Cooking the pumpkin in one piece

Daffo children (picture was taken by me in 1999)

Here is the first of a series of three stories in the Daffo dialect of Ron dealing with the topic “Disciplining your child”. The author, Mr. Mafulul Lek, is building the story around a saying:  Naaf ma we ndee a ji mbolang  a sanggu’! (“A man once cooked a pumpkin in one piece!”). He thinks that one mustn’t be too harsh with children. 

Ji mbolang a sanggu’  (I)

Mar mma a kir, a ndok ta wun sa kwa?

Si nii, naaf ma we ndee a tek mbolang mmis a sanggu’, ta kir a lung,  ɓa ta ji. Mari ta niyis: „Mawa, a da, ma wan a manung kwa. Ha lyaaf ti, ha ku ha ji!“ Dimis ta niyis wa’ yis mar ma vat ma wa, ta ku ta lakis ti mamun a la. Ta tek bakam, ta lef mari la. Ta tuk mbolang mmis ti a lung a sanggu’, ta kai jihi. Ta ji, ta ji wet, mbolang ta kwis ka manung.

Taa tei ta sor mgbwing, ta nii: „Ahun ɗam mma kwai mar sani a  laken awei ti?“ Ta tek bakam, ta lyaaf ti mbolangi, ta tik ti ti a lungi, mbolang ta nung velaash. Ta zut re, ta shu a hai, ta tos shaat ma re, ta nii: „Lawa – ɗakwai i sun, ɗakwai i halai findel mma, a fwen!“ Ta tek mbolangi taa lungi, ta ɓur ti mari, ta nii: „Kabok, a fwen – a yu, a cu, ɓa a lu’, naf si haalai findel mma!“

Yit mai, kwai a mun wun mma si nyaai: „Naaf ma we ndee a ji mbolang  a sanggu’!“

Lul taa tu ti findel sani yit mai:

  1. Ndee si hek naaf ma we mma a hek mar mmis sani ha?
  2. Da a wuaan mar, mar ta wun da kwa?
  3. Ji mbolang a sanggu’ a kwai mu yo mi?

Cooking the pumpkin in one piece

Is a child not allowed to give advice to his father?

A man of the olden times is said to have once put a pumpkin into a pot in one piece, in order to cook it. His boy advised him: “No, father, it won’t cook (like that). You must cut it, before you cook it.” The father angrily replied that he was too small to teach him the lessons of life. He took a knife and killed the boy. He took the pumpkin into the pot in one piece and started cooking it.

It cooked and cooked, but didn’t become done. He was at lost and asked himself: “Could what the boy just told me be the truth?” He took his knife and cut the pumpkin into pieces. Then he put it back into the pot and it was soon well done. He beat up his hands and put them on his head, mourning for the boy like for a grown-up: “Had I known, I should have listened to your advice, my son!” He took the pumpkin from the pot and buried it with the boy, saying: “Please, my son, eat  and reincarnate, that people may always listen to your advice!”

This is now a proverb, which warns people of too harsh discipline: “A man once cooked a pumpkin in one piece!”

Questions to answer:

  1. Was this man killed for having killed his boy?
  2. Parents use to discipline their children. Is a child not allowed to also discipline his parents?
  3. What does “cooking a pumpkin in one piece” stand for today?

One response to “Cooking the pumpkin in one piece

  1. Makut Samuel

    It is interesting to be reminded that no one (irrespective of age/status) is above correction.. I’m also glad that our culture is being preserved through such means, and adequate English translations are given (for those of us still learning the language). More grease to your elbows, and God bless…

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