Why we have house rats and bush rats

Mus Musculus

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I have collected a number of animal tales which are also etiological tales, i.e. which explain why certain things are the way they are. Here is one form Bokkos told by Rev. Benjamin Matawal. It explains why we have house rats and bush rats.

Mangga’ i kusham hu mus

Ai si ni maɓele niin ni kusham si ma ti tirim ɓur ti aɗeng ima mus ti maasus sin kusham mii tasi ashwai. Mus ti pur kusham tasi ashwai ta ngga’ ima si far kel i hatat wet.

Unai sin kushami si shwai, si ɓet ti, si ni, “Aɗeng i maasi a yis nai ka far cwaha ima ka wa cwai i turyan shini, ɓi ka tekan ta wurai amukan cakat, ka ɗing ngga’ ima ti wa maasi ta. Nna ka tekan amukan, ti wa mot ɓur ti hwem. A yis nai ɗak ka wis mute cala nasi ashwai.”

Unai si lak nungus ta, si maas mukonan sin far ti cwaha i mufwot, si hyai ta wurai, si tes ɓes. Unai mwen amai fe i kusham si rang ya ta sang kel nyinyesh, unai si ɗing mus yit raki ɓur ti hwem hanut, ti te fota ti motut.

Unai si zan nyai ti motut. Si wa, si far gang, si cut, sin a dorai, sin hatatan sut hai, sin jakak ɓur ti mot i musi. Mbayai i kusham si hal gang ti kawa ta sang kel, si rang ya, ɓa si ɗing ami ma wa tasi ndiki hai ɗak? Si te ta maleng, sin ɗing ti a dorai ima fei si ma langi ɓur ti mot i mus nyai: “Naya ti roo, mus ti mot ɓur ti hwem.”

Unai mbai niin ta sa ti mbayai i kushami ni, “Hon hun i wa i ɗing kani”, her ta nggasi, ɗingi mus ti mot awei, ni, “A fe her hun ya, hu ɗing ador aminin i nin mbayai, i kofu ti ngga’ ima na hu wa lang ti ador hu masi ta. Nna hu te langi hu pa foi ti fyal ima ti ti kof sikan ɓwari”.

Mus ti tet caakat, ti hal kinggaat i kwishim ima ɗut hai, ti ɓu shit ya loo ti ɗingi adees i fei, unai musi ti ni ɓuk ti ka’i, hahai unai fei si tital si macwat, shini si lang wurai i hai, shini si maas aweng, si rang ta wurai. Ima si wa yaha si kat i kusham i ya, ima si rang ta wurai si kat i kusham i wur.

Mbayai ima fei si wisus ta wurai si ndash fei, si ni, “A hun hu kol kan mai shumi mwashi. Ka makar ndai hu shunus amukan. Mwashi mus ti wa yut kwasana, ti wa mot kwa fweng, ɓur ti ti wa far ti shunus amukan ani ta ya ti ka’us, ti te niin mweni ti den kan ya hwak, ti kaa’ kan.”

Ɓur ti weei i kusham hu mus si hol man i ɗiyai kwa feng. A yis nai ka ma ti kusham i wur hu kusham i ya.

The rats and the cat

Once the rats in a town were in trouble because of what a cat did to them. The cat disturbed the rats in the town so much that they didn’t know where to turn. Then the rats met and agreed that they should search enough food for some months, so that they could stay in their houses. Then the cat would die of hunger and they would finally be able to live in peace in their town.

They searched for food secretly for some days, filled their houses, and stayed at ease. Then one day some rat children went outside to play. They saw the cat sleeping because it was hungry, and it looked like it was dead.

 

They went and looked for a drum, they beat it, sang and danced – they were so happy because of the death of the cat.

When the rat elders heard the drumming, they went outside to see what was going on on the surface. They saw from a distance that the children had started singing because of the death of the cat: “Let the earth move, the cat has died of hunger.”

Then one of the rat elders said, “Let me go and see it.” When he went close and saw that the cat had really died, he said, “Children, move away, now you will see the dance of the elders, I will show you how to do it.”

The cat kept quiet. When it felt the weight of the rats that had climbed on it, it opened its eye slowly and saw the father of the rats. It quickly caught him. Then the children ran away. Some passed their houses, some who were more lucky entered their houses. Those who went to the bush became bush rats, those who entered the houses became house rats.

The parents of the children who entered the houses beat the children and said, “You have brought this trouble on us. Now we are separated from our neighbors and the cat will remain for ever and will never die, because she will hunt and catch our neighbors in the bush, and then another day she will trick and catch us too.”

Because of their enmity the rats and the cat don’t have any relationship with each other. And this is also why we have house rats and bush rats.

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