The Fulani woman and the milk thief


English: Fulani woman with traditional nose ri...

Fulani woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Many of the stories written and recorded by Mafulul Lek tell about the confrontation of Ron people with modern life and some really make you laugh. You may also notice that Mafulul has a very critical view of “witch doctors”and the Ron traditional religion in general which he thinks exploited and discriminated against women in many aspects.





Mutika ndee ti mun ka’ a lang la, Mutirugba ɗiin ti lang ti, yit mawan a Manggar. Ti shu fof mmit ma shohi a mar ndu. Ti mun mawan, yit a shwaahayi, ti kyaar a dangat.  Masher ɗiin mama mi ti a mutika akul, yit a shyaatai i, ta ɗwaalai lulya. Nai ti yes, ti wal a shohi, ti kir mar ndu nzit ti a dangat.


Mando ma mbar ma mutika ta furet tyaa’an ra a fo a ko. Ti tek mar nduhi, ti gu’ fata’ a hai, ti twaaf la ti mbaa. Ti tik a kir la ti a dangat. Ti nin fat mu nya, ti gu’ fata’ hai, ti vo mar nduhi la ti a dangat. Andai ɗes, naf mama mi ti a mutika, nya si nin fat mi twaak sis.


Masheri nai ta nii, nan naf mi nya ma awei mi. Ta nin shadook, ta ti’ ra a dangat ti Mutibilati. Ta pimba mar nduhi, ta tek. Mutiwulyangi ti ɓwai dyar la ta ti a fata’ kil, ti shitai rahi, ti munet ryaang. Ta tek nduhi, ka twaafani, ta wop a nyai duut-duut. Ta nin shadook, ɓa ta tiketi nduhi ti a dangat, ti niyai fata’ a hai pyat, si tof dyar, ti tik a vo fata’ nzit hai. Naf mama si nin fat mi nyahi ɗes sin yis a shyaatan.


Nai Mutirugbahi, twaaf ta tik a kai set. Ti tik a twaafi ti a mar ti ndu. Ti nin shadook ɗes, ti tundufis ti a dangat, ti tiket la a mamun. Ta shitai fat ɗeng miis a mashit kwa, ta tek, ta tiketi ti a dangat. Ti tek, ti tikis a tundufi ti a dangat. Nai, ti mbaa-mbaa, si kai matundwaafan ti mar ndu ka twaafi ti. Masheri ta furai a tuɗu sikitik, ɗak a shitai naf si walan a sun ɗam mama ma maɓuli. Naf si ndus a mba kai sisal wet ti ɗamani.


Nai si ndok a Manggar, si mun a maɗor la taa mutikahi, Mutirugba wa cwat ti kai naafani. Ti niyis, ta talet fof mmit, mama a shohi. Ti niyis ɗes, ta mat ɗam mama a kat ti a nduhi, ta walai, ta talet cif ma fof mmit. Mma andai kwa, naf ma ɓur si shitis. Ti taɗasai a la, ti niyis: “Yaa lak a ya ti – masher!” Ta ro kat-kat ka fohi. Naf mama mi akuli, si shyaatis fo sin a ɗuk a sisali, ta gam kil ma mashit la wet.


Mutirugba ti niyis, mma a walai a sho twaafan mama a kat ti a ndu kwa, mu wan a hon sis kwa. Naf si niyet kili nai. Si niyis: “Haang – a shitai fwash ti sherati kong!” Ta kabok, ta har rus a hai wet. Kpak nzis nai, ta walai a sho twaafan ma fof ma Mutirugbahi. Ta mun a shohi, naf ka fehi si njyaat lulya, si twaafai yish, si sisal, si tyaakai hai.


Ta wal a sho la, Mutirugba ti lulis sum mmis, ka kil mama a yes ta ti. Ndo ti kai, ta nii, ma laki, ta mba wet. Nai Manggar si vit ta ti a ram, ta wop a harai fo matik la ti a kiman mama ndee a yes ta tihi.


Naf si niyet Mutirugbahi mmit sumi a ti’ uwa. Ti niyis, a ti’ Yelwa. Naf si nii, mu yo mutiɗafal ti fiyang, a fa zan hwam tima ti zanis masher sai. Nai si kirai sum ma kil mama Mutirugbahi ndee ti yu a nggari Yelwa Nono, ahun Yelwa ti fof. Ti sum sani mai, shak Bilat si laal tu ti ram ma Manggar, mayes a kwai hani.


Ɗes nai wa’ ko ta manis masheri, ta kai yis naf laki wa’, shak Mutibilat tima ti yu a hatat a mutika, mma ti tik la, ti gon fof la, mma naaf a sho, a wan a twaafan. Nai ref ma Bilat mama si gwaan fof la si halai naf a hai ta tot ɗamani, si wop a le’ hatat a mutika. Kikyal mama mi wan shak, si haat ti sakur.


Nai mburai si lang a dangi, si faaris wa’ shir ma ɗaman mama a gaasisai fof la, mma si yu a hatat a mutikahi. Si niyis wa’, mma sin a malang a mutika, si tong bufo’ shiri a yish. Ahun wa’, mma si tik la taa hatati, si shu shiri ti a fof kil, si ku si gon la. Nai ref ma Bilat si lang a masai ɗamani.


Mburai si jikai hai, si cu, si kirai a la. Ref ma Bilat si walai a gasai fofi la ti ɗaam mama si shu tihi, nai si kwis ka goni. Taa tei, mburai nai si walai a lyai sutet tima masher mama a sho twaaf ma Mutirugbahi a lak.


Si haai sutetash a hai ta mutikahi a hai a yet, ka naf ma tuki, ka ma hatati shak. Naf ma tuk mutika, ka ma hatat a mutikahi nai si lang a malot a ra ta mburai, a mat shishirai mama wa’ ka ndok si fur a mutika, si mot. Ɓiil si wop a le’ hatat a mutikahi gbum. Ɗes, mma ɗeng a gon mutika ti mwa, ta lal mburai, si mburatis, ka wa’ ndok ɗama ɗiin a nyet. Ɗama ɗiin fat mwan ti kai, ahun shir si tek, ahun kawai ta kai set.


Hani ti ɗes, ndee si masai, si dang ref, si niyis wa’, mama nafu ti zut ɗing, mma ti ji rigit, rigiti ti nyet ham. A kwai hani, ref mama mi zut ɗingi si jyaai rigit ɗiin, ti ni ham kwa. Ɓiil mama kong si zwaat ɗingi kwa, mma si jyaa rigiti – gbum a but la! Ngga’ mani ɗes, mama ndee si dang ref a we, si shai sis cwai ho’, ka lo ma caani.


The automobile


When the automobile first appeared in the Ron land, one Fulani woman was said to have travelled with it to a village called Manggar. She had a small gourd in which she put some milk to drink on the journey. As they went, she would drink a little milk from time to time and put back the gourd between her legs.


There was a thief in the same car who was eyeing seriously for that gourd of milk. But soon the Fulani woman had drunk all the milk and put back the empty gourd between her legs. After some time, the smell of petrol to which she was not used, began to make her vomit. She therefore covered herself with her wrapper and quietly vomited in the small gourd from which she had drunk her milk. Again, she put the gourd between her legs. The smell of petrol also made her sleepy, therefore she covered herself with her wrapper.


Other passengers in the car also began to doze off. The thief looked around and thought that everybody was fast asleep. He sneaked his hand between the Fulani woman’s legs and took the small gourd. He quickly gulped her vomit, thinking it was milk, and carefully returned the gourd.The Fulani woman had noticed him taking the gourd, but remained calm.


But when he was returning back the gourd, she peeped out from her wrapper, and their eyes met! Again, she covered her head with her wrapper and continued to doze off as before. Other passengers were also taking note of what was happening, but also pretended to be sleeping.


Still sick of the petrol smell, the Fulani woman again vomited into the gourd. She sneaked up and put the gourd under the legs of the thief, who was then pretending to be sleepy, too. Shocked, he sneaked up with the gourd and returned it between the Fulani woman’s legs. She too again sneaked up and pushed it back to him. So they quietly went on pushing the gourd to each other, with the vomit inside! At last, the Fulani woman removed the wrapper from her head after pushing the gourd to the man, and looked right into his eyes. The thief began to sweat, as all the passengers were then looking at them and throbbing with laughter.


On arrival in Manggar village, the Fulani woman arrested the thief. She asked him to pay for the milk he had drunk. She also threatened to take him to court, unless he publicly drink the remaining milk in the gourd. People could hardly hold back their laughter when they saw the man shaking with fear.


He begged her to let him go, but she wouldn’t. He finally drank the vomit, while people jeered and spat on him.


Having drunk the vomit, the Fulani woman asked him his name. He was so confused that he couldn’t recall his name. People then drove him out of their town. They asked the Fulani woman her own name too. She said her name was ‘Yelwa’. People congratulated her for the way she had dealt with the thief. In memory of her actions, the place where the punishment took place was named after her. In Hausa it is called Yelwa Nono, i.e. ‘Yelwa of milk’. All the Fulani now use that name for Manggar village.


Annoyed by the way he was punished by the Fulani woman, the thief began to tell that anyone who drank milk sold by a Fulani woman who had travelled in a car would get the vomiting sickness. When the Fulani women heard that, they stopped travelling by car. They kept trekking long distances to sell their milk.


The native doctors capitalized on the issue. They began to give them medicines to protect them and their milk from the vomiting disease, when they travelled in a car. They directed them to rub the medicine on their bodies before they entered a car. After leaving the car, they should put the medicine into the milk, before selling it. But the socalled “medicines” actually spoiled the milk, thereby making matters worse, as people refused to buy it. Thus the thief’s lie was spread even more.


To further promote their new-found market, the native doctors invented medicines against all sorts of risks and dangers connected with the automobile. The motor drivers and travellers began trooping to them to get protective charms against motor accidents. Others stopped travelling by car altogether. Others would consult the native doctors before buying a new car. Afterwards, they would ask them for protective charms against theft, fire and accidents.


By this type of practise, the native doctors formerly paved the way for the discrimination of women. For example, they told women that they would make a very bad cook, if they would play on a harp. Those women would stop playing instruments as a whole. They would only sing and dance. Likewise, women were denied chicken and eggs, for no justifiable reasons.


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