The wise man who saved a slave

Many of the stories written by Mafulul Lek in the Daffo dialect of Ron are not tales, but mention real people who actually lived in Daffo or some other part of the Ron country. The following story tells about two of them: Malan Mafulul  and Macen Matat. If you happen to know about these people, send a comment!

Mburu mma a bum mor

Mar ɗiin ma sum Malan ma Mafulul a Fanga ma Ɗafo ndee si kai, si gon  la yo mor a shinggil ti Rem, yet fo ma naa nzis Ligit ti Hola. Ndee ti nii, si shiret kambong, taa naafara mmit mai, a yau. Nyorong nai ti wop a kai Malan, ti cu.

Yit ti a kima, mburu ɗiin Macen Matat ta yu a huni ti a shinggil ti  Rem. Si mun a findel ka mwyasi, si nyaai „Macen Matat a Ɗafo“; Malan mori yit a haalai. A yu ta mawet, a niyis: „Haa mai Macen Matat a Ɗafo mama mi laki ha?“ A niyis: „Ei – tite? Haa wamai?“ A niyis: „Inii mai mar mma Malan ma Mafulul, mma ndee hu gon la yo mor na a Rem! Yaa fuk wa ta bum sen ɗak, i tiken la a wur!“ Macen a shu yir, a niyis: „Ye, findel a mawal. A lang ta fulul, naf ka’ a nya, a ɗusen a kil mma i no’ puri sai; ka a mba yis ɗeng laki kwa!“ A niyis: „Ye, i palang, a da!“

Kyak, fat si lak ti, Malan a saga’ fulul, a yu, ma gyok sis ti a  kili; a vur a puri, yis kyahap ti a Ɗafo, ti ta fulul.

Kil ti le’, Rem si gam mor, si gam Macen wet! Si nii: „Macen Atat  mai, a tek mori“; si wop a kul fai. Ti mayes a Ɗafo, sin a Fanga. Si ɗusis ref mi ti a wur; re shak, ka Maceni, wa’ si wis a hai kaɓat, ɓa si shu. Si niyis ref, si lalis. Ref si yu, si lal.

Si pak la ta bakamash ma ho’an a jingash, ka hwer ta kwai si cu  hosh, ka wash ma kaɓat si mashwis a diyar. Ti shitayi, Rem si ro ka swe ma nggongi! Si nii: „Ca kpa! Ca lang a ɓur kil!“ Si nii mgbi’ – shuwit a Rem! Kafe a Fanga si sisal, si nii: „Ca buman Malan ndai – findel a wal!“

Naf si halai. Gip si nii, sutet ti; si yes, si shitai Malan ti diyar  mmis, si ku si fuk. Gip si nii, mburat ti Macen Matat ti, ti sherai Rem a kil; hwer si bakamash ma hai kaɓat ɓiil kwa!

Malan ndee a mun naaf ma mgbang, ta pak, ta tikis la ti a Rem, kil  mma ndee si gon sis la ti. Ndee a mot a wil ma 1956; Rem si yes ti shaati, Fanga si yu, si tek sis, si yes ti, si ɓur sis a fa kyasas ma naf mmis hai. Mburu Macen mma ndee a bum sis a mot a wil ma 1966.

Lul taa tu ti findel sani, yit mai:

  • Sum ti Macen Atat ti ho a fa bum mor sani ahun wet?
  • Mimai ndee a kyaar, si kai naaf ahun mar, si gon la yo mor?
  • Mma fo a langis naaf, ahun a shir kambong a kwai, si kaa’ai, si gon la yo mor, ahun si nyaahai tite?

The wise man who saved a slave

A man named Malan Mafulul of Fanga village in Daffo was sold into slavery because his mother Ligit Hoola had falsely raised an alarm. She had claimed that her cocoyam had been stolen, while in fact her husband had dug it. So the religious authority at once seized Malan. (He was sold into slavery because of the seriousness of the case.)

While he was there, a wise man (who was a close relative) named Macen Matat went to the Birom on an visit. While he was talking with his friends, they mentioned his name “Macen Matat from  Daffo”. Malan was overhearing it. He secretly went to him and asked him: “Are you the Macen Matat from Daffo they are talking about?” He replied: “Yes, what is it? Who are you?” He said: “I am your relative Malan Mafulul whom you have sold into slavery to the Birom. I’m looking for someone to save me, so I may return home.” Macen shed tears and said: “O.k., I will help you. Stand up at night while people are still asleep and meet me at the place where I have tied my horse. Don’t tell anybody!” Malan said: “O.k., thank you, father!”

Exactly as they had planned, Malan met him at the place by the arranged time. Macen took him on horseback and disappeared with him to Daffo.

In the morning the Birom couldn’t find the slave and Macen. They said that it was certainly Macen Matat who took the slave. They followed them at once. When they arrived in Daffo, they made for Fanga. They found only women at home. All the men, including Macen, had gone to cut euphorbiae for fencing their farms. They asked the women to call them. The women went and called them.

They turned up with big swords on their chests and covered with red chalk which they had put to protect themselves against the poisonous juice of the euphorbia. When the Birom saw them, they shivered with fear! They exclaimed: “We are finished! We have run into a war!” They quickly disappeared to Birom land. The Fanga men laughed and said: “We have saved Malan, it is all over!”

People heard about it. Some didn’t believe it, until they came and saw Malan with their own eyes. Others said that it was the wisdom of Macen Matat that had scared away the Birom, not the red chalk and the swords.

When Malan had grown up, he returned to the Birom land, where he once had been sold. When he died in 1956 the Birom sent message to the Fanga people; they came and took him home and buried him with his ancestors. The wise man Macen who had saved him died in 1966.

Questions arising from this story:

  • Is Macen Matat a hero for what he did – save the slave?
  • What used to be the cause for selling a person or a child into slavery?
  • What punishment is nowadays given to a person who steals cocoyam or who causes a false alarm?

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