouth once again and let me check whether I have left anything.” The fox welcomed this offer, as he now saw an opportunity to kill the  bird. He opened up his mouth widely.

The gray heron said: “Open up your mouth more widely, so I may put my  head inside completely!” He opened his mouth even more widely and closed his eyes. The gray heron  then took the bone and threw it into his throat again. She then flew away.

The fox was now more badly off than before. The gray heron flew away and said: “Don’t give up yet! I will call a doctor for you!”

She went and told a vulture: “The fox is dying over there! A bone has  got stuck in his throat. He has promised to pay anyone who can remove the bone.”

The vulture quickly went to the fox. He said to the fox: “I heard about you from the gray heron. Please,  hurry up!” The fox asked: “Hurry up to do what? Please take the bone out of my  throat quickly and I will give your reward! What else did I call you for?” The vulture laughed loudly. He said: “Don’t be stupid! What reward are  you going to give me? Now that you have already eaten the fowl, will you give me the bone? I don’t like bones. Just give up the ghost and I will take my share and leave the bones to the hyena and the dogs!”

The fox regretted his rudeness, but too late! He wished he hadn’t treated the gray heron so rudely. He collapsed and died. So the fox fell according to the proverb: “There is no gratitude in this  world.”

In memoriam Akila Filibus Mandue

Two days ago, I received the sad news that my friend Akila Filibus Mandue has deceased  very suddenly and unexpectedly.

I have known Akila since 1990. At that time I was in Nigeria to collect data about the Ron dialect spoken in Daffo.

I met him again a few years later (1995), when Akila was one of the main participants of the “Ron Language Committee”, which had just been founded.

From 1998 to 2000 I lived with my family in Jos. At that time, I was working at the University of Jos, and also at Nigeria Bible Translation Trust (NBTT). NBTT then offered training courses for future translators, and Akila was one of the most gifted of all who attended these courses. During that time we were together much and he often visited us at our home in Jos.

Together we tried to create an awareness for the development of the Ron language. We published three issues of the Ron Language and Culture Journal “Findel” (Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 3), printed posters and organized a writing workshop for teachers.

Akila Mandue (left) and Benjamin Machif (right) with the latest issue of our journal “Findel”. I took this picture in Daffo in 1999

Later Akila continued to work on the translation of the Bible into Ron, and also on the translation and dubbing of the Jesus film into the Daffo/Butura variety of Ron (link to Jesus film in Lis ma Ron). In that version of the film the narrator’s voice is Akila’s voice.

Akila has done a lot of good in his life, much more than I know and can list here. His death is a great loss for all of us. May his gentle soul rest in peace! And may God give his family and friends comfort and strength in this difficult time of saying goodbye!

Songs from Daffo

Here are a few shorts song from Daffo, which I recorded in 1990. They were sung by late Mr. Mafulul Lek. I have added a litteral translation, but I don’t really know what is the deeper meaning of the songs.

Bakam ti foten

Bakam ti foten a (m)ater a (M)ading wa disho.
Da a mgbang ta tok hururu ta teken wa disho.

Here is a litteral translation:
bakam = big knife, sword (used on farm, but also in war)
ti foten = it got lost to me / I lost
a mater a (M)ading = on the way to Mading (Mwaghavul land?)
da a mgbang = the great father (=Chief?)
ta tok hururu = he ran fast
ta teken = he took it for me
wa disho = sound of sneezing

Mar ti Wulyang

Mar ti Wulyang a shoon hwak-hwak,
damish a yu al taa wur yo?
Damin a yu a kil ma mbar ma Cakfem.

Mar ti Wulyang = daughter of Hausa / Fulani
shoon = grinding
hwak-hwak describes the sound of grinding
damish = your father (talking to a girl)
a yu al = where did he go?
taa wur = from home
yo = can’t really be translated
damin = my father
a yu a kil ma mbar ma Cakfem = he went to buy palm oil in Cakfem

The Hare and the Hyena (2)

The last story I posted on this blog was an animal tale about the hare and the hyena. Here is another one. Somehow Hare – who is a typical trickster – always gets the upper hand, while Hyena in the end always gets killed.

The text was recorded in 1992 by late Mr. Mafulul Lek. Again, please excuse the low recording quality.

Kamo’ si murum

Nafu ti kamo’ ndee ti niyis, ta wet a han njukum. Nai ta niyet yee, ti waangis njukumi la. Nai ti waangis njukumi fat a laki. Mar ma da nai ta yu, ta mun a mamun, ta tang njukum mmis a fo rahap. Yit andai, naf si yes, si wal han, mma a lyan ɗama ɗiin kwa.

Njukum ta yes, ta nu, naf si mun a ɓuti kong, nafu ti kamo’ ti niyis, ta yu ta ɓutis mmis kong. Mar ma da nai ta tek ɓolong mawis a sherat a gong ta naafa. Ta ɗusai naafani a kirai gong ti njukumi ukama hai, ka ɗaam ahun shir si cwis njukumi. Nai mar ma ungguryat ta pak la, ta kir ɓolong a ndik, ta shitai mafwar ukamahi, ta shuret. Mafwar ti kamahi ndee ti mun yo malawa’ ti. Nai wa’ ɓa ta nggyai vwashi, wa nggak, ra ta katis ti. Ta nyaash wa’ mu fuk sis ti, ti ku ti kiisai ra la ti vwashi. Nai ta tek ra ma fuli, ta nii, ma wasai ti vwash ma fulali, malawa’ wa ngak, ti tik a kayi. Ta shit han, ta shit han, ta shitai a furan a turuk ti.

Ta nii, ma matik a mashit la, murum mwani a mayes ta ti a kima ti tutok. Ta niyet: “Haang, awiin! Shish ti, ɗakwai ɗakwai i furai a gyoki. Naa mbayati si mafwar tuni, a hai ta lo ɗiin mama i shai set, i nii, i faresh shiyish. Ti kiyenai re la ma fulali. Shi lang, shi kar nin, ɓa ci yu, i gofesh ti lohi.” Haling ti murum – naa ti lwyati – nai ti lifit hwak, ti jwyet ukama ti malawa’i a jing nvwet, ti nvwetai kamo’i yish, ti kir a te’e. Malawa’ ti no’ la rangkang, ti nii, mu matik a makikat taa lel!

Ti nii, mu ɓwai fo a hwash mmit kyai, naf ɓiil myani. Si nii: “Haang, nafu tima mu walai can njukum a cwayi tuni mwan!” Si ndulai yish, si mun a heki, kamo’ mar ma ungguryat yit a ngyaa’ayi mawis, ɓa ɗamani ta niyis! Ɓuɓwar ahun lan ti kamo’ mar ma ungguryat ndai.

The Hare and the Hyena

The hare’s wife once asked him to farm groundnuts for her. He agreed, but asked her to fry the groundnuts first. So she fried the groundnuts for him, like he had said. The hare went, sat down somewhere and ate the fried groundnuts. All other people went and did their farming, but he never planted  anything.

At the harvest time, the hare’s wife asked him to go and harvest the  groundnuts. The rabbit took a bag and went to someone’s farm to steal. He came to a farm and saw a scare-crow which the owner of the farm had  fixed there in order to keep away animals and thieves. The hare put down his bag and came closer. He greeted the scare-crow which looked like a pretty girl to him. The scare-crow was made of a sticky matter. The hare stretched out his hand to caress the scare-crow’s breast. It  got stuck. The hare thought the girl must be in love with him, because she caught  his hand at her breast. So he stretched out his second hand and wanted to caress the other breast too. It also got stuck. He now realized that he had fallen into a trap and was in great trouble.

He looked around and saw the hyena coming along. He called her: “Thank God! It is you that I was looking for. I am  fighting with this girl over a piece of meat which I wanted to give to you. She has seized my hands. Please come and separate us, so I can give you the meat!” The hyena who has always after meat believed his story and came to his  rescue. It seized the rabbit from the scare-crow’s hold. But while doing this it got stuck to the scare-crow itself.

It started howling. Soon some people came. They said: “Look, there is the one who has stolen all our groundnuts!” They started beating it to death, while the hare quickly escaped. Thus the hyena had lost another round against the hare.

The Hyena and the Hare

Did you like the story about the Lion and the Hare which was published a while ago on this blog? Then you may enjoy this one, too. It was recorded and transcribed by late Mr. Mafulul Lek from Daffo in 1992. Sorry for the low quality of the sound! Continue reading

The Lizard and the Hare

Here is yet another animal tale about the clever hare. It was recorded and transcribed by Mr. Mafulul Lek from Daffo in 1992. Enjoy!

Gandir si kamoʼ

Ren ɗiin Gandir ndee a sho ligit ti manzonet, ta fil, ta dash nyorong ti lwyashash, ta taret kura la. Nai ti yu ti findeli a nan ta Saf Kukum. Saf nai ta nii, si kai gandiri, si kulis.

Mma si nii, mi kayi, ta tok, ta ɗwis a swyai ma mer ma bwan ɗiin.Mma a shit la holeng, ɗeng a nggaas kwa, ta ku ta ɗor la mawan a gam ca. Ɗamani nai si masai, ɓa si kai, si masai wet.

Nai kukum ta lal ɗaam ma lan shak, ta niyis: “Ca masai tite, ca kai gandir sani?” Ta niyis, naaf mama a kai gandir sai, ta kulis, ma wis a noʼ ram, ta mun yo saf ma gandyar. Kamoʼ mar ma ungguryat nai ta nii, yit mawan, ta kulis gandiri.

Ta yu a nggong ma mer mama gandiri ma ti, yit ti aa, ka cira, ka mar ma lo ma kukwa ɗiin a ra. Ta shuris gandiri, ta niyis: “Kabok, a nisin, aa si cira sani ma mwa mi, i gon. Hon i noʼa shen na a nani, ɓa i yu a rik kang, i ma yes ndai.” Nai ta noʼ aa a teʼe, ta tek lo, ta kiret fo. Ta noʼ cira a teʼe, ta mbuk shalaʼ, ta shwis fo.

Gandir yit a shyaatayi ta ti a fa mer, ta sisal, ta niyis: “Mimai nai a masayi?” Kamoʼ ta niyis: “Fat mihi?” Gandir ta niyis: “A tek lo, a faret aa, a tek shalaʼ, a faris cira, yo tite ndayi?” Kamoʼ ta niyis: “Ɗakwai i masai tite ti ɗak, kabok a yes, a nisin, a gofen ti!”

Haling ma gandir nai awei ta ɗor ta ti a fa mer mawis Mar ma Ungguryat waʼ a gof ti ɗamani. Nai ta tek shalaʼ taa fo ta cira, ta kulet aa, ta nii, ma tek lo taa fo ta aa, ɓa ta kulis cira kong, mar ma ungguryat ta kon a ranggul mmis kong, ta nyai wa kpuf ti.

Gandir ta lang, sakwar si shambar. Ta mun a sakat-sakat, kamoʼ ta tek manggiʼ, ta noʼ ti rangkang, ta mbuk yit ti. Ta yu, ta kiris Saf Kukum a ndik, ta niyis: “Madish ma gandiri man!” Taa tei Saf Kukum ta tof ɗaam ma lan, ta noʼis Kamoʼ saramat ti ram ma gandyar. A halet ti Mar ma Ungguryati kong.

The lizard and the hare

One day the lizard got drunk and started fooling around. He even fought against the “police bird” and broke off its wing. The police bird went and reported the case to the lion, the king of the animals. The king ordered the lizard’s arresting.

But each time they came to arrest him, he would climb a tall tree and hide in a hole at the top. From there he always watched and made sure that no-one was around, before he would come down to look for food. Thus it was impossible to catch him.

The lion called a meeting of all the animals and asked them what to do about the case. He promised that any animal who could bring the wanted lizard would be crowned as the king of the lizards. The hare promised to bring the lizard.

He went to the tree where the lizard stayed with a goat, a dog and a piece of raw meat. He greeted the lizard and said to him: “Please brother, allow me to fix this goat and dog to your tree. I have just bought them. I will go to town and be back in a minute.” He tied the goat somewhere and put the meat in front of it. He tied the dog somewhere else and put some grass in front of it.

The lizard watched all this from the top of the tree. He laughed and asked the hare what nonsense he was doing. The hare asked: “What do you mean?” The lizard said: “Why do you give meat to the goat and grass to the dog?” The hare responded: “How shall I do it? Please come down and show me!”

The foolish lizard really came down to show the hare how to do things. He took the grass from the dog and gave it to the goat. He was about to take the meat from the goat and give it to the dog, when the hare struck him down with a club.

The lizard fell down headlong. He tried to escape, but the hare tied him with a rope and carried him on his head. He took him to the king, saying. “Here is the wretched lizard!” The lion convened another meeting and the hare was crowned the king of the lizards. That was yet another story about the clever rabbit.

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