The case of the stolen mask

Here is a story about a ritual conflict between the Daress and the Mapun section of the Ron and how it was solved. It was told by Mr. Ɗanjuma Malan Kating, a descendant of the Daress from Malul village in Daffo district.

Ceng kil ti ɗam ma sherat

Ɗares ma Malul mi yo Ɗarami – masut ma Cen a Ɗares. Cen a Ɗares ndee itii mai, a tong mayes na a shinggil tima Run si Naf-a-Ne mi na kwai. Ndee a mun yo naaf ma ɓol mai fiyang. Si nii, yit mai, ndee a ta’ kikyal mama ca laal yo tash na a shinggil tuni shak. Taash makit a Ɗafo, fat Tash-a-Agong, ka Makaba, ka Faji, ka Fatash ma Ɗayi, ka ma Ɗer-a-Alul, shak si nii, Ɗares mai, ndee a ta’. Ɗes, yit mai, a ta’ makit a jing ma Ram-a-ɗares a Manggor, ka Ɓutura, kat ti Forof a Run-a-Fit (Ɓukus).

Ndee sin Ɗaram, masut ma Ɗaresi, si mun hyaang kwa. Nai si mun  a kil ma ɗanggat si Mapun ma Maluli. Sin Mapuni si wu sis mamun hyaang. Ɗaram, masut m Ɗaresi, ndee si mun ti Nyorong nzis. Mma kocok si ji Nyorongi ahun rai, si ver. Findel a nii, sin Mapuni ndee si mun ti Nyorong kwa. Nai wa’ si yes a nan ta Ɗaram – Ɗares ma Maluli – si niyis, ɓa si kir Nyorong nzis ti Ɗaresi akul. Ɗarami nai si fukis, ɗak ndee si mun a kil ma ɗanggati ti.

Taa tei wa’ nai Mapun ma Maluli si kon a mayes ta fulul, si  shir Nyorong ti Ɗares ta ti a disang ma Ɗarami. Ti le’ ta mbule’, Ɗaram si gam Nyorong ti a disang wet. Si tof, si findel a hai ta mafot ti Nyorongi si ngga’ mama mi wan a gami. Si lal Mapun, si niyis: „Nyorong ti fot ta na a disang, naa gami.“ Mapuni si niyis, wa’ sin ɗes, si sun, si nii ɗama ɗiin andai a ɓul kwa. Mapuni ndee si mun a wan a sukwyati, si tong ta’ disang mmis, si nyaahis Ɗaram, wa’ sam ti shir ti, taa tei ti, si wetai Nyorong ti Ɗares tima si shiri!

Ɓur nai ti furai mashar a hai ta mafot ti Nyorong ti Ɗares,  Ɗarami. Ɗaram si mun a kul rol ma sakwari, Mapun si pya’ a nani, si pya’ a te’e. Si nii, gbum gbum, si sun, sin mi, si shir Nyorongi kwa. Mapuni si mun a masai ɗamani mma si walan a gon nzis Nyorongi taa Naf-a-Ne.

Ɗares ma Ɗarami nai si shitai ndareti, si niyis: „Nzinin  Nyorongi ti fotet ndai. Kabok, ca kir nzu Nyorongi akul, fat ndee ca kir nzinini.“ Mapun si niyis wa’, ta fulul ahun ta ren! Si niyis wa’, mimai a fut Mapun si Ɗares? Si niyis wa’, ndee si shitai Nyorong nzis ti Ɗaresi, si ti’ shash ma shambaran. Ahun wa’ ɗes Maɗares a cwaai gandir, sin si cwaai kwa; a cwaai puri, mama ɗes sin si cwaai kwa. A fa andai wa’ ɗama ɗiin a tik a fut sis akul kwa gbum.

Taa tei nai Mapun ma Maluli si jengai Nyorong ti Ɗaram Ɗaresi  hai. Si furai gaasai Ɗaram, si nii wa’, mi yo mwar mi, a fa wa’ mi ti Nyorong kwa. Si furis gof cengang a fwash. Mma si ji Nyorongi gbaak, si shai sis veri. Nai Madaram ɗiin ma sum Manjum Mangga’ ta faris rundong shita’ hara, ɓa ta ver, si kwis ti. Manjum ta findel, ta lak wet, jing ti to. Si niyis, wa’ mma a ver, ma wan a mamot. Nai ta lulis, ta niyis: „Hun Mapun mama hu jyaai, hu ver, hu mwaat kwa, hu mun kawa?“ Ta hwyis ti caan a nani.

Mapun si tik a shai sis mayes ti gwir mmis a Manju, kil mma  Nyorong ti Malul ti zwaat. A fa wa’ mi ka Nyorong. A nani ti, Ɗaram si niyis, mi wan ti gwir mmis a Manjuhi – ɗaman mma ma wan a maɓuli, ta ɓul kek ! Si nii, Maɗaram ɗiin ma sum Kating ma Jangbong nai ta nggwak ra a ndik, ta lal Ɗarami, ta niyis, si tek gwir, si yu ti a Manjuhi. Ta no’ yish. Ta har dwan, ka waging, ka bakam ti mgbang a dalang, ka ti yishi. Nyaasi shak andai ɗes, si no’ yish. Si pak la, si ɗusis Mapun si kiran mmis gwir ti a Manju. Mapun si shitai gwir ma Ɗaram a mayes, si mashit a dyar, si findel ti dyar. Ti mayes, naafa ma sum Kating Majangbongi ta munis a fa mar hayi ɗiin, yit a dum fol mmis. Nai si kir gwiri a ndik, Nyorong ti cakpak a fo, Kating a Janggbong ta shit la, dyar si shar yosh. Maapun ta dwe’ shilim, ta shu a nggong ta mmis gwiri, ta langai hai a zuti kindiling kindiling – fo’ si mashu ta ti a nggong ma gwiri yur yur. Nyorong ti tik a cakpak a fo, Kating Majanggbong ta shitis a kima. Ta dum galal ma fol mmis, ta mahurish. Ta niyis, Madaram ma Ɗares ta dwe’ shilim, ta shu a mmis gwir ɗes, ɓa ta zut. Ta masai andai, ta mun a zut gwiri, fo si nyaai yur yur ta ti a nggong, fat kwai ma Mapuni. Nyorong ti tik a hwash a fo, Mapun si kat a shyaatan! Ɗeng ta heris gwir ma Ɗaresi shen kwa. Nai Nyorong ti Mapun si ti Ɗares, Ɗaram, ti zut a Manjuhi akul, ti makar. Maɗaram ta tek gwir mmis, mawis ti a wur. Kating Majanggbong ta lifit hwak ti fayi ti Nyorong nzis. Ta rwai dwan a waging, ta shiɗet, ta nii: „I shiɗet naa nzin Ukunggo Yong a Kandik – taa kwai, mma ɗeng a tik a nggyai gwir ma Ɗaram, mminin ti mawal si naafan sai!“ Ta niyis: „Ceng kil ti ndok andai.“ Taa reni ti, si nii, hai ndee ti tikis a man gwir ma Ɗaram masut ma Ɗares, yit a wan a Manju kwa, mayes a ɓwe ti kwai!

Findel mama caa worongi, ka fe ma layi ti mayes si nyai a ma  kwa mani. Ɗes, ɓa naf si sun awei ti, Mapun ndee si shir Nyorong ti Ɗares ma Malul ma Ɗafo. Ndee si shir ɓa wa’ ka ndok si maju a fa ram hai si Ɗaresi. Nai si zut gwir ma Nyorong ti sherat ti, fo’ si mashu. Si nii, wa’ Nyorong nzis ti kek ti zwaat gwir, fo’ si mashuhi. Wa’ Ɗaram, Ɗares, mi wan a mbai sai ɗamani ahun mburati wet. Nai si kir gwir mmis a ndik, si zut, fo’ si nii yur anda ɗes. Si taris Mapun tagun la, si kat ti fenshash mba! Ahun kek, ca nii, wun taa findel sani, yit mai: Ca shyaar Nyorong kwa!

Naaf ma worong ka findel sani, yin mai: Ɗanjuma Malan Kating,  wash ma Kating Majangbong, mar ma Ukunggo Yong, a Kandik, Ɗares ma Malul, a Ɗafo.

The case of the stolen mask

The inhabitants of the Daram ward in Malul village of Daffo district are descendants of the legendary Cen a Daress. He is believed to be the first settler in what is today known as Ron-Kulere chiefdom. He was said to be a great warrior. He was also an expert in stonework. He is believed to have made the famous stone causeways in the Ron land, like those at Tash-a-Agong, Makaba, Faji, Fatash, Dayi (in Daffo district) and at Daress mountain, Butura and Forof (in eastern Ron land).

The Daram clan of the Daress was very small in number. They settled together with the Mapun group in a place called Malul. They had their own traditional religion’s authorities and feasts, whereas the Mapun group had neither of the two. Therefore they came to the Daram and asked them to allow them to take part in their rituals. The Daram men agreed in consideration of their good relationship.

But then one night the Mapun went and stole their mask from their fetish hut. In the morning, the Daram men found that their mask had disappeared. They called for a meeting, to discuss how to get back the mask. They informed the Mapun about it and asked them whether they knew where it had disappeared. The Mapun denied having anything to do with the disappearing of the mask.

Before stealing the mask, the Mapun had built a special house, which they told the Daram men was a “medicine store”. But it was there that they hid the stolen mask. The Daram trailed the footprints, but the Mapun firmly denied having taken their mask.

Before stealing the mask, the Mapun had also bought another mask from the Kulere. When the Daram men realised the trick, they requested the Mapun to allow them to do their rituals together with them. But the Mapun refused. They claimed that when they did their rituals with the Daress people’s mask, they used to get diarrhoea. Also, the Daress used to eat lizards and horsemeat, which they didn’t eat. Therefore they wanted to break their ties with the Daram completely.

From that time on, the Mapun took control of the rituals. They started treating the Daram like second class citizens. They allowed them to take part in their rituals, but denied them the higher ranks of the religious authority. When a Daram man called Manjum offered a five-year-old bull in order to be promoted to a higher rank they still refused it. After failing to convince them, the man asked why they would not promote a ¡ares man. They answered that he would immediately die. The man then asked them if they, as members of the higher ranks, would not die themselves one day. The Mapun also denied them the right to bring their clan drum to the place of the ritual meetings.

This was the point where the Daram rebelled. On orders of one of their elders, Kating Jangbong, they armed themselves with spears, knives and swords, took their clan drum and went to the meeting place, whatever the consequences should be.

On arrival, they found the Mapun already in the meeting place with their own drum. The Mapun became nervous when they saw the Daram coming fully armed with their drum. Kating Jangbong sat down on a stone and lighted his pipe. They put their drum on the ground and cried out in the name of their stolen mask. Kating Jangbong was boiling with anger. Then the Mapun put shilim grass in their own drum. As they beat it, “magic acca” poured out from it.

The Daram group once again cried out in the name of their stolen mask. Kating Jangbong blinked with his eye, while smoking his pipe. On the eye-blink, he had asked his men to also pick shilim grass and put it into their own drum and then beat it as the Mapun group had done. They did, and as they beat their drum, the “magic acca” poured out from it, as that of the Mapun had done. The Daram men burst out cheers. The Mapun were shocked. No one dared to go near the Daress people’s drum.

The drums of the two groups were beaten together. At the end of the meeting, the Daram took their drum. Kating ma Jangbong rose up and followed his men. Pointing his spear at the Mapun men, he swore by his late mother Ukunggo Yong of Kandik that if anyone would again challenge their religious authority, they would settle it by the sword. From that day, the drums of the Daram clan and the Mapun clan were always beaten side by side.

This incident is being recorded as a history for the coming generations. Everyone should know that the Mapun group stole the mask of the Daram clan. Their aim was to deny the descendants of Daress any share of power in the Ron land. When the Mapun beat their clan drum and the ‘magic Acca’ came out from it, they thought that the Daram clan could not do the same magic. But they were silenced and proved wrong, as the Daram could do the same thing, even after their religious mask had been stolen. The lesson of this story is: Don’t tamper with other people’s religious symbols.

This short story was written by Mr. Danjuma Malan Kating, grandson of Kating Jangbong, son of Mrs. Ukunggo Yong of Kandik, a descendant of the Daress of Malul in Daffo district.

3 responses to “The case of the stolen mask

  1. Maren Solomon Magaji

    I palang fwet ti worong sa. Yin Mafatash mai a Butura.

  2. Dares Malan Marawes

    Yin ‘I ji maluwe fwet ti worong sa. This has really broadened my knowledge of our fore-fathers.


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