Malim memorial song

In the past, different subgroups of the Ron people have fought against each other and also against their neighbours. Here is a story about a prisoner of war taken  from the Birom people by the Butura people. It was written down by Mafulul Lek in 1992.

Nahwai ti ka Malim

Wa’ Ɓutura ndee si kai mor ma ɓur ɗiin taa Ryom ma sum Malim. Nai shak mma si yu a ɓur a kima, si tek hai ti naaf, si faris Malimi, ta tosis ti nahwai.

Sin ti andai, wa’ nai ɓur ti tikis a mafur Ɓutura si Ryomi. Ɓutura si tek hai ti Maryom ɗiin. Si faris mor Malimi, ɓa ta tosis ti nahwai fat a twaasi. Taa, hai ti damis ma Malimi ti, si tek! Nai Malimi ta shitai fo, ta shitai hai ti damis ti. Ta gam ɗam ma masayi wet. Ta shit a fasa, ta shit a ndik. Ɓutura si niyis: “Tite? Haa wan a tos can nahwayi ahun wet?” Yir si nii mgbi’ taa dyaar ta mor Malimi. Si niyis: “Ti munan tite ndii, a Malim?” Ta taɗas ti hwash, ta niyis: “Kabok, hai ti damin ti, tuni! Yin si damin ɗam ma ɗanggat mai. Hai nzis, hai nzin ti. Hu tek nzin hayi kek, hu tos nahwayi ti, ti hai nzu!”

Nai wa’ Ɓutura si nii, mi jam, si niyis: “Mma ha tos Nahwayi ti hai ti dima saa ni wan a wak ha, ha wa!” Ka si wal ɗam mama mi laki ta ti a fo, mor Malim ta shambar bakam la, ta he’ ti Maɓutura ɗanggat a ndik, ta tek hayi! Ta niyis: “I kai mmin mani ɗanggat.” Ta tos nahwai nzis ti Ryom ti hai ti Maɓuturahi. Ta niyis Ɓuturahi: “Hwaa wen a kirai nahwayi yish ahun wet?” Mgbwing ti kai Ɓutura. Si nii, mi matik a mashit la, mor Malim ta jwet puri, yit ma al! Ɓutura si shambar puryai ti fayi. Si wak dwan a ra, shak a ndik! Maryom ta pwetis a wur, ka hai ti Maɓuturahi a ra, kat ti damis a boon.

Ɓutura si harai fo ti shaati, si nii: “Ca tik la a wur, ca lak sani findeli, tite?” Gip si nii: “Ca lak, ca nii: Mor Malim a kwis can ka tos nahwai a lan, nai ca hek la, ca hwi ti la ti a lan. Ca nii ɗes, nisis mmican mama yis a hek, a tek hayi, ɓur ti, ti cu sis kek!” Gip si nii: “Ca lak maweyi la kek, ca nii, ca hek ɗaafwash, ca tekai hayi kwa, yis nai a sho washi, a lifit a tek hai, a tek hai ti sek, sek mmican sani, Can ca mun mi ndii? Ca mun halyang mi kek !” Findel sani, yit mai findel mama Ɓutura Yiba si nyaai “Nahwai ti ka Malimi”.

***

Malim memorial song

The Butura people are said to have once taken a prisoner of war called Malim from the Birom. Now, whenever they went for a war anywhere and took a man’s head, they gave it to Malim and asked him to sing a victory song for them.

After some time, there was another war with the Birom. The Butura took the head of a Birom man. They gave it to Malim and asked him to start the victory song for them as usual. But it was the head of Malim’s father! Malim saw the face and recognized his father. He didn’t know what to do. The Butura peopled asked him why he didn’t sing the victory song. He broke into tears. The Butura people asked him why he was crying. He started crying loudly, telling them that this was his father’s head and he was one with his father. That his father’s head was his head, so they might as well take his head, too, and sing the victory song themselves.

But they took it for a joke and told him: “If you sing the victory song for your father’s head, we will release you!” Before they had finished saying that, the prisoner Malim pulled out his sword, threw down one Butura man and smote off his head. He said to them: “Here is my own trophy!” He then started his own Birom victory song with the head of the Butura man. He invited them to join into his victory song. The Butura were shocked. Before they could recover from the shock, the prisoner Malim jumped on a horse and disappeared. The Butura horsemen chased him. They threw their spears after him, but didn’t hit him. The Birom man escaped, carrying the Butura man’s and his father’s head in a bag.

The Butura returned home sadly, asking themselves: “How do we tell our people at home this story?” Some proposed that they should simply say that the prisoner Malim refused to sing the victory song for them, therefore they killed him and left him in the bush. That also, they should say that the Butura man whose head Malim had taken had been killed during the war. But others said that they should tell people the truth, singing: “Let us tell the truth, we have killed a snake, we didn’t cut its head, then it drank the blood, it stood up and took a head, the head of one of us. What are we then? But fools!” This song is nowadays called “Malim memorial song” by the Butura.

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