Posts Tagged ‘Tanzania’

Once upon a time Kee′ma, the monkey, and Pa′pa, the shark, became great friends.

The monkey lived in an immense mkooyoo tree which grew by the margin of the sea—half of its branches being over the water and half over the land.

Every morning, when the monkey was breakfasting on the kooyoo nuts, the shark would put in an appearance under the tree and call out, “Throw me some food, my friend;” with which request the monkey complied most willingly.

This continued for many months, until one day Papa said, “Keema, you have done me many kindnesses: I would like you to go with me to my home, that I may repay you.”

“How can I go?” said the monkey; “we land beasts can not go about in the water.”

“Don’t trouble yourself about that,” replied the shark; “I will carry you. Not a drop of water shall get to you.”

“Oh, all right, then,” said Mr. Keema; “let’s go.”

When they had gone about half-way the shark stopped, and said: “You are my friend. I will tell you the truth.”

“Why, what is there to tell?” asked the monkey, with surprise.

“Well, you see, the fact is that our sultan is very sick, and we have been told that the only medicine that will do him any good is a monkey’s heart.”

“Well,” exclaimed Keema, “you were very foolish not to tell me that before we started!”

“How so?” asked Papa.

But the monkey was busy thinking up some means of saving himself, and made no reply.

“Well?” said the shark, anxiously; “why don’t you speak?”

“Oh, I’ve nothing to say now. It’s too late. But if you had told me this before we started, I might have brought my heart with me.”

“What? haven’t you your heart here?”

“Huh!” ejaculated Keema; “don’t you know about us? When we go out we leave our hearts in the trees, and go about with only our bodies. But I see you don’t believe me. You think I’m scared. Come on; let’s go to your home, where you can kill me and search for my heart in vain.”

The shark did believe him, though, and exclaimed, “Oh, no; let’s go back and get your heart.”

“Indeed, no,” protested Keema; “let us go on to your home.”

But the shark insisted that they should go back, get the heart, and start afresh.

At last, with great apparent reluctance, the monkey consented, grumbling sulkily at the unnecessary trouble he was being put to.

When they got back to the tree, he climbed up in a great hurry, calling out, “Wait there, Papa, my friend, while I get my heart, and we’ll start off properly next time.”

When he had got well up among the branches, he sat down and kept quite still.

After waiting what he considered a reasonable length of time, the shark called, “Come along, Keema!” But Keema just kept still and said nothing.

In a little while he called again: “Oh, Keema! let’s be going.”

At this the monkey poked his head out from among the upper branches and asked, in great surprise, “Going? Where?”

“To my home, of course.”

“Are you mad?” queried Keema.

“Mad? Why, what do you mean?” cried Papa.

“What’s the matter with you?” said the monkey. “Do you take me for a washerman’s donkey?”

“What peculiarity is there about a washerman’s donkey?”

“It is a creature that has neither heart nor ears.”

The shark, his curiosity overcoming his haste, thereupon begged to be told the story of the washerman’s donkey, which the monkey related as follows:

“A washerman owned a donkey, of which he was very fond. One day, however, it ran away, and took up its abode in the forest, where it led a lazy life, and consequently grew very fat.

“At length Soongoo′ra, the hare, by chance passed that way, and saw Poon′da, the donkey.

“Now, the hare is the most cunning of all beasts—if you look at his mouth you will see that he is always talking to himself about everything.

“So when Soongoora saw Poonda he said to himself, ‘My, this donkey is fat!’ Then he went and told Sim′ba, the lion.

“As Simba was just recovering from a severe illness, he was still so weak that he could not go hunting. He was consequently pretty hungry.

“Said Mr. Soongoora, ‘I’ll bring enough meat to-morrow for both of us to have a great feast, but you’ll have to do the killing.’

“‘All right, good friend,’ exclaimed Simba, joyfully; ‘you’re very kind.’

“So the hare scampered off to the forest, found the donkey, and said to her, in his most courtly manner, ‘Miss Poonda, I am sent to ask your hand in marriage.’

“‘By whom?’ simpered the donkey.

“‘By Simba, the lion.’

“The donkey was greatly elated at this, and exclaimed: ‘Let’s go at once. This is a first-class offer.’

“They soon arrived at the lion’s home, were cordially invited in, and sat down. Soongoora gave Simba a signal with his eyebrow, to the effect that this was the promised feast, and that he would wait outside. Then he said to Poonda: ‘I must leave you for a while to attend to some private business. You stay here and converse with your husband that is to be.’

“As soon as Soongoora got outside, the lion sprang at Poonda, and they had a great fight. Simba was kicked very hard, and he struck with his claws as well as his weak health would permit him. At last the donkey threw the lion down, and ran away to her home in the forest.

“Shortly after, the hare came back, and called, ‘Haya! Simba! have you got it?’

“‘I have not got it,’ growled the lion; ‘she kicked me and ran away; but I warrant you I made her feel pretty sore, though I’m not strong.’

“‘Oh, well,’ remarked Soongoora; ‘don’t put yourself out of the way about it.’

“Then Soongoora waited many days, until the lion and the donkey were both well and strong, when he said: ‘What do you think now, Simba? Shall I bring you your meat?’

“‘Ay,’ growled the lion, fiercely; ‘bring it to me. I’ll tear it in two pieces!’

“So the hare went off to the forest, where the donkey welcomed him and asked the news.

“‘You are invited to call again and see your lover,’ said Soongoora.

“‘Oh, dear!’ cried Poonda; ‘that day you took me to him he scratched me awfully. I’m afraid to go near him now.’

“‘Ah, pshaw!’ said Soongoora; ‘that’s nothing. That’s only Simba’s way of caressing.’

“‘Oh, well,’ said the donkey, ‘let’s go.’

“So off they started again; but as soon as the lion caught sight of Poonda he sprang upon her and tore her in two pieces.

“When the hare came up, Simba said to him: ‘Take this meat and roast it. As for myself, all I want is the heart and ears.’

“‘Thanks,’ said Soongoora. Then he went away and roasted the meat in a place where the lion could not see him, and he took the heart and ears and hid them. Then he ate all the meat he needed, and put the rest away.

“Presently the lion came to him and said, ‘Bring me the heart and ears.’

“‘Where are they?’ said the hare.

“‘What does this mean?’ growled Simba.

“‘Why, didn’t you know this was a washerman’s donkey?’

“‘Well, what’s that to do with there being no heart or ears?’

“‘For goodness’ sake, Simba, aren’t you old enough to know that if this beast had possessed a heart and ears it wouldn’t have come back the second time?’

“Of course the lion had to admit that what Soongoora, the hare, said was true.

“And now,” said Keema to the shark, “you want to make a washerman’s donkey of me. Get out of there, and go home by yourself. You are not going to get me again, and our friendship is ended. Good-bye, Papa.”



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folk tale from Tanzania

There was once a sultan who had three little sons, and no one seemed to be able to teach them anything; which greatly grieved both the sultan and his wife.

One day a magician came to the sultan and said, “If I take your three boys and teach them to read and write, and make great scholars of them, what will you give me?”

And the sultan said, “I will give you half of my property.”

“No,” said the magician; “that won’t do.”

“I’ll give you half of the towns I own.”

“No; that will not satisfy me.”

“What do you want, then?”

“When I have made them scholars and bring them back to you, choose two of them for yourself and give me the third; for I want to have a companion of my own.”

“Agreed,” said the sultan.

So the magician took them away, and in a remarkably short time taught them to read, and to make letters, and made them quite good scholars. Then he took them back to the sultan and said: “Here are the children. They are all equally good scholars. Choose.”

So the sultan took the two he preferred, and the magician went away with the third, whose name was Keejaa′naa, to his own house, which was a very large one.

When they arrived, Mchaa′wee, the magician, gave the youth all the keys, saying, “Open whatever you wish to.” Then he told him that he was his father, and that he was going away for a month.

When he was gone, Keejaanaa took the keys and went to examine the house. He opened one door, and saw a room full of liquid gold. He put his finger in, and the gold stuck to it, and, wipe and rub as he would, the gold would not come off; so he wrapped a piece of rag around it, and when his supposed father came home and saw the rag, and asked him what he had been doing to his finger, he was afraid to tell him the truth, so he said that he had cut it.

Not very long after, Mchaawee went away again, and the youth took the keys and continued his investigations.

The first room he opened was filled with the bones of goats, the next with sheep’s bones, the next with the bones of oxen, the fourth with the bones of donkeys, the fifth with those of horses, the sixth contained men’s skulls, and in the seventh was a live horse.

“Hullo!” said the horse; “where do you come from, you son of Adam?”

“This is my father’s house,” said Keejaanaa.

“Oh, indeed!” was the reply. “Well, you’ve got a pretty nice parent! Do you know that he occupies himself with eating people, and donkeys, and horses, and oxen and goats and everything he can lay his hands on? You and I are the only living things left.”

This scared the youth pretty badly, and he faltered, “What are we to do?”

“What’s your name?” said the horse.


“Well, I’m Faaraa′see. Now, Keejaanaa, first of all, come and unfasten me.”

The youth did so at once.

“Now, then, open the door of the room with the gold in it, and I will swallow it all; then I’ll go and wait for you under the big tree down the road a little way. When the magician comes home, he will say to you, ‘Let us go for firewood;’ then you answer, ‘I don’t understand that work;’ and he will go by himself. When he comes back, he will put a great big pot on the hook and will tell you to make a fire under it. Tell him you don’t know how to make a fire, and he will make it himself.

“Then he will bring a large quantity of butter, and while it is getting hot he will put up a swing and say to you, ‘Get up there, and I’ll swing you.’ But you tell him you never played at that game, and ask him to swing first, that you may see how it is done. Then he will get up to show you; and you must push him into the big pot, and then come to me as quickly as you can.”

Then the horse went away.

Now, Mchaawee had invited some of his friends to a feast at his house that evening; so, returning home early, he said to Keejaanaa, “Let us go for firewood;” but the youth answered, “I don’t understand that work.” So he went by himself and brought the wood.

Then he hung up the big pot and said, “Light the fire;” but the youth said, “I don’t know how to do it.” So the magician laid the wood under the pot and lighted it himself.

Then he said, “Put all that butter in the pot;” but the youth answered, “I can’t lift it; I’m not strong enough.” So he put in the butter himself.

Next Mchaawee said, “Have you seen our country game?” And Keejaanaa answered, “I think not.”

“Well,” said the magician, “let’s play at it while the butter is getting hot.”

So he tied up the swing and said to Keejaanaa, “Get up here, and learn the game.” But the youth said: “You get up first and show me. I’ll learn quicker that way.”

The magician got into the swing, and just as he got started Keejaanaa gave him a push right into the big pot; and as the butter was by this time boiling, it not only killed him, but cooked him also.

As soon as the youth had pushed the magician into the big pot, he ran as fast as he could to the big tree, where the horse was waiting for him.

“Come on,” said Faaraasee; “jump on my back and let’s be going.”

So he mounted and they started off.

When the magician’s guests arrived they looked everywhere for him, but, of course, could not find him. Then, after waiting a while, they began to be very hungry; so, looking around for something to eat, they saw that the stew in the big pot was done, and, saying to each other, “Let’s begin, anyway,” they started in and ate the entire contents of the pot. After they had finished, they searched for Mchaawee again, and finding lots of provisions in the house, they thought they would stay there until he came; but after they had waited a couple of days and eaten all the food in the place, they gave him up and returned to their homes.

Meanwhile Keejaanaa and the horse continued on their way until they had gone a great distance, and at last they stopped near a large town.

“Let us stay here,” said the youth, “and build a house.”

As Faaraasee was agreeable, they did so. The horse coughed up all the gold he had swallowed, with which they purchased slaves, and cattle, and everything they needed.

When the people of the town saw the beautiful new house and all the slaves, and cattle, and riches it contained, they went and told their sultan, who at once made up his mind that the owner of such a place must be of sufficient importance to be visited and taken notice of, as an acquisition to the neighborhood.

So he called on Keejaanaa, and inquired who he was.

“Oh, I’m just an ordinary being, like other people.”

“Are you a traveler?”

“Well, I have been; but I like this place, and think I’ll settle down here.”

“Why don’t you come and walk in our town?”

“I should like to very much, but I need some one to show me around.”

“Oh, I’ll show you around,” said the sultan, eagerly, for he was quite taken with the young man.

After this Keejaanaa and the sultan became great friends; and in the course of time the young man married the sultan’s daughter, and they had one son.

They lived very happily together, and Keejaanaa loved Faaraasee as his own soul.

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