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The Story of a Beautiful Maiden – Baba Indaba Children’s Stories

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 19 (Electronic)

In issue 19 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the West African, Hausa folktale about how a chameleon used his brains and outwitted the Hartebeest and other animals to win the hand of the most beautiful maiden in the land. This is in effect the African version of the Tortoise and the Hare.

 

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It is believed that folklore and tales are believed to have originated in India and made their way overland along the Silk and Spice routes and through Central Asia before arriving in Europe.

This book also has a “Where in the World – Look it Up” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

 

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_THE_STORY_ABOUT_A_BEAUTIFUL_MAIDEN_A?id=aun3CwAAQBAJ

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NOTE: Pronunciations of the Zulu words can be found at the end of this tale.

It is said he (Unkulunkulu – the Great One) sent a chameleon; he said to it,

“Go, chameleon (lunwaba), go and say, ‘Let not men die!'”

The chameleon set out; it went slowly, it loitered in the way; and as it went it ate of the fruit of a bush which is called Ubukwebezane.

At length Uhkulunkulu sent a lizard [intulo, the blue-headed gecko] after the chameleon, when it had already set out for some time. The lizard went; it ran and made great haste, for Unkulunkulu had said,

“Lizard, when you have arrived say, ‘Let men die!'”

So the lizard went, and said,

“I tell you, it is said, ‘Let men die!'”

The lizard came back again to Unkulunkulu before the chameleon had reached his destination, the chameleon, which was sent first-which was sent and told to go and say, “Let not men die!”

At length it arrived and shouted, saying,

“It is said, ‘Let not men die!'”

But men answered,

“Oh, we have accepted the word of the lizard; it has told us the word, ‘It is said “Let men die!'” We cannot hear your word. Through the word of the lizard men will die”.

 

Pronunciations

 Intulo                         – In-too-loh

Lunwaba                   – Loon-waa-baah

Unkulunkulu            – Oo-koo-loon-koo-loo

Ubukwebezane        – Oo-book-kweh-beh-zaa-neh

 

From: Myths and Legends of the Bantu

ISBN: 978-1-907256-38-7

 URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/myths-and-legends-of-the-bantu_p23332641.htm

This is a story about an alliance. A story, a story. Let it go, let it come.

 

Once Upon A Time a chief begat a beautiful daughter; she had no equal in the town. And he said, ‘He who hoes on the day the people come together and whose area hoed surpasses everyone else’s he marries the chief’s daughter. So on the day the chief calls his neighbours to hoe (gayaa), let them come (the suitors) and hoe for him. But he who hoes and surpasses every one else, to him a wife.’

 

Now of a truth the chameleon had heard (about this) for a long time past, (and) he came along. He was eating hoeing medicine. Now when the day of the hoeing came round the chameleon was at home. He did not come out until those hoeing were at work and were far away; then the chameleon came. When he struck one blow on the ground with the hoe, then he climbed on the hoe and sat down, and the hoe started to hoe, and fairly flew until it had done as much as the hoers. It passed them, and reached the boundary of the furrow.

 

The chameleon got off, sat down, and rested, and later on the (other) hoers got to where he was. Then the chief would not consent, but now (said) he who ran and passed every one, he should marry his daughter. Then the hartebeest said he surpassed everyone in running. So they had a race. But the chameleon turned into a needle; he leaped (and) stuck fast to the tail of the hartebeest, and the hartebeest ran until he passed every one, until he came to the entrance of the house of the chief.

He passed it.

 

Then the chameleon let go the hartebeest’s tail; of a truth the chameleon had seen the maiden. So he embraced her, and when the hartebeest came along he met the chameleon embracing the girl. Thereupon the hartebeest began to shed tears, and that was the origin of what you see like tears in a hartebeest’s eyes. From that day he has wept and not dried his tears.

 

Off with the rat’s head!

 

ISBN: 978-1-907256-16-5

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/hausa-folklore_p23332623.htm

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