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Full text of "Hausa superstitions and customs: an introduction to the folk-lore and the folk"

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HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS AND CUSTOMS 



Dedicated 

BY PERMISSION TO 

SIR F. D. LUGARD, G.C.M.G., C.B., D.S.O., 

WHO HAS DONE SO MUCH FOR 
THE HAUSA PEOPLE. 





I. READY FOR A BORI SPIRIT. II. POSSESSED. 



Bori is self-induced hysteria. During possession by the spirits, the patients imitate 
certain persons or animals, and often ill-treat themselves. The spirit is usually 
expelled by sneezing. Vide page 145 and Note III. 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS AND 
CUSTOMS 



AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FOLK-LORE AND 
THE FOLK 



BEING VOLUME I OF THE 
WEST AFRICAN NIGHTS* ENTERTAINMENTS SERIES 

BY 

MAJOR A. J. N. TREMEARNE 

M.A. , Dip.Anth. Cantab. , F.R. G.S., F. R.A.I.; sometime Scholar and Prizeman, 
Chrisfs College ; Hausa Lecturer and Wort Student ', Cambridge 

Of Gray's Inn, Barrister-at-Law 

Author of " The Tailed Head-Hunters of Nigeria''' ; " Some Austral-African 

Notes and Anecdotes " ; " The Niger and the West Sudan " ; 

"Fables and Fairy Tales;" &c. 



WITH FORTY- ONE ILLUSTRATIONS, OVER TWO HUNDRED 
FIGURES IN THE TEXT, AND A MAP 



SECOND EDITION 



Zonfcon 
JOHN BALE, SONS & DANIELSSON, LTD. 

OXFORD HOUSE 

83-91, GREAT TITCHFIELD STREET, OXFORD STREET, W. 

1913 




Foreword to Second Edition. 

IN re-issuing this volume, I feel that a word more 
ought to be said about the bori dancing, although a 
full description of the rites in Tunis and Tripoli will 
appear shortly in The Ban of The Bori, which is to a 
great extent a complement to this volume. The bori 
are mostly disease-demons, and the dancing is a rite 
comparable to inoculation, for the people believe that 
by inducing the jinns to enter them when prepared 
for their reception, they can make certain of immunity 
at less convenient times. These spirits differ from the 
familiar bori of the same sex, or guardian spirit, and 
from the incubus or succuba of the opposite sex, to 
whose jealousy are due all the precautions for the 
protection of the bride and bridegroom, e.g., the facts 
that the chief bridesmaid may impersonate the bride, 
and that the bridegroom keeps away from his home at 
first. A similar idea is seen in the case of Tobias and 
Sarah in the book of Tobit, and the cult was brought 
from the East, in all probability, though in very early 
times, for words resembling bori are found in several 
languages of West Africa with a religious usually a 
phallic significance. 

Further study amongst the Hausa colonies in 
North Africa during the first half of this year has 
shown that no statement made in this book need be 
altered except partially in one instance, viz., that 
regarding the prohibited degrees of marriage, for 
amongst the Mohammedan Hausas the right to the bint 
ahn is recognized more or less clearly, and amongst the 
pagan Magazawa there are but few restrictions in some 
parts. The statement was not made solely upon my 
own authority ; I had the evidence of two other observers 
as well, but I am sure that, although in certain districts 
it may be right, the general rule is as is now stated. 

In Volume II of this series (the Hausa text of the 
stories contained in this book, in Folklore, and in 
other publications), which is about to be published, 
will be found further notes upon the customs of the 
people. 

A. J. N. T. 
August 17, 1913. 



Foreword to First Edition. 

IN offering this volume on the Hausas, who are 
interesting, not only on account of their beliefs and 
habits, but also because of the services of their soldiers 
to the Empire, I wish to express my best thanks 
to Messrs. Hartland and Crooke (ex-President and 
President respectively of the Folk-lore Society) for 
supplying many parallels to the tales marked (H) or 
(C) ad hoc; to Professors Frazer and Westermarck for 
reading Part I ; to Lieut. G. R. K. Evatt for several 
photographs, and for comparing my material with his 
own notes ; to Mrs. Mary Gaunt, Colonel Elliot, Major 
Searight, the Royal Geographical Society, and the 
Royal Anthropological Institute for five photographs ; 
and, lastly, to my wife for correcting the proofs, and 
to her friend, Miss E. M. Clarke, for most of the 
figures some of which were drawn at the British 
Museum through the courtesy of the authorities there. 

The acknowledgments on page 9 are a little 
ambiguous. The two gentlemen to whom I referred 
were Drs. Schon and Robinson ; Major Edgar com- 
menced the study of Hausa long after I had done so. 

A. J. N. T. 

Blackheath, 

September 27, 1912. 

Abbreviations and References. 

IN Part I, figures in parentheses, e.g. (40), refer to 
the tales in Part II, while the Roman numerals, e.g., 
XL, refer to the notes in Part III. 

In Part II, a figure in parentheses refers to the num- 
ber of a note in Part III under a Roman numeral 
corresponding to the number of the tale; thus (2) in 
Story 41 refers to Note XLI, 2. An asterisk after a 
word (e.g., spit* in Stories 14 and 83) means that it has 
been purposely mistranslated. The correct rendering 
will be sent with pleasure to anyone who requires it for 
scientific purposes. 

For the meanings of T.H.H., &c., see pages 9 
and 10. Only six sets of initials of narrators are given 
in Chapter I instead of seven, the missing set being 
S.S. for Sa(r)rikin Samari, a carrier whom I employed 
frequently. 



Contents. 



PART I. FOLK-LORE AND FOLK-LAW. 

PAGE 

CHAP. I. INTRODUCTION. Value of Folk-Lore The 
People The Narrators Difficulties of 
Collecting Authorities Commencement 
and Ending of Stories i 

CHAP. II. SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TALES. 
Fondness for Tales and Proverbs 
Similarities Uncle Remus Elaborate 
Traps and Easy Escapes Chronology and 
Style n 

CHAP. III. ANIMALS IN THE TALES. The Animal Com- 
munity The King of Beasts and Insects 
Birds Fish Habits of Animals Resem- 
blance of Animals to Human Beings 30 

CHAP. IV. PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS AND VIRTUES. A 
Blind Man A Woman's Tongue 
Bravery Honesty Debts Indolence 
Gratitude Morality Love Dislike 
Drunkenness Hospitality Salutations 
The Sign-Language Games, &c. Rid- 
dles Proverbs Puns, &c. Poetry 46 

CHAP. V. THE LORE OF THE FOLK. Meaning of the 
Tales Courtship Intimacy previous to 
Marriage Marriage Prohibited Degrees 
Relation of Husband and Wife Cere- 
monies Avoidance The Bachelor 
Parentage Miraculous Births Child- 
birth Infanticide Relation of Parent and 
Child Adoption Organization Descent 
Tribal Marks Development Death and 
Burial Inheritance 74 

CHAP. VI. CUSTOMS AND SUPERSTITIONS. Beliefs Gods 
and Spirits Nature Myths The Next 
World Diseases Totemism Mythical 
Beings The Half-Man Dodo A Fabu- 
lous Bird Wonderful Animals Magic 
Ointment Transformation Sacrifice 
Cannibalism Ordeals, &c. The Curse 
and Blessing Earth Kola-nuts Tabu 
Bori Hallucinations 109 

CHAP. VII. CUSTOMS AND SUPERSTITIONS (continued}. 
Evil Influences Witchcraft Visits to the 
World of the Immortals Lapse of Time 
Magic and The Evil Eye Lucky Days 
Rites Conjuring Charms and Potions 
Magical Gifts Forms of Address The 
Kirari Names. 153 



CONTENTS 



PART IL HAUSA TALES, PARABLES AND VARIANTS. 

PAGE 

1. THERE is NO KING BUT GOD (B. G.) ... 183 

2. THE PUNISHMENT OF THE SABBATH- 

BREAKERS (U. G.) ... 186 

3. THE TENDER-HEARTED MAIDEN AND THE 

FISH (S. D.) ... 187 

4. THE SPIDER, THE OLD WOMAN, AND THE 

WONDERFUL BULL (S. D.) ... 190 

5. THE FALSE FRIEND (U. G.) ... 193 

^-6. A LIE CAN GIVE MORE PAIN THAN A SPEAR (M. K.) ... 195 

7. THE KING WHO FULFILLED HIS PROMISE 

TO THE LEPER (B. G.) ... 196 

8. THE FRIENDLY LION, AND THE YOUTH 

AND HIS WIFE (M. K.) ... 198 

9. HOWEVER POOR YOU ARE THERE is SOME- 

ONE EVEN WORSE OFF (A.) ... 202 

10. THE BOY, THE GIRL, AND DODO (B. G.) ... 203 

11. FALSEHOOD is MORE PROFITABLE THAN 

TRUTH (U. G.) ... 204 

12. VIRTUE PAYS BETTER THAN GREED ... (U. G.) ... 206 

13. THE VICTIM DOES NOT ALWAYS SEE THE 

JOKE (A.) ... 208 

14. DODO, THE ROBBER, AND THE MAGIC 

DOOR (S. S.) ... 209 

15. THE DECEITFUL SPIDER, THE HALF-MAN, 

AND THE RUBBER-GIRL (B. G.) ... 212 

^j6. THE RICH MALAM, THE THIEVING SPIDER, 

AND THE HYAENA (M. K.) ... 214 

17. LITTLE FOOL, OR THE BITER BIT (E.G.) ... 216 

18. How THE SPIDER ATE THE HYAENA-CUBS' 

FOOD (B. G.) ... 219 

19. THE SLAVE WHO WAS WISER THAN THE 

KING (B.C.) ... 220 

20. THE COCK BY HIS WIT SAVES HIS SKIN ... (U. G.) ... 224 

21. THE HEN SEEKS A CHARM FROM THE 

WILD-CAT (B. G.) ... 224 

22. THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE BEASTS AND 

THE BIRDS (S. D.) ... 225 

23. THE GOAT FRIGHTENS THE HYAENA ... (M. K.) ... 227 

24. THE SPIDER, THE GUINEA-FOWL, AND THE 

FRANCOLIN (S. D.) ... 229 

25. How THE CUNNING JERBOA KILLED THE 

STRONG LION (M. K.) ... 233 

26. THE CAMEL AND THE RUDE MONKEY ... (S. D.) ... 235 
-27. THE BOY WHO WAS LUCKY IN TRADING ... (B. G.) ... 237 

28. ONE CANNOT HELP AN UNLUCKY MAN ... (B. G.) ... 242 

29. THE WONDERFUL RING (B.C.) ... 244 



CONTENTS xi 







j 


PAGE 


30. 


THE GREEDY GIRL AND HER CURE 


(S. D.) ... 


252 


31. 


THE GLUTTONS 


(S. D.) ... 


254 


32. 


HOW DODO FRIGHTENED THE GREEDY 








MAN 


(B.C.) ... 


255 


33. 


BORTORIMI AND THE SPIDER 


(M.) ... 


257 


34. 


THE HY^NA AND THE SPIDER VISIT THE 








KING OF A FAR CITY 


(B.C.) ... 


26l 


35- 


THE HYAENA CONFESSES HER GUILT 


(U. G.) ... 


264 


36. 


THE GREEDY SPIDER AND THE BIRDS 


(M.) ... 


265 


37- 


THE HARE OUTWITS THE HYJENA 


(U. G.) ... 


266 


38- 


EVERYTHING COMES TO HIM WHO WAITS 


(E.G.) ... 


267 


39- 


THE LAZY FROG, AND HIS PUNISHMENT ... 


(S. D.) ... 


269 


40. 


THE SNAKE AND THE SCORPION 


(E.G.) ... 


270 


41- 


THE SPIDER WHICH BOUGHT A DOG AS A 








SLAVE 


(S. S.) ... 


271 


42. 


THE WOOING OF THE BASHFUL MAIDEN... 


(M.) ... 


273 


43- 


THE GIRLS AND THE UNKNOWN YOUTH ... 


(E.G.) ... 


274 


44- 


THE SON OF THE KING OF AGADDEZ ... 


(M.) ... 


278 


45- 


THE BOY WHO BECAME HIS RIVAL'S RULER 


(E.G.) ... 


283 


46. 


THE WILD CAT AND THE HEN 


(M.) ... 


289 


47- 


THE DISHONEST FATHER 


(S. S.) ... 


2QO 


48- 


THE CONTEST FOR DODO'S WIFE 


(M.) ... 


292 


49- 


THE MAN AND HIS LAZY WIVES 


(M. K.) ... 


294 


50. 


THE Two WIVES, THE HY^NA, AND THE 








DOVE ... 


(M. K.) ... 


295 


Si- 


THE MAN AND HIS WIVES, AND DODO ... 


(M. K.) ... 


2 9 8 


52. 


THE WIFE WHO WOULD NOT WORK 








ALONE 


(A.) ... 


299 


53- 


THE THOUGHTFUL AND THE THOUGHTLESS 








HUSBANDS 


(U. G.) ... 


300 


54- 


SOLOMON AND THE BIRDS 


(S. D.) ... 


302 


55- 


THE KING WHO COVETED His SON'S 








WIFE 


(M.) ... 


304 


56. 


THE GIRL WHO MARRIED DODO'S SON ... 


(E.G.) ... 


307 


57- 


THE MAN WHO MARRIED A MONKEY 


(S. S.) ... 


3M 


58. 


THE MONKEY- WOMAN 


(E.G.) ... 


315 


59- 


THE DESPISED WIFE'S TRIUMPH 


(S. D.) ... 


317 


60. 


THE GOOD KISHIA AND THE LUCKY BOY 


(M.) ... 


323 


61. 


THE DETERMINED GIRL AND THE WICKED 








PARENTS 


(M.) ... 


325 


62. 


THE WICKED GIRL, AND HER PUNISHMENT 


(S. D.) ... 


326 


63- 


THE Two HALF-BROTHERS AND THE 








JEALOUS MOTHER 


(M.) ... 


333 


64- 


THE ORIGIN OF THE WHITE-BREASTED 








CROW 


(A.) 


335 


65. 


THE BRAVE MOTHER AND THE COWARDLY 








FATHER 


(U. G.) ... 


340 


66. 


THE FIGHTING RAM 


(S. S.) ... 


342 


67. 


THE LUCKY FOUNDLING 


(M.) ... 


345 



xii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

68. THE WICKED FATHER AND THE KIND 

STRANGER (B. G.) ... 347 

69. THE WOMAN WHO COULD NOT KEEP A 

SECRET (S. S.) ... 349 

70. THE BOY WHO REFUSED TO WALK ... (M.) ... 351 

71. THE WOMAN WHO BORE A CLAY POT ... (S. D.) ... 354 

72. THE WOMAN WHOSE OFFSPRING WERE A 

MOUSE AND A CAKE (S. S.) ... 357 

73. How THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL ESCAPED FROM 

DODO (M.) ... 359 

74. THE PRECOCIOUS NEW-BABY SETTLES HIS 

FATHER'S DEBTS (S. D.) ... 361 

75. DODO'S DEBT (S. D.) ... 363 

76. How THE EAGLE OUTWITTED THE TOWNS- 

PEOPLE (S. D.) ... 365 

77. THE SPIDER PASSES ON A DEBT (S. S.) ... 367 

78. THE SPIDER PAYS HIS DEBTS (A.) ... 373 

79. THE YOUNGEST SON AND THE WISE EWE (B. G.) ... 374 

80. THE LUCKY YOUNGEST SON (B. G.) ... 380 

81. THE DIVISION OF THE INHERITANCE ... (B. G.) ... 393 

82. THE CITY OF WOMEN (B. G.) ... 394- 

83. THE TOWN WHERE NONE MIGHT GO TO 

SLEEP (B. G.) ... 397 

84. THE MENDER OF MEN (U. G.) ... 401 

85. THE PORCUPINE BECOMES A STEP-FATHER (B. G.) ... 407 

86. How AUTA KILLED DODO (S. D.) ... 408 

87. How THE ZANKALLALLA KILLED DODO ... (B. G.) ... 411 

88. THE WRESTLERS AND THE DEVIL ... (B. G.) ... 414 

89. THE Two GIRLS AND THE DEMONS ... (U. G.) ... 417 

90. THE THREE YOUTHS AND THE THREE 

DEMONS (U. G.) ... 418 

91. THE UNGRATEFUL MEN (M.) ... 420 

92. THE MAN, AND HIS WIVES WHO WERE 

WITCHES (S. S.) ... 422 

93. How THE ILL-TREATED GIRL BECAME RICH (B. G.) ... 424 

94. DAN-KUCHINGAYA AND THE WITCH ... (M.) ... 428 

95. THE BOY, THE WITCH, AND THE WONDER- 

FUL HORSE (S. S.) ... 432 

96. THE BOY WHO CHEATED DEATH (B. G.) ... 441 

97. THE KING WITH CANNIBAL TASTES ... (S. S.) ... 447 

98. THE MANY-HEADED CANNIBALS (S. S.) ... 449 

99. WHY THE YOUNG GIANT LOST HIS 

STRENGTH (U. G.) ... 452 

100. THE YOUTH AND THE ONE- SIDED 

GIANTESS (U. G.) ... 454 

PART III. NOTES. 

I. ON THE TALES 

II. ON TRIBAL MARKS 

III. ON BORI 



Illustrations. 

PLATES. 

FACING PAGE 

I. READY FOR A BORI SPIRIT ... Frontispiece 

II._ POSSESSED Frontispiece 

III. PRAYING FOR RAIN ... ... 16 

IV. RACES AT RAMADAN ... ... 16 

V. MALAMS ... 32 

VI. THE OLD AND THE NEW ... 32 

VII. A HAUSA LETTER 65 

VIII. A HAUSA LETTER ... ... 65 

IX. GRASS FOR THE ROOF ... ... 96 

X. HUTS IN VARIOUS STAGES ... ... 96 

XI. A VERANDAH ... 96 

XII. THE SKELETON OF THE ROOF 96 

XIIL HOUSES IN KANO ... 112 

XIV. HOUSES IN SOKOTO ... ... ... 112 

XV. A POTTER AT WORK ... 144 

XVI. TYPES OF POTS ... 144 

XVII. STAGES IN POT-MAKING 173 

XVIIL STAGES IN POT-MAKING ... .... 173 

XIX. A HAUSA CHEAP-JACK 208 

XX. MATS 208 

XXI. BUTCHERS * 240 

XXII. A BLACKSMITH ... 240 

XXIIL A MALE TRADER ... 256 

XXIV. FEMALE TRADERS 256 

XXV. FIREWOOD 288 

XXVI. COTTON 288 

XXVIL HAUSA BARBERS 313 

XXVIII. HAUSA BARBERS 313 

XXIX. YAMS 352 

XXX. SWEETMEATS ! 352 

XXXI." DAINTIES 368 

XXXII. MILK .v, ... 368 

XXXIII. TAKAI THE CHALLENGE 416 

XXXIV. TAKAI THE ASSEMBLY ... > : ..." .^ ... 416 

XXXV. TAKAI THE BATTLE IN PROGRESS 432 

XXXVI. TAKAI THE FINAL MELE ... ... ... 432 

XXXVII. BOXING ... ... ... 464 

XXXVIII. BOXING ... ... 464 

XXXIX. WRESTLING : ., - .... , -,.. 496 

XL. WRESTLING *.* ... 496 

XLL THE BORI JUMP ... 540 



xiv ILLUSTRATIONS 

FIGURES IN THE TEXT. 

PAGE 

FIG. i. LEATHER PILLOW ... i 

FIGS. 2, 3. ANTIMONY BOTTLES 7 

FIG. 4. LEATHER KORAN-COVER 12 

5. LEATHER PILLOW 13 

6. LEATHER KORAN-CASE 21 

7. LEATHER CUSHION 29 

8. LEATHER BOOK-COVER 30 

9. LEATHER KORAN-CASE 37 

10. LEATHER PURSE 45 

ii. LEATHER MONEY-BELT ... 46 

FIGS. 12-15. LEATHER NEEDLE-CASES 51 

16, 17. WOODEN DARRA BOARDS 59 

FIG. 1 8. LEATHER HAVERSACK 61 

ig. LEATHER HAVERSACK 73 

FIGS. 20, 21. LEATHER SLIPPERS 74 

FIG, 22. WOODEN CLOG 81 

23. LEATHER SANDAL 81 

FIGS. 24, 25. LEATHER BOOTS 91 

FIG. 26. LEATHER BOOT (PATTERN) 97 

27. LEATHER AND STRAW HAT 108 

28. DECORATED CALABASH 109 

FIGS. 29, 30. BRASS BASIN 115 

FIG. 31. BRASS JUG 121 

FIGS. 32, 33. BRASS JUG (PATTERNS) 127 

FIG. 34. BRASS BOTTLE 131 

FIGS. 35-37. BRASS POTS 137 

FIG. 38. BRASS POT (PATTERN) 145 

)} 3 Q. BRASS BOWL 152 

40. PARCHMENT Box 153 

9i 41. WOODEN MORTAR AND PESTLE 159 

J} 42. WOODEN STOOL 159 

43. EARTHENWARE JUG 165 

FIGS. 44-48. HAUSA POTTERY 173 

FIG. 49. TRAVELLER'S GOURD : 182 

50. DECORATED GOURD 183 

J9 51. DECORATED GOURD 191 

52. DECORATED GOURD 199 

?j 53 . DECORATED GOURD :.. 211 

54. DECORATED GOURD 221 

)} 55. DECORATED GOURD 233 

FIGS. 56-58. DECORATED VESSELS 239 

,, 59,60. DECORATED VESSELS 251 

FIG. 61. WOODEN SPOON 259 

62. BRASS SPOON 259 

}j 63. GOURD SPOON 259 

FIGS. 64-67. WOODEN SPOONS 271 

FIG. 68. BASKET 281 

69. GRASS MAT 291 



ILLUSTRATIONS xv 

PAGE 

FIG. 70. BASKET ... 291 

FIGS. 71, 72. STEELS FOR FLINT 301 

73-75- RAZORS AND CASE 313 

76,77. REED AUTOHARP 321 

FIG. 78. VIOLIN ... 333 

79. GUITAR ...341 

80. GUITAR ... 351 

81. SYRINX 361 

82. FLUTE 361 

?j 83. CLARIONET 361 

FIGS. 84, 85. BRASS TRUMPETS 369 

FIG. 86. IRON RATTLE 379 

87. DRUM 379 

88. DRUM ... 389 

89. DRUM 399 

90. BRIDLE ... ... 411 

,, 91. BIT AND REINS 421 

92. SADDLE 429 

93. STIRRUP AND LEATHER 429 

94. STIRRUP 439 

95. HEAD ORNAMENT 439 

FIGS. 96, 97. SPURS 447 

FIG. 98. BELL ... 447 

99. WHIP 45 6 

FIGS. ioo, 101. DANE-GUNS 457 

102-104. KNIVES 465 

FIG. 105. CLUB 473 

106. SWORD 473 

FIGS. 107-110. HAIRPINS 483 

in. GLASS BRACELET 493 

112. HORSEHAIR WRISTLET 493 

113. TIN BRACELET 501 

114. TIN RING 501 

115. WOODEN ARMLET 509 

116. WOODEN COMB 509 

117. SHELL GIRDLE 518 

THIRTEEN FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS 519 

TEN FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS 521 

TEN FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS 523 

ELEVEN FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS 525 

TEN FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS 527 

ELEVEN FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS 529 

TEN FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS S3I 

TEN FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS 533 

NINE FIGS. TRIBAL MARKS 535 



AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA 




VWVVVVvVV V V V V V V vv v v 



FIG. i. Leather pillow. Most of the designs are made with black or 
red stain upon yellow leather, but the round spots are of green plush upon 
brown leather, and the arcs are of purple plush upon light green leather. 
The back of the pillow which has an opening for the reception of the 
cotton stuffing is of red leather of the same shade as the binding of this 
book. L., 36 in. 

PART I. 
Folk-lore and Folk-law. 



CHAPTER I. 
INTRODUCTION. 

The People Value of Folk-Lore The Narrators Difficulties 
of Collecting Authorities Commencement and Ending of 
Stories. 

THE principal habitat of the Hausawa or, as we 
call them, the Hausas comprises the Hausa States, 
forming the greater part of what is now Northern 
Nigeria, which is British territory, a good deal of the 
French Possessions to the west, and also the hinter- 
land of the Gold Coast. But the people, being great 
travellers and traders, are met with all over the Sudan, 
and many colonies have been established between 
Tripoli and Tunis in the north and the Bight of Benin 
in the south. Whether they came originally from the 
east or north-east, or whether they are indigenous, is 
i 



2 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

still a moot question which is argued elsewhere.* At 
any rate, probably everyone will admit that they are a 
mixture of mixtures, and so it should not be surprising 
that we can recognize many familiar anecdotes in the 
tales collected in the West Sudan. 

VALUE OF FOLK-LORE. Many people regard folk- 
lore as being nothing but " a collection of silly stories," 
a kind of "serious foolishness"; and it must be ad- 
mitted that legends and myths are likely to descend to 
such a level amongst civilized peoples, who neglect to 
study them, and retain them merely as nursery rhymes. 
But in their original form they contain much wisdom, 
or " lore," and they throw so much light upon the 
religious and legal systems of the inhabitants of the 
district in which they arise, that, in this early stage of 
its existence, a certain class of folk-lore is to a great 
extent an enunciation of folk-law. It will become more 
evident that this is so when we remember that ancient 
customs have often been brought to light in trials (e.g., 
of witchcraft) before English courts what, indeed was 
the Common Law? and this continues here even in 
the present time, especially where land is concerned. 
In Northern Nigeria, a Resident has a book for " In- 
formal Cases" in addition to the ordinary "Court 
Minute Book," and in it are entered accounts of trials 
particularly marriage disputes which, in the judge's 
opinion, should not be conducted in the ordinary man- 

* The Niger and, the West Sudan (Hodder and Stoughton), 
pages 51-64. I maintain that they came from the neighbourhood 
of Meroe s and that although fhey have but little more connec- 
tion with the Abyssinians than the Kafirs of South Africa have 
with the Kafirs of India the words Ba-haushe (the Hausa's 
name for himself) and Babushe (a mythical ancestor) came from 
Ba (descendant) and Habbeshi (mixture). The fact that they 
still pay tribute to the Gwandara (who once owned most of the 
country) at certain festivals, points to a non-indigenous origin. 



VALUE OF FOLK-LORE 3 

ner, because, being governed by native custom, English 
law is inapplicable to them. In other words, the 
Government recognizes that these customs are actually 
local laws, and that the parties must be tried in accord- 
ance with them, so long as they are fair and reason- 
able, and have not been specially barred.* 

If, therefore, the tales are to have any scientific 
value at all, they must be related as nearly as possible 
in the very words of the original version, varied (accord- 
ing to the individual talents of the narrator) solely as 
regards the mode of recitation and gesture. The only 
real discretion allowed to the narrator should be the 
insertion of a few peculiar passages from other tradi- 
tions and in fact portions of variants are often intro- 
duced, as is mentioned in the notes but even in that 
case no alteration of these original or elementary 
materials, used in the composition of tales should be 
made, although it sometimes takes place. Generally 
(in theory) the smallest deviation from the original 
version will be taken notice of and corrected if any 
intelligent person happens to be present, but it is very 
difficult to persuade one Hausa to tell a story in the 
presence of another. However, this has not proved a 
very serious loss, for I have read the books written by 
other Hausa students, and have pointed out the varia- 
tions where this seemed desirable. 

At any rate, the reader may be assured that the tales 
have been gathered direct from the lips of illiterate 
story-tellers, and that they have been set down with 
accuracy and good faith. An authority says : " Every 

* In this respect, Italy has set an example to the world, for 
the Italian troops were instructed in native beliefs before leaving 
their own country, so that they would not unnecessarily offend 
even the people against whom they were to fight. 



4 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

turn of phrase, awkward or coarse though it may seem 
to cultured ears, must be unrelentingly reported; and 
every grotesquery, each strange word, or incompre- 
hensible or silly incident, must be given without flinch- 
ing. Any attempt to soften down inconsistencies, 
vulgarities or stupidities, detracts from the value of the 
text, and may hide or destroy something from which 
the student may be able to make a discovery of import- 
ance to science."* Unfortunately some of the Hausa 
vulgarities are unprintable, and where this is so, I have 
purposely altered the offensive word, but in each case 
it has been marked with an asterisk (*) so that no false 
deduction may be drawn, e.g., in Story 45. 

I have examined carefully every story given here, 
and have tried to get the most out of it, and, in addi- 
tion, a great deal of other information (usually confirm- 
ing or denying something in a tale) has been inserted. 
One cannot depend absolutely upon the tales, for it is 
sometimes difficult to distinguish between the original 
event and pure fiction ; slight changes take place, as 
has been indicated; and lastly, stories (and here also 
the people) travel, and pick up local characteristics en 
route. Still, I hope that, in spite of its shortcomings, the 
work will be of service even of value to the con- 
scientious student of the people, whether he be an 
administrator, or merely an amateur anthropologist, 
and it is for this reason that so many figures have been 
given in the text, for they can hardly fail to prove 
useful in giving a good idea of the culture attained. 
Probably, too, those general readers who have not 
previously paid much attention to Hausa folk-lore, will 
see that a fable may be more than a silly story if 
analysed and understood. 

* E. S. Hartland, The Science of Fairy Tales, page 21. 



THE NARRATORS 5 

In The Tailed Head-Hunters of Nigeria, I en- 
deavoured, by comparing the customs of some Nigerian 
savages with those of civilized peoples, to show that, 
after all, humanity, whatever the colour, has much in 
common. In this book, I have striven to reach the 
same end by a comparison of the folk-lore.* 

THE NARRATORS. Nearly all of the hundred tales 
in this volume were obtained during 1908 and 1909 
at Jemaan Daroro, in the Nassarawa Province of 
Northern Nigeria. A few had been told me previously 
(in 1906-1907) when in Amar, the headquarters of the 
Muri Province, by Ashetu, a policeman's wife, but all 
the subsequent ones were related by men. Women and 
children are said to be the best story-tellers, and 
naturally so, but I found them difficult to get hold 
of, and nervous and easily tired, so I had to rely 
mainly upon my own sex, the narrators being Privates 
Ba Gu(d)du and Umoru Gombe, of the ist Northern 
Nigeria Regiment of the " W.A.F.F.," the Sar(r)ikin 
Dukawa (Chief of the Leather-workers), and Momo 
Kano and Mohamma, personal servants. So as to 
distinguish them, each story is marked in the Table of 
Contents with the initial of the person who told it to me. 
The best Hausa was spoken by the last named, but 
all were illiterate, and only two of them had even a 
smattering of English. I urged Momo Kano to learn 
the Hausa written characters, but he never got further 
than learning their names, although merely on account 
of this mild qualification, he wished to shave his hair 
and wear a turban like a malam, or learned man. I 

* At the same time, however much alike the early ideas may 
have been, we must be careful to admit that the subsequent 
development of white and black has been very different, and that 
there is absolutely no reason to suppose that Europeans and 
negroes can now be educated and trained upon similar lines. 



6 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

hope that what he did proved useful to him on his way 
to the next world for he is now dead, I very much 
regret to say. 

DIFFICULTIES OF COLLECTING. There are several 
difficulties in the way of the collector. First, one has to 
gain the confidence of the native, and that is an exceed- 
ingly difficult thing for an official to accomplish, because 
even his 'most innocent inquiries are suspected. Who 
in England would give more information than he could 
help to a person who was both judge and tax-collector ? 

But that is not all by any means. However hard 
one may study the language, there will be many words 
which one does not understand, and it is almost im- 
possible for most students to keep pace with some of 
the narrators. To interrupt a native for an 
explanation may often disturb him so much that 
he loses the thread of the tale; to go on may 
mean that one forgets to inquire afterwards, 
or may not have the chance to do so again, as has 
happened to me in several cases. Then, many of the 
speeches are sung in a falsetto voice, which alters 
the sounds and even the accents of syllables, the latter, 
in any case, being frequently carried along in Hausa 
composite words, or in words followed by a pro- 
noun. 

But, as Mr. Hartland says, it is common for the 
rustic story-teller to be unable to explain expressions, 
and indeed whole episodes, in any other way than could 
the immortal Uncle Remus, when called upon to say 
who Miss Meadows was : " She wuz in de tale, Miss 
Meadows en de gals wuz, en de tale I give you like 
hi't wer* gun ter me." I am not the only collector w r ho 
has discovered that when the tales had "sung parts," 
sometimes even they who sang them could scarcely 



DIFFICULTIES OF COLLECTING 7 

explain the meaning, especially when non-Hausa words 
had been introduced by some intermediate narrator. 
I sometimes found that, although several men would 
give certain sentences in exactly the same way, not one 
really understood what they meant, and I had to ask 
the assistance of the Alkali, or native judge as being 





FIG. 2. 



FIG. 3. 



FIG. 2. Antimony bottle of parchment, covered with alternate strips of 
hide (with hair left on) of white, black, and brown. H., 3! in. 

FIG. 3. Antimony bottle of parchment, covered with leather. The lower 
part is of red leather, with pattern in black, the upper part is of plaited 
green and black strips. The leather loop (to hang on wrist or girdle) keeps 
the bottle in position. L., of bottle 7j in. 

the best educated man in Jemaa to help me out of 
the difficulty. Thus, in Hausaland, as elsewhere, the 
popular memory may persist long after the proper ex- 
planation has disappeared. There are one or two words 
which I have been unable to translate, and, rather than 
make a guess, I have left them in the original Hausa, 



8 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

so that others may see and perhaps be able to explain 
them. After all, how many English story-tellers can 
give the meaning of " Fe Fi Fo Fum" ? 

Again, the story-teller, if paid so much per tale, is 
apt to skip certain parts which he thinks would puzzle 
the listener, and, if paid by time, he may add on por- 
tions of other stories, so as to avoid the trouble of 
thinking out a whole fresh one. Or, perhaps the fault 
may not be his at all ; he may have heard only a 
mutilated version, an example of which may be seen 
in No. 39, and that is all, therefore, that he can hand 
on. 

In many Hausa tales a character is suddenly intro- 
duced, and as his name will probably not be mentioned 
for some time, the listener is apt to become confused 
when this sort of thing takes place : " He said, * Take 
this.' He took it. He said ' I thank you.' He said 
1 Come again to-morrow.' He said * I give you this.' 
He said ' Good-bye until to-morrow.' He said * I am 
going home.' He said ' Very well.' He went home." 
Sometimes, too, a good deal will be understood, e.g., 
" She said ' To-morrow you must go.' As she was 
travelling," &c. The whole mention of her departure on 
the following day has been omitted. In these cases 
I have supplied the missing information, but it appears 
within square brackets so as to distinguish it from 
remarks in parentheses actually in the story. 

The Hausa squats cross-legged when telling a tale, 
and although I tried to put the raconteur at his ease, so 
as to watch his gestures, I never saw one move anything 
but his eyes (and lips) during the narration. 

AUTHORITIES. Even a master of a subject cannot 
afford to ignore the work of other writers, much less so 
can one who is only a student, and I am indebted to 



AUTHORITIES g 

many authors for some of the matter in this book. First 
of all (since the introductory chapters precede the tales), 
I must mention Mr. Hartland's The Science of Fairy- 
Tales, which is quoted so often that I have used an 
abbreviation (S.F.T.), the number following the letters 
in the text indicating the page. 

The principal Hausa works consulted are Litafi na 
Tatsuniyoyi na Hausa, by Major Edgar, and Dr. 
Schon's Maganna Hausa, as revised by Canon Robin- 
son, the abbreviations used in their case being (L.T.H.)* 
and (M.H.) respectively, and the numbers being those 
of the stories referred to. Unfortunately these will not 
be of much use to any but the Hausa student, as they 
have not been translated. All Europeans who wish to 
speak the language are under a great obligation to the 
two gentlemen named above, for by their early works 
they have made it much easier for us who have fol- 
lowed. 

A book such as this could have been expanded 
indefinitely, for the short notes could have been in- 
creased in number and size, and more stories could 
have been introduced. The illustrations, too, could 
have been described at length. But a certain amount 
of information regarding the Hausas has already been 
published by me, and it would have served no good 
purpose to have reproduced more than was necessary 
to make the subject quite clear besides, I am trying 
to arrange that each book will supplement, not overlap, 
the preceding works. Again, there is the question 
of finance. My original intention was to publish some 
200 tales both in Hausa and English, but that idea 
had to be abandoned, and even in its present form this 
work can hardly be expected to do more than pay its 

* The first volume is meant unless otherwise indicated. 



io HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

way, even if it does that.* However, although only 100 
tales appear in full, by the aid of variants and notes, 
about 500 are mentioned, in fact most of the published 
work of others, and all of my own. An examination of 
those books and articles which have already appeared 
will certainly aid the student of folk-lore, and 
so I have referred to them wherever necessary. 
The abbreviation T.H.H. refers to The Tailed 
Head-Hunters of Nigeria, the numbers under ten 
indicating the numbers of the stories in Chapter 
xxiii, the larger ones referring to the pages. 
N.W.S. stands for The Niger and the West Sudan, 
the numbers being those of the pages. M. and F.-L. 
are abbreviations for Man (February and April, 1911) 
and Folk-Lore (1910-1911), respectively, the numbers 
being those of the stories, and as in these two journals 
the translation of the text is literal, the true form 
of the Hausa tale can be ascertained by anyone 
interested. 

Many other books have been read, of course, in 
connection with this work, and they are quoted and 
mentioned ad hoc, but the above have been the most 
useful. 

COMMENCEMENT AND ENDING OF STORIES. Since the 
spider is the king of cunning and craftiness, all fables 
are told in his name. The narrator commences his story 
(tatsunia is feminine) thus : 



* In IQIO the Anthropological Section of the British Associa- 
tion appointed a Committee to advise and help me with the 
publication of my MS., but, unfortunately, without result. At 
the last meeting, at Dundee, a grant was made to a Committee, 
consisting of Mr. Hartland (Chairman), Professor J. L. Myres 
(Secretary), Mr. Crooke, and myself, in order to enable my MSS. 
to be typed (in Hausa) in a form suitable for preservation in 
certain University libraries, so students will eventually be able 
to compare the original texts with the tales given here. 



COMMENCEMENT AND ENDING n 

Ga ta nan, ga ta nan, See her here, see her here, 

or 
Ga tan, ga tanka, See her (n is euphonic), 

see the account. 
The listener then replies : 

Ta so, ta taya mu Let her come and aid our 
hira, conversation, 

or 
Ta so, mu ji, Let her come, and let us 

hear, 
or 
Ta 20, ta wuche. Let her come and pass.* 

And the narrator then proceeds with his tale. 
When it is finished he says : 

Ku(r)rum bus kan Finished (Kurmus-ashes) 
kusu (or bera). is the head of the 

mouse, f 
En ba don gizzo ba, Were it not on account of 

the spider, 
da na yi ka(r)ria I should have greatly lied. 

dayaiva, 

Da ma, ka(r)ria na yi. As it is I have told an un- 
truth. 

Ka(r)rian nan ta azu- This lie is lucky, (for) 
zuka, 



* There is a remarkable similarity in the tales from Sierra 
Leone, given in Cunnie Rabbit, Mr. Spider, and The Other Beef 
(F. Cronise and H. Ward, 1903), to many in my collection, even 
part of the Hausa introduction is seen, though in Sierra Leone 
the sentence is said at the end " Story come, story go." 

t Another translation of this (L.T..H., page 384) is, " The 
whole flesh of the rat has been consumed, only the head being 
left." Kurungus, Kurunkus, or Kungurus, meaning the cutting 
off of the head. 



12 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



gobe da safe kaddan 
na tashi dagga 
kwana, 

en samu ta(i)kin 
kurdi chikke da 
kurdi ga bay an 
da(i)kina, 

azuruja tinjim 

gizzo ya zubar. 



tomorrow morning when 
I arise from sleep, 

I will obtain a money-bag 
full of money behind 
my hut, 

a pile of silver (which) 

the spider has placed 
(there). 

If I do not get a money- 
bag, 

I shall at least get a bitter 
gourd.* 



Idan ba asamu 
ta(i)kin kurdi ba, 

asamu kurtu ma- 
doachi. 

The story proper often ends with the words suka 
zona (" they remained "), an equivalent for our " they 
lived happy ever afterwards." The Hausa would not, 
however, bind himself to such a wide statement when 
he knows that the wife at any rate, being only one of 
four, will not be altogether content. Otherwise, why 
call her Kishia? 




x^ 

FIG. 4. Koran cover of red leather, stamped designs, and 
black borders. L., 23 in. 



* The du(m)maj see note LVI, 3. It has an opaque inside 
skin which glistens like silver when dry. 




FIG. 5. Pillow of yellow leather, green ends (sewn with purple cotton) 
and yellow tassels. Pattern in red, with broad black, and narrow green 
border. L., 40$ in. 

CHAPTER II. 

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TALES. 

Fondness for Tales and Proverbs Similarities Uncle Remus 
Elaborate Traps and Easy Escapes Chronology and Style. 

THE Hausas are extremely fond of tales and pro- 
verbs, and almost every well-known animal and nearly 
every trade or profession is represented in the folk-lore 
of the people. Certain favourites of English children 
will be found to have their representatives in the Hausa 
stories; in fact, there seems to be very little which 
is absolutely strange to the student of anthropology, 
and here and there examples have been quoted to show 
that similar stories exist in one part of the globe or the 
other, the cast of characters being altered to suit local 
requirements. Nor is this surprising, for gods, ances- 
tors, witches, ghosts, and animals are believed by 
natives all over the world to possess powers exactly like 
those attributed by us to fairies and other super- 
natural beings, and to have natures and social 
organizations similar to those of mortals. Prob- 
ably all these superstitions have the same origin, 
namely, the belief in spirits, transformation, and witch- 
craft, and it will be easy to understand why similar 
legends should have been born in different countries 
if we remember that the highest nation has climbed the 



14 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

very same ladder of culture on the lowest rung of 
which the uncivilized people are still standing. In the 
tales which follow, some of the steps in the ascent are 
easily discernible. 

SIMILARITIES. The tale of Jack the Giant Killer 
has its African representative in How Auta killed 
Dodo (86), the sister following a creeper the magical 
growth of which recalls the Indian trick of causing a 
mango tree to appear and eventually obtaining riches 
from the same mythical monster (56), reminding one 
somewhat of Jack and the Beanstalk and this story also 
contains elements of Jephtha's daughter, and Moses 
dividing the Red Sea. Dodo, no less than the giant, 
can " smell the blood of an English (or Hausa) man " 
(14 and 56). The hyaena takes our wolf's place in 
changing her voice, and pretending to be the mother 
of the kids or puppies (F.-L. 22 and M.H. 21), but 
the idea is the same. Cinderella was not the only one 
who had shoes which would fit no one but her (86), 
nor was it only Hop O' My Thumb who found a way 
to save his brothers, at the expense of the children of 
the house, by changing their clothes in the dead of 
night (94). Little Red Riding Hood is represented by 
How Dodo frightened the Greedy Man, and in all prob- 
ability, both are sun-myths. Dick Whittington's cat 
brought him power and riches by catching mice, and 
when Auta had lost his city (29), his pet recovered it 
for him in a somewhat similar way. The variant 
is even more like our legend. The white-ant 
releases the lion in one story (T.H.H. 2), and was 
rewarded much worse than was the mouse with us, but 
the account of How the Spider obtained a Feast (78 
and F.-L. 7) has an exact counterpart in an English 
rhyme in which the crocodile asks the lion, wolf, 



SIMILARITIES 15 

leopard, lynx, fox, duck and frog to his dinner party. 
Instead of a goose, the Hausa wife has a hen which 
lays golden eggs (though the white is silver), and she 
also kills it to see if there are more inside. The Hausa 
Half-man represents the " One-leg " of European tales, 
and the knife held by an invisible hand (75) is familiar, 
as also is that of the food serving itself (93).* 

A reversed edition of Blue Beard or rather the 
incident of curiosity in it occurs in Story 82, 
and it resembles even more strongly an Annamite saga. 
The stories of The Arabian Nights are recalled 
when reading New Bags for Old (M.H. 83) and 
The Wonderful Ring (29, Aladdin), The Boy who 
Refused to Walk (70, The Old Man of the Sea), 
Dodo, The Thief, and the Magic Door (14, Ali Baba), 
and the story of the vanishing city (79) ; and a certain 
chief of Zanfara, Umoru, is said to have gone incognito 
amongst his people at night to find out their opinion 
of him, so that if it were unfavourable, he might kill 
them next day. 

* In connection with these I must quote from a rather remark- 
able passage in The Occult Review (April, 1912, pages 193-4) to 
show that the Hausa stories are not so foolish compared with 
our own as they might at first seem to be. The writer states 
that such phenomena have been attested for a number of years 
by scientific men on the Continent, and he continues : " On one 
occasion, for example, a glass decanter was seen to be moved 
from the sideboard on which it stood on to the seance table, and 
thence rise and float about the room, no one touching it, and 
there being no possibility oi any connection between it and any 
object in the room. Finally, the glass bottle held itself, or was 
held by invisible hands, to Eusapia's mouth, and she thereupon 
drank some of the water it contained." And, later on, " Sir 
William Crookes informs us that on several occasions a bunch of 
flowers was carried from one end of the table to the other, and 
then held to the noses of various investigators in turn for 
them to smell." The writer remarks : " Here, then, we have 
phenomena, attested by scientific men, happening within the past 
five or ten years, rivalling any of a like nature that are reported 
to have occurred in fairy stories ! " 



1 6 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

The " Swan-Maiden " of Europe (who appears as a 
seal-maiden of the Shetland Isles, a fish-maiden in 
England, and a dove-maiden in other parts), becomes in 
the Hausa lore a " Donkey-Maiden " (T.H.H. 4), and 
she also is coerced into matrimony by the seizure of her 
skin, but in this case she does not seem to be anxious to 
escape again or, at least, the tale does not indicate it. 
It is evident, however, that the skin must be kept out 
of her way, for in another tale (L.T.H., ii 59) the 
husband throws away the dog-skin which his wife has 
been inhabiting into a river, and it is only then that 
she appears to the world as a woman.* 

In European tales these maidens usually disappear 
if reproached, no matter what they do ; in a Hausa story 
(F.-L. 39) a dove gives a youth wives and a city to 
rule over (though she herself does not marry him), on 
the condition that he will not abuse or ill-treat her, and 
immediately the tabu is broken the youth becomes as 
poor as ever. There is a further resemblance, for 
in a Hausa story (43) the maidens have to guess 
the name of the youth at whom they have set their caps 
or perhaps one should say " head-cloths " consider- 
ing the costume of the country ; in a Welsh tale it is 
the man who must make the discovery. 

The inevitable escape of the superhuman female from 
her mortal husband is said to be due to the fact that 
amongst savages the marriage ties are very loose, but 
as civilization advances, prohibitions appear, and so the 
wife must remain. If so, the Hausa story must be of 
fairly recent origin compared to its European counter- 

* She killed a dog and got inside its skin to escape from an 
evil spirit, Iska, and arrived safely at a town. She lodged at a 
house, and when the people were out she used to do the house- 
work. But one day the son lay in wait, and saw her, captured 
her, and married her. 





[III. PRAYING FOR RAIN. IV. RACES AT RAMADAN. 

The lower photograph is in remarkable contrast to those in the frontispiece. Islam is gradually 
obliterating the Pagan beliefs, and native spirits are shy of the European. Vide page no. 



SIMILARITIES 17 

parts, and this is only what we should expect. Another 
explanation (page 120) is that the husband slights his 
wife's totem, and so she leaves him. 

Jephthah's Daughter has already been mentioned; 
one is reminded of four other Bible stories in Why the 
Giant Lost his Strength (99, Samson), The King 
Who coveted his Son's Wife (55, David and Uriah), 
The Boy who became his Rival's Ruler (45, Adonijah 
and Absalom), and The Wicked Father and the Kind 
Stranger (the Good Samaritan, 68). Stories of Solomon 
are to be found (54 and variant), and some resembling 
those of other Israelitish patriarchs. 

The two doves passing the eye to each other (F.-L. 
36) put one in mind of the Graiai to a slight extent, 
except that there are only two of them instead of three ; 
and the account of the manner in which the hyaena, after 
having been rescued from the well, rewards her pre- 
server (F.-L. 1 6) has its counterpart in many countries. 

To many of Grimm's stories parallels can be found. 
In his tale of " The Twelve Brothers," the sister has to 
keep silence for seven years in order to have them 
changed back from ravens into men, and the king 
whom she has married is going to kill her owing to 
false accusations, which she is powerless to answer, 
brought by other women in the palace. But the seven 
years are completed just as she is to be burnt, the spell 
is broken, and the wicked women suffer instead. This 
has many points of resemblance to Story 30. In Hausa- 
land, again, jealous women substitute a dog for a baby 
in the queen's bed (page 94), and the queen is con- 
demned and imprisoned until the truth is known. The 
strong man who, in lieu of wages, receives permission 
to kick his master, reminds one of the price of the 
bull in Stories 76, F.-L. 4 and 5, and T.H.H. 7, while 
2 



i8 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

in Strong Hans, the hero, Fir-twister, and Rock- 
splitter, who are beaten by the dwarf when left behind 
on guard, we can recognize Awudu and his companions 
who wrestled with the Devil (88). The tale of Ferdi- 
nand Faithful and Ferdinand Faithless is much the 
same as that of Salifu (T.H.H. 6), especially at the 
end, where the captured princess kills the king by a 
trick and marries the man who had carried her off. 
Grimm's shepherd-boy is quite as good in repartee as 
is the precocious new baby (74), and the Youth who 
could not shudder may be compared, perhaps, with 
the people who could not sleep (83). The trick of 
setting up a corpse and making a person who hits it 
believe that she herself is the murderer is known to the 
simple Hausa (80). As in Europe, so in Africa 
(100), blood will tell or rather speak. 

As regards beings not quite human, we see that the 
promise to a supernatural of an unborn child, or of a 
living child in marriage, occurs in many tales (75 and 
56). The robbers capture women for food in Europe, 
as do the many-headed cannibals in Africa (98), and the 
role of the dwarfs in saving a beautiful victim from her 
step-mother may be played by the aljan (L.T.H., ii, 88). 
It is always the youngest son who saves his brothers 
(94), and the youngest daughter who seeks for her long- 
lost sister (14 and 56), and the former may even change 
himself into an animal (e.g., a horse, 49), and allow 
himself to be sold for the benefit of the family ex- 
chequer, only to change back again and escape when 
the money has been got safely away. The filling with 
water of a cask with holes in its bottom (or a sieve, 95) 
is common in the land of witches, and when chased by 
one of these creatures, European children might throw 
down a brush, a comb, or a looking-glass which would 



UNCLE REMUS 19 

change into a mountain and by the time that she had 
gone home and got her axe to clear the way, they would 
be out of reach. Similar events are narrated in Stories 
95 and 96. The magic bag, out of which different 
things appear which will be indispensable to the hero, 
is represented in West Africa by the magic handker- 
chief (T.H.H. 6). 

In the animal kingdom, also, the similarities are 
numerous. The three crows in the tale of Faithful John 
talk together and are overheard in exactly the sam 
manner as are the two doves in Story F.-L. 36, and all 
birds, whatever their " nationality," seem to know the 
healing properties of certain leaves (12). Many animals, 
birds, and fish reward the hero for sparing their lives 
(as in 3), and ants will sort out grain if kindly treated 
(as in 76). We thus see that the Hausa is with the 
European in emphasizing the fact that kindness to 
animals, especially in seeing that they are fed first (as 
in 79), will always bring its own reward. The fox and 
the wolf correspond to the jackal and the dog at the 
marriage-feast (F.-L. 29), for the jackal runs to the door 
from time to time and measures himself, so that he may 
not eat too much and swell, and be unable to escape; 
while in the contest of wits, the cat's place is taken by 
the dog, the jackal again playing the part of the cun- 
ning reynard (F.-L. 30). 

Inanimate objects, too, are equally possessed of 
wondrous powers in Europe and in Africa, the story of 
The Straw, The Coal, and The Bean reminding one of 
The Dog, The Salt, and The Cake (F.-L. 2). The list 
of similarities could be continued almost indefinitely, 
but there is room to mention only one more here, 
though this may be given in fuller detail. 

UNCLE REMUS. Several persons expressed surprise 



20 HA US A SUPERSTITIONS 

at seeing in Fables and Fairy Tales some stories 
resembling those of the immortal Uncle Remus, but 
surely one must expect to find such similarities in West 
Africa, for, although they were related and recorded in 
America, they had come originally from the former 
country in the days of the slave-traders.* The jerboa 
kills the lion here (25) instead of the hare (though the 
latter is the hero in M.H. 77), and the tar-baby of 
Uncle Remus becomes the rubber-girl in Hausaland, 
but the incidents are essentially the same. Even 
amongst the Hausas themselves, the spider and the 
jerboa are interchangeable, and sometimes even the 
jackal becomes the hero. 

The " Tar-Baby Story," as it is popularly known, 
will serve to illustrate what I have said above about 
the existence of the same story in many parts of the 
world, f though the student who really wishes to study 
this particular phase should read the classics of Sir E. B. 
Tylor, Professor Frazer, the late Mr. Andrew Lang, Mr. 
Hartland, and others. It has been stated that at least 
three distinct African versions of the tar-baby episode 
in Brer Rabbit's career have come to light, but there 
are more than three. One writer! found two variants in 

* An example of the contrary condition of things is seen in 
Dr. Schon's collection (M.H. 5) where our story of the mother 
and the stupid youth (who puts needles in the hay, butter in his 
sleeve, a puppy in a pot, and so on) has been translated into 
Hausa by a missionary boy, and is given as a tale of the country. 
The Dog in the Manger is also found there (M.H. 53), with a 
Hausa ending. (i Because of that, whenever the dog sees the 
cow he chases her, and the cow tries to gore him. Whenever he 
barks she is frightened, and runs away." 

t Mr. Hartland tells me that although it seems indigenous to 
Africa, it is a very widespread incident, being found in North 
America, quite independently of negro importation (Boas, 
Indianische Sagen, p. 44), and also among the Buddhist Jataka 
(cf. Jacob's Indian Fairy Tales, pp. 194 and 251). 

Folk-Lore, vol. x, page 282. 



UNCLE REMUS 



21 



the Blantyre and West Shire districts, on the other side 
of the Continent, in one of which it was the cock which 
was overreached with tragic results by the swallow, in 
the other the rabbit's place was taken by the cat, and 
it was a small bird which was too sharp for her. 

In a Shisumbwa tale the owner of the field cut a log 
of wood into the shape of a girl, adorned it with cloth 
and beads, and smeared it with gum. The rabbit came 




FIG. 6. Koran case of yellow 
in dark red stain. L,, 6| in. 



leather, with pattern 
Note the fastening. 



up and addressed the girl, and, receiving no reply, 
behaved in much the same fashion as the spider in 
Story 15. But he escaped eventually through artifices 
similar to those employed by the spider in Story 18, 
and the youth in Story 90. In a Ronga tale the rabbit 
used to frighten the women away by blowing a war- 
horn, and, when caught by the gum-maiden, he saved 



22 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS' 

his own life at the expense of the chief, in much the 
same way that the partridge saved hers in Story 24, 
and the boy his in Story 70. In an Angola tale a 
monkey also was caught, while in company with the 
rabbit, by a wooden image of a girl smeared with the 
gum of the wild fig-tree which had been set up by the 
leopard, the owner of the farm. They escaped and 
caught him, and then robbed and tortured him (thus 
causing his spots), and since then they have always 
had to sleep one in a tree, the other in a hole, so as 
to be secure from surprise. 

In Sierra Leone the spider has a similar adventure 
with a virgin of wax. So as to be able to eat all the 
rice and yet escape the trouble of working, he said that 
he was ill, and having made his wife promise to bury 
him on his farm, he pretended to die. He was interred 
there, and soon afterwards the rice began to disappear in 
a mysterious manner, for every night (after the others 
had gone home) he would emerge from his grave and 
eat. His wife having sought advice from a " country- 
fashion-man " made a virgin of wax (from the chockooh 
tree), and the spider was caught as usual. All the 
people beat him, and that is why his body is flat 
nowadays; formerly he was " roun' lek pusson."* 

In the Yoruba versionf the hare is the victim 
of an image smeared with bird-lime. The ani- 
mals were suffering from thirst, and at last they 
decided that each should cut off the tips of his ears, 
and that the fat from them should be sold so as to get 
money to buy hoes with which to dig a well. All cut 
their ears except the hare, and they dug their well, but 
by and by the hare came up, making such a noise with 

* Cronise and Ward, o-p. cit., page 109. 

t Lt.-Col. A. F. Mockler-Ferryman, British Nigeria, page 
288. 



UNCLE REMUS 23 

a calabash that all the other animals bolted away with- 
out waiting to see what it was. Then he slaked his 
thirst, but not content with this he bathed in the water, 
and made it muddy. After his departure the animals 
saw what had occurred, and they set up an image, and 
smeared it with bird-lime. The usual thing happened, 
of course, and the hare was well beaten, but at last he 
was allowed to go, and he has lived in the grass ever 
since. Thus he has longer ears than other animals. 

Two distinct versions of the story as told in 
Northern Nigeria are given later on (15 and 15 v). 

In all of the above, the tar-baby, rubber-girl, wax- 
virgin, or gum-maiden, whichever it may be, does not 
reply to the thief when he accosts her, but this is not 
always the case. In a Kongo story,* the gazelle pro- 
tected his farm from the leopard by carving and setting 
up a wooden fetish called Nkondi, and when the leopard 
threatened to hit, kick and bite, the Nkondi dared him 
to do so. The leopard accepted the challenge, of 
course, and suffered in the approved fashion. 

Now is this simply a " silly story " ? Has this tale 
become so widespread simply because of its power to 
amuse children ? Is it not much more likely that the 
fetish-posts which one sees in the fields simply sticks 
to which rags or bunches of leaves are tied 
are the representatives in real life of the tar-babies in 
the fables, especially since to them is ascribed the power 
of catching thieves? Is it not exceedingly probable 
that the tales have been built up to impress upon the 
listeners the magical power of these posts? Certainly, 
in most cases, the owner of the field has to depend for 
the preservation of his crops upon the respect in which 
the fetishes are held. The Hausa Kunda or Rwanda 

* Folk-Lore, vol. xx, page 210. 



24 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

(which sometimes has an inverted calabash on the stick 
as well as, or instead of, the leaves or rags) is supposed 
to cause the hands of the thief to fall off directly he 
sees it, and if it fails the executioner may perform the 
task when the thief is condemned (vide Note i, 2). It 
seems quite clear if we remember that not only 
does the ignorant pagan erect such charms to 
warn off human beings, but even the intelli- 
gent Mohammedan believes that similar objects will 
keep locusts away (see Note vi, i), the only difference 
being that with the latter a sheet of paper is substituted 
for the leaves. 

ELABORATE TRAPS AND EASY ESCAPES. In some 
cases one is struck by the very easy manner in which 
captured men or animals escape (23, 26, and 90, and 
F.-L. 23) possibly because they can make themselves 
invisible,* though this is not always stated. A favour- 
ite method is that of the youths in 89, or the hyaenas 



* Perhaps the original ideas of the wonderful escapes were 
similar to those regarding the " spirit cabinet " of to-day, in 
which a person bound and chained can move about, although 
discovered a minute later to be still in his shackles ! Perhaps 
there is a more simple explanation. We know that even to-day 
persons mesmerised can see things or not see things, as directed, 
and it is quite possible that the idea of invisibility in the tales 
arose originally through this fact, the subject becoming in time 
the hero or the villain, as the case may be, the other being 
developing meanwhile into the antagonist, and the operator 
being even then credited with magic powers. The knowledge 
of hypnotism is old. Possibly the struggle between Moses and 
Aaron and the Egyptian sorcerers was simply a competition in 
the powers of suggestion, for a similar thing is said (The Occult 
Review, April, 1912, page 190) to have happened lately in Egypt 
at any rate, there is a papyrus dated 3766 B.C. describing a 
seance in which a magician bound on a head which had been 
cut off, and made a lion follow him. As a fairly frequent 
modern example of appearance and disappearance, the case 
of sentries in war-time may be noted, for to a man tensely on 
the alert (even if he has no fear) bushes may move, and hostile 
scouts seem to come and go in a most realistic manner. 



CHRONOLOGY AND STYLE 25 

in 23, but often the Dodo, or whatever it may be, just 
lets the victim loose, and tells him to wait while he goes 
and gets fire with which to cook him, and is surprised to 
find, on his return, that the " meal-elect " has disap- 
peared. In others, however, there seem to be unneces- 
sarily elaborate means taken by the hero of the tale to 
secure the downfall of his adversary, or vice versa ; thus 
in one story (T.H.H. 6), Slipperiness, personified, is 
summoned to cause the youths carrying food to the hero 
to fall down and so spoil it. Why could not the ants 
already there have eaten it ? Again, a large force is sent 
out to kill a slave (19), whereas the King had the power 
of life and death over him, and could have ordered his 
immediate execution. Of course, a ram with magical 
attributes may be too much for a couple of hundred 
men, yet he is very easily overcome in the end, and by 
the very simple but no doubt effective means of an 
ordinary poisoned arrow.* 

CHRONOLOGY AND STYLE. The chronological order 
is not always strictly observed, for the ant speaks after 
it has been swallowed (T.H.H. 2), and a bird sings 
after it has been cut up and cooked (M.H. 45), even 
after it has been eaten If That they can do this 
is not altogether surprising, for the dead ewe can hear 
the youth addressing her (79), and only comes back to 
life when she thinks that he is really going to commit 
suicide for her sake. 



* It is interesting to note that the strength of the ram was 
in a wind (or spirit of the wind, iska] that attended him, and 
that the Egyptian god of the wind, Kne-ph, had a ram's head. 
But Kne-ph is identical with Ra, the sun, and the fact that the 
Hausa Rago (ram) goes away each day, and, in a variant, has 
birds to help him, suggests that the story is a sun-myth, borrowed 
from Egypt. 

t A similar thing happens in a Sierra Leone story where the 
Devil turns Pigeon (Cronise and Ward, page 160). 



26 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Now and then the style is made much more graphic 
by the narrator addressing the characters in the second 
person as if actually present. An example will 
be found on page 158, but a much better one 
is given in L.T.H. 119, where in one of the 
cases tried by the jackal, the narrator says " You, O 
Dog, want to seize the Monkey. You, O Hyaena, want 
to spring upon the Dog. You, O Dog, want to catch 
the Wild-Cat." Another method is for the narrator to 
interrupt his narrative to call attention to the position, 
thus in F.-L. 49, " See, they alight together. There 
is the fugitive, there is the one who wants to seize 
him " ; and there is another example in Story 15. The 
changing of the person is extremely confusing at times, 
for the narrator may commence a speech in the first per- 
son and finish it in the third, thus making the listener 
uncertain as to whether the words are a quotation or a 
description. Even a member of a Hausa audience 
sometimes has to ask " En ji wa " Let me know who 
(it is who is speaking). 

Parables are often introduced into the stories, thus 
in the trial of a Ba-Maguje (pagan Hausa) who had 
married his own daughter, his defence was that he 
had inquired of a malam if it would be right. The 
malam denied having been asked, but the other said " I 
asked you that if a man had a mare with a foal, and 
the mare died, could he ride the foal, and you said 
' yes.* " In another, a chief desires the wife of one of 
his slaves, and he sends the husband on a journey. 
The wife is virtuous, wonderful to relate, shaming the 
chief by saying that " the master does not drink from 
the same vessel as his dog.'* The slave returns, finds 
the chief's boots, and thinks his wife false, so he sends 
her away. Her parents go to the alkali and demand 



CHRONOLOGY AND STYLE 27 

that their farm (the daughter) be given back to them, 
as it has borne no fruit. The husband says that he is 
afraid to go to the farm because he has seen the spoor 
of the lion there. But the chief assures him that the 
lion will not harm him, and so all ends happily. Other 
examples, also, remind one of Biblical parables. 

Not only in substance is it that the Hausa story 
may call to mind an English tale, the monotonous 
repetition of The House that Jack Built, and The 
Old Woman and the Pig, find rivals in The Boy 
who was Lucky in Trading (27) and Story 78. Here at 
any rate is a " silly story " ! But is it ? Sir E. B. Tylor 
points out* that a poem printed at the end of the Jewish 
Passover services begins " A kid, a kid, my father 
bought for two pieces of money/' and it goes on to 
describe how a cat came and ate the kid, a dog bit the 
cat, and so on, until " Then came the Holy One, 
blessed be He ! and slew the angel of death, who slew 
the butcher, who killed the ox, that drank the water, 
that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick that beat 
the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, that my father 
bought for two pieces of money." The learned writer 
says that one interpretation of this is that Palestine (the 
kid) is devoured by Babylon (the cat), which is over- 
thrown by Persia, and later on Persia is conquered by 
Greece, Greece by Rome, until at last the Turks are 
victorious. But in the end the nations of Europe will 
drive out the Turks (their territory is rapidly diminish- 
ing), the angel of death will destroy the enemies 
of Israel, and so that nation will once more be supreme. 
The Hausa story, also, may have a deep significance. 

As has been said before, some parts of the stones 
are often told in a sing-song voice, and at any rate 

* Primitive Culture, i, page 86. 



28 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

many of the speeches are sung, especially if an animal 
be speaking, sometimes in falsetto, always with a strong 
nasal twang. In the examples which follow, the words 
are intoned so as to resemble the actual sounds of the 
animals concerned. The wild-cat wants the rooster to 
come out to play with her at night, and calls out Saidu, 
Saidu, which the rooster said was his name. The 
rooster takes no notice, but at dawn next morning he 
calls out " Chikkakalike, Chikkakalike, who has been 
calling Saidu? " The wild-cat comes again, and later 
on has more success, the rooster falling into her clutches 
and calling out in a choked voice, Kurait, as he is 
being hurried off to the bush, the other roosters asking 
what sort of amana (friendship) is this? A variant 
(L.T.H., 46) has a happier ending, the people of the 
house driving off the cat, and thus saving the cock. 

At one time the lion used to roar " Allah Abin Tsoro 
(God is to be feared), Za(i)ki Abin Tsoro (the lion is to 
be feared), but since his conquest by man (see page 
31), he has substituted the word Mutum (man) for 
Za(i)ki in the latter part. 

In some recitals the words are intended to sound 
like the barking of -two dogs quarrelling, but one of 
the greatest favourites is supposed to represent a 
hysena, some big dogs, and some puppies : 

Ga tulun zuma. (see the pot of honey) says the 



^ _ _/ 

Enna, enna, enna? (where, where, where ?) ask the 

puppies. 
Ga ragon seyeruwa. (see a ram for sale) says the 

hyaena. 
fabu seye, babu seye. (not buying, not buying) reply 

the big dogs. 



CHRONOLOGY AND STYLE 



29 



; ga abu ba(k)ki, (I see something black, black, 
ba(k)ki, ba(k)ki. black) say the puppies. 

(watch it well) reply the big 

dogs, 
(the dog is my cousin) says the 

hyaena. 

Chan, chan, chan. (go, go, go) exclaim the big 

dogs who are of a different 
opinion. 



Dub a dakeau. 
Ka(r)re zumuna. 




FlG. 7. Leather cushion, with pattern picked out (and thus appearing 
white) and circles of black. D., 22J in. 




FIG. 8. Book cover of red leather, part of pattern picked out, part 
stained black, edge sewn with yellow leather. L., i8 in. 

CHAPTER III. 
ANIMALS IN THE TALES. 

The Animal Community The King of Beasts and Insects 
Birds Fish Habits of Animals Animals Resemble Human 
Beings. 

ACCORDING to the Hausas, all the animals lived 
together at one time as members of a single community 
in a kind of Garden of Eden, but the sins of one of 
the number usually the tricks of the spider or the 
thefts of the hyaena destroyed the happy family. 
These animal communities were organized on exactly 
the same lines as are the human tribes to-day, of course, 
with chiefs, officials, and subjects, who had duties and 
dwellings such as are familiar to the narrator in his 
daily life.* One story shows how the lion was 
king before the arrival of man, and, so far as 
I am aware, there is no idea of a Hausa Adam 
naming the animals, for they seem to have been first 
in the world. 

THE KING OF BEASTS AND INSECTS. The hare 

* Dr. Leo Frobenius (The Childhood, of Man, page 410) says 
that although there are animals who build themselves houses, 
who clothe themselves, who rear live-stock, till the land, and 
have established orderly government, there are no animals which 
understand the use of fire, and he holds that " it is this posses- 
sion that distinguishes the development even of the very lowest 
peoples from that of animals." From several of the stories given 
here, it will be seen that his remarks are not correct as regards 
Hausa Folk-lore. 



THE KING OF BEASTS AND INSECTS 31 

(zomo) appears in a few of the Hausa tales, and is 
usually the victor (F.-L. 20), but the great hero is the 
spider (gizzo) who is the king of cunning, and, as has 
been seen, after each account the narrator excuses him- 
self for his untruths by stating that the story has, been 
told in the name of this insect. In one story (L.T.H. 20) 
the Hare agrees to go partners in a farm first with the 
Elephant, and then with the Giraffe, and makes them 
do all the work by pretending that he himself has done 
what each has accomplished in the others' absence. 
When all has been finished he frightens both of them 
away, and so has the farm to himself. 

The King of Beasts is usually the lion, though he 
cannot conquer the leopard (damissa, 78), but some- 
times the spider is said to possess the throne (F.-L. 2). 
Certainly, by reason of his having obtained a charm 
for popularity from a malam (T.H.H. i), no animals 
will betray him, and his tricks usually go unpunished. 
However, Za(i)ki (lion) stands for power and dignity, 
and is a complimentary title for a chief, and there is 
no doubt that a leader would rather be known as such 
than as a Gizzo. At one time the lion was not afraid 
of man, it was only when his lioness had been killed 
by a poisoned arrow that he believed that man was 
greater than he.* Probably this tale arose after the 
discovery of poison for arrows. 

The lion is no match for the spider in low cunning, 
he has to get the help of an old woman on the only 
occasion on which he comes off best (T.H.H. 2), the 
insect being shown at various times as outwitting not 
only him (F.-L. n), but also the hyaena, the buffoon 

* Kanta, the founder of Kebbi, is said to have issued a 
proclamation to the spirits and wild beasts to leave his people 
in peace, and they did so, whereas before this, men had been 
killed daily. 



32 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

of the animal world (21 and F.-L. 2, 3, n), the hippo- 
potamus, and the elephant, and as being stronger than 
these two beasts together (F.-L. i); the snake (F.-L. 4), 
the jackal (F.-L. 14), the lamb (F.-L. 13), all the animals 
(F.-L. 3, 6 and 7), and even man (F.-L. 12), and young 
women (72). But he does not seem equal to an old 
woman (83, F.-L. 14 and T.H.H. 2), and men often 
pay him out in the end (17, F.-L. 9, 16 and 32), as 
do certain of the animals, such as the tortoise (F.-L. 8), 
the jackal (F.-L. 10), and the goat (F.-L. 13). There 
is no sense of proportion, the spider carries a boy on 
his back (70), and can lift any animal (F.-L. 6, 7, 8), 
and eat it (36 and 78). But this is probably due to 
the fact that he takes human shapes at times (15), and 
may possibly be a giant. The female spider is called 
Koki ; probably it is a different variety, for such dis- 
tinctions of sex are rare, though one may have been 
made in the case of this particular insect to mark its 
superior position. The spider is always represented as 
being very greedy, even refusing to share a feast with 
his wife whenever he can manage to do so, and con- 
sidering the rapacious nature of the local chiefs, the 
reason would seem to be that greed is one of the 
attributes appropriate to royalty !* 

* The character of this insect is so well summed up in 
Cunnie Rabbit that I give it in full : " The Spider appears to be 
the national hero, the impersonation of the genius of the race. 
To him are ascribed the qualities most characteristic of the 
people, or those most to be desired : cunning, sleeplessness, 
almost immortality, an unlimited capacity for eating, and an 
equal genius for procuring the necessary supplies. He possesses 
a charmed life, and escapes from all intrigue. He is a tireless 
weaver, and has spun the thread of his personality into all the 
warp and woof of the national life. With him the adults 
associate most of their traditions, while the children love him, 
and push him tenderly aside if he chances to come in their way. 
He is inclined to be lazy, and refuses to lift even the lightest 
burden if it is in the nature of work; if it is something to eat, 
he can carry the carcase of an elephant with the greatest ease." 




V. MALAMS, OR LEARNED MEN. MOHAMMEDAN PRIESTS, WHO (AS A BODY) 
BELIEVE IN MAGIC. VI. THE OLD AND THE NEW. 

Note the rich embroidery on the dress of the shorter man, and the leggings (attached to the 
trousers) of the other. 

The horsemen (Filani and Hausa) were all-powerful before the arrival of the Europeans, who 
trained the subdued races to conquer their conquerors 



THE KING OF BEASTS AND INSECTS 33 

Dr. Rivers tells me that, in his opinion, the insect 
stands for some legendary hero, who, by reason of 
superior tactics and strength, overcame the indigenous 
inhabitants. This certainly seems to be the case in 
many stories (the Hyaena representing 'the conquered 
people, in all probability), but in others it would 
appear as if the spider were more nearly connected 
with the sun. 

Sometimes the jerboa (kurege) takes the part of the 
spider, and often does much better, for, so far as I 
know, he is never outwitted. Thus he even kills the 
lion (25), and gets the better of the hyaena on many 
occasions (F.-L. 27) ; and he is too clever even for the 
jackal (F.-L. 26). Charms and aphrodisiacs are made 
from his body, his bite will cause madness, while if 
a man be touched in a certain part with a jerboa's tail, 
he will become impotent, it is said. In the stories here 
given, the variants which have come to my notice are 
mentioned, but there are no doubt many others; and 
the same thing applies in the case of other animals. 

The jackal (dila) has a special kirari, or form of 
address, " O Learned One of the Forest " (6), and 
though he sometimes enters into contests with other 
rivals, such as the spider (F.-L. 10), or the dog (F.-L. 
30), it is as a judge that we usually find him engaged 
(26, F.-L. 1 6), though his sentences are more clever 
than just.* His title of Malamin Daji is claimed also 
by a large species of wood-pigeon which is always 
making itself heard. 

The leopard seldom finds a place in <the Hausa folk- 
lore ; if he does appear, it is merely so that he can kill 

* In Northern India, too, the lion is the King of Beasts, with 
the jackal as his minister. Vide Crooke, The Po-pular Religion 
and Folk-lore of Northern India, 2nd ed., vol. ii, page 210. 

3 



34 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the hyasna; he is never a friend of man. The monkey 
(birri) is sometimes mentioned, but not the baboon 
(gogo). I was told by men at Amar that if a leopard 
kills one of the latter animals his tribe will lie in wait, 
and if their enemy climbs a tree, and, crouches upon a 
branch, the baboons will drop down upon him and kill 
him. 

The dog (ka(r)re) is considered anything but 
sagacious, perhaps because it is such a very poor 
specimen resembling a mongrel greyhound. There 
seems to be only one breed, but some animals grow 
very much larger than others, and there may really be 
several varieties. Most are cowardly curs, and are 
therefore good watch-dogs ; some of the bigger members 
of the family will attack hyaenas as did a little fox- 
terrier which I had for a time but they are not used 
in war. Strangely enough, considering the low estima- 
tion in which they are held, they are supposed to kill 
witches and Dodo, but only if properly treated (M.H. 
11). We find that throughout folk-lore dogs are asso- 
ciated with the spirits of the dead, and are regarded as 
being able to drive away evil spirits.* They are 
scavengers, and are not used at the present time for 
food, either ceremonial or otherwise, so far as I can 
ascertain, though they may have furnished a disli at 
one time (30), but the Magazawa eat them now, and 
certain tribes in the Jemaa district always include a 
dog in a marriage gift. Some say that the brown and 
white dogs were once used in hunting certainly some 
kinds were (M.H. 52) but that the black ones are 
regarded as evil spirits which cause blindness. The 
abhorrence of the black dog may be due to Semitic 

* In England it used to be thought that a spayed bitch pre- 
vented a house being haunted. Crooke, 0$. cit.^ ii, 222. 



THE KING OF BEASTS AND INSECTS 35 

influence, for the animal was so much despised that the 
price of a dog was not accepted as an offering to God, 
and Mohammedans regard the animal as impure.* 
The dog is always in difficulties with the hysena (F.-L. 
20 and 30), and has to be very clever to get out of 
danger (F.-L. 21 and 22), and although on one occasion 
he manages to play a trick on her (F.-L. 33, which is a 
variant of 23), it is the goat which thinks out the plan. 
He is no match for the jackal (F.-L. 29 and 30). 

The hyaena, as mentioned above, is the buffoon of 
the animal world, and is deceived by the goat (F.-L. 18, 
23 and 33), the jerboa (F.-L. 26 and 27), the ostrich 
F.-L. 38), the jackal (F.-L. 30), the scorpion 
(F.-L. 15), the lizard (F.-L. 19), the dog (F.-L. 22, 
33), even the donkey (F.-L. 25 and 28), and, of course, 
man (F.-L. 32); but he sometimes manages to avenge 
himself on the two latter (82 and T.H.H. i). The 
hyaena is a noted thief, and has a bad name (34 and 
F.-L. 2), and she is very vain, being quite overcome by 
flattery (53 and F.-L. n).f She is fond of dancing and 
of music, and she once (M.H. 38) returns a child to its 
mother because the latter has taught her a song. 
She has some magic power of appearing and 
disappearing (though this is not shown in the 
tales), and is sometimes called aratna, the friend, 
though for what reason I could not discover. One 
man informed me that the name is given because 



* But there is a Greek belief which is closer to the Hausa 
viz., that the sight of a black dog with its pups was unlucky. 
Compare also our saying of a sullen person that a black dog 
has walked over him or is on his back. 

t In India the tiger and even the Rakshasa (Dodo) are 
amenable to courtesy, and will release a victim if addressed as 
" Uncle." Crooke, o-p. cit., i, 249. The Hausa calls a witch 
" Mother " (95). 



36 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

she tries to come into a man's house at night, but it 
may be that the Hausa magician resembles his col- 
league in North-West Uganda in being able to make 
the hyaena take the place of a dog, and in that case 
amina would be better translated by " familiar," per- 
haps. Another man said that Amina was simply one 
of the names of the beast, she having taken several so 
that she may have an advantage in the division of food, 
as is shown in the following story. Some of the 
animals had found a carcase, and the hyaena, being 
the biggest present, said " I will divide it up." She 
took one quarter, and said " This is for Amina " ; she 
took another fourth part, and said " This is for 
Burungu " (despoiler) ; she took a third quarter, and 
said "This is for Maibi derri" (Traveller by night); 
and then she took the remainder and said " Now the 
rest is yours." 

The goat (bunsuru and akwia) and sheep 
(rago and tinkia) are not supposed to be at all 
foolish in Hausaland. The goat can outwit the lion 
(F.-L. 1 8), and the hyaena (F.-L. 18, 22 and 33); the 
sheep also is too good for the latter (F.-L. 15 and 16), 
and may kill even men (66). It is often said by new- 
comers that they cannot tell the difference between sheep 
and goats, because the former have hair like the latter, 
not wool, and even in the tales they are confused, but 
the animals are quite distinct in reality. There are 
several varieties of the sheep, a large kind from Bornu 
with a very Jewish nose being the most valuable. 
Nowadays, of course, rams are killed by the 
Mohammedans, but even in the old days sheep and 
goats had some sacrificial value, as will be seen later. 
The shivering of the goat is noticed in F.-L. 23, the 
animal pretending to the hyaena that he was God 



THE KING OF BEASTS AND INSECTS 37 

through being able to produce rain (by shaking him- 
self) when all else was dry.* 

The horse (doki) is said to have been introduced 
about 1000 A.D., but he does not appear to enter into 
the folk-lore to any great extent, though when he takes 
any active part at all it is always to help man against 
witches (95 and M. 2). The friendship is not 
always reciprocal, however, far in some stories (67 and 
68) a man's affection for his adopted son is measured 




FIG. 9. Koran case, back of fig. 6. 

by the number of valuable horses which he allows him 
to kill. 

The donkey (ja(i)ki) is not altogether an ass (F.-L. 
25 and 28, and L.T.H., ii, 2), though a very 
small specimen, and although he may not be 
able to deceive other animals in the way described 
in the stories quoted, he certainly can give a good deal 

* In India the shivering is supposed to be due to an in- 
dwelling spirit, and the goat is made use of in disputes re 
boundaries. Crooke, o$. cit. t ii, 224. 



38 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

of trouble to his drivers by walking between trees and 
thus getting rid of his load. The Hausa traders own 
great numbers of these animals, and make them carry 
about 150 Ibs. ; they also ride on them occasionally. At 
one time the donkey lived in the forest (F.-L. 28), but 
in the end he took refuge in the town. 

The two stories which I have obtained concerning 
the tortoise (kunkuru) show him to be well able to hold 
his own with either man (82) or spider (F.-L. 8). The 
elephant (F.-L. i, 14 and 38), camel (rakumi 26), and 
hippopotamus (dorina* F.-L. i) are dull beasts, yet 
Toron Giwa (Bull Elephant) is a complimentary title 
of a chief. It is said that at first there was no elephant, 
but that God made every living thing give up a small 
piece of its body, and with these He made this beast. 
"That is why the elephant is the biggest." The 
monkey (birri) is foolish (F.-L. 16), and sometimes 
impertinent (26). The porcupine (begua) and the 
hedgehog (bushia), for they seem to be confused, 
are possessed of wonderful powers over men (2) and 
witches (M. 5), not only in this world, but also in the 
next (85), they can take people up to the sky (L.T.H. 
ii, 14) as also can the wild-cat (64) and are always on 
the side of right. 

One does not expect to find the snake (machiji F.-L. 
30), the scorpion (kunama F.-L. 15), the centipede 
(buzuzu F.-L. 44), or the locust (fara 87), acting as the 
friend of man, but it will be seen that such an opinion 
is not necessarily correct. f The names of certain snakes 



* From doki na rua water-horse. 

t But the Hausas worshipped the snake, in all probability 
though it does not follow that the ''sa in the name indicates this 
and there were both good and evil serpents in Egypt. Most of 
the other animals, &c. s named here are noted by Robertson 
Smith {Kinship and Marriage, pages 2ig et sqq.) as being Arabic 
totems, so good offices would be expected from them. 



BIRDS 39 

are sometimes bestowed on warriors as a compliment ! 
One kind of centipede is said to come out only at 
night, and to emit a light about four inches in length, 
and if it should walk over a person's hand, the hand 
will emit light afterwards. It is somewhat surprising 
that lizards (kaddanga(r)7i) but seldom find a place in 
the stories, for they are always present in the houses.* 
One kind is said to be killed and mixed with chaff to 
fatten cattle. 

BIRDS. Birds seem usually much more intelligent 
than animals (F.-L. 5, 6, 38 and 42), though not always 
(F.-L. 41), and they can give even Solomon a hint at 
times (54). They are almost always on the side of 
man, even at the expense of another human being; 
eagles (mikia 76), pigeons (tantabbara F.-L. 42), doves 
(kurichia 50 and F.-L. 36), and other birds (T.H.H. 7) 
backing him up whether he deserves it or not. Usually 
they protect a victim against his oppressor (12), or at 
any rate help those in need of aid (44). The domestic 
fowl (kaza) is usually a fool (21 and F.-L. 44), 
though the rooster (zakarrd) may sometimes have 
his wits about him (20). The small first eggs of a hen 
are commonly attributed to the cock, and it is said that 
the white-breasted crow hatches her young from stolen 
hen's eggs. 



* This agrees with Dr. Rivers' remarks (paper, Folk-lore 
Society, June, 1912). He believes it to be " a general rule that 
man has not mythologized about the domestic animals with 
which he is in daily contact, but rather about those he sees 
only occasionally, so that special features of their structure or 
behaviour have not a familiarity which has bred contempt and 
made them unfit subjects for the play of imagination." The 
author's definition of " myth " excludes stories which are purely 
fictitious, so the tales based upon the habits of familiar domestic 
animals (e.g., the donkey and the dog) are not really exceptions 
to his rule. 



40 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

There is, of course, a battle between the beasts of 
the forest and the birds of the air (22) as in our 
own fairy-tales, but I have not come across a story so 
interesting as one told in Southern Nigeria where the 
bat (jemage) could not decide to which side he ought to 
belong (to the animals as a mouse, or to the birds on 
account of his wings), and so has now to avoid both, 
by lying low in the daytime when birds are about, and 
by flying at night out of reach of the animals. 

FISH. Fish do not often find a place in the stories, 
though they can act the part of a fairy godmother to a 
Hausa Cinderella when they do (3). But they are not 
always grateful. One which was released by a malam 
for a similar reason given in (3), swam away to a safe 
distance and abused him, and its name, Butulu, has 
been a synonym for ingratitude ever since. 

HABITS OF ANIMALS. It is only natural that in 
some of the stories the peculiar habits of the mem- 
bers of the animal world should have been com- 
mented upon. So far from being too dull to 
think at all, the native has an inquiring mind, 
and he must invent a reason, where it is not 
apparent, for the events of everyday life. No doubt his 
thoughts run upon strange lines, but he certainly does 
think, let anyone who doubts this try to get the better 
of a Hausa or Yortiba trader ! 

The panting of the dog and his fondness for lying 
down are, of course, objects of notice (41 and F.-L. 20), 
and become tacked on to a good many stories (F.-L. 
30). Thus when the hare and the dog are caught by 
the hyaena, and she asks which of them she had been 
chasing, the hare says "Why, surely he who is now 
panting," and the dog has to fly for his life. The 
fondness of hysenas for dogs and goats is not likely to 



HABITS OF ANIMALS 41 

go unnoticed by a people who value their pets and 
property (F.-L. 20 and 23), nor is the fact that hawks 
are partial to chickens (22), wild-cats to fowls (20, 21 
and 45), and cats to mice (62 and 79). The wagging of 
the donkey's head deceives the hungry hyaena who 
thinks that he is biting at meat each time (F.-L. 25), 
and another story shows that he became domesticated 
because the hyaena discovered that what she had thought 
to be horns were in reality only ears (F.-L. 28). The 
hyaena was therefore no longer afraid of him, and the 
donkey had to flee into the town for protection, pre- 
ferring to be a servant of man than to furnish a meal 
for his enemy. The thieving propensities of the hyaena 
are recorded (34 and T.H.H. i), also those of the mouse 
(62 and F.-L. 34 and 38), and dog (79). 

I have several times seen a snake trying to swallow a 
frog, and evidently the sight is not uncommon (F.-L. 
45 and 50), although the frog is seldom seen in the day- 
time (39). The difference between the effect of the 
poisons of the snake and the scorpion is seen in Story 
40. Although the spider remains still for a long time 
(hence his name maiwayo, for he is supposed to be 
thinking out some plan), he can get away quickly 
enough when one wants to kill him the presence of 
such large numbers of the insect being explained in 
Story F.-L. 32. It is rather hard on him that the boy 
(70) and the partridge (24) both borrow his particular 
trick and beat him. Ants carry grains singly, so 
they may be used for sorting out different kinds (80), 
and their store-houses are useful to poor people (38 and 
F.-L. 45). 

The fact that the note of the crow resembles the 
word da (son) is satisfactorily explained in a story about 
the origin of that bird (64). It will fly away at once if 



42 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

anyone prepares to throw a missile at it (F.-L. 40). The 
way in which doves (or wood-pigeons) will fly a little 
way along the road in front of a traveller and settle in 
the road, and then fly on again and settle again, until 
at last they fly back and leave him to go on alone, is 
shown in The Search for a Bride (F.-L. 36). Pigeons 
are easily tameable, and will come to eat grain if it be 
offered them (F.-L. 42). 

Examples could be multiplied almost indefinitely, 
but this part of the subject is not particularly important, 
and the above will be sufficient, probably, to show that 
the Hausa is not altogether unobservant even in 
matters not directly concerned with the food-supply ! 

ANIMALS RESEMBLE HUMAN BEINGS. Many animals 
behave exactly like human beings, as regards, for 
instance, living in houses (24 and F.-L. 50) which 
have to be repaired (F.-L. 7). The familiar story 
of Little Golden Hair and the Three Bears conveys a 
similar idea, though this perhaps is not a good example 
of our folk-lore. The forest communities are organized 
on similar lines, as has been mentioned, and each 
species of animal may have its own quarter in a general 
city, or even a city to itself (F.-L. 20). 

The Hausa animals also resemble the Hausa folk in 
visiting (24 and 34), courtship (F.-L. 27), marriage 
(F.-L. 12 and 27), feeding their young (3), spinning 
(F.-L. 33), grinding corn (163), marketing and fleeing 
from their creditors (167 and F.-L. 5, 7 and 50), 
working on the farm (15 and F.-L. 10) or in the smithy 
(41) and it is not only the British workman who can 
invent excuses for the inevitable delays dancing (F.-L. 
n), wrestling (F.-L. 19), seeking revenge (F.-L. 18 
and 50), fighting (22), and even going to the next 
world (85). Some of the highest human virtues are 






ANIMALS RESEMBLE HUMAN BEINGS 43 

possessed by a few of the animals, particularly the 
horse, as, alas ! are most of the vices ! 

As one would naturally expect, men and animals 
can converse, even without any transformation though 
the former may not always understand (50 and F.-L. 36) 
and, as has been mentioned above, sometimes even 
inanimate objects also can talk and act.* In fact, 
man is evidently very closely connected with every 
other living thing, f since one may marry the 
other (57, 58 and F.-L. 37, 38, 45 and 47), 
and have offspring (72 and F.-L. 48), even though the 
latter be not animate in the ordinary sense perhaps 
such have the power of changing into human beings 
at will (71). As has been mentioned, a chief is often 
addressed as " Lion " or " Bull Elephant," these refer- 
ring merely to the man's power; but a closer connec- 
tion with the animal kingdom would seem to lie in the 
epithet " Son of a Wild Beast," which, strange to say, 
is considered complimentary ! In addition to these 
forms of address, the name of some animal is often given 
as a name to a child, but this need not be treated further 
here, for it is considered under " Names " in Chapter 
VII. 

In the case of monkeys, particularly the big 
baboons, it is just possible that the stories of 
marriage between animals and human beings were 
founded upon actual events. An Ijo cook whom I had 



* This is found elsewhere, of course, though expressions like 
" Dead as a door-nail " and " Deaf as a post " point to a contrary 
opinion. 

t For the reason I have used capitals in the stories for the 
initial letters of the names of animals, and even for those of 
things when taking an active part. The numerous capitals look 
somewhat strange in cold English type, perhaps, but they 
certainly reflect the idea in the mind of the Hausa. To him the 
characters are exceedingly real and personal. 



44 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

in 1903 told me that the women of his country were 
afraid of monkeys assaulting them in the bush, and 
that some other tribes were the issue of such unions. 
Here, Son of a Wild Beast would be a true description. 
In Ilorin similar stories were told, but (as at Jemaan 
Daroro) it was always some other tribe which was the 
result. At the same time, I have never heard of an 
actual case though it is not altogether inconceivable 
and I suspect that either the husbands invented the 
tales so as to keep their wives from wandering in the 
bush, or else that the legend may be placed on a par 
with those of tail-bearing people, and that it is due 
simply to a wish to revile a less civilized tribe. I fear 
that not much stress can be laid upon the fact that the 
words for "aunt " and " baboon " are the same ! 

Although it may be usual to suppose that animals 
help man only because of some previous aid, this does 
not always hold good in Hausa Folk-Lore, for the animal 
or bird in question which proposes to do the good turn 
usually prefaces his remarks with the cheerful assertion : 
" You men of the world, you return night for day " 
(i.e., evil for good), and the person benefited imme- 
diately proceeds to prove the statement true in many 
cases. It is gratifying to find that this is not a purely 
distinctive human failing, for the denizens of the forest 
treat each other in a similar way, and the animal-bene- 
factor may be maimed (F.-L. 16), or even killed 
(T.H.H. 2) by the one which he has placed under an 
obligation. Still, it is quite possible that parts of the 
stories have been lost, and that could the whole be 
traced, there would be found running through the vast 
majority the principle that " one good turn deserves 
another." 

At any rate, kindness to animals is strongly insisted 



ANIMALS RESEMBLE HUMAN BEINGS 45 

upon. The wise ewe abundantly rewards the youth for 
always seeing that she was fed before he himself ate 
(79), the dog and cat (29) and other animals (80) well 
earn their keep, and the bull gives a good or bad report 
to the Mender of Men according to whether the be- 
reaved mother has tended the herd well or ill (84). 
Other instances are quoted amongst the examples of 
gratitude in the following chapter. 

Of course, accidents do occur even in the best regu- 
lated human-animal families, as where the snake in the 
end kills his benefactor after having previously saved 
his life (80), but this is plainly unintentional, and it 
does not appear in every variant of the story. 




FIG. io. Purse of red leather 
with pattern in black ink. The 
lizard is outlined in stitches of white, 
blue, and yellow leather. The in- 
side pocket is pulled down by the 
loop at the bottom. L., 5$ in. 



FIG. ii. Money-belt of red leather, pattern picked out. L., 30$ in. 

CHAPTER IV. 

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS AND VIRTUES. 

A Blind Man A Woman's Tongue Bravery Honesty 
Debts Indolence Gratitude Morality Love Dislike 
Drunkenness Hospitality Salutations The Sign-Language 
Games, c. Riddles Proverbs Puns, &c. Poetry. 

A BLIND man is supposed to be very cunning, a 
proverb running " If you gamble with jack-stones (cow- 
ries), do not do so with a blind man, for he is certain 
to hide one under his feet." There are very many 
blind people in Northern Nigeria, Kano being, I be- 
lieve, the worst place for eyesight. 

A WOMAN'S TONGUE. Garrulous females are noted 
in Nigeria, one saying is " A woman's strength 
is a multitude of words," and there are others 
to the same effect. When a woman is silent 
it is evident that there is something radically 
wrong (44 and 62). Very often the words can be ignored, 
but not always, for a hairdresser is as famous there as 
here, as is mentioned later under kirari, and her scandal 
may cause trouble. 

BRAVERY. Courage is greatly admired, and natur- 
ally so in a people who have had to fight con- 
tinuously for their very existence. There is a 
proverb to the effect that even Death admires 
valour, and that although she may kill the 
body she cannot destroy that virtue. The Hausa 



HONESTY 47 

heroine often shows up well in the tales (65), but it is 
rather difficult to idealize the hero, for instead of going 
through his dangers and trials to win the maiden of 
his choice, his motive is more often (45) to commit 
adultery with someone else's wife ! There are excep- 
tions, however, for in one tale a chief's son wins the 
daughter of another chief by brave deeds, and she 
deserves all that he does for her, for she has already 
suffered indignities by having persisted in her wish to 
marry him at a time when he appeared to be poor. As 
the brave man is usually rewarded (10, 60 and 94), and 
the coward is punished (65), it is evident that the Hausas 
consider that courage covers a multitude of sins (86), 
and after all, some of the greatest generals of the 
European world have been anything but spotless in 
their private lives. A story like 86 variant is rather 
opposed to the stereotyped lessons one is taught in 
childhood about virtue and not evil-doing being 
rewarded. Lady Lugard* says that in an en- 
counter between Songhay and Hausa troops in 
1554, twenty-four of the former fought 400 of the latter, 
and at last they gave in, only nine being then alive, 
and all of them being badly wounded. The Hausas 
dressed their wounds, and when well enough, sent them 
back to the Askia with the courteous message that men 
so brave should not be allowed to die.f 

HONESTY. Fair dealing pays at times (12), but it is 
by no means always the best policy ; indeed at times it 
is extremely unprofitable (n). To expect anything but 

* A Tro-pical De-pendency, page 213. 

t It is rather sad to think how these people have deteriorated. 
Captain Hay ward says (Through Timbuctu and. Across the Great 
Sahara, pages 236 and 237) that the Sonrhais (another spelling), 
near Gao, are absolutely poverty-stricken, making no attempt 
to improve their position, and living on rotting fish and grass, 
so the Bambaras (once their slaves) hold them in great con- 
tempt, and say that they are more like sheep than men. 



4*> HAL'S A SLPERSTIT1OXS 

deceit from a woman is to invite disaster, and no 
sensible man would think of courting one without giving 
her false and exaggerated ideas of his wealth and posi- 
tion (L.T.H., 26). An appropriate training is neces- 
sary in the gentle art of lying : A certain man said to 
his son " Arise, let us go that I may teach you how to 
lie, so that you may know how to obtain your living 
some day." Thev came to a large river, which they 
entered, the father being in front, and he said to his 
son " I have dropped a needle." The son replied 4< It is 
true, I heard the splash." Next the father said " A 
big fish has touched me," and the son replied " I have 
just trodden upon it." The father looking up and 
seeing a small cloud, said " It is raining," and the 
son replied 4 ' I am alreadv wet through." Then the 
father said " That is good enough, you will do, you 
can lie even better than I can." 

Deceit and trickery seldom bring down any 
punishment so long as the trick is sufficiently clever 
(86 and F.-L. 12). That certainly is the essential thing, 
the Hausa admires a quick wit (20, 23, 25) and is quite 
content to leave a fool to his fate (21). Thus when a 
man trying to steal growing gourds falls through the 
grass roof, and pretends that he is an angel, and that 
the people in the hut must hide their faces lest they 
should see him, and he gets a present and goes off, the 
people deceived are held up to ridicule. Judgments 
resembling those of Solomon are common. Thus 
(M.H. So) a kind man had allowed a blind man to ride 
on his bull, but when they reached the town the blind 
man claimed the bull as his own, and complained to 
the chief that the other (the real owner) was trying to 
steal it from him. The chief put them in separate 
rooms, and said that he himself would keep the bull. 



DEBTS 49 

Food was brought to each, and the blind man ate, but 
the other said " How can I have any appetite when my 
bull has been stolen from me? " The chief knew then 
that he was the real owner and gave him the bull. In 
another case (L.T.H. 17) where much the same kind of 
thing had happened, the one who had kept the pro- 
perty pretended to be deaf and dumb, and would not 
speak. " The King showed his hand to the Deaf-Mute 
in the manner that one questions a Deaf-Mute " [i.e., 
by the sign-language], and the Man replied (on 
his hands) that the property was his. Then one of 
the Councillors rose up and said " O King, see what 
the Deaf-Mute is doing, he is abusing you." The thief 
called out that this was not so, and by speaking 
betrayed his trick, and so he lost the case. 

DEBTS. In a country where trading is so general 
an occupation, debts are naturally contracted with 
great frequency, and it must be the constant study 
of the debtors how to avoid repayment. Of 
course, if a man is as cunning as the spider (77 
and 78) he will probably manage comfortably, 
though even he may be brought to book at last 
(F.-L. 5). In two variants (L.T.H. 151 and 159) a 
man and a jackal respectively take the spider's place, 
but here, instead of having his creditors killed, the debtor 
allows each animal, except the lion, to escape from his 
particular enemy through a back passage, on his giving 
a discharge for the debt and in the latter case even a 
promise of a payment also. There is a story (L.T.H., 
ii 36) of a man who borrowed 500,000 cowries from an 
Asben, and made a farm on the road and caught two 
jerboas. The Asben came to demand his money, and 
the debtor loosed a jerboa which he had with him, say- 
ing " Go tell my wives to prepare food for the guest," 
4 



50 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

and after a little they went to the house. They found 
food ready (for the wives had seen the Asben), and on 
the husband's asking where was the messenger, they 
replied that it was tied up. The Asben was so taken 
with the idea of having such a servant, that he bought 
it (really the other jerboa) for the sum owing, and thus 
released the debtor. But the mere ordinary man 
must pay up and look cheerful (77), unless he has a 
precocious child (74), or a member of the animal king- 
dom to aid him (76 and T.H.H. 7), or unless God comes 
to his assistance (75), and at first sight it is rather diffi- 
cult to see why the Almighty should help one who is 
wholly undeserving, according to our ideas. But, then, 
we are not Hausas ! 

INDOLENCE. Laziness, though very wrong in a 
wife (49), is not at all reprehensible in a hus- 
band (38), and, as a proverb says, " To volun- 
teer for work is worse than slavery." This 
entirely bears out what I have said elsewhere, that 
though natives can work, and work well, they will never 
do so unless there is some compulsion, either in the 
form of a tyrant king, a hard-hearted husband or parent, 
or the pangs of hunger. High pay in Nigeria has 
produced the curious result that labour is harder rather 
than easier to obtain, for directly a man has saved 
enough money to have a holiday he leaves his work ; 
and the larger the wages he receives the sooner will he 
be able to do so. 

GRATITUDE. It is very seldom that any moral 
is expressed at the end of a fable, though this 
does sometimes occur (91); usually the wrong 
triumphs in a way that would scandalize the 
children in our nurseries. Even a good deed 
may be repaid by an evil one without any con- 



GRATITUDE 51 

demnation ; thus the lion eats the white-ant which has 
released him (T.H.H. 2). Sometimes, however, there 
is a mild reproof for such conduct as where the hyaena 
bites the monkey's tail held out to help her out of the 
well (F.-L. 1 6) sometimes there is actual punishment 
(F.-L. 39). There is seldom any forgiveness for an 







FIG. 12. 



FIG. 13. 



FIG. 14. 



FIG. 15. 



FIGS. 12-15. Leather needle-cases. The sheath slips up and exposes the 
cushion for the needles. Figs. 12 and 15 are of red leather ; figs. 13 and 14 
of yellow and green. L., 3^ in. 



evil deed, wives and parents usually losing their lives 
when they do wrong. 

A good deed does not by any means always 
go unrewarded (3), however, and where there is what 
is called an alkawali, there is evidently some necessity 
to repay it. Thus the youth commits suicide because 



52 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

his friend the lion has done so (8), the girl puts an end to 
herself because her mother has killed her preserver, the 
pigeon (F.-L. 42), and there are other examples.* In 
some cases, the debtor appears to deceive the corpse 
so that it will arise again (79) ; in others (65 and 99), the 
sentiment is more genuine. It would almost seem from 
Story 24 that if a person on a journey comes to grief, 
his fellow-traveller should share his fate ; but this cannot 
be the case, for if it were, the Hausa nation would soon 
die out, considering the number of traders. 

The story of The Ungrateful Men shows that when 
people have been partly cured of infirmities they ought 
to be thankful, and should not tempt Providence by 
expecting still more. Perhaps this idea was due to the 
pagan doctors who wished to save themselves from the 
consequences of their indifferent skill, but it seems more 
likely to be of Mohammedan origin. 

MORALITY. There seems to be no credit given to 
women for any moral ideas, the frail fair (or 
rather, dark) are stated to be tainted at birth, and the 
lover's chief difficulty is not to persuade the wife (for 
she is always ready for intrigue), but to avoid the hus- 
band, f The latter is regarded as being exceedingly 
foolish if he thinks otherwise, and attempts to prevent 



* It is just possible that these ideas are connected with 
totemism, and that the human being must himself die if he has 
brought about even indirectly the death of his own particular 
protecting animal, cf. the mock sacrifice of a Hindu for having 
killed an ape. (Vide Frazer, The Dying God, page 217.) 

t The Hausa's ideal woman is as follows. Her body 
should be of medium size, soft skinned, and well buttocked, 
though not too fat nor too thin; neither should it be too tall nor 
too short, though the fingers and toes should be long. Her voice 
should be soft (but she should not be too fond of using it she 
should prefer to listen to the silver tones of her husband), her 
eyes bright, and her teeth should be well spaced. 

N.B. There is no idea of prettiness in the face ! 



LOVE 53 

the inevitable, for " the wiles of a woman [which are 
known to men] are ninety and nine, but not even Satan 
has discovered the hundredth." In some cases, the 
husband calmly accepts the fact, and trades on his wife's 
adultery. I have several stories on this subject, but 
they cannot be included here. Except as regards the 
wife of another, a man has practically no restrictions, 
and so there is no need for any standard of morality in 
his case. 

LOVE. There is nothing exactly corresponding to 
what we call " love," nor is there a word which defi- 
nitely expresses such a sentiment, so meaning " like " 
or " desire," and to translate Ina son ki by "I love 
you " is absurd, for only the wish for possession and 
the animal lust are indicated by the words. Of course 
there are exceptions, especially in the tales ; thus a 
father is described as being so fond of a daughter 
that " he seemed to wish to take her up and eat 
her." But usually, the wife who can give most is 
the most desired (44 and 59), and the same applies 
to the children (44). A mother might prefer another 
woman's son to her own daughter (59), and a Hausa 
chief may be content to replace his old family by a 
new one (7), and although this seems unnatural to us, 
we must remember that the same thing was done by 
Job who is held up to us as such a pattern. A maiden 
is wooed by riches (67), women generally are attracted 
by them (45), and a wife will desert her husband for 
any man who is richer (45), for, as a proverb delicately 
puts it, "With wealth one wins a woman." There 
is seldom any forgiveness for parents (64), and 
a wife will demand the death of her rivals (59), but 
children may be forgiven (44), and they may forgive 
others sometimes (63, variant). 



54 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

DISLIKE. Hatred, fear, and contempt are expressed 
in many ways. Spitting after or before a person is, 
of course, the most patent method, and although this 
may have been originally with the idea of getting rid 
of any influence exerted by the particular person to 
whom objection was taken, it seems to be done nowa- 
days simply for the sake of showing hate or contempt. 
Sometimes a clicking noise is made with the tongue to 
indicate the latter. Gestures, too, may be insulting, as 
is stated later, and, needless to say, the Hausa is at 
no loss for an accompaniment of words which are 
appropriate, perhaps, but not polite. 

The feeling of hatred is seldom mentioned in the 
tales, revenge being more often considered a matter of 
policy than of a balm to the wounded feelings. But 
many stories show how an envious rival wife or step- 
sister is punished. 

DRUNKENNESS. Drunkenness was not looked down 
upon before the Mohammedan Filani conquered the 
country, and in the unsubdued pagan districts it is 
still very prevalent (T.H.H., page 244). In one story 
it is related of a man that " he had no other occupation 
than drinking native beer." 

HOSPITALITY. Hospitality and courtesy to strangers 
are strongly emphasized (32 and 79), for, since the 
Hausa is such a great traveller, these virtues are very 
important to him, and they are, of course, imposed by 
Islam. So universally is the stranger regarded as a guest 
that the name for each (bako) is the same, though the 
Hausa visitor will not necessarily be entertained for 
nothing, any more than will the " guest " at an English 
lodging-house. A male stranger would not be expected 
to do any work in the house of his host, though a 
woman might help in the preparation of food (23), or in 



THE SIGN-LANGUAGE 55 

the gathering in of the harvest (86 variant). Greed is 
usually condemned (30 and 32), but the punishment 
seems to be rather an advantage in some cases (31). 
The giving of alms is much praised by the Mohamme- 
dan priests and others who live thereby, but the Hausa 
does not always give simply because of a thankful heart, 
or on account of his piety. There is a fever which 
breaks out when the guinea-corn is ripe, and the only 
way of avoiding it is to give presents of corn to the 
poor. 

But the Hausa does not believe in too much 
economy, as is shown in a story of a Gwari and a Bassa 
(always butts for ridicule) who had a competition in 
making a little meat go a long way. The Bassa man 
ate a mouse-tail with his porridge, and yet managed to 
have a little piece left when the porridge was finished. 
But the Gwari capped this. He smeared butter on the 
remainder of the tail, stuck it on a spit by the fire, and 
with the gravy, which then ran down, he ate his por- 
ridge, thus saving the whole of his meat. 

SALUTATIONS. Numerous salutations are insisted 
upon, and a European who has a multitude of these will 
pass as a greater scholar than one who thinks more of 
the grammatical part of the language. No matter how 
often a couple of Hausas meet during the day they will 
always make the most minute inquiries after health, 
fatigue, and news, and I have tried to render graphically 
in the T.H.H. (page 210) the gradual decrescendo of 
question and answer. 

THE SIGN-LANGUAGE. Some motions have been 
mentioned under the heading of Dislike, but they do 
not by any means exhaust the vocabulary, of which 
the following are fairly representative : 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



Come here. 



Go away. 



I am going away again. 



Will you 
morrow ? 



return to* 



I have been days on the 
road. 



I am a chief. 



I (mounted man) greet my 

superior. 
I (footman) greet my 

superior. 
I (woman) greet my 

superior. 
I am your inferior. 



I wish to marry yon. 

1 do not understand. 
I refuse. 



Yes. 
Certainly. 



(1) Hand (or both hands) held out- 
wards, palm towards the person 
addressed, and the fingers closed and 
opened a few times, or 

(2) Hand waved with elliptical motion, 
back of hand towards person ad- 
dressed, fingers close together. 

N.B. If the person is not looking, a 
pebble may be thrown to attract his 
attention. 

Hand (or both hands) held out, palm 
towards person addressed, fingers 
close together and pointing upwards. 

Hands extended, and then swept up- 
wards and outwards from the waist. 

Head laid on open right hand as if in 
sleep, and then face rubbed as if 
awaking. 

Head as before, and fingers (of both 
hands, if necessary) then bunched, 
the number of fingers showing the 
number of days. 

Finger (usually of right hand) run 

round crown of head to indicate a 

turban, and then an imaginary beard 

pulled^ 
Clenched right fist raised to level of 

turban, fingers inwards, and waved. 
Hand raised till elbow square, palm 

towards superior, and waved. 
Hand on open mouth, and the kururua 

cry made (see T.H.H., page 252). 
Hand placed on front of head, and 

head patted. 
N.B. Kneeling is also a sign of 

respect (64). 

Woman first beckoned, both forefingers 

bent and then crossed. 
N.B. The same sign, or a forefinger 

crossed over a thumb, indicates a less 

honourable avowal. 
One hand laid in the other, both palms 

upwards. 
Arms lowered, hands upwards, palms 

towards person addressed, and waved 

horizontally. 
Head raised. 

Head raised energetically, and eye- 
brows raised. 



GAMES, &c. 



57 



No. 

Certainly not. 
That is so. 



I am angry or grieved. 

I am pleased. 
I am horrified or sur- 
prised. 

I don't care. 

I scorn you. 

I despise and defy you. 



Your father is like * 

Your mother is like * 

(I have) cowries. 

(I have) pennies (half- 
pennies or tenths). 



(I have) a three-penny 
piece. 

(I have) a six-penny 
piece. 

(I have) a shilling. 



Forefinger waved before the face, palm 
outwards. 

One shoulder raised, head lowered on 
same side and shaken. 

Forefinger and thumb touching the 
lower lip, other fingers closed, palm 
inwards. 

Hands clapped, arms close to body. 

Arms extended, hands clapped. 

Hand curved like cup and placed over 
mouth several times, palm inwards. 

Lips pouted and moved upwards, per- 
haps shoulders shrugged also. 

Lower lip protruded, or person spat at. 

Both hands held up level with face, 
fingers pointing towards the person 
addressed (probably to throw back 
the influence of the evil eye). 

One forearm held up and grasped by 
the other hand. 

Outstretched forefinger and thumb of 
one hand placed against forefinger 
and thumb of other hand, forming a 
diamond-shaped opening. 

Imaginary cowries collected on the 
ground in fives. 

Imaginary circles of appropriate size 
drawn on palm of one hand with 
forefinger of the other, and (for the 
local coinage) hole punched in centre. 

Space of proper size marked off on nail 
of forefinger with a finger of the 
other hand. 

Second finger held up and nail of finger 
of the other hand run down, in- 
dicating a division into two. 

Second finger held up. 



There are many others, of course, some of which resemble 
our signs made to indicate similar ideas. 

GAMES, &c. Games of all kinds are exceedingly 
popular, boxing (99), wrestling (88), horsemanship 
(96), and darra (F.-L. 49), all being mentioned in the 
stories given here, while dances have been described 
elsewhere (T.H.H., pages 254-265). Even " Hunt the 
slipper " has its representative ! The Hausa is an 



58 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

inveterate gambler, too, so there are many convenient 
ways of losing money, and alas ! loaded cowries are not 
unknown, for it is not only a blind man who cheats. 
The Mohammedan Filani did all they could to put down 
this vice, but the native servant now asks why he 
should not play jack-stones if his master plays 
bridge ! There are non-gambling games resem- 
bling " noughts and crosses," the " race-game," and 
" hi cockalorum," but there are much more sober 
amusements also, such as the propounding of riddles, 
quotation of proverbs, playing on words, counting- 
games, and, of course, the telling of tales. 

RIDDLES. Some of the best known riddles are : 

(1) I have two coats, the one which I always wear is 
new, the one which I do not wear is old. Answer : A 
road which soon becomes impassable in West Africa 
if not used. 

(2) I have two roads open, though I follow the wrong 
one, I am not lost. Answer : A pair of loose and shape- 
less Hausa trousers. 

(3) The master is inside the hut, but his beard is out- 
side. Answer : A fire, the smoke of which escapes 
through the thatch. 

(4) The daughters of our house are always washing. 
Answer : The small saucers (gourds) used to bale out 
water from the large pots, and left floating in them. 

(5) God has saddled him, but I shall not mount. 
Answer : A scorpion. 

(6) The daughters of our house never go to the bush 
but they clap first. Answer : The wood-pigeons, which 
make a noise when flapping their wings. 

(7) Red fell down, red picked it up. Answer : A ripe 
fan-palm fruit (see LXXX, 9), picked up by a Filani 
(called " red," as are Europeans). 



RIDDLES 



59 



(8) The house of the youths is full of meat. 
Answer : An egg. 

(9) The great twins turned around, but they did not 
meet. Answer : The ears. 

(10) I washed my calabash, I went east with it, 
I went west with it, but it did not dry. Answer : A 
dog's tongue. 

(n) I have a thousand cows, but only one rope to 
tie them with. Answer : A broom which is simply 
a number of twigs tied together. 




FIG. 16. 




FIG. 17. 

FIGS. 16 and 17. Boards for the game of darra, which resembles back- 
gammon to some extent. The pieces may be specially made, or merely 
stones ; used sparklets are in great request. L., 15 in. and 25! in. respec- 
tively. 

(12) The cows are lying down, but the big bull is 
standing up. Answer : The stars and the moon. 

(13) A very tiny thing can bind up the traders' 
loads. Answer : A packing-needle. 

The list of riddles could be greatly extended, but 
these will be sufficient to give an idea of the Hausa 
train of thought ; those who wish to see other examples 



60 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

are recommended to read the books already mentioned. 
Parallels to these could be given, but as I have no space 
to go more fully into this part of the subject, I will 
merely point out that numbers 3 and u, and a variant 
of 9, have been noted in Sierra Leone (Cunnie Rabbit, 
page 193 et seq.). 

PROVERBS. But if riddles are numerous, what 
can be said of the proverbs? Some examples 
have been given already, but perhaps a few 
more will not be out of place, for they cover 
almost every subject imaginable, and many old 
friends. will be recognized in spite of a dress suitable 
for the Tropics. Judging by the behaviour of most 
of the Hausas one meets, forethought is quite un- 
necessary; yet "The day on which one starts is not 
the time to commence one's preparations," which in- 
clude the hollowing out of the gourd or traveller's 
water-bottle. " I won't break the large pot 
(which corresponds to our tank) in the house 
until the new one has been brought," for " It 
is only when the quiver is quite full that it is 
necessary to pull some of the arrows partly out," so as 
to get at them quickly. The blind man cannot see our 
bitter grapes, although "Since he lacks eyes he says that 
eyes smell." But few normal people believe this, for 
" seeing is better than hearing," of course, although 
" The one-eyed man thanks God only when he has seen 
a man who is totally blind." Like a burnt child, " If 
the blind man has scorched his ground-nut once, he will 
eat it raw next time," instead of trying to cook it again. 
11 Although the eye is not a measure, it knows what is 
small," and " Even without measuring (one knows 
that), a bridle is too large for a hen's mouth." 

Since murder will out, " Dig the hole of evil shal- 



PROVERBS 



61 



low," else the wrongdoer may not be able to get out 
again. At any rate do not cry until you are out of 
the wood, for " If the bush is still burning, the locust 
will not congratulate her mother " on her escape, and 
be on your guard, for " The eye which sees the smoke 
will look for fire." 

With us, a physician might have to be told to heal 
himself, and " If the hyaena had known how to cure 




FIG. 1 8. Haversack of red leather, turned inside out, black sides and 
border. The upper pattern is in green stitches on red, and in black stitches 
on green. Lower pattern in green stitches on red, and in black stitches on 
yellow ; centre of lower pattern in black ink. I2f in. x 9^ in. 

herself of small-pox, she would have done so." Still, 
all is more or less in vain, for " The man who must 
die, medicine will not save." At the same time, " He 
who is sick will not refuse medicine," and like the Devil, 
" It is when one is in trouble that one remembers God." 
Although " The legs of another (man) are no good 
for travelling " in many cases, " He who is carried 



62 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

does not realize that the town is far off " ; at any rate, 
" To have (a horse) is better than to be able (to ride)." 
Certainly " An egg in the mouth is better than a hen 
in the coop " where a wild-cat may get it. " Hurry is 
not strength,'* and " The one who makes useless fuss 
will meet with obstructions " ; for it is only " By travel- 
ling * softly, softly * that you will sleep far away." 

Even if his shoe does not pinch him, " The owner 
of the house knows in what spot the water will drip 
on him " from a leaky grass roof, and " He who runs 
from the white-ant may stumble upon the stinging-ant," 
though he may not have a frying-pan on the fire. 
Beware of great bargains, for " Whoever wants to make 
an exchange does not want his own property," so there 
may be something wrong with it. 

Birds of a feather may fly together, but " Fire and 
cotton will not be found in the same place," for the 
latter would be burnt up if near the flame. Eggs and 
stones also are not good neighbours, for there is 
no connection between them, and " Who would com- 
pare a fish and a tick ? " Again, " A man will not enter 
a slaughter-yard if he is afraid of the sight of blood," 
but " Evil knows where evil sleeps." 

Although it may be quite true that " A chief 
is like a dust-heap where everyone comes with his 
rubbish (complaint) and deposits it," everyone likes 
power, for " A wealthy man will always have followers." 
In fact, according to the hen, " It is not the obtaining 
of food which is hard, it is (the finding of) a place 
where you can go and eat it which is so difficult." There 
ought to be some consideration even here, for " Blood is 
not demanded from a locust," any more than from a 
stone. " The value of relationship lies in the feet," 
because if a relative does not care for you he will not 



PROVERBS 63 

trouble to come to your house. The rich man, lest he 
be apt to belittle the sufferings of poor people, must 
remember that " The stone which is in the water does 
not know that the hill is (parched) in the sun." 

" A man's disposition is like the marks in a stone, 
no one can efface it," or them rather, and " Everyone 
has his own peculiarities : a one-eyed man would look 
sideways down a bottle," for instance. Again, while 
" Some birds avoid water, the duck seeks it." This is 
quite natural, for as in the case of a house, " At the 
same time as the wall itself is built, the finger-marks 
on it are made," and a man cannot avoid his fate. 
Certainly " If there is a continual going to the 
stream (or well), one day there will be a smashing " of 
the pitcher, and " However hard a thing be thrown 
up, to earth it will fall " again, so it is a mistake that 
" The Dodowa (block of pounded black locust-tree 
seeds) calls the dark salt (from Bornu) black." 

The Hausas, having no wagons, cannot very well 
hitch them to stars, but " If the vulture satisfies you, the 
guinea-fowl will fly off with her beautiful marks," for 
birds in such different sets could not possibly associate. 
Now, " Blood has more dregs than water," and since 
' We are mice of the same hole, if we do not meet 
when going in, we do so when going out," in fact, like 
father, like son, or rather, " The son and his father 
cannot be distinguished." Even if not as much alike 
as two peas, " On seeing them, one would say ' A 
calabash cut in half.' " One must be careful, for " If 
you despise (a man solely because of his) appearance, 
you may be sorry," " It is not the eye which under- 
stands, but the mind." Take the mote out of your own 
eye, for " Faults are like a hill, you stand on your own, 
and then talk about those of other people." 



64 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

wanna takarda yafito waje alkali lokoja || yagaida 

This letter it comes from the (native) judge (of) Lokoja, he salutes 

bature fulishi baya gaisuwana wanna \\ yaro 

the white man (i/c) police. In addition to my greetings (I send you) this youth, 

sunansa aliyu yafasa yarinyanakayi || jiya daderre niku'a 
his name Aliyu, (for) he broke the girl on the head yesterday at night. As for me, 

natanbayeshi aikida shikiyi \\ ya gayamini shina'yi 

I asked him the work that he does, (and) he told me (that) he is doing 

aiki gumna sabanda hakana banyimasa \\ 

work (for the) Government. On account of thus (that) I did not give to him 

hukunshiba nakawoshi gareka domin 

judgment (I did not try the case). I bring (send) him to you so that 

kayimashi || hukunshi baya gawanna engayamaka 
you may give him judgment. In addition to this I report to you (that) 

wani || mutumi da ankakama jiyadaderre wuri da 

a certain man who was caught yesterday at night (in the) place where 

ankayi gobara \\ anchi shiyasa wuta niku'a natanbayeshi 
there was a fire, it is said (of him that) he lit the fire. As for me, I asked him, 

|| yachi bashiyasa wutaba niku'a nakaishi gida 

(but) he said it was not he (who) lit the fire. As for me, I put him in the house (of) 

dogari domin ingari yawayi enkawo 

the chief's police so that when the town was astir (day broke) I might bring 

makashi \\ shiku'a yagudu gida dogari 

to you him. (But) as for him, he escaped (from the) house (of) the chiefs police 

dudamarri 
both he and the handcuffs. 

wanna takarda yafito waje alkali lokoja yagaida \\ 

This letter it comes from the (native) judge (of) Lokoja, he salutes 

bature kulfau baya gaisuwa engayamaka \\ 

the white man (i/c) the whips (police). In addition to the greeting, I report to you 

wanga mache tazo gareni sunanta iyuwaje \\ sunan 
(that) this woman she came to me, her name (is) Iyuwaje, (and) the name oi 

da uwantanan amije sungayamini \\ sarkin gubi 
her mother (with her is) Amije. They told me (that) the Chief of Gbebe 

yada'mesu su \\ sunada shari'a da sarkin gubi \\ 

he is persecuting them, they, they have a case against the Chief of Gbebe ; 

yanzu nan sunkazo wurina .'. je * \\ dumin kazi(ji) 
only now they have come to me, so that you may hear 

abinda ke chakaninsu \\ da sarkin gubi 

the matter which is (in dispute) between them and the Chief of Gbebe. 

N.B. The Alkali of Lokoja, or his clerk, does not write good Hausa 
and there are several mistakes in his letters which are too obvious to neec 
any remark here. 

VII. A HAUSA LETTER. 

* The writer has omitted to mention the sending of the complainant 
to me. 



HAUSA LETTERS 




*f _*-^ 

^-*> < 








VIII. A HAUSA LETTER. 






66 ] HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Politeness will not do anyone harm, for " Bowing to 
a dwarf will not prevent your standing erect again.*' 
Nor will unselfishness, for " If you love yourself others 
will hate you, if you humble yourself others will love 
you." You must not expect rewards for nothing, " The 
prize for the race is given to the hare, and the frog must 
accept the fact." Remember that " God is the All-wise, 
not his slave " (man), for often " Lack of knowledge 
is darker than night," and " A fool is always a slave." 
Be content with what you have, " It is easier to plaster 
up (the old wall) than to build a new one," and remem- 
ber that " There are three friends in this world 
courage, sense, and insight"; and there are five of 
which a man should be suspicious, viz. : "A horse, a 
woman, night, a river, and the forest." 

PUNS, &c. Next we come to the plays on words, 
some being in the form of our " Peter Piper picked a 
peck of pickled pepper," some being merely puns. Of 
the first, the best known is probably the following about 
the seven crocodile-skins, and it must be rendered in 
Hausa, of course, to see the alliteration, the point being 
that in saying this over very quickly a word will prob- 
ably be said in the wrong place, and so the sense will 
be altered. 

Sa(r)riki ya aiko en kai ma-sa patar kaddan Kano bokkoi, 
Ban kasshe patar kaddan Kano bokkoi ba, 
Na kai ma-sa patar kaddan Kano bokkoi? 
Bara da na kasshe kaddan Kano bokkoi 
Ai na kai ma-sa patar kaddan Kano bokkoi. 

A better one (L.T.H., page 292) runs : 
Da kivado da kato suka teffi neman koto, 
Kivado ne zai ma kato koto, 
Ko kuiva kato ne zai kwache ma kwado koto. 



PUNS, &c. 67 

The translation is : 

A Frog and a Slave went to seek for food. 
The Frog wanted to take the food from the Slave, 
And again the Slave wanted to take the food from the 
Frog. 

The following one is given in Hausa Sayings : 

Kunun kuki, kunun kunkuki mutanen kuki, ga 

kununku. 
Ku uku, ku sha da sainyen safe. 

Broth of the kuki-tree, broth of the kunkuki, O men of 

Kuki, behold your broth. 
You three, drink it in the cool of the morning. 

One (in Hausa Proverbs) runs : 

Babba ba ya babba baba ba. 

Puns on words are met with. One is given in F.-L. 
11, others occur in Story 74. One more is : 

Zumu Zumua ne relatives are like honey. 

But in the pronunciation of 

Gata, iyaka ta kama gatan iyaka 

The day after to-morrow your mother will catch the 
sentry on the boundary 

great care must be taken, for a slight change will make 
the last two words read " your mother's hinder parts." 
There is a similar catch in gatan birri, a baboon. 

A play upon words is not always appreciated, and 
when a man who has promised to give a boy as wages 
abinchin nama (food with meat in it) and he tries to 
palm off abin chin nama (a thing to eat meat with, 



68 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

e.g., a knife), he is taken to the Alkali (from the Arabic 
Al kadi), and punished. 

Even our celebrated word sequence to prove that " a 
lie is nothing " (lie story tale, tail brush convey- 
ance jin, gin spirit ghost shadow nothing) has 
its Hausa counterpart, though the latter is in the form 
of question and answer. " How art thou ? I am sick. 
Art thou not reclining ? I recline, am I a king ? Does 
not one beat the drum for the king ? Beat a drum for 
me ! Am I a state-camel ?* Does not the camel carry 
a load ? Carry a load ! Am I a donkey ? Does one not 
beat a donkey ? I have a beating ! Am I a thief ? 
Does not one tie up a thief ? Tie me up ! Am I a 
lizard ?f Does not one eat the lizard ? Eatt me ! Am 
I a market ? Does not the market rise ? Rise ? Am I a 
hawk ? Does not the hawk carry off the young chicken ? 
Carry off the young chicken ! Am I a wild-cat? "i| 
And so on, but there is no definite goal to be reached 
as in the English proposition, the length of the game 
varying in proportion to the ingenuity of the performers. 

Some games seem to have a hidden meaning, and I 
have two in one of my old note-books. One goes : " One 
it is (i), two it is (2), they have been eaten (3) the white 
(4) pumpkins (5), You (6), O Hen (7), what has brought 
you (8) to the nest? (9). An egg (10)." The meaning 
is that the hen mistook the little pumpkins for eggs. 
Unfortunately 1 was not able to go over the next one 
during my last tour, and I cannot explain its full 
meaning. It runs : "I ran away, with a gurr (i), I 

* Some are furnished with drums as in our mounted bands. 

t An edible variety. 

+ A play on the word chi, which means inter alia eat, and 
hold (market). 

|| Both of these prey on the chickens, of course, as will be 
seen in Stories 22 and 21, &c. 
Hausa Sayings, page 60. 



PUNS, 6rc. 69 

climbed a rock to the south (2), see me (3), I have 
finished (4). Truly (5), the drummers of the south (6) 
can sew (7) a drum (8) on top of (9) a bird (10)." 
This does not sound very illuminating, but that is my 
own fault. These two were said to be counting-games 
(hence the numbers in parentheses inserted in the places 
indicated by the narrator), and they may correspond in 
some degree to a Jewish poem, the last verse of which is 
" Who knoweth thirteen ? I saith Israel know thirteen : 
thirteen divine attributes, twelve tribes, eleven stars, ten 
commandments, nine months preceding childbirth, 
eight days preceding circumcision, seven days of the 
week, six books of the Mishnah, five books of the Law, 
four matrons, three patriarchs, two tables of the 
Covenant ; but One is our God Who is over the heavens 
and the earth."* I do not say that there is any direct 
connection between the above, in fact, another man told 
me that the second saying was invented simply to con- 
fuse non-Hausas (cf. our selling sea-shells on the sea- 
shore), but there certainly is between the latter and the 
following : What is one in the world ? There is no 
other one (God) but Allah. What are two in the 
world ? There are no other two but day and night. 
What are three in the world ? There are no other three 
but fire and food and water. What are four in the 
world ? There are no four but the legal wives, who- 
ever goes beyond four is punished. What are five in 
the world? There are no five but chieftainship, a 
horse, a cow, a son, and health. What are six in the 
world? There are no six but the shames (generally 
nine). What are seven in the world? There are no 
seven but the hand. What are eight in the world? 
There are no eight but the eyes. What are nine in the 

* Tylor, 0$. cit., page 87. 



70 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

world ? There are no nine but that man is in the womb 
nine months, he does not reach ten. When he has been 
there nine months, if the mother has not miscarried, 
he is born. What is ten in the world? There is no 
ten but a corpse (i.e., finished). 

" I met a man going to St. Ives " has some resem- 
blance to the following : A man had a fowl, and the 
fowl had forty chicks. The fowl and each chick had 
forty eggs each and all were hatched. How many fowls 
were there then ? 

Lastly, I might mention that there is a game in 
which the players must give the names of an animal, 
a bird, and a fish three times without any hesitation, 
changing the name in each case thus : Lion, eagle, 
frog-bellied fish ; hyasna, vulture, cat-fish ; dog, sparrow, 
electric-eel an easy thing to write, but difficult to 
say quickly in the proper order. 

POETRY. It must not be thought, however, that the 
Hausa has no better literature than word-games. Some 
religious poems are given in Canon Robinson's 
Specimens of Hausa Literature,* the following extracts 
from which will probably be sufficient to give an idea 
of their beauty. It will be seen that the writers have 
been influenced by their Islamic training : 

" Thou who art puffed up with pride because of thy 
relations, thy kingdom, or thy property, on the 
day when thou meetest with the angels, thou 
shalt be confounded. . . . 

This world, thou knowest, is a market-place ; everyone 
comes and goes, both stranger and citizen." 

* Pages 2, 4, 24, 26, 28, 38, 46, and 80, respectively, a few 
slight changes have been made. It is extremely difficult to pro- 
cure any writings in Hausa, nearly all are in Arabic. The ink 
is obtained from the fruit of the farra-kaya, a large white-thorn 
tree, the pens are reeds or pointed sticks, the paper is imported. 



POETRY 71 

11 My brother, you know that we shall die; let us give 
credence, let us put aside quarrelling, 

For this world is not to be trusted; thou escapest to- 
day, have a fear for to-morrow. . . . 

A false friend will not become true, act thou not 
deceitfully, nor follow a fool. . . . 

My boy, I bid you be watchful, let the world flee 
away, refuse to cleave to it, 

Accomplish deeds fit for the next world, make much 
preparation ; leave alone the things that belong 
to this world, which is to come to an end. 

Give up delaying, and saying that it will do when 
you are old ; death may come before you are old." 

" The fool would say ' This world is a virgin girl ' ; the 

wise man knows that the world is old. 
The wise man is a good friend, he would show to us 
the course of this world.*' 

" My friend, repent truly, and abandon falsehood, 
abandon deceit, leave off drinking beer, and palm- 
wine, and honey-beer. 

Repent to God, cease from repenting like the wild- 
cat; it repents with the fowl in its mouth, it 
putteth it not down." 

"Where is this greatness of thine and of thy lovers? 

To-day thou liest in the tomb. 
Where is the protection on the part of those who 

praised thee ? To-day they carry thee to the place 

of burial. 
Truly it was falsehood they spake concerning thee, 

they loved thee not ; though even had they loved 

thee thou wouldst have no power to-day. . . . 
A line (of men) is formed, a prayer is said for thee. 

Alas ! thou knowest not what is done, thou 

fool. 



72 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

They wash their hands thus, and their feet; they all 
salute one another. 

They scatter in silence, they leave thee in the grave; 
thou thyself criest, but there is no coming out. 

Thy goods are divided, rejoicing is made, thy goods 
are given to thy children, each receives some- 
thing. 

Thou art forgotten, no share is allotted to thee; the 
suffering in the tomb is sufficient for thee." 

Not only are there poems in prose, but there is even 
one which rhymes. A rhyming kirari is often found, 
and there are many couplets which quite satisfy the 
Hausa ear, but in the following poem even the metre 
is regular, and in some cases words have been clipped 
or mis-accented so as to fit in, showing that in Hausa- 
land as elsewhere, " poetic licence " is not unknown. 
It is a war-song composed by Abdallah, the son of 
Fodio, to commemorate the defeat of Yunfa, King of 
Gobir, by Othman, the Filani conqueror, in an attack 
upon the town of Ruga Fako, about 1804. Yunfa was 
the most powerful king in the Hausa States before the 
Filani conquest, but he was finally routed and killed 
at Kwoto, Alkalawa, the capital of Gobir, then falling 
into the hands of the victors. 

The whole poem is given in Canon Robinson's 
'Hausa Grammar, the first and last verses are : 

Yanuiva mun gode Allah, Mun yi imanchi da salla, 
Har jihadi don ka Jalla Mun kasshe dengi na da(l)la. 
Sun sa(n)ni su sun yi tarki. 

Wansu chan muzabzabina, Dukiassu ta fi dina, 
Ga su, sun zam fasikina. Mu, Amir-al-Muminina. 
Munka samu, mun yi Sarki. 



POETRY 



73 



The translation given in the Grammar (except for 
one trifling alteration) is : 

Brethren, we thank God, We performed acts of faith 

and prayer, 

Even a holy war for Thee, We slew the breed of dogs. 
Exalted One, 

They know (now) that their task was beyond them. 
Some were waverers, Their wealth was more (to 

them) than religion, 

Behold them, they have We, the Prince of the Be- 
become profligates. lievers, 

We have found, we have made him King. 



FIG. 19. Haversack, like fig. 18, but 
with red border. 





FIG. 20. 




FIG. 21. 



FIG. 20. Slipper of red leather over black, which shows through. 
FIG. 21. Slipper of red leather, with black edging, and a green welt 
upside. Heel is usually turned down. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE LORE OF THE FOLK. 

Meaning of the Tales -Courtship Intimacy previous to 
Marriage Marriage Prohibited Degrees Relation of Husband 
and Wife Ceremonies Avoidance The Bachelor Parentage 
Miracu^us Births Childbirth Infanticide Relation of Parent 
and Child Adoption Organization Descent Tribal Marks 
Development Death and Burial Inheritance. 

IT is now time to try to find out from the stories 
something about the life of the people, and in doing so 
one has to be very careful not to see too much in them 
alone, but to confirm all deductions by information 
drawn from other sources. As the most important 
institution is the family, we may commence with that, 
showing how it first comes into existence, and the sub- 
sequent relations of its members. 

COURTSHIP. There seems to have been some test 
of fitness for marriage at one time, possibly the guessing 
of the name mentioned in 43 is one, the successful 
maiden gaining an influence over the youth by pro- 
nouncing it. Another story (F.-L. 12) relates how a 
father shut his daughter in a hut, and made a mound 



COURTSHIP 75 

of filth in front, the suitor having to clear this away, 
without spitting or without drinking hardships in a 
hot country in order to win the bride, and after all the 
men had failed, the spider came, and succeeded by 
means of a trick.* In the cases where certain conditions 
are laid down, there appears to be no disgrace whatever 
in avoiding them, provided that the delinquent be not 
found out, so it is not always the case that only the brave 
deserve the fair; the cunning are often more successful. 
In another story (M.H. 7), the test is to ride a rogue 
camel, and all the suitors fall off but the right one whom 
the maiden has already chosen. Sometimes (especially 
in the case of witches) the bride is won by the man 
who can throw a stone so as to open a magic basket (95). 
Women were not allowed to choose their own hus- 
bands, and a story is told of how a girl was punished 
who said that she would not marry anyone whose body 
was not free from blemish (F.-L. 44). No youth was 
found able to comply with the conditions (was the 
examination of the body another test of fitness ?), and in 
the end she married a snake (or a Dodo in a variant) 
which had turned itself into a faultless youth for the 
purpose of deceiving her. She was saved by her 
younger sister, and after her escape, she swore that she 
would never again be so presumptuous as to wish to 
choose for herself ; a very satisfactory conclusion to the 
parent who wished to make money out of his offspring !f 

* Since writing this, I have read Cunnie Rabbit, and from a 
story there (page 40), in which the spider has to obtain the teeth 
of a lion, to extract palm-wine from the poisonous sasswood tree, 
and to capture a live boa constrictor, it is evident that the task 
was a test. 

t In a Sierra Leone story (Cronise and Ward, page 178) the 
girl is deceived by a Half-Devil, who borrows half a body so 
as to look like a man. She is saved by her brother, and returns 
home ready to listen to the advice of others regarding the choice 
of her next husband. 



76 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Certainly the moral here is more orthodox than that of 
Story 61, where the parents had to give in to their 
determined daughter, and the sequel shows how little 
they relished doing so. Still, there is no denying that 
an adult girl has a good deal to say in the matter. 

I am not certain who gave the bride away. Evidently 
the consent of the mother was necessary (56), although 
the bargaining was done with the father (64), and some- 
times the latter would obtain a bride-price from several 
suitors at the same time (47), though he might not 
always be so lucky as the Kagoro parent in evading 
repayment to the disappointed lovers (T.H.H. 233), 
unless he had a malam to aid him (47 variant). Should 
there be no parents nor uncles nor aunts alive, elder 
brothers or sisters, or even protectors or hosts will 
arrange the marriage, and, since they thus act as parents, 
they will be called suruku. The girl in early times 
was promised before she had arrived at puberty, in 
which case she herself would let her fiance" know (if 
she liked him) when the proper time had arrived; the 
age is probably much later now, because her consent is 
usually sought. This is solely for the reason that if 
she objects to the husband provided for her, she will 
almost certainly be unfaithful ; it is not due to any con- 
sideration for the happiness of the girl herself. Still, 
her wishes usually run parallel to those of her parents, 
viz., on golden lines, the richer the suitor the more 
certain he is of success, for, as the poor youth bitterly 
complains, " Those who can give your parents presents 
can give you some also " (62). It is not only the father, 
however, who deceives the suitors. In one story (M.H. 
41), a girl is sought by four youths, and she tells one 
to hide in a pot, and that she will run off with him. 
The next youth is told to take the pot to the bush for 



INTIMACY PREVIOUS TO MARRIAGE 77 

she will be inside it, and he does so, thinking that the 
person there is she. The two others are apparently told 
that the girl is to be carried off, and they follow, and 
seize the bearer. During the struggle which ensues, 
the pot is thrown on the ground, and broken, and the 
first youth appears instead of the maiden, and all give 
up the suit in disgust. 

Kola-nuts are always sent to the female when the 
suitor proposes marriage or otherwise, and their accept- 
ance or rejection signify her gratification or displeasure 
with the offer. As they are said to be aphrodisiacs 
there may be something symbolical in this gift. Cow- 
ries also may be sent when making the less honourable 
proposal (44), possibly they are a phallic symbol here. 

INTIMACY PREVIOUS TO MARRIAGE. Apparently, 
boys and girls were allowed to sleep together before 
marriage (94), though the complete act (chi) was pro- 
hibited, as is shown in another story which is un- 
printable. This was known as Tsarenchi, and it 
brought no disgrace upon either party. There was 
also a curious custom by which they were shut up 
together and left for some time. One writer* states 
that the custom was called Fita furra, and that several 
of each sex were shut up in the autumn in an enclosure, 
and left there for a month, food being taken to them by 
an attendant, the expense being borne by some rich 
man who thought that he was conferring a benefit on 
the community. At the end of this time any of the 
girls found to be enceinte were considered to be the 
wives of the youths with whom they had lived. A 
jigo or gausami (long pole) was erected inside the 
enclosure, and sacrifices of sheep, fowls, &c., were 

* Man (R.A.I.), 1910, article 40. 



78 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

made there to the deities Kuri and Utvargona so as to 
ensure fecundity in the clan. 

The stories I have collected (64 and F.-L. 36) 
evidently refer to this, but in them not several, but only 
one youth and one maiden are shut up together, the 
time being a week, and it is related that during that 
period the former has to abstain from certain kinds of 
food. In each case the youth breaks the tabu, but 
being befriended in one case by a leper, in the other 
by a cat, he manages not only to escape the punish- 
ment death, apparently but even to make out that 
he had been in the right, and so win the bride. 

MARRIAGE. The first wife is the chief, the " house- 
mother," each of the others being called her kishia, 
from kishi, " jealousy," for an obvious reason.* I fancy 
that there was no limit to the number originally, except 
the length of the husband's purse. But this was only a 
temporary check, for a wife in Hausaland is an invest- 
ment, and, when once procured, she more than earns 
enough to maintain herself, and in addition furnishes 
sons who will work for their father, and daughters who 
will bring in marriage fees to the family coffer. The 
wives are usually quarrelling, and numerous tales of 
the triumph of the youngest are told, likewise of the 
infidelity of all of them to their husbands but they 
cannot appear here. Should a wife run away with 
another man, the husband usually contents himself 
by enforcing the payment of a bride-price equal to the 
amount which he originally paid to the woman's 
parents. There is seldom much feeling aroused except 
anger, for a wife is regarded simply as property in 

* For a similar idea on the other side of Africa, see Wester- 
marck, The History of Human Marriage^ page 499, when he says 
that the Hova word for polygyny is derived from the root rafy 
an adversary. 



PROHIBITED DEGREES 79 

most cases, and so long as the injury done to the owner 
is paid for, there is no need to be annoyed. Still, 
there are exceptions, and, apart from any feeling of 
jealousy, a man of high rank would not so easily for- 
give such an insult by one in a lower grade. 

Human beings may mate with animals and insects, 
according to the stories, and the unions are not always 
unhappy, not at any rate when the spider is the 
husband (F.-L. 12), in spite of the fact that there 
is necessarily deceit on one side or the other. In 
fact in one story (T.H.H. 5) the spider is described as 
being the best husband of all, though I fear that the 
reasons given would not convince us. In another 
(L.T.H., ii, 34) the ram proves himself to be a much 
better son-in-law than two others who are men. But 
except where the spider is concerned, such mixed 
marriages seldom seem to be a success, though the 
porcupine may make quite a good step-father (85). 

PROHIBITED DEGREES. Marriage with one's own 
daughter was never allowed, though if it had taken 
place there seems to have been no punishment formerly 
except the contempt of the other people. But the 
parents of a wedded pair could inter-marry (L.T.H., ii, 
43). A man might not marry two sisters, though it is 
probable that, at one time, he could marry a wife of his 
deceased brother, even a widow of his father except 
his own mother. Children of sisters or half-sisters may 
not marry nowadays ; nor can those of brothers or half- 
brothers ; but the child of a brother or half-brother may 
wed the child of a sister or half-sister. There is there- 
fore no claim to the bint ahn ; but other cousins may 
marry, and such unions are often encouraged so that 
the property may be kept in the family, and also be- 
cause there is less likelihood of friction, the parents of 



8o HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

both parties having an interest in preserving the 
marriage. In some clans men prefer to marry women 
who have the same totems as their mothers, but usually 
they are content so long as the women have not the 
same totems as they themselves have, i.e., they are 
exogamous. 

The women of a conquering tribe (e.g., Filani) are 
never allowed to marry with men of the vanquished 
race (e.g., Hausa), but the converse is exceedingly 
common, and a Filani conqueror always used to de- 
mand a Hausa princess of the defeated State in mar- 
riage. 

Several stones show that neither a man (57, 58 and 
F.-L. 47) nor a woman (48 and F.-L. 45) should marry 
without knowing something of the history and the 
family of the other, nor should either marry out of his 
tribe (48). A man should not make anyone a member 
of his household unless he has full knowledge of his 
habits and character (41). 

RELATION OF HUSBAND AND WIFE. Obedience is 
naturally expected from the wives (50), and also hard 
work (49 and 57), but they ought to show some com- 
mon sense when the circumstances are unusual (51). 
They should be cheerful at all times for they ought 
to minister to a husband's pleasure, not make him 
dull and they must answer when spoken to. The 
husband, on his part, must remember to share his 
pleasures (53), and to take care that he shall not, like 
Solomon, be ruled by women (54). 

CEREMONIES. The original Hausa ceremonies of 
courtship and marriage have been modified by Moham- 
medan influence, particularly so far as the marriage of 
a free virgin is concerned, the present proceedings being 
a mixture. 



CEREMONIES 



81 



The youth would court the girl on the sly nowa- 
days, and give her presents, and try to win her favour 
generally. After a time, if she accepted him, he would 
tell his parents, and they would go first to her father's 
younger brother (he is the one appealed to in F.-L. 36), 
and to her mother and the younger sister of the latter, 
and tell them. On their consenting, the suitor's 
parents would go the round of the fiancee's whole 




FIG. 22. 




FIG. 23, 

FIG. 22. Wooden clog (left foot). FIG. 23. Leather sandal (light foot), 
coloured red, yellow and black. Sometimes feathers are inserted under the 
" button " on the cross-straps. 

family (61), though their consent was apparently un- 
necessary,* in fact, possibly the paternal uncle's word 
was sufficient. Then on a certain day, these would 
assemble, and the youth's parents would present a 

* Perhaps they would give them presents, for " when the 
festival came he was told to go and pay respects to the relations 
of the girl's parents, both male and female, and greet them 
attentively. He was shown some twenty houses, and he paid 
them each man two shillings and each woman one shilling and 
sixpence." Hausa Sayings, page 73. 
6 



82 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

calabash of kola-nuts, and 10,000 cowries* to the girl's 
father and mother, who would then say ' ' We give 
her," and the others would say " We accept her." 

So much for the engagement ; the subsequent cere- 
monies are best described by giving accounts of actual 
marriages. When the wedding-day drew nigh, some 
girl-friends were summoned secretly to the mother's 
house, and on the bride's entering they surrounded her, 
while the mother stained her with henna, f afterwards 
bandaging the parts thus treated, the girl pretending 
to resist. Then the bride and her maids all commenced 
the women's cry, and went on for three days, the mar- 
riage taking place next morning, followed by a feast at 
the bridegroom's house in the evening, and lasting all 
night. At dawn next day she was taken to her new 
home. During this time the best-man had been feeding 
the bridesmaids with food supplied by the bride- 
groom's family. Then the bride's presents (house- 
hold utensils, food, and garments) were brought and 
examined, and both the bride and bridegroom were un- 
veiled for he also had been stained with henna. J His 
friends came and brought him new clothes, and he 
emerged and rode about with them until sunset. 

What happens subsequently is as follows. In the 
middle of the night the bridegroom and his best-man 
enter the hut, and the latter tries to make the bride 

* Equal in value to ics. in the northerly districts, to 2s. 6d. 
in Ilorin. 

t In Hausa Sayings it is stated that the parents of the bride- 
groom supply the henna and leaves and staining rags, and that 
they also give money to be divided up amongst the beggars ; but 
I think the above is correct. On further inquiry I am sure that 
it is, though the bridegroom would obtain the henna for his 
body from his own parents. 

It is somewhat unusual to find that the bridegroom is 
anointed, but this occurs in India also, where a mixture of 
turmeric is used. Crooke, op. cit., ii, 29. 



CEREMONIES 83 

speak to him,* but as she will not do so he gives her 
kola-nuts " to buy mouth " (i.e., speech), and he goes 
away. The husband makes advances, but gets a blow 
for his trouble, and then he and she wrestle until he 
finally conquers. If he finds that she is a virgin, he 
will give her money, and he will leave her, and hide in 
the best-man's house because he is ashamed of his own 
previous impurity, whereas she was undefiled. If, 
however, he finds that she is not innocent, he will break 
the big water-pot, and the sleeping-mat, and the 
drinking-bowl, and cut off some of the strings of the 
blind to shame her, and he will place a pot on a long 
pole, and set it up so as to give the news to the whole 
town. 

Part of the foregoing is given in Litafi na Tatsuni- 
yoyi na Hausa (pages 246 and 426). There are some 
differences in the description in Hausa Sayings, but it 
is possible that the general account of the ceremonies 
is correct, and that there are slight variations in the 
different localities. This is only to be expected if we 
remember that the Hausas have been mixing con- 
tinually with diverse tribes of indigenous negroes. 

' In the evening the girl was bathed. The young 
man's parents brought some fifty large bowls of meal, 
and of cakes about twenty, and some twenty mortars 
full of fura were brought. When night fell the bride- 
groom's friend came with the horse on which he was to 
carry off the maiden. f To the Bathing-place were 
brought fifty dates and fifty kolas, and about ten 
thousand cowries shell-money to be dispersed among 

* In England it is often said that the best man has the right 
to kiss the bride if he can do so before the husband. 

t There is no mention in this account of any actual abduction 
having occurred, I believe that it still occurs in the case of well- 
to-do people. 



84 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the youths. They brought new calabashes and soap. 
When the bathing was finished the girl was taken to 
her husband. After this they came and played at the 
husband's house guitar, and violin, and devil- 
dancing," and drumming and merriment went on until 
six o'clock next morning. 

During the festivity, the bridegroom sat out- 
side in a special chair, but the bride was inside (vide 
xcviii, i). In the morning, after the departure of the 
elders, " the young folk asked of the bridegroom's 
parents that food might be given them. So they were 
given two chickens, one in the daytime and one in the 
evening, and also salt,* and dodowa meal, and wood 
and corn." The bride's friends then put a stone in a 
calabash of porridge and took it to the bridegroom, and 
he gave it to his friends. But on the boys finding the 
stone " they fall to abusing the girls, and they throw 
back at them their property, and the girls take it up and 
return to their own affairs. In the evening again they 
will behave like this, and again in the morning even 
for three days. On the fourth morning the ' uncovering 
of the head ' will take place, f that is, the man and the 



* Salt is widely recognized as a preservative against evil 
influences. The Hindus wave it round the head of a bride and 
bridegroom and bury it near the house door as a charm. 
(Crooke, op. at., page 198.) Roman Catholic priests still use it 
in baptism ; the Hausa mother says that her baby's flesh is salt, 
so that the witches will not take it, and the practice of putting 
salt in coffins was both religious and utilitarian. The other 
gifts probably symbolise plenty in the new household. 

t The author remarks in a note that the covering and sub- 
sequent exposing of the head are widely employed in the prelim- 
inary ceremonies among non-Mohammedan tribes in Africa, 
Sir Harry Johnston (Liberia) mentions it as being practised 
among the Atonga of Nyassaland. There the bride's father 
must give a hen or a cock to the bridegroom's father immediately 
after the marriage to indicate his approval or disapproval of 
his son-in-law, and the gift of the two fowls mentioned above 



CEREMONIES 85 

woman take off their fine clothes and move about in 
public," and the bridegroom returns to his own house. 
The following account of the modern customs was 
given to me at Zaria in 1905, and several differences will 
be noted. " If you want to marry a virgin, you go and 
ask her. If she agrees you go to her father, and if he 
gives his consent you get some money, perhaps 10,000 
cowries, and take them to him. He takes some of it, 
perhaps 2,000 cowries, and gives it to his family, the 
remainder he divides into two parts, and gives one-half 
to the girl's mother, and the other to his relatives. That 
is how the engagement is arranged. 

" Some time afterwards, say two or three months, if 
the girl is willing to marry, you go to her father, and 
talk over the price, and he will tell you what is the 
whole sum that you must pay. Perhaps you will then 
say ' Give me a month, my money is not sufficient as 
yet; wait until I have got it.' When you have got it 
you take it to her father, 20,000 cowries. He takes it 
and gives it to the girl's mother to buy cloths, and food 
for the feast, and food that she will eat during the 
marriage, enough for about two weeks. The white 
cloth also that she will wear during the marriage you 
will buy. 

" From about five to seven days the -bride remains in 
her father's house, she wears a white cloth, she covers 
up her face her nails have been stained with henna. 
Other girls come and play with her, and she is taught 
things ; these girls eat the food provided by the bride's 
father [at the husband's expense]. 

may have some connection with such a custom. Amongst the 
Rahazawa (pagan Filani) the girl is given a white cock by the 
bridegroom, and this she releases and it becomes sacred (Man, 
1910, art. 40). Another reason given me for the gift of chickens 
is simply that the parents could not afford goats. i 



86 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

11 After about seven days her relatives come to her 
house, and seize her, and take her to her husband's 
house. The husband does not come outside, his friends 
[groomsmen] come out and take the girl, and try to get 
her to enter the house, but she refuses. Then money 
is taken and given to the bridesmaids who have accom- 
panied her to the house, and one takes her hand, another 
pushes her, until she has entered. All the women go in 
with her, all are singing and clapping. Then the bride- 
groom's friends enter the house and throw money 
amongst them. In the middle of the night, the adult 
women leave, but the bridesmaids stay in the hut. 

" The bridegroom is not there; he has gone to his 
best-man's house, he will not return to his own house for 
five days or seven days. If he comes before the time is 
up the bridesmaids will drive him away, but about the 
sixth day he comes and gives the bridesmaids some 
money, perhaps 1,000 cowries, and says ' Return to 
your homes, the marriage ceremonies are ended.' 
Then the husband and wife eat food together*, and the 

* The following account in the Blackheath Local Guide of 
May u, 1912, will show that the Hausa customs are not so 

very strange to us after all : " The marriage of W , son of 

W , London, to R , daughter of the late J , Mon- 
mouthshire, South Wales, took place on Saturday, the 2oth ult., 
at St. Matthew's Church. . . . The choir received the bride 
[veiled, and in white] at the door of the church. . . . The 
organist played the accustomed bridal music. . . . An * at home * 
followed, and two old Celtic traditions (one distinctly Manx) were 
revived, the bridegroom carrying the bride over the threshold 
as indicating successful capture and possession, and the making 
of broth by the bride as the first act of formal betrothal and 
marriage, a custom in vogue in the Isle of Man within living 
memory and coming down from the days when the Celtic Empire 
dominated all Western Europe, over two thousand years ago, 
indicating the husband's duty to ' capture ' food for the pot 
on the slowrie and the wife's prerogative to cook it. Both drank 
from the same slig or shell, as custom had ordained." Amongst 
the Welsh, the bridegroom on the wedding morn would go with 
his friends on horseback, and carry off the bride. Westermarck, 
The History of Human Marriage, page 387. 



CEREMONIES 87 

shyness of each towards the other is ended, so they 
commence to talk/' 

According to another account, obtained at Jemaan 
Daroro in 1909, after the contracting parties have 
arranged matters as before, the relatives of both parties 
(but not the parties themselves) go to the malam, and 
the actual binding service is performed. The bride is 
smeared with henna four days before the feast, which 
takes place at the house of a relative of hers ( ? uncle), 
and the bride goes, but not the bridegroom. She is 
then taken to her husband's house wrapped in white 
cloths, and accompanied by bridesmaids, the husband 
having gone to another house for the time. 

Next afternoon there is a feast at the bride's uncle's 
house, but she does not come to this one (nor does he), 
she is fed by her mother with the food which he has 
provided. In from two to seven days he returns to his 
house, and lives with his wife. 

There are several changes therefore : the bride's 
father has ousted the uncle, the bride attends the feast 
(75), and the bridegroom does not live with her at once.* 
The fee seems to have been increased, but some of it 
goes to the provision of a gift in accordance with 
Mohammedan ideas (see T.H.H., page 231). There is 
one thing which ought to have been mentioned, and 
that is, that when the bride is taken to her husband's 
house she screams and pretends to resist, and this seems 
to be a survival of marriage by capture ; especially as a 
horse was used formerly, and may be still in some dis- 
tricts. Her apparent reluctance is now ascribed to 

* It may have been a compliment to stay away for seven 
days, for in one story (L.T.H., ii, 45) we find : " She was brought 
to the palace. The King rejoiced, and said that he would not 
go to her hut until seven days had passed." But it was not at 
all complimentary to stay away for longer than this. 



88 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

shyness,* and it will be noted that such a feeling is 
insisted upon, the girl being expected to resist the appli- 
cation of henna, and the bridegroom being compelled to 
keep away from his wife. The henna is doubtless a 
Mohammedan introduction ; formerly it would seem that 
oil or grease was used instead, for there is a proverb, 
" However cunning the bride, she will be smeared with 
oil."f These elaborate ceremonies are not necessary in 
the case of women previously married, nor is any shy- 
ness expected, the only exception being that the wives 
will still scream when going to their new home. If pots 
were still broken there would not be much water in the 
Jemaa houses ; the late chief told me that there was not a 
virgin over the age of ten in the whole town !{ 

AVOIDANCE. It is difficult to understand to what 
extent the mother-in-law (surukua) has to be avoided by 
her daughter's husband. It is evident that there is some 
barrier set up, for he will not always eat food in her 
house (5) though, perhaps, the objection is dying out 

* A woman is said to have nine " shames," a man one there 
being only ten in the world. She loses three on the morning 
after the wedding, three more after having given birth, and if 
she commits adultery she has not even one left. 

t In Liberia, too, the bride is rubbed with animal fat. John- 
ston, Liberia, page 1038. 

+ The customs are kept up by people more to the north-west, 
however. The parents stand outside the house when the bride- 
groom enters, and two friends of his hold the bride's legs. If 
the bride is a virgin, a white cloth with the usual signs is 
exhibited to the parents, and presents are brought. If the bride 
is not innocent, the husband plants a pole in front of the hut, 
breaks her dishes, &c., and hangs them upon it. This is done 
on purpose to make the girl wish to leave, for if she goes away 
of her own free will, her parents must return the marriage fee, 
but they keep it if the husband drives her away. The men of 
Argungu, however, must serve on the farms of their parents-in- 
law-elect for some years, until the girls are ready for marriage, 
and must give annual presents also. (L.T.H., ii, page 416.) 
There the bride is smeared in henna for seven days, the bride- 
groom for four, and she is taken to his house by the best man. 



THE BACHELOR 89 

{24) and the word surukuta (the relationship thus 
established) has a second meaning of avoidance (7). 
Yet, on the other hand, the son-in-law is delighted 
when his wife's mother visits him (83) ; he pays her the 
.greatest marks of respect which are due to an 
honoured guest, and when he goes to see her, the 
journey is considered to be of more importance than any 
ordinary trip (24). Great respect is due in any case to 
the wife's father (47, variant), though he may not always 
get it, for he and his wife are apt to make themselves 
nuisances to a generous son-in-law, since both of the 
woman's parents may eat in his house. A theft from 
either or from both of the parents-in-law is particularly 
vile (5 and 13). 

I am informed that a w r oman also has to avoid her 
parents-in-law, but this does not seem to be correct 
or it may have been an older custom the general rule 
is for a husband to bring his wife to his own house or 
to that of his parents. 

THE BACHELOR. An unmarried man is looked down 
upon, so there is no need to extricate him in the stories 
from any danger into which he may have got himself 
(82), he may be killed without any regrets being wasted 
over him. Amongst the Hausas, if a man lives without 
a wife, although having money enough to procure one, 
he is regarded as being not quite normal. Besides this, 
he is expected to help in increasing the population, so 
there are not many unmarried adults. I do not suppose 
that there is a single woman who has not had relations 
of some kind. 

A bachelor is the butt of many jokes, being known 
as " a man with a broom " because he has to sweep his 
own hut, and he is supposed to dream of nothing but 
house work, i.e., women's work. 



90 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

PARENTAGE. The desire of motherhood is strongly 
implanted in the Hausas, several stories relating how a 
woman prayed to have offspring whatever it might be 
(71 and 72), and even when it was abnormal the result, 
seems to have been quite satisfactory in most cases, 
though there are exceptions (70). 

MIRACULOUS BIRTHS. Stories of miraculous births 
are common, of course, and are mere fancy, but one 
tale (M.H. 43), being somewhat out of the ordinary, is 
worth noting; it is the story of a Woli. The reason 
why he was called " Consecrated " was that his mother 
had died in child, and when she had been buried, she 
gave birth in the grave. Now the people near heard the 
baby crying, and they took hoes, and opened the grave, 
and brought out the child. He was taken to the chief, 
who said " He is the Servant of God," and gave orders 
that he was to be brought up by a malam. But no 
sooner did the baby arrive at the learned man's house, 
than he began reading the Koran, and the malam said 
that he was to be taken back to the chief's house, for 
he was already qualified. 

Another version is given in Hausa Sayings, the 
mother in this case being buried close to the dye-pits. 
" During three subsequent months the dyers were 
molested by an unknown person who repeatedly spilt 
the dye, hid the dyeing poles, and generally made mis- 
chief. By day nothing was seen of him, but a watch- 
man placed at night in a chedia tree close by reported 
next morning that he had seen a boy crawl out of a 
hole in a neighbouring bank, play the same pranks with 
the dyers' property as before, and finally return to his 
hiding-place. When the place was dug open the body 
of the woman was found within with a live child beside 
her. Though dead, only one half of her body had 



MIRACULOUS BIRTHS 



corrupted. The other half from head to foot had re- 
mained fresh and undecayed, so that her baby had been 
born and successfully weaned.* As they gazed at this 
remarkable sight the woman 's body dissolved into dust. 
The boy under the name of Alfa dan Marinna survived 
to old age at Katsena, where until recently (1909) he 
was still living."!, 




FIG. 24. 



FIG. 25. 



FIG. 24. -Long riding-boot. Height, 24 in. FIG. 25. Boot of red 
leather, pattern picked out or stained black. Sole untanned. Height, 17 in. 

The two stories seem to be the same, the first was 
written in 1856, and the events have naturally become 
more and more wonderful in the succeeding half- 
century. 

* Generally two years or more, see the following section. 

t Alfa is probably the same as Malam it is so in Ilorin 
and is akin to Woli, or better, Walli. Dan Marinna means Son 
of the Dye-pit. 



92 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

The woman's cough becoming a child (85) is 
miraculous, undoubtedly, but, perhaps, no more so than 
the fact that the neighing of a horse carries away a 
man (96). 

CHILDBIRTH. When a woman has been enceinte 
about seven months, a stock of firewood is collected in 
her house say, 20 loads or so and from the day that 
she is delivered, or even before, she washes in warm 
water until about forty days afterwards. With the 
water is often mixed an infusion of the leaves of the 
runhu (a small tree with yellow blossoms), and the 
woman does not put her hands into the water to wash 
her body,* but takes a branch, and dips it in, and 
sprinkles herself. The actual childbirth is much the 
same as amongst the Kagoro for which see Journal of 
the R.A.I., January-June, 1912. Should the wood col- 
lected not be sufficient, the husband may have to get 
more (19). Should the mother die before being de- 
livered, no attempt is made to save the child. After 
the child has been born, the mother remains for a week 
inside her hut, her female friends visiting and con- 
gratulating her, but on the eighth day the Malams 
and relatives are assembled, and kola-nuts are given to 
all. A special dish (tuon sund) consisting of corn, oil, 
&c., is prepared, and perhaps a ram or even a bull is 
killed and eaten, the midwives getting the head, legs, 
and skin, \vhile the officiating Malam takes the saddle. 
After the child has had its head shaved, it is given two 
names, one of which is whispered into the child's ear, 
the other being announced to the company. The 



* Professor Westermarck suggests to me that this is because 
she is unclean, and says that the washing for forty days is an 
Arab custom. 



INFANTICIDE 93 

Malams then bless the child, ask God to preserve it from 
witchcraft, and bless the breasts of the mother. 

The child is nursed for two years, during which time 
the mother lives apart from her husband, but on its 
being weaned she sleeps with him again. Boys will 
be circumcised when about seven years of age (vide 
R.A.I, journal}, though some of the pagan Hausas 
do it much earlier, but girls are not mutilated in any 
way. 

INFANTICIDE. I was told that albinos were once 
killed and eaten by an army before setting out to war,* 
and there is a fairly widespread practice amongst people 
in the southern part of the old Zaria province of throw- 
ing idiots and deformed children into the river. f It was 
not legal to kill them, apparently, though the result was 
exactly the same so far as I could see, and there does 
not seem to have been any idea of sacrifice in this act, 
though there was in another connection. Whether this 
custom was ever indulged in by the Hausas proper I 
cannot say, but I was told that the people of Argungu, 
on the other side of Nigeria, kept it up until quite lately. 
Certainly Story 73 would seem to point to the putting to 
death of abnormal infants. There is no suggestion in 
any of the stories which I have read that a child is a 
changeling. In the only instance given here of a father 
doubting his offspring (64), the question rests upon the 
son's legitimacy, not upon any fairy influence. 

I do not think that there was any killing of twins, 



* In Argungu the chief would kill perhaps five men, and 
cut up the flesh into small pieces and give them to his followers 
to be dried and kept until the outbreak of war. The bones were 
then pounded up and eaten in soup. (L.T.H., ii, page 420.) 

t See T.H.H., pages 230, 240, for a description of this, and for 
an English parallel to the belief that the child changes into a 
pillar of fire. 



94 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

there was none in recent times at any rate, and triplets 
would be considered lucky now, owing to the prevalence 
of sterility. Twins are supposed to have a special power 
of picking up scorpions without injury, but I have 
seen others do it who were not twins. Perhaps a 
malam had kindly provided them (on payment) 
with a concoction w<hich when used both as a potion 
and a lotion renders the poison harmless ! I have not 
come across any story which mentions twins, and at 
first I thought this strange, but, after all, our own folk- 
lore does not say much about them. Had they been 
put to death, I fancy the fact would have appeared 
somewhere, whether in the disgrace of the mother, or 
in the miraculous escape of the victims. In one story,* 
a woman gave birth to forty children at a time, and the 
rival wife killed them and substituted forty puppies. The 
children were buried, but came up as flowers which were 
eaten by a cow, and this animal re-bore the children, and 
they were at last restored to the King, much to the 
delight of the original mother who had been kept in 
the meantime in a fowl-pen. It is satisfactory to 
know that she was washed when she was taken out ! 

Another story (L.T.H., ii, 21), however, points to a 
different conclusion, for where a woman gave birth to 
a hundred children at a time both she and the husband 
ran away and left them, and they were brought up by 
her sister, their " Little Mother." Even a European 
father might have tried to disappear under similar 
circumstances !f Perhaps these two stories show that 
any number above two were thought to be dangerous. 

* ffausa Stories, Harris, page i. 

t The Countess Hagenan is said in old books on midwifery to 
have given birth to 365 at one time, but this case is now regarded 
as being one of " hydatidiform mole," or " vesicular degeneration 
of the chorion." Vide Whitbridge Williams, page 572. 



RELATION OF PARENT AND CHILD 95 

RELATION OF PARENT AND CHILD. Obedience from 
the children is expected, of course, but the parents 
have their duties also. They are usually kind to their 
children, but there are tales to the contrary, those of 
the step-mother variety being fairly plentiful. The 
daughter of a dead wife is usually badly treated by a 
surviving kishia, and is set to do some task which 
is thought to be impossible (93). She accomplishes 
it by reason of her sweet nature, and becomes rich ; 
and the step-mother is so angry that she sets her 
own daughter a similar task, hoping for a like reward. 
In this case, however, the result is a failure, and so the 
ill-treated girl is avenged on her persecutors. Or the 
good girl may be aided by an animal (F.-L. 48), and 
marry the King's son. In Story 3 a fish acts the 
part of the Fairy Godmother. 

Sometimes, however, the rival wife* treats the child 
better than his own mother does (60), but this is very 
rare, though the parent may be unnatural. In the end, 
he or she usually meets with death at the hands of the 
victim (64, 65, 68), though the narrator is not always 
sure that this is quite as it ought to be when the child 
must kill either the offending parent or a benefactor. In 
such cases he will ask " Now, did the child do right or 
not ? " If one says " Yes," he will exclaim : " What ! 
Is it right to kill your own parent?' 1 If one replies 
" No," he will say : " What ! Is that how a benefactor 
should be rewarded?" I found that the safest way 

* Mr. Hartland has pointed out that co-wife would be a 
better word, especially in Story 52, but unfortunately he did not 
see the work until in print. However, if I err, I do so in good 
company (e.g., with Robinson), and, after all, considering the 
amount of quarrelling, " rival " cannot be a very inappropriate 
description, especially as each wife has her own particular title, 
the first being " House-mother," the next " Lieutenant of the 
House-mother," and the last one " Bride." 



96 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

was to refer the questioner to the spider, who, being 
the King of Cunning and of Folk-lore, no doubt de- 
lights in this sort of problem ! 

Needless to say, there is a certain rivalry between 
the different children, even when they are of the same 
mother (27), and, of course, this spirit is greatly in- 
creased when one goes outside the family, thus (in 45) 
a boy who is the rival of the King's son accomplishes 
various feats, and becomes King himself, and so rules 
over his rival. Sometimes, as in this case, the reason of 
the triumph seems most unsatisfactory to our ideas : per- 
haps some parts of the stories have been lost. 

ADOPTION. Sterility is common amongst the 
Hausas, and there seems to be no doubt that there was 
some form of adoption of sons to fill the place of 
natural-born ones. There is no mention of the adop- 
tion of daughters, and this and the fact that the adopted 
sons usually kill some animals (usually horses, 67 and 
68), and also the intense desire for sons, even someone 
else's (59), seem to indicate that each father (and, pos- 
sibly, each mother) had to have a son to perform some 
sacrifice or other rite for him. The son must be obtained 
in a proper lawful manner, with the consent of his 
natural parent if alive, but where none exists the boy 
can give himself (69). Even a woman can adopt, but 
whether she does this to herself or to her dead husband 
is not quite clear, though she evidently suffers by not 
having a son. 

It is just possible, as in the case of the Hindus, that 
a son is necessary to carry on the worship of the Hausa 
ancesters, though the reason given nowadays is 
simply that if a man has no children his goods go to 
strangers. If any such custom be discovered, it will be 
more easy to understand why a perfectly true 




o 

s 



ni 

ni 

>< 



rs. v "^ 

< .5 

a Q D 

5 S 

^ 

5 > 5 

S < 1 



ORGANIZATION 



97 



(though undoubtedly impolite) remark on the manner of 
a person's birth is regarded as a much more deadly 
insult than anything said about his purely personal 
characteristics. Many Hausas (and indeed others) will 
say that they do not mind being abused themselves, but 
that they cannot bear anything derogatory to be said 
about their parents. 




FIG. 26. Pattern on boot similar to fig. 25. 

ORGANIZATION. The Hausas are very good agricul- 
turists, and, as a people, are more inclined for peace 
than for war, though individually they are very good 
fighters when properly led. They have been, and still 
are, the traders of West Africa, always extending their 
sphere of operations, and forming new colonies in every 

7 



98 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

direction. The language is thus widely spread, and, 
being fairly easily learnt, and rich, it often displaces the 
local tongues to a great extent. 

The people were very good organizers, their system 
of revenue collection being adopted by the Filani, and 
this, shorn of its abuses, is what is practically in force 
now under us. 

The Hausas seem to care but little what strange 
people rule the country so long as they can trade in 
peace, and keep their land safely, and yet they are great 
believers in leadership. A district is under an im- 
portant chief or Sa(r)riki, under whom will be lesser 
chiefs over areas, and a chief of each separate town. 
But this is not by any means all, for the chief will 
have his deputies and other officials, and each of these 
will have his complete set of parasites. Not one of these 
exalted persons will do more work than he can help, he 
simply states that God will provide for him (or cause 
some kind person to do so), and sits down to wait for 
something to turn up Yet the Hausa can work when 
he likes, the intense agriculture in some parts shows 
this, and the traders have made a name everywhere in 
West Africa. The town itself will be divided into 
quarters, corresponding more or less closely with the 
nationality of the dwellers in them, the Ungival Yoru- 
baiva, Ungival Nufawa, &c., all of which have their 
respective head with its long neck. Every profession 
and trade, too, has its Sa(r)riki, the same word being 
used in every case, and even beggars and cripples have, 
a recognized chief, while in Kano, at any rate, the blind 
have " Leaders of the Blind." This is really not quite 
so absurd as it seems, for the people like to have dis- 
putes and other matters settled by their own particular 
heads. Thus in L.T.H., 40 the snakes which were 



DESCENT 99 

quarrelling refused to separate for a man, but did so 
when asked by Miss Snake. In court, a person always 
pleads through the head of his house or village. 

In some of the tales it will be noticed that Kings of 
Lies, Truth, Good, and Evil are mentioned, but a man's 
wisdom and credit are measured usually by the length of 
his purse. A rich man may tell any lie and be believed, 
while even the most obvious truths of a pauper may be 
scoffed at. "If the King says 'it is black/ we ex- 
claim ' very black/ if he says ' white,' we say ' pure.' ' 
A story in L.T.H. (50) is identical in effect with a 
passage in the Apocrypha (Ecclesiasticus xiii, 23) 
which runs, " When a rich man speaketh, every man 
holdeth his tongue, and, look, what he saith, they extol 
it to the clouds : but if the poor man speak, they say, 
What fellow is this ? and if he stumble, they will help to 
overthrow him." Even a person who claims to have 
some special remedy will find it difficult to see his 
patient if dressed in rags (80). 

DESCENT. The degrees of relationship are not well 
defined. A man will call a cousin or even a fellow- 
townsman my brother, or rather " son-of mother-of- 
me," while an uncle, a step-father, and even a protector 
is called father (45). To distinguish the real parent, a 
qualification is used after the word parent such as "he 
who begot me" (64), and a true child is called "my 
child, of my own flesh." Uncles and aunts have special 
words to denote them, for they are not always called 
fathers and mothers, the same words being used for the 
paternal as well as the maternal relatives, unless it is 
important to distinguish them, in which case they are 
called "younger brother of my father," &c. Except 
when used in the ist or 3rd persons the words uba 
(father) and wvoa (mother) are seldom heard, as " your 



ioo HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

father" and "your mother" carry insinuations, and 
are therefore terms of abuse in most cases. The fact 
that the word for a brother is " son-of mother-of-me, " 
and not " son-of f ather-of-me, " may indicate that de- 
scent was once traced through women ; for it would be 
much more important in that case to remember the 
relationship to the female than to the male parent. 

Story 59 also (where the wives return to the homes 
of their parents to be delivered) points to a system of 
matrilinear descent, and the same may be said of 
Story 64 (if the explanation be correct), where the son- 
in-law lives in his wife's city, and inherits the chieftain- 
ship after her father's death. Certainly it seems to 
be so in some stories where the King gives the 
hero his daughter in marriage, and one-half of the city to 
rule over. But the latter is not usual, for the bride in the 
other tales is always brought to live in the husband's 
town, and this indicates father-right. The fact that in 
many districts the inhabitants of villages which are 
foreign colonies pay their taxes not to the local chiefs, 
but to those of the district from which they have immi- 
grated, shows that the system was based upon a tribal 
and not a territorial bond, I.e., that it was patriarchy. 

TRIBAL MARKS. During 1908 and 1909 I measured 
over a hundred Hausas at Jemaan Daroro at least they 
said that they were Hausas and the wearers of the 
markings given later probably represent the average of 
the people at present, except where the contrary is noted. 
Many others presented themselves for examination, but 
only those who could speak the language, and were able 
to state that both parents were Hausas and were 
" passed " by some of my men, were accepted, but even 
so, I dare say that the patterns of some of these will 
show their Hausa blood to be of very recent infusion. 



TRIBAL MARKS 101 

At the same time, several tribes, although widely diver- 
gent in other respects, may have similar designs if these 
consist of a few lines only, and, in fact, even when 
the lines are numerous.* Nothing seems to have been 
done in the way of systematizing the markings at any 
rate not in Nigeria and these notes were written (for 
the R.A.I. Journal originally) in the faint hope of 
initiating the process. 

A knowledge of marks might be very useful in cer- 
tain circumstances, for they often indicate a man's 
special qualifications as well as the tribe to which he 
belongs; thus a river-dweller, especially a Nupe or a 
Kakanda (long sloping cut on each cheek), should be 
able to paddle and swim, an inhabitant of a district 
farther north (e.g., Zaria) might know of donkey or 
even camel transport, a Cow-Filani (straight cut down 
forehead and nose) would understand the management 
of cattle, a man of Jemaa (various) possibly mat- 
making, and a native of. Kano (several thin short slop- 
ing cuts on each cheek) perhaps leather or brass work. 
But sometimes a noted character will try to obliterate 
his marks; others add special ones as charms to bring 
good luck, as personal ornaments, or for the purpose of 
relieving or preventing pain, and it is just possible that 
cuts made at random at first may have developed into a 
stereotyped pattern when successful in such an object. 



* As in the case with the Kagoro, Moroa, Kajji and other 
tribes, vide T.H.H., page 95. With regard to the accompanying 
figures and Appendix II at the end of this book (part of an 
article in the R.A.I. Journal, January-June, IQII), I ought per- 
haps to say that the outlines of the faces, &c., are not intended to 
represent faithfully the actual features ; they are merely to show 
the position of the marks. These have been reproduced as much 
like the originals as possible, even the operator's errors being 
shown, though no attempt has been made to draw them exactly 
to scale. 



102 HA US A SUPERSTITIONS 

Others again, may be enslaved, and, if young enough, 
be given the markings of the master's tribe, and lastly, 
small-pox may play havoc with the designs. Absolute 
dependence cannot be placed upon them, for that pur- 
pose, therefore, but they are usually a sure guide to 
identification. 

Tribal marks generally are known by the Hausas as 
zani; they are usually mere simple cuts, but the akanza 
has blue pigment, or sometimes charcoal rubbed in. 
Keskestu are small dots in parallel lines; kaffo are ranks 
of short perpendicular cuts representing horns; zubbe 
are groups of fine slanting lines on the cheek ; other 
names are noted as they occur. In addition to the cuts, 
the women paint lines on their faces, known as katam- 
birri, at times of feasts, special visits, &c., but it is 
doubtful if there are any strictly defined designs. 
Sometimes lightish coloured spots were seen on the 
chest and back, called kasbi, which are said to appear 
just before puberty, and to be a sign of a lustful nature. 

I noticed occasionally that the top of the head was 
flat, and was told that this was due to the carrying of 
loads in childhood tiny mites, hardly able to toddle, 
are often seen with pots of water. Sometimes the fore- 
head (and even all round the head) was very much 
wrinkled from the same cause. The carriers told me 
that anyone who carried too heavy a load for any length 
of time would sicken and die, and that was the reason 
given by independent witnesses in two or three inquests 
which I had to hold. I have seen men said to be ill 
from this cause, and they seemed to be wasting away 
gradually, although they had plenty of money for food, 
without showing visible signs of any disease. The 
Government is taking steps to prevent overloading, and 
no man may be compelled to carry more than 60 lb., 



DEATH AND BURIAL 103 

and that this is very moderate is shown by the fact that 
Hausa traders will sometimes take a couple of hundred- 
weight of their own wares. 

DEVELOPMENT. A man settles down in the forest, 
near to some stream or other permanent water-supply, 
and there he clears the ground and makes a farm. Soon 
he has saved enough to obtain a wife, and she will take 
the produce to market and give him more time for his 
work. Then he obtains another wife, and he thus 
has someone to help him in the fields, and as he 
increases the number of huts, the place becomes 
known as Giddan Mutum Daya (The House of 
One Man). He soon gets other wives, concu- 
bines, and slaves, and his compound becomes a 
kauye or hamlet. Probably other men come to settle 
there, and as the original founder has at least four fami- 
lies growing up, the population increases by leaps and 
bounds. If the spot be near a trade route, and travellers 
can be induced to lodge there, other huts will be erected, 
and a market will be formed ; if too far from the main 
road for this, parties of women will be sent to a spot on 
the road to sell fura and other light refreshments. In 
this way, the hamlet develops into a town, perhaps into 
a city, and even a poor man may have become a power- 
ful chief in twenty years' time (or even much less under 
specially favourable conditions), with his train of 
officials, his attendants, and his slaves, exactly like 
those of his native-town (63). One of the legends of 
Daura makes a girl the foundress of the country of that 
name. 

DEATH AND BURIAL. In Gobir, Katsina, and Daura, 
when a chief began to fail in health or strength, he 
was throttled, and, after his entrails had been removed, 
his body was smoked over a fire for seven days. By 



io 4 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

that time the new chief had been elected, and he was 
then conducted to the centre of the town, and there 
made to lie down on a bed. A black ox was brought, 
and slaughtered over him so that the blood ran all over 
his body, and then the ox was flayed, and the dead 
chief was put inside it, and dragged to the grave (a 
circular pit), where he was buried in a sitting posture. 
The new chief had to reside for seven days in his 
mother's house, being washed daily, and on the eighth 
he was conducted in state to the palace. In Daura the 
new chief had to cross over the body of his predecessor.* 

I think that it is quite likely that the story of The 
Youth and the Magic Ointment (post, page 132) has 
some reference to king-killing, for the ruler agrees to 
give up his life to his younger rival. Another circum- 
stance should be noted, and that is that in this tale (as in 
Story 45) the new chief takes the wives of the one whom 
he has supplanted; in fact, the hero having slept with 
the wife (45) while the real husband was alive appears to 
give him the right to the throne. f 

Amongst certain people subject to Argungu (to the 
north-west of Zungeru) the new chief was chosen as 
follows : The bull was killed as soon as the old chief 



* Frazer, Totemism and Exogamy, vol. ii, page 608. A Yesko 
(Hausa) chief has to wait much longer before he is installed, vide 
T.H.H.j page 125. Black oxen seem to have some connection 
with death and disaster, cf. our expression " The black ox has 
trod on his foot," i.e. , misfortune has come to him. 

t Such a mode of succession seems to have been known to 
the ancient Israelites, for the offences of Reuben and Absalom 
against their fathers denoted supersession; Abner tried to get 
Rispah, the dead Saul's concubine; and in reply to Adonijah's 
petition for Abishag, Solomon said, " Ask for him the kingdom 
also," and put him to death. (Vide Driver, The Book of 
Genesis, page 382.) Admiral Seymour claimed the English 
throne because he married Katherine Parr. Filani conquerors 
demand a daughter of the conquered chief in marriage, and there 
is, no doubt, a similar idea in this. 



DEATH AND BURIAL 105 

was dead, and the corpse was wrapped in it, and then 
placed on a bed, and carried out into the open. The 
dead chief's relatives were then made to stand in a 
circle around the body, and the elders of the town spoke 
thus : " O Corpse, show us who is to be chief, that we 
may live in peace, and that our crops may do well." 
The bearers then took the body round the ring, and it 
would cause them to bump against the man it wished 
to succeed. It was then buried seven days afterwards, 
and the new king was installed amidst rejoicings. It 
is probable that the man who had brought about the 
death of the old king was always chosen originally, as 
having proved himself the stronger.* At any rate, 
this happened in the case of one of the '" Hausa 
Banza " (False Hausa States), for we are told that with 
the Kororofawa, the king was allowed to reign only two 
years, and he was then killed by a member of the royal 
family. The internal organs of the corpse were then 
removed, and it was placed on a bed, and smeared with 
butter, a slow fire being lighted underneath. After two 
or three months, the chief men were assembled under- 
the king-slayer, and they were officially informed of the 
king's death. The king-slayer was then given a whip 
and a cap (the emblems of chieftainship), and if he 
could turn his head smartly without making the cap 
fall he became chief. The dead king was then buried 
in a funnel-shaped grave, f 

At the present time, on a death taking place, the 

* An Indian custom seems to support this view. In the case 
of a suspicious death amongst the Gonds, the relations solemnly 
call upon the corpse to point out the delinquent, the theory being 
that if there had been foul play of any kind, the body, on being 
taken up, would force the bearers to convey it to the house of 
the person by whom the spell had been cast. Crooke, op. cit., 
", 37- 

t Journal of the African Society, July, 1912, page 40. 



106 HAL'S A SUPERSTITIONS 

women of the family and friends assemble, and cry for 
one day, the mourners sometimes throwing ashes and 
dust on themselves, and drums beat the news. Narrow 
strips of fa(r)ri (white cloth) are sewn together to form 
a shroud, and the body is washed, and wrapped in it, 
and then in a mat (83), while outside this there may be 
a stiffening of sticks (82) but there is no proper coffin. 
The grave may be made so that the corpse can be placed 
in a sitting posture, and may even be lined with sticks, 
but unless the deceased has been an important person, it 
will be simply a shallow trench* two to three feet in 
depth. It may be in the compound of the deceased's 
house, or even outside the town ; there are no regular 
cemeteries. 

The corpse is then carried on the heads of one or 
more bearers, and placed in the grave, together with a 
small branch, and perhaps some pots and treasures. f 

* The rule that the shape of the grave (the abode of the 
deceased after death) follows that of the house which he inhabited 
during life is subject to some modification in Hausaland. The 
Mohammedans have introduced oblong graves, corresponding to 
the plan of the mosques and the houses of the chiefs and of the 
great men in the north. But in the south, although most of the 
people still live in circular huts, they may be buried in oblong 
trenches as has been mentioned above. Still, circular graves 
were used before the introduction of Islam, and this exception 
would seem to be merely a temporary one, and really helping to 
prove the rule. 

t Possibly the Hausas were once buried in pots, for peoples 
on each side of them used this mode, e.g., the Baribas of Borgu 
(N.W.S., page 69) and the Gwari (Man, IQII, art. 53.) With the 
latter tribe and some others, on the death of a chief, a con- 
cubine, a groom, and a favourite horse were slaughtered, and 
dressed in their best, and put in the grave (a circular hole with 
a porch above it) with the chief. Firewood, grass, and sleeping- 
mats were also put inside, and a bed on which the corpse of the 
chief was placed in a sitting posture, leaning against the wall. 
The corpse was then addressed, and the grave was closed, a large 
water-pot being placed on the top (L.T.H. ii, QS). For a some- 
what similar custom amongst the Aragga, see T.H.H., page 187. 



INHERITANCE 107 

Loose earth may be thrown in then, and all will be 
over, but in the case of more important persons, grass 
might be placed next to the corpse, and perhaps sticks 
as well, and over this there would be built a cover of 
clay, the loose earth being heaped above. After the 
return of the mourners, the division of the inheritance 
is made. 

It is related of one chief that he used to kill not only 
everyone who displeased him, but that he would even cut 
open living women with child so that he could see the 
stages of development. On his death a grave was dug, 
and he was put in it, but the earth threw him out again. 
A second time he was put in, but once more he was 
ejected, and a hut had to be built for the corpse. This 
is curiously similar to our own tales about tombstones 
which refused to remain standing. 

INHERITANCE. Two stories (80 and T.H.H. 6) relate 
that, on the death of the father, his property was 
arranged into lots equal to the number of sons, and that 
each elder son took his share, but that the youngest, 
who had promised to do this, took only a certain animal 
which, of course, turned out later to be possessed of 
magical powers. But this was not known at the time, 
for on the youngest son's refusing his proper 
share, his mother abused him, and tried to persuade 
him to change his mind, so she evidently lost also. 
Now under the Mohammedan system she would have had 
her share independently of his acceptance, in fact it 
would have been increased by his refusal to partake, so 
the system was probably more like that of the Hindu, 
where a mother takes part of what her son inherits. 
But it could not have been this altogether, for in Story 
81 we see that all children inherit their father's property 



io8 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



equally,* and they are always anxious to know what he 
intends leaving them (85), though, as there is no men- 
tion of the wives receiving anything separately, each 
probably took part of her own child's share. The 
property of each mother is inherited solely by her own 
children, apparently (63). Although under the Moham- 




FiG. 27. Hat of straw partly covered with leather. Worn over cap, 
head-kerchief, &c., or allowed to hang down over the back. D. about 
50 in. 

medan law wills are allowed, it is evident from the above 
that they did not exist before the introduction of Islam. 



* Mr. Evatt tells me that in Birnin Kebbi sons take more 
than daughters whatever their ages. Amongst sons, the elder 
ones take more than the younger, but daughters share equally 
with one another. If a girl were the sole heiress, she would 
take only about one-half, the other moiety going to the chief. 
Owing to the introduction of the Koranic laws, the details of the 
old systems are extremely difficult to obtain. 




FIG. 28. Lid of wooden calabash, decorated with brass. D., 9^ in. 

CHAPTER VI. 

CUSTOMS AND SUPERSTITIONS.* 

Beliefs Gods and Spirits Nature Myths The Next World 
Diseases Totemism Mythical Beings The Half-Man Dodo 
A Fabulous Bird Wonderful Animals Magic Ointment Trans- 
formation Sacrifice Cannibalism Ordeals, &c. The Curse 
and Blessing Earth Kola-nuts Tabu Bori Hallucinations. 

IT is evident from these stories, and from the account 
of bori, given later, that various gods or spirits of some 
kind were worshipped at one time, for a King of the 
Thicket and a King of the Heavens are mentioned (64), 
as well as Dodo, and spirits are said to live in the baobab 
and tamarind trees. Iblis and the Aljannu have been 
borrowed from the Arabs, and they sometimes take the 
place of one of the local spirits ; and since witches, too, 
often play similar parts, it is very difficult to obtain a 
clear idea of what the beliefs really were. In Story 90 
the three beings which assume human shape are known 
alternately as demons (or jinns, aljannu\ or devils 
(iblisi), and Death and a witch are also interchangeable, 
as is mentioned later, while in another story (F.-L. 49) 
Iblis is a female, the wife of a devil, and she sells charms 



* Part of this and the following chapter, and some sections 
of the preceding chapters, were read before the British Asso- 
ciation at the Portsmouth meeting last year. 



i io HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

to enable the holders to transform themselves into 
animals, &c. The demons are not always evil,* for 
they may do a good turn to a well-behaved girl (89), 
though they will punish one who is forward ; they have 
cloven feet " like the hoof of a horse." The aljanmi 
live in families as do human beings, they work, and 
suffer hunger and thirst. The prevalence of the Daura 
legend (see page 124) in districts unconnected with each 
other (it existed in Songhay), has made one writerf 
think that at some former time fetish worship extended 
much farther to the north than it does at present. But 
the Hausas themselves had no fetishes; except for the 
posts set up in the fields, they worshipped the spirits 
themselves which lived in the wells or trees. 

It is only natural that there should be a belief in 
evil spirits in a country where every tribe is the enemy 
of its neighbours, for stragglers near the boundaries 
often disappear, and since they are probably sacrificed 
or eaten in secret they are heard of no more. But 
under conditions of increasing peace and enlightenment, 
these rites grow more rare, and the boundaries become 
more safe and defined, with the result that such dis- 
appearances can be sheeted home, usually, to some 
particular set of human beings, or even to individuals. 
These foreign spirits then retire (though those of an- 
cestors may still remain, of course), and aid and redress 
are sought in the European court-house rather than in 
the mud-hut of the medicine-man. 

At present, the vast majority of the people calling 
themselves Hausas are Mohammedans, but there are 

* This is not surprising, for daimon once meant " god " or 
" divine being," but came to be employed specifically to signify 
secondary deities (or children of the gods), and finally the shades 
of the dead. Toy, Judaism and Christianity (1892), page 155. 
t Lady Lugard, A Tropical Dependency ', page 260. 



GODS AND SPIRITS 111 

some communities which have remained pagan, and 
which keep up their pagan rites, though often much 
influenced by Islam, so that they now have what " is 
in fact, though not in name, a crude monotheism with 
some local spirit in the place of Allah."* 

GODS AND SPIRITS. The Magazawa (Sing., Ba- 
Maguje), as the Hausas are called who are still pagans, 
sacrifice to certain spirits, but they do not make images 
or fetishes of any kind. Some of these spirits are : 

Kuri, a male corresponding to Pan, another name 
being Rago (96); he barks like a dog, and wears a 
goat-skin. Possibly the baboon is responsible for this 
idea, as he barks; or Kuri may have come from Kure, 
a male hyaena. The proper sacrifice to him is a young 
red he-goat, but he eats human beings (96). 

Uwardowa, a female, the goddess of hunting, the 
name signifying " Forest-Mother." The appropriate 
offering is a red she-goat, or a red cock. 

Uivargona, "Farm-Mother," or Uwardawa, "Corn- 
Mother," also a female, goddess of agriculture. She 
prefers white-coloured victims. The spirit of corn is 
incarnate in a bull,f and at the first of the New Year a 
man will put on a horned mask, and dance, so as to 
promote a good crop. 

Sa(r)rikin Rafi (or Kogi) is a water spirit, perhaps 
the same as Dodo, who is mentioned later. It would 
appear that a virgin was sacrificed to him at one time. 

Ayu is a spirit living in the water, which drags 
people down. This name is also given to the manatee. 



* Frazer, Totemism and Exogamy, vol. ii, page 601. 

t As elsewhere, vide Frazer, Spirits of the Corn and of the 
Wild, i, 288. In Egypt, the time for ploughing was indicated by 
the sign of the bull, but oxen were not used in agricultural work 
by the Hausas. 



ii2 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Uivayara is a spirit which kills the mother and her 
new-born child. 

The echo is attributed to a supernatural agency, in 
fact it is sometimes called Iblis, devil, or Kurua, mean- 
ing soul, spirit, shadow. 

Fatalua and Magiro are evil beings of some kind, 
though I could not discover the exact meaning of the 
words. Canon Robinson (Dictionary) gives " ghost, 
hobgoblin, spectre " for the former, and " ghost, evil 
spirit " for the latter. Kaura is said to be an evil spirit 
which makes men fight. 

Gajjimare is the god of rain and storms, which has 
the shape of a snake, and is double-gendered, the male 
part being red, the female blue. It lives in the storm- 
clouds (same name), but is supposed to come out at 
night, and it is also said to inhabit wells, and in fact 
all watering-places, so a pot is kept full in every house. 
Gajjimare (rainbow) may be represented by the water- 
serpent killed in the legend of Daura before referred to, 
but sometimes it is said to be the husband of Uwar- 
dowa, and the father of Kuri. Other names of the 
rainbow are Masharua, "water drinker/' and Bakkan 
gizzo, " spider's bow." 

NATURE MYTHS. I thought at first that the story 
of the Fufunda (page 129) must have been imported 
because the ending has a Mohammedan flavour and 
Canon Robinson agreed with me, but it may not be 
altogether foreign, for the idea that the sun comes out 
of a great gate which the Heaven opens for it is known 
elsewhere in West Africa.* At any rate, the variant 
to Story 95 seems to be a sun-myth, of genuine Hausa 
origin. There the youth and the spider pass beyond 

* On the Gold Coast, vide Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i, 
page 347- 




XIII AND XIV. HOUSES IN KANO WITH GRASS FENCES, AND IN SOKOTO 
WITH MUD WALLS. 



NATURE MYTHS 113 

the world, and meet a witch, who tries to kill them, but 
her scheme is frustrated first by the crowing of a cock, 
then by the watchfulness of the spider. Witches or 
other man-eating monsters appear elsewhere as being 
connected with night,* so the idea is not strange in 
the case of the Hausas. The witch is able to kill the 
travellers only during the night, apparently, and 
although married to the youth in another version (95) 
she does not sleep with him, and he will not allow her 
even to enter his hut. The spider and the youth set 
out at daylight, the cock having announced the dawn, 
and cross a river of fire, which is probably the first 
flush of dawn ; a river of cold water, possibly the mists ; 
and a river of hot water, which might symbolize the 
warmth, f and they are safe only after having done this. 
The razors on the horse may have been introduced 
merely to ''adorn the tale," or the tail may represent 
the bright fleeting clouds at dawn, pierced by the sun- 
ray s.| 

But the night monster need not always be a female, 

* Tylor, op. cit., pages 335-342. 

t This would mean a slight change in the order of the 
obstacles, but such an alteration should be permissible, for the 
myths are not supposed to be exact. In this very story, although 
the travellers had reached a place where " there was no land, 
nothing but wind, water, and darkness," the cock manages to 
escape capture by hiding " in the grass." 

t Dr. Leo. Frobenius (The Childhood of Man, page 371) 
comes to a similar conclusion, and says : " When spiders break 
the witch's head at night-time, when her blood flows round about, 
we are decidedly reminded of Maui [N.Z.], who contends with 
the fire-god, or with other solar-deities, who rise out of a blood- 
bath in the morning. ... In the form of rays the sun emits 
its sea of light ; in the form of rays the spider, too, weaves its 
web. Thus the slender threads of the spider become solar rays, 
and the sun becomes the spider, which in artful ways ensnares 
the souls of mortals." The Bagos of West Africa represent the 
sun as " a thievish witch in the middle of a spider's web." 

8 



ii4 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

even in Hausa tales, for in another (L.T.H., ii, 77) a 
princess is married to a husband who is nothing but a 
ball of hair, and has eaten three previous wives. She 
takes a number of garments with her, and when left 
alone with him at night, she throw r s some in the fire each 
time that " he swells up and is going to eat her." He, 
not to be outdone, plucks some hair out, and burns 
that, and just before daylight, as she destroys her last 
garment, he pulls off his skin all the hair having gone 
already and "then the girl beheld a youth, red, red 
(white) was he; and he was shivering with the cold." 
She gave him clothes to put on (apparently quite ignor- 
ing the fact that they were all burnt), and then daylight 
appeared, and she was safe. 

In other stories, too, there seems to be a sun-myth 
element, e.g., where the girl is swallowed, and comes 
up again as shining metal (55 variant), and where the 
fiery Dodo catches the father and the boy, and they 
get out of the bag and escape (32), particularly as in 
the last case a witch is substituted for Dodo in a 
variant.* 

The stars are supposed to visit each other and talk 
{M.H. 25). The morning-star in harvest time (which 
Canon Robinson thinks to be the a in Aquila) is 
known as the eagle-star. A constellation which appears 
at the commencement of the rains is known as Kaza 
Maiyaya, the Hen with Chickens. 

* Dodo's Debt is evidently a sun-myth, although the bride 
herself is not swallowed, the story corresponding in many 
respects to the Basuto Myth of Litaolane. Dr. Frobenius ob- 
serves (o*p. cit., page 286), " It is very characteristic that the 
insular and coast peoples let the sun be devoured by a fish [e.g., 
Jonah], since for them the sun sinks under the sea, while, on 
the contrary, the Basutos, living on the mainland, instead of the 
fish make the monster Kammapa responsible for the disaster." The 
Hausas, for a similar reason, make Dodo act the part of the 
destroyer. 



NATURE MYTHS 



Some myths of the sun and moon have been men- 
tioned already, but there are many others. In the story 
of the hyasna and the bitch (F.-L. 22), for instance, 
the latter agrees to provide meals with all her six 
puppies, on the former promising to give her six cubs 
later, but mistrusting the hyasna, the bitch kills the cubs 
first and hides her puppies in a tree, giving them a 
rope-ladder to let down for her when necessary. The 




FIG. 30. 

FIG. 29. Brass basin, pattern stamped out from inside"; corrugated 
bottom. D., 15! in. FIG. 30. Pattern on upper face of lip of fig. 29. 



hyaena, of course, tries to get at the puppies, but is not 
so successful as she is in the case of the girl in Story 
84, and she chases the bitch until turned into wood. 
Another version is that the hyaena sank into the 



n6 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

earth and was buried. This reminds one of a 
Malayan story noticed by Professor Tylor,* which 
is to the effect that both the sun and moon are 
women, both having stars as children. Each agreed 
to eat up her children, and the sun's stars perished, 
but the moon hid hers, and when the sun found 
this out she chased the moon to kill her. The 
chase is still going on, the sun sometimes biting the 
moon (an eclipse), while the sun still eats her own 
children (at dawn, when they fade), but the moon 
brings hers out only at night, when the sun is far 
away. I suggest that the Hausa story has a 
similar meaning, for as Sir Edward Tylor shows 
tribes far apart do have similar stories, and 
even Europeans preserve them.f The savage re- 
gards stars as being alive, or combines groups of them 
into mythical creatures, and even the modern astrono- 
mer finds the myths useful in mapping his celestial 
globe. 

The following story (M.H. 33) would not seem to 
support the above suggestion, but it is impossible to 
say if the ideas were those originally possessed by the 
Hausas or not. " Some men say that the moon and the 
sun did not quarrel before the sun gave birth. Then 
the sun called the moon and asked him to hold her 
daughter while she went and washed herself. The 
moon took the sun's daughter, but was not able to hold 
it, for it burnt him, and he let it go, and it fell to earth 



* Primitive Culture, vol. i, page 356. 

t There is a story in Sierra Leone, however, of a similar 
agreement between the spider and the leopard regarding their off- 
spring, and there seems to be no indication of any celestial myth 
contained in it. Vide Cunnie Rabbit, page 211. Here the spider 
escapes by frightening the leopard, and tying him up. Compare 
the spider and the lion in T.H.H., 2. 



NATURE MYTHS 117 

that is why men feel hot on earth. When the sun 
returned, she asked the moon where her daughter was, 
and the moon replied " Your daughter was burning 
me so I let her go, and she fell to earth." Because of 
that the sun pursues the moon. 

" But others say that the moon's path is full of 
thorns, while that of the sun is sandy, and on that 
account the moon cannot travel quickly, as does the sun. 
So when the moon can proceed no farther, he gets on 
to the sun's path, and the sun catches him. When the 
sun has caught him the people take their drums " and 
ask the sun to spare the moon.* 

Judging by Indian analogies, Story 65 might refer 
either to the eclipse, or to the birth of the New Year, 
for both in the worship of Rahu and at the Holi festi- 
val, a tribal priest walks through the fire,f but suffi- 
cient proof is not forthcoming. 

There is some virtue in being swallowed, for an ugly 
girl can be brought up again in a beautiful form, " half 
silver and half gold " (F.-L. 48). But if animals (M. 8) 
or insects (87) act the part of Jack the Giant Killer, 
they usually seem to kill their adversaries by cutting 
their way out of their hosts, as does the knife sent by 
God to the terrified bride (75). The swallowing of the 
victim, and his cutting his way out are well-known 
incidents in eclipse stories. 

Once the sun and the wind had a quarrel about 
which was the more powerful, and they agreed to test 
their powers by trying to seize by force the tobe of a 
traveller. The wind first caught him, and blew off his 

* The full translation is they " take their mortars, stretch 
skins over the openings, and beat the drums " thus formed, and 
so, says Frobenius (op. cit., page 97), we see how the drum was 
invented. 

t Crooke, op. cit.^ i 3 19 and ii s 317. 



u8 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

tobe, but he caught the arms and folded it up, and 
stooping down, avoided all further danger. Then the 
sun beat upon the man, and soon he was so hot that 
he would have thrown away his tobe, there was no 
escape from the heat, for he was far away from any 
shelter. Thus it was that the man said that the sun 
was the more powerful, and his opinion was accepted by 
the contestants. 

THE NEXT WORLD. Dunia (world) is often used, 
as with us, to denote the evil principle of this life. 
The next world is evidently a replica of this, since the 
families are together (85), and live in houses, and souls 
there have the same anxiety about what is to be left to 
them as do mortals here. It is above, probably (64), 
but there is a heavenly night and day (85). Animals 
go to it too, and the inhabitants die a second time. 
Souls may transmigrate from one human body to 
another, especially in the case of members of the same 
family, but they cannot enter animals. Some (Garu- 
baiva) believe that souls are good or bad, the latter 
being condemned to wander about, the former return- 
ing to the womb of a woman of the family, and 
reappearing, usually, in a grandchild of the deceased. 
Others (Babban Dammo) think that the souls will 
come to kill the living people if not placated or pre- 
vented, and so they place thorns on the corpse to pre- 
vent the soul escaping.* 

DISEASES. Several diseases seem to be personified, 
such as Dan Zanzanna, who gives small-pox to his 
enemies, Dogua, an evil spirit which injures the 
tamarind and baobab trees, and causes paralysis and 
death of people eating the fruit. The latter is also 
called Maigidda bin (the owner of two houses), because 

* Frazer, Totemism and Exogamy, vol. ii, pages 604, 605. 



TOT EM ISM 119 

when he becomes tired of one tree he goes to live in the 
other. Another meaning of Dogua, I was told, is 
Hunger, and to this also the description would apply, 
for if he had killed one person (i.e., destroyed one 
house), he could always go to another. 

TOTEMISM. Although a doubt may be raised as to 
whether the pagan customs and beliefs of the Hausas 
should be classed under the head of totemism or not, 
it can be said, at any rate, that in many points they 
resemble true totemism very closely. The word for 
both totem (if really so) and tabu is kan gidda (that 
which is upon the house), and most of these totems 
are birds. Persons having the same totem or tabu 
constitute a clan, but these clans do not coincide with 
the political divisions of the country, for members of 
the latter are distinguished by scarifications on their 
faces, and these marks do not refer to the totemic clan. 
Some clans sacrifice the totem annually (e.g., a hen), 
others will not do so, nor will they even touch it (e.g., 
frog). A Hunter community of Katsina which has a 
short black snake as its totem will not eat anything 
killed by it, but it is friendly, and lives in the rafters, 
and comes down to the floor of the hut if a son be born. 
At least one community (Babban Dammo) claims to be 
descended from its totem, which is an iguana. The 
Magazawa were originally exogamous, but in some 
districts marriages within the totem may now take 
place.* 

Some of the stories contain totemistic elements, 
probably Stories 3 and 3 variant refer to the mythical 
ancestors (a fish and a frog) of some clans, as likewise 
do F.-L. 42 and 47 (a pigeon and an elephant), and 
T.H.H. 7 (a bird). The Donkey-Maiden (T.H.H. 4) 

* Frazer, Totemism and Exogamy, ii, pages 600-607. 



120 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

and the Dog-Maiden (L.T.H., ii, 59), and possibly 
also the Monkey-Woman (57 and 58), belong to the 
class of which the tales of the Swan-Maiden and 
Beauty and the Beast are types. The explanation of 
these latter stories is that they referred originally to 
the fact that husbands and wives would claim totems 
of different kinds, and that they would resent, there- 
fore, any taunts about their origin (58), for these would 
be equivalent to injuries done to their animal kinsfolk. 
Each husband and wife would revere his or her own 
family totem, but would not be bound to respect that 
of the spouse, and so quarrels would arise, and perhaps 
end in permanent separation, one or the other becoming 
the supernatural husband or wife who has mated for a 
time with a human being.* 

There is a story (L.T.H., ii, 280) strongly sugges- 
tive of the primitive stage of " conceptional totemism " 
which ought to be mentioned. A certain woman had 
started out on a journey, when the leaf of a silk-cotton 
tree fell upon her, and she returned home, sending to tell 
those who were expecting her that she had been lucky. 
The leaf she put under a water-jar, in a cool spot, and 
it began to grow. Then the woman said " Tell the 
King that I have a son." And when the King, her 
brother, sent to ask his name, she said " It is Son-of- 
a-Silk-Cotton-Tree." Soon the tree grew as high as 
the jar, and the jar was taken away, the tree being left 
alone in the hut, and when it had grown up higher, 
the roof was taken off. A slave was told off to look 
after the tree, and four wives were brought, a hut being 
built for each near the original one. The wives came 
every morning to pay their respects to the tree, and 
the youngest used to scrape the bark. One day the 

* Frazer, ib., page 571. 



TOTEM ISM 121 

tree told the slave to get him clothes, and, when these 
had been procured, the slave saw a man come out of 
a hole in the tree, and put on the clothes. This being 
visited his first wife that night and gave her bracelets, 
returning to the tree in the morning, and then he 
visited the others in turn, but he scratched the youngest 




FIG. 31. Brass jug, deep red colour, used for holding water for a chief, 
especially at ceremonies ; hinged lid. H., nf in. 

for having hurt him by scraping his tree. Then the slave 
told the mother, and the son went through the proper 
marriage ceremonies, " the King seized him and 
smeared him with henna, while his mother seized the 
King's daughter (the senior wife) and smeared her," 
and the husband and his wives lived naturally. Un- 



122 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

fortunately there is no further mention of the tree, but 
it probably disappears, since the newly-formed family 
take possession of the house, and the slave says, " The- 
Son-of-a-Silk-Cotton-Tree has become a man.*'* 

It is not improbable that other stories of miraculous 
births would be on similar lines to the above if fully 
told, for one can never be certain that the whole 
account has been preserved. Thus where a woman 
bears a mouse, a cake, or a household utensil, f she 
may have been touched by it or its type, in the original 
version, before conception. From other stories, it 
seems that the life of a tree in the compound may be 
connected with that of one of the sons of the house, 
and so the state of his health when absent can be told 
by the appearance of the tree. 

MYTHICAL BEINGS, &c. There are giants in the 
Hausa Folk-Lore (33, 1 99 and 100), and many-headed 

* Compare this story with those obtained by Dr. Rivers in the 
island of Mota, in the Banks' group. A woman in the bush finds 
a fruit (or animal) in her loincloth, and takes it home, and the 
people tell her that she will give birth. She replaces the fruit 
and builds a wall around it, and tends it every day. After a 
time it disappears, and is supposed to have entered the woman 
in some supernatural manner but not by a physical impregna- 
tion. After a time a child is born, and it is regarded as being 
in some sense the (animal or) fruit which had been found, and 
tended by the mother. R.A.I. Journal, xxxix (1909), page 172. 

Compare also the story of Batau who turned into two trees, 
and when being cut down at the suit of his faithless wife (who 
had married Pharaoh), made a chip fly into her mouth, and 
caused her to conceive. The International Library of Famous 
Literature, Ed. Dr. R. Garnett. Vol. i, page 81. 

Tree marriages are not uncommon in India, a man taking 
a plant as his third wife (the third being unlucky) and a girl as 
his fourth. Girls, too, are wedded to trees amongst the Kurmis. 
Crooke, o-p. cit., ii, 115. 

t In India marriages to jars, nuts, c., take place. Vide 
Crooke, op. cit., ii, 117. 

+ According to the Kano Chronicle, Barbushe was a man of 
great stature and might, a hunter who slew elephants with his 
stick, and carried them home on his head. In this respect he 
resembles Bortorimi. 



THE HALF-MAN 123 

cannibals (98), but I have not heard of any dwarfs* 
(unless the boys in 70 and 71 be exceptions), and 
this is rather surprising, for Hausaland seems to 
have been inhabited by " little black men " at one time. 
It is just possible that this points to the probable origin 
of the Hausas from the east across the desert where 
there was no such dense forest, and therefore no pygmy 
race for if they had gradually driven these little people 
down the coast their folk-lore would surely have had 
some mementoes of them ! The giants are represented 
as being much more powerful than the average man, 
and although it has been proved by scientific observers 
that monstrosities are really weaker for some part of 
the body has developed at the expense of the rest the 
idea is natural. 

THE HALF-MAN. There is a somewhat unusual 
creature in the " Half-Being " (Barin Mutum or Bare- 
Bare) who appears in one of the stories as a half-man 
(16), and in three others as a half-woman (16 variant, 
84, and 100). I do not mean a being half-human, half- 
animal, such as in Story 73, but half a human body, 
" with one arm, and one leg, and one eye," as if 
a person had been split up from the pelvis to the 
skull. 

Mr. Crooke tells me that the Hausa " Half-Being " 
probably comes from the Arabic " Split-Man " (Shikk) 
who resembles the Persian " Half-Face " (Nimchah- 
rah) a kind of demon, like a man divided longitudin- 
ally, which runs with amazing speed and is very cruel 

* I refer to the pagan Hausas, but " in March, 1909, a man 
named Awudu saw two black dwarfs, a man and a woman, each 
about one foot high, emerge from a rimi tree and walk towards 
him across a valley. They then disappeared as suddenly as they 
had come." Hausa Sayings, page 96. This may be due to 
Mohammedan influence. 



i2 4 HAL'S A SUPERSTITIONS 

and dangerous (vide Burton, Arabian Nights, Library 
Edition, iv, 279).* 

DODO. Dodo is a mythical monster or bogey, in 
fact, the giddan tsafi (house of magic) is often called the 
giddan dodo; I do not think that he can be a croco- 
dile, though I jumped to that conclusion at first, 
for one of his names is Kadindi (75), and I 
thought that this might be a corruption of 
Kaddodi (pi. of Kadda). Possibly he is a water- 
snake, for there are somewhat similar stories in 
regard to that reptile. Thus in the legend of Daura (a 
corruption of which is given in M.H. 15), a youth is 
represented as coming to the place, and killing the 
snake which lived in the well, and prevented the people 



* Examples of the split or divided being occur elsewhere, for 
in a Sierra Leone tale (Cunnie Rabbit, page 22) a girl marries 
a half-devil who had borrowed half a body to supply his 
deficiency, but, on returning to his own home with his bride, 
the borrowed half fell away from him. In Uganda, too, the 
half-man is known, the Banyoro telling a tale of a man " who 
had only one eye, one ear, one leg, one arm, and one bull." 
(Kitching, On the Backwaters of the Nile, page 141.) He lived 
at the top of a hill, and after a youth of the Bahuma had tres- 
passed, " Old One-eye " presented himself and his bull at his 
father's kraal to be buried, raising himself and returning each 
day, no matter what the mode of burial was. The Zulus go 
further, for they tell of a whole tribe of half-beings, who on 
finding a normal Zulu girl one day, say " The thing is pretty ! 
But oh the two legs." (Tylor, o$. cit., i, p. 391.) Even in 
Australia, too, there is a being, Turramulan, whose name means 
" leg on one side only," or " one-legged " (Lang, o-p. cit., vol. ii, 
page 30). The Daitya of India has only half a body, but he is 
not divided like the Barin Mutum, and I do not know of any 
tales of a half-being in our own folk-lore, for the one-eyed ogre 
had nevertheless a full complement of limbs. But a German 
story relates how a beaker was stolen from the underground 
folk, the thief (who was mounted) being followed first by 
" Three-legs," then by " Two-legs," and lastly by " One-leg," 
who nearly caught him. (Hartland, o-p. cit., page 152.) 

Professor Tylor says (loc. cit.) that these realistic fancies 
coincide with the simple metaphor which describes a savage as 
only " half a man." 



DODO 125 

drawing water, the youth then marrying the princess, 
and becoming the chief of the town (cf. Story 86). 
In fact Lady Lugard says that the youth did kill " the 
dodo or fetish lion." And she continues that " Dodo 
signifies the King of Beasts, and may apply equally 
to rhinoceros, elephant, or any other great wild 
animal."* Certainly, his keen sense of smell is an 
animal attribute, but not much reliance can be placed 
upon this tale, for, in another one, a bird is the 
fearsome object which " makes women afraid, and 
causes all .men to run away." In fact, this type of 
story is found in many countries, even in Scotland. f 

But although in some stories he is evidently a water- 
god (10, 56 and 75), and can give a charm or safe-con- 
duct to a human being to enter water, and be safe from 
danger of drowning, in others he has a house in the 
forest (14 and 73), and he cannot cross running water 
(14 and T.H.H. 5), so there is evidently some con- 
fusion. Perhaps when he has once assumed the human 
shape he cannot readily transform himself again, and 
yet this would not account for his inability to cross a 
stream which women have managed without difficulty. 
Probably there are different species of Dodo, or else, 
when the human form has been assumed, water is 
tabu. Canon Robinson's Dictionary gives for Dodo 
an " evil spirit, spirit of a dead man which is supposed 
to walk about on the day of his death, but to rise and 

* She remarks : " The myth may be taken to indicate that, in 
the time of the hero, the worship of the goddess was substituted 
for the worship of the fetish " (A Tropical De-pendancy, page 
260). But it may resemble the Babylonian myth of Marduk, and 
represent the killing of the wet season by the dry. Vide Frazer, 
The Dying God, p. 107. 

t Vide Professor Frazer's Translation of Pausanias's Descrip- 
tion of Greece, bk. ix, ch. 26, 7 (vol. v, pp. 143 sqq.), and The 
Magic Art, ii, pp. 155 sqq. 



126 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

disappear the same evening; it appears at times in 
trees, and catches men." The fact that he is unable 
to cross running water also gives him a ghostly 
character. 

However, whatever he is, he has the power of 
assuming human shape; one story (48) gives the con- 
verse also he is even called " a man of men." Like 
a witch, he is afraid of dogs (51), and he takes her 
place in some of the stories (100). He is evidently 
a giant (T.H.H. 5), for he has to stoop to 
enter the houses (86), the parts of his body are very 
big (32), and he can swallow any number of people and 
animals (75). It is possible that he resembles a white 
man,* except that he has very long hair (55), and a 
tail (86). f He is too strong for the lion (48), and he 
roars. 

He usually feeds on human beings (14 and 75), but 
sometimes he may treat them very well instead (56), 
and his human wife seems to be safe, at any rate so 
long as she does not try to escape (14 and 56). His 
offspring is evidently not desired (73), and it is possible 
that deformed children were attributed to him, and killed 
accordingly. If this is so, the girl could not have 



* In Story 56, the girl is said to have been conducted into the 
river by the mutanen rua^ who were described by the narrator 
as being white people with very long hair; these are Dodo's sub- 
jects apparently. Canon Robinson says that he is " hairy all 
over." He seems to correspond to the Rakshasa of Bengal. 
There is a female Dodo or Dodoniya, the common plural being 
Dodonai. 

t This may have some reference to the pagan tribes to the 
south whose women wear tails. Vide T.H.H., page 107. It is 
said that when the Seyawa came from Dal to Bogorro, they 
found a man named Sangari who was covered with hair, had a 
tail, and knew not the use of fire. So they shaved off his 
hair, and cut off his tail, but even now his pure descendants 
will not eat roasted meat. 



DODO 



127 



bathed so as to cause conception, though this is known 
in other countries where a water-god is married or 
worshipped. 

The hero usually cuts off the head or tail of the 
slaughtered enemy as evidence, but in one story he also 
leaves his boots behind (86), and there is a competition 




FIG. 32. 




FIG. 33. 

FIG. 32. Pattern under body of fig. 29. The bold designs are stamped 
out from inside, the dots are stamped in from the outside. FIG. 33. Pattern 
on handle of fig. 31. 



amongst the warriors who pretend that they have done 
the deed, like that amongst the sisters in " Cinderella." 
One Dodo story (M.H. 4) resembles some of the 
variants of the Swan-Maiden tales. Two girls claim to 
be the most beautiful in the city, and as they cannot 
agree, they set out into the world to ask the people of 



128 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

each city to vote for one or the other. They collect many 
presents Avhile doing this, and at length return towards 
their own city, but at the river the elder makes the 
younger enter deep water and she is lost. After a time 
the maiden appears to her brother who tends flocks on 
the bank, attends to his hair ( ? a magic rite), and rubs 
him with oil. Then a youth volunteers to go and rescue 
her, on the condition that if successful he shall have 
her in marriage. The parents agree to this, so, having 
made himself appear like a leper, he enters the water 
and asks Dodo if he wishes to be shaved. Dodo 
does, fortunately, so the youth produces his razor (at 
which the water becomes white, and the watchers above 
are unhappy), and commences to shave him (at which 
the water becomes darkest black, and the watchers 
weep), and then cuts Dodo's throat (at which the water 
becomes red, and the watchers rejoice). 

He marries the maiden, but she, being ungrateful, 
gives him dirty dishes to eat and drink from. At last 
he washes off his paint and a friend tells her that he 
was not really a leper, so she washes the utensils. But 
he will not now use them thus, and tells her that she 
must procure the tail of a young lion and wash them. 
So she sets off into the forest, and having made friends 
with a lioness, she hides in the den, cuts off a tail, and 
escapes with it, and all ends happily. 

A FABULOUS -BIRD. In Story 44 (variant), a 
fabulous bird, the Jipillima, is mentioned, which 
feeds on human beings, and whose droppings 
have magical powers of healing. I asked the 
narrator whether the jipillima was the same as the 
fufunda (probably phoenix, mentioned in Canon Robin- 
son's Grammar), and he said that it was ; but another 
man whom I questioned on the subject informed me 



A FABULOUS BIRD 129 

that both of them were azenchin wofi (lies).* I do not 
know if the fufunda story is genuine Hausa or bor- 
rowed from the Arabic, but it is at any rate interesting. 
A king wanted to send someone to see where the sun 
arose, and a poor man, named Ataru, volunteered to go. 
A horse was given to him, and after journeying for a 
month| he passed beyond everything, and came to the 
country of the storks, which, however, were men there. 
One knew Ataru, and took him to the King of the 
Stork-Men, and the other storks recognized him. He 
asked them where the sun came out, and they gave him 
directions how to proceed, so next day he took his 
departure and, after having passed a dark place, he 
reached a white place, a river of silver, a little of which 
he took and wrapped in his sleeve. Next he came to 
a red place, to a golden river, and after having done 
the same thing there, he continued his journey, passing 
a large gutta-percha tree, a large fig tree, and a large 
durumi tree. At last he arrived at a tamarind tree, and 
there he saw the fufunda, an enormous bird, and he 
rested that night. In the early dawn a cockj crew, and 
when the sun was about to come forth he crew again, 
and after a little he crew a third time. Then the 
Opener-of-the-Door came and opened the door, and 
said " The sun is coming forth/' and he repeated " The 
sun is coming forth." Immediately Ataru galloped off, 
but before he had reached the City of the Storks the sun 
had scorched him, he could only just get along, and 



* One description of the jipillima is a bird with a white head 
and wings, the rest of the body being mixed black and white. 

t This makes a more Eastern origin probable, for many 
Hausas have been to Mecca, and they knew that to travel even 
as far as that takes several months. 

+ Not the phoenix, for the word sakarra, rooster, is used. 

9 



130 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

when he had dismounted they nursed him until he was 
well again. 

The story ends with the information that the 
fufunda is the King of the Birds, it has only 
one egg ; after the creation of the world it laid that egg 
and sat on it; it has not hatched it, it will not hatch 
it until the last day. He who is good will come under 
its shadow, he who is evil will remain in the sun's heat 
until his brains boil, he will see the shadow of the 
fufunda, but he will not enter it. 

WONDERFUL ANIMALS. A horse to which magic 
powers are likely to be ascribed in the near future is 
Gunya, the charger of Ismaila, one of the greatest fight- 
ing chiefs of Argungu. It is related (L.T.H., ii, page 
346) that on going out to fight, the chief used to con- 
sult it, and if it neighed three times victory was certain, 
whereas if it did not do so, defeat was just as inevitable. 
It was given a state funeral when it died. 

The Zankallala (87), although no bigger than two 
clenched fists, is a terrible enemy, for he carries a snake 
in his hand as a walking-stick, he wears a pair of 
scorpions as spurs, and a swarm of bees as a hat. He 
rides upon the jerboa, and flocks of birds attend him, 
to sing his praises, and to worry those with whom he 
fights. 

Although there is no ghostly reaper in the Hausa 
tales, a man who possesses a kiviyafa is very lucky, as 
this animal will do all his farm work for him if con- 
trolled by the proper words of command (L.T.H., ii, 
71). But the exact words must be used, else it will not 
commence or stop when required, and the person in 
whose possession it happens to fall may be injured, as 
in the case of the robber and the magic door (14). 
Sometimes the spirits of trees in the vicinity will help 



MAGIC OINTMENT 131 

(L.T.H., ii, 74), and with them, too, great care must 
be exercised. The dog-maiden and the donkey- 
maiden have been mentioned before; they can hardly 
be classed as wonderful animals, for they are really 
human beings temporarily in an animal form. 

MAGIC OINTMENT. The fairy unguent, so popular 
in European tales, appears but seldom in Hausa Folk- 
lore; in fact, I have come across only one instance 
(L.T.H., ii, 27). A man and his wife gave birth to 
four daughters in succession (about 2 years and 9 




FIG. 34. Brass bottle, with cap. H. , 5 j in. 

months between each), and as it happened that every 
one of them disappeared on the day that she was to 
have been weaned, the parents got the reputation of 
having eaten them. Last of all, a son arrived, and the 
mother decided to nurse him until he weaned himself. 
As he grew up, he found that the boys of his town 
would not play with him (see also 56), and one day, 
when he was out riding by himself, he came upon two 
black snakes fighting, so he took off his tobe, and 
threw it down, and they separated, and departed. Soon 



132 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

afterwards, he heard a voice calling him, and he saw 
an old woman, who gave him some lotion, telling him 
to rub his eyes with it. He did so, and immediately 
he saw a large house, and, on entering it, found his 
eldest sister. She made him welcome, and her hus- 
band, a bull, did likewise, and, when he left, the bull 
gave him a lock of his hair. He then found the other 
sisters, who were married to a ram, a dog, and a hawk r 
receiving hair or feathers from them, respectively, and 
after that he went home and told his parents of his 
adventure, and that his sisters were alive. Next day he 
went to a far city, and made love to the wife of the 
King (vide xlv, 8), and he persuaded her to make the 
King show his affection for her by " taking his own 
life, and joining it to hers." The King said " My life 
is behind the city, behind the city in a thicket. In this 
thicket there is a lake ; in the lake is a rock ; in 
the rock is a gazelle ; in the gazelle is a dove ; and in 
the dove is a small box." The Queen told the youth, 
and he made a fire behind the city, and threw in the 
hair and feathers. Immediately the bull appeared, and 
was told to drink up the lake ; the ram was set to break 
the rock, the dog to catch the gazelle, and the hawk to 
capture the dove. The youth thus obtained the box, 
and, on his return, found that the King was dead, 
having become unwell from the moment of the youth's 
leaving the city, and becoming worse and worse as his 
supplanter succeeded.* So the Queen married the hero, 
and he was made King, his sisters' husbands who had 
become men being given subordinate posts, and his 
parents were brought to live in the city. 

TRANSFORMATION. Instances of a human being 

* Instances of the External Soul are exceedingly common, 
vide The Golden Bough, second edition, iii, pp. 351-389. 



TRANSFORMA TION 133 

taking the form of an animal or a bird while preserving 
his original identity are numerous ; for instance, he may 
become a horse, a scorpion, a snake, an eagle, a crow, 
or another kind of bird (F.-L. 49), or a frog, a mouse, 
a cat, or a hawk (19). He may also become an in- 
animate object such as an ant-hill, a stump, or a ring 
(F.-L. 46), even a part of the human body, such 
as the eyebrow or the pupil (19). It has been sug- 
gested that Story 71, where the prodigy is supposed to 
have been born in and to have lived in a clay pot, 
really means that the boy changed himself into a pot ; 
but I do not think that this is so, for the cake in the 
following story seems to have no power to change into 
a human being, and to avoid being eaten by the 
mouse. 

But the power of transformation does not belong to 
man alone, the contrary also holds, and members 
of the animal kingdom can become human beings 
for the time being, or at least that power is possessed 
by the buffalo (F.-L. 46), the gazelle (F.-L. 47), the 
monkey (57 and 58), the snake (F.-L. 45), the pigeon 
(F.-L. 42), and of course the spider (15 and F.-L. 12). 
When animals take human form the change is usually 
made to deceive some particular person, but sometimes 
it is for the purpose of benefiting him. Thus 
a witch, Dodoniya, a lion, or a buffalo becomes 
a beautiful girl, so that she can lure the hunter 
to the forest and destroy him (48 and F.-L. 46), a snake 
becomes a handsome youth so as to marry a girl who 
says that she will choose her husband herself (F.-L. 45), 
and that only a man whose body is without a fault of 
any kind will be eligible. On the other hand, in two 
stories (F.-L. 42 and T.H.H. 7) a bird saves a girl's 
life by taking her place, and I am not at all sure that 






134 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 






this does not indicate some process of substitution in 
sacrifice ; it is, at any rate, worth noting that when the 
change has been made it is complete in all respects, 
and that the newly made man or animal behaves as if 
he were really what he represents himself to be. But 
apart from this, inanimate objects sometimes have the 
power of speech (14, 72, 77, 91 and 100), and even of 
movement and action (2 and T.H.H. 6). 

In some stories, a whole succession of trans- 
formations is effected by the hero and his ad- 
versary, the length of the sequence often depend- 
ing solely upon the enthusiasm and imagination of the 
narrator.* Sometimes, again, the change is made for 
the purpose of profit ; thus a boy becomes a horse, and 
after his brothers have sold him he becomes a boy 
again, and runs away (F.-L. 49). After all, why should 
not the Hausa believe in transformations, or even a 
series of them ? The life-history of the butterfly is 
hardly less amazing than many of the tales. Indeed, 
the gentle change of the chrysalis into its wondrous 
final form, might well call to mind the Sleeping Beauty 
re-awakened to life by a kiss from the handsome 
prince. 

Apparently the person or animal undergoing trans- 
formation must roll on the ground (57), and, if the 
former, must first remove any clothing or ornament 
appropriate only to human beings. Perhaps this has 

* This is not peculiar to Hausa folk-lore, in a Finnish tale 
we find a similar idea. " ' If thou wilt not release me,' she 
said, ' I will change into a salmon and escape thee.' But 
Ilmarinen told her that he would pursue her in the shape of a 
pike. Then the maiden said first, that she would become an 
ermine, but Ilmarinen told her he would turn into a snake and 
catch her; and then she said that she would become a swallow, 
but Ilmarinen threatened to become an eagle." There are many 
other examples elsewhere. 



SACRIFICE 135 

some connection with the nudity charm, though naked- 
ness is usually opposed rather than favourable to evil 
influences. 

It will be noticed that those persons who can trans- 
form themselves into animals, &c., have had some 
charm or medicine given them (F.-L. 49), usually both, 
and it has been suggested that the idea arose originally 
because the medicine was some powerful soporific 
which caused the patient to see visions, or else, per- 
haps, clouded his intellect, making him an easier sub- 
ject to mesmerize. But this explanation ignores the 
savage notion of the ancient animal kingdom, and 
seems to be rather more elaborate than is necessary. 
The witch who is mentioned in Story 91 was, possibly, 
invisible, until she had spoken.* 

SACRIFICE. Story 56 indicates that there was 
once a sacrifice to a water-god, and though he is 
here called Dodo, that may not have been his original 
name. The sacrifice was made, apparently, to prevent 
an overflow of the river, though the first reason given 
is similar to that in the Biblical tale of Jephtha 
and his daughter, and there seems to have been 
some disgrace attached to the victim, for the sister of 
the girl who married Dodo's son is mocked by her 
companions. In another story (L.T.H., ii, 51) the 
sacrifice of a daughter of the chief is said to be made 
annually to Dodo, so that the water-supply will be 
plentiful. The Hausa St. George kills the snake, and 
there are no more sacrifices. I am not sure that 
this rite has any connection with the sacrifice of the 



* In many cases, English witches were supposed not only to 
have taken drugs internally, but to have rubbed unguents on 
their bodies as well, sometimes parts of human bodies being 
amongst the ingredients. Vide T.H.H., page 238. 



136 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Egyptian virgin to the Nile in order to secure a good 
inundation, but it is certainly not impossible.* 

Infanticide and the slaughter of victims at war time 
have already been mentioned. 

Story 99 suggests the burying alive of a wife with 
her husband, so that he may live with her again, and 
this is what one would expect. As the grave itself was 
turned into a palace, and there is no mention of the 
couple returning to earth, it is evident that it is the 
next world, and not this one, in which they settle down. 
But other relatives may be interred also (65),! and even 
persons outside the family may be sent to keep the 
departed spirit company (76), this referring, in all 
probability, to debtors and slaves purchased for the 
purpose. How long ago this custom (if it really 
existed) was discontinued, it is impossible to say; even 
the wild Kagoro have abandoned it, though it is 

* The Egyptian custom was abolished by the Arab conquerors. 
Many instances of sacrifice or marriage to a water god have been 
noted by Professor Frazer (The Golden Bough, ii, pages 150-170). 
The Akikuyu of British East Africa worship the snake of a 
certain river, and at intervals of several years they marry the 
snake-god to women, but especially to young girls. In Timor a 
young girl was taken to the bank of the river, and set upon a 
sacred stone, and soon the crocodiles appeared, and dragged her 
down. In other parts, the offering was made to ensure a proper 
water supply, as in the Hausa variant. The hero who converts 
the pagans from this worship is saved by the Koran if a Moham- 
medan, by the Sign of the Cross if a Christian (as in the Rouen 
legend), and in later times it is he who is supposed to have killed 
the monster i.e., to have put down the sacrifice. A few writers 
have thought that some of the European scenic festivals represent 
the triumph of Christ over sin and death (Horner, O'p. cit., 
gives a picture of Christ delivering souls from the mouth of the 
Hell-Monster), but Professor Frazer points out that the tale of 
the conquest of the dragon is older than Christianity, and cannot 
be explained by it. 

t Cf. an Indian custom. " In Jesalmer, a curious variation 
of the Sati ceremony seems to have prevailed ; mothers used to 
sacrifice themselves with their dead children." Crooke, op. cit., 
i, 188. 



SACRIFICE 



137 



reported to be still in existence among a neighbouring 
tribe.* 

In Stories 67 and 68, animals were killed by a boy 




FIG. 35. 



FIG. 36. 




FIG. 37. 

FIG. 35. Brass bowl or lid, fluted. D., 8$ in. FIG. 36. Brass pot, 
pattern stamped out. H., 5! in. FIG. 37. Brass pot (white tin colour 
inside), stamped pattern. H., 8 in. 

who is posing as the adopted son of the owner of the 
animals, and it seems extremely probable that this was 

* See T.H.H., pages 178 and 187. The Kagoro may place 
skulls on the grave even now. 



138 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

a sacrifice to be performed only by a son. It is not 
merely a test of affection, for the owner is afraid that 
he will be disgraced if the truth be discovered, and 
prefers death rather than that. To make the offering 
the more efficacious, the father orders his adopted son 
to leave the saddle on the animal.* 

Stories F.-L. 42 and T.H.H. 7 seem to indicate a 
form of substitution, for which see T.H.H., page 187. 

CANNIBALISM. Except in the case of albinos as 
mentioned before, cannibalism does not appear to be 
connected so much with sacrifice as with the taste of 
the flesh, and Number 97 reminds one very much of 
the well-known story in England concerning the flavour 
of a certain brand of stout. Evidently the victims 
were fattened up (98) before being eaten. f 

It is just possible that the desire for the heads of 
enemies with which "to make cooking places'* (59) 
may indicate some form of cannibalism amongst the 
Hausas themselves or at any rate of head-hunting; 
certainly there is an idea of rendering service after 
death in Story 43 to the person possessing the skulls 
(compare T.H.H., page 153). It seems to have been 
the fashion to wear the skin of a slaughtered animal 
and to smear some of its fat on one's head, and then 
to dance before the assembled crowd who applauded 
the hero (F.-L. u, and L.T.H. 31), and this certainly 
recalls the ovation to the successful Kagoro who had 
brought back a hot and dripping head. 



* It is worth noting that in the Punjab when a horse was 
sacrificed it had to be saddled first. Crooke, o$. cit., i, 46. 

t Dr. Frobenius (o-p. cit., page 80) gives a story in which it 
appears that the Hausa escort of a European in the Congo 
captured and ate natives en route. But the account is too vague 
to be of much value. 



ORDEALS, &c. 139 

ORDEALS, &c. The only ordeal mentioned in the 
stories which I have read is that of stepping over the 
magic gourds (83), but the Hausas used poisonous 
decoctions as well, such as the gwaska, which seems to 
be much the same as the sap (described in T.H.H., 
page 201) of the Kagoro and others. 

A modern test made by malams is as follows : The 
suspected persons are made to sit around a fire as close 
as possible. If a person shivers he is guilty, but 
should no member of the party do so within a certain 
time about an hour all are innocent, and another 
party is called up. 

Another way is to cut a hole about the size of a 
sixpenny-piece in a small gourd and to fill it with ink. 
Each of the suspected persons then dips a forefinger 
into the ink, and those who are innocent will be able 
to withdraw again without trouble. But directly the 
finger of the guilty person enters, the gourd closes on 
it, and will not release it not even if pulled or struck 
until a malam has recited a portion of the Koran over 
it. This seems to be a mixture of Islam and Paganism. 

Swearing on the Koran is often no more efficacious 
than is " kissing the Book " with us. Of 
old, oaths used to be taken on iron, and even 
now many of the less civilized Hausa people 
are tested with this metal, a bayonet being passed 
across their throats, and then between their legs. I 
found an even better method. A cartridge was put in 
a calabash of water, and the witness had to drink some. 
The rifle was rested upon his head for a moment, 
and then pointed at his heart, and he was told that it 
would thus know where to find its child (the cartridge 
being supposed to have communicated its properties 
to the water) if the swallower told an untruth. I have 



. HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

known this method to break up a case that had looked 
quite hopeless a few minutes previously. 

It is related of a chief of Missau that, before making 
up his mind whether to quarrel or remain friendly 
with the Sultan of Sokoto, he set two rams to fight, 
saying that one was he, the other the Sultan, and, as 
the latter won, he determined not to break the peace.* 

Judging by Story 7, the fulfilment of a promise is 
considered absolutely necessary, and is praiseworthy 
even if it results in the loss of wives and family. This 
may be some kind of pagan covenant too sacred to be 
broken, but it appears to be rather more like a 
Mohammedan oath, at any rate in form, and if so the 
story may not be a very old one or this particular part 
may have been changed to suit the altered circum- 
stances. 

THE CURSE AND BLESSING. A curse is feared, 
especially if the person pronouncing it be powerful. 
In 1906 the Mohammedan Sultan of Sokoto pronounced 
a curse on anyone rebuilding Satiru or tilling its fields, 
because a rising had been originated there. 

A blessing, once given, could not be recalled, 
apparently, and one version of the legend of the origin 
of the Hausa states strongly resembles the story of Isaac, 
Jacob, and Esau. Bawo (from Bornu), after having 
killed the snake which prevented the people drinking, 

* Compare this with Dr. Barth's note on the Marghi, and 
" their curious ordeal on the holy granite rock of Kobshi. When 
two are litigating about a matter, each of them takes a cock 
which he thinks the best for fighting; and they go together to 
Kobshi. Having arrived at the holy rock, they set their birds 
fighting, and he whose cock prevails in the combat is also the 
winner in the point of litigation. But more than that, the master 
of the defeated cock is punished by the divinity, whose anger he 
has thus provoked ; on returning to his village, he finds his hut in 
flames." Benton, Notes on Some Languages of the Western 
Sudan, page 146. 



> 



THE CURSE AND BLESSING 141 

had married Umma (or Daura) the queen of the city 
of Daura, and had had a son (called Kachi in one ver- 
sion, Bawo Bawo in another) by her, and other children 

a concubine, namely, Kano, Daure and Yabuwu. 
When they had grown up, Bawo summoned them to 
bless them, and he told Kachi to come in the evening, 
intending to give him the " bottle of dyeing " 
(i.e., the magic flask containing the charm or blessing 
which would make him supreme in that handicraft). 
But Kano, who was hiding, heard this, and came first, 
and said " Here I am, Father." So Bawo, who was 
blind, took the bottle of dyeing, and gave it to him, 
and that is the reason why Kano's dyes are so much 
better than those of any other city. Then Kachi arrived, 
and said to his father " Here I am," and Bawo said 
"What! was it not you to whom I gave the bottle? 
Kano has already been here," and he gave him (not 
being able to recall the bottle of dyeing) fire in order 
that he might set alight to the bush, his country to 
extend over all the space which the fire burnt, and all 
this became Katsina. 

There is another version to the effect that Biram 
wedded a Berber maiden, Diggera, by whom he had 
six children, and when they grew up they were given 
special gifts : Kano and Rano were the dyers and 
weavers, Katsina and Daura the traders, and Zaria and 
Bauchi the slave-dealers.* 

I The Hausa utters a prayer after yawning, hiccough- 
ng, or sneezing (compare our " Bless you "), but this 
nay be due to Mohammedan influence at any rate, 
:he present invocations are Koranic in character. 



I 



* This is very much like a Llanberis legend (S.F.T. 327), 
according to which the eldest son became a great physician, the 
second a Welsh Tubal-Cain, while one of the daughters invented 
the small ten-stringed harp, and the other the spinning-wheel. 



142 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

EARTH. A white earth is sometimes eaten to secure 
easy childbirth, red is rubbed on the body often 
smeared with grease for the sake of adornment, and 
yellow or white lines may be drawn on the face either 
as a protection, or especially when mixed with black 
strokes so as to give an additional charm. 

Mothers, if proceeding to another country, may rub 
the heads of their children with earth so that they will 
not forget their native land ; sometimes the emigrants 
take a little of the soil of the country with them. 

KOLA-NUTS. Kola-nuts, brought perhaps from 
Ashanti, are in great demand owing to their 
stimulating properties, and a little of the first 
mouthful is spat on the ground. It is said to 
be "for Allah," but there would probably be 
no objection to the pieces turning into silver as in 
Story 44, and being secured by a human being in- 
stead. They are given to guests at marriages and 
births, and correspond to invitation-cards to the feasts. 
There is apparently some idea of a contract in the gift 
when made to a fiancee (see page 21), in fact goro 
sometimes almost equals alkawali, for the rooster's 
promise of chickens to the hawk in Story 22 is a goro. 
On being asked "What will you give me for my 
news?" the proper reply is "A kola-nut."* 

TABU. There seems to be a tabu in Story 82 cor- 
responding to those common in the folk-lore of Europe 
and elsewhere for the husband is not allowed to gratify 
his curiosity in regard to a certain thing. Story 4 may 
also have an element of such a prohibition in regard 



* Kola-nuts have great significance all over West Africa ; 
amongst the Mendi of Sierra Leone, members of the Porro society 
use two red nuts as a symbol of war, one white nut broken in 
two indicating peace (Haywood, op. cit., page 30). 



TABU 143 

the wife, who is of supernatural origin in both these 
ises, and a Kaffir tale (S.F.T. 328) will help perhaps 

explain it.* The tabu on the mention of a name 
ill be found under Names. 

A man was not allowed to see his wife's younger 
sister at one time, apparently (14, 56, and F.-L. 44). 
But that prohibition no longer exists in Hausaland, 
although it does in other countries. f 

In Story F.-L. 48, the elephant's daughter puts a 
ring in the food which she has prepared for the King's 
son, so that he may recognize her as the beautiful girl 
to whom he made love at another place. This idea of 
the fiancee serving in the kitchen is well known in 
Grimm's stories, and since, both in those and in the 
Hausa parallel, the girl had plenty of opportunities for 
addressing the prince directly, it would seem that there 
must have been some tabu against her doing so. 

The mother will seldom allow the father to see her 
nursing her first-born on account of the " shame " 
which she is said to feel, though there is no such ob- 
jection in the case of the others, though the tabu on the 
name may apply in their case also. In fact, the eldest 
child is known as the kunya (shame) of its mother. 
One girl, the eldest of her family, told me that her 
mother would not allow her to be anywhere near her 
when her father was expected. At the same time, the 
parents are very kind to their children, and are as fond 
of them as it is possible for a native to be. 

* The woman was born because her human mother had eaten 
magic pellets given to her by a bird, and was married to a chief. 
It was noticed that she never went out in the day-time, but once, 
in her husband's absence, she was compelled (by her father-in- 
law) to do some work outside (fetching water), and she also 
was lost, disappearing into the river. 

t Vide Frazer, Taboo and the Perils of the Soul, pages 338, 



144 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

A wife must not allow her husband to see her eating. 
She first cooks his meal and serves it to him, out in the 
open courtyard unless wet, and later on she retires 
inside the house to eat with her daughters and young 
sons. The reason is said to be that she might open 
her mouth too wide, and so anger or disgust her 
husband. Probably, the original idea was that the 
soul might escape through the mouth at that time. 

The men take it in turns to dip in the dishes, and 
they must not refuse to invite a friend or stranger 
to partake if one be present ; it would be unlucky to 
ignore him. This is evidently due to the fact that the 
envious glances of a hungry man would injure the 
person eating. Many amusing tales are told of the 
means by which a person tries to avoid inviting the 
other to share his meal even pretending to be dead 
but all to no purpose. 

There are some others. A few pagan Hausa com- 
munities may not eat food if iron has touched it, and 
may not eat what is saved of the corn after their village 
has been destroyed by fire. Some will not carry fire in 
a calabash, but only in an earthenware dish, others 
observe exactly the contrary rules, or carry it in two 
sticks. Restrictions regarding dress have also been 
noted, thus the Hausas of Maradi will not wear any- 
thing of a light blue colour* lest it cause poverty, and 
amongst the Katumbawa of Kano no unmarried boy 
may put on sandals. f 

It is very dangerous for a human being, especially a 
woman, to mix with supernaturals unless invited to do 
so, as was the good sister in Story 56, or the woman in 
Number 51. Females are expected to hide themselves, 

* See remarks re blue colour, page 164. 
t Vide Man, 1910, Article 40. 




XV. A POTTER AT WORK. XVI. TYPES OF POTS. 

Pots are made over a mould, by building with strips of clay, or by a combination of both 
methods. Vide page 1 73. 



BORI 

and, if they do not do so, the demons may kill them (90), 
or at any rate they will be very much displeased (bad 
sister in 56). Probably the objection which witches 
have to being seen extends to all supernaturals. Even 
if a girl sees something extraordinary, such as the 
witch's back bursting open (93), she is expected to 
make no remark upon it unless asked. 

BORI. There is a peculiar institution amongst the 
Hausas known as Bori, and although it is not magic 




FIG. 38. Pattern on knob of fig. 35. 

exactly being more like hypnotism, perhaps it may 
be mentioned here conveniently, since it is regarded as 
uncanny by the more educated people. The ceremonies 
are usually described as a " dance," and although that 
term hardly describes the frenzied actions of the per- 
formers, I shall retain it for the sake of convenience. 
The Hausa word rawa means " to dance " as we under- 
stand the term, and also " to drill," so the range is 
fairly wide. The equivalent of Bori in Canon Robin- 
10 



146 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

son's Dictionary is given as "an evil spirit," "a 
demon," or "a delirious person," but it may mean 
rather the rites and ceremonies of a particular society, 
the members of which simulate the frenzied behaviour 
of insane persons. Probably " hallucination " is a 
satisfactory equivalent. 

Bori dancing is said* to have originated in the 
Hausa States, previous to the introduction of Islam. 
At first merely a treatment for the insane, later on it 
was degraded into an objectionable form of dancing, 
though the origin was still apparent, since the actions 
of the dance simulated different forms of insanity. Each 
special division of Bori represents some kind of mad- 
ness, and every Mai-bori ("actor," or "dancer," or 
" person possessed "), who may be either a male or a 
female in most cases, will profess one or more. 

Bori was intended originally as a remedy for in- 
sanity, as has been mentioned above, or perhaps for in- 
herited hysterical tendencies, the idea being that those 
who were really mad would be thereby less likely to 
commit acts of violence it will be remembered that 
lunatics are never shut up amongst these pagan peoples, 
being regarded as people specially set apart by the 
gods, and, appropriately enough, the word for a person 
"touched" is tabu. Later on, the treatment was adopted 
by a class called Kama (consisting of disreputable males 
and females) in order to attract more attention. And 
later still, young children, generally girls, who were 
not thriving, or who were criminally or morbidly in- 
clined, were subjected to the influence, for they were 
supposed to be possessed of some evil spirit which had 
to be exorcised. To be accused of Bori, therefore, is 

* See T.H.H., pages 254 to 262, for a full description and the 
authorities quoted. See also extra note in Part III. 



BORI 147 

not necessarily a disgrace, though many men have 
objected to their wives practising it. 

According to the account of Richardson, the 
explorer, Bori must have degenerated a long time ago, 
for one evening in 1850 " I found that one of our 
negresses, a wife of one of the servants, was performing 
Boree, the ' Devil,' and working herself up into the 
belief that his Satanic Majesty had possession of her. 
She threw herself upon the ground in all directions, and 
imitated the cries of various animals. Her actions 
were, however, somewhat regulated by a man tapping 
upon a kettle with a piece of wood, beating time to her 
wild manoeuvres. After some delay, believing herself 
now possessed, and capable of performing her work, 
she went forward to half-a-dozen of our servants who 
were squatting on their hams ready to receive her. She 
then took each by the head and neck, and pressed their 
heads between her legs they sitting, she standing 
not in the most decent way, and made over them, with 
her whole body, certain inelegant motions not to be 
mentioned. She then put their hands and arms behind 
their backs, and after several other wild cries and jumps, 
and having for a moment thrown herself flat upon the 
ground, she declared to each and all their future their 
fortune, good or bad."* 

The person possessed often claims to foretell the 
future, but there is even more in the following account, 
which is mentioned in L.T.H. (page 242.) " There is 
a certain river at Argungu called Gandi, each year 
people come to fish in it. When they are about to go, 
all are assembled in the city, and then the chief woman 
drinks a potion and becomes possessed," and a man 

* Benton, Notes on Some Languages of the Western Sudan, 
page 154. 



148 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

named Makwashe goes into the water first, because the 
demons know him. " If the chief woman says ' Enter 
the water,' whoever enters will immediately fill his 
basket with fish, and then come out. If she does not 
tell the people to enter, whoever goes in, when he sinks, 
will not come out again, but will die. For it is said 
the river has many demons (jinns) in it." Perhaps the 
river has a varying current, and Makwashe tries it first 
and gives the woman the news ! 

After the conquest of the Hausa States by the 
Mohammedan Filani, at the beginning of last century, 
Bori was forbidden in the large cities, but it flourished 
in the smaller towns and villages. Later on, the Masu- 
bori (plural of Mai-bori) were allowed to practise their 
rites, even in the large cities, on payment of an annual 
tax, which was divided amongst the chiefs and head- 
men, and was really a bribe to ignore the practices. 
Under the British occupation the tax developed a more 
legal form, but serious steps have been taken lately to 
abolish the performances, and I am told that they are 
no longer held. It is said that there was a contest in the 
reign of Wake, chief of Gwari, between the malams, 
the magicians, and the Masu-bori. Wake secretly put 
a black bull into a hut, sealed up the door, and chal- 
lenged the contestants to say what the hut contained. 
The magicians divined correctly, and the Masu-bori 
also gave the true answer, but the malams did not know, 
so they repaired to the mosque, and prayed that what- 
ever the animal might be, God would turn it into a 
black horse. When Wake asked for their answer, and 
the malams replied " a horse," he was much cast down, 
for he was a Moslem, but lo ! when the hut was opened, 
a black horse appeared, and since then " he who does 
mot respect a malam does not respect God." 



BORl 149 

It is amongst the Hausa, Nupe, and Egbirra people 
that Bori proper is mostly held in favour, but there is 
another kind also, called kwaga, amongst the Kanuri 
of Bornu, which seems to be purely a state of hysteria 
in some cases, of fever or other sickness due to ex- 
posure in others, especially in the case of one who has 
sat under a tree, or near to water, " where a bad spirit 
lives." 

Anyone of any age may learn it on payment of the 
usual fees, so the right to initiation is not hereditary, 
i.e., there is no strictly observed caste of Masu-bori. 
The initiation or treatment may be carried out at the 
house of the District Head of the sect, the Ajenge, or at 
that of the patient, except among the Nupe tribe. In 
addition to the varying tuition fee, and the necessary 
accommodation, the following are necessary : A large 
new pot, four fowls (a white cock and hen, a red cock 
and a black hen), money for the Uivar Tuo (literally 
" mother of porridge ") who supplies the food, one large 
ram, one small black he-goat, one white cloth, one black 
cloth, and three grass mats one each for the candidate, 
the Maigoge (the violinist, the chief musician) and the 
Uwar Tuo. 

Some days are auspicious, others not, apparently, 
and so a consultation takes place between the Ajenge 
and the Maigoge in order to fix the date (always a 
Friday) on which to commence the treatment, and when 
this has been decided upon, the Ajenge goes into the 
bush, and collects the necessary herbs and bark, and 
prepares his medicines. Two days later, the candidate 
enters the house, clothed in white, and accompanied by 
a couple of selected tutors, and certain ceremonies take 
place which are at present unknown to us. 

When the period of initiation has been completed, 



150 HA USA SUPERSTITIONS 

the candidate, followed by a crowd of fully qualified 
Masubori, is led to a selected tamarind tree, around the 
trunk of which has been wrapped the black and white 
cloths before referred to. The small black goat is killed 
near the tree, the meat is cooked and eaten, and playing 
and dancing go on all the time round the tree. Then the 
initiate is carried home, and more dancing, the final 
rite, takes place near some big tree, a baobab if possible, 
probably for the object of propitiating the evil spirits 
which dwell there, all Masu-bori being afraid of them. 
.After it is over, the initiate's friends are informed as to 
the particular kind and the number of the degrees 
conferred, and the newly-made member may then per- 
form in public, and give way to his particular hallucina- 
tions. The initiate is then said to be "baked," whereas he 
was only unbaked before, like the unfinished clay pot.* 
Each spirit has a special colour or object which is 
called its tsere (protection, refuge, &c.), into which it will 
pass instead of into the possessor, and these objects and 
colours are prized by those who wish to escape from the 
influence, or at any rate induce it only when required. f 

* There is something derogatory in being not properly cooked. 
Abdurahmani, Sultan of Sokoto, was known as an Unbaked Pot, 
because of his evil deeds. It is just possible that this has some 
reference to cannibalism. 

t It may be of interest to note that in Morocco the jinns are 
supposed to have special colours by which they are attracted. A 
regular ginn-cult is practised by the Gnawa, a regularly con- 
stituted secret society, the members of which live on amicable 
terms with the gnun (jinns). By ascertaining the day when a 
ginn has entered a man, his colour can be determined, for the 
ginns of each day of the week have a special colour, and the 
Gnawa dress themselves and the patient in the colour required. 
If the day of seizure is not known, perhaps the whole seven 
colours will be used. The Gnawa not only expel gnun, but can 
attract them at will, for by inhaling the smoke of a certain 
incense, and by dancing, they can induce the gnun to enter their 
bodies, and when thus possessed, they can foretell future events. 
Vide Westermarck, Journal of the R.A.I., July-Dec., 1899. The 
Gnawa and the masubori resemble each other to some extent. 



HALLUCINATIONS 151 

Thus the Sa(r)rikin Rafi has as its tsere a kola-nut and 
a small chicken, the Wanzami (barber), a razor, and so 
on, the connection being obvious in most cases.* There 
is also a special vocabulary employed by the Masu-bori, 
but as the performers are frowned upon by the authori- 
ties, both Christian and Mohammedan, the latter regard- 
ing Bori as being converse with the powers of evil, it is 
difficult to obtain information of the spirits themselves, 
or of the spirit language. Some words are given in the 
book quoted above, however, malam (a learned man, 
priest, magician) becoming maiwalwala (the trouble- 
some one) for a reason which appears to be obvious 
considering that he is a Moslem ; ga(r)ri (town) becom- 
ing jan garu (red walls) ; berichi (sleep) becoming 
kankanana mutua (little death), and so on. 

When a Bori headman dies, a red goat and kid, a 
black kid, and a red and a speckled cock are killed. 
Speeches are made at the foot of one of the haunted 
trees, or a rock, and then the body is buried. After 
this, the goats and fowls are eaten, together with 
porridge, milk, and honey. 

HALLUCINATIONS. - - In some stories (93), the 
Israelitish ideas of lands " flowing with milkf and 
honey " is expressed, and not only this, but food cooks 
itself and asks to be eaten, and houses appear (50), and 
perhaps run away (59). In some cases fowls ask to be 
destroyed, as does a bird in M.H. 45, and it will be 
remembered that in European tales animals beg human 
beings to kill them, e.g., Beauty and The Beast. But 
in the latter, the animal is really a man or woman com- 



* Vide Hausa Sayings, page 103. 

t The picture of the river of milk may be due to pagan Filani 
influence, for in India " the sacred portion of the Phalgu is said 
occasionally to flow with milk." Crooke, o-p. cit., p. 21. 



152 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



pelled by a witch to take a lower form until delivered 
from the spell ; there seems to be no such notion in 
the Hausa stories. I suppose that the idea arose 
through mirages and the hallucinations of hungry 
and thirsty travellers in the hotter and dryer countries to 
the north-west. Certainly the desert to the north near 
Aiwalatin was waterless, and caravans frequently 
perished of thirst in former times. The mirage was 
common there, and the desert had the reputation of 
being haunted by demons says the authoress of A 
Tropical Dependency (page 89). And yet, perhaps, I 
ought not to say this, considering that even with us 
(see footnote, page 15) glasses of water hold themselves 
up to one's mouth ! Possibly the idea may apply more 
to the next world, especially if the witch (93) is the same 
as Death (79), but it is no more surprising than that of 
the appearance of a city in a place where before there 
had been only a few huts. 




FIG. 39. Brass bowl, patterns in dots. D., 9t^ in. 




FlG. 40. Parchment box. D. , 2 T 5 g in. 

CHAPTER VII. 
CUSTOMS AND SUPERSTITIONS (CONTINUED). 

Evil Influences Witchcraft Visits to the World of the Im- 
mortals Lapse of Time Magic and the Evil Eye Lucky Days 
Rites Conjuring Charms and Potions Magical Gifts 
Forms of Address The Kirari Names. 

THE belief in evil influences generally is well 
developed, both sexes being represented. Old women 
are considered to be very cunning, though I have never 
heard of any, whether old or young, being accused of 
possessing the power of witchcraft, except perhaps 
temporarily. But in the tales any woman may become 
a witch (91), and she is liable to do so by drinking a 
brew of the leaves of the locust tree. All females 
are supposed to be very clever in deceiving men ; there 
is a proverb " A woman is more crafty than a king." 

But charges of witchcraft were not confined to 
women, for Malam Jibrella was expelled from a Moham- 
medan state in Northern Nigeria on this account in 
1888. He afterwards declared himself the Mahdi in 
Gombe, and was defeated and captured by a British 
force fourteen years later. A mother will often say that 
the flesh of her baby is bitter or salt, in case there may 



154 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

be any witches about. A white man's flesh is supposed 
to be very salt.* 

WITCHCRAFT. In 1906, when in Amar (Muri 
Province), the native police-sergeant one day brought 
three constables before me who accused their wives of 
being witches. I laughed at the time, and told them 
to go back to barracks, but soon afterwards the sergeant 
reported that the men were preparing to desert, for 
they really believed that what they had stated was a 
fact. I therefore summoned the women, and asked them 
if the charge were true, and on being informed that 
it was, I placed them under a guard, not knowing quite 
what to do with them. Next day I put a galvanic battery 
on to each in turn, telling them that they would feel the 
evil influence pass right out of them, and, as they 
thought that they did so, the matter ended happily. A 
simple trick may be much more successful sometimes 
than the most learned judgment ! 

Witches can, of course, change into anything they 
like, and they often feed on human flesh, their chief 
mode of obtaining victims being to turn themselves 
into beautiful girls. A variant makes a buffalo do a 
similar thing in order to avenge her tribe on a family 
of hunters; a Dodoniya may do the same. 

All witches have many mouths which they can cause 
to appear all over their bodies at will, and the owner 
can turn them back into one by slapping herself. The 
mouths both eat (M. 95) and drink (93 and 95), and 
they are the sign of the possession of unholy powers, for 
the owners do not like being seen in this state. 

This is not at all surprising ; a similar objection is 

* Salt seems to be very generally regarded as being particu- 
larly inimical to evil spirits, the idea being based probably on its 
power of preventing decay. The gnun of North Africa are 
afraid of salt and steel, says Professor Westermarck, loc. cit. 



WITCHCRAFT 155 

found in European tales, the Peeping Tom usually 
losing his eyesight.* In the Hausa tales the death of 
the Peeping Tom is often desired (95), although he is 
never blinded, but in one case (94) the hero's brother 
loses his eyes, and it is probable that he himself (though 
not a Peeping Tom) escapes simply because he will 
not put himself into the witch's power of his own free 
will. Even the Half-Woman (15, variant) will not 
allow herself to be seen nor talked about. 

A witch is usually powerless in the towns, and must 
entice the victims to a distance to work them ill (95, 96 
and F.-L. 46), though this is not always so (91 and 94). 
But she can never seize her victim whenever she wants 
to do so, he must first voluntarily place himself in her 
power. Sometimes she is malignant only when roused 
by an offending party who has jeered at her (M. 95), 
and this touchiness is not confined to Hausa witches, 
for we find (S.F.T. page 46) a similar incident in a 
Harvey Isles tale.f The Hausa witch can give charms 

* Thus in Southern Germany and Switzerland, on Twelfth 
Night, a mysterious being goes abroad named Dame Berchta, 
who is the relic of a heathen goddess, a leader of the souls of 
the dead. Once a servant boy hid himself and watched her come 
to the house of his master who had laid a repast for her (as was 
the custom), and her followers blew through the hole and blinded 
him, and from this and other similarities Mr. Hartland (S.F.T. 
90) concludes that the legend and procession of Lady Godiva 
are survivals of a pagan belief and worship located at Coventry ; 
that the legend was concerned with a being awful and mysterious 
as Dame Berchta, or even Hertha, who killed a mortal every 
year, and was worse than Diana. 

t The hero, Tekonae, having pretended to eat the food (live 
centipedes) yet manifested no burning thirst, and at last Miru 
(the horrible hag who ruled the shades) said " Return to the 
upper world. Only remember this do not speak against me to 
mortals. Reveal not my ugly form and my mode of treating 
my visitors." This, however, is not universal, for in Finnish 
Legends, M. Evind tells us (page 129) that " evil things cannot 
bear to have their wicked origin told, and if, therefore, one sings 
the source of any evil, one makes it harmless at once," exactly 
the opposite of the Hausa idea. 



156 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

for ailments (30 and 94), and in fact, if properly treated, 
she may be even exceedingly benign (93), the best 
means of securing her favour being to rub her back 
while she is washing. This simply means that women 
like to get someone else to perform the office for them, 
and witches being lonely creatures, but still women 
greatly appreciate little services from ordinary mortals, 
when such services have been duly invited. Witches 
seem to be somewhat simple at times, in spite of their 
magical powers, for they may be deceived rather easily 
(90). Apparently there is no objection to their address- 
ing their husbands by name (95). 

Witches do not appear to be afraid of iron, for they 
sharpen their knives, and although one is cut down by a 
sword (94) the danger to her was not in the substance 
of the weapon, but in its shape, and even so, it does 
not finish her off completely. The same applies to the 
iron club in the variant to Story 95. Witches also 
touch the legs of horses, but as the animals are not 
shod in Hausaland we learn nothing from this, and ii 
fact, I was told by another man that any touching oi 
iron was fatal.* They are, at any rate, afraid of dogs 
(95), as is Dodo (51), and the belief in the peculiar 
power of dogs in this respect is not confined to the 
Hausas see Story 96, variant. Do not we ourselves 
say that dogs can smell death ? 

The animals guarding the palace in Story 45 would 
seem to have been bewitched, for the dogs eat grass and 
the horses meat, and it is only when the boy gives them 
their proper food (and thereby breaks the spell?) that 
they let him pass in peace. 

* The Hausa seems not to fear iron now, although he did so 
once in all probability. For the respect shown by pagan tribes 
to Hausa blacksmiths, see T.H.H., p. 136. 



LAPSE OF TIME 157 

VISITS TO THE WORLD OF THE IMMORTALS. There 
are several stories concerning the visits of a youth 
to a witch (Maiya), but one makes him go to the 
house of Death (Mutua) instead, and as the main parts 
of the tales are almost identical, perhaps there is some 
connection between the two in the Hausa mind, 
especially as the hero does not die before setting out 
upon his journey. Other stories show that a witch and 
Dodo are often interchangeable. Usually, of course, to 
eat of the food in the land of spirits is to acknowledge 
one's union with them, thereby renouncing all hope of 
returning to mortal abodes, for joining in a common 
meal often symbolizes some union, even if it does not 
actually constitute one. Strangely enough, however, 
the Hausa mortal may eat the food provided there 
(though he does not always do so, 95 and M. 2), and 
he may return none the worse for it (93 variant and 96), 
though it is evident that this is very dangerous, and 
people may refuse to touch any food the price of which 
is the death of the purchaser (76). The youth's in- 
telligent horse sometimes saves his master (95 and 96), 
but at others the spider acts the part of the preserver 
(M.H. 20). When a witch is killed, every bit of her 
must be destroyed, for even a single drop of her blood 
can kill the victim (95 and 100, variant).* 

LAPSE OF TIME. It ought to be noted, perhaps, that 
there is no supernatural lapse of time during these visits 
to Death, or to a witch, e.g., that the visitor is detained 
a year when he thinks that it has been only a day, a 
feature so strongly marked in European tales. I have 
never heard of any local Rip Van Winkle. The 
Hausa hero does not suffer through having carried off 

* In Grimm's tales, too, drops of blood can talk. 



i 5 8 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the food, and, on his return, he finds everything as he 
left it. On the contrary, time seems to pass much more 
quickly in the other world than in this, as is shown by 
M.H. 67, the following being a free translation of the 
principal incidents. There were once three students, 
the eldest of whom was not quite sincere. On the day 
of the feast of Idi, the other two came to his house, and 
said " Let us go to our teacher." He said " Very well, 
but stay and eat first," and then he told his wife to 
place water behind the house so that he might wash. 
When she had done so she entered her hut to get some 
cakes, and he went to where the water was. He took 
off his clothes and squatted down to wash,* but when 
he had put his hand into the water, it became a sea, 
like the Mediterranean. " See him squatting on the 
shore!" Then angels said to him "O thou at the 
waterside, if thou art a woman, thou wilt become a 
man; if a man, thou wilt become a woman." And by 
the power of God, he immediately became a beautiful 
girl ! 

She saw a city ahead of her, and entered it, and 
went to the Chief Priest (Liraam), and said that she 
was to be a daughter to him, and three months after- 
wards she married a student whom he chose from about 
forty who wished to marry her. She conceived, and 
bore a son, and, after she had carried him for two 
years, she weaned him, then she bore a daughter. She 
had four children in all, two sons and two daughters, 
and she lived twelve years in the city. 

The day on which she weaned the younger 

* The Hausa squats down to wash (unless he be right in a 
stream) and throws the water over himself with his hands. He 
washes outside his house, for he uses only a calabash, there is no 
kind of bath to catch the water. In this story the magic water is 
first a sea, then a river. 



LAPSE OF TIME 159 

daughter* was a Friday, and she came to the river- 
side and washed her cloths, and she was happy, for 
that night she was to return to her husband. f But lo ! 
she became a virgin again, and as she was squatting 
by the side of the river, she heard the angels say to 
her " O thou at the waterside, if thou art a woman, 




FIG. 41. Wooden moriar and pestle for pounding corn, &c. 
H. about 18 in. 




FIG. 42. Wooden stool. 

thou w r ilt become a man ; if a man, thou wilt become a 
woman." Immediately she became a man, and there 
he was squatting behind his house, " see the water, see 
his tobe and other clothes." He dressed himself, and 
entered his house, and saw the students who asked 

* This would really be just over eleven years, but the year in 
which she came and the one in which she went would be counted, 
so the time would be correct according to Hausa ideas. In any 
case, one does not look for exactitude in a story. 

t She would not live with him while nursing her child. See 
T.H.H. 239, and R.A.I. Journal, Jan. -June, 1912. 



160 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

"Have you washed?'* And he found that his wife 
had not yet come out of her hut, and when she saw 
him she was annoyed at his not staying longer so as 
to give the cakes time to cool. After that they went 
to the mosque, and the eldest student, Sheku, then 
really believed.* 

A magical appearance is attributed to Shefu 
Othman, son of Fodio, the Filani conqueror of Hausa- 
land. It is said that a man named Dodo, coming from 
Gwanja, was crossing the Niger when he was nearly 
upset, and he called out " O Shefu, son of Fodio, help 
us." Immediately a man appeared, and righted the 
canoe, and then disappeared again, and when Dodo 
had reached the other bank he vowed a gift of five 
calabashes of kola-nuts. On his arrival in Sokoto 
twenty days afterwards, Dodo took three calabashes, 
but Shefu said that five was the number vowed, and 
the man admitted it. But there was stronger proof 
than that, for at the very hour when Dodo had called, 
Shefu was in the council chamber, and he left it for 
a moment, and on his return the councillors saw that 
his clothes were wet through. When they asked the 
reason he said that they would know it in twenty days' 
time. 

In one story, the Mutanen Lahira (People of the 
Next World) are described as living at the bottom of a 
well, and a mortal, who falls in, has to give them 
presents of clothes before they will take him up again. 



* Professor Frazer has kindly pointed out a parallel in a 
Turkish tale quoted by Addison in the Spectator ', No. 0,4 (June, 
1711), and he there refers to a similar story in the Koran. The 
other stories which my informant noticed are an Indian one in 
the Katha Sarit Sagara, translated by Tawney, ii, pp. 326 sq.; 
and a Sumatran tale given by Van Hasselt in his Volks Beschrij- 
ving van Midden Sumatra, pp. 78 SQ. 



MAGIC AND THE EVIL EYE 161 

MAGIC AND THE EVIL EYE. The women paint rings 
in red, white or yellow round their eyes to avert the 
evil eye. The praising of a woman's beauty by any 
man except her husband is a serious injury, and the 
proper reply to complimentary remarks, however sin- 
cerely made, is " Ba ruana, Ka ji? " "I don't 
care, do you hear?" At the same time, an air of 
prosperity in a man is not by any means despised, for 
"a good appearance means good fortune/' 

An amusing instance both of the fear of the evil eye 
and sympathetic magic came to my notice in 1907, when 
at Amar. I made a life-sized target to represent a man 
firing, and set it up in the barrack-square, so as to be 
able to give the men instruction in aiming, before 
transferring it to the rifle-range a little distance off. 
The next day I was implored to have it removed, 
for some of the police constables' wives had seen it, and 
feared a miscarriage in consequence, and I was solemnly 
assured that if it were left there no births would occur 
that year amongst the women in barracks. I was also 
asked to keep the face free from any lines or spots, for 
I was told that if there were any tribal marks on it, those 
men having scarifications, marks, or tatuing resembling 
them would die if the target were pierced. Of course I 
complied with their wishes, for the fear was evidently 
genuine, the target being set up in the butts at once, 
and the face \vas painted white to resemble that of a 
European, so that the natives could shoot at it in peace 
and comfort of mind, and have the knowledge of a 
good deed done on the few occasions on which they 
managed to hit it. 

It seems that not only lines and dots resembling 
tribal marks are to be feared, but any spots at all (37 
and F.-L. 8), and of course animals are as much afraid 
ii 



1 62 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

of them as men. Perhaps spots have a religious signifi- 
cance. In an old print in which Our Lord is depicted 
as rescuing souls from Hell,* his body is covered with 
spots, though they do not appear on those of the demons 
or souls. But in other cases the spots are probably 
used more as a decoration (though there may still be a 
religious element) as in the case of the women in Sierra 
Leone, and the men of the Gan tribe in Uganda.f 
Possibly spots represent the evil eye. They are often 
used to avert the power, but in the stories mentioned 
here the animal using the spots does not wish to avoid 
the harmful influence issuing from another, but to 
terrify him.| In fact, one man said that the spots 
were eyes, showing that the object could see in all 
directions, and, judging by the analogy of the Kunda, 
detection is followed by immediate punishment if 
necessary. 

I could not hear of anyone having injured his enemy 
by operating on an effigy, but I am quite prepared to 
believe that this is done, considering the above 
anecdote, and also since a charm can be written so as 
to injure another. The girl scooping up the water 
in a calabash, and thus emptying the streams, in 
Stories 61 and F.-L. 17, seems to be a case of 
sympathetic magic, as also does the healing of the 
boy's eye by that of a goat in Story 94, and perhaps 
.also the annihilation of the pagans by dashing the 

* Ancient Mysteries Described. By William Hone (1823). 
William Reeves, London. Page 140. 

t On the Backwaters of the Nile, page 231. 

+ Dr. Seligmann tells me that the peasants in the Kandian 
district of Ceylon hang black pots, decorated with white spots 
and circles, in their farms to protect their crops, and these must 
be intended to harm would-be thieves. Mr. Crooke tells me 
that the peasants in Northern India hang up old pots, black 
with soot, and smeared with patches of whitewash. Here, also, 
the idea seems to be rather to work injury than to escape from it. 



LUCKY DAYS 163 

sweat from the brow (64) and the destruction by the 
girl who escaped from Dodo of the gifts which he 
had given her (73). An example in L.T.H. (106) is 
perhaps even stronger, for there a woman who wishes to 
make her husband love her has been told by the 
malam to get dust from the chief's house. The chief, 
who is very unpopular, finds the woman doing this, 
and thinks that she is trying to injure him. There 
may be special properties in the earth on which the 
intended victim has trodden, as is pointed out in 
Story 4 and Note IV, 4. 

I could never get the chief of Jemaan Daroro to tell 
me who would succeed him, nor would the recognized 
heir (the present chief) nor anyone else enlighten me, 
so there was evidently a reason against doing so, in fact 
I was told that such things are not spoken of. As there 
was no doubt that we should appoint the heir, there was 
no need for me to press the point after I discovered that 
there was an objection to giving a reply. This is 
evidently due to some fear that the person so named may 
never come to his own (after all, we ourselves can 
understand that), but whether the belief is Filani or 
Hausa I am not certain, for the family was mixed. It 
does not seem quite in keeping with the ideas of the 
latter, for they are confirmed fatalists (28), some of the 
proverbs already quoted showing this point well. It 
may be for quite another reason, however, viz., that 
the mention of the chief's death is tantamount to ill- 
wishing, the mere expression of the idea being con- 
sidered to show that the event is desired. 

LUCKY DAYS. There are lucky days and unlucky 
days which are now indicated by the malams (F.-L. 36). 
but a European official cannot always defer to a " con- 
scientious objector," and when a chief refuses to travel 



164 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

on important Government work simply because the stars 
are not propitious, or there is some similar obstacle, one 
has to explain that although the signs and portents may 
be against a native doing his own work, a different 
system of astronomy applies to ours, and that he 
must therefore rely on our reading for that particular 
occasion. To wash or shave on certain days, or at 
certain hours, is dangerous, for the person himself, or 
his wife (or her husband), would soon die, and these 
tabus remind one of the jinns of each week-day in 
Morocco. 

RITES. There are certain ceremonies for the bring- 
ing back to life of men (4, 62, 65 and 99), and even of 
animals (79). Both have a place in the next world 
which is very much like this (85) but when they die 
there they can never rise again. 

The goat usually seems to play a part in these 
magical rites (70), especially a black one (e.g., in Bon), 
in fact the colour black seems to have particular pro- 
perties. Thus when Awudu, Chief of Zaria, was en- 
gaged in a war which ended in the conquest of the 
Katab country in the south-west of his kingdom, he 
gave the people a black bull to sacrifice on the Dutsin 
Kerrima to appease the demons there (see T.H.H., 
page 99).* With some tribes in the Sudan the word 
"black" is avoided because it is held in horror as 
being of evil omen,f the words " blue," " green," &c., 
being used instead, but w r ith the Hausas almost the 
contrary is the case, for all cloths darker than royal blue 
are called ba(k)ki. I think, however, that this is due 
simply to laziness, not that there is any objection to 

* He thus resembled the Greeks who sacrificed black oxen to 
Pluto and other infernal deities. 

t Yacoub Pasha Artin, England, in the Sudan, page 160. *- v 



RITES 165 

naming the colour blue, at the same time some Hausas 
will not wear cloths of that shade. Certainly some 
persons (possibly Mohammedans) do not like the word 
11 black/' although they have no objection to " white," 
and that is strange considering that the latter colour, 
and not the former, is connected with death in Hausa- 
land.* 

A magical creation of white crows is related in 
L.T.H. 57, where the Chief of Gobir took a small bag 
of medicines, and threw a little of the powdered condi- 




FIG. 43. Earthenware jug, incised pattern, used to hold water for ceremonial 
ablutions. H., 6f in. 

ment on to a pot of live cinders, and when the smoke 
had risen some hundred white crows appeared. 

The liver has special virtues. It may be used as a 
remedy for illness (80), it has magical powers of 

* The following Arabic legend is interesting in this connec- 
tion. The King of China once came upon a white and a black 
snake fighting. He killed the latter, and the former turned into 
a lovely lady whose sister married him as a reward for his help, 
and gave birth to the Queen of Sheba. Hartland, o-p. cit., page 
316. Compare this with the story of the magic ointment in the 
preceding chapter. 



1 66 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

becoming alive (66 is it the seat of life?), and it is a 
name for the man who divided the inheritance in Story 
81. It is often specially mentioned even when there are 
no magic rites (17 and 34). Canon Robinson says* that 
he was told that in the event of a man being bitten by a 
mad dog, the animal was at once killed, and the victim 
ate the liver, an elaboration of " the hair of the dog 
that bit you." In one story (L.T.H. 41) the blood of 
the liver restores the sight of a blind man. 

I do not know whether haruspication was practised, 
but probably it was (and still is?) for one story (L.T.H. 
129) relates how a jackal took a goat to the house of a 
hyaena (against which he had a grudge), and persuaded 
her to accompany him to the forest because he was 
going to kill the goat, and perform magic rites. He had 
previously warned his pups to steal the liver, and when 
it could not be found he drew a knife across the throat 
of each in turn, but as it did not hurt them he pro- 
nounced them innocent. The hyaena, seeing that a slur 
was cast upon her, offered to undergo the same ordeal, 
and, of course, the jackal killed her. 

Divination was also practised, patterns being drawn 
in the sand previously smoothed down or by looking 
in a heap of sand for special signs. The following 
tale will show how useless it is to try to avoid one's 
fate. A man consulted a malam as to his end, and 
the malam read in the earth that a buffalo would cause 
it. The man then went away, and of course kept out 
of the way of this animal. One day, long afterwards, 
there was a big hunt, and the man was going to join 
in it, but, remembering the result of the malam's 
divination, he hid in a corn-bin instead. After the 

* ffaitsaland, see page 144. 



CONJURING 167 

hunt was over, the booty was distributed, and as it 
happened, the owner of the bin was given a head. 
Wishing to hide it, he threw it into the bin, and the 
horns pierced the man hiding in there, and killed him. 
Next morning the dead man was found, and the 
people, remembering the prophecy, said " That which 
a man will obtain, and that which will happen to him, 
from his birth are they fore-ordained." 

There is also a kind of fortune-telling, and dreams 
are interpreted. The bori women pretend to tell for- 
tunes, as mentioned before. 

Another story of Othman's magical powers is told 
of an Asben who had lost his camels. On appealing 
to the Shefu (sheik), he was told to look, and he saw 
them to all appearance quite close. He went after 
them, but he took 30 days to reach the place in which 
they were. 

It is just possible that the song of the birds in 
Story 87 is a necromantic spell which enables the zan- 
kallala to kill Dodo ; an example occurs in Sierra Leone 
in the story of Goro the Wrestler, where the song of 
incantation chanted by the mother enables the child to 
overcome all the animals, so such spells are known in 
West Africa.* There may be some connection between 
the idea in this and the singing of the snake-charmers 
mentioned later. 

CONJURING. Of course there are conjuring tricks 
such as the gourd from which water drips or not at 
the command of the operator, the needle and the cotton 
which pass through the youth, and the magic hoe-shovel 
which cannot be held down on the ground there being 
a slight hypnotic element in this but they are described 

* Cronise and Ward, o-p. cit., page 14. 



168 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

in full elsewhere (T.H.H., pages 207-209), and the ac- 
counts need not be repeated here. There was a female 
snake-charmer in Lokoja, but I never saw her do more 
than make the reptile coil around her body and uncoil 
again. The skilled performers, who wear a lot of hair 
on their heads, are said to be able to charm the reptiles 
by singing to them. 

Snake-charmers were not always popular. It is 
related of one chief that he was so much annoyed by 
their music that he decided to rid himself of their atten- 
tions for ever, so, pretending to be glad to see them, he 
invited the leader into an inner room. Here he cut off 
his head, and had it placed in a food-calabash, the body 
being removed. Then the remaining charmers were 
asked to come to the feast, and were left alone in the 
room. Soon, one wished to see what had been pre- 
pared, and, uncovering the calabash, he saw his 
leader's head ! Hurriedly replacing the mat, he made 
his escape, followed by the others, and the chief was 
not troubled again. 

I have seen it stated that a guinea-corn plant can 
be made to grow from a seed, and that a child can 
be apparently killed, chopped up, and brought to life 
again as in India, but I have never heard of these 
things myself, so I cannot say whether such is the case 
or not. 

CHARMS AND POTIONS. Charms are used of course, 
but I doubt if many of purely pagan origin now exist 
in the Mohammedan districts, for the malams naturally 
wish to substitute verses of the Koran written and sold 
by themselves, and wrapped in small leather cases. 
These are worn all over the body, and may be tied to 
the manes or tails of horses and other animals. There 
are special kinds for special objects, and once, when I 



CHARMS AND POTIONS 169 

was about to go out with a small patrol, I found a 
malam offering great bargains in charms which would 
invariably protect the wearers against wounds from 
arrows or other weapons. I offered to let him wear all 
the charms he could put on to his person, and to give 
him half a sovereign if I failed to wound him first 
shot, but he was much too modest and retiring to accept 
the offer ! I hoped that this would have the effect of 
making my men save their money, but I dare say the 
malam explained to their satisfaction that a white man 
was rather outside the influence of black man's magic. 
At any rate, all the men were covered with them when 
we did set out. I was told that the fruit of the small 
dundu tree if ground up and drunk with water will make 
it impossible for the drinker to be wounded by a sword ; 
other decoctions are of more use against arrows or 
clubs. 

There was a special kind (sha bard) which had 
a great vogue when the European first began to 
conquer the country, its virtue being that by its 
means the white man's bullets would not only cause no 
harm to the wearer, but would even rebound and wound 
the one who had fired the rifle. Considering the num- 
ber of casualties, it is strange to think that the trade 
still flourishes. My cook had fought against our troops 
at Kano, and had been defeated, but his faith in native 
charms was as strong as ever. 

On another occasion, I saw a girl sitting on the 
wharf, with a calabash of very dirty-looking water be- 
side her, and I was informed that a malam had written 
a verse or two on a prayer-board (resembling the boards 
at College on which the grace is written), and had 
then washed off the ink with water, and it was this 
mixture which was to cure her of the fever from which 



170 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

she was suffering ! I gave her some quinine, and next 
morning I heard that she had recovered, but the malam 
claimed the credit, though he had advised her to swallow 
the quinine lest I should be offended ! Or it may be 
that he really believed in the efficacy of his treatment, 
for in certain respects Mohammedanism does not seem 
to be much of an advance on paganism, and the native 
even the household servant and the soldier will often 
prefer a charm of local manufacture to the best 
European medicine. 

The above treatment must not be derided, however, 
for it has been proved over and over again to the entire 
satisfaction of numbers of the Hausa folk, that if a 
man have the hiccoughs, and the names of seven liars 
be written on the board, and the ink washed off and 
drunk by him, he will be cured at once ! 

There are charms for childbirth (21) amongst other 
things, the head of a young demon being particularly 
potent (L.T.H. 71), but I fancy that herbs play quite 
as important a part in these (59) as the malam 's ink, 
for the Hausas are adepts at prevention, and possibly in 
the opposite direction also. But in a good many 
cases, it seems to be that the rite to be enacted is the 
important thing (45), e.g., in Story 70, where a boy 
is made to walk. Many of the tatu marks are charms, 
as is mentioned later, and the Tsuguna ka chi daiva 
(squat down and eat yams) which makes all seeing it 
rush off immediately and offer the wearer food, is 
deservedly popular. 

It is not only for causing or saving life that charms 
exist. For if in a mixture of ink and water, as described 
above, there be soaked with the appropriate words, of 
course a piece of wood taken from a tree which has 
been struck by lightning, a very powerful potion is 



CHARMS AND POTIONS 171 

produced.* If a person washes his own body with 
this, his enemy (not he himself) will die, and this is 
very convenient, for the enemy would not give him the 
chance of washing his body.f 

Charms are also made to give the wearer the power 
of making himself invisible, and these are particularly 
useful to thieves for the priests have no hesitation in 
taking fees from whatever quarter they are offered. A 
policeman of mine was covered with them, as I discov- 
ered when I at last found him out and put him in prison, 
and his nickname in Jemaan Daroro was " King of the 
Door-blind," because (I was told) he could pass his 
body into a house without disturbing even that flimsy 
protection. There is a potion which will give the 
gambler success if he washes his hands (which throw the 
shells) and mouth (which says the w r ord sabi at the same 
time) with it. 

There are love-philtres which will create desire when 
drunk by the person selected, or certain rites may be 
performed to accomplish the same desirable end, and 
last, but not least, certain tatu patterns make the wearer 
quite irresistible. The fruit of the begeyi tree will 
reconcile husband and wife, if eaten. 

A high level of reasoning is shown in L.T.H. 34, 
where a woman seeks a charm to give her the power of 
ruling her husband. The malam tells her that she 
must bring him some buffalo-cow's milk, and she gets 
this after having gradually made the beast accustomed 
to her presence. When at last she brings the milk, the 

* Robinson, Hausaland, page 141. 

t The Hausa is not the only one who kills with a written 
charm. Only last year I heard of an English society lady who 
had hidden a paper in a drawer for some time with a wish written 
upon it, in order to cause an injury to someone who had offended 
her, and she quite believed that it would act ! 






i;2 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

malam asks " How did you get it? " " By strength of 
will, by luck, and by coaxing,'* she replies. " Good," 
says the malam, " by the same means that you obtained 
the buffalo's milk will you be able to rule your hus- 
band." 

For some affections, the cure is more a rite than a 
charm. Thus, for a swelling on the throat, one should 
tie a mortar behind (like an infant) and walk about the 
house ; while for a certain kind of boils there is nothing 
so efficacious as kneeling to a dog ! As these boils are 
mainly on the knee, there is more sense in this than is 
apparent at first sight, for the kneeling might burst 
them. 

MAGICAL GIFTS. Presents (as apart from charms 
which are purchased) from supernaturals are not com- 
mon in Hausa folk-lore though, as certain gifts have 
magical properties (29), they may have come originally 
from other than mortal donors but members of the 
animal kingdom sometimes reward a hero and take the 
place of the fairies in the tales of other countries (12 
and 62). There is no philosopher's stone, but there is 
a tree which will turn what it touches into money,* 
and there is also a magic carpet, though this last has 
almost certainly an Arabian origin. 

* It is called Jato itachen kurdi or Jato na arsikki, and " the 
approach to it is guarded by phantoms fearful men and animals, 
leopards, hyaenas, and enormous snakes. . . . The writer 
was entirely incredulous of every property attributed to the lucky 
tree until May, IQOQ, when one night, looking in a direction 
where there was nothing but uninhabited bush, he saw at a dis- 
tance of between 500 and 1,000 yards a ruddy light which 
hovered unsteadily in the air, appearing and disappearing at 
intervals of about a quarter of a minute like a large will-o'-the- 
wisp. The natives unanimously recognized it as the light of the 
Fortunate Tree, but declined to explore in its direction. It is 
probably an electrical manifestation at the tips of the branches 
similar to the St. Elmo's fire seen at the extremities of ship's 
masts in certain conditions of atmosphere." Hausa Sayings, 
page 93. 



POTTERY 



173 





The five figures, Nos. 44 to 48, show the stages in one method of pot making. 
Illustrations XVII. and XVIII. correspond with the third and fourth diagrams. 



i 7 4 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

FORMS OF ADDRESS. It is worthy of note that the 
personification of animals is emphasized in the tales 
of some tribes by an honorific prefix corresponding to 
" Brer Rabbit," " Miss Cow," &c., of the Uncle Remus 
stories. This does not apply to the Hausa versions, 
but there is a form of address or kirari used for certain 
members of the animal kingdom. For instance, that 
of the lion is " O Strong One, Elder Brother of the 
Forest " (6), the hyaena is addressed as " O Hyaena, O 
Strong Hyaena, O Great Dancer," and on hearing this 
the animal at once begins to dance, and will go away 
(53). The dog has a long kirari, part of which is 
unprintable, it is " O Dog, your breakfast is a 
club, your jura a stick (i.e., a beating), O Dog, you 
spoil a prayer (because if a dog's shadow touches a man 
while praying it ruins the supplication),* you are the 
hyaena's perquisite, your ribs are like the plaits in a 
grass mat, your tail is like a roll of tobacco, your nose 
is always moist." That of the jackal has already been 
mentioned (6). 

The horse is known as " O Prancing One, that 
which the Great Man rides; O Horse go carefully; O 
Offspring of another, I have you." 

A small species of crocodile is addressed thus, " O 
Tsari, you causer of anger, if you are chased you fall 
into the water." 

The spider is Gizzo Gizzami, which seems to mean 
14 O Spider of Spiders," but he is usually known by 



* Mr. Crooke thinks that this has been borrowed from Islam, 
as dogs are regarded as unclean animals. According to a tradi- 
tion by Abu Hurairah, Mohammed said that when a dog drinks 
in a vessel, it must be washed seven times, and that the first 
cleansing should be with earth (Miskfcat, Book iii, chap, ii, pt. i), 
quoted by Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, page 91. 



FORMS OF ADDRESS 175 

his nickname Maiivayo, the Crafty One, or less often 
Munafikin Allah. The butterfly's kirari is most appro- 
priate, " O Glistening One, O Book of God, O 
Learned One open your book," i.e., your wings. The 
common locust is not at all a favourite, but there may 
be a particular species which is harmless, " O Locust 
of the tumfafia tree, you are not eaten, and you do not 
eat anything." 

Birds, too, have their kirari, the hen's is " O Fowl, 
you foul your own nest." A turkey is prized, " O 
Turkey, you are too valuable to be killed for a 
stranger's feast." There is one small house-bird 
which nests in the inside of the grass roofs of entrance- 
halls or unused huts (where there is no smoke) which, 
if caught and held by the back of the neck, like a 
kitten, will swing to and fro. The holder will sing 
" O Chada, swing, I will give you your mother, O 
Yellow Beak," and this means that the bird is not to 
be afraid. I have forgotten the rest, unfortunately; 
the bird is a kind of swallow, I think. A small bird 
like a sparrow, renowned for its twittering, is addressed 
11 O Suda, you are full of news, you tell it though not 
asked." I called a Court messenger Momo Suda for 
a reason which I considered most appropriate, but he 
was not at all pleased. The eagle is supposed to be a 
wise bird, " O Eagle, you do not settle on the ground 
without a reason," i.e., that there is something there 
to eat. The belief that the White-Breasted Crow rears 
chickens has been mentioned elsewhere, " O White- 
Breasted Crow, make the offspring of another become 
yours," is its kirari. 

I do not know if many fish have been immortalized 
in this way ; the mud-fish (or lung-fish) is addressed " O 
Mud-fish, eat your own body," from the fact that it 



1 76 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

lives in the mud during the dry weather, and does not 
get any food. 

Persons and bogies also have their proper titles. 
Dodo is often known as Mijjin Mazza, " Man of 
Men,'* not what one might expect considering his 
general reputation. A bachelor is said to dream of the 
grinding and pounding corn that he will have to do 
next day. But an old woman has the least compli- 
mentary titles : " O Old Thing, you are thin every- 
where except at the knee, of flesh you have but a hand- 
ful, though your bones would fill a basket." Another is 
" Bend down your head, Sword, I'll kill your lice, and 
you will end my married life." The first is obvious, the 
meaning of the latter is that when one woman does 
another's hair (a tedious operation, for it has been 
up for weeks probably, and will not be done again for 
some time) they usually talk scandal, and so the young 
wife will hear tales of her husband, and probably 
quarrel with him.* The word sword refers to the old 
woman's sharp tongue, and has a familiar sound. 

The general kirari of a wife and husband is " O 
Woman whose deception keeps one upon tenterhooks 
(thorns), your mouth though small can still destroy 
dignity. If there were none of you there could be no 
household, if there are too many of you the household 
is ruined." Another version is " O Woman, your 
deception is a cloak of pain, without you there is no 
household," &c. But this kirari is a double one, for 



* The hair is worn in a single hard ridge on the top of the 
head, and as it is plastered thick with grease it soon becomes full 
of vermin. It is so firm that the women sometimes hide English 
silver coins in it. (Vide note xciii, 5.) Beriberi women also 
wear a ridge, but the hair is arranged in a number of tiny plaits. 
The Filani (whose hair is much longer, and not curly) wear long 
curls on each side of the face. 



FORMS OF ADDRESS 177 

O Chief when I came to you what did 
you give me ? I brought my goods to your house, and 
when you had seen them you squandered them, now 
you wish to get rid of me." The first part will be 
clear from w 7 hat has been said in Chapter V, but the 
last part requires a little explanation, being built upon 
the following story. A rich woman took pity upon a 
poor man and married him. He was fond of her, and 
at first he would not touch her property. But one day 
he asked for money to buy a new tobe, and she gave 
it to him. One success spurred him to further efforts, 
and soon he had spent all her money in new clothes 
for himself. When he saw that she had nothing more 
to give him (and he had the clothes, which are a form 
of currency) he began to illtreat her, and so she sang 
this pathetic song. 

In addition to the general kirari, every celebrated 
man has a special individual nickname resembling our 
Richard, the Lion Heart. But sometimes the titles 
(real or false) are strung out to almost endless lengths, 
for as each professional flatterer must live by his 
tongue, he will take care to make as much use of it as 
possible. 

It is not etiquette to refer to the members of a man's 
family individually unless, perhaps, one be ill though 
a general salutation such as " Are all your household 
well ? " is quite correct. The forms of address and the 
descriptions vary for an important person and for a 
poor man, thus one says "The beggar is dead," but 
1 The Chief is missing " ; an enemy may be " ill," but 
a friend is " not well." And while a common woman 
about to become a mother might "make belly," her 
sister in more polished circles would have " two selves." 

There is also a distinction between human beings 
12 



178 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

and animals, in spite of the fact that they can transform 
themselves, for while it is correct to say " the man is 
lame," the horse is described as being '* without a 
leg "; my brother may be " blind," but my dog, if in 
the same unfortunate state, " has no eye." 

NAMES. There is evidently some magic in names, 
and the first-born child is usually, if not always, known 
by a nick-name, for all Hausa children have a secret 
and a public name, the first being known only to them- 
selves. Thus the wife of one of the Court Mes- 
sengers (native runners) was always known as Yar 
Jekada (Daughter of the Tax-Collector), her real name 
almost forgotten even by the owner herself being 
Ashetu. This prohibition applies even to adopted 
children, for Story 69 relates how a boy offered to let 
a childless old woman treat him as her son on condition 
that she would not even tell anyone else his name, and, 
as she could not keep the secret, she died childless. 

Children are often named according to the day on 
which they were born, thus Lahidi because born on the 
first day, Sunday ; Laraba, on the fourth day, Wednes- 
day; Bi Salla, because they appeared on the day after 
the Feast, and so on.* 

The names may commemorate some special inci- 
dent, such as the arrival of a European, but in that 
case, if girls, they are usually called Matan Bature, or 
" Wife of the White Man," though the reason is not 
evident unless there is some idea of betrothal in infancy. 
Twins would probably be named in pairs thus AI 
Hassan and Hassana, Husein and Huseina, and so on. 

* This corresponds to some extent with our custom of christen- 
ing children born on Christmas Day, Noel (and even Melbourne, 
Tasma, &c., after the name of the place where the interesting 
event occurred). 



NAMES 179 

Again, they may simply show the order in which the 
owners were born, for instance, a son after two 
daughters is known as Tanko, a daughter after two sons 
as Kandi, and the next child after twins might be called 
Gumbo.* The sole survivor of a family, the members 
of which had died in infancy, would probably be known 
as Be ran (left). 

The names of animals are sometimes used, Kura, the 
hyaena, being fairly common (another occurs in Story 
81), and it has been suggested that when such a name 
is given in infancy it indicates a survival of totemism.f 

When several children of one mother have died in 
infancy, 'means must be taken to avert a similar fate in 
the case of those born subsequently, and it is lucky for 
them that these measures are not so elaborate as those 
on the Gold Coast, which are quite sufficient to kill the 
child right off (see T.H.H. page 173). First a special 
name is given, Ajuji being a favourite in the case of 
both males and females; next a special charm (consist- 
ing of a leather belt ornamented with brass rings) is 
worn on neck and waist until the child is grown up ; and 
sometimes the hair will be shaved or dressed in a special 
way. The mother, too, may partake in the last; if 
three children have died she will shave one side of her 
head ; if four, the whole. Very often in the case of 
other peoples, an opprobrious name is chosen for a 
child born after the death of others, so as to depre- 



fr We may compare with these, perhaps, our own names of 
Tertius, Decima, and others. Even the celebrated " Elizabeth, 
Betty, Bessie, and Bess " has a Hausa representative in Aye- 
shetu, Ashetu, Ayesha, and Shetu or Shatu. 

t This is probably correct, though not invariably so nowadays. 
An Englishman would not necessarily be in the totemistic stage 
simply because he lived in, say, " The Pines," and called all his 
daughters by the names of flowers an actual case in Ballarat. 



i8o HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

date it, and make the evil influence less likely to be 
exerted against it. In India Kuriya (" Dunghill ") is 
a common name for a male,* and it is exceedingly likely 
that Ajuji has come from juji which has a similar 
English equivalent. Possibly, too, instead of indicating 
the order of birth, originally, Tanko may have come 
from tankoshe (repelled), Kandi from kandilu (cow- 
dung), and Gumbo (also spelt Gambo) from gambu or 
gyambu (lame, sore legged). 

Wives must not address their husbands by name, 
not at any rate their first husbands, nor must they tell 
it to others (56); there is a song " O God, I repent, I 
have spoken the name of my husband." They usually 
call him " Master of the House, "f or perhaps use some 
nickname, or his title if any. But the prohibition does 
not seem to apply to witches, or at any rate they can 
pronounce it with impunity (95), and this is only to be 
expected if the origin of the tabu was due to the fear of 
sorcery. Although the name is in this case considered 
to be part of its owner, it is a vulnerable point of attack 
only by an evil-disposed wife, but care is taken to ensure 
that nail-parings, hair, &c., shall be buried, for not only 
the wives, but anyone else can work the owner 
harm through their agency. I am not sure if 
the prohibition against a wife mentioning her 
husband's name applies before marriage or not, 
but I think so, for, although in Story 43 only 
the maiden who could guess the name of the 
unknown youth could become his wife, and then the 

* Crooke, o$. cit., p. 187. 

t Or " Master of our House." No one but the master himself 
would use the term " my " when referring to the house, family, 
or possessions. So the Hausa servant speaks of his European 
master as " Our Whiteman," and to tell him that his baggage 
is arriving, he would say " There are our loads." 



NAMES 181 

name was a fictitious one ; in Story 42, the bashful girl 
was beaten for pronouncing it to the owner. But the 
unmarried girl may perhaps tell the name of her 
beloved to her parents (61), without evil consequences.* 

Men are often known as So and So, Son of So and 
So (e.g., Othman dan Fodio, the Filani Conqueror), 
but in Story 86, variant, the hero is addressed by his 
sister as " Auta, Brother of Barra." 

Nicknames are very common, especially those sug- 
gested by some physical characteristic, such as Babban 
Kai (Big Head), and Maika(r)rifi (the Strong One). Or 
they may commemorate some act, the " Burier-alive " 
in T.H.H. 7, and Rice and others in Story 43, or some 
speech such as " There-is-no-King-but-God " (i). The 
words Lion or Bull Elephant when applied to a chief 
are not really nicknames, they are forms of address; 
but sometimes the names of other animals, such as Giwa 
(elephant), may be when given later in life, for they 
probably point to some physical characteristic. 

Slave-names correspond to some extent to our 
" Praise God Barebones," though the sentence is often 
much longer, part being spoken by the person calling, 
and the rest by the owner of the name when answering. 
Thus " Ku(l)um Safia f) and the person addressed 

* Perhaps the Hausa has a similar reason to that of the Hindu 
for the tabu " by which a Hindu woman is prevented from using 
the name of her husband. To this, however, there is one notable 
exception c At marriages, coming of age, first pregnancy, and 
festive days . . . . it is usual for the women to recite or sing 
a couplet or verse in which the husband's name occurs. At 
marriages .... an old man or an old lady gets close to the 
door, and refuses to allow the young women to go unless they 
have told their husband's najne. [This is either] part of a 
ceremony whose object is to drive to a distance any spirits whose 
influence might blight the tender life of the unborn child, 5 [or it 
may be] a survival of the custom of distinctly admitting 
maternity and paternity." Crooke, o$. cit., ii, 6. 



1 82 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



replies " Ina Godia," meaning " Every morning I give 
thanks." Again, " Bia Maradi Allah," "The Giver 
of Joy is God." Others still are in the form of a ques- 
tion, as " Mine ya fi dadi? Dan uwa," meaning 
" Who is best off? He who has a mother " (to look 
after him). Allah Keauta is exactly our Theodore. 
Some of course are shortened, and are difficult to under- 
stand, such as " Kun so " and the reply " Na samu," 
which in its proper form is " Kun so en rassa " " You 
wanted me to go without "; " Allah ya sa na samu " 
"but God caused me to obtain." A common name 
is Allah bai which is really " Allah shi ba baba mu 
samu " i.e., " God give our chief plenty, so that we 
may have some of it " there is no unnecessary reti- 
cence in the Hausa invocations ! ! 




FIG. 49. Gourd used by travellers. Can be grown in various shapes. 




FIG. 50. Decorated gourd, pattern left in relief and stained purple. 
D. 3 | in. 



PART II. 

Hausa Tales, Variants, and 
Parallels. 




THERE is NO KING BUT GOD. 

When one [who is an ordinary Person] comes to 
the council, he says " May the King live for ever," 
but a certain Man came and said " There is no King 
but God." Now he was always saying this, and at 
last the King became very angry with him. So he 
k two rings of silver and gave them to him to keep 
or him, with the intention of avenging himself upon 
im. So [the Man whom everyone now called] 
1 There-is-no-King-but-God " took the two rings, put 
them into an empty Ram's horn, and gave it to his 
Wife to keep for him. 

About five days afterwards, the King said " O, 
There-is-no-King-but-God, I am going to send you to 



1 84 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

a certain village," and the other replied " It is good." 
And when the King sent him, he said "Tell my 
People to come in and help to build the city wall." 
No sooner had he gone, than the King said [to his 
Attendants] " Go to the Wife of There-is-no-King-but- 
God," and, he continued, " Offer her a million cowries, 
offer her a hundred body-cloths, and a hundred head- 
cloths, if she will give the King that which There-is-no- 
King-but-God gave her to take care of." When the 
Wife heard this, she said " I agree," and she brought 
the horn and gave it to them, and when the King 
had received it he opened it, and looked inside, and 
saw his rings there. So he replaced them in the horn, 
and pressed them down, and said " Take this, and 
throw it into a certain lake that can never dry up." 
But as it happened, just as the Attendants had arrived 
at the lake, and had thrown in the horn, a great Fish 
swam by, and swallowed it. 

Now on that very day There-is-no-King-but-God 
returned from his journey, and when he had arrived, 
he met some men of his city who said that they were 
going off to fish with nets at the lake. And he went with 
them, and lo ! he caught the very same great Fish, and 
as his Son was cleaning it, the knife struck the horn 
with a keras. Then he said " Opp, there is something 
inside this Fish." " What is it? " asked There-is-no- 
King-but-God, and the Son said " Well I never, there 
is a horn in its inside." Then his Father said " Pull 
it out that we may see it," and the Son pulled it out, 
and gave it to him. So he opened it, and looked, and 
what did he see but the King's rings which he had 
given him to keep for him! Then he said "Truly 
there is no King but God." 

Just as they had finished cleaning the Fish, the 



THERE IS NO KING BUT GOD 185 

King's Messenger came and said " There-is-no-King- 
but-God, when you have refreshed yourself (i), the 
King wants you/' So he replied " I come." And 
when the Messenger had gone, he said to his Wife 
" Where is that thing which I gave you to take care 
of ? " She replied " Oh, I don't know, a Mouse must 
have taken it." Then he said " There is no King but 
God." 

When he had refreshed himself he took the path to 
the court, and when he had come he sat down. And 
the Councillors began saying " May the King live for 
ever," but he said " There is no King but God." Then 
the King told all the Councillors to be silent for he 
was going to talk with There-is-no-King-but-God, and 
he asked " Is there no King but God?" And the 
other replied " Yes, there is no King but God." 
Then the King said " I want immediately that thing 
which I gave you to keep for me." And as h,e spoke, 
the Guards arose and stood about him, so that if he 
could not give back the thing, they would take him 
to be impaled (2). 

But There-is-no-King-but-God put his hand into his 
>cket, and pulled out the horn, and held it out to the 
Ang y and when the King had opened it he saw his 
rings. Then he said " Truly there is no King but 
God," and the Councillors saluted There-is-no-King- 
but-God. Then the King divided his city into two, 
and gave him half to rule over. 



In a variant (L.T.H. 92) the King gets the King of 
the Thieves [a recognized individual] to steal the rings 
on the advice of a Leper. The ring was thrown into 
the water, and the Fish which swallowed it was bought 
by There-is-no-King-but-God. Other trials are im- 
posed like those in Story 80. In another (L.T.H. 113) 
the Man catches the Fish at a ford on his way home. 



1 86 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

This is one of the many versions of a tale first 
recorded by Herodotus, iii, 40, sqq., where the adven- 
ture is attributed to Polycrates, despot of Samos in the 
sixth century B.C. Variants are very numerous. The 
story occurs in the Arabian Nights and throughout the 
East as far even as Japan (Nihongi, Aston 's Translation, 
i, 92, sg<?.). In Africa it has been recorded in Senegambia 
by Berenger-Fe"raud (Contes Pop. de la Sene gamble, 
145), and in Morocco by Doutte" (Magie et Religion 
dans I'Afrique du Nord, 157), where it is a Moham- 
medan tradition. It has also been reported by Miss 
Kingsley (West African Studies, 565) from Old Cala- 
bar, where it seems to be a native tale. It is localized in 
many parts of Europe. The arms of the city of 
Glasgow commemorate the tale as a miracle of St. 
Kentigern, the Apostle of Strathclyde. (H.). 

In India, it appears in Kashmir (vide Knowles, 
Folk-tales of Kashmir, p. 27, and in North Indian 
Notes and Queries, iii, 11 ff.). (C.). 



2 

THE PUNISHMENT OF THE SABBATH-(I)-BREAKERS. 

A number of Men went out to fish with nets, 
and on the way they met an Old Man, and the Old 
Man asked "Where are you going?" They replied 
" We are going fishing." Then he said " Ah, to-day 
is not the day for fishing," for it was the seventh day, 
but they answered that they were going all the same, so 
he said " Very well, go." And they went, and began 
to cast their nets. 

Soon the Hedgehog made a noise like thunder, and 
said " Are you equal to me? " But they said in their 
hearts that there was no one who would stop them now. 
Then the Boys [who were standing on the bank ready 
to catch the Fish when thrown to them by the Men in 



THE MAIDEN AND THE FISH 187 

the water] were turned into Pelicans, and the Men 
became big Monkeys, and they could not return home. 
You know that the seventh day is the one on which 
the Fishes pray. 

This appears to be a corruption of the story in the 
Koran, a Hausa version of which is given in M.H. (9), 
the reason of the Men refusing to listen to the Messenger 
of God being that the Women derided them for even 
thinking about it. 



3 
THE TENDER-HEARTED MAIDEN AND THE FISH. 

A certain Man went to the river to catch Fish, and 
he brought one home, and gave it to his Wife, so the 
Wife said to her Step-Daughter (i) " Get up, go to the 
river, and wash the Fish, but if you let it go, when 
you have come back I will thrash you." 

So the Step-Daughter went to the river, and had 
begun to wash the Fish, when it said " O Maiden, will 
you not set me free that I may go and give my Young 
Ones suck? " (2). And she replied " Very well, go," 
and she waited. When the Fish returned, it said (3) 
"Now, pick me up, and let us go," but she replied 
11 No, no, you may go free." Then the Fish said " I 
heard what was said to you, that you would be beaten 
[if I escaped]," but she replied " Fish, swim away." 
And the Fish said " Good-bye until to-morrow, you 
must return in the morning." So the Maiden went 
home, and she was seized, and beaten, until at last her 
Father said " Leave her alone, God will give us 
another to-morrow." 

Next morning she got up, and went to where she 



1 88 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

had left the Fish. Now the Fish had summoned all 
its Relatives to come and see the Maiden who had set 
it free, and all the Relatives came, there were many of 
them. Then the Fish called the Maiden, and said 
"Come here," and when she had gone up close, the 
Fish continued " Now, see the One who has saved my 
life. I was caught, and it was decided that I should 
be cooked, so I was given to her that she might come 
and wash me, but she set me free. That is why I said 
" You come, all of you, and see her, and thank her." 
Then it said to her " Go home, whenever you are 
hungry come here, until the first night of the feast " (4). 

When the first night of the feast came, all of the 
Family [except the Step-Daughter] were going off to 
the dances, to those which the Young People perform, 
and the Fish said " When they have gone, you come 
to me.'* All of the Others went off to the dances an 
old cloth had been chosen and given to the Step- 
Daughter, although the Wife's own Daughter had 
been given a new cloth to wear and so she went to 
the Fish, wearing the old cloth. But the Fish brought 
her a heap of finery, and the Maiden went to the dance 
looking splendid. 

Now when the King saw her, he sent to tell her 
that she was the Maiden whom he wished to marry. 
But she replied " Very well, but go to my Father's 
house, I was not born in the playground" (5). So the 
King ordered his Messengers to go to the Father's 
house (6), but the Father said "What! It cannot be. 
I have no Daughter such as the King would wish to 
marry." Now his Wife [heard them talking, and she] 
said to her Daughter " Go, run home, do you not hear 
that the King wants to marry you?" But the Girl 
replied " No, no, it is not I, it is another, the King 



THE MAIDEN AND THE FISH 189 

noticed her at the dance." So the Messengers came, 
and arranged for the marriage, and the King gave the 
Rival Wife (7) riches, and the Parents said " Let her 
oe carried away and taken to the King.'* In the even- 
ing she escaped, and ran to the Fish and told it, and 
said " I have been married to the King." And the 
Fish replied " Thanks be to God, go to the King's 
palace, and to-morrow we will come." So she said 
"Very well," and went, and in the morning all the 
Fishes assembled, and the Fish told its Relatives what 
had happened. So they collected grain, and in the 
evening when the night had come, they sent word 
saying " Let nobody from the King's palace go outside 
at night" (8). Then they took the grain and brought 
it to the Maiden, and they collected cloths, and brought 
them to her. 

Now, that night, the Women of the King's palace 
seized the Maiden's hands, and cut them off, because 
of their jealousy, and they said derisively " Look at the 
King's Wife, she has no hands !" But she roused her 
Chamber-Maid, and said " Go to the Fish, and tell it 
what has happened to me, the Women have cut off both 
my hands." When the Fishes had heard, they said 
" Since she did not bring grief upon us, she also shall 
not have any." So at midnight the Fishes took the 
road, and came to the palace, and restored her hands to 
her (9). 

Next morning the Women said " Let them be 
given guinea-corn to pound up," and they continued 
14 Let the Bride be called to come and pound." So the 
Bride came out, they thought that she had no hands, 
but she took hold of the pestle, and they saw that she 
had hands. Then other People, who had heard them 
say that she had no hands, laughed at the jealous 
Women, and they were made fun of until they were 



190 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

shamed. But the Bride merely ignored them, and 
returned to the King (10). 



A variant (L.T.H. ii, 69) is even more like Cinder- 
ella, for the Maiden leaves her boot of gold behind, and 
next morning she is the only one whom it will fit, in 
fact, the boot runs to her, and puts itself on her foot. 
In this case, the Frog acts the part of the Fish in return 
for food which the Maiden has given him, and the other 
Wives of the King's Son are good to her. The Step- 
Sister, however, tries to take her place in the palace, 
and is killed on being discovered, while the rightful 
Wife comes back to her own. 



4 

THE SPIDER, THE OLD WOMAN, AND THE WONDERFUL 

BULL. 

Once there was a certain Old Woman who used to 
boil herbs and take them to the market to be sold, and 
at last she had saved up enough money to buy a Bull- 
Calf, and when she had bought him she took him to 
her compound, and looked after him. She tended him 
until he had grown into a great Bull. 

One day the Spider saw the Bull, and he went and 
told the King. He said " O King, how many ears 
have you ? " And the King replied " I have one ear." 
The Spider said " Cut off the one and give it to me 
to eat, and you will hear some news " (i). And the 
King said " I have done so, what have you seen? " 
The Spider replied " I have seen a Bull in the Old 
Woman's house, a very big Bull." Then the King 
sent Men to go and loose the Bull, and they tried to do 
so, but he refused to allow them. Then they said 
11 Beat the Spider [it is he who brought us here]." 
But the Spider said " If you beat me you must beat 



THE WONDERFUL BULL 



191 



the Old Woman also." Then the Old Woman said to 
the Bull " Go up to the heel-peg (2), the Councillors are 
possessed with evil, even for the smallest thing they 
will haul one to the Court." So the Bull went off, and 
was brought to the King's palace. Then they tried to 
make him lie down, and as he refused, they cried out 
"Beat the Spider." But he said "If you beat me 
you must beat the Old Woman also." So she said 




FIG. 51. Lid of fig. 50. 



So 



" O Bull, lie down, and let them slaughter you. 
he lay down, and they slaughtered him. 

When they had slaughtered the Bull, they gave 
the Old Woman the entrails, and then she went home, 
fow the Old Woman had left some cotton boles at 
tome, and when she returned she saw that the cotton 
id been spun. So she hid in her hut [to see who had 
me it], and soon she saw some Young Girls appear 
id commence spinning again. But when they saw 



i 9 2 HAUSA SUPERSTITIOXS 

her they began to change into entrails so as to [disguise 
themselves and] hide from her, but she said " Remain 
as you are," and they replied '* Very well." 

Now one day the Spider came along again, and he 
met the Beautiful Girls, so he went and told the King 
that he had seen Beautiful Young Girls at the Old 
Woman's house. So the King said to his Messengers 
41 Go and bring the Old Woman and the Girls." So 
they came, and the Old Woman was told to return 
home with all but one whom the King had chosen as 
his Wife. 

After a time the King began preparing for a cam- 
paign, and he told his Bride to give up going outside 
the house, for if she did any work she would melt ; and 
when he had said this, he went off to the war. Now 
when he had gone, the Women of the household who 
had been there before she had come, told her to come 
outside and work (3), so the Girl did so and began to 
work, but she melted near a fire. Then a Pigeon was 
summoned, and they said to her " Go and tell the King 
that the Bride has melted." Thus the King heard the 
news, and returned home, and said " Whatever made 
the Girl go outside and work?" And they replied 
" The Women of the house made her do so." 

Then the Old Woman was summoned, and, when 
she had beaten the ground in the place where the Girl 
had melted (4), the Girl rose up. Then the King said 
44 What made you go outside and work?" And she 
replied " They made me do so." Then the King put 
to death all those Women of the house, and he sum- 
moned the Old Woman and gave her presents, and he 
lived with the Bride. 

In a variant (L.T.H. 160) the Young Girls are 
known as ll Of-the-Stomach, " " Of-the-Liver, " "Of- 



THE FALSE FRIEND 193 

the-Heart," " Of-the-Kidneys, " " Of-the-Fat," accord- 
ing to the part which gave each birth, and it was the 
last-named whom the King married. The Old Woman 
resurrects her by putting the spots of grease in a pot, 
pouring in water, and leaving the pot closed until the 
morning. 



5 
THE FALSE FRIEND. 

A certain Youth said to his Friend " Come, accom- 
pany me to my Wife's People's house," so the Friend 
went with him, and they took the road, and started 
travelling. When they had come to the Mother-in-Law's 
house, the People said " Oh, welcome, welcome." The 
Husband had taken his Mare with him. 

Well, food was brought to them, but the Youth said 
that his Friend could eat, but that he himself could not 
do so, as they were in his Mother-in-Law's house (i), 
and they said " Very well." The mid-day meal was 
brought also, and the Friend said " Come and eat," but 
he replied " No, no, you eat, I shall not eat anything, 
this is my Mother-in-Law's house." So the other ate 
it, and when the evening meal was brought, the Youth 
refused that also. 

Now in the middle of the night, he was seized with 
hunger, and he roused his Friend, and said " I am very 
hungry, there is plenty of millet at the farm, and here 
is a rope. I shall tie it to a post in this hut and 
take the other end with me (2), and go and get some of 
the bundles." So he did so, and went, and got some 
bundles. But while he was away, the Friend untied the 
rope, and made it fast to a post in the Mother-in-Law's 
hut; so when the Youth had got his millet, he felt his 
way along the rope until he had come [and entered] 
his Mother-in-Law's hut. .When he had got inside, he 
13 



194 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

said " I have been, I have got my bundle," and he 
continued " This year these People have a great quantity 
of millet, and I have taken some." Now the Father-in- 
Law was lying there, and had been watching all this 
time ! But the Youth thought that it was his Friend, 
so he pulled off the ears of corn, and when he had 
finished the lot he cooked them and ate them. When 
he had had enough, he said " O Friend, where is the 
water? " and the Father-in-Law pointed with his hand, 
but did not open his mouth lest he should betray 
himself. When the Youth had drunk, he said " Make 
room for me to lie down," but the Father-in-Law 
said " O Youth, this is not your hut." When the 
other had looked, he saw that it was his Father-in- 
Law, and he left the hut, and went and put on his 
saddle, and mounted his Mare, although it was night, 
and started off. Before day had broken he had come 
near his own town, but just then his Mare (3) bucked 
him off, and returned to the Mother-in-Law's house, 
and when she had arrived they caught her, and tied 
her up. 

Then the Wife's Father came out, and went to the 
Mare, and opened the saddle-bags and put in his hand, 
and would you believe it ? the Friend had half-filled 
them with dirt.* When the Father-in-Law had put in 
his hand, he brought out the leg of a fowl, but when he 
put it in again he stuck it in the dirt. 

The Youth [was so much ashamed that he] would 
not go back to his Wife's town, nor would he go and 
get his Mare, both of them he abandoned to his Father- 
in-Law. As for the Friend, he went his own way next 
morning. 

That kind of friendship is not pleasant. 



A LIE AND A SPEAR 195 

In a variant (L.T.H. 101) a Malam takes a Boy 
with him to hold his Mare, and (although there is no 
mention of his refusing any of the food offered) 
in the night he steals three Fowls, and rides off. 
At daybreak, the Malam dismounts to say his 
prayers, and the Mare gets away from him, and 
returns to the house of the Parents-in-Law. The 
Malam follows, and pretends that he was put out 
of the house, and accuses the Boy of stealing the 
Fowls, but no one believes him. If this change is due 
to Mohammedan influence, it is rather strange that the 
Malam should be much worse than the Youth. 



6 

A LIE CAN GIVE MORE PAIN THAN A SPEAR. 

A Jackal once lived with a Hyaena, and whenever he 
stretched himself he would say " A lie can give more 
pain than a spear." But the Hyaena would reply " A 
spear does more harm than a lie." 

One day the Jackal went to the market, and bought 
honey-cakes and then took them to the Lion's lair, and 
on his arrival he said " O Great One, Elder Brother of 
the Forest, see here is something nice that I have 
brought for you " ; and he gave him the cakes (i). The 
Lion took them, and tasted them, and found them 
delicious, so he said " O Wise One of the Forest, 
where did you get these very nice things?" " I got 
them at the Hyaena's house," the Jackal replied, " they 
are her tears*; she will not give any to you, however, 
but only to us young ones." Then the Lion asked 
" Where is the Hyaena? " and the Jackal said " She is 
at home." 

So the Lion started off for the Hyaena's house, and 
on his arrival he said to her " Shed some of your sweet 
tears for me." So she shed some, and he tasted them, 



196 1 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

and found that they were not sweet, and he said " No, 
no, not that kind." So she tried again, and he found 
them bitter also, and then he got angry, and seized her, 
and squeezed her, and he kept on squeezing her, and 
she kept on shedding bitter tears, until he had almost 
killed her. Then he left her, and went home. 

Soon afterwards, the Jackal arrived, and she ex- 
claimed " Truly a lie can give more pain than a spear." 
Then he said " Oh, you have found that out, have 
you?" And she replied "I have." 



In a variant of this story (F.-L. 23) the Goat deceives 
the Lion by a false description of the Hyaena's products. 



7 
THE KING WHO FULFILLED HIS PROMISE TO THE LEPER. 

A Blind Man and a Female Leper married, and after 
that, they gave birth to a hundred Children, and amongst 
the whole lot there was not one who could walk; some 
dragged themselves along the ground, some crawled 
about, some could not raise themselves at all. 

Soon after the hundredth Child had been born, 
an Enemy's Force came and attacked the city in 
which they lived, and the Man said [to his 
Wife] "You take fifty and I'll take fifty of the 
Children, and let us go and hide them " (i). So the 
Woman took one and put it on her back, and she took 
another and put it on her breast; the Man took one 
and put it on one shoulder, he took another and put 
it on the other shoulder, and he took a third and put 
it on his chest ; and they went off with the five Children, 
and began running. Soon the Hostile Horsemen spied 



THE KING'S PROMISE 197 

them, and followed them at a gallop, and they ran on 
until they had come to the brink of a river. Then 
the Man plunged in and became a Bull-Hippopotamus, 
and his three Children became young Hippopotamus- 
Calves ; the Woman also plunged in and turned herself 
and her young into Crocodiles. 

Just then the Enemy arrived and halted at the 
brink of the river, and the Hippopotamus came close 
up and, with his chest, caused the water to over- 
flow, and the wave carried off twenty Horses, the 
Riders only just escaping. Then the remainder 
returned to the " War-Mother " (2) and said " See, 
there is something in the water which is too 
powerful for us." "Can one Man be too strong?" 
asked the King. " Let us go and see him," he con- 
tinued, so he started off and came to the bank of the 
river. When he had arrived, and had stopped, the Hip- 
popotamus took up the water and hurled it at them, and 
about fifty Horses and Men were killed. Then the 
War-Mother said " Truly that is not a Man, it is a 
Devil." So they started off, and left the place, and 
returned to besiege the city. 

Then the Hippopotamus and the Crocodile came 
out of the water, and changed themselves back 
into Human Beings again, and they went on and 
hid their Children afar off on the other side of the 
river. And after that, they returned, and followed behind 
the Enemy, and re-entered the city. Then they went to 
their King, and said " See, we have ninety-five 
Children here, in the name of God and his Messenger 
we claim your protection for them, for we are going to 
escape." And the King replied " I will answer for their 
safety." So they arose and fled. 

Soon afterwards, the Besiegers attacked and took 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the city, and, when the King saw that the city was 
lost, he said " A pledge in God's name is difficult of 
fulfilment." For was he to rescue the Offspring of his 
own body and leave those of the Blind-man and the 
Leper, or should he fulfil the promise that he had 
made [for he could not save both his own and theirs]. 
But he abandoned his own, and put their ninety-five on 
Horse-back, and he escaped with them. And the 
Enemy looted his palace and captured everyone of his 
own Children. 

Now after the Enemy had departed again, the Blind 
Man and the Leper returned with their five Children, and 
the King came back with the ninety-five, and said 
" Here are your Children." And now the King 
possessed nothing but his own life, he had no property 
of any kind. But when the Children grew up, one of 
the Maidens amongst them became very beautiful, and 
the King said that he wanted them to give her to him 
in marriage, and they said that she was his. 

Now when he had married her, the Girl would bring 
forth* from her body 10,000 cowries in the morning, 
and 20,000 in the evening, so the King bought Slaves 
and filled his palace with them, until his household was 
even larger than it ever was before (3). And there 
was avoidance (4) between him and the Leper (5). 



8 
THE FRIENDLY LION, AND THE YOUTH AND HIS WIFE. 

There was once a certain Hunter, and whenever he 
went to the forest he would kill some Beast and bring it 
back for himself and his Wife to eat. But one day he 
returned without having shot anything, and they went 



THE FRIENDLY LION 



199 



hungry. Next day he went out again and wandered 
about, but got nothing. But at last he caught a 
Locust, and wrapped it up in leaves, and brought it 
home and put it down (i). Now when the Wife saw the 
parcel of leaves, she thought that it was meat, so she lit 
her fire, and put on the pot to boil, and then she undid 
the leaves, and while she was doing so, the Locust 
jumped up with a " boop " and went off. Then she 
said to her Husband " The Thing which you brought 
has disappeared." And he abused her, and said " You 




~-^mVK^P^MiWHHMHBi^^ 

FIG. 52. Decorated gourd, pattern cut on red ground, small lid at top. 



go too, and wherever it goes you must follow and bring 
it back." Now the Wife was with Child, but she took 
the road, and followed the Locust. Just as she was 
about to catch it, it jumped up, and went on as before, 
and so she had to follow on again, and every time 
she tried to catch it, it escaped and went on further. 

Thus it continued, she could never catch it, and at 
last she became tired, and night was at hand. So she 
looked for a hollow tree, and no sooner had she found it 
and entered, than she felt the pains of labour, and she 



200 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

gave birth in the hollow tree to her Child, a Son. Then 
she put him on her back and went out to seek food (2). 

They lived on there for some time, and the Son 
began to understand a little, and he used to walk about, 
and go even to the den of a Lioness which had a 
Whelp. Whenever the Lioness brought meat, the Boy 
would get his share, and take it to his Mother in the 
hollow tree, and soon the Whelp got to know them 
both, and they used to play together. 

But one day, the Lioness, while out hunting, saw the 
Boy's Mother, and she sprang upon her, and killed 
her, and took up the corpse, and brought it to her den. 
The Whelp recognized the body, and refused to eat of 
it, and he told the Boy ; so they dug a grave, and buried 
the Mother. And, when the Whelp had grown up into 
a Young Lion, he killed his Mother the Lioness, and 
told the Boy [who was now a Youth]. But the Youth 
refused to eat the flesh, and so they dug another grave, 
and buried the body. 

After a time, the Youth said to the Young Lion 
" I am going to the town to live and marry," and the 
Young Lion replied "Very well." Then the Youth 
said " But I want a tobe, trousers, and a turban also, 
and money, and other things," and the Young Lion re- 
plied " You are right." So he went to the edge of the 
forest, and lay in wait on the road, and when the 
Traders were passing he sprang upon them, and killed 
them, and they fled and left their loads (3). Then the 
Lion took them, and carried them to the Youth, and the 
Youth went off to the town with them. 

When he had settled down, he married, and he 
lived in the town, and the Lion used to come at night 
and enter the Youth's house. But one day the Wife 
saw him, and she was afraid, and ran away crying 



THE FRIENDLY LION 201 

out " There is a Lion in our house." Then the Lion's 
heart was broken, and he returned to the forest, and 
went and lay down at the foot of a tree. And he said 
to the Youth (4) " If you hear me roar only once you 
will know that I am dead, if you hear me twice you will 
know that I am still alive." And the Youth said " Very 
well." And the Lion went off (5). 

Soon the Youth heard the Lion roar, and as it was 
only once he knew that the Lion was dead. So he 
arose and followed the Lion's spoor, and came to the 
place, and found the Lion dead. Then he said " Since 
the Lion is no longer alive, my life is of no use to me," 
and he took his knife and stabbed himself, and fell 
dead on top of the Lion. So they were quits (6). 

In a variant, the ending is not so sad, for when the 
Youth went to look for the Lion, a Guinea-Fowl told 
him to take her dirt from the foot of a tamarind tree, 
and to mix it with water, and when he had done so, 
" he came and he gave it to the Lion, and the Lion 
drank this, and came to life again." But he said " O 
Youth you go to your house and live there, but I will 
go to the forest." 

In another variant, a Female Friend of the Wife 
who is staying with her during the Husband's absence 
sees the Lion drinking milk out of a calabash which 
has been placed ready for him, and the Lion, thinking 
himself ambushed, rushes away, staking himself so 
badly on a fishing-spear blocking the gateway that he 
dies of the wound and of a broken heart. On the 
Husband's return, he goes to the den and rips open his 
inside. 



The Hausa story has not much resemblance to the 
Roman legend of Romulus and Remus, but some can 
certainly be seen in a Southern Nigerian version (given 
in British Nigeria, page 283). In the days when Iddah 
(7) was but a village, a Woman from Ohimoje found 



202 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

her way there, and brought forth a son in the forest, 
and left it there. A Leopardess found him and reared 
him with her Cubs, and when he grew up, the 
Leopardess, having observed the customs of Human 
Beings, was troubled about his nakedness, so she way- 
laid a Man, and took his clothes, and brought them to 
her Foster-Child. Later on, she decided that he must 
associate with his own kind, so she took him to the out- 
skirts of Iddah, and left him there. The Youth entered 
the town, and, on finding some of the People fighting, 
he took upon himself the position of Arbiter, and so 
much impressed were they, that he was proclaimed King 
on the spot. He was thus the first King or Attah, and 
by marrying with Women of the town, he had children 
as bold as Leopards. After a time, the Leopardess, 
knowing that she was about to die, came to bid him 
farewell, and the Attah begged her to remain with him, 
but she ran away to the forest, and died there. The 
Attah followed, and flung himself upon the body, and 
the People who followed found them both dead, so they 
buried them together. 



9 

HOWEVER POOR YOU ARE, THERE is SOMEONE EVEN 
WORSE OFF. 

There was once a certain Man, and he was very poor, 
he had no food, no tobe, nothing but a loin-cloth. So 
he arose and went to the King, and said " O Lion (i), 
I am weary of life so kill me (2) ; I have no food, I have 
no tobe, I have nothing but a loin-cloth, my poverty 
is too much for me." So the King said " Very well," 
and he ordered his Attendants to take him and put him 
to death. 

But just as they were about to kill him, another 
Poor Man, who was quite naked, saw him, and said " I 
have a favour to ask; when you have killed this Man, 
give me his loin-cloth." Now the other heard this, 



THE BOY, THE GIRL, AND DODO 203 

and he said " Stop, do not kill me, take me back to the 
King, I want to say something to him." So he was 
taken back to the King, and they said " Oh, this Man 
has something to say." Then the King said " Well, 
let him come and say it, so that I may hear." And the 
Poor Man said " Well, I want you to let me go alive, 
to-day I have seen one who is even poorer than I, 
for he wants my loin-cloth. Now that is what caused 
me to ask that I might be brought before you again. I 
do not wish to die." Then the King said " Very well, 
go your own way, and give thanks, you have seen One 
who is even poorer than you." 
This is finished. 



10 
THE BOY, THE GIRL, AND DODO. 

A CERTAIN Boy used to go to a village to escort a Girl 
to his town. Now there was a river between them, and 
one day when they arrived at the bank of the river, he 
saw that it had risen, and he said " Stay here, and let 
me go and see if it is very deep or not " (i). So he went 
and entered the water, and was just about to come out 
[on the other side] when he heard a Father-Dodo asking 
" Have you caught him?" and just then the Young 
Dodos came and grasped his foot, but he kicked them 
off, and got out. Then [he heard the Father-Dodo 
speaking again], he said " Never mind, he will return." 

Just as the Boy had crossed, he heard the cries of 
Hyaenas, about twenty of them were rushing on to the 
Girl. The Hyasnas were on the other bank, the Dodos 
were in the water ; was he to take the road to the town 
and escape, leaving the Girl to her fate, or was he to 
return to help her? And he wondered whatever he 



204 HA USA SUPERSTITIONS 

should do. But at last he said, " If a Man must lose his 
life, let him die for Someone-else's sake," and he threw 
himself into the river, and swam across and got the Girl. 

But when they were crossing again, Dodo seized 
him, both he and the Girl were caught, and they were 
dragged down under water. He struggled with them 
for about twenty days, and during that time his 
Parents were searching for him, but could not find 
him, and the Girl's Parents were looking for her, 
but could not find her. But on the twenty-first day 
he conquered the Dodos, and he and the Girl both 
emerged from the water, and he took her home. 

The Parents were glad. 



For a variant (which is at the same time a contrast) 
see the variant to Story 53. 



n 
FALSEHOOD is MORE PROFITABLE THAN TRUTH. 

This is about certain Men, the King of Falsehood 
and the King of Truth (i), who started off on a journey 
together, and the King of Lies said to the King of 
Truth that he [the latter] should get food for them on 
the first day. They went on, and slept in a town, but they 
did not get anything to eat, and next morning when 
they had started again on the road, the King of Truth 
said to the King of Lies " In the town where we shall 
sleep to-night you must get our food," and the King 
of Lies said " Agreed." 

They went on, and came to a large city, and lo, the 
Mother of the King of this city had just died, and the 
whole city was mourning, and saying " The Mother 
of the King of this city has died." Then the King of 



FALSEHOOD AND TRUTH 205 

Lies said "What is making you cry?" And they 
replied " The King's Mother is dead." Then he said 
" You go and tell the King that his Mother shall arise." 
[So they went and told the King, and] he said " Where 
are these Strangers? " And the People replied " See 
them here." So they were taken to a large house, and 
it was given to them to stay in. 

In the evening, the King of Lies went and caught a 
Wasp, the kind of Insect which makes a noise like 
" Kurururu," and he came back, and put it in a small 
tin, and said " Let them go and show him the grave." 
When he had arrived, he examined the grave, and then 
he said " Let everyone go away." No sooner had they 
gone, than he opened the mouth of the grave slightly, 
he brought the wasp and put it in, and then closed the 
mouth as before. Then he sent for the King, and said 
that he was to come and put his ear to the grave- 
meanwhile this Insect was buzzing and when the King 
of the city had come, the King of Lies said " Do you 
hear your Mother talking?" Then the King arose; 
he chose a Horse and gave it to the King of Lies; he 
brought Women and gave them to him ; and the whole 
city began to rejoice because the King's Mother was 
going to rise again. 

Then the King of Lies asked the King of the city 
if it was true that his Father was dead also, and the 
King replied " Yes, he is dead." So the King of 
Lies said " Well, your Father is holding your Mother 
down in the grave, they are quarrelling," and he con- 
tinued " Your Father, if he comes out, will take away 
the chieftainship from you," and he said that his Father 
would also kill him. When the King had told the 
Townspeople this, they piled up stones on the grave (2), 
and the King said "Here, King of Lies, go away; 



206 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

I give you these horses," and he continued that so far 
as his Mother was concerned, he did not want her to 
appear either. 

Certainly falsehood is more profitable than truth in 
this world. 



In a variant, a Man dies, leaving Falsehood, a Son, 
and Truth, a Daughter. They have plenty of corn, 
but they hide it, and go begging. Truth tells what 
they have really done, and so she gets only abuse, but 
Falsehood says that they are Orphans, and starving, 
and so he is given plenty. " Falsehood will procure 
food more quickly than truth." 



12 

VIRTUE PAYS BETTER THAN GREED. 

Once the King of Good and the King of Evil (i) 
started off on a journey, and the King of Evil said 
11 O King of Good, you bring your food, and we will 
continue eating it until we have finished it, and then 
we will eat mine." So they travelled on and on, until 
the food of the King of Good was finished, and then he 
said " You now, King of Evil, bring your food." But 
the King of Evil refused to do this, so the King of 
Good wasted away. 

They travelled on and on, until one night they 
slept at the foot of a large tree. Now there was a 
Bird's nest at the top of the tree, and the Bird up there 
said " The leaves of this tree " the King of Evil 
was sleeping but the King of Good could not do so, for 
hunger was troubling him the Bird said (2) " This is 
such a tree, that if a Person gathers its leaves, and rubs 
the eye of a Blind-man [with the juice] it will be 



VIRTUE AND GREED 207 

healed." Then the King of Good arose quietly, and 
went and picked the leaves of the tree, and threw them 
into his bag, and he continued gathering the leaves 
and throwing them into his bag until dawn came. 

When it was light they arose and went on, and came 
to a certain city, and lo, the Son of the King of this 
city was a Blind-man. Now the King of Good went to 
the King of the city, and asked the King to find him a 
Blind-man and he would heal him. Then the King said 
" Are you able to heal the eyes?" and he continued 
11 How much shall I have to give you if you heal my 
Son's eyes for me? " " A million cowries," replied the 
King of Good. And the King said " Agreed; but wait 
till to-morrow." 

When day had dawned, the King of Good said 
" Let them be taken to another hut, the two of them 
only; besides himself only the King's Son could be 
present." So they were taken to another hut. Then 
the King of Good asked them to give him a little water 
in a gourd, and he took some medicine and mixed it, 
and rubbed the Blind-man's eyes, and lo ! at last they 
were healed. Then the King of the city said " Since 
you have healed my Son's eyes for me, you shall be my 
Deputy." So the King of Good was made the Deputy- 
Ruler of the city ; half the city came under the Deputy. 
And as soon as he could, he took the King of Evil 
and killed him (3). 



The Borlawa (a people of Bornu) have a tale which 
resembles this, but in it the Bad Man plucks out the 
eyes of the Good Man. The events occur as in the 
above, but the Good Man is kind to the Bad Man when 
he next sees him. The latter, however, tries to get 
some of the magic leaves for himself, and is killed by 
the Birds. 



208 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

The conference overheard by the hero takes place fre- 
quently between demons or other supernatural powers. 
Skeat and Blagden (Pagan Races of the Malay Penin- 
sula, ii, 359 note) quote from Goudinho de Eredia, a 
Portuguese writer of the early part of the seventeenth 
century, a statement that "at the equinox, especially 
the autumnal, on the day called divaly [probably the 
South Indian or Tamil feast called Thivali] trees, 
herbs, plants talk and disclose the remedy for every 
malady. To hear them people hide in the forest." (H.). 

N.B. In Northern India it is Divali (Crooke, 
Popular Religion and Folk-Lore of Northern India, 
2nd ed., ii, page 295). 



13 
THE VICTIM DOES NOT ALWAYS SEE THE JOKE. 

A certain Thief lived with his Wife, and whatever he 
stole in the town he brought to her. So they went on 
for a long time, until one night the full moon was 
shining almost like the sun, and the Wife said " Well 
now, see, that full moon makes it easy to walk about, are 
you going to stay in the house?" and the Husband 
replied " Oh, all right, I'll go." So he started off, and 
went to his Father-in-Law's house, for the Father-in- 
Law had a certain big Ram, there was none like it in the 
whole town. The Thief went and took it away, and 
brought it to his Wife, and said " See what God has 
given us to-day " (i). Then she said " Good, but kill 
it now, lest when day has broken the Owner should 
see it, and know it to be his " (2). So he said " Very 
well, and he killed it, and skinned it, and cut up the 
flesh into small pieces. 

When day broke, the Woman saw that the skin 
of the Ram was exactly like that of her Father's Ram, 
and she said to her Husband " Hullo, Owner-of-the- 





XIX. A HAUSA CHEAP-JACK. XX. MATS. 

The Hausa is widely known as a trader, his cloths, metal-work, and grass mats, as well as other 
manufactures, being greatly in demand. 



THE MAGIC DOOR 209 

House, where did you get this Ram, is it my 
Father's ?" But he replied " Poof, is your Father's 
Ram the only one in the town ? Truly, I merely caught 
this Ram loose." So she said "Oh, all right." But 
while they were sitting there, the Thief's Mother-in- 
Law arrived, and said to the Wife " Have you not 
heard the News ? Last night a Thief got into our 
house, and stole your Father's Ram." And the 
Daughter said " Indeed." But when her Mother had 
gone, she said to her Husband " As for you, you knew 
quite well that it was your Father-in-Law's Ram, and 
yet you went and stole it, and said that it was not his," 
and she began to cry and to weep. Then he said 
" Well, did not you yourself tell me to go and steal ? So 
far as you are concerned, had I stolen from another 
Person's house you would not have cried about it, it is 
only since you knew that it is your Father's Ram that 
you have done so." And he continued " A Tatuer 
does not like to be tatued himself." Then she said 
" Well, my heart is broken," and she went out of the 
house, and returned to live with her Parents. 



In L.T.H. 116 the Wife tells the Husband that the 
Moon almost seems to be saying " Go and bring some- 
thing," and after the Thief has acted upon the sugges- 
tion, the Mother comes to summon the Wife to condole 
with the Family on the loss ; otherwise the story is the 
same. 



'4 
DODO, THE ROBBER, AND THE MAGIC DOOR. 

This is about Dodo, he lived in the forest, and was 
always wandering about looking for People to eat. One 
day he caught a certain Woman, and brought her to 
14 



210 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

his home and married her, and he made her live there 
with him. 

Now after a long time, her Sister said that 
she was going to find her, so she took a creeping- 
gourd (i) and planted it, and said that wherever her 
Sister was the gourd would guide her to her. So the 
gourd-plant crept on, and on, until it reached the door 
of her hut and [the Girl followed, and when she had 
arrived] the Sister said " What has brought you 
here?" Then the other replied " I waited for some 
years but did not see you, and that is why I planted 
this gourd to guide me to you." Then the Sister said 
" Yes, but what about Dodo, he eats People? " The 
other replied " Well, can I not be a Younger Sister 
to you?" So the Sister took her, and put her in a 
binn of cotton-boles. But when Dodo returned, he said 
" Ambashira, whence have you got a Human Being 
to-day? [I can smell one]." Then she replied " It is 
I, have you become tired of me, do you wish to kill 
me and live alone? "(2). So Dodo was silenced, and 
at daybreak next morning the Sister packed her 
Younger Sister's bundle, and told her to go home, but 
to return in a week. 

When the seven days had passed, the Younger 
Sister returned, and as Dodo had gone to the forest, 
they slept together, and next morning at dawn they tied 
up their bundles and went off, and they got across the 
river. But as they were leaving the house, Ambashira 
spat* (3) on the floor. 

When Dodo returned from the forest, he called 
" Ambashira," and the Spit answered, but when Dodo 
entered the hut he could see no one, there was only 
the Spit. So he went off along the road, and followed 
their footprints. But when he came near, they had 



THE MAGIC DOOR 



21 



already crossed the river, so Dodo stopped on his side 
of the river, and he returned home. 

Soon the Women met a certain Robber who said 
that he was going to commit a theft in Dodo's house. 
So they said " When you go, say to the door * Zirka, 
bude ' (4), and when you have stolen what you want, and 
have gone out again, say ' Zirka Gumgum.' ' So he 
went to Dodo's house and said " Zirka bude," and the 




FIG. 53. Decorated gourd, pattern in relief in brown. 

door opened. And he went in and stole Dodo's riches, 
but when he was ready to go away again he forgot the 
words, he could then remember only Zirka Gumgum, 
and immediately he had said this the door jambed more 
tightly than ever into the wall. Then he tried, and tried 
to get out, but he could not do so. 

Now the Women from where they were standing 
[knew this, and they] began singing " O Mad Robber, 
we gave you the chance to steal, but we did not give 



212 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

you forgetf ulness," and they went off home. So Dodo 
when he returned caught the Robber in his house, and 
he killed him, and stuck his body on a spit. Soon the 
flesh was cooked, and then Dodo ate it. 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 16) a Man and his Wife and 
Children have to go to the forest and eat herbs because 
they are so poor. The Wife finds a way of catching 
Guinea-Fowls, but the Husband ruins it. She then 
tricks Elephants into supplying her with Fish, but the 
Husband again interferes with disastrous results. Then 
she finds Dodo's house, and sees him come up, and say 
; ' Baram," and the door opens. When he has entered, 
he says " Zarga gungun," and the door closes again. 
She does the same for a week, and steals Dodo's food, 
but when the Husband goes, he is caught. Dodo 
makes him show him where his Family is, and he takes 
all of them to his house, intending to eat them, but the 
Wife hides herself and her Family in a Mouse-hole, 
and saves their lives, the end of the tale resembling that 
of F.-L. 24. 



'5 

THE DECEITFUL SPIDER, THE HALF-MAN, AND THE 

RUBBER-GlRL. 

The Spider one day told his Wife to measure him 
out some ground-nuts (i), and said "Peel and cook 
them." So they were peeled, and cooked, and salt and 
oil were mixed with them, and then he said that he was 
going to sow (2). 

So he took his hoe, and started off, but he found a 
cool, shady spot near the water, and he sat down, and 
ate his fill ; and, after he had had a drink, he went off 
to sleep. When he awoke, he got some mud and plas- 
tered it on his body, and then he returned to his wife, 



THE RUBBER GIRL 213 

and told her to bring him some water with which to 
wash, for he had come back dirty from his work. 

This went on every day, until at last the Wife said 
that she had seen ground-nuts ripe in everyone's farms, 
and that those which her Husband had sown must be 
ripe too, so she would go to the farm and grub them. 
But the Spider replied " No, no, it was not you who 
sowed the ground-nuts, I myself will go and dig 
them " (3). Really, he intended to commit a theft on the 
Half-Man's farm, and he went there, and stole some 
ground-nuts, and brought them back to his Wife. 

Now when the Half-Man came, and saw that he had 
been robbed, he said that he would make a trap with a 
Rubber-Girl (4), and catch the Thief. [So he did so] 
and when the Spider came again, he saw a Beautiful 
Girl with a long neck, and fine breasts (5). Then he 
came up close and touched her breasts, and said " O 
Maiden," and the rubber held his hand. Then he ex- 
claimed " Ah ! Girl, let me go, you must want me 
badly." He put his other hand on her and it stuck 
also, and he said " You Girls, are you amorous enough 
to hold a Man? I will kick you." Then he kicked 
with one foot, and the rubber caught it, and he became 
furious, and said " O Base-born of Your Parents." 
Then he kicked with the other foot, and the rubber 
held him all over, so that he was bent up. Then he 
said " Very well, I am going to butt you," and he 
butted, and his head stuck (6). 

Just then the Half-Man, from where he was hiding, 
saw the Spider, and he said " Thanks be to God." 
Then he got a switch of the tamarind tree, and put it 
in the fire, and he brought some grease, and rubbed 
it in (7), and he came up, and rained blows upon the 
Spider until his back was raw, his whole body was 



2i 4 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

raw. Then he released the Spider from the Rubber- 
Girl, and said " Look here Spider, if you come here 
again, I, the Half-Man, will kill you." 

In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 72) the Spider is caught by 
a female " Half-Being," but she lets him go on condi- 
tion that he does not say anything about her. He 
breaks his promise, and she tries to kill him, but he 
escapes. 

For parallels, see Chapter VI. 



16 

THE RICH MALAM, THE THIEVING SPIDER, AND THE 

HYAENA. 

This is about a Malam who had riches of all kinds; 
Cattle, Horses, Goats, all of these he had. One day 
the Spider came to him, and said " Peace be upon you," 
and the Malam replied "And on you too, be peace " (i). 
Then the Spider said " I want to tend your flocks for 
you, I will also sweep the place where the Sheep are 
kept." And the Malam said very well, that he agreed. 

So the Spider lived there, and every morning he 
would clean up the rubbish and throw it away, and 
sweep the place. Now when the Spider had first come, 
he had taken a big basket, and had said that he 
was going to put the sweepings into it, but really, 
every morning he would kill a Goat, and put the body 
in the basket, and cover it up with sweepings, and 
then he would take it to the forest, and eat it. 

But one day the Malam saw that the animals were 
being diminished, and he said to himself " I wonder 
if the Spider is playing me some trick," and he said 



THE THIEVING SPIDER 215 

4 Well, I must watch him closely." Next morning 
the Spider killed a big Ram, and put it in the basket, 
and then found that he could not carry it. Just then 
the Malam saw him, and he came up and said " Let me 
lift it on to your head," but when he felt the weight, 
he said " You must lighten it." Then the Spider said 
" No, no, I can manage it, do not touch it.*' But the 
Malam replied " You cannot do so, it must be light- 
ened," and he put in his hand and threw out some 
of the sweepings, and then he touched the body of the 
Ram, and pulled it out. When he had done so, he 
said " Oh indeed, that is how you are acting towards 
me, is it ? " And he seized him, and tied him up to the 
entrance of the pen, and beat him all over, and left 
him there. 

During the night the Hyaena came along, and when 
she had come close, and had seen the Spider, she said 

'What has happened that you have been tied up?" 
And the Spider replied " Opp, I was tending this 
Malam's flocks, and every day I killed a Goat that he 
gave me, and ate it, but I said that I was tired of it, 
and was going to run away." Then the Hyaena, the 
Greedy One, exclaimed "Good gracious, Hoes one obtain 
so much in the Malam's house that he becomes tired of 
food? " and she continued " Now as for me, I should 
like to have such abundance." "Opp, that is easy," 
replied the Spider, " all you have to do is to loose me, 
and I will tie you up in my place." So the Hyaena 
said " Good," and she loosed him, and he tied her up, 
and then said " Well, I am going to the forest," and 
off he went. 

In the morning the Malam came, and when he saw 
the Hyaena he beat and beat her until she was nearly 
dead. But at last she managed to slip her bonds, and 



216 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

she ran off, and went to the forest to look for the 
Spider. 

That is all, the Spider and the Hyaena both escaped. 

In a variant (M.H. 3) the Jerboa is the Villain of 
the piece, and it is the Malam's Daughter who finds 
him out by helping him with the load and this would 
certainly be the case if there were a daughter, for no 
Malam would do any work when there were others to do 
it for him. In the variant, the Hyasna is not told that 
the Jerboa is going to run away. 

In another (L.T.H. 150) the Hyaena takes the place 
of the Spider, and the flocks are owned by an Old 
Woman who is helped by a Lion. 

This story is widespread, being found also 
among the Masai (Hollis, The Masai, 214), the 
Bechuana (Arbousset and Daumas, Exploratory Tour, 
Eng. Ed., 59), and in the Cameroons (Journ. Afr. Soc., 
1V > 63). Outside the Continent, it is found among the 
Bisayans in the Philippine Islands (Journ. Amer. Folk- 
Lore, xxix, 108), being possibly an importation from 
Europe, where it is common. In North America it is 
combined by the Yuchi Indians of Oklahoma with the 
Tar-Baby (Speck, Ethnology of the Yuchi Indians, 
152). It is also told by the Uraons in India (Rep. Brit. 
Assn., 1896, 661). (H.). 



17 
LITTLE FOOL, OR THE BITER BIT. 

Certain Parents had a Son, and his name was " Little 
Fool." One day they went to their farm, and when 
they returned they said " Have you not cooked 
even a single bean for us? " But he replied " Oh no, 
you did not say to cook you any." So they said " Very 
well, to-morrow cook a bean for us " (i). 



THE BITER BIT 217 

When morning came [they went off again, and] he 
took a single bean and put it into the largest jar (2) and 
cooked it. And when they returned and saw the big 
jar, they said " Little Fool, what are we going to do 
with all these beans ? " But when they had opened the 
jar, and had seen that there was only one bean inside, 
they said " O Little Fool, is it only a single bean that 
you have cooked for us?" Then he replied " Well, 
you did not say to cook ' beans,' you said 'a bean.' ' 
So they said " Very well, to-morrow cook beans." 

Next morning [they went off again, and] he got 
inside the barn, and called others to help him, and 
they cooked every one of the beans. So when the 
Parents returned they saw pots of beans right from the 
door of the entrance-hall up to the centre of the com- 
pound. Then they said " O Little Fool, whatever shall 
we do with all these beans? " And he replied " Ah ! 
are you the only ones to eat ? I can easily find others 
to help." Then they said " Do so," and he went to 
the forest and brought back ten Gazelles, and said 
"See, here are your Fellow-Feasters." 

Well, next morning when the Parents went to the 
farm they left him at home with the Gazelles, and it 
happened that the Spider arrived on a trading trip, and 
gave the salutation " Peace be upon you," and Little 
Fool said to him " Welcome." Then the Spider said 
" Let us slaughter your Gazelles, and I will take the 
meat and sell it for you." And Little Fool said 
"Agreed." So they slaughtered all the Gazelles, and 
they put the meat into the saddle-bags, and these were 
put on to the Spider's Donkeys. 

[As the Spider was going off with them] Little Fool 
said " Ah, this bag is not full," and he continued " You 
must stay here now and wait for my Parents who have 



2i8 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

gone to the farm, and I will go on with your Donkeys 
and get some more meat to fill these bags." But the 
Spider said " Oh Little Fool, come now, yoa know 
that a real Friend would not behave badly." Then 
Little Fool replied " Truly I shall not act except as a 
Friend would," and the other said "All right." 

When Little Fool had gone off with the Donkeys, 
he took off the bags, and [removed the meat, and] he 
took dirt* and filled them, and he put pieces of liver on 
the top. Then he brought the Donkeys back, and said 
" See, now the bags are full, I have made a profit." 
So the Spider said " Good, now let me go." Now as 
he travelled along, the [hoofs of the] Donkeys were 
saying " Dir-ty-muck, dir-ty-muck, dir-ty-muck," and 
the Spider said " O You of Evil Origin, say ' Meat- 
it-is, meat-it-is, meat-it-is.' " So he went on home, 
and said to his Wife " Quick, quick, unload the Don- 
keys," and she did so. Just then the Cat said " Um 
yau," and the Spider said " Excuse me, will the liver 
suffice to fill you?" Then he put his hand into the 
bags (3) and pulled out the pieces of liver and gave 
them to the Cat, and she ate them. 

But when he put in his hand again he found nothing 
but dirt. Then the Spider said " Opp, Little Fool has 
tricked me; because of his cunning he has found me 
out," and he continued " I'll leave it at that." 



In a variant (L.T.H. 83), the Spider returns to ask 
for an explanation, and finds Little Fool covered with 
ashes. "Oh dear! " he says, "those Gazelles which 
we seized belonged to the King. He has sent for my 
Father, and has told him to bring them at once, and I 
do not know what to do." Then the Spider said " May 
God preserve you, I am off." In another (L.T.H. 157) 
where Little Fool was sent by God in answer to an Old 
Woman's prayer, both she and he deceive the Spider. 



JTHE SPIDER AND THE HYAENAS 219 
18 
How THE SPIDER ATE THE HYAENA-CUBS' FOOD. 
One day the Spider went to the Hyaena's house when 
he knew that she was out for a walk, and began talking 
to the Cubs. He asked one what his name was, and 
the Cub answered " Mohammadu." Then he said to 
another "And what is your name?" and he replied 
" Isa." Then the Spider asked a third Cub his name 
and he said " It is Na-taala." When he had asked 
them all, he said " Now, look here, your Mother- 
Hyaena asked me to come here and live with you, so 
you must know my name, it is For-you-all." Now 
whenever the Hyaena brought food she used to say 
14 It is for you all," and [so after that] the Spider 
would at once exclaim " You see, it is all for me only, 
you heard what our Mother (i) has said." So the 
Spider would eat up all the food. 

This went on for about a month, and as the Spider 
had always taken the whole food, the Cubs by this time 
had wasted away. Then one day the Hyaena said "Come 
out of the den, My Children, and let me see you." Now 
when they appeared, she saw that they had become very 
thin, and she said " Whatever has happened to you, 
O My Children, to make you so thin?" "Ah," re- 
plied they, " you have brought us no food." " What !" 
she exclaimed, " What about all that which I have been 
bringing for you all?" "Oh," they replied, "For- 
you-all has eaten it, he is in there." Where is For- 
you-all ? " she said, " Let him come out and show him- 
self." Then the Spider pushed forward his ears until 
they were sticking out of the hole (2), and said " Catch 
hold of my boots first, then I will come out and you 
can see me." Immediately the Hyaena seized hold of 



220 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the ears, and angrily threw them behind her, and the 
Spider [for his whole body had been pulled out] got 
up, and ran away. Then she said " Where is For- 
you-all ? " And her Cubs said " It was he whom you 
threw over there behind you.'* 

Now the Spider ran on to the house of the Dog 
where he was weaving, and he sat down. But soon 
the Hyaena approached, looking for the Spider, and 
she came upon the Dog and the Spider sitting there 
by the loom. Then she said " Of you two, whom was 
I chasing? " And the cunning Spider at once replied 
" Look at the Dog's mouth, he is panting tremendously, 
that is proof that it was he who has been running 
away " (3). Immediately the Hyaena sprang towards 
the Dog, but the Dog got away in time, and the Spider 
also ran away, so both escaped from the Hyaena. 



In a variant (M.H. 2) the Jerboa plays the part of 
the Spider, in another (L.T.H. 5) the Hare takes his 
place, and manages to make the Dog pay the penalty. 



19 
THE SLAVE WHO WAS WISER THAN THE KING. 

There was once a certain King who had three male 
Slaves, and each was married and had a Son. One 
Son was called " He-who-will-not-see, " another was 
called "The-Gift-of-God," and the third " You-are- 
wiser-than-the-King," and they were brought to the 
King for him to see. 

They lived with their Parents until they grew big, 
and when they were adult, they went to the King to 
work for him. So a bundle of guinea-corn was brought 






THE WISE SLAVE 221 



and given to " He-who-will-not-see," and a bundle to 
11 The-Gift-of-God," but only a bundle of husks was 
given to " You-are-wiser-than-the-King." And the 
King said " Now, next year, let each bring three- 
hundred bundles." So they said "We will obey," 
and they went away [to make their own farms]. 

When the year had passed, and the harvest had 
been gathered in, He-who-will-not-see brought his 300 




FIG. 54. Inside of fig. 53. 

bundles, and The-Gift-of-God brought his 300, but 
You-are-wiser-than-the-King brought a basket of 
husks. And when they had come into the King's 
presence He-who-will-not-see said " Here are my 300 
bundles," and The-Gift-of-God said " Here are my 
300 bundles," but You-are-wiser-than-the-King said 
'There are mine also." Then the King said " Why 
have you not brought me 300 bundles? 3 ' And he 



222 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

replied "Well, the bundles of husks that you gave 
me I planted, this is what came up." So the King 
said " Oh, I see." So he brought a Cow and gave it 
to He-who-will-not-see, and another to The-Gift-of-God, 
but he gave a Bull to You-are-wiser-than-the-King. 

Next year He-who-will-not-see brought two Calves, 
and The-Gift-of-God brought two Calves. But 
You-are-wiser-than-the-King took his axe, and hung it 
on his shoulder (i). There was a dead tree behind the 
King's palace, and he climbed it, and began cutting 
the wood. Then the King said " Well, each of the 
others has brought his two Calves, where is You-are- 
wiser-than-the-King ?" Then the Attendants said 
"Ah! there is Someone like him chopping wood," 
and then they exclaimed "It is he." Then the King 
said to him " O, You-are-wiser-than-the-King, what 
are you doing here?" and he replied " I am cutting 
wood for my Father who has given birth." Then the 
King said " What, can a Man bring forth a Child? " 
and You-are-wiser-than-the-King replied " Oh, so you 
knew that a male could not bring forth young, yet you 
gave me one, and told me to bring you two Calves? " 

Then the King said " Ahem, what shall I do with 
this Boy ?" Then the Courtiers said "Opp, kill him" (2), 
and they continued " Give him a blue-striped tobe (3), 
and blue-striped trousers, and a turban with a border 
of embroidery. Then choose a good Horse and put 
caparisons on him." They said that the King's own 
Son should put on an old tobe, old trousers, and an old 
turban. " Then send them out on the road, but order 
the Gun-men (4) to go on in front, and to wait in 
ambush, and tell them to kill the one whom they see 
in grand clothes, for he is You-are-wiser-than-the- 
King " (5). 



THE WISE SLAVE 223 

Now You-are-wiser-than-the-King when he had seen 
through this, sent a Man on ahead with ten gourds 
of pito, and ten of pure water, and when he and the 
King's Son overtook the Man, You-are-wiser-than-the- 
King said to the King's Son " Let us have a drink of 
water." Then he took the gourd of beer, and gave it to 
the King's Son, but he himself drank water. Then 
the King's Son began rolling about (6), and when they 
had gone on a little further, You-are-wiser-than-the- 
King said " Let us have another drink of water," and 
so they drank again, and the King's Son collapsed. 
Then You-are-wiser-than-the-King said " O King's 
Son, I will not leave you thus," and he continued 
" Take this blue-striped tobe and put it on, these blue- 
striped trousers, and put them on, this turban, and put 
it on, and I will leave my Horse, and you can ride it." 
So the King's Son said " Very well," and You-are- 
wiser-than-the-King gave the King's Son his Horse 
and all his trappings, and he himself put on an old 
tobe, and mounted a broken-down Horse. 

So they went on, and came to where the Slaves, the 
Gun-men, were hidden, and when they came up the 
Slaves shot the King's Son, and he died. Immediately 
' You-are-wiser-than-the-King galloped back and saluted 
the King, and said " Who is the equal of You-are- 
wiser-than-the-King? " Then the King answered " I 
am," and he jumped up to seize him, but You-are- 
wiser-than-the-King changed himself into a Frog. 
Then the King changed himself into a Snake to swallow 
the Frog, but You-are-wiser-than-the-King became a 
Mouse. Then the King changed himself into a Cat, 
but the other became a Red-Bird, and the King became 
a Hawk. The Red-Bird flew against an Old Woman 
who was sweeping the courtyard, and fell into her eye, 



224 HA US A SUPERSTITIONS 

and became the pupil, then the King became the eye- 
brow. And even now they are like that, the pupil of 
the eye is afraid to come out lest the eyebrow should 
catch him (7). 

That is the end. 



20 
THE COCK BY HIS WIT SAVES HIS SKIN. 

One day the Cock started off to condole with the 
Mourners at a burial, and as he was going along, he met 
a Wild-Cat, and the latter said " Where are you 
going?" The Cock replied " I am going to condole 
with the Mourners." " Where ? " asked the Wild-Cat. 
" At the house of my Relatives " was the reply. Then 
the Wild-Cat said "Oh really, are there to be two 
deaths then ? " But the Cock replied " Oh no, neither 
two nor three, I live with the Dog " (i). 

They went on a little way, and then the Wild-Cat 
said " Really, Cock, you are a very laughable Person, 
but I must go off on my own business." So he de- 
parted, and the Cock went on. 



In a variant (L.T.H. 132) the Cock replies " There 
will be two or three [Mourners] " (2). 



21 

THE HEN SEEKS A CHARM FROM THE WILD-CAT. 

A certain Hen went to a Wild-Cat, and said that she 
wanted a charm for childbirth, so the Wild-Cat said 
" Go and pluck the feathers from your head, and put 



BEASTS AND BIRDS 225 

on salt and pepper (i), and then come back and I will 
give you the charm for childbirth." And [when she 
had gone] he lit his fire and put on logs, and the fire 
caught them. The Hen went and plucked the feathers 
from her head, and she rubbed on salt and pepper, and 
then returned, and said " I have done it, and I have 
come for you to give me the charm for childbirth." So 
he said " Very well, let us go close to this fire, you go 
in front, and I will go behind and follow you. While 
we are going round and round the fire, you must keep 
on saying : 

' * A charm for childbirth I am seeking, 
A charm for childbirth I am seeking.' ' 

So they went up to the fire, and began going round 
it, the Wild-Cat behind, when suddenly he seized her, 
and threw her on to the fire, and ate her. 

In a variant, the Wild Cat can change into a Malam, 
and it is in this shape that he prescribes for the Hen, 
who is told to pluck her whole body clean. 



22 

THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE BEASTS AND THE BIRDS. 

A Rooster and an Elephant kept house together. 
But one day the Elephant went and caught hold of the 
door-post of the Rooster's hut, and broke it. And the 
Rooster went and took a lot of rubbish and threw it 
inside the Elephant's hut (i). Then the Elephant said 
" O Rooster, I am going to fight you," and the 
Rooster replied "Very well, let each assemble his 
Relatives." So the Elephant went and called out all 
the Beasts of the Forest, and the Rooster went and 
15 



226 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

mobilized all the Birds, and when the latter had come 
near to the battle-field, the Hawk said to the Rooster " I 
am the Commander of your Army " (2). 

Now the Hyaena was detailed as a Scout by the 
Beasts to see if the Birds' Force was drawn up, and the 
Birds said " O Ostrich, you go on in front of us.'* And 
it happened that as the Hyaena was approaching the 
Birds, the Ostrich was working towards the Beasts, and 
they met, and watched each other. Then the Hyaena 
said "O Ostrich, is your Army ready?" "What 
about you?" asked the Ostrich, " is yours ready?" 
And when the Hyaena had replied " Yes," the Ostrich 
said " Go back and tell them, and I will report to 
mine." But when the Ostrich had turned round, the 
Hyaena saw her flesh through her feathers,* and she was 
immediately overcome with greed, and said " Ostrich, 
wait, let us have our little fight first, just you and I." 
"Very well," replied the Bird, "You beat me three 
times, and I will return the blows three times." So the 
Hyaena came close up, and beat the Ostrich three times, 
and then the Ostrich stood up, and said " Now let me 
have my turn," and she beat the Hyaena with her 
wings, she kicked her with her feet, and she pecked 
her with her beak. "That is the three times," cried 
the Hyaena, but the Ostrich said " Oh no, that is only 
once." So she again pecked her with her beak, and 
pulled out her eyes, and then she said "Now let each go 
back." When the Beasts of the forest saw that the 
Hyaena had been blinded, they said "What is the 
matter?" "Do you see that my eyes have been 
plucked out? " she asked. " We are not able to fight 
them." She was overcome with fear. But the others 
said " Come, let us advance." 

Now the two armies arrived on the battle-field at the 



THE CLEVER GOAT 227 

same moment, and the Rooster said " Let us attack." 
Then the Commander of the Birds came and saluted 
the Rooster, and, when the forces had approached each 
other to fight, the Hawk took a string blind (3) and a 
Hen's egg, and flying on to the Elephant, he broke the 
egg on her head. Then the Hawk called out " The 
Elephant's head is broken, the Elephant's head is 
broken, " and when the Elephant had touched her head 
with her trunk, she said "Oh! dear, my head is 
broken !" Then the Hawk threw the string blind over 
her, and called out " Her inside is falling out, her 
inside is falling out," and when the Beasts of the 
Forest had come close and looked [they thought that it 
was true, so] they all ran away. 

Then the Rooster went off home, and said " To you, 
O Hawk, will I give a present for fighting so well, 
whenever my Wife has Young you come and take one. 
That is my obligation (4) to you." 

In a variant (F.-L. 38) the Elephant and Cock both 
woo a Woman, and it is on account of their rivalry in 
love that they fall out. In another (L.T.H. ii, 4) the 
Birds help a Bull against an Elephant, and they fly in 
the eyes of the enemy while the Bull gores him. In 
this story, the Hya3na, the drummer, escapes in time, 
and returns later to find the Elephant dead, and then 
she eats him. She never stays to fight. 



23 
THE GOAT FRIGHTENS THE 

This is about a Goat which was living with her 
Kid, a Male. One day they started off and went for a 
walk, and they had lost their road, when just before 
sunset they saw a house ahead of them. So they came 



228 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

to it, and found the Hyaena there talking to her Cubs, 
and the Hyaena said "Welcome." 

Now when they had come in, and were conversing, 
the Hyaena arose and took some grain, and began 
grinding it. Soon the Goat said to her " O Hyaena, 
let me relieve you," but the Hyaena replied " Oh no, 
does a Guest grind? " Then the Goat said " Oh, let 
me do it, a Female is not treated as a Guest " (i). So 
she took the stone, and began grinding and grinding, 
and the Hyaena watched her. Then the Young Goat 
became afraid, he thought the Hyaena was going to 
seize him, and he came and stood close to his Mother, 
the Goat. Then she said " Now, when I sing you must 
take up the chorus" (2), and the Kid said "Very 
well." So the Goat began her song, saying 
" I have killed ten Elephants," and the Kid said " It 

is true." 
" I have killed ten Lions," and the Kid said " It is 

true." 

" I have killed ten Leopards," and the Kid said " It 
is true." 

" I have killed ten Hyaenas," 

And the Kid said " Hush, O Parent, do not speak 
thus, if the Hyaena hears that she will run away and 
leave us without any food " (3). But the Hyaena did 
hear (4), and said " What did you say O Goat ?" And 
the Goat replied, singing 
" I have killed ten Elephants," and the Kid said " It 

is true." 
" I have killed ten Lions," and the Kid said "It is 

true." 
" I have killed ten Leopards," and the Kid said " It 

is true." 
" I have killed ten Hyaenas," 



THE SPIDER'S VISIT 229 

Then the Hyaena said " Oh, let me send my Cubs to 
get water for us to drink," but when she had entered 
her hut she said " O Cubs, run off, escape, and do not 
return, this is too much for us." So they fled, and 
disappeared into the forest. 

When they had gone, the Hyaena returned to the 
Guests and sat down, but after she had waited a little 
while, and the Goat was still singing, the Hyaena said 
" Well, O Guest, I sent the Cubs to get water, but 
see, they have not returned, excuse me while I go and 
look for them." Then the Hyaena went off at a run, and 
did not return, and so the Goat took the Hyaena's goods 
and chattels, and she and her Kid carried them off. 

In a variant (F.-L. 33) the Goat and the Dog frighten 
the Hyaenas off in a similar way. They then hide in 
the house, and when the hyaenas return the intruders 
make strange noises, so the owners leave the house for 
good, and the Goat and Dog live there instead (5). 



24 
THE SPIDER, THE GUINEA-FOWL, AND THE FRANCOLIN. 

The Francolin said to the Guinea-Fowl " Will you 
go with me on a journey? " But just then the Spider 
arrived, and said " Come with me, I am going to visit 
my Mother-in-Law." Then the Guinea-Fowl said 
* Your journey is the more important, let us go to- 
gether, you and I." So they started to go to the town 
where the Spider's Parents lived. 

While on the road, the Spider said to the Guinea- 
Fowl " See this grass, if when we have arrived at the 
town, they bring me some ground-nuts, you come back 
here and get some of this grass so that we can roast 
them." " Very well," said the Guinea-Fowl. 



2 3 o HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

They went on, and as they were travelling, the 
Spider said " There is a spoon (i), if when we have 
arrived at the town they bring me porridge, you come 
back here and get the spoon so that we can eat it " (2). 

Soon they arrived at the house, and porridge was 
made and brought to them, so the Spider said to the 
Guinea-Fowl " Go, get the spoon and bring it." As 
soon as she had gone to bring the spoon, the Spider ate 
up all the porridge except for a little bit, and when she 
returned, he said " O you Sluggard, you have been a 
long time going, the People have since come and taken 
away their porridge." 

Then he said " But see, they have brought ground- 
nuts, get that grass and bring it here so that we may 
roast them." So she went off to get the grass, and when 
she returned she found that the Spider had eaten 
up all the ground-nuts. He said " You have been so 
long that the People took away their ground-nuts." 

Next morning they said " Now, we must go home." 
So the Spider's load was tied up, and that of the 
Guinea-Fowl also, and they started off on the road. 
Soon they came to the bank of a big river, and the 
Spider lighted a fire, and said " Stop here, I am going 
over there, if you hear me fall into the water, you throw 
yourself into the fire " (3). So he went on, and took a 
stone and threw it into the water so that it made a sound 
like pinjim. When the Guinea-Fowl heard this, she 
said " The Spider is dead," so she threw herself into 
the fire so that she also might die. Then the Spider 
came and pulled the dead Guinea-Fowl out of the 
fire, and plucked her feathers out of her body, and ate 
it. Then he took the Guinea-Fowl's load, tied it on to 
his own, and went off home. 

Some time afterwards he went to see the Francolin, 



THE SPIDER'S VISIT 231 

and said " O Francolin, will you not also accompany 
me on a journey?" And when she had agreed, off they 
went. As they were travelling they came to the grass, 
and the Spider said " See this grass, if when we have 
arrived at the town they bring us ground-nuts, you 
come back here and get this grass so that we can roast 
them." But the Francolin picked some grass on the sly 
and hid it. 

Then the Spider said " There is a spoon, if when we 
have arrived at the town they give us porridge, you 
come back here and get the spoon." " Very well," 
said the Francolin, but she took it then, and hid it. 

Soon they arrived at the town, and porridge was 
brought, so the Spider said " Go and get that spoon." 
The Francolin said " Oh, you said to bring it, here it 
is." Then the Spider was very angry, and said " Very 
well, take the porridge yourself and eat it." So the 
Francolin took it, and ate all but a little bit which she 
gave to the Spider to eat. 

Then ground-nuts were brought to them, and the 
Spider said " Go and get some grass that we may roast 
them." But she replied " Oh, here it is, I got it long 
ago." Then the Spider was furious, and he said 
1 Take the ground-nuts and eat them." But when 
she had roasted them, and had eaten all but a few, the 
Spider snatched them away and ate them. 

Next morning they said " Well, we must go home," 
so the Spider's load was bound up for him, and the 
Francolin 's for her, and they took them and started off. 
Soon they arrived at the bank of the river, and the 
Spider lighted a fire, and said " Stay here, I am going 
over there, if you hear me fall into the water, you throw 
yourself into the fire." " Very well," said she. So he 
went and took a stone and threw it into the water, and 



232 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

it made a sound like pinjim. Then the Francolin went 
and got one of the Spider's long boots and put it on 
the fire, while she herself crawled inside the Spider's 
load, and hid. Soon the Spider came and searched in 
the fire, and took out the boot and ate it. " Well," said 
he, " The Guinea-Fowl was certainly more juicy than 
this Francolin " (4). So he took the Francolin 's load 
and tied it on to his own, and started off home. 

Then the Francolin, who was inside, said " The 
Spider is a fool, he has eaten his boot," and when the 
Spider heard this he was so frightened that he ran away, 
he thought that he heard the Francolins' war-drums 
beating (5). 

When he had returned home, he untied the load, 
and he had begun putting the contents into a calabash, 
when the Francolin flew out and settled on the Spider's 
Wife's head. Then the Spider said to his Wife " Stand 
still, do not move," and he picked up the wooden pestle 
to strike the Francolin, while on the Female Spider's 
head, but the Francolin flew off, and the Spider missed 
him, but killed his W T ife. Then the Francolin settled 
on his Son's head, and the Spider struck at him but 
killed his own Son. Then the Francolin settled on the 
head of the Spider's Baby, and the Spider took the 
pestle and missed, and killed his Baby in the same way. 
Then the Francolin settled on the head of the Spider 
himself. The Spider ran outside and climbed up and 
up a tree until he had come to the top, and then he 
bobbed his head so that he might throw the Francolin 
down and kill her, but she saved herself with her wings 
and the Spider fell down and was killed. 

Then the Francolin went and seized all the Spider's 
possessions, and went away (6). 



THE 'CUNNING JERBOA 



233 



In a variant (F.-L. 13), the Spider kills the Lamb, 
but the Kid plays the part of the Francolin. 




FIG. 55. Decorated gourd, like fig. 52. 



25 

How THE CUNNING JERBOA KILLED THE STRONG LION. 

This is about the Beasts of the Forest. The Lion was 
killing and eating them so fast that one day they said 
" Look here, the Lion will soon annihilate us, let us 
take counsel to see what we can do to save ourselves." 
So they all assembled, and went to the Lion, and said 
" O Great One, Elder Brother of the Forest, we have 
something to ask you," and they continued " We will 
bring you one of our number every morning to eat if 
you will leave the rest of us alive." Then the Lion said 
" Very well," and they went off. 

Next morning they drew lots (i),and the lot fell upon 
the Gazelle, so the others seized the Gazelle and took her 
to the Lion. Then the Lion killed her and ate her, and 
did not hurt any of the others. The following morning 



234 HA USA SUPERSTITIONS 

the Beasts did the same thing, and they took the Roan 
Antelope to the Lion, who killed and ate him. 

This went on every day, until at last the lot fell upon 
the Jerboa, and the others seized him, and were about to 
take him to the Lion, when he said " No no, leave me 
alone, I will go to the Lion of my own free will." Then 
they said " Very well," and they released him. Now 
would you believe it, the cunning Jerboa was going to 
kill the Lion ! 

The Jerboa went to his hole and fell asleep, and 
did not go out before noon. But the Lion in his den 
began to feel hungry, for nothing had been brought to 
him, so he arose, in anger, and went to look for the 
Beasts of the Forest, and he was roaring. The Jerboa 
came out of his hole and climbed a tree near a well, 
and watched the Lion from afar off, and, when he had 
passed, the Jerboa said " What is making you roar? " 
The Lion replied " Ever since daybreak I have been 
awaiting you, yet you have brought me nothing." 
Then the Jerboa from the top of the tree said '* Well, 
look here, we cast lots, and the lot fell upon me, and I 
was coming to you, and bringing some honey for you 
that you might enjoy it also, when another Lion in this 
well stopped me, and stole the honey from me." Then 
the Lion exclaimed "Where is this Lion?" and the 
Jerboa replied " He is in the well, but he says that he is 
stronger than you are." Then the Lion was furious, 
and he ran to the well, and stopped on the brink, and 
looked in, and saw another Lion in the well looking at 
him. In reality it was only his reflection, not a real 
Lion. Then the Lion abused him but there was only 
silence. Again he abused him silence. And then he 
became mad, and sprang upon him in the well, and he 
sank in the water and was drowned. 



THE RUDE MONKEY 235 

So the Jerboa returned to where the Beasts were, and 
said " Well, 1 have killed the Lion, so you can feed 
in the forest in peace, but I am going to live in a hole." 
So the Beasts said "Well done," and they continued 
41 Cunning is better than strength, the Jerboa has killed 
the Lion." 



In a Malayan story (Skeat, Fables and Folk-Tales, 
page 28) the incidents are almost identical, but it is a 
Tiger which is killed, the Chevrotain being the hero in 
that country, as he is also in Sierra Leone (Cronise and 
Ward, page 17). 



26 

THE CAMEL AND THE RUDE MONKEY. 

One day a Jackal climbed a kainya tree (i), and 
igan eating the fruit, and soon a Camel came up, 
id said "O Jackal," and the Jackal said "Yes." 
What are you eating?" asked the Camel. " I am 
iting kainya fruit," was the reply. The Camel said 
Pick some for me too," and the Jackal did so, and 
ten descended from the tree and went home. 

The day passed, and next morning a Monkey arrived 
and climbed the tree, and began eating the fruit, and 
the Camel seeing him there said " Will you not pick 
some for me to eat? " and the Monkey gave him some. 
The Camel asked again and again, and the Monkey 
picked more for him, but at last he became tired of 
doing this, and said that he would give him no more, 
and called him a humpback. Then the Camel abused 
him and called him a Beast with deep-set eyes. Now 
this made the Monkey very angry, for he was ashamed 
of his deep-set eyes, and he said that the Camel had 



236 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

no hind-quarters. Then the Camel seized him (2), and 
bound him, and carried him off. 

As he was going along he met the Spider who said 
14 O Camel, what has caused you to seize the Monkey ? " 
And the Camel replied " Ask him himself." So the 
Monkey said " I w r as up the kainya tree when he asked 
me to pick some fruit for him, and then more, and 
then more, and I got tired of it, and said * O Hump- 
backed One.' He replied that I had deep-set eyes, and 
then I said ' O One with the tiny behind.' ' Then the 
Spider said " The Monkey was wrong, do not loose 
him," and they passed on. 

Next they met the Lion, and the Lion said " O 
Camel, what has caused you to seize the Monkey?" 
And the Camel said " Ask him himself." So the 
Monkey said " I was up the kainya tree when he asked 
me to pick some fruit for him, and then more, and then 
more, and I got tired of it, and asked if he had no 
shame. He replied that I had deep-set eyes, and I said 
' O Humpbacked One, with a rump like as if you 
had drunk feiraba(3).'" Then the Lion said " The 
Monkey was wrong, do not loose him," and they passed 
on. 

Then they came upon the Jackal sitting outside his 
hole, at the foot of a tree, and he said " Come here and 
I will arbitrate between you." Now the Jackal was 
the Monkey's Friend [and he knew what a nuisance the 
Camel was], but the Camel did not know this, for the 
Jackal is very cunning (4), so they came close, and sat 
down, and the Jackal said " Loose the rope from him 
first (5)," and the Camel did so. 

Now the Monkey was sitting on the Jackal's right 
side, the Camel on the left, and suddenly the Jackal 
said " My judgment is that you, O Monkey, shall 



THE LUCKY BOY 237 

climb that tree, while I enter my hole." Immediately 
the Monkey sprang up into the tree, the Jackal 
dived into his hole, and the Camel was left sitting by 
himself. 

That was all, the trial was finished, so the Camel 
went off. 

In a somewhat similar tale (F.-L. 16), the Hyaena 
seizes the Monkey, although the latter has done her a 
good turn. 

27 
THE BOY WHO WAS LUCKY IN TRADING. 

There were once a certain Boy and his Father, and 
the Boy said that he was going on a trading expedition, 
so the Father said " Here is a little Scorpion, you can 
have it for food." The Boy took it and started off, 
and soon he met some Farmers, and they said " Bring 
that little Scorpion here," and when he had done so, 
they killed it. Then he said " O You, Farmers, give 
me my little Scorpion." " Which little Scorpion?" 
they asked. " The little Scorpion which my Father 
gave me as food for the journey," he replied. And 
[in order to keep him quiet] they took a sickle, and 
gave it to him. 

So he went on, and soon he met some People reap- 
ing guinea-corn, and they said " Bring us your sickle 
that we may reap with it." So they took the sickle, 
and when they had done so, and had reaped the corn, 
he said " O you Reapers, give me my sickle." Then 
they said " Which sickle?" And he replied "The 
sickle which the Farmers gave me.*' " Which 
Farmers ? " they asked. " The Farmers who killed my 
little Scorpion," he replied. Then they said "Which 



238 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

little Scorpion? " And he answered " The little Scor- 
pion which my Father gave me as food for the journey." 
So they took some millet-flour and gave it to him, and 
he went on. 

As he was travelling he met a Filani Maiden who 
was selling sour milk, and she said " Hey, Boy, bring 
me your millet-flour that I may mix it with my sour 
milk" (i), and he gave it her. So she mixed it with 
her milk, and drank the lot. Then he said " Oh, I 
say, Filani Maid, give me my millet-flour." Then she 
said " Which millet-flour?" " The millet-flour that 
the Reapers gave me," he answered. " Which 
Reapers?" she asked. " The Reapers who took my 
sickle." "Which sickle?" she asked. And he re- 
plied " The sickle which the Farmers gave me." 
" Which Farmers? " she asked. " The Farmers who 
killed my little Scorpion," he replied. Then she said 
"Which little Scorpion?" And he answered "The 
little Scorpion which my Father gave me as food for 
the journey." So she gave him some butter. 

As he was travelling on and on, he met with a Man 
carrying tobacco, and the Man-with-the-tobacco said 
" Hullo, you have some butter, bring it here that I may 
mix it with my tobacco and pound it up." So the Boy 
gave him the butter, and he fried it, and mixed the 
tobacco with it. Then the Boy said "Alas! alas! O 
Man-with-the-tobacco, give me my butter." But the 
other said "Which butter?" "The butter that the 
Filani Maiden gave me." " Which Filani Maiden? " 
asked the other. " The Filani Maiden who drank up 
my millet-flour," he replied. "Which millet-flour?" 
asked the Man. " The millet-flour that the Reapers 
gave me," he answered. "Which Reapers?" he 
asked. " The Reapers who took my sickle. " " Which 



THE LUCKY BOY 



239 



sickle ? " he asked. And he replied " The sickle which 
the Farmers gave me.'' " Which Farmers?" he 
asked. " The Farmers who killed my little Scorpion,'* 
he replied. Then he said "Which little Scorpion?" 
And he answered " The little Scorpion which my 
Father gave me as food for the journey." So the Man 
gave him some potash (2). 

As he was travelling along with the potash, he 




FIG. 56. 




FIG. 57. 



FIG. 58. 



FIGS. 56-58. Decorated vessels of wood or gourd, pattern cut on purple 
ground, D. of largest, 3f in. 



met a Filani Youth (3) who was tending Cattle, and 
the Filani Youth said to him " Here Boy, bring your 
potash here that I may put it in the water, and give it 
to the Cattle to drink." So the Boy handed it to him, 
and he gave it to the Cattle, and they drank. When 
they had done so, the Boy said " Alas ! alas ! O Filani 
Youth, give me my potash." Then he said " Which 



2 4 o HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

potash? " And the Boy replied " The potash that the 
Man-with-the-tobacco gave me.*' " Which Man-with- 
the-tobacco? " asked the other. "The Man-with-the- 
tobacco who used up my butter,'* he replied. " Which 
butter? " asked the other. " The butter that the Filani 
Maiden gave me." "Which Filani Maiden?" asked 
the other. " The Filani Maiden who drank up my 
millet-flour," he replied. "Which millet-flour?" 
asked the Youth. " The millet-flour that the Reapers 
gave me," he answered. "Which Reapers?" he 
asked. " The Reapers who took my sickle." " Which 
sickle? " he asked. And he replied " The sickle which 
the Farmers gave me." "Which Farmers?" he 
asked. " The Farmers who killed my little Scorpion," 
he replied. Then he said "Which little Scorpion?" 
And he answered " The little Scorpion which my 
Father gave me as food for the journey." So he chose 
a Bull and gave it to him (4). 

The Boy went on and on with the Bull, until he 
came to a certain city, and he lodged at the house of 
the Chief Butcher (5), and the Chief Butcher said 
" Hullo Boy, bring us your Bull that we may slaughter 
it." And when the Bull had been slaughtered, and the 
meat had been sold, the Boy said " Alas ! Chief 
Butcher, give me my Bull." And the other said 
"Which Bull?" The Boy said "The Bull that the 
Filani Youth gave me." "Which Filani Youth?" 
asked the other. "The Filani Youth who took my 
potash," he replied. "Which potash ?" asked the other. 
And the Boy replied "The potash that the Man-with- 
the-tobacco gave me. "Which Man-with-the-tobacco?" 
asked the other. The Man-with-the-tobacco who used up 
my butter," he replied. "Which butter?" asked the 
other. " The butter that the Filani Maiden gave me." 








XXI. BUTCHERS. XXII. A BLACKSMITH. 

Any meat not sold immediately after the kill is stuck on spits, and exposed to the sun. The skins 
are pegged down to be cured. 

A Hausa blacksmith is often found in a village of another tribe which even the Hausa trader could 
not enter. 



THE LUCKY BOY 241 

4 'Which Filani Maiden?" asked the other. " The 
Filani Maiden who drank up my millet-flour," he re- 
plied. "Which millet-flour?" asked the Chief 
Butcher. " The millet-flour that the Reapers gave 
me," he answered. "Which Reapers?" he asked. 
"The Reapers who took my sickle." "Which 
sickle? " he asked. And he replied " The sickle which 
the Farmers gave me." "Which Farmers?" he 
asked. " The Farmers who killed my little Scorpion," 
he replied. Then he said "Which little Scorpion?" 
And he answered " The little Scorpion which my Father 
gave me as food for the journey." So the Chief 
Butcher took two Slaves and gave them to him, a Male 
and a Female. . 

When he had got them, the Boy returned to his 
Father's house, and said to his Father " The trading 
has been successful, I have returned." He had ob- 
tained two Slaves for his little Scorpion ! 

That is the end of this. 

With this story and numbers 77 and 80, may be 
compared one from Sierra Leone (Cronise and Ward, 
page 313) to account for the origin of the axe. 

" Dah breeze take me wing, eh ! 
De wing wey de 'awk done gie me ; 
'Awk done yeat me fis', eh ! 
Deh fis' wey wattah gie me ; 

IWattah take me pot, eh ! 
Dah pot wey de bug-a-bug gie me ; 
Bug-a bug yeat me corn, eh ! 
De corn wey dah girl bin gie me ; 
Girl yeat me bird, eh ! 
Wey mese'f bin ketch um." 

The breeze then gives him fruit, but the Baboon 
steals it, and has to give him an axe instead. The Xing 
takes the axe, but has to give him great riches for it. 

This is a very favourite tale throughout Africa, 
16 



242 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

it exists among the Damara (Bleek, Reynard the Fox, 
90), the Zulus (Callaway, Nursery Tales, 37), the 
Kabyles (Riviere, Conies Pop. de la Kabylie du Djur- 
djura, 79, 95), the Anyanja (Folk-Lore iii, 92; xv, 344). 
It is found in Europe from Malta (Archivio perlo Studio 
delle Trad. Pop., xiv, 459) to Brittany on the west 
(Se"billot, Conies Pop. de la Haute Bretagne, i, 346) and 
among the Cheremiss of the Russian government of 
Kasan on the east (Porkka, Tcheremissische Texte, 
63). (H.). 



28 

ONE CANNOT HELP AN UNLUCKY MAN. 

There was a certain Man, a Pauper, he had nothing 
but husks for himself and his Wife to eat. There was 
another Man who had many Wives and Slaves and 
Children, and the two Men had farms close together. 

One day a Very-Rich-Man who was richer than 
either came, and was going to pass by on the road. 
He had put on a ragged coat and torn trousers, and a 
holey cap, and the People did not know that he was 
rich, they thought that he was a Beggar. Now when 
he had come up close, he said to the Rich-Man " Hail 
to you in your work," but when he had said " Hail," 
the Rich-Man said " What do you mean by speaking 
to me, you may be a Leper for all we know !" So he 
went on, and came to the Poor-Man 's farm, and said 
" Hail to you in your work." And the Poor-Man 
replied " Um hum " (i), and said to his Wife " Quick, 
mix some husks and water, and give him to drink." So 
she took it to him, and knelt (2), and said " See, here 
,is some of that which we have to drink." So he said 
" Good, thanks be to God," and he put out his lips 
as if he were going to drink, but he did not really do 
so, he gave it back to her, and said " I thank you." 



THE UNLUCKY MAN 243 

So he went home and said " Now, that Man who 
was kind to me I must reward. 5 ' So he had a calabash 
washed well with white earth (3), and filled up to the 
top with dollars, and a new mat (4) was brought to 
close it. Then the Very-Rich-Man sent his Daughter, 
who carried the calabash, in front, and when they had 
arrived at the edge of the bush (5) he said " Do you 
see that crowd of People over there working ?" And 
she replied " Yes, I see them." He said " Good, now 
do you see one Man over there working with his 
Wife? " And she replied " Yes." " Good," he said, 
" to him must you take this calabash." Then she said 
" Very well," and she passed on, and came to where 
the Poor-Man was, and said " Hail," and continued 
;< I have been sent to you, see this calabash, I was 
told to bring it to you." 

Now the Poor-Man did not open it to see what was 
inside, his poverty prevented him (6), but he said 
* Take it to Malam Abba, and tell him to take as much 
flour as he wants from it, and to give us the rest." 
But when it had been taken to Malam Abba, he saw 
the dollars inside, and he put them into his pockets, 
and brought guinea-corn flour and pressed it down 
in the calabash, and said " Carry it to him, I have taken 
some." And the Poor-Man [when he saw that there 
was some flour left] said " Good, thanks be to God, 
pour it into our calabash (7), and depart, I thank you." 

Now the Very-Rich-Man had been watching from a 
distance, and [when he saw what had happened] he 
was overcome with rage, and said " Truly if you put 
an unlucky Man into a jar of oil he would emerge quite 
dry (8). I wanted him to have some luck, but God has 
made him thus." 



244 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

In a story given in L.T.H. (14) a Son of the King 
of Katsina gave orders that the Poorest-Man was to be 
brought before him, and when he had come, the Prince 
heaped riches upon him, " ten Goats, ten Asses, ten 
Mules, ten Camels, of all the things in the world he 
gave him ten each." The Poor Man was then given a 
house to live in, and told to go to it, but just as he had 
arrived he fell down and died. Then the People said 
" Whatever good a Man proposes to do to you, if God 
does not wish it, it will be all in vain." 



29 
THE WONDERFUL RING. 

This is about a certain Woman who had two 
Children, both Sons. One day they left home, and went 
into the world to try their fortune (i); the Elder took 
three cloths, and the Younger took three cloths, and 
with these the Elder bought a Goat, the Younger a 
Scraggy Dog. When they returned, their Mother said 
"Welcome to you," and the Elder said "See what I 
have gained, a Goat; and the Younger said " See what 
I have gained, a Scraggy Dog." Then she said [to the 
latter] " O, you, may God curse you, whatever made 
you buy a Scraggy Dog? " And the Elder Son said 
" Opp, will he be able to do as well as I ? " 

Soon afterwards, they prepared to go away again, 
the Elder took four cloths (2), the Younger three, and 
off they started. The Elder obtained a Bull, but the 
Younger got only a Skinny Cat. When they returned 
their Mother said " Welcome to you," and the Elder 
said " See what I have gained, a Bull ; and the Younger 
said " See what I have gained, a Skinny Cat." Then 
the Mother said to him " May God curse you, whatever 
made you buy a Skinny Cat?" And the Elder Son 
said "Opp, will he be able to do as well as I?' ; 



THE WONDERFUL RING 245 

" Ah," exclaimed the Younger Son, " I am storing up 
favour with God.'* 

Once more they made ready to go off, and the 
Elder Son took ten cloths, while the Younger again 
had three, and on their travels the Elder gained two 
Slaves, two young Girls ripe for marriage (3), while 
the Younger got only an Old Woman, wizened up, 
and with breasts like long boots (4). So they returned, 
and their Mother said "Welcome to you," and the 
Elder said " So far as I am concerned, this is what I 
have gained, two young Slave-Girls." And the 
Younger one said " I have gained an Old Woman, 
wizened up." Then the Mother said " May God curse 
you, whatever made you buy an Old Woman wizened 
up (5) ? " The Elder Son said " Opp, will he be able 
to do as well as I ? " But the Younger Son said " Ah, 
I am storing up favour with God." 

Now, as it happened, the Old Woman was really 
the Daughter of the King of the city to which they 
used to go to trade, and the King had no Son, and 
no other Daughter but her, the Old Woman. She 
had been taken prisoner during a war, and had been 
lost to the King, and now the Younger Son had bought 
her. One day a Man 'of her city came to the Boys* 
city she had been given flour and water and was 
selling it and while she was calling out its good quali- 
ties and saying "Here is fura, here is fura(6)," the 
Man from her city said " Bring it.** When she had 
done so, and he had seen her, he grasped his body, and 
said "What! Gimbia ! You have been sought for 
from town to town, and not found.** Then she said 
" I have been here, a certain Boy bought me, I am 
kept in slavery.*' Then he said "Indeed!** and he 
continued " Let us go, take me to your Master that I 



246 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

may see him/' So they went, and she called the Boy 
aside so that his Mother should not hear, and said to 
her fellow Townsman " Here is my Master." Then 
the Man from her city said " If you agree, follow her, 
and go to her city, go to her Father, the King of the 
city, and he will ransom her." So the Boy said " I 
will," and he went and told his Mother. But she said 
" Oh ! go, Luckless One, go, and they will take from 
you even the Wizened Old Woman." But he said 
" Ahem, perhaps, but I will go." 

So he put his Slave in front of him (7), and they 
went to her city, even unto the door of the King's 
palace, and the whole town was excited, saying " Gim- 
bia has returned." Then the King rejoiced, and he 
took the Younger Son to a house, and said that he was 
going to slaughter a Bull in his honour, but the other 
said that a Ram would do. 

Now the Slave said to her Master " See here, if my 
Father offers you a million cowries, say that you do 
not agree; if he offers you a thousand head of Cattle, 
say that you do not agree; if he offers you a thousand 
Horses, say that you do not agree; if he offers you a 
hundred Slaves (8), say that you do not agree." And 
she continued " What he must give you to ransom me 
is nothing else than the small ring on his little finger." 
The Younger Son said " I see." She said " It alone 
he must give you to ransom me, if you get that ring, it 
is the spirit (9) of the city, you will rule the whole 
city," And he said " I understand." So when the 
King said " Here is the ransom, a million cowries," 
he said " I will not accept them." The King said " I 
will give you a thousand head of Cattle," but he re- 
plied " I will not accept them." The King said " I 
will give you a thousand Horses," but again he said 



THE WONDERFUL RING 247 

" I will not accept them." " I will give you one hun- 
dred Slaves " said the King, but once more the 
Younger Son said " I will not accept them." At last 
he said " What you must give me to ransom her is 
that small ring on your little finger." Then the King 
said " If I were to give you this ring at once, the whole 
city would arise and follow you on the road, and kill 
you," and he continued " I will give you the ring, but 
I will first give you a certain Charger which can out- 
strip all the other Horses of the city in a race." Then 
he said " See, here is the ring, put it into your mouth, 
and as soon as you are outside the door start gallop- 
ing." 

Now to go from this city to the Boy's city took 
thirty days, but he was going to gallop and get there 
in one day. Just as he emerged from the gate of the 
city, the whole of the People rushed up and raised the 
alarm, and put on their saddles, and as soon as they 
came they followed the Boy at a gallop. They galloped, 
and galloped, and galloped, until they almost caught 
him (10), but he managed to enter the gates of his own 
city and leave them outside. Then they said " Well, 
if you follow a man and he escapes, and gets into his 
own house, you must leave him alone "(n). 

No sooner had the Boy arrived at home and had 
dismounted, than the Horse fell down and died, and 
then his Mother said " You see, I told you that you 
are unlucky, see now the Wizened Old Woman has been 
taken from you, and though you were given a Horse 
in exchange, it is dead." Then the Elder Son said 
44 Will he be able to do as well as I?" But the 
Younger Son replied " I am storing up fortune with 
God," and he left the city, and went and lived in a 
booth in the forest. 



248 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Now the ring was on his finger, and when he lay 
down to sleep he heard sounds of dit, dit, dit, the earth 
was moving, a city was coming ! And when day 
broke, lo ! there was a big city with walls, and flat- 
roofed houses, and women without number. Then he 
went and called his Mother, and made her a house for 
herself, the Scraggy Dog and the Skinny Cat had their 
houses built for them, and the Elder Brother had 
his (12). 

Some time afterwards a certain Bad Woman heard 
the news, and said that she would have no one but him, 
and he said that he wanted her. So he lived with the 
Bad Woman, and he gave her everything that she 
wanted, whatever it might be that she wished for he 
gave it to her. 

One day when dawn came she started crying, and 
she cried, and cried, and at sunset she was still cry- 
ing. She said " Is it true that you do not love me? " 
'Why do you say I do not love you?" he asked. 
' What has come between us is this," she replied, " if 
you love me, give me that ring to keep on my hand 
for a day." But when he had given it to her, she took 
it to her Paramour, and so when night came, the city 
arose and settled down around the Paramour's 
house, and the Younger Son was left with only the 
Scraggy Dog, the Skinny Cat, his Mother, and his 
Elder Brother. 

When morning broke he saw this, and began cry- 
ing, but the Dog asked " What is it you are crying 
for ? " And he replied " You see what the Bad Woman 
has done to me." Then the Cat also said " What is 
it you are crying for?" And he replied "You see 
what the Bad Woman has done to me." Then they 
said " Opp, that is easily remedied, did you not bring 



THE WONDERFUL RING 249 

us here so that we might one day do you a good 
turn? "(13). 

Now the Dog and the Cat departed for the city to 
which the Bad Woman had taken the ring, so that they 
might steal it. But [just outside the city] they came 
to a large river which barred their progress. Then the 
Dog said " Opp, I can swim, you, O Cat, get on my 
back.* 1 So he took the Cat on his back, and they 
crossed the river, and it was now sunset. Then the Cat 
said " Now, O Dog, go into the city, steal food and 
eat your fill (14), and then return and meet me here." 
So the Dog entered the city, and stole and stole food 
until he had had enough, and then he returned and 
met the Cat at the brink of the river. " Now," she 
said, " You stay here, while I go into the city." And 
when she had entered into the house to which she first 
came, she killed a thousand Mice. She left that 
house and entered another, and killed another 
thousand, then she went to a third house and killed a 
thousand Mice there also. Then the King of the city 
heard the news the one who had the ring on his 
finger and he said " Bring me that Cat, so that she 
may come and kill the Mice in my palace." And when 
she had been brought, she killed a thousand of them. 

Then the Princes of the Mice came to her, and said 
1 What crime have we committed that you are killing 
us thus?" And she replied "My Master's ring is 
here, in the possession of the King of the city, if you 
do not steal it and bring it to me, I will kill every one 
of you." Then they began to make plans, and plans, 
but they did not get the ring, and she said " As you 
have not got it for me your trouble is upon your own 
heads," and she killed five hundred of them straight off. 

Then one of the Mouse-Kings said " Now, our kind 



2 5 o HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

cannot get it, but the Roof-Mouse can," so they went 
to the house of the King of the Roof-Mice (15), and 
called him, and the King of the Mice said " O King 
of the Roof-Mice, you know what evil has happened to 
us, order your People to steal for us this ring so that 
we may be free from being slaughtered thus." Then 
the King of the Roof-Mice said " Opp, that is a simple 
matter." 

Now the King of the city used to sleep with the 
ring in his mouth all night, and the Roof-Mice came, 
and began searching and searching in the hut, but they 
did not get it, and at last they climbed the bed. The King 
was sleeping with his mouth open, and, as it happened, 
the ring rolled out of his mouth, and fell close by him. 
Immediately one of the Roof-Mice picked up the ring, 
and another bit the King on the tongue so that he 
awoke (16). And when he awoke he began feel- 
ing about until the Bad Woman said " What is the 
matter? " Then he said " A Mouse has bitten me in 
the mouth." And she said " Let me know the worst, 
has it taken the ring?" And he felt about, and said 
11 No, no, we shall see it in the morning." 

So the King of the Roof-Mice took it to the Cat, 
and she put it in her mouth, and she went back to the 
Dog, and the Dog carried her on his back, and they 
re-crossed the river, and returned home. Then the Cat 
said " O Master, leave off crying, it was an easy task, 
see the ring !" 

When he arose next morning, he saw that the city 
had returned, and when day broke the Bad Woman 
saw that she had no city, and that but for her and her 
Paramour there was no one. Then she said to him 
" May God curse you. If you put an Unlucky Man 
into a pot of oil he would come out quite white, but a 



THE WONDERFUL RING 251 

Lucky Man will find someone to buy water, even on 
the banks of the Niger " (17). 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 80) the Old Woman is 
obtained in a somewhat different way, and she turns 
out to be the Mother of the King of a distant city, who 
ransoms her for one of two little balls, which he keeps 
in his mouth. In this case the Hero is not pursued, nor 
is there any mention of the temporary loss of the city 
which he founds. 



In another story (L.T.H. ii, 42), a Man is going on 
a trading trip, and each Wife gives him something to 
take. The fourth Wife who has never done any work 
at all giving him only a tin with an Insect in it. The 
Husband sets out, and at the first town, a Cat steals his 
tin, and eats the Insect, and on his complaining, the 
Cat is handed over to him in conformity with a code 
resembling the lex talionis. He goes on until he 
reaches a city where Cats are unknown, and during the 
first night she kills numbers of Mice. The King is 
told of this, and he and his People buy the Cat for 200 
Slaves. The Husband returns, and gives them to his 
fourth Wife, and turns out the other three (18). 




FIG. 59. FIG. 60. 

FIGS. 59, 60. Decorated vessels, like fig. 58. 



252 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

30 
THE GREEDY GIRL AND HER CURE. 

This story is about a Girl who was so greedy that 
whatever she saw she would take and eat it. Even 
bones a hundred years old she would take and eat. 
At last her Parents said " Get ready and go away, we 
love you no longer, you are so very greedy." 

So she went to a Girl-Friend, and said " See, my 
Parents have told me to go out into the world, they 
love me no longer because I am so very greedy [come 
with me out into the world]," so they both started off, 
the Girl and her Friend. Now as they were going along, 
they came upon nine Dogs in the road, and immediately 
the Girl seized them, and ate them. When she had 
eaten the Dogs, she said to her Friend, who was stand- 
ing in the road, that she was going a little way into 
the forest,* and when she had returned, and her Friend 
asked her where she had been, she could say only 
" Urn, um," she could no longer speak human words, 
only those of the Dog. 

Now they went on to a certain far city, and came to 
the King's palace (i), and when the King saw the Girl 
he said that he would make her his Wife, but she 
spoke not a word, she could only bark like a Dog. So 
she was married to the King [and everyone remarked 
how] very beautiful she was. As for the Friend, the 
King's Brother married her. So they lived thus, the 
Girl could not talk, but only bark, and though the 
King tried and tried to make her speak, she could not 
do so. And this went on until it was ordered that 
all the Women of the town should assemble and pound 
grain together at the King's palace, so that the Girl's 
speech should return (2). 



THE GREEDY GIRL 253 

Now in the middle of the night the Girl-Friend 
came and roused the Girl, and they returned to the 
place where she had eaten the Dogs, and thence they 
went to the house of a Witch. Then the Friend said 
to the Witch " O Parent (3), will you not make me a 
charm for a Girl who has eaten Dogs?" And the 
Witch beat and beat the Girl's back, and lo ! all the 
nine Dogs emerged. Then both of the Girls returned 
home, to the King's palace. 

Next morning, at daybreak, all the Women of the 
town assembled at the King's palace to pound corn, 
and they began pounding and pounding, and as they 
were doing it the pestles sang : 

" O Dogs, come out quick-ly, 
O Dogs, come out quick-ly " (4). 

When they had finished, the Girl came out of the 
palace with a pestle of silver in her hand. Then the 
Sun said " Oh, oh, oh, she is beautiful." And the 
Earth asked " Shall I give way and give you room 
to pass?" But she said " If you give way where 
shall I tread?" So she went to where the Women 
were pounding, and began to beat. Then she said 
to the King " Draw me your sword, if one is not 
happy in his position, he will try to change it "(5). 

The King hearkened unto her words, and he lived 
with her as his sole Wife, and they ruled the world. 
He killed all his other Wives (6). 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 78) the Girls are Step-Sisters 

'ho were so much alike that they could not be told 

irt. A dead Dog was found and " Little-Eve " ate 

with a similar result as in the above, but she was 

ired by a Dodoniya (or She-Dodo), who brought seven 

>ogs out of her throat. The other Wives, Concubines, 



254 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

&c., had complained to the King that she could only 
bark, but when asked to speak she did so, and their 
heads were requisitioned as stones for the cooking-place. 



THE GLUTTONS. 

Once Bankammi and his Wife Barrankamma 
built a house in a certain town and lived there. 
When he went to the forest he used to kill an 
Elephant and eat it, and if when he had carried one 
home, he called his Wife and said " Here Barran- 
kamma," and gave it to her, before he could go inside, 
turn round, and come out again, he would find her 
with only the bones left. Every morning at daybreak 
she would grind a whole barn full of corn, and give it 
to him, and when he had [mixed it with water and] (i) 
drunk it, he would go off to the forest. 

Now the King of the City heard about them, the 
People said " They are of a truth great eaters, both 
the Husband and his Wife." So the King said 
" Summon them here," and he said to the Citizens 
" Let everyone pound corn, and make porridge, make 
pudding, and bring it to the King's palace." 

Then the King said " See, we have two Guests 
in the town." Then the porridge and the pudding were 
taken to Bankammi and Barrankamma and they ate 
every bit, and they told the King that they were still 
hungry. Then the King said " Bring them a tank (2) 
of water," and it was brought, and they drank it, but 
they said that they were not satisfied. Then the King 
said " Indeed! You must try to get along with that," 
and he continued " Now, you can sleep here to-night, 



THE GREEDY MAN 255 

but to-morrow I shall send you away, we cannot put up 
with you." 

So next morning he brought four Slaves and gave 
them to the Gluttons saying that the Slaves could 
farm for them (3). 



32 

HOW DODO FRIGHTENED THE GREEDY MAN. 

There was a certain Man who had a Son, an Orphan, 
without a Mother. Now the Father had a Bull (i), and 
he said " I am not going to kill it where there are 
Flies to settle on it to eat some." So they went far into 
the depth of the forest, and he told his Son to hold 
up some bad smelling meat to see if there were any 
Flies about. So he did so, and not a Fly came, so they 
killed the Bull there, and prepared to eat the whole of it. 

Now, as it happened, they had forgotten to bring 
fire (2), so the Father climbed a tree, and afar off he 
saw a red glow like fire which was really Dodo's 
mouth* and he said to his Son " See there is fire over 
there, go and get some." But when the Son tapped 
Dodo's mouth ket, ket, ket, as if to get some embers, 
Dodo said " Who is that? " and the Son replied " My 
Father says that you are to come." 

Then Dodo took up his leather bag, that in which 
he used to store his meat the bag was like a hill in 
height and he came to where the Father was, and said 
'Who has summoned me? " Then the Father said 
" It was I," and [pretending that he had invited him 
to the feast] he took a forequarter of the Bull, and gave 
it to him. Dodo put it in his bag, and said " Does a 
Man invite his Friend to a feast on account of a tiny 



256 HA USA SUPERSTITIONS 

morsel like that? " So the Father took the other fore- 
quarter, and gave it to him, and Dodo put it in his 
bag, and said " Does a Man invite his Friend to a 
feast on account of a tiny morsel like that? " Then the 
Father cut the Bull in two and gave him half, and 
Dodo put it in his bag, and said " Does a Man invite 
his Friend to a feast on account of a tiny morsel like 
that ? " Then the Father gave him the rest of the meat, 
and Dodo put it in his bag, and said " Does a Man 
invite his Friend to a feast on account of a tiny morsel 
like that ?" 

Now there was nothing left but the hide, the 
hoofs, and the head (3), and these the Father col- 
lected and gave to Dodo, but he put them in his bag, 
and said " Does a Man invite his Friend to a feast on 
account of a tiny morsel like that? " Then the Father 
said " Alas, there is no more." But Dodo replied " Oh 
yes there is, you also are meat." So the Father seized 
his Son and gave him to Dodo, and Dodo put him in 
his bag, and said " Does a Man invite his Friend to a 
feast on account of a tiny morsel like that ? " Then the 
Father said " But really there is nothing left." But 
Dodo said "What about yourself?" and he put the 
Father inside the bag. 

Then he pulled out the Son, and told him to 
watch the bag because he was going away to get some 
wood to roast them. But when he had gone, the Son 
took a knife and ripped open the bag, and the Father 
emerged. Then they ran away, leaving the meat there. 
So when Dodo returned, he found that they had run 
away, but that they had left the meat, so he roasted it, 
and ate it. 

Now when the Father and Son had returned home, 
they said that they repented, they would never be so 




I 

Jo 

2S 







11 



H 3 



I-H' 2 



BORTORIMI 257 

greedy again, and that if they saw a Man passing 
along the road, even if he were not close to them, they 
would invite him to share their meal. They said that 
greed was not right, that they would not indulge it 
again (4). 

In a variant, it is the Witch who glows like fire, but 
the rest of the story is like numbers 48 and 51. 



33 

BORTORIMI AND THE SPIDER. 

There was once a certain Man whose name was 
Bortorimi, a Giant was he, there was no one like him 
in all the world, for, when he used to go to the forest, 
he would kill some twenty Elephants, and bring them 
home for his meal. One day the Spider sent his Wife 
the female Spider to Bortorimi's house to get fire (i). 
So she went, and while she w r as there, they gave her a 
great piece of meat, so she took it home with her. Then 
the Spider said "Who has given you that meat?" 
And she replied " I got it at Bortorimi's house." Im- 
mediately the Spider said " Put out your fire." And 
when she had done so, she returned to Bortorimi's 
house, and said that the fire had gone out (2). So 
more meat was given to her. 

Then the Spider himself went to Bortorimi's house, 
but when Bortorimi gave him some meat he ate it all up 
at once, and did not bring any home. When he had 
eaten it, he said to Bortorimi " Where do you get this 
meat?" And the other replied "Over there in the 
forest, a great way off." " I see," said the Spider, 
"may I accompany you next time?" And Bortorimi 



258 HAUSA SUPERSTITIO\S 

said " Very well, 11 but that he would not be going until 
the next morning, [so the Spider went home], 

But the Spider could not wait until the dawn had 
come, so he pulled the roof off his hut (3), and set it on 
fire, and this made the whole place as light as if day 
had broken, although it was really not even dawn, but 
midnight. Then the Spider ran to Bortorimi's house, 
and stood outside, and called out " Hey, Bortorimi, 
Bortorimi, awake, awake, it is dawn." But Bortorimi 
replied " Oh ! come, Spider, now I was watching you 
when you took the roof off your house and burned it." 
So the Spider went home again. 

Soon afterwards he mounted a rock and made the 
first " Call to Prayer " (4), and said that dawn had 
come. Then he went and roused Bortorimi, saying 
' Everyone is astir, they are calling to prayer, wake 
up." But Bortorimi said " Oh ! dear Spider, can you 
not have patience?" and he refused to go. 

Now Bortorimi's nose was as big as a house, there 
was a market inside it. At daybreak they started off, 
and when they had come to a certain great river, 
Bortorimi said to the Spider " Drink your fill." And 
when the Spider had drunk all he wanted, Bortorimi 
pouted his lips and drank up all the water, leaving only 
the mud. Then they went on, and at last they reached 
the depths of the forest where the Elephants used to 
feed. 

When they had arrived at the spot, Bortorimi said to 
the Spider " Go and spy on the Animals there, and 
abuse them, and when you have done so, and they 
chase you, run and get inside my nose." " Very well," 
said the Spider, and off he went and abused the Ele- 
phants, calling out " Hey, you Animals, you are not 
properly born " (5). Immediately they charged down 



BORTORIMI 



259 



upon the Spider, but he went off at a run, and jumped 
into Bortorimi's nose, and Bortorimi captured the whole 
herd of Elephants, and killed them. 

Now as soon as the Spider got inside the nose 
(where there was a market) he began his tricks, saying 
that he was a King's Son, and so he ought to have a 





FIG. 6r. 



FIG. 62. 



FIG. 63. 



FIG. 61. Spoon of white cottonwood, incised pattern, L., 125 in. 
FIG. 62. Brass spoon, stamped pattern, L., 9 T 5 6 . FIG. 63. Ladle made 
by splitting a gourd. 



present of ground-nuts to eat, and the Old Woman 
selling them there gave him some (6). 

Just then Bortorimi finished killing the Elephants, 
and he began calling out "Spider, Spider, come 
out." So the Spider emerged, and Bortorimi said 
to him " Now choose the Elephant that you are going 



260 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

to take." But the Spider said that he could not carry 
one (7), so Bortorimi heaped them all together and 
carried the lot. When they had got home, Bortorimi 
said " Now Spider, here is yours," and the Spider 
skinned the Elephant, and roasted it, and ate every bit, 
he would not give any to his Wife. 

As soon as the Spider had eaten it, he returned to 
Bortorimi's house, and said " O, Bortorimi, are you not 
going back to the hunting-ground?" But Bortorimi 
said " Umm, I shall not return, this is enough for me." 



In one variant (L.T.H. 144), Butorami is described 
as a certain kind of large Beast. In another one (L.T.H. 
90) Futaranga, takes the Hyaena to draw the Ele- 
phants, and she hides in his nose. Then the Hyaena 
takes the Dog hunting and builds a large nose of mud 
for him to enter when chased. But he breaks it, and 
has to flee, and when the Elephants catch the Hyaena 
she says that it was not she who had abused them, and 
so they leave her. Both of the hunters escape, but they 
have to be content with a dead Gazelle for their bag. 



In a Sierra Leone story (Cronise and Ward, page 
233) the Frog plays the part of Bortorimi, but instead 
of hunting Elephants, the Frog used to jump down the 
throat of a Cow which considerately opened her mouth 
for the purpose, and let the Frog get some fat from 
her inside. The Frog tells the Spider about it, and 
invites him to join in the feast, saying that he " mus' 
come to-morrow mawnin', early in de mawnin'." The 
Spider cannot sleep, and wakes the Frog at midnight, 
but the Frog will not go. Soon afterwards the Spider 
crows like a Cock, but still the Frog is not deceived. 
Next he sings like the Morning-Bird, but is again 
unsuccessful, and the Frog and he do not set out until 
day has really broken. 



THE GREEDY HY&NA 261 

34 
THE HY^NA AND THE SPIDER VISIT A CHIEF. 

This is about a Hyaena and a Spider. The Spider 
said " O Hyaena, buy honey, and let us go and do 
homage to the King," and the Hyaena replied 
" Agreed." So they bought honey, and they were 
travelling on and on, when the Hyaena said to the 
Spider " I am going into the bush for a minute." 
Then the Spider said " Very well, but put down your 
pot of honey and leave it here until you come back."* 
But the Hyaena replied " Oh no, surely it is my own ! " 
So she went into the bush and drank the honey, and 
when she had done so she placed some dirt in the pot 
instead, and then she returned to the Spider. 

When they had arrived at the city, they went and 
saluted the King, and they were made welcome, and 
were given a lodging in the palace. Then they took 
their pots, the Spider took his pot, and the Hyaena 
hers, and they said " Here is the offering which we 
make to the King." So the Hyaena's pot was taken and 
placed in the house, and the Spider's was placed in the 
entrance-hall, and when the Hyaena's pot was opened, 
dirt was found in it, but when the Spider's pot was 
examined the People found honey. So they went and 
told the King, and said " Lo ! in the Hyaena's pot is 
only dirt," and the King answered " Oh, very well, 
they have come to get something good from me, I know 
what kind of a good thing the Hyaena will get." 

In the evening, sleeping-mats were brought, and 

the People said " These are for the Hyaena to sleep 

upon." Then skins also were brought, and they said 

* These are for the Spider " (i). Now the Hyaena 

would not agree to this, but the Spider said " Look here 



262 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Hyaena, they said that I was to sleep on the skins, and 
you on the mats. You say you will not agree, you want 
to eat the skins, that's why." But the Hyaena replied 
" No, no, a real Friend would not act thus," and so the 
Spider said " Very well, but look here, if you eat the 
skins you will make me ashamed of you." So he gave 
her the skins, and she gave him the mats, and he went 
and lay down. 

During the first sleep she arose, and started eating 
the skins, and the Spider called out " Oh, so you have 
begun eating them? " But she replied " No, no, it is 
a Mouse." Before dawn had come she had eaten the 
skins all up, there was nothing left of them. And then 
the Spider said "All right, O Hyasna, how are you 
going to excuse yourself, how are you going to get out 
of the scrape?" But the Hyaena replied " Opp, 
cannot we say that a Thief has been here and has stolen 
the skins?" "Well, Hyaena, even if you do say it, 
the King will not believe you, he will know it is you," 
said the Spider. " I found a way in, I will find a way 
out somehow," was the reply. So the People told 
the King, they said that a Thief had stolen the skins. 
But he replied " Oh no, I know quite well that the 
Hyaena has eaten them." 

Then the King said " I will say Good-bye to them, 
to-day." And he brought a Bull, and said to the Spider 
<4 On account of the present which you brought to me, 
I give you this Bull." But an old He-Goat was brought 
and given to the Hyaena. Then the Spider said that he 
thanked the King, and the Hyaena said that she also 
thanked him. So off they started, and they were 
travelling on and on, the Hyaena was dragging the old 
He-Goat along, when she said " Let me eat a leg, you 
can become lame, you are lame now." So she pulled 






THE GREEDY HYAENA 263 

off a leg and ate it, and kept saying to the He-Goat 
"Travel with three-three, travel with three-three." Then 
she pulled off another leg and ate it, and kept saying to 
the He-Goat "Travel with two-two, travel with two- 
two." Then she pulled off a third leg and ate it, and 
kept saying " Travel with one-one, travel with one-one." 
Then she pulled off the remaining leg and ate it, and 
kept saying " Travel with none-none, travel with none- 
none." Then she took the rest of the body and ate it, 
but she left a small piece of the liver which she gave to 
the Spider, and he ate it. 

Now they were travelling on, and on, when she 
said " Give me my piece of liver." Then the Spider 
pointed out to her the sun, which had nearly set and was 
very red, and said to her " See, there is fire over there, 
go and get some and return, and we will eat the Bull." 
So the Hyaena went off at a run, and ran on and on, 
but the sun was always afar off. And when she had 
gone, the Spider killed the Bull and took off the hide, 
and climbed up a tree with the lot, not even the skin or a 
bone did he leave, and he covered up the blood on the 
ground. 

When she had become tired, the Hyasna returned, 
and kept calling "Where is the Spider, where is the 
Spider? " At last she sat down on her haunches by a 
tree, and lo ! it was the very tree in which was the 
Spider. After a little he threw a bone on to her head, 
and she said " Well, I never, will God give me food 
at the foot of a tree? " But when she had eaten the 
bone, she looked up and saw the Spider, and said " Oh, 
so it is you? I thought, that it was God," and she 
continued " Spider, for God's sake give me one of 
the legs." But the Spider said that he would not do 
so, and she replied " Very well, you are very brave 



264 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

because you are up in the tree, aren't you? I will get 
one who is taller than you to come and seize you in the 
tree." 

Then she went and found the Ostrich, but when the 
Ostrich came, the Spider made a noose of tie-tie, and 
he caught her, and as he dragged her she let fall an 
egg. Then the Hyaena pounced upon the egg and ate 
it, and called out " O Spider, drag her, so that the eggs 
will fall out." But the Ostrich said " Opp, Hyaena, 
is that how you would treat me? Release me O Spider." 
And the Spider did so. Then the Hyaena said " Now 
let us have a race," and she went off at a run, and the 
Ostrich followed, but she just escaped. 

As for the Spider, he descended from the tree, and 
went home. 



A Malayan tale (Skeat, op. cit., page 7) has similar 
incidents. A Shark catches the Chevrotain in the 
water, but allows him to go on his promise to teach him 
magic. The Chevrotain ties up the Shark (much as the 
Spider cloes the Lion in T.H.H. 2) and kills him. Just 
then the Tiger arrives, and wants the meat. The 
Chevrotain first sends the Tiger to wash the meat, and 
then to get fire, and then to get drinking-water. In 
the meantime the Chevrotain has taken the whole of the 
meat to the top of a she-oak tree, and on the Tiger's 
return he finds that both Friend and feast have dis- 
appeared. 



35 
THE HYAENA CONFESSES HER GUILT. 

All the Beasts of the Forest had assembled, and they 
took council, for they said " Our guinea corn has dis- 
appeared; on Friday let us come in the morning and 
punish the Thief." 



THE GREEDY SPIDER 265 

So when the Friday came, in the morning, about 
eight o'clock, they all assembled in one place, all except 
the Hyasna, who refused to come. They waited and 
waited for her until late, but she did not arrive, and then 
they got tired of waiting, and separated again. 

That night they saw her coming "softly softly," 
and they said " O Hyasna, we came and looked for you, 
but did not see you, [how is it that] you have come only 
now? " Then she said " As I did not come, whom did 
you punish ? " And they replied " We did not punish 
anyone." Then she said " It is true, I am the Thief." 

And since then even until now the Hyaena has 
admitted her evil deeds, whatever theft has been com- 
mitted you may be sure that it is she who has done it (i). 



In another story (F.-L. 2) the Spider steals the corn 
belonging to the Animal Community, and places some 
dirt of the Hyasna in the empty bin. On finding this, 
the Hyasna is blamed, of course, and she is driven out. 



36 
THE GREEDY SPIDER AND THE BIRDS. 

This story is about certain Birds, Magpies. They 
used to go to the middle of a lake where they could 
get food in the mud, the fruit of a small kadainya (i) like 
mangoes. They did this every day, and once they let 
fall one of the fruits just by the door of the Spider's 
house, so next morning at daybreak the Spider found 
it (2) and ate it. Then he said " Ahem," and he went to 
the house of the Birds and asked them about it, he said 
" Where do you get this? " And they replied " Over 
there far away." Then he said " When you are going 



266 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

next time will you not ask me to go too ? " So they said 
very well," [and he went home]. 

By this time the People were walking about, 
and the Spider went again to the Bird's house, 
and they took the wing of one of their number 
and put it on the Spider, and they took the wing 
of another and put it on the Spider's other side, 
and then they started and flew away. When they 
had arrived at the tree, every fruit that the Spider saw 
was ripe he claimed as part of his share, and they 
let him have it, and so not one of them got any, for 
the Spider ate them all. 

Now when the Spider had finished, they let him go 
to sleep in the tree, and when they were ready to start, 
they pulled the wings from him, and went off home. 
And as they went the Spider awoke from his sleep [and 
was going to fly off, but he found that he had no wings] 
and he said " Oh dear." Then he picked off a small 
twig and threw it into the water, saying " If the water 
is deep here, the stick will sink." But when he had 
thrown it down, it rose to the surface, so the Spider said 
" Opp, the water is shallow," and jumped in. But the 
water was deep, and he sank, and was drowned. 



37 
THE HARE OUTWITS THE 

Once the Hare and the Hyaena went out hunting, 
and whenever the Hare killed a Beast, the Hyaena would 
take it and put it into her own bag. At last the Hare 
went and killed a Spotted Deer, and the Hyaena came 
up, and said that it was she who had killed it, [and she 



THE LAZY MAN 267 

took it] (i). So the Hare left her and went off at a 
run, and returned to the road towards home. 

Then he got some red earth and plastered his body 
with it, and he got some white earth, and smeared it on, 
so that the whole of his body was spotted, and when he 
had done this, he climbed up on to a high ant-hill and 
sat there. Soon the Hyaena turned to go home, and 
when she had come back [a part of the way] , she saw a 
Something on an ant-hill, and she said " O Something- 
on-the-ant-hill, I have been out hunting with the Hare," 
and she continued " shall I give you all the meat which 
we have obtained?" So she pulled out one of the 
Beasts and gave it to him (2), and then she said " May 

I pass?" But the Hare said only " Umm, umm." 
Then the Hyaena pulled out another and threw it to him 
and said "May I pass?" But the Hare said only 

II Umm, umm." Then the Hyaena pulled out another 
and threw it to him, and now all were finished except the 
Spotted Deer. Then the Hyaena said " May I pass? " 
But the Hare replied " You still have some meat." So 
the Hyaena pulled out the Spotted Deer and threw it to 
him, and he let her go free and she went past. 

Then the Hare went and washed the whole of his 
body and took the meat. 



In a variant (F.-L. 8) it is the Tortoise which 
deceives the Spider. 



38 
EVERYTHING COMES TO HIM WHO WAITS. 

There were once a certain Man and his Wife who had 
nothing to eat, and they used to dig out the holes of 
the Ants so that they might get the grains of corn there, 



268 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

and eat them (i). One day they had returned, and 
were lying down in their hut, when the Husband noticed 
a Lizard which fed itself by simply opening its mouth 
and letting the Flies fall into it. Then he said " I am not 
going to wander about outside, digging out those ant- 
holes, and looking for food, see that Lizard, he only 
lies down, and yet he gets his fill (2). So his Wife said 
"Oh, very well." 

But she went out and walked to an Ant-hill, and 
dug, and lo ! what did she see but a cooking-pot, closed 
up, and when she had opened it she saw that there were 
dollars inside it. Then she replaced the covering, and 
closed the hole, and went and told her Husband, and 
said " Let us go together." But he replied " Not I, I 
am not coming, go and call your Family to help you." 
So she went to her Brothers and Sisters, and told them. 
But they replied "It is a lie, were it any good you 
would have told your Husband." But she said " Very 
well, let us go, however, and you will see." 

Now when they had come, and had opened the pot, 
they saw only a Snake inside, and they said "There you 
are, see, it is exactly as we said. If it had been any 
good you would have told your Husband. But we shall 
be avenged," and they went home. 

In the night they took the pot carefully, and went 
and placed it by the hut, they pushed the door ajar, 
and then they went home again. And just as dawn was 
about to break, the Husband awoke and saw something 
shining by the door, and he said " The food has come." 
So he went and opened the pot, and he saw that it 
was quite full of dollars. There were so many that they 
had enough for themselves, and the Wife even took 
some and gave them to her Family (3). 



THE LAZY FROG 269 

A similar transformation of a snake into gold, when 
placed in a house for an evil reason, takes place in 
L.T.H. 133, where a scoffer tries to kill a malam. 



39 
THE LAZY FROG AND HIS PUNISHMENT. 

Once a Frog and a Fowl lived together. Every night 
the Fowl would say " O Frog, to-morrow you must go 
and get wood for the fire." But when the morrow had 
come the Frog would go off and sit idly in the sun, 
and would say " I shall not get wood now, see the sun 
is up." [So the Fowl had to do all the work] (i). 

One day a Hawk flew down and seized the Frog, 
and the Fowl said " Take him, the Stiff-Backed One," 
so the Hawk flew off with the Frog, and the Fowl had 
the house to herself. 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 21) the Frog first refuses to 
help to build a hut, although a tornado has come on, 
and he enters a hole, leaving the Fowl outside. The 
water fills the Frog's hole and he hops over to the hut 
which the Fowl has built, asking for shelter, but she 
refuses until he threatens to summon the Wild-Cat. 
The Frog then lights a fire and gets up on her bed, and 
annoys her generally, until she at last asks him to get 
on the roof and pick some pumpkins to eat. Imme- 
diately the Frog climbs up, a Hawk seizes him, and the 
Fowl cries out as above. 



That even a story like this may not be quite as 
absurd as it appears to be is shown by Dr. Haddon 
(op. cit., page 343), for the Kenyahs tell this to illus- 
trate the dilatoriness of the Sebops. The Monkey and 
the Frog were sitting in the rain. The Monkey said 
that they would beat bark-cloth next day, and the Frog 



270 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

agreed. But the next day was fine, so the Frog 
refused. As it was cold again at night, he again 
agreed, but refused when warm once more, and at last 
the Monkey became disgusted, and left him. The Frog 
still hoots and howls when the rain comes down, but 
sits silent in the sunshine. 



40 

THE SNAKE AND THE SCORPION. 

One day a Scorpion went to a Snake, and said that 
she wanted such a poison that if she stung a Man he 
would die at once. But the Snake said " Oh ! Scorpion, 
I will not give it to you, you are very hot-tempered, 
and you would kill off Everybody." Then the Scorpion 
replied no, no, she would use it only now and then. 
So the Snake said " Very well, go now, come again 
to-morrow and I will give it to you " (i). 

Now next day, the Snake went out for a walk, and 
the Scorpion came while he was still out, so she went 
inside his hut, and lay down on one side of the door. 
Soon the Snake came in, and while he was getting 
through the door he squashed the Scorpion, and when 
she felt hurt she stung him. 

Immediately he felt the pain, he wriggled in and 
wriggled out, he wriggled in and wriggled out of the 
hut, the pain was driving him mad. Then the Scorpion 
said to him " O Snake, what has happened to you? " 
And he replied "Welcome, when did you come?" 
She said " Oh, I came sometime ago, before you 
returned." Then he exclaimed " For God's sake 
don't bother me, something in the hut has hurt me." 
So she said " It was a sting, O Snake, it was I," she 
continued, " when you came in, while you were enter- 



THE SPIDER'S SLAVE 271 

ing you squashed me, and as I felt a movement I 
stung you ; is it my sting which has given you pain ? " 
Then the Snake said " Get out, get out, leave my 
hut, I will not give you any of my poison, you would 
kill Everybody." 



FIG. 64. FIG. 65. FIG. 66. FIG 67. 

FIGS. 64 and 67. Wooden spoons for stirring food while being cooked. 
FIG. 65. Wooden spoon, pattern burnt, L., 9! in. FIG. 66. Ditto, 
L., lofe in. 



41 

THE SPIDER WHICH BOUGHT A DOG AS A SLAVE. 

One day the Spider went to the market and saw 
,some Dogs for sale, so he went home and thrashed his 
guinea-corn, and said that he was going to buy a 
Slave with it. So he did so, and brought the Dog 
home. 

Then he went and bought a hoe, and gave it to 
the Dog, and told him to go and work on the farm(i), 



272 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

but the Dog only lay still and took no notice. So 
the Spider seized the hoe and they went off to the 
forest, but when he told the Dog to get up and work, 
the Dog only lay still, and said nothing. Then the 
Spider pointed out the limits of the day's work, and 
said that when they had done so much they would 
return, but the Dog only lay still and said nothing. 
So the Spider himself began digging, and said that 
as the Dog was panting so hard he must be tired, so 
he could lie down. 

Now as the Dog was lying there, a Hare passed 
by, and immediately the Dog arose, ran off, and caught 
the Hare. And then the Spider said " Well I never, 
so my Slave is a Hunter, he who can kill with his 
teeth/ 1 he continued, "will do better with an arrow." 
So he took the Dog's hoe, and brought it to the 
Monkey, the Smith, and told him to make arrow-heads 
out of it (2), so that he could give them to the Dog. 
And he and the Dog returned home. 

Now the Spider was always going to the Monkey's 
forge, and asking would the arrow-heads be finished 
that day (3), and one day the Monkey said to the Spider 
" Have you obtained a Slave ? " And he replied " Yes, 
it is for him that I want the arrow-heads, so that he 
may enjoy the chase." Then the Spider said that he 
would bring the Dog, but the Monkey asked him not 
to do so. The Spider was always going to the Monkey 
and complaining that the arrow-heads were not being 
done quickly, until at last he became angry, and . 
brought the Dog, and the Dog when he saw the 
Monkey, began stalking him, and when they had come 
close the Monkey ran away, and the Dog ran after 
him and caught him. As he was bringing the Monkey 
back, the Spider said " Let him go, it is the Smith, 



THE BASHFUL MAIDEN 273 

do not seize him," and then [being afraid that he too 
would be seized] he fled, and he ran on past his 
house, not stopping to go inside, and called out to his 
Wife " Get up, and run away, see the Dog is seizing 
people, and eating them." 

Now as they had run away, they had left the house 
with no one to claim it except the Dog, so he took it 
for his own, and the Spider and his Wife disappeared 
into the forest (4). 



42 
THE WOOING OF THE BASHFUL MAIDEN. 

There was once a certain Boy, the King's Son, who 
used to play with the other Boys of the town, and his 
name was Musa (i). And there was a certain Beautiful 
Maiden who wanted to marry him, but he did not want 
her, and so she was shy and avoided him (2). 

Now one day all the Maidens went to the river to 
bathe, and they had taken off their cloths, and had 
begun to bathe, when the Boy came and seized all the 
cloths on the river-bank, and climbed a silk-cotton tree. 
So as each one came back from bathing and looked, 
she could not see her cloth, but when she searched she 
saw him, and said " Musa, give me my cloth." Then 
he let it fall down to her, and she went home. And 
when she had gone, another came out of the water, 
looked, and did not see her cloth, and then said " Musa, 
give me my cloth," and he dropped it down to her, 
and she went home. 

At last there was only one Maiden left, she who 
loved him, [and when she had looked and had seen 
Musa with her cloth, she re-entered the water], and 
18 



274 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

she said " So and So, So and So, give me my cloth, 
please." But he refused, and lo ! the water rose to 
her knees. Then she said " So and So, will you not 
give me my cloth?" And he replied " I will not give 
it to you until you have spoken my name Musa." 
Now the water had reached her neck and was still 
rising, but she did not want to come out naked, for 
she was ashamed, so again she said " So and So, give 
me my cloth." But again he refused, and the water 
rose over her head, and she was about to be drowned 
when she called out " Musa, give me my cloth," [and 
then she came out of the water]. So he let down her 
cloth to her, but he [himself descended from the tree, 
and] pulled out a whip, and began to beat her. 

After that, he seized her and took her to his house, 
and then he found that he desired her, so they were 
married. 



43 
THE MAIDS OF THE CITY AND THE UNKNOWN YOUTH. 

This is about a certain Youth, there was no one so 
handsome as he in the whole city, and his name was 
Denkin Deridi (i). Now all the Maidens were in love 
with him, so he said that only she who knew his name 
should be his Wife; for in the whole city there was 
no one who knew it except a certain Old Woman. 
And all the Maidens started to cook special dishes, the 
first boiled rice, the second grilled meat, the next 
made a porridge of guinea-corn flour, the next Maiden 
one of millet, the next boiled bitter roots (2) like pota- 
toes, another bread-fruit, and the last made a dish of 
evil-smelling dadaivam basso (3). 



THE UNKNOWN YOUTH 275 

Now the Youth built a hut, and closed it up in 
every direction, there was no way in (4). And when 
the Maidens were on their way to where he was, 
the Old Woman stood in the middle of the road, 
and to each Maiden, as she was about to pass 
by, the Old Woman said " Come here and rub 
my back." But each Maiden replied "What! leave 
me alone, I am going to the Youth whose name I do 
not know/' And the Old Woman said " Very well." 
All the Maidens had gone by except the one with the 
evil-smelling dadawam basso, and when she had come 
close, the Old Woman said " O You, Maiden, come 
here and rub my back," and she replied " I will." 
So she put down her load, and rubbed her, and when 
the Old Woman had finished washing (5), she said 
" Good, the name of the Youth is Denkin Deridi," 
and the other replied " Thank you." 

Well, all the Maidens arrived at the hut, and the 
one who had boiled the rice she was in front came 
up, and said " O Youth, come and open the door for 
me that I may enter." "Who is there that I should 
open the door for her to enter? " asked he. And she 
replied "It is I, Rice (6), the sweetest food." Then 
the Youth said " Well, I have heard your name, now 
you tell me mine." But she replied " I do not know 
your name, O Boy " (7). And he said " Very well, 
go back again," and she retired crying. 

Then came the Maiden who had grilled the meat, 
and said " O Youth, come and open the door for 
me that I may enter." "Who is there that I 
should open the door for her to enter?" asked he. 
And she replied "It is I, Grilled-Meat-with- 
Salt, the most delicious food." Then the Youth 
said ' Well, I have heard your name, now you 



276 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

tell me mine." But she replied " I do not know your 
name, O Boy." And he said " Very well, go back 
again," and she retired crying. 

Next came the Maiden who had made a porridge 
of guinea-corn flour, and said <c O Youth, come and 
open the door for me that I may enter." " Who is 
there that I should open the door for her to enter? " 
asked he. And she replied " It is I, Porridge-of-Guinea- 
Corn-Flour, the sweetest to swallow." Then the Youth 
said " Well, I have heard your name, now you tell me 
mine." But she replied " I do not know your name, 
O Boy." And he said " Very well, go back again," 
and she retired crying. 

Next came the Maiden who had made a porridge 
of millet-flour, and said " O Youth, come and open the 
door for me that I may enter." " Who is there that I 
should open the door for her to enter?" asked he. 
And she replied "It is I, Millet, who makes the best- 
tasting flour." Then the Youth said "Well, I have 
heard your name, now you tell me mine." But she 
replied " I do not know your name, O Boy." And he 
said " Very well, go back again," and she retired cry- 
ing. 

Next came the Maiden who had boiled the bitter 
roots, and said " O Youth, come and open the door for 
me that I may enter." "Who is there that I should 
open the door for her to enter? " asked he. And she 
replied "It is I, Bitter-Roots, the cure for hunger." 
Then the Youth said " Well, I have heard your name, 
now you tell me mine." But she replied " I do not 
know your name, O Boy." And he said " Very well, 
go back again," and she retired crying. 

Next came the Maiden who had cooked bread- 
fruit (8), and she said " O Youth, come and open the 



THE UNKNOWN YOUTH 277 

door for me that I may enter." "Who is there that 
I should open the door for her to enter?" asked he. 
And she replied " It is I, Bread-Fruit, well steamed" (9). 
Then the Youth said " Well, I have heard your name, 
now you tell me mine." But she replied " I do not 
know your name, O Boy." And he said " Very well, 
go back again," and she retired crying. 

Now all had tried except the Maiden who had made 
the dish of evil-smelling dadawam basso. But when 
she came up, the other Maidens said to her " What! 
You, O Evil-born One ! the good foods have not suc- 
ceeded, much less can you, O Stinking One." But 
some said " Oh, let her go, let us see what she will 
do." So she came up and said " O Youth, come and 
open the door for me that I may enter." " Who is there 
that I should open the door for her to enter? " asked 
he. And she replied "It is I, Dadawam Basso, the 
sweet-scented food " (10). Then the Youth said 
" Well, I have heard your name, now you tell me 
mine." And she answered " Your name, O Boy, is 
Denkin Deridi." And immediately he said " Come 
into the hut, O Maiden." So he opened the door, and 
said that she was the one who was to be his Wife. 

Then the one who had brought rice said let her 
head be cut off, and let it be one of the stones for a 
cooking-place. And the one who had brought grilled 
meat said let her head be cut off, and let it be one 
of the stones for a cooking-place. And the one who 
had brought a porridge of guinea-corn flour said let 
her head be cut off, and let it be one of the stones for 
a cooking-place (i i ). The rest of them said "I will 
draw water for you," or " I will get wood for you," 
or "As for us, we will grind flour for you " (12). 



278 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

The incident of the maidens going to seek fortune or 
perform a task, and one of whom is kind to a beggar 
or a supernatural being and in consequence attains the 
object desired, while the others are punished, is very 
common. The story of the Three Heads of the Well 
(Halliwell, Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales, 39) is 
one of a large number of European examples (H.). 



44 
THE SON OF THE KING OF AGADDEZ. 

There was once a certain Man who had two Wives, 
and each one had a Daughter, but he did not love the 
Mother of one, so a hut was built for her and her 
Daughter on the edge of the dunghill, where the 
sweepings were thrown, and they had to go and live 
there, and all that they had to eat was boiled husks. 

Now one day the Husband was going to bargain 
in the market, and the Daughter of the Disliked Wife 
said " O Father, see here are some cowries, buy me 
the Son of the King of Agaddez " (i). Then he cursed 
her, but she said again " When you go, buy me the 
Son of the King of Agaddez." So he took the money 
five cowries (2). 

Now when he had come to the market, he said 
" Where is the Son of the King of Agaddez ? " Then 
the People fell upon him with blows, and said " O 
Evil-born, why do you ask where is the Son of the 
King of Agaddez?" And they covered him with 
blows until he was unable to stand. Then they said 
" Good, leave him thus, and let everyone go home." 
But as he was about to rise, the Son of the King of 
Agaddez said " When you go, tell the Maiden that I 
will come on Friday." So the Father said " Good," 



THE PRINCE OF AGADDEZ 279 

and went home. And when he had arrived, he called 
his Daughter, and seized her, and tied her up. Then 
he took a whip, and began to beat her, and he kept on 
beating her until he was tired (3). Then he said " Pre- 
pare, he is coming on Friday." And she said " Very 
well," and went off crying. 

So on the Thursday she swept her hut clean, she 
could not do it well enough, and she spread mats on 
the floor. On the Friday he came and alighted on the 
roof of the hut, while the whole city was asleep, only the 
Maiden being awake, so he came through and alighted 
on the bed. She had bought kola-nuts and scent, and had 
put them by, so now she took them, and gave him them, 
and he began to eat. And as soon as she had given 
him them, wherever he spat there would be silver, and 
the Girl picked it up. She was picking it up, and put- 
ting it in a cooking pot, and covering it up [all night], 
and when he saw that it was enough, he arose and went 
home. 

Now he was always coming and doing this, but one 
day, when they had let the Girl go out for a walk, they 
saw that she had rilled all the cooking-pots with silver. 
Then the Women of the house came, and put needles 
in the bed, they put about a hundred needles there. 
So that night when he had come the Girl herself was 
not there and had alighted on the bed, all the needles 
pricked him, and he died. Soon afterwards the Girl 
came in and found him dead, and she commenced cry- 
ing, and saying what would she do, the Son of the 
King of Agaddez had died in her hut. 

Now the Boy's Father heard the news, and the Girl 
said to him " O hear me, hear me, I did not know." 
Then they sent and seized the Parents, but left the 
Girl, and they tortured the Parents until they died. 



280 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

And when they were dead the Girl was summoned, and 
the King said to her " Iss, you must not do that again, 
it is not right," and he continued " you see, you have 
made me lose my Son. Now, shall I kill you or let 
you go?" Then she said "Ah! whatever you do, it 
is all the same to me, if you kill me I will have brought 
it upon my own head." So the King let her go, and 
he gave her a hut in his own compound, and he gave 
her presents, so she lived there. He pitied her. 



A variant in which Ba-Komi (" Nothing ") takes the 
place of the Son of the King of Agaddez (the girl hav- 
ing asked her father to buy her " nothing "), is to the 
same effect as the first, second, and fourth paragraphs 
above though there is no beating but the ending is 
different. In this case the daughter of the rival wife 
put thorns on the roof. In the evening, Lahidi heard 
the wind bip, bip, bip, and so she spread her mats, and 
lit her lamp. But when Ba-Komi came, he alighted on 
the thorns, and they stuck into his flesh. Then Lahidi 
[who did not know] said "Welcome" but there 
was no reply. " Welcome " silence. Then he said 
" Chip, I am going home," and he gave her one tobe 
[instead of 10 black tobes, 10 white tobes, 10 pairs of 
trousers (4), 10 turbans, and 100 bowls of grain, as 
usual]. He had two of each there, but he would not 
give her all, for his heart was broken [and he went off] . 

Well, at daybreak, Lahidi saw the remainder of the 
thorns, and she guessed that her Step-Sister had put 
them there to prick him, and she knew that he must be 
ill. So she shaved her head, she split up her body 
cloth and made a tobe and trousers, and set out to seek 
for medicine to take to the King's Son. 

As she was travelling in the depths of the forest, she 
came to the foot of an enormous Kainya tree, and she 
squatted down there. Just then a Jipillima, the biggest 
one, flew up and settled in the tree, and said " Ah me ! 
To-day I have not been fortunate, I have eaten only 
99 Men, I left the other one because he was a Leper." 



THE PRINCE OF AGADDEZ 



281 



Then a second arrived, and said "Ah me! To-day I 
have not been fortunate, I have eaten only 79 Men, I 
left one because he was a Leper." [Then other Jipil- 
limas arrived and the narrator gives 59, 49, 39, 29, and 
19, as the numbers eaten]. Then another arrived, the 
smallest of them, and said "Ah me! To-day I have 
not been fortunate, I have eaten only 9 Men, I left one 
because he was a Leper." Then he saw the Girl 
squatting, and he said " But I, Auta [know one thing], 
there is a certain King's Son who is so ill that he is 




FIG. 68. Basket of grass, stained red, white, and black. II., 6^ in. 



almost dead, but if our droppings be taken and given 
to him to drink, he will recover " (5). Now Lahidi 
heard this, and she went and gathered their droppings, 
and wrapped them in her tobe, and ran away. She ran, 
and ran, and ran until she arrived at the city where 
the King's Son was. 

So she came [to the door of the palace] and called 
out "The Disciple asks for alms" <6). But the 
Attendants exclaimed " What kind of senseless Disciple 



282 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

is this to come when the King's Son is so ill that he is 
almost dead? Bring a sword and kill him." But 
others said " No, no, let him beg." Then Lahidi said 
" Ba-Komi, Lahidi salutes you," and when he heard 
this he raised his head, and said " Let that Disciple 
come here." When she had come close, Lahidi undid 
the Jipillima droppings, and said '* Here is medicine, 
give it to him to drink." Now, when he had drunk it, 
the King's Son began to vomit, and as he vomited, 
the thorns came out, and lo ! at last all the thorns had 
come out ! Then the People said " Well, what shall 
we give this Disciple? " The King's Son said " Let 
me give you 100 Horses," but she said that she did not 
want them. He said " Let me give you 100 Slaves," 
but she said that she did not want them. He said " Let 
me give you 100 Head of Cattle," but she said that she 
did not want them. He said " Let the city be divided 
into halves," but she said that she did not want it. 
Then she said " The little ring on the King's ringer 
[is all I want]," so it was pulled off and given to her. 
Then she returned to her home, and would you believe 
it, no one knew that she was a woman. 

As soon as the King's Son had recovered, he took 
a large sword, with the intention of killing Lahidi. So 
he went at night and entered the door, and she said 
"Welcome," but he drew his sword. Then she said 
" For the sake of the Disciple who gave you the medi- 
cine which cured you, and to whom you gave a ring, 
spare me." Then he trembled, and put back the sword 
in its sheath, and said " How did you manage to find 
out that a Disciple had cured me? " And she replied 
'* It was no Disciple, it was I," and she showed him 
the cloth that she had split up to make trousers, and 
the cloth with which she had made a tobe, and the ring 
that he had given her. 

Then he said that he wanted to marry her, and the 
parents said " Very well, but if she marries who is 
going to bring us water ? " So he brought 100 Head 
of Cattle and 100 Slaves, and said " Here are youf 
Water-Carriers." Then she was given to him in mar- 
riage, and thus the Father became rich all through the 
Daughter whom he did not love." 



THE RIVAL'S RULER 283 

In a Sicilian tale (Pitre, Bibliotica, iv, 342) a queen 
procures repeated interviews with an emperor's son by 
means of a spell consisting of 3 golden balls put into 
a golden basin with 3 quarts of pure milk. One day 
a servant breaks a drinking glass and puts the frag- 
ments into the milk. The prince appears covered with 
blood and vanishes, nor does she recover him until she 
learns the remedy by overhearing the conversation of 
some demons (see Story 12, variant), which enables her 
to heal him, and he marries her. In a Danish tale 
(Grundtvig, Danische Volksmarchen, i, 252) belonging, 
like the foregoing, to the Cupid and Psyche cycle, the 
heroine is persuaded to stick a knife in the bedstead. 
Her husband scratches himself with it and she loses him 
for the moment. (H.). 

The commission to the father appears also in Sicilian 
tales (Pitre, iv, 350; xviii, 70). Cf. Folk-Lore, vi, 306, 
a tale apparently from the south of England, and an 
Indian tale from Mirzapur, N. Ind. N. and 2, ii, 171, 
No. 633- (H.). 



45 

THE BOY WHO BECAME His RIVAL'S RULER. 

A certain Man once had a large household, so far 
as Wives and Slaves were concerned, but he had no 
Son. So he was always going to different Malams, 
and saying " Give me a charm that I may beget a 
Son, for I have none.*' But all to no purpose, until 
at last he went to a certain Malam who said to him 
* You must go and live in the forest, and you must 
plait hobbles for Horses, and sell them until you can 
buy a Slave-Wife, then when you have built a house 
you will have a Son." 

So he went into the forest, and lived there, and 
when he had made enough money, he bought a Slave- 
Wife, and she conceived and bore a Child, a Son. 



284 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Then the Father arose and went to the town, and made 
more and more money, and stored it there, but he still 
lived in the forest. 

The Boy soon began to understand, and grew up, 
and then he used to wander about in the town, leaving 
his Father outside. Now one day he met one of the 
Sons of the King on the road who said " Hullo Boy." 
And he replied "Well." "Will you not come with 
me? " asked the King's Son, and the Boy said " Very 
well." The King's Son was courting,* and he made 
the Boy hold his Horse for him while he went inside 
the house to woo the Girl.* After a time the King's 
Son came out again, and they started off, and when 
they had come to the road again, the King's Son said 
" Well, you go your way, and I will go mine." So 
the Boy went home, and his Father said " Where have 
you been since dawn?" And he replied " I have been 
wandering about in the town." 

The next day the Boy again went to the town, and 
the King's Son again met him, and said " Hullo Boy, 
come, let us go again to where we were yesterday," 
so the Boy went off with him. Now as the King's 
Son was dismounting, some of the Women of the 
house came out, and said " Hullo, look at this most 
handsome Youth, is he fit only to hold a Horse?" 
This made the King's Son so angry that he came out 
again from the doorway, and mounted his Horse, and 
went off. When the Boy had come home, he said to 
his Father " Why do you make me go about as if I 
were a Slave ? I have no tobe, no trousers, no turban, 
not even a cap." So the Father arose, and went into 
the town at night, and opened his treasury, and took 
out some clothes, and gave them to the Boy. 

Next morning the Boy took the road, and came 






THE RIVAL'S RULER 285 

to the place where he had before met the King's Son. 
When the latter came, he said " Hullo ! where did you 
get a loan of those clothes, or are they your own?" 
and the Boy replied " Um." So they went off to the 
house, and when the King's Son had dismounted he 
told the Boy to hold the Horse, but he refused to do so. 
So they both entered the house, and saw the Women. 
When they had come out again the King's Son said 
" Look here, Boy, to-morrow let each show what he 
has to eat at home," and so they parted. 

Now when he had arrived home, the King's Son 
said " Make me some guinea-corn porridge, and some 
of millet, and of dark rice, and of acha, and of white 
rice, and of black millet also." And these were made, 
and the King's Son ate them. As for the Boy, he said 
" Bring me sour milk in a calabash," he also told them 
to bring him a heap of silver, and they brought it. So, 
as he drank the milk, he threw the silver into his mouth, 
and swallowed it. 

Next morning the Boy took the road, and came to 
the meeting-place. The King's Son also came, and 
said " O Boy, have you come? " He replied " Yes." 
Then the King's Son said " Good, let us go." So 
they went to the Girl's house. When they arrived 
there, he said " Now, let each show what he ate yester- 
day," and he began to vomit, and the black rice, and 
acha, and white rice, and everything that he had eaten 
fell out, so that the Girl might see that there was plenty 
in his home. Then the Boy said " Good, have you 
finished? Give me room now." Then he did the 
same, and the Women of the house began scrambling 
for the silver which was thrown on the ground, and 
praising the Boy. As for the King's Son he ran away, 
he felt so ridiculous. 



286 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Then the Boy went home, and said to his Father 
" Let us leave this village and return to the town (i)," 
so they arose and went. 

One day the Boy asked '* Has the King's Son a 
Mother?" And they said " He has, she is still liv- 
ing." So the Boy ordered two handfuls of silver to 
be brought to him, and he took them to the Smith, and 
told him to make him ten spindles, and he got his 
Father to bring purple cord and to plait it into a 
blind (2). Then he went down the street, holding the 
spindles and ten kola-nuts in his hand. He went as 
far as the road leading to the river, and there he sat 
down, and asked someone to point out to him the 
Slave of the Mother of his Rival. When he had spoken 
to her, he gave her the ten silver spindles and the ten 
very large kola-nuts, and told her to take them to her 
Mistress. 

Now when the Girl had returned, she called out to 
her Mistress " Help me to put down this water." And 
the Mistress said " You are always bringing water, 
have I never helped you before that you should cry out 
so ? " When she had come out of the hut (3), and had 
caught hold of the calabash, and had felt that it was 
not heavy, she was going to make a fuss, but the Slave 
whispered " Silence." Then they entered the hut, and 
when she had uncovered the calabash she saw the 
spindles inside, and the ten kola-nuts as large as Rob- 
bers' heads (4). Then she said " Who sent you to me 
with these? " and the Slave replied " A certain Youth 
said that I was to tell you that he would visit you later." 
Then she said " But how will he manage it ? " 

Then the Slave w r ent back to the Boy, and said 
11 How will you manage it? " The Boy said " What 
is there to hinder me? " She replied " Our house has 



THE RIVAL'S RULER 287 

three entrance-halls. In the first are ten Watch-Dogs, 
in the second are ten Slaves, in the third ten Horses. 
The Horses are given Ox-bones to eat, the Dogs are 
given grass, and the Slaves smoke nothing but 
potash "(5). He replied "Very well," [and gave her 
the blind to take to her Mistress]. 

When night had come, the Boy persuaded his 
Father to kill ten Bulls, and the heads were cut off. 
Then he sent ten Youths to cut grass, and he got ten 
tobes and ten rolls of tobacco, and he went off towards 
the King's palace. He entered the first hall, and spread 
out the bundles of grass for the Horses, and the Horses 
said " Ah ! see, that which we most desire has been 
given to us to-day. " He passed on and entered the 
second hall, and the Dogs said " Wu, wu, w," but 
when the Bulls' heads had been thrown to them, they 
said " We are not eaters of grass, and see to-day God 
has given us meat." Then the Boy passed on and 
came to where the Slaves were (6), and all rose up with 
cutlasses in their hands. But he gave each of them a 
present, everyone got a tobe and a roll of tobacco. 
Then he passed on, and searched for the door where 
his blind was hanging, and when he saw it he went in, 
and found his Rival's Mother there. He Had a bottle 
of scent in his hand, and he sprinkled the contents in 
all directions, and then he sat down. 

In the morning, the King went out, and he saw 
all his Slaves with tobes. He passed on, and found the 
Dogs eating Bulls' heads. He passed on, and found 
that the horses had grass (7). Then he said to the People 
outside '* Go in and tell the Boy who is inside that he 
is King, I abdicate to-day (8), he who does not wish to 
serve the Boy as King may follow me, she who does 
not care for me any longer may keep away from me." 



288 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

So, you see that the new King of the town was the 
Boy, and the Son of the ex-King came and did homage, 
and said " O Great One, I hope you have slept well." 
And the Boy said " See, my Son has come." And the 
People said " See, they were Rivals for the affections 
of Women, now the Boy has taken the place of the 
other's Father." 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 48) a Youth sets out to get 
the King's Chief Wife, and several Persons join him 
in his quest. He sends the Old Woman in whose house 
he lodges with scent to the Wife, and she sends him 
kola-nuts, and directions how to reach her. He gives 
kolas to the Male Slaves guarding the entrance, cloths 
to the Females who next accost him, and bones to the 
Dog, and grass to the Horse as here. He then sees 
the tree, hut and blind indicated to him, and reaches 
her. The ending is different, however, for the King 
suspects something, and has a search made. However, 
by the help of his Companions, they escape, the Robber 
getting them out of the city, the Soldier keeping back 
the King's troops until Another has cut out a canoe, 
and so on. 



The incident in folk-tales of appeasing animal 
and other guardians with food or some other require- 
ment is often found, especially in tales belonging 
to the Cupid and Psyche cycle. Sometimes these 
guardians are already furnished with food which is in- 
appropriate; and they are then appeased by changing 
it, as above. So in an Arab tale from Egypt, the hero, 
going to seek the singing rose of Arab Zandyg, finds 
tied up at the palace gate a kid and a dog. Before the 
kid is a piece of flesh, and before the dog some clover. 
He changes them, putting the clover before the kid 
and the flesh before the dog, and thus is enabled to 
accomplish the object of his quest (Spitta Bey, Conies 
Arabes Modernes, 143). (H.). 




XXV. FIREWOOD. XXVI. COTTON. 

In the larger markets almost anything may be bought, from rough sticks to wooden matches, from 
raw cotton to the finished (and often inferior) cloth from Manchester. 



THE WILD CAT'S WIFE 289 

46 
THE WILD-CAT AND THE HEN. 

This is about a certain Hen which was going to 
marry a Wild-Cat. The Wild-Cat had told her to 
summon all her Relatives to take part in the marriage- 
breakfast, so she invited them accordingly, and the 
Guests came in large numbers. Now the Wild-Cat 
hid in the house, and as each Fowl arrived, she looked 
up at the house, and saw his eyes [but she went in all 
the same]. 

At last, when all the Guests had assembled, the 
Wild-Cat prepared to kill them, and he sprang upon 
the Fowls and killed them. And that night he told 
his Wife [the Hen] to go to bed, and when she had 
lain down, he twisted her neck, and ate her(i). 



Usually the Victims are deceived by the Villain of 
the story pretending to be dead. Thus the Spider 
frightens the Mourners so much that the Elephants and 
other big Beasts trample upon the smaller ones in their 
anxiety to escape (F.-L. 6), or the Cat may deceive 
Mice in a similar manner (L.T.H. 78). 



In a Southern Nigerian tale (British Nigeria, page 
287) the Bush-Cat sought to avenge herself upon the 
Monkey for having tied her tail to a tree while she was 
asleep. The Monkey, however, was wily, and he 
escaped when she sprang at him, but since that time he 
has always lived in the trees. Except for the fact that 
it is the Rabbit which escapes instead of the Francolin, 
a Sierra Leone story (Cunnie Rabbit, page 221) is 
almost exactly the same as the Hausa one (F.-L. 6). 



2QQ HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

47 
THE DISHONEST FATHER. 

A Girl and her Friend went out to make love, and 
when they had gone, the Girl herself found a Lover, 
and she took him, but she prevented her Friend from 
doing the same, so the Friend became angry and 
returned home. 

Now the Girl's Father was very dishonest, and he 
said " Let us go away from here," he said that he had 
cheated too much. So he told the Girl to grind corn 
[to make flour for the journey]. As she pounded, she 
sang : 

" Grounding rations now I do, 
Father has cheated Men of money, 
In the morn or in the even 
We will flee and leave the town." 

The Father wondered what would he do, his evil 
deeds were many. 

So they went to another town, and there he gave his 
Daughter in marriage, one Daughter to four Suitors. 
Then the drummers were summoned, and they beat 
sentences saying that he must leave off evil-doing. 
Then he asked if he left off evil-doing how would he 
live? And they said " Well, one Husband will pay all 
the money." And one of them did this, and lived alone 
with his Wife. 






A variant of this (L.T.H. 76) gives a much better 
story, and shows what a mutilated account one's own 
narrator may give (i). In other cases, my versions 
show to advantage. The variant relates how the Father 
had promised his Daughter to three Suitors, and won- 
ders what he would do, and continues : " So he arose 
and went to an old Malam, and said ' Malam, I have 



THE DISHONEST FATHER 



291 



a favour to ask,' and the Malam replied ' Well.' The 
Father said ' I have only one Daughter, but I have 
taken money from three Suitors, I have told each that 
I would give her to him, and the Girl is now ready for 
marriage.' The Malam replied ' I see. When you 
depart, go and pray, and draw your sword and place 
it close to your head. When you have bent down, lift 
up your head, and if you see a Bitch come and cross 
in front of you, make haste and take your sword, and 




FIG. 70. 

FIG. 69 Mat of red, white, and black grass, used as cover for cala- 
bashes having no lid. D., nf in. FIG. 70. Basket of coloured grass, like 
fig. 68. 

cut her down and divide her into two. Then you will 
obtain what you are seeking.' 

* When the time for prayer came, the Father arose 
and prayed, and he had bent down and raised his head, 
when, see, the Bitch came, and crossed quickly in front 
of him, so he made haste to take his sword and cut her 
in two, and immediately two Young Girls appeared, as 
beautiful as his own. So he took them home, and 
smeared henna upon them together with his own 



2 9 2 HALS A SUPERSTITIONS 

Daughter, and he gave each Suitor one, and so ended 
the trouble. 

" After a time he wanted to know which was his own 
Child amongst them, so he set out on a round of visits. 
The first Daughter whom he found was quarrelling and 
called the Father names, the second had become im- 
moral, but when he came to the house of the third and 
saluted, they responded, and he was given a fine 
lodging, and he rested. He was made much of, for 
him was prepared porridge with meat, sour milk mixed 
with jura was presented to him, everything was brought 
which was proper to his position, and then he knew 
that he had found the one who was the Daughter of 
his own blood." 



48 
THE CONTEST FOR DODO'S WIFE. 

There was once a certain Woman who was the Wife 
of Dodo for Dodo had emerged from the forest and 
had become a Husband [and she wanted a human 
victim]. So she came to the town bringing a small 
basket with a lid to it, and she placed it on the brink 
of a dye-pit (i) where the People were dyeing. And 
when she had placed it there, she said " He who can 
knock over that basket may have me for his Wife " (2). 

So the Men all began to throw they did not know 
that she was already married to Dodo for they saw that 
she was very beautiful. The Great Men threw first, 
but they were unable to knock it over and open it (3), 
and all threw, until at last only a certain Small Boy was 
left to throw. Then they said " Pick up a stone and 
throw." But he said " My Betters have tried and tried, 
and have failed to open it, much less shall I be able 
to do so." But he took a small piece of gravel and 






DODO'S WIFE 293 

threw it, and the basket opened ! So the People said 
4 ' He is her Husband," and they were married. 

Three weeks went by, and then the Woman said that 
she ought to go to her own town and see how her 
People were, so the Boy said " Very well." Now the 
Boy's Father was a Hunter who knew the whole 
country, he could transform himself into an Elephant, 
or into a Lion, or into anything at all. And he knew 
that the Woman was Dodo's Wife, as also did the Boy. 

Next day the Boy and his Wife started off and into 
the forest, and when they had come into the middle of 
the forest she said " Look away for a moment."* No 
sooner had he done so than she became a Dodo, and 
rushed up to eat the Boy. But he changed himself 
into a Lion. She made as if to spring upon him, buc 
he became a Snake, and then she let him alone, and 
the Boy became a Bird, and flew off. 

At last he reached home, and he spoke of what had 
happened, and his Parents said " Ah, we told you not 
to marry her." And they added " When you marry a 
Woman do not tell her the secrets of your family." 
And he said " I see." 



There is evidently a good deal missing from this 
story; it is a variant of M. 8 and F.-L. 46. He ought 
to have told her that he could change himself into a 

Lion, and into a Ma , and his Father ought then to 

have interrupted him, and to have prevented him from 
saying Machiji (Snake), so that she would not know 
next day that the Snake was he. 



In a Sierra Leone tale (Cronise and Ward, page 
261) an Elephant becomes a Girl and marries the Hunter 
who tells her that he can turn himself into a tree, or 
an ant-hill, and is then stopped by his Mother who has 



294 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

overheard the conversation. Next day the Hunter and 
his Wife go to the forest, she becomes an Elephant 
and charges at him and he turns into a tree. She 
charges again and he becomes an ant-hill. She charges 
again and he gets up and "he go fa' down inside 
wattah, he turn dat t'ing wey (which) turn fas', fas', 
'pon top de wattah. He loss f'om Elephan', but he 
bin broke all de bone w'en de Elephan' 'mas' um. . . 
So ef ooman come to yo', no tell um all de word wey 
yo' get inside yo' heart." 



49 
THE MAN AND HIS LAZY WIVES. 

A certain Farmer and his three Wives used to work 
on their farm, but one day the Women said that they 
would not do any more hoeing, that they were tired of 
it; so the Husband said "Very well." But he 
concocted a trick. He made three loin-cloths (i), and 
hid them, and next morning he called his Chief Wife 
aside, and said to her " See this loin-cloth, I give it to 
you to tie on, but do not tell the others, for there is a 
certain charm for child-birth in it, and if you tie it 
on, you will have a Son " (2). So she replied " Very 
well, good," and she put it on. 

When she had gone, he called the Second Wife 
aside also, and said " See this loin-cloth, I give it to you 
to tie on, but do not tell the others, for there is a certain 
charm for child-birth in it, and if you tie it on, you will 
have a Son." So she replied " Very well, good," and 
she put it on. 

Then he called the Youngest Wife also, and when 
she had come, he said " See this loin-cloth, I give it to 
you to tie on, but do not tell the others, for there is a 
certain charm for child-birth in it, and if you tie it on, 






THE TWO WIVES 295 

you will have a Son." So she replied " Very well, 
good," and she put it on. 

So they all went off to the farm, the Husband and 
the three Wives, and when they had arrived, and had 
started hoeing, the Husband began to sing, saying : 
" Quickly, quickly, Loin-cloth Wearers, 
Quickly, quickly, Loin-cloth Wearers." 

Then they went faster and faster, they tried hard, and 
worked in all truth. They beat the earth like one Man, 
and they all rose up again together (3). 

After a time the Chief Wife's loin-cloth became 
uncomfortable (4), and she pulled it off, and said " I 
cannot work with that on." But when she had taken 
it off she became thoroughly tired, and she said " Oh 
indeed, so I was given the loin-cloth to make me work 
hard, well, I'll wear it no more." When the others 
heard this they said " Opp, is it thus that we have been 
tricked?" So they also undid their loin-cloths, and 
pulled them off. Then the Husband said " Well, had 
I not done that to you, you would not have worked 
so hard," (5) and he continued " Now let us go back 
home again." 

They returned. 



According to a variant, the object of giving the loin- 
cloths to the wives is to make them work like men, and 
there is no idea of any charm for childbirth. 



50 
THE Two WIVES, THE HY^NA, AND THE DOVE. 

This is about a Husband and his two Wives. One 
of the Women was well off, the other was not. One 



296 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

day the Chief Wife, the poor one, said " Well, 
I am going to travel in the forest," and her 
Husband replied " All right," so off she went. She 
travelled on and on, until the sun had fallen, 
and night had come, and then she said " May God 
give me a little hut," and immediately she saw a large 
house ahead of her. So she came close and entered it, 
but saw nothing inside, so she said " May God give me 
food," and He gave it to her. So she ate until she was 
satisfied, and then she said " May God give me a 
bed," and He did so, and she lay down. 

As she was about to lie down (i), she heard a 
Dove coo-ing and saying " Make your soup and drink 
it," and the Woman said " Whatever kind of Bird is 
talking thus?" But she got up, and made her soup, 
and drank it. 

In the night a Hyaena came, howling, and saying 
" May I come into the King's porch, may I come 
into the King's porch?" But the Woman shut 
the door, and the Hyaena went off. 

In the middle of the night who should come 
but Dodo, and he was roaring, and saying " May 
I come to the King's porch?" And the Woman 
arose, and opened the door of the entrance-hall, 
and Dodo entered. When he had got in, she 
ran and entered her hut, and hid, but Dodo came 
on, saying " May I enter the King's palace?" 
So the Woman opened the door of the hut, and 
ran away and hid in the space beneath the bed (2). 
Then Dodo came into the hut, and climbed up on to the 
bed, and pulled off his tobe and trousers, and lay down. 
In the morning he threw down silver, and tobes, and 
pairs of trousers, and other goods, and left all of them 
for her, and went off. So when he had gone, the 






THE TWO WIVES 297 

Woman collected the things, and brought them home, 
and showed them to her Husband. 

Then the Rival Wife said "Well, I also shall 
go to the forest/' but the Husband said " No, no, what 
we have is enough for us all " (3). But she said " I 
will go though," and so he said " Very well," and 
off she went. She travelled on and on, until the sun 
had fallen, and night had come, and then she said 
" May God give me a hut," and immediately she 
saw a large house ahead of her. So she came close 
and entered it, but saw nothing inside, so she said 
" May God give me food," and He gave it to her. So 
she ate until she was satisfied, and then she said " May 
God give me a bed," and He did so, and she lay down. 

As she was about to lie down, she heard a Dove 
coo-ing, and saying " Make your soup and drink it," 
and the Woman said " Whatever kind of Bird is 
talking thus? " And she got up and took a stick, and 
hit the Dove, and killed it, and then she cooked and 
ate it. 

In the night a Hyaena came, howling, and saying 
" May I come into the King's porch, may I come into 
the King's porch ? " But the Woman did not hear her, 
for she was asleep, and the Hyasna came and seized her, 
and ate her up (4). 

Next morning another Dove heard the news, and 
she came and told the Husband, but he said " Oh well, 
I told her not to go, see, her blood is upon her own 
head." Then the Dove said " I see," and she flew off. 
So the Husband lived with the Chief Wife only. 

In a variant (M.H. 34) the Second Dove found a 
finger of the Dead Woman, and she took it to the 
Husband's house and told him what had happened. 



298 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

5i 
THE MAN AND HIS WIVES, AND DODO. 

This is about a Man who had two Wives. Now 
whenever he used to go to the forest, he would leave 
his Dogs in the hut, and tie them up, and say that if 
either of the Wives loosed them he would beat her 
when he came home again. 

One day when he had taken his flute (i) and had 
gone to the forest as usual, it happened that Dodo saw . 
him from afar off as he was walking along. And when 
the Man saw Dodo he ran and climbed a tree, and took 
his flute and began to blow upon it. Immediately the 
Dogs heard it from where they were in the hut, and they 
began to whine. Then the Chief Wife said " Opp, 
whatever is making the Dogs whine like this? I will 
loose them." But the Rival Wife said " No, no, do not 
do so, the Head-of-the-House (2) has said that whoever 
looses them will be beaten on his return." But the 
Chief Wife said " I will let them go," so the other 
said " Oh, very well, do so if you like." So the Chief 
Wife loosed them, and no sooner had she done so than 
they raced off, and ran until they had reached the tree. 
Immediately Dodo fled, and the Dogs followed, and 
they caught him, and killed him on the spot. 

When they had done this the Man returned home, 
and said " Who let the Dogs loose? " And the Rival 
Wife replied " It was she who did it, I myself said 
that she was not to do so." Then the Husband said 
11 If she had not let them go, Dodo would have seized 
me." And he beat the Rival Wife, but he gave the 
Chief Wife a present. 

A variant (L.T.H. ii, 3) is a mixture of this one, 
and stories 32 and 48. The Witch when she has taken 




THE FOOLISH WIFE 299 

the Youth into the forest changes herself into a Hyaena, 
and he goes through various transformations until he 
becomes a ring, and she does not recognize this as 
him (see F.-L. 46). He then changes into a Man, and 
climbs a tree, which she tries to root up. He then calls 
his Dogs and they rescue him, and lick up every drop 
of blood lest the spot should seize the youth. 



52 
THE WIFE WHO WOULD NOT WORK ALONE. 

There was once a Man who had one Wife, and they 
lived thus for nine years. But one day the Wife said 
"O, Owner-of-the-House," and he said " Yes." 
11 What kind of a Man are you ? " she asked. Then he 
said " Why do you ask me what kind of a Man I 
am, what have you to complain about? " " It is this," 
she replied, " I have been alone with you nine years, 
am I never going to have a Rival Wife? " Then he 
said " Oh no, I do not want to set up a Rival, lest 
you should be jealous." But she said " No, no, I shall 
not be jealous, I myself will find a Wife for you." So 
he said " All right, find one for me, will a Man refuse 
to marry? " 

So she went and got her Friend, a Widow, and 
brought her to the house, and she [the Widow] and 
the Husband wooed each other, and in the morning 
they were married (i), so the Bride lived with the 
Chief Wife and her Husband. As for the Husband, 
everything he got he would give it to her, and not to 
the Chief Wife. He left the Chief Wife's hut and 
always slept with the Bride (2). 

This went on thus until one day the Chief Wife 
came, and said " Look here, O, Owner-of-the-House ! " 



300 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

And he replied " Well." She said " Who brought you 
this Bride, was it not I ? " And he said " It was you." 
Then she said " Very well, I do not like her, so she 
must leave the house, you must send her away." But 
he replied " Oh no, I lived with you alone, and you 
yourself said that you wanted a Rival, it was not I who 
sought her, and so now I will not drive her out." Then 
the Chief Wife said " Well, as far as I am concerned, 
I cannot agree with her, you must send her away." 
But he replied " No, it is you who must go," and he 
drove her out of the house. 

When she had been sent away, she said " Alas, 
had I only known, I should not have done thus," and 
she continued " He who rides the Horse ' Had I 
known ' will feel sore " (3). 



53 
THE THOUGHTFUL AND THE THOUGHTLESS HUSBANDS. 

A certain Man and his Friend started to go out 
for a walk, and when they had gone, and were walking 
along, they came upon a diniya tree, and they climbed 
it like honey is its fruit and the Friend said " Let 
us eat a little, and take some home." And the other 
said " Very well." Now the fruits which the Friend 
picked he put in his bag [but the other ate all of those 
which he got], and after a time he said " Well, "ict us 
go home." So the other said " All right, let us go," 
and they returned. 

They went home, and in the night they were 
sleeping with their Wives, and the Friend took some 



THE TWO HUSBANDS 



301 



fruits and gave them to his Wife, and she ate them all 
but a few. In the morning when she arose, she went 
to the house of her Husband's Friend's Wife, and she 
took some diniya fruits and gave them to her, and said 
'What, did not your Husband bring you any?" 
" Oh no,'* the other replied, " he did not bring me 
any." 

That caused the Wife and Husband to begin 
quarrelling, for she said what had she done that her 




FIG. 71 




FIG. 72. 

FIGS. 71, 72. Steels for flint, carried in small leather purse. 
L. about 2 in. 



Husband had not brought her any diniya? Then he 
said " Let me go and get you some." Now when he 
had gone and had climbed the tree, a Hyaena came and 
stood at the foot of the tree, and soon afterwards a Lion 
also came. Then the Man in the top of the tree began 
singing, and saying " O Hyaena, O Strong Hyaena, 
the Dancer " (i). Immediately the Hyaena began to 
dance, and she went off, and the Lion followed her. 
And when they had gone, the Man descended and ran 



302 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

all the way home, and ever after that he would bring 
his Wife some. 



In another Story (L.T.H. ii, 57) a Boy is picking 
dates for a Girl whom he has brought from another 
city. She is standing underneath, and she hears the 
Animals coming for they all sleep there and runs 
away. The Boy plays his pipe, and the Animals all 
dance away, leaving the Hedgehog on guard, but the 
Hedgehog also dances off, and so the Boy escapes. 



54 
SOLOMON AND THE BIRDS. 

A certain Woman, one of the Wives of the Prophet 
(i) Solomon, went to another house, and saw that the 
House-Wife had made a fine floor (2), and had made 
her house look splendid. So she said " What did you 
mix with the earth of your floor to make it look so 
fine? " The other Woman replied " My Husband shot 
a number of Wild Beasts, and I collected the blood and 
put it in." 

Now when his Wife had returned home, Solomon 
spoke to her, but she remained silent. Then he said 
"What has happened to you to make you angry ?" 
She replied " I went to call upon my Friend, and saw 
that she had made a fine floor, her Husband had shot 
Wild Beasts, and had given her the blood so that she 
might mix it with the earth. Now, see here, all the 
Birds come and hover over you like an umbrella (3), 
you must take some and kill them, and give them to 
me for my floor." So he said " Very well, to-morrow 
some will be taken and given to you." " Good," she 
replied, " May God bring us safely to to-morrow " (4). 



SOLOMON AND THE BIRDS 303 

Now next morning not one Bird came, but about 
breakfast time the King of Birds flapped his wings, 
and came to the Cock, who said to him " Have you 
heard what the Prophet Solomon said yesterday?" 
The King of the Birds said "What did he say?" 
" The Prophet Solomon said that he would kill us," 
replied the Cock. Then the King of the Birds said 
11 Oh ! Well, I am going home." 

About ten o'clock the King of the Birds returned, 
and Solomon said " Have you been delayed in the town 
that you have not been here ever since dawn?" He 
replied " We have been arguing on three subjects at 
home." " What are the differences of opinion amongst 
the Birds?" asked Solomon. He said "They asked 
me ' Which is the longer, the night or the day ? ' and 
I replied ' From the morning, since the first call to 
prayers, until the evening, until it is almost time to go 
to sleep, all this is daytime, surely the day is longer 
than the night.' Then they asked me * Who are the 
most numerous, Women or Men ? ' and I said 
1 Women, for a Man who is Led by his Wife is also a 
Woman ' " (5). Then Solomon said " Go home." (6). 

Now soon afterwards, his Wife went out and came 
to the house of the Owner-of-the-Fine-Floor, and the 
latter said " Oh dear, is it true that what I said to you 
in fun, you believed, and that you went and told it to the 
Prophet? I cut wood and beat it, and soaked it in 
water, and sprinkled the water on the floor. I was only 
making game of you." 

In a Malayan story also (Skeat, page 64) King 
Solomon has an argument with the Birds, in which the 
Thrush, the Woodpecker, and the Heron show to 
advantage. 



304 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

55 
THE KING WHO COVETED His SON'S WIFE. 

Once there was a certain Maiden whose name was 
Kwallabbe, and she was very ugly. Now, her Mother 
[hated her for it and] turned her out of the house 
saying " Go to that city, you can find a home with 
someone there." So she went to the King's palace, 
and she was taken in and allowed to live there. 

But whenever the King's Son came to eat his meals, 
he would say " Take her away " for he said that she 
was very ugly, and that he did not like her. Then the 
Maiden returned to her Mother, and said " O Parent, 
they do not like me, they are trying to drive me out of 
the city." Then her Mother swallowed her, and brought 
her up beautiful, and said " Now, return to the city 
and stay there." So she went off, and returned to 
the King's palace, and while she was there the King's 
Son made love to her. So she went to her Mother and 
told her, and the Mother consented. So she married 
the King's Son. 

After a time the King himself fell in love with the 
Maiden, and wanted her for his own, so he mobilized 
his Troops as if for war, and told his Son that he was 
to go with the Army. Now when the Son was about to 
start, the Maiden put a date-stone into the lock of 
hair (i) on his head, and the Troops moved off. Now 
after they had been marching for some time, [they 
arrived at a well], and it was now noon. Then the 
King said " Chiroma " (2), and [when he had come 
close, the King] said that he was to enter the well, and 
send up water for the Horses. So he said " Very 
good," and he went down, and sent up water until all 
the Horses had drunk their fill (3). Then the King 



THE KING'S SON'S WIFE 305 

said " Now fill up the well with earth," and when this 
had been done, [and his son had been entombed], the 
King returned home. When he had arrived he sum- 
moned the Maiden, and said " Ah ! see, your Husband 
is dead." And she replied " It is so," and she refused 
to touch any food ; for about ten days she did not eat 
anything. 

Now the Son was in the well, and lo ! the date-stone 
in his hair began to grow, it shot up through the mouth 
of the well, and grew up high. And the Son followed, 
and followed, climbing the tree, until he emerged at the 
top and it grew very high, and he remained in it (4). 

One day his Wife's Slave passed, she used to go to 
a Filani camp (5) to get milk, and she saw a Man like 
Dodo. " O Girl, come here," said he, but she refused. 
Then again he said " O Girl, come here," and she said 
" Very well," and came close. When she had come, he 
pulled the ring off his finger, and dropped it into the 
milk (6), and said " Now, when you go home, do not 
let anyone help you down with your calabash of milk 
except my Wife," and the Girl said " Very well." So 
when she returned, she said " Come and help me, Mis- 
tress," but the other refused. Then she said again 
" But you must come," so she did so. And when she 
had helped her to put it down, the Slave said to her 
" Put your hand into the milk." So she dipped it 
in, and took out the ring. Then she said " Who 
gave you this ? " And the Slave replied " You know it 
then ? " and she told her where her Husband was. 

Then the Wife got a Horse, and summoned the 
Drummers, and the Barbers, and they went off. When 
she arrived she caused him to be washed, and when that 
had been done he was shaved, and after that robes 
were placed upon him, and then she said " Good, let 
20 



306 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

us go." So he mounted a Horse, and he went off, and 
came upon his Father who was holding a council 
meeting. Then the Son said " O People, what does 
One do to an Enemy? " And they were silent. Then 
again he spoke asking what One did to an Enemy. 
Then he drew his sword and killed his Father, and 
said " Praise be to God, the city has become mine." 
Then the People said " Blessings upon you, and 
fortune," and he replied "Thanks" (7). 

So he lived in the palace and ruled over the city. 



A variant (F.-L. 48), where the Girl after having 
been swallowed emerges half gold and half silver, states 
that the Mother was an Elephant, and that it would have 
been unsafe for the Maiden to have remained in the 
forest. That version certainly seems more satisfactory 
than this, for here the Mother could have swallowed her 
at first. Also w r hy was this Mother living away from 
the city? Another variant makes the Girl to be born 
in a gourd, as is the Boy in a clay pot in Story 71. 
In yet another (L.T.H. ii, 55) the Girl is named 
Atafa, and, after her Mother and Father have 
died, she swallows all the Animals and property, and 
goes as a poor Maid into the City. The King's Son 
despises her until he has found out that she is rich, 
and then the King also wants her, as in this Story. The 
Son is sent out with an Expedition (the King does not 
go), and on reaching the well, each Man refuses to 
enter it "because the Horses do not belong to his 
Father," so the Son does. He is entombed, and the 
date-tree grows up, and he appears, all white, and sits in 
the branches. The rest of the story is as above. 



An Annamite tale has some points of resemblance. 
It is (S.F.T. 323) to the effect that a Woodcutter who 
found some Fairies bathing, took the raiment of one 
of them, and hid it, so the Owner had to become his 
Wife (as in T.H.H. 4). A Son was born, but when he 



DODO'S SON 307 

was three years of age, the Mother found her clothes 
and vanished, leaving, however, her comb stuck in his 
collar. The Husband on his return, took his Son to the 
fountain where they met some of his Wife's Servants 
drawing water, and while speaking to them the 
Husband dropped the comb into one of the jars. On 
the Girl's return, the Wife recognized the comb, and 
sent him an enchanted handkerchief by the means of 
which he was able to go to her. 



i 

! 



56 

THE GIRL WHO MARRIED DODO'S SON. 

A certain Man was on a journey, and he came to the 
King of the city, and said ' ' The Pagans are preparing 
for war, but there is a river in the road which will pre- 
vent your passage." Then the King said " Indeed, 
let me go and see." So he arose, and went to the 

;-iver side, and said " O River, let those which are in 
his river hear, I have come to ask them to let me pass 
hat I may go and fight the Pagans." Then from out 
of the water came voices " What will you give us if 
you go to war ? " And he said " If I go and fight, and 
return, and God has given me the victory, I will give 
the Son of the King of the River a Daughter of my 
own blood in marriage." Then they said "Agreed," 
and the River went over to one side, and left a passage 
open. And when he had gone and fought, and captured 
a large number of Slaves in the Enemy's city, and had 
returned and crossed the river to go home, the water 
returned and flowed on as before. 

Now he lived at home, and traded off his Slaves 
which he had taken, and said nothing further to the 
River. So the River rose, and the water came almost 






308 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

up to the city, until the People said " Verily the water 
will destroy the city." Then the King arose, and 
prostrated himself, and said to the River " Be patient, 
the Girl is not yet marriageable, wait a little while 
for her." And then the water fell again. 

Then the King arose, and went into the palace, and 
said " O Chief Wife," and she replied " Yes." " Will 
you not give me your Daughter that I may give her 
to the River-Dwellers?" he continued. But she said 
" I will not give you my Daughter." Then he arose and 
went to the Youngest Wife, and said to her " I have 
come to you with a petition, for the sake of God give 
me your Daughter." "Very well," she said, "to 
whom do both I and the Girl belong ? Are we not yours ? 
Take her, and give her to them." So the King caused 
the Girl to be brought, and kola-nuts and money, and 
the marriage was proclaimed. Then he ordered ten 
Men to take her to the River. So they took the Girl, 
and made her prostrate herself, and said " Here, O you 
River-Dwellers (i), see a Beautiful Bride whom we have 
brought you." Then they went away, they returned 
to the city, and left the Girl there, and when they had 
gone, the River-Dwellers came out from the water, 
seized the Girl's hand, and made her enter the water. 
She was brought to the house, the house of Dodo, the 
King of the River, and after a time the Children 
of the River-Dwellers got to know her, and used to 
play with her. 

Now this Youngest Wife of the King of the city 
had a Child in arms (2), and this Infant began to learn, 
and in time she grew up. And the King's other 
Children used to mock her, and say " We dislike you 
because your Sister was thrown into the River." Then 
the Girl said to her Mother "Is it true that I have a 



DODO'S SON 309 

Sister who was thrown into the River?" And the 
Mother replied " Yes, it is true that you had a Sister." 
Then the Girl said " Indeed ! May God bring us 
together." 

Now one day when she went to the market to buy 
something to eat, she procured a small gourd (3), and 
brought it to the place where the Worshippers in the 
Mosque used to wash (4), and she dug up the earth, and 
planted the gourd, and said " Now, Gourd, I want 
you to guide me to the place where my Sister is." So 
the gourd sprouted, and started creeping along, and 
went on until it had gone outside the city, and it grew 
and grew, until it had reached the river, and had 
entered and reached the Sister's house. Then it 
climbed the house, and blossomed, and fruited. Now 
next morning, the Girl said to her Mother " I am going 
to look for my Sister." " Do you know where she is ? " 
asked she. And the Girl replied " I shall follow this 
gourd, it will guide me." So in the morning as she was 
starting, her Mother said " Very well, go, if I could 
lose the Elder and yet bear it, surely I can put up 
with the loss of you, the Younger One." 

So the Girl followed the gourd, and went on and 
on until she arrived at the bank of the river, and then 
she said " Really ! is that where my Sister is ? " Then 
she shut her eyes, and threw herself into the water. 
Now the Sister in her house heard the splash, and on 
going out she saw a Human Being, so she took her up 
in her arms, and carried her into the house. And when 
the Girl had recovered consciousness, she said " Where 
did you come from? " The Sister replied " I am of 
the King's house." " Who is your Father?" asked 
the Girl. " So-and-So is my Mother," replied the 
Other. Then the Girl said " O, Sister, I used to be 



310 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

mocked, People used to say that you had been killed 
in the river, that is why I have come to see you." Then 
the Sisters both burst out crying. 

Just then the Husband, Dodo's Son, approached, 
and they heard him coming, and the Wife said to her 
Sister " Run, hide yourself lest my Husband see you." 
So the Girl arose, and got inside the space under the 
earthen seat (5), and her Sister had no sooner covered 
her with a cloth than he arrived, and entered the room. 
" Hullo," he exclaimed, '* I smell a Mortal in my 
house." "It is nobody," she replied, " it is I. 11 
" Oh no," he said, " it is a Stranger." So he got up, 
and pulled away the cloth, and caught hold of the Girl, 
and said to his Wife " So we have a Girl-Visitor and 
you would not tell me, did you want to hide her from 
me? " She said " Yes, it is my Sister who has come." 
So they lived together for five days, and the Girl made 
friends with Dodo's Son and played with him. 

But one morning she said " I must leave and go 
home." And her Sister said " Very well, but wait 
until the Owner-of-the-House has returned, and I will 
tell him, then you shall go home." When Dodo's Son 
had returned, he said " O Girl, are you leaving to- 
morrow ? " And she said " Yes, I must go to-morrow 
lest my Mother mourn for me." "Very well," he 
replied, and then said to his Wife " To-morrow when 
morning has come, take her and put her inside the 
ccrn-binn that she may get two small baskets with lids, 
and take them." So next morning the Wife took her 
Sister to the corn-binn, and when she had taken out 
the small baskets, she said to her " Mind when you go, 
you give my regards to all at home." And she took 
her out of the water, and accompanied her a short dis- 
tance on the way (6). At last she said " When you 



DODO'S SON 311 

have emerged from that forest you will see a low hill 
ahead, and when you have got so far you must throw 
down the basket which is in your right hand. When 
you have traversed another forest, and have reached 
another hill, you must break the basket in your left 
hand." And then they parted, and the Sister returned 
to her Husband in the water. 

So the Girl went on as far as the hill which her 
Sister had pointed out to her, and then she broke one 
of the little baskets. Immediately Cattle, and Slaves, 
and Horses emerged from it, and they took her up and 
set her upon a Horse (7). Then when she had come to 
the other hill, she broke the basket in her left hand, 
and immediately Camels, and Donkeys, and Mules, and 
Drummers, and Trumpeters, and Buglers emerged from 
it, everything that could be thought of appeared. So 
she set off again to go home. But she sent three Men 
on ahead, saying .'* Tell the King not to run away 
when he hears the noise of my Host (8), it is I who am 
coming who have been to see my Sister." So the 
Messengers came to the King, and told him the news, 
and when she had arrived they all turned out to salute 
her. She dismounted then, and went into the palace. 

Now one of the other Daughters-of-the-House said 
11 I also will go and see my Sister." So she also 
planted her gourd in the place where the Worshippers 
used to wash, and the gourd grew and crept to the 
river, entered the water, and climbed the Sister's house. 
And when the Sister went outside the house, she said 
" Hullo, I have got a gourd," and Dodo's Son said 
" Good, keep it to yourself." And, he continued " I 
must tell you something, on the day that anyone asks 
you my name and you speak it, from then you will 
never see me again " (9). 



3i2 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Well, the other Girl went to her Mother, and said 
' I shall take the road to-morrow morning, I am going 
to visit my Sister," and she was given permission. 
So next morning she started off, and when she had 
reached the river, she threw herself in. The Sister then 
came out of her house, and lifted her up, and said to 
her "And whence come you also?" "From the 
King's house," she replied, and then the Sister took 
her inside, and set her down. Just then the Son of the 
King of the River arose, and approached the house, 
and the Wife said " Get up and hide." But the other 
Girl said " Certainly not, you want to hide me so that 
I may not see your Husband " (10). When the Hus- 
band came into the hut, he saw the Visitor sitting down, 
but he went out again without a word (n). 

Soon the other Girl said that she must return on the 
morrow, but the Sister said " Very well, but stay until 
the Owner-of-the-House returns, and then he will bid 
you adieu." So in the morning she said to him " The 
other Girl is going home." He said " Very well, take 
her to the corn-binn, and let her take two small 
baskets." So she took her to the corn-binn, and told 
her what to do, but when the other Girl had heard this, 
she said " There are large baskets here, yet you tell 
me to take small ones !" And she took one of the big 
ones, and she was taken out of the corn-binn, arguing. 
Then Dodo's Son said " Now go with her, and put 
her on the road." 

So the Sister went and put her on the road to her 
home, and said " Now, see that hill over there, when 
you have arrived there throw down this basket." So 
the Sister returned to the water, and the other Girl went 
on. But she broke the basket at once, and a lame 
Horse, a Donkey and a Slave both blind, emerged, and 



BARBERS 




FIG. 73- 



FIG. 74. 




FIG. 75. 




Figs. 73 and 74 show different patterns of razors, and Fig. 75 the case in 
which they are kept, an ancient stone axe-head being often used as a hone. 
The illustrations purtray the attitude in shaving and hair-cutting. 



314 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

a lame Goat. Then she set off home, she was very 
angry. 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 62) the King gives his 
Daughter to the river itself. A Youth emerges, and 
takes her, and he turns out to be the Son of the King 
of the Dodos. He lives with her and his other Wife for 
some time, but then goes to his own city, telling the 
Girl to visit hers. Instead of this, she follows him, 
and has to escape from his Mother, in much the same 
way as do the Youth and the Spider in Story 95 
(variant). Afterwards the Dodo-King dies, and the 
Youth succeeds him, once more going to the Dodo city, 
and this time he and his human Wife part for good. 

A somewhat similar choice of baskets is given in a 
Japanese tale recorded by Lord Redesdale, in Tales of 
Old Japan (page 135), in which an Old Man kept a 
Sparrow, but one day when away, his Wife became 
angry with it, and, having cut its tongue, let it loose. 
Some time afterwards the Old Man met it, and it brought 
him to its house, and entertained him. When he went 
away, the Sparrow gave him two wicker baskets, one 
heavy and one light, and the Old Man chose the 
latter. On reaching home he opened his light basket, 
and " lo and behold ! it was full of gold and silver and 
precious things." Then the Old Woman went off also, 
but she had to ask for a present, and she chose the 
heavy basket. But when she opened it " all sorts of 
hobgoblins and elves sprang out of it, and began to 
torment her." 

For another parallel see Story 93, variant. 



57 

THE MAN WHO MARRIED A MONKEY. 
There was once a certain Man who married a female 
Monkey. He said that he had a farm, and he told her to 
go to it, but she said that her teeth were aching. So 
he said Oh, very well, that she could stay at home. 



THE MONKEY-WOMAN 315 

But when her Husband had gone, she climbed the 
barn (i) and stole some guinea-corn, and took it to the 
stones, and ground it. And while she was doing this 
she commencing singing, and saying that her tooth- 
ache was all a pretence, that her Husband was at the 
farm, and she was having a holiday. So she cooked 
food and ate until she was satisfied, then she took what 
was left, and hid it. But when she saw her Husband 
returning, she got on to the bed, and began crying, 
and saying that her teeth were very painful. 

Now a certain Woman came, and told the Husband 
that his Wife was a fraud. And he asked himself 
what he would do. Then he decided to drive her out 
of the house, so he did so, and when he had sent her 
away he lived like a Bachelor (2). 



A story on similar lines makes the Spider wed the 
Crown-Bird, but he, too, finds that his Wife will not 
perform any wifely duties, and so he drives her away. 



58 
THE MONKEY-WOMAN. 

Once there was a Man who married a Widow, and 
lo ! she could change herself into a Monkey. He had 
a tomato (i) farm, and when he had married her, he 
said " I am going to the forest to hunt, but see this 
farm, you must watch it lest the Monkeys come and 
plunder. " And she replied " Very well." 

Now, as soon as he had gone, she went off to the 
farm, and stopped in the centre of the farm, and pulled 
off her cloths, and laid them on top of an ant-hill. Then 



3 i6 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

she lay on the ground, and rolled about, and when she 
had done so a Monkey-tail grew out of her buttocks, 
and she became a Monkey out and out. Then she put 
her hand to her mouth, and called " O Monkeys, O 
Monkeys, O Monkeys," and Monkeys to the number 
of about 500 came out of the forest, and she said to 
them " [Now eat, but] not the blossoms, and not the 
small ones." So they ate up all the full-grown 
tomatoes, and then they went off, and she became a 
Human Being again, and went home. 

When the Hunter had returned, a Friend said to 
him " Your Wife can change herself into a Monkey." 
But the Other exclaimed "Oh! You have begun to 
make trouble have you ? You want to part us." " [You 
think that] I do not want you to be happy, that I 
wish you only evil? " asked the Friend. And he con- 
tinued " But since you think I am complaining with- 
out cause, tell her to grind corn for you because you 
are going to watch [at another farm]." And the 
Husband said '* Very well," he agreed to that. 

So [on the following day] the Wife ground corn 
for him, and he went off and set up some posts 
at the edge of the tomato farm, so that he could 
sit on them (2), and he got a ladder, and mounted 
it, and sat there. Soon afterwards, he saw her afar off 
approaching the farm, she was coming in the shape of 
a Human Being. But when she had reached the centre 
of the farm where the ant-hill was and he was watch- 
ing her all the time she pulled off her cloths and 
threw them down, and she fell on to the ant-hill and 
rolled about. So she became a Monkey, and she arose, 
put her hand to her mouth, and called " O Monkeys, 
O Monkeys, O Monkeys." Then he saw the Monkeys 
coming out from the edge of the forest rat tat tat, rat tat 



THE DESPISED WIFE'S TRIUMPH 317 

tat, and they ate up the tomatoes hop. When they had 
gone, she became a Woman again, she took up her 
cloths and folded them on (3), and went home. 

So the Husband descended from the scaffold, and 
followed her, and [when he arrived at his house] she 
said " O Owner-of-the-House, welcome.*' But he re- 
plied " I want no welcome [from you], get your things 
together, and get out, I am not able to live with a 
Monkey! "(4). 



In a variant (F.-L. 47) the Man marries a Gazelle. 
In another (L.T.H. n) he soliloquises thus " I shall 
never again marry a Woman whose People I do not 
know." 



59 
THE DESPISED WIFE'S TRIUMPH. 

There was once a King of a certain city who had 
four Wives, of whom he loved three, but he did not 
like the fourth at all. So he went and obtained birth- 
potions for the three, and they came outside to grind 
them upon the stones, and when they had done so they 
went inside again, but the Unbeloved Wife had only 
corn to grind there. Now God allowed them all to 
conceive, the whole four of them, including her, and 
at the proper time the King said " Let each return to 
her Mother's house for the event " (i). 

So the three Loved Ones left the city, and went off 
to their homes, but the fourth did not know which was 
her native town (2), and she went along the road aim- 
lessly, and saying " God will provide me with a home 
where I can be taken care of." So she went on and 






3 i8 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

on in the forest, until at last she saw afar off a little 
hut. Now just then she heard a tornado rumbling in 
the distance, and she ran towards the hut; but as she 
ran it ran also, as she chased it, it was always ahead, 
until she cried out in desperation " O God, wilt Thou 
not make that hut stop so that I may enter it and 
escape from the coming storm ? " And immediately the 
hut stopped where it was. 

Now when she came up to go inside, she saw a 
great Head* (3) lying in the doorway, and a Dog 
crouching by its side. But [when she would have run 
away], the Head grunted out " Um," and the Dog 
interpreted. ' That means, that you are to come in," 
he said. So she entered the hut, and no sooner had she 
done so than down came the storm. 

Soon the rain stopped, and then the Head grunted 
" Um/' and the Dog said to her " That means, ' Where 
are you going?' ' The woman answered " My Sister- 
Wives have gone to the houses of their Parents to be 
laid up, but I have no Relatives so I must find some 
place where I can be attended to." Then the Head 
again grunted " Um," and the Dog said " That means, 
' Have you no Parents?' ' And she replied " I have 
none, I was carried away to the city when I was a 
Tiny Mite, and I cannot remember the name of my 
native-town." " Um," grunted the Head. "That 
means, ' Would you like to stay here with us?' " ex- 
plained the Dog. And she replied " Does a Human 
Being refuse to live with his kind? " Once more the 
Head grunted " Um," and the Dog said " That means, 
1 Be content, and stay with us.' ' 

About the tenth Hay afterwards, the pains of labour 
gat hold upon her. Then the Head grunted "Um," 
and the Dog said " That means, ' What is making your 



THE DESPISED WIFE'S TRIUMPH 319 

eyes look so strange ?' ' And she answered that she 
had gnawing pains in her inside. Again the Head 
grunted " Urn," and the Dog said " That means, that 
you must take this writing and dip it in a calabash of 
water and drink " (4). So she did so, and drank the 
ink and water. " Urn," grunted the Head. " That 
means, ' Go outside,' " explained the Dog. So she went 
out, and found herself in another hut, and several Old 
Women (5) came to help her, and she brought forth 
her Child, a Son. 

Now the King [her Husband] had said that who- 
ever gave birth to a Son would have a Bull killed in 
her honour at the King's palace on the day of her 
return. And this Woman now had a Son ! So they 
washed the Child, and she saw that food had been 
placed at her side, so she ate, though she did not know 
whence it had come. Then she saw that warm water 
had been placed in a vessel behind the hut, and so 
she went and bathed herself (6). 

She was there forty days, and then she went to the 
Dog and said "Tell my Father (7), the Head, that 
to-morrow my Rival Wives will be going home to the 
palace." Then the Head grunted "Urn," and the 
Dog interpreted " That means, that to-morrow you 
also shall go." Next morning the Head grunted 
" Um," and the Dog said " That means, that you are 
to come in here." So she entered, and saw that the 
house was full of People, even her own Mother who 
had borne her was there. One brought a present, and 
another brought a present, all heaped up things for 
her. Her Mother gave her a necklace of silver 
dollars (8), strung on a purple cord, and she put it in 
her basket. Then they escorted her to where the Head 
was, and she knelt down, and said " O Father, I am 



320 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

going home." " Urn," it grunted, and the Dog said 
"That means, 'Bless you/" " Urn," it grunted 
again. " That means, * Go in health and in peace,' " 
explained the Interpreter. So she started off, crying 
and weeping, and the People escorted her until they 
had brought her to the road which she knew, and 
then they stopped, and said " Now go on, and may you 
arrive safely." 

So she went on, and overtook her Rivals at the 
river (9) where they were bathing. Now all three of 
them had given birth only to Daughters, and as she 
stepped into the river to go over the ford, the Chief 
Wife said " Are you not going to stop, and let us 
see what sex your Child is?" But she said "No." 
Then the Chief Wife ran after her, and pulled the Child 
from off her back (10), and when she saw that it was a 
Male, she put it on her back, and went off at a run, 
leaving her own Child on the bank of the stream. Then 
the Young Wife returned and took up the Chief Wife's 
Daughter, and went on home. The Chief Wife when 
she had reached home, said " Tell the King to come out 
and slaughter a Bull in my honour." But the Others 
went to their own houses quietly, the Young Wife 
entered in silence, she did not say a word. 

Now the Boy grew up, and he began to go 
out to the forest (11), and one day he was seized 
with a sudden illness while in the bush and he 
died there. Then the other Boys returned, and said 
" Mohammadu has died in the forest," and the Towns- 
People mounted their Horses, and galloped off, and 
fetched him. They brought him to the palace, and 
were going to take him and bury him in the earth, when 
the Wise Men said " This Corpse is speaking, do not 
bury it." Then they summoned the four Wives to 



THE DESPISED WIFE'S TRIUMPH 321 

come, and the Wise Men said " Go to your houses (12), 
prepare food, and bring it." 

So they went and made some, but the real 
Mother had nothing but chaff to make food with, 
and this she kneaded. Then each picked up her 
calabash, and brought it to where the Wise Men 
were. And the Wise Men asked " Which is the 
Chief Wife?" and they said to her " Come here, 




FIG. 76. 




FIG. 77. 

FIGS. 76, 77. Front and back of reed auto-harp in general use. 
L., I7f in. 



and bring your dish." So she said " Good, if it is 1 
who have borne him he will rise up." So she went to 
the Corpse and said " Arise, and eat this food," but he 
did not move. Then Another came up, and said " If 
it is I who have borne you, arise," but he did not. 
The third Woman also came up, but he did not move. 
Then his real Mother came up with the chaff it was not 
proper food and said " Arise, and eat this chaff; It 
21 



322 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

was by treachery that you were snatched from me at 
the river-side." And immediately he rose up. 

Then the King was overjoyed, and said that she was 
to be taken and placed in his own apartments. But 
she said " No. First cut off the heads of the Chief 
Wife, and of the other two, so that I may have a 
cooking-place" (13). And he consented. 

So they had their heads cut off; but she lived 
happily (14). 



Another Story (L.T.H. ii, 44) has some points of 
resemblance to this one, and to Story 64. A Merchant, 
when setting out on a journey, told his Slave to look 
after his four Daughters, and give them food. Three 
of them gave in to the Slave, and he gave them plenty, 
but the fourth, Auta, would not do so, and she got 
nothing. The Merchant had given each Daughter a 
looking-glass, and on his return he asked to see them. 
When the Girls looked, they saw that only Auta's was 
bright, so each borrowed hers and showed it to her 
Father. When Auta was going to him, the Slave took 
her glass and spoiled it, and the Father ordered that 
she should be taken to the forest and that her hands and 
feet should be cut off. The Slave did this, and left her, 
but she was rescued by another Merchant, who married 
her. Soon afterwards he and the Father went on a trip 
together, but he forgot something, and the Slave was 
sent back to tell the Chief Wife. He recognized the 
Girl, and said that he had been ordered to tell the Chief 
Wife to put the Girl and her newly-born Twins on a 
Camel, and drive them into the forest. This was done, 
and the Girl asked God for water, her hands and feet, 
and a house (see 50), and He gave them to her. Next 
morning when she awoke, she found that she was in the 
midst of a large city of which she was Queen, and soon 
afterwards who should arrive but her Father and her 
Husband. She told them about it, changed the Slave 
into a White-Breasted Crow, and lived happily. 



THE GOOD K IS HI A 323 

60 
THE GOOD KISHIA AND THE LUCKY BOY. 

Once there was a certain Boy who lived with his 
Mother and her Rival Wife, the Kishia. And when he 
began to grow up, his Playmates, when they mounted 
their Horses and passed through the town, used to say 
" O Playmate, if your Mother is not displeased with 
you, let her buy you a Horse "(i). They were always 
saying this to him, and at last the Kishia said " Are you 
not going to buy your Son a Horse?" And the 
Mother replied " Would you like to do so, I have 
not a cowrie to spare." So the Kishia bought him a 
Horse, and the robes [proper for a Rider]. 

After that, whenever his Playmates mounted their 
Horses, he got his, and they used to go out riding 
together. This went on until the Boy reached marriage- 
able age, and the Kishia arranged a marriage for 
him (2). And when she had done this, she said to him 
" Go, wherever you wish to go, if you can go, go." 
So he said " I obey." 

Now the King of the city summoned him, and said 
1 While on your travels, if you go to the city with 
which we are now at war, bring back for me the King's 
spear." And the Boy said " I will." 

So off he started with his Wife, and went straight 
to the city with which they were at war, and outside the 
walls they met the King's Daughter, and he said to her 
11 Let us return to the city " (3). When they had 
entered, she took them to a lodging, a fine hut. Then 
he said to her " Now I have one favour to ask you, 
and that is that you will take me to where I can obtain 
a spear." " Opp, that is a simple matter," she replied, 
and she took him to a house where there were three 



324 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

huts, the first full of swords, the second full of spears, 
the third full of other weapons. Then she said " Here 
is the house of spears, choose any one that you like." 
So he said " Good," and he chose that of the King. 
Then he said " I have done so, will you return with 
me ? " And she answered " Urn." 

So they left the city, and after a time they came 
to a great river, and the river was full. But the other 
Girl could swim, for she was the Daughter of the King 
of the River (4), and she went and called, and canoes 
appeared. So they took up their bundles, and went 
to their own city, and the Boy went to his King and 
gave him the spear. Then the King divided the city 
into two, and gave half to the Boy to rule over, and 
he gave him Slaves, and Horses also. The Boy married 
the Girl from the other city also (5), and he and his 
Wives ruled the world. 



In a variant (L.T.H. 25), the Youth was sent by a 
jealous Master to recover a spear with which he had 
wounded the hostile King during a war, leaving the 
spear in the wound. The King had died, and the 
Daughter ruled the city, so the Youth made love to 
her. He put scent instead of oil in his lamp, he gave 
his horse kola-nuts instead of grass to eat, and he tied 
him up with an expensive turban instead of a cheap 
rope. This so overcame the Lady that she gave him 
the spear, and went off with him, as in the above, but 
the Towns-People pursued them, and when stopped by 
the river they did not know what to do. Just then 
the Daughter of the King of the River came up, and 
said " Hullo, Servant-of the-Son-of the-King-of the- 
City-of-Us (6), what are you doing here?" He re- 
plied "Look, do you see that crowd of Horsemen? 
They are coming after me and this Woman. They 
want to catch me, and I do not know what to do? " 
The Daughter of the King of the River exclaimed 
" Opp, is it because of that; is that all?" And she 



THE DETERMINED GIRL 325 

took a piece of gravel, and threw it into the river, and 
immediately the waters divided, and he and the Woman 
crossed. As soon as they had gone over the waters 
returned, and joined together again ; and so the fugi- 
tives made good their escape. 



61 
THE DETERMINED GIRL AND THE WICKED PARENTS. 

This is about a Girl named Faddam. Now it 
happened that a certain Man wanted to marry her, and 
she loved him too, but her Parents did not like him, and 
her Parents' Relatives did not like him, and so they 
refused to give her to him. But one day, she scooped 
up the whole of the water of the town stream in a 
gourd (i), and climbed a tree, and thus everyone in 
the town was without water to drink. Soon People 
came to ask the Girl to give them water. "Who is 
asking ?" she said. "It is your Mother,'* was the 
reply, and so she said "Oh! No, I shall not give 
you any." 

This went on until People began to die, so the 
Parents were again sent to the Girl, and when they had 
come, they said " Give us water to drink lest the 
whole town die." " If I give you water to drink, will 
you give me Musa in marriage? " she asked, and they 
replied " Yes." Then she descended, and opened her 
gourd, and immediately the water flowed all over the 
town. 

So she was married, and in due course she gave birth 
to a Child, a male. Now when she had brought forth 
her Son, she left him in the house, and her Parents 
came and suffocated the Child, and killed it. So when 



326 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the Girl returned she saw this, and told her Husband, 
and he said " Very well, we shall be avenged." The 
Parents were summoned to attend the funeral rites, 
but the Husband dug a well, and hid the mouth with a 
mat (2), and when the Parents had come, he made them 
sit on the mat, and so they fell into the well, and were 
killed. 



In a variant (M. 6), the well is first filled with 
burning logs. 



62 
THE WICKED GIRL AND HER PUNISHMENT. 

There was once a certain Girl who loved a Youth, 
but her Parents said that they would not give her to 
him in marriage. He was always coming and begging 
them to let him marry her, but they would say ** We 
shall not give her to you." 

Now, one day the Girl came to him, and said " I 
have come to you to ask you to give me your knife 
so that I may go and kill my Mother, then we can 
run away to some other town, and get married." But 
he said " No, no, we must not do that." Again she 
came and said " Give me your knife, that I may go and 
kill my Mother." But again he replied " No, no, you 
must not kill your Mother because of me," and he 
continued " Go home and stay there. Those who can 
give your Parents presents can give you some also " (i). 

Five days passed, and then the Girl asked 
"Will you give me your knife to cut pumpkins?" 
Now the Boy forgot, and he pulled out his knife (2) and 
gave it to her, and immediately on receiving it, she 



THE WICKED GIRL 327 

went and cut her Mother's throat. Then she ran to 
the Youth, and said " Now, you see I have done it; 
if we do not flee, you and I will be killed. Look at 
the blood on your knife (3), I have cut my Mother's 
throat with it." So they started off, the Youth took 
a bow and arrows, sent the Girl in front of him, and 
they escaped from the city. 

They pressed on and on towards the forest; they 
slept that night, and next morning they pushed on again 
until, when they had reached the centre of the forest, 
the Girl was seized with an internal pain, and she fell 
down and died. Then the Youth drew out one of his 
arrows and fitted it to the bow and stood and guarded 
her body. 

Soon the Beasts of the forest all assembled to eat 
her, but he would not allow them to do so, but said 
that nothing should touch her unless he should first 
be killed. Then the Eagle came, and alighted in front 
of the Youth, and said " Let us feast." But he said 
" No, no, did I not promise that I should not leave her? 
Shall I allow you to eat her body ? " The Eagle replied 
" Do not put your trust in Women, they are not 
truthful." But the Youth said " I do not agree, I 
trust this one." Then the Eagle said " Have you a 
flask? " (4). And he said " I have." The Eagle said 
"Give me it," and he took it, and flew off. But 
soon he returned with water in the flask, and said 
" Have you a knife? " And the Youth said " Yes." 
Then the Eagle said "Separate her teeth," and he 
plucked out two feathers from his wings, and stirred 
them around in the water. So the Girl's mouth was 
opened, the water was poured in, and immediately the 
Girl rose up. Then the Eagle said to the Youth " See 
these feathers, keep them, some day when you have 



328 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

gone to another city, and have obtained something to 
eat, you will repay us for our feast which we have lost 
to-day." 

So the Youth and the Girl went off again, and 
reached a city, and came to the house of an Old 
Woman, which they entered, and they remained there 
until the afternoon, they even slept there. Next 
morning they heard weeping, and they were told that 
the King's Mother had died. Then the Youth arose, 
and said " Let me go and see what can be done." So 
he started off and came to where the death had taken 
place, and when he had come, he went up to a Man 
and said " Can you obtain for me an interview with the 
King?" "The King's heart is broken," he replied 
" is anyone going to bother him now? " But another 
said " Here, do you know what his business is? Go 
and ask the King indeed." And the King when he 
had heard, said " Tell the Youth to come." So he 
was summoned, and he came, and said " If I bring your 
Mother back to life, what will you give me?" Then 
one of the Attendants said " Have you ever seen any- 
one who has died come back to life? " But the King 
said " Leave him alone, perhaps he has some magic " ; 
and he continued, addressing the Youth, " I will give 
you ten Slaves." He said " See, this house also will 
I give you, and these Horses." So the Youth said 
14 Very well, bring me water in a flask," and water was 
obtained and brought to him. Then he walked around 
to the back of the house, and stirred the Eagle's 
feathers in the water, and brought it back, and said 
" Now open the King's Mother's mouth." Imme- 
diately after the water had been poured down her throat, 
she rose up, and remained alive, so the Youth's presents 
were brought and given to him. Then he returned to 



THE WICKED GIRL 329 

his house, and remained in the town, and whenever 
anyone died, someone would come and summon him 
to give the Dead Person the charm so as to bring 
him back to life again. 

Now after a time, one of the King's Slaves made 
the Girl fall in love with him, and he said " Look here, 
Girl, since we know each other so well, will you not 
give me your Husband's charm?" And she said 
11 Very well." So when she went to bed and her 
Husband talked, she remained silent; when he asked 
her anything she did not reply. Then her Husband 
said " What is the matter with you ? " And she replied 
1 Well, we have been together for some time now, but 
you have got something which you are keeping secret 
from me; you are always hiding it." Then he said 
" Is it only that which has made you so quiet? Well, 
here it is; keep it for me." So he gave the Girl the 
Eagle's feathers. No sooner had she received them than 
she took a water-pot, and said that she was going to 
the river for water. But instead of doing so, she went 
and gave the feathers to the King's Slave, who took 
them to his house. 

Soon afterwards, another death took place in the 
King's Family, and the Youth was summoned as 
usual, so he came and said to his Wife " Where 
is the thing which I gave you to keep for me?" 
And she replied "It is here somewhere, I put it 
just here." They looked but did not find it; 
they looked again but did not find it. But the 
King's Slave went, and said to the King "If I 
make him rise up again, how much will you give 
me? " The King replied " Everything that you want 
I will give you." So he said " Very well," and he made 
the Dead Man rise up. When he had done this, the 



330 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

King's Slave asked that the Youth should be seized and 
given to him for a Slave, and the King said " Very 
well, go and seize him." So he went and caught him, 
and took his Wife for himself. The King's Slave bound 
the Youth, and put handcuffs on him, and took him to 
the forest, and made him clear the ground. 

Some time afterwards, the Eagle came to where 
he was, and said " Where is that which you promised 
me ? I told you that the Woman was not faithful, but 
you said that she was. Now let me do you another good 
turn. To-night, hold your leg-irons up to your 
thighs (5), and go into the city and find me a Cat." 
So he went and found a Cat, and he returned and hid 
the Cat until daybreak. Then the Eagle came again, 
and said " The reason why we sought you, O Cat, is 
that we want you to get us a Mouse." So the Cat said 
" Very well," and immediately she ran in where the 
Youth had been cutting wood, and caught a Mouse. 
Then the Eagle said " O Cat, and you, O Mouse, you 
know the smell of my feathers. Take the road, go into 
the city, and enter the house of the King's Slave, and if 
the Mouse sees any feathers, you, O Cat, take them, 
and bring them here." 

So they went to the city, and entered the King's 
Slave's house. The Mouse looked everywhere, in 
the pots, in the quiver (6), but did not see them, 
and he went outside to the Cat, and said " I 
cannot see them." Then the Cat said " Return, go and 
look again"; and the Cat entered and cried out 
" Miyau." Then the Sleepers said " Thank God, she 
will catch that Mouse for us which has been preventing 
our sleeping." So they went to sleep, both the King's 
Slave and his Wife. Then the Mouse came and sniffed 
at the Slave's mouth, and saw where the feathers were, 



THE WICKED GIRL 331 

so he said to the Cat " Here they are; I see them." 
"Where do you see them?" asked the Cat. The 
Mouse replied " In his mouth." Then she said " Very 
well, go and bite him," so the Mouse went and bit him, 
and he went " Poof," the feathers fell out, and the Cat 
caught them, and took them to the Youth in the forest. 
Next morning, the Eagle came again, and said " Where 
are they ? " and the Youth replied " See them." Then 
the Eagle said " Good, but let me have another 
understanding. Some day you must pay me back for 
my feast which I gave up." 

Now it happened that next day another of the King's 
Sons became ill, and died, and the King's Slave was 
sent for and told to work his magic. But he said that 
he had lost his charm. Then the King said " Summon 
the other one to come. Here is a Horse, go quickly 
and bring the one who is in the forest." He was sent 
for quickly, and was brought, and when he had come, 
the King said " See, we have summoned you. May 
God cause your power to return to you." " How 
can one who lives out in the forest obtain magic?" 
asked the Youth. But the King said " For God's 
sake, help us." Then the Youth said " Very well, but 
what will you give me? " The King replied " Every- 
thing that is in the Slave's house I will give you." 
Then the Youth prepared his charm, and raised up the 
Dead Man, and the King said " Go and seize the 
Slave." So the Youth went and caught the Slave and 
his Wife ; he undid his own handcuffs, and put them on 
the Slave, he took another pair and put them on the 
Wife, and then he took them to the place where he 
had been cutting wood, and said that they were to stack 
it all in one place. Then he sent to the Eagle telling 
him to come ; and when he had arrived, the Youth said 



332 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

" Go, assemble all your Relatives, to-morrow we shall 
meet at the clearing." 

Next morning the Eagles collected; all the Birds 
assembled, and all the Beasts of the forest also came. 
And when all had arrived, the Youth said " Now set 
fire to the pile." So they set fire to it ; the fire consumed 
all the wood, and left a great mass of embers. Then 
he said to the Slave and his Wife " Get up and fall into 
the fire." But they refused, so he told his Attendants 
to get up and drag them in, and they threw them into the 
fire. Every time that they got out, they were thrown 
in again, and at last they were cooked. Then the Youth 
told the Attendants to pull the bodies out of the fire, 
and caused them to be put out in the open. Then 
he said "Eagle!" And the Bird replied "Urn!" 
11 Now see, here is your feast," the Youth said, and 
then he mounted his Horse, and returned to the city. 

It is certainly true that Women are not to be trusted. 



This and Story 29 are very widespread tales, for 
" in the Punjaub, among the Bretons, the Albanians, 
the modern Greeks and the Russians we find a conte 
in which a young man gets possession of a magical 
ring. The ring is stolen from him, and recovered by 
the aid of certain grateful beasts, whom the young man 
has benefited. His foe keeps the ring in his mouth, 
but the grateful mouse, insinuating his tail into the 
nose of the thief, makes him sneeze, and out comes 
the magical ring!" (A. Lang, Myth, Ritual and 
Religion, ii, page 315). 



There are European stories in which a faithful 
husband defends his wife's body and succeeds in com- 
pelling her restoration to life. Afterwards she is un- 
faithful and procures his death by her lover; but he is 
restoreH to life and avenged on her. See Hapgood, 
Epic Songs of Russia, New York (1885), 217 ; Pitre, vii, 



THE HALF-BROTHERS 333 

Biblioteca, 5; Sebillot, iii, Conies Pop. de la Haute 
Bretagne (Paris, 1882), 32. In an Annamite story the 
wife is punished by being changed into a mosquito. 
Landes, Conies et Legendes Annamites (Saigon, 1886), 
207. (H.) 



63 

THE Two HALF-BROTHERS AND THE WICKED MOTHER. 

This is about two Women, both Wives of the same 
Man. After a time their Husband died, and, as it 




FIG. 78. Violin (one string) and bow. L., 26^ in. 

happened, he left them both with Child, so in due 
course the Women gave birth. Both brought forth 
Sons, and the Sons were exactly alike; they were as 
Twins neither Mother could distinguish her Son. 

After a time, when the Boys were growing up, the 
Mother of the rich Boy died (i), and the possessions 



334 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

descended to her Son. Then the other Wife wondered 
what she could do to kill the Son and get the property 
(2). 

So she went to a Magician, and when she had come, 
she said " O Magician, what shall I do to kill the 
Boy?" He replied "On your return, tell the Boy 
to go to the forest with you ; when you have gone, 
tell him to climb a tree ; and when he has climbed up, 
seize him, and gouge out his eyes; then go home." 
When she had returned, she said to the Boy " Come, 
let us go to the forest." So they went, and when they 
had gone, she said " Now, climb up." But when the 
Boy had put his feet against the tree to climb, she 
seized him, and gouged out his eyes, and returned to 
her house alone (3). 

Then the other Boy, his Half-Brother, said " Where 
is my Brother?" And she replied "Oh, Goodness! 
I have left him behind." So he was silent. Then she 
prepared the evening meal for her own Son, but he 
refused to eat, and as he refused to eat, she said 
" What is the matter with you ? " But the Boy refused 
to talk. Soon afterwards the Boy went to search for his 
Brother in the forest. And he went on, and on, calling 
as he went, until at last he came upon his Brother in a 
hole. So he pulled him out, and cried, and put mud 
on his eyes, and gave him water to drink. And it 
came to pass that God made the Boy see. 

Now they lived there in the forest, and after a 
time they built a town and became its Rulers (4). And 
when the Mother heard the news that her Sons had 
become rich, she said " Good," and she went to where 
the Boys were, and saluted them, and they responded. 
Then One, her own Son, said " What does One do to 
his Enemy?" and the Counsellors replied "She 



THE WHITE-BREASTED CROW 335 

should be killed." Then the Son took a sword, and cut 
down his Mother. 



In another story (L.T.H. ii, 31), a Girl is badly 
used, and is rescued from Hyaenas by her Step-Mother 
after her real Mother has refused to aid her. She goes 
to another city, and marries the King, but returns on 
hearing that the Step-Mother is dead. She finds that 
the news is false, and she is overjoyed and gives her 
presents, she also makes gifts to her real Parents, but 
she will not stay in their city. 



64 
THE ORIGIN OF THE WHITE-BREASTED CROW. 

A certain King was always saying to his Son that 
he was not his own Son, although the Son was exactly 
like him, and one day the King said " Let him be 
taken outside the town and killed, he is a Bastard." 
Now the Boy had for his Friend the Son of the 
Minister (i), and when the People of the city had gone 
to the forest, [he persuaded them to let the Son live, 
and] they cut off one of his hands, and showed it to the 
King, and said that they had killed him. 

Soon afterwards a Female Leper came along, and 
found the Boy lying down, and she said " Who is this 
Son of Adam?" Then she returned home, and drew 
some water, and fetched it, and when she had washed the 
stump of the hand which had been cut off, she licked 
it, and it became as before. Then she sent him in 
front (2), and they went home. He grew in knowledge 
and in strength, and, when he had become old enough 
to have a house of his own (3), she made one for him to 
live in, and he married the Daughter of the Ant. Then 



336 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

he found some Traders, and got them to go to his 
Father, and to say " See, he has married the Ant's 
Daughter. " But the Father sent to him, and said that 
it was not the Ant's Daughter, but the Daughter of 
the King of the Thicket whom he should have married. 

Then he began to cry, and cry, until the Leper came 
to him, and questioned him, and said " What has 
happened to you ? " He replied " My Father says that 
I must marry the Daughter of the King of the Thicket." 
" Is that all that has happened to make you cry? " she 
asked, and then she took some money (4) and went to 
the thicket to arrange the marriage, and she brought 
back a Wife. Then he sent to his Father, and said 
lo ! he had married the Daughter of the King of the 
Thicket also. But the Father replied "It is not the 
Daughter of the King of the Thicket whom he should 
have married, but the Daughter of the King of the 
Water." 

Then the Boy began to cry, so the Leper said " Son- 
of-the-Master-of-the-house-of-us (5), whatever troubles 
you, tell me." When he had done so, she went into the 
water and found the King of the Water, and said " I 
have come to visit you, for I hear that you had some 
Daughters, and I want one, I have a Son." Then he 
called his Daughters together, and said " Choose the 
one who seems best to you." So she chose one, and 
they went home together, and she married them. So he 
went and sent to his Father, and said that he had 
married the Daughter of the King of the Water. But 
the Father replied " It should not have been the 
Daughter of the King of the Water, but the Daughter 
of the King of the Heavens." 

Then the Boy commenced crying again, and he kept 
on crying until the Leper came, and said " What has he 



THE WHITE-BREASTED CROW, 337 

done to you? " He replied " My Father says that I 
must marry the Daughter of the King of the Heavens.'* 
"Who will take me up there?" she exclaimed. But 
the Wild-Cat said " Catch hold of my tail, and I will 
take you to the Heavens." So she ascended, and found 
the King of the Heavens, and said " I have come to 
see you, for I have a Son, and I have heard that you 
have marriageable Daughters." Then he assembled 
them, and said " Come and choose." Now they were 
quite fifty in number, and she took the eldest, the 
Heiress of the House, and the King said " Count out 
your money and take her." So they came to the 
Leper's house, and the Boy and Girl were married. 
Then the Boy sent the news to his Father, but he 
replied that it should not have been the Daughter of 
the King of the Heavens, but the Daughter of the King 
of Agaddez." 

Again he began crying, and the Leper came and 
questioned him, and then she went to the King of 
Agaddez, and said " I have a Son at home, give me 
your Daughter for him." But he said " I shall not 
give you the Girl until I have seen your Son." So she 
went out and brought the Son, and the King of 
Agaddez said " Very well, put them in a strong hut 
for a fortnight, and if during that time he does not eat 
any corn he shall be her Husband." So they entered 
the room, and the door was shut on them, and locked. 
Now every night the Boy's Mother (6) used to bring 
him food and drinking water, but the Girl did not know, 
for she used to enter softly, and rouse him, and when 
he had eaten she would take away the calabash. 

They had reached the last day of their confinement 
(7) when the Girl said " I notice the smell of corn ! " 
" Where could I get it? " he asked, " it is kola-nut." 

22 



338 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[But she did not believe him, and] when evening came, 
she said " To-night I shall lie in front, and closer to the 
door." So when the Leper entered, she roused the 
Girl, thinking that it was her Son. Then the Girl got up, 
and plunged her hand into the soup, and she flicked 
her hand against the wall she did not see the Leper 
and said to the Boy " You are eating corn." k Where 
could I get any in this town?" he asked, for he did 
not know that the Leper had roused her. She replied 
" To-morrow you shall die, you shall be killed." Then 
he said " Oh, all right, kill me, but where could I get 
any, O, Gimbia?" 

They went to sleep again, but the Leper [who had 
heard the conversation] went over to the other side 
of the hut, and roused her Son, and he ate the 
food. Then she returned to her house, and ground up 
some kola-nuts, and she took a lot of water (8), and 
brought it back, and caught hold of the Girl's hand, 
and poured kola-water on it, and she washed the Boy's 
hands. Then she went to the wall where the Girl had 
flicked the soup, and poured kola-water there also. 
When day broke the house was opened, for the Girl 
was calling out " He has eaten corn, open the door." 
But when the hut had been opened, much kola-water 
was found on the wall, and the People rejoiced. And 
when the Girl had seen it, she said that, as after all it 
was not corn but kola, he was to be her Husband. So 
he took her, and they went to their house, and he sent 
the news to his Father. 

Now when the Father heard, he remained silent, but 
he made an alliance with the Pagans, and they came 
and surrounded the city. The Son was inside the 
house when he saw that the Pagans had surrounded 
the city, so he arose, ancl found the Ant's Daughter, and 



THE WHITE-BREASTED CROW 339 

said " See, my Father has come to make war on me.' 1 
" Had you not better go to the Daughter of the King 
of the Thicket?" she asked. So he went to the 
Daughter of the King of the Thicket, and said " See, 
my Father has come to make war on me, and I do not 
know what I shall do." But she said " Will you not 
go to the Daughter of the King of the Heavens ?" 
So he went, and knelt (9), and said " What shall I 
do now, see my Father has come to make war." " Is 
it your Father who gave you being ? " she asked, and he 
replied " Yes." Then she said " Go to the Daughter 
of the King of Agaddez, will you not? " So he arose, 
and went (10). The Daughter of the King of Agaddez 
was sitting on a chair, and he said " Gimbia, may your 
life be prolonged," and he continued " See, my Father 
has come to make war on me, he has allied himself with 
the Pagans." Then she flicked the perspiration from 
her brow, and said " Let them be annihilated, the use- 
less Pagans " (n). " But not my Father and the Son 
of the Minister " he exclaimed (12). 

Immediately all the Pagans fell dead, and the Son 
went and brought his Father and his Friend into the 
city. Then he brought a tobe, a cap, and a turban, 
and he saluted his Father, and gave him them ; and 
he gave some to his Friend also, a tobe, a cap, and 
everything. Then he took his Father to the door of 
the council-chamber, and he drew his sword, and 
questioned the People, saying " If a man hates you, 
what is to be done with him?" They replied "He 
should be killeci." So he took his sword, and cut off 
the head of his Father, and the turban fell off, and rolled 
itself around the neck (13). Then it rose up in the air, 
and became a White-Breasted Crow, and called " Da ! 
da! da!" (14). 



340 HAUSA SUPERST1TIOXS 

In a similar story (F.-L. 36) a Malam supplies the 
Youth with ground-nuts, and the Girl finds one, and 
puts it in a tin in the pocket of her under-cloth, and 
wraps seven other cloths outside. During the night 
the Malam invokes the aid of a Cat which makes the 
Girl sleep soundly and a darra-stone is substituted for 
the ground-nut, so the Youth escapes. 



THE BRAVE MOTHER AND THE COWARDLY FATHER. 

A Certain Boy, the Only Son of his Mother, came 
home one day and died, and so the Father wandered 
about everywhere seeking charms to raise him up again. 
At last a certain Magician summoned him, saying 
" Come here, I have a charm,'* and the Magician said 
" Go to the market of the Filani Slaves who bring 
wood, and buy 100 bundles. " 

So the Father went, and bought 100 bundles of 
wood, and all were brought to one place, and made 
into a stack as big as a house. And People came, and 
set fire to the pile, and the fire burnt up, and died 
down, and nothing but the red-hot embers were left. 
Then the Boy's Father was told that if he took off his 
clothes, and threw himself into the fire, his Son would 
come to life again. So the Father said that he would 
throw himself into the fire, and he came up at a run ; 
but when he felt the heat, he turned, and went round 
the fire [instead of through it]. Then he said " O 
Magician, may this be tried a second time ? " And the 
Magician replied " It may be attempted twice." So 
the Father again came up at a run, but again he felt 
the heat, and went round the fire. 

Then the Boy's Mother became angry, and said 



THE BRAVE MOTHER 341 

"O Magician, may a Woman try it ?" And the Magician 
said " She may " (i). So the Mother retired a little 
way, and ran up with a rush, and when she had come 
up, she jumped, and fell into the fire head first. Imme- 
diately the fire turned into a house of gold, but the 
Boy's Father became a Jerboa. Then the Son came to 
life, and the People said to him " Your Father has been 
changed into a Jerboa," and they continued " If you 
kill him, you will live with your Mother, if you do not 
kill him your Mother will die." So the Son caught the 
Jerboa, and killed him, and lived with his Mother. 




FIG. 79. Guitar. L., 22 in. 

A variant (Harris, ] Hausa Stories, page 99) is to the 
effect that a Boy had run off to the forest with a Girl, 
but that Iblis had killed him there. The Parents fol- 
lowed, and Iblis told the Mother that she must go 
through various dangers to bring her Son to life, but 
she refused. The Girl, however, volunteered, and 
she plunged into the river of fire and swam through 
it, she plunged into the river of water and swam 
through it, she reached the rubber-tree, and entered 
the hollow in it. She seized the Snake and put it out- 
side, and then she seized the Lizard (which gives 
leprosy) and brought it to Iblis, and said " Here it is, 



342 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

O Father." The Boy came to life, and had to decide 
which Iblis would put to death, his Sweetheart or his 
Mother. 



66 
THE FIGHTING RAM. 

It happened once that some Filani left their district, 
and went off with their Cattle, but forgot a certain She- 
Goat which was with Young, and soon afterwards she 
lay down at the foot of a tree and gave birth to a 
Ram (i). The Ram wandered about and fed, and would 
go perhaps as far as Jagindi (2) for pasture, and return 
to his Mother in one day ; he would go even as far as 
Kefrl (3) for pasture, and return to his Mother in one 
day. 

Now, one day, the Spider was passing, and saw 
the She-Goat, and he went and told the King, saying 
that he had seen something worth seeing that could 
not be brought to the palace, but only to the Spider's 
house. Then the King said whatever went to the 
Spider's house was destroyed. So the Spider said to 
send him with some Men, ten Men, to go and bring 
him the Thing. 

So they went, and found the She-Goat, the 
Parent, and they tied a rope to her. Then she 
began bleating and saying " Me, me-e-e. Son of 
Zaberrima, I am being taken away (4) to be killed, 
killed by the Townspeople." Now the Ram heard from 
where he was, far away, and said " I have overcome 
the Buffalo, I have beaten the Elephant, I will gore with 
my horns." And on his arrival the Spider had not 
waited, he had only come to show where the She-Goat 



THE FIGHTING RAM 343 

was the Ram killed every one of the Men, and then 
he took his Mother, and led her back to the tree. 

Now the Spider went, and told the King that those 
Men were Weaklings, and said to send him with a 
hundred Horsemen. So off they went and seized the 
She-Goat, and started to drag her along. Then she 
began bleating, and saying " Me, me-e-e, Son of 
Zaberrima, I am being taken away to be killed, killed 
by the Townspeople, come quickly." Now the Ram 
heard from where he was, far away, and said " I have 
destroyed Men with my horns, I have gored with my 
horns, I have overcome the Buffalo, I have beaten the 
Elephant." And then he came, and killed every one of 
the Horsemen. 

Then the Spider went off again, and said to the 
King " Those men were not strong," and asked that 
he should be sent with two hundred Horsemen. So 
he was sent with them, and he went and showed them 
the She-Goat, and then he returned, and when he had 
gone they began dragging her along. Then the She- 
Goat began bleating, and saying " Me, me-e-e, Son of 
Zaberrima, I am being taken away to be killed, killed 
by the Townspeople, come quickly." Now the Ram 
heard from where he was, far away, and said " I have 
killed Horsemen, I have destroyed Men w^ith my horns, 
I have gored with my horns, I have overcome the 
Buffalo, I have beaten the Elephant." Then he came, 
and on his arrival he gored all the Men, and killed 
them. 

Once again the Spider went to the King, and it 
seemed as if all the Townspeople would be killed off (5), 
when a certain Man said " Let three Cats be bought," 
and he went and bought them himself. Then he asked 
that he should be sent with two Men, and he was sent 



344 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

with them, and he went and tied a rope to the She-Goat, 
and began dragging her off. As he dragged, she be- 
gan bleating, and saying " Me, me-e-e, Son of Zaber- 
rima, I am being taken away to be killed, killed by the 
Townspeople, come quickly." Now the Ram heard 
from where he was, far away, and said " I wear a collar 
of hair, I am the Son of Zaberrima, I have killed Horse- 
men, I have destroyed men with my horns, I have 
gored with my horns, I have overcome the Buffalo, I 
have beaten the Elephant." On his arrival the 
Draught which he made had killed all the Men 
previously the Man took a Cat, and threw it into 
the Wind, and the Wind caught it up and took it to 
the Ram, and the Ram stopped to eat it. Then again 
he came on, and again the Man took a Cat, and threw 
it into the Wind, and the Wind caught it up and took 
it to the Ram, and the Ram stopped to eat it. Then 
once more he came on, and once more the Man took a 
Cat, and threw it into the Wind, and the Wind caught 
it up and took it to the Ram, and the Ram stopped to 
eat it. And by this time the Men had dragged the 
She-Goat along, and had brought her to the King. 

When the Ram had finished eating the Cats, he 
followed the tracks of his Mother, his Mother which 
had been tied up in the King's palace. And the Ram 
on his arrival pushed down the wall, and entered the 
palace, but they shot him with arrows, and he died, 
and his Mother was killed. 

The People had meat. 



In a variant (L.T.H. 156) the Hare is the Villain, 
the Mother is a Sheep. The Ram calls himself Zanza- 
bariya and has Birds which are his servants and beat 
the Men with their wings, the wind helping. In this 



THE LUCKY FOUNDLING 345 

story some contestants are killed on both sides in the 
fights, and at last the Ram dies ; there is no mention pf 
any Cats. The Sheep is taken to the King's palace 
and mated with an old Ram, and " they are still 
having issue." 



There is a story told by the Mbamba of Angola in 
which a cannibal husband is similarly delayed by his 
fugitive wife, who flings down first millet, then sesa- 
mum and lastly eleusine. Chatelain, Folk Tales of 
Angola (Boston, 1894), 99. (H.). 



67 
THE LUCKY FOUNDLING. 

There was once a Man of Auzen (i), and ever since 
he had been born he had never had a Child, and the 
Townspeople used to mock him. So he told his Wife 
that he was going to get a Son from a certain city, and 
she said " Let us go by all means," and he said " Very 
well." Now as they were travelling along, they came 
upon a Boy lying in the road, his mouth was full of 
ants (2) and dirt, perhaps something had killed him, 
they did not know. So they lifted him up, and bathed 
him, and took the ants out of his mouth. Then the 
Man of Auzen said " Good, let us go home, what we 
were seeking we have found " (3). So they returned. 

Now when he had got home again, he said that the 
Boy was his, but his Fellow-Citizens said that the Boy 
was not his, that he had stolen him from some town; 
but he maintained that the Boy was his. Then they said 
" Very well, if he is really your Son, let us collect 
five Camels each, and give them to our Sons that they 
may take them to the forest and kill them." So the 



346 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Sons were given five Camels each, and they went and 
killed them, and returned. 

Now, after this, some said that the Boy must be his 
Son, but others still maintained that he was not, and 
they said " If he is your Son let us collect our Horses, 
and give our Sons ten each that they may go and kill 
them." Then he exclaimed " Poof, that is nothing," 
and when the others had given their Sons ten each, 
he gave his Boy twenty, and put on gorgeous capari- 
sons, and said " When you have gone, and have killed 
them, do not bother to bring back even the saddles." 
So the Boy said " Very well," and he mounted one of 
the Horses, and when the others had killed their Horses 
they brought back the saddles, but he did not bring 
even one, he left them all there. 

Now after this, more People said that the Boy was 
his Son, but others still maintained that he was not, and 
they said " If the Boy is his, let him and our Sons 
go to the far city where there is a Beautiful Maiden, 
and seek her in marriage." Now this Maiden had no 
equal in beauty anywhere, even Kings came to woo her, 
but she refused them. Well, one day, about five of the 
Boys packed their bundles, and prepared to go off to 
woo the Maid. And as the Boy was about to start, his 
Father filled one pocket with silver, and another also, 
and he poured gold into his mouth, and silver also. 
So off they went to where the Maiden lived. 

Each one tried, but wooed in vain ; the first came 
and asked her and she refused ; the next tried but she 
would not have him ; the whole five of them tried to 
persuade her, but she would not listen to them ; and 
there was only the Boy himself left. Then he came. 
Now before, the Maiden would not answer a word, but 
when he came she smiled, and when she smiled he said 



THE WICKED FATHER 347 

" Praise be to God," and he poured out the silver from 
his mouth (4). Then she said "What, all silver, have 
you no gold? " He opened another pocket and poured 
it out in front of her, and then she clasped him in her 
arms, and said that he would be her Husband. 

Then the Boy returned home, and the People said 
" Of a truth the Boy is his Son." And the Boy told 
his Father about the Maiden, so a house was built 
for him, and the Maiden was brought. Then the Father 
gave Them twenty Slaves, and Horses, and Camels, 
and the Maiden the same. 



This and the next are common, many variants 
exist, but with such slight differences that it seems 
unnecessary to give them. 






68 
THE WICKED FATHER AND THE KIND STRANGER. 

A certain Man had a Son. Now he was very 
poor, and lived on Jerboas, and whenever he heard 
that there was a Jerboa which no one could catch, 
he would go and capture it straight off. One day 
he was out catching Jerboas, as usual, with his Son, 
and they came and dug out one ; but the Jerboa jumped 
up with a " buroop " and escaped. Then the Hunter 
said " Alas for me, I who can beat anyone at catching 
Jerboas have allowed one to escape ! I am disgraced !" 
Then [mad with rage], he hit his Son with a club, and 
the Son fell down with blood pouring from his nose, 
but the Father went away and left him lying there. 

Soon afterwards, a certain Rich Man came along ; 
who had riches beyond avarice, but no Son. And he 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

came close and lifted up the wounded Boy, and washed 
him with warm water, and he adopted him as his Son. 
The Rich Man brought a Horse and gave it to him, and 
he mounted it ; he brought a tobe, and gave it to him, 
and trousers. Then he took him to his own city, and 
said to the King " See, I have been on a journey, and 
while on my travels I got a Son." The King said that 
he was lying, that it was not his Son. And he continued 
that if the Boy were his own Son let him give the 
Boy a Horse a day for ten days, and he, the King, 
would do the same with his Son, that they might race. 
And that when they had raced, they should unsheath 
their swords, and that each should kill his Horse for 
ten days running. That would mean ten Horses each. 
The Rich Man agreed, and when they had done thus, 
the King said " lie certainly is your Son." Then the 
King brought his Daughter, and said " Give her to 
him, and let them marry." The Deputy-King also 
brought his Daughter, and said " Give her to him, and 
let them marry." Then the Boy was given a turban, 
and so became a Man. 

Now it came to pass that the real Father, the one 
who had hit him with the club, heard the news of his 
Son, and so he came to him ; and he wore a Jerboa 
skin in front, and a Jerboa skin behind. When he had 
come, he blessed the house, and asked the Rich Man 
to give him back his Son. But the Rich Man said 
' I ask you to leave me in peace, and, if you will do 
so, I will give you ten Slaves, ten Horses, ten Bulls, 
and ten Mules." He said " I will give you all these, 
but the fact that your Son is your Son you must con- 
ceal, for I have lied to the King in saying that I got a 
Son when on my travels. Take these gifts, and go to 
your own town. Whenever your Son wishes to see 



THE WOMAN'S SECRET 349 

you he shall come to you, for I will not take him from 
you by force, and I will not sell him.'* But he said that 
he would not agree, he, the Father, the wearer of the 
Jerboa skins, and he went and let out the secret. 

He went with his club to where a feast was being 
held, and poked his Son, saying " Throw away that 
turban, and come and eat Jerboa." Then the Rich Man 
drew his sword, and put it into the Boy's hand, and 
said " Now to-day I am disgraced before the whole city ; 
I have said that you were really my Son, and see, your 
Father has come, and he says that he will take you 
away." And he continued " As for me, I do not value 
life now ; take the sword, and kill either me or else your 
Father." Then the boy cut down his real Father, and 
they went back into the city (i), the Rich Man and the 
Boy. 

Now, for the sake of argument, do you think the 
Boy did right or wTong? 



69 

THE WOMAN WHO COULD NOT KEEP A SECRET. 

A certain Old Woman had never had a Child, but 
one day a Boy came to her, and said that he liked her, 
and would live with her, and that she could always 
say that he was her Son. But he warned her never to 
speak his name, which was " Owner-of-the- World, " 
for from the day that she uttered it she would never 
see him again. 

Now when the other Boys of the town used to 
lount their Horses, he also used to go riding, and they 
called him ' ' Son-of-the-Old-Woman . " But another Old 
Woman went to her, and questioned her, and said 



350 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

" What is the name of your Son? " At first she re- 
plied " I will not tell you his name," but the other 
said for God's sake to tell her, so she did so, she said 
11 His name is * Owner-of-the-World.' " When the 
Son was returning he was passing at a gallop, but the 
other Old Woman called out "Hullo! Owner-of-the- 
World." Then the Boy turned back and abused his 
adopted Mother, and said that God would not bless her. 
Then he began crying, and said that his name was 
O \\ner-of-the-World, but that she would die in ashes. 
He sang 

ly name is Owner-of-the-World 

I am goin 

God may bring us together again, 

I am going, 

Good-bye until another day " (i). 
While he was singing thus [he sank into the earth 
so that] the sand in which he was standing was up to 
his Horse's knees. He continued to sing 
" My name is Owner-of-the-World, 

I am going, 

God may bring us together again, 

I am going, 

Good-bye until another day." 

And gradually the Horse was covered, and disappeared 
into the earth. The Boy still went on singing 
" My name is Owner-of-the- World, 

I am going, 

God may bring us together again, 

I am goin s . 

Good-bye until another day." 
and at last he also had disappeared. 

So the Old Woman was left alone, she had no one to 
care for her, and she died in the ashes (a). 



THE LAZY BOY 



35' 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 45), the Boy is not adopted, 
but is born in the Family, and no sooner is he born 
than he tells his Father and Mother that he must not 
be given a name nor must his head be shaved. They 
agree, and on the eighth day a Ram is killed, but the 
other ceremonies (see page 92) are omitted. After the 
departure of the Guests, he tells his Parents that his 
name is Mamayad Duniya, but that neither must men- 
tion it. He has four Wives, and becomes very rich, 
but one day the Mother tells a Friend his name, as 
in this story, and he sinks into the earth in sight of 
his Wives. They rush to save him, and disappear 
also, as do the Horse-holders. The Father kills the 
Mother and her Friend with a pestle, and then falls 
dead himself. 




FIG. 80. Long guitar with iron rattle. Total length, 53 in. 



THE BOY WHO REFUSED TO WALK. 

This story is about a Woman who had never given 
birth, and at last she said " O God, wilt Thou not give 
me even a Cripple or a Leper to bring forth? " And 
lo ! God caused here to conceive, and she brought forth 
a Son, and called him Little Crab (i). 

They lived on, and, even when the Boy had grown 
up, he refused to alight from his Mother's back and 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

walk, and at last she said to herself " Whatever shall 
I do to the Boy to make him walk? " One day she 
went to a Magician, and, when she had arrived at his 
house, she said " O Magician, will you not give me a 
charm which will make the Boy walk about on the 
ground? " And he replied " I will, but first you must 
go and buy a Goat." When she had been, and had 
bought a Goat, he said " You must go into the depths 
of the forest," and he continued "When you have 
killed the Goat, say ' Boy, get down, so that I may go 
and get some wood to cook the meat for you,' and then 
the Boy will alight " (2). So she went into the midst 
of the forest, and killed the Goat, and said " Boy, get 
down, so that I may go and get some wood to cook the 
meat for you." Then the Boy alighted, and imme- 
diately the Mother ran away. 

Soon after she had gone, the Hyasna came along, 
and exclaimed " O Boy, have you got some meat?" 
And he said " Yes," and he continued " but my meat is 
a reward for carrying me on the back." And he went 
on "If I give you this meat, and you eat it, will you 
carry me on your back?" "I will," replied the 
Hyasna; " Get up," and she ate up the meat. When 
the Hyasna had eaten the meat, she said " O Boy, get 
down, I wish to go away."* But the Boy replied " I 
refuse to do so unless you give me back the meat which 
you have eaten." Then she made as if she would bite 
him, but the Boy shifted to another spot, and she could 
not reach him, and so she had to go about carrying 
him. 

When the Boy had been on her back for about ten 
days, the Hyasna went to the Magician, and said " O 
Magician, will you not give me a charm which will 
make the Boy get down ? " And he replied " I will, you 





XXIX. YAMS. XXX. SWEETMEATS ! 

ims are somewhat rare in some parts of Northern Nigeria, but there are several varieties in others. 
The sweetmeats may consist of any mess made of honey, or of squares of dried blood. 



THE LAZY BOY 353 

must go and buy a Goat, and take it to the forest, and 
kill it, and say ' O Boy, get down, so that I may go 
and get some wood." So the Hyaena said " Very well," 
and she went to the forest, and killed the Goat. Then 
she said " O Boy, get down so that I may go and get 
some wood for you," and he alighted; and immediately 
the Hyaena ran away. But after she had gone a little 
way, she returned to the place where the meat had been 
put, and climbed a tree, and she made a long hook (3), 
and drew up some of the meat, and ate it. Then she 
descended so as to get the remainder of the meat, but 
the Boy saw her, and he pulled the Hyaena towards him, 
but she escaped from his grasp, and ran away. 

After a little while, the Spider came along, and 
when he saw the Boy and the meat, he said " O Boy, 
will you not give me your meat? " But the Boy re- 
plied " My meat is a reward for carrying me on the 
back, if you will carry me on your back, you may eat 
it." " Oh I It is a reward for carrying you on one's 
back!" exclaimed the Spider. " Indeed, carrying you 
on the back would not be difficult." Then the Boy 
said " Very well, first take me on your back, and you 
may eat it." So the Spider lifted up the Boy, and put 
him on his back, and when he had done so, he ate up 
the meat. When he had finished it all, he said " O 
Boy, get down," but the Boy refused. Then the Spider 
took the Boy to the Female-Spider's hut, and said to 
her " Bring your stick, and beat this Boy." But when 
she had brought her stick, and had come up close to 
beat the Boy, he moved to one side, and she caught the 
Spider himself instead, and when she had hit him he 
fell down and died, and the Female-Spider ran away. 

Then the Boy alighted from the Spider's body, and 
he went and threw himself into the water. Of old the 
23 



354 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Boy was a Water-Dweller, so he merely returned to his 
home. 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 22) the Hyaena has to fall 
down a well to escape the Boy staying at the mouth 
to avoid being drowned and after she has been in the 
water a month, he thinks that she must be dead, so he 
goes off. She is not, however, and she returns to her 
house, but the Boy hears of it, and gets in by a trick. 
The Hyaena dies of fright, and the Boy bursts open 
through laughing at her. 



In a Sierra Leone story (Cronise and Ward, page 
287) it is an Old Woman who gives the Spider a Sheep 
on condition that he carries her. The Spider lets her 
get on his back, and then finds that she can lengthen 
her limbs at will, and thus get such a grip that he 
cannot unseat her. However, by a trick, he manages 
to terrify her, and cause her to let go her hold, and then 
he escapes. Later on he returns to the place to find 
her dead, but the skull jumps upon his nose, and he 
has to carry it to the town, where it is removed by the 
Blacksmith. 



71 
THE WOMAN WHO BORE A CLAY POT. 

There was once a certain Woman who had no Son, 
and she prayed to God saying " Let me have a Child, 
even though it be a clay pot.'* So God caused (i) her 
to conceive, and after nine months she brought forth 
a big clay pot which she took and placed among her 
crockery. 

Now next morning, when the Mother had gone to the 
forest to look for firewood, the Son, who was in the 
pot, emerged, and also went to the forest to look for 



THE CLAY POT 355 

firewood. After a time he came upon the place where 
the Beasts of the forest had made a hedge, and he 
began cutting it. Then the Gazelle said " Hey, who 
is cutting this hedge? " for the Gazelle had been told 
off to watch the place until the other Beasts returned. 
The Boy said " Let me come in and you will see me," 
and, when he had entered it, he said " Here I am, I 
have come." "What is your name?" she asked. 
' ' The-Gif t-of-God, " he replied; and he continued 
" Will you not give me some water to drink ? " So she 
brought him some, and he drank it, and then he said 
" Bring me some to bathe my head" (2). When he 
had been given it, he said " Get up, and let us wrestle." 
So he wrestled with the Gazelle, and threw her, and he 
plucked out her mane (3) and tied her up with it. Then 
he went and cut the wood, and took it home, and re- 
entered his clay pot. 

In the late afternoon, the Beasts of the forest re- 
turned to their settlement, and when they saw what had 
happened, they said " O Gazelle, whatever have you 
been doing that you are tied up?" And she replied 
" A certain Boy came, and started cutting wood, and 
when I remonstrated we wrestled, and he bound me 
up." Then the Hyaena said " Oh, well, to-morrow 1 
shall stay here, and keep guard." 

Next morning the Boy came again and started to 
cut the wood, and the Hyaena said " W"ho are you? " 
He replied " It is I, who are you?" So the Hyaena 
said " Enter that I may see you." When the Boy had 
come into the cleared space [inside the hedge], he said 
11 Give me water to drink." When she had given 
it to him, he said " Get me some that I may bathe my 
head," and when she had brought it, he said " Get up, 
and let us wrestle." Then the Hyaena thought " That 






356 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Boy has no sense, I am big and he is tiny." So she 
sprang upon him to seize him, but he caught her, and 
threw her on the ground, and he bound her, and le*ft 
her, and went back to his clay pot. In the afternoon 
when the Beasts returned, they loosed the Hyaena, and 
said " Whatever have you been doing that you are 
bound thus? " And she replied " A certain Boy came 
and I wrestled with him, but he threw me on the 
ground, and bound me." Then the Elephant said 
" Oh ! very well, to-morrow I myself shall stay and 
keep guard." 

When the morning came the Boy arrived, and began 
cutting the trees hop, hop, kop, and the Elephant said 
" Who is that ? " He replied " It is I," and he entered 
the clearing. Then he said to the Elephant " Give me 
water to drink," and, when she had given it to him, he 
said 4< Get me some that I may bathe my head," and 
when she had brought it, he said " Get up, and let us 
wrestle." And he threw the Elephant also, and bound 
her, and then he went home. 

Now when the Beasts returned, they said " This is 
quite enough, since even the Elephant is conquered we 
must run away." So they began tying up their loads 
that afternoon in order that they might flee. But the 
Boy [who had guessed their intention], came by night 
to where they were, and got inside a jar of oil, and 
hid. When dawn came, the Beasts said " Now, let 
each take his load and escape, lest he come and catch 
us." So off they started, and they entered the depths 
of the forest, far, far away. 

After a time the Hyaena began to lag behind, and 
she said to the others " You go on, I will catch you up 
later," and then she opened the jar to steal some oil. 
But the Boy dealt her a blow, and said " Lift it up, and 



THE MOUSE AND THE CAKE 357 

go on." [She was so frightened that] she took it up 
again, and ran, and ran, until she had overtaken the 
others. [But she did not tell them, because by doing 
so she would have exposed her own evil intentions.] 

So they went on, and came to the place which they 
were going to make habitable (4), and then they said 
" O Hyaena, come here and give us some oil." But 
she said " No no," for she was afraid of the Boy. They 
said " For Goodness' sake come and give it to us," but 
she still said " No." Then the Elephant grew angry, 
and seized the jar, and opened it, and at once the Boy 
dealt her a blow, Pan, and sprang out. As he did so, 
all the Animals ran away, and left their belongings 
behind, so he returned to the town and told the People, 
and they came and seized all the loads, and took them 
to his Mother. 

After that he left the clay pot, and he never lived in 
it again. 



In a Sierra Leone story (Cunnie Rabbit, page 55) a 
Girl wrestles with all the Animals who come to get fire, 
and, aided by the Mother who chants a spell, she beats 
all but the Snail, which has made the arena all slimy 
beforehand. 

Mr. Crooke points out that the Rishi or Saint 
Agastya was produced, like a Fish, from a jar into 
which the seed of Adityas had fallen (Muir, Original 
Sanskrit Texts, part i, 1858, page 77). 



72 

THE WOMEN WHOSE OFFSPRING WERE A MOUSE AND 

A CAKE. 

There was once a certain Man who had two Wives, 
one had given birth to a Mouse, and the other to a 



358 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Cake. The Cake was kept in a cooking-pot, the Mouse 
was put in a place of his own near the door. 

Gradually they grew up, and at last they were taken 
to the gate of the town, and told to go out into the 
forest. When they had gone, the Mouse saw a lot of 
ripe chiwo (i) fruit above, and said that he would climb 
up, while the Cake collected the fruits for him on the 
ground. He also said that the Cake was to eat the 
black parts, and leave him the red, but the Cake ate 
the whole lot. .When the Mouse descended, he said " O 
Cake, where is my fruit ? " And the Cake said " I have 
eaten it." Then the Mouse said " Now I am angry," 
and he said that he would nibble off a bit of the Cake, 
and eat it. The Cake said " Poof, nibble a bit then," 
so the Mouse did so, and ate it, but he left the rest. 

Soon they started off again, and got some fire- 
wood, and the Mouse said to the Rest-of-t he-Cake 
" Let us go and get some tie-tie." So they went and 
got some, and the Mouse said " Let me come and nibble 
a bit more," and the Rest-of-the-Cake said " Nibble a 
bit then." Then the Mouse ate up the Cake, and he 
took the firewood, and heaped it together, and tied it 
up, and went and put it down by his Mother's hut. 

Now the Cake's Mother asked him where was her 
Offspring, and he said " The Cake is down by the river, 
bathing." But even when sunset came she had not seen 
the Cake, and she caught the Mouse, and pounded him 
up in the -wooden mortar, and roasted him, and put him 
into the soup. Then she took one of the Mouse's legs, 
and put it on top of the dish of the Mouse's Mother (2). 
When the latter had been and had eaten her food, she 
came and said to the Cake's Mother " Where is my Off- 
spring*? " And the Other replied " What have you just 
eaten in your soup ? " Then they rushed at each other, 
and wrestled, and got nearer and nearer to the river. 






DODO'S WIFE 359 

Now the Spider saw them, and lit his fire, and no 
sooner had they come, still fighting, than he took one 
and put her on his fire, and then he took the other and 
put her on also. When they were cooked he ate them. 



In F.-L. 21, the Dog starts on a journey with the 
Salt and the Cake. He kills the Salt by dissolving it 
in a river, but the Cake, by a trick, hands the Dog over 
to the Hyaena. 



73 

How THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL ESCAPED THE DODO. 

There was once a certain Girl, and in the whole 
city there could not be found her equal in beauty. 
Now her Parents would not allow her to go out of the 
house, for she was so pretty, and so before they went 
out they would give her acha and earth to soak (i), 
so that she would have to stay in. 

But [one day when they had gone], her Friends 
came, and said that they wanted to take her to see the 
forest, and she said " I will come.' 1 When they had 
reached the middle of the forest, they said " Here, You, 
get down the well and hand us up water" (2). Yes, 
they told this Beautiful Girl to go down the well and 
hand them up water to drink and the well was Dodo's 
well ! So she said " Very well," [for she did not know 
this, although they did], and she went down the 
well, and handed up water to all, and they drank. 
Then she said " Now, help me out," but they all ran 
away [and left her there, for they were jealous of her] . 

Now about noon, Dodo came to drink water, and 



3 6o HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

he put down the bucket, but the Girl caught hold of it. 
When Dodo felt her holding the bucket, he called down 
44 Whoever it is in the well, let go." Then the Girl 
replied " Let me get it for you." And when she had 
got it, he pulled the Girl out, and when he saw her, he 
said " Here is the water, take it, and carry it home for 
me (3), do not spill it." So she took it, and they went 
to Dodo's house. 

Then Dodo said " Which would you like me 
to do, eat you or marry you?" And she said 
" Well, I should certainly prefer marriage." So he 
married her. And whenever he went to the forest, and 
killed a Human Being for his own food, he would kill 
for her some Wild Animal. He used to ambush People 
on the road, and kill them, and take their goods to her. 

Now this went on until the Girl conceived, and she 
bore a Child half-Dodo, half-Man. Yes, she gave birth 
to this ! And one day, Dodo, before going off to the 
forest, tied a bell to his Son's neck (4). When he had 
done this and had gone, the Girl mixed up some flour 
and water, and she squeezed it tight into the bell so 
that it would not sound (5), and she gathered up her be- 
longings and ran away, and at last she reached her own 
home. Then she killed her Son, and when she had done 
this, she destroyed the belongings [which Dodo had 
given to her] (6). 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 82) the Girl is pushed into 
the well, and Dodo, who lives at the bottom, seizes her. 
She is rescued by her Brother, who plants a gourd to 
show him the way, and on Being chased by Dodo, she 
throws their Child into the river, and Dodo dives in 
after it, allowing her to escape. 



THE PRECOCIOUS NEW-BABY 361 

74 

THE PRECOCIOUS NEW-BABY SETTLES His FATHER'S 
DEBTS. 

A certain Man went away to borrow some money. 
Now his Wife was with Child, and after three days the 
Woman gave birth, and when she had been delivered, 
the Son was taken, and laid upon a bed(i). Just then 
he from whom the Father had obtained a loan came to 
ask for repayment, and though he saluted the house 




FIG. 81. 




FIG. 82. 



FIG. 83. 



FIG. 81. Syrinx. L., 17^ in. FIG. 82. Flute general use. 
L., about 12 in. FIG. 83. Clarionet. L., 17. in. 

he received no reply at first, for Ho one was at home. 
But the Little Boy who had just been born answered 
at last, and said " Let us go, for my Father is not here. 
Let us go to the court. I can recover a loan from 
another, and I will then pay you." So the Creditor 
took the Baby on his shoulder, and said " Very well, 
we will go to the Owners-of-the-Mighty-Mouths (2) that 



;,f>2 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

they may do us justice." Now the Baby, when he had 
come to where the mouths of the dye-pits were, stopped 
(3), and the Creditor said " Get up, and let us go on." 
But the Baby replied " You said that we should go to 
those whose mouths are mighty : are there any mouths 
which are greater than these? " 

Then the Creditor said " Very well, let us proceed, 
and go to Those-Who-have-Red-Eyes " (4). When the 
Baby came to the pepper tree he stopped, and the 
Creditor said " Get up, and let us go on." But the Baby 
replied " Oh, no, you said that we should go to the Red- 
Eyed-Ones : are there any eyes that are more red than 
peppers? " 

The Creditor said to the Baby " Get up again, and 
let us go to Those-Who-have-Large-Ears." Now when 
they had come to the givaza plant (5) the Baby stopped, 
and the Creditor said " Get up, and let us go on." 
But the Baby said " Oh, no, are there any ears which 
are larger than the gwaza?" 

Then the Creditor said " Let us go to the Elders 
that they may decide between us." So they came to 
the King, and the King said " Had I someone to shave 
me I should decide between you." So the Baby said 
" Bring water and I will do it for you," and water was 
brought. Now the Baby had five millet-heads, and he 
said " See this millet, pull the grain off for me." 

When the Baby had taken the razor, he shaved the 
King, and then the King said " Baby," and the Baby 
replied "Yes." Then the King said " Put back the 
hair on to my head that I may judge between you." 
" Very well," the Baby replied, " but first put back the 
millet for me w r hich you have plucked off, and then I 
will put back your hair on to your head." Then the 
King exclaimed " Heavens! What a Baby! I cannot 



DODO'S DEBT 363 

judge him ! Here, Creditor, take him back to his 
Father's house, and do not ask him again for your 
debt." So the Creditor said " Very well, Baby, let us 
return home, I cannot go to law with you." 

So they returned, and the Creditor said to the 
Father " I will leave you in peace with your gains for 
your Son's sake." 






75 
DODO'S DEBT. 

Two women went to a stream to draw water, one 
being with Child. When they had drawn the water, 
the One-with-Child went into the bush, and the other 
threw dust into her pot (i). Then she took her own 
pot on her head and went off home, so when the other 
returned there was no one to help her (2). 

Just then, Dodo came out of the water, and the 
Woman-with-Child said " There is no one here, you 
must help me to get the load on to my head." So 
Dodo came and helped her, and said to her " You are 
with Child, if it be a Boy he shall be my Friend, if a 
Girl she shall be my Wife," and the Woman agreed. 

So she went home, and, about three days afterwards, 
she gave birth. Then her Rival Wife went to Dodo, 
and said " That Woman whom you helped has given 
birth." " What sex is the Child ? " he asked. She re- 
plied " It is a Girl." " O, very good," he said. 

Now the Girl grew up, and one day a marriage was 
arranged, for the Mother had never told Dodo. But on 
the day of the wedding, the Rival Wife ran to Dodo, 
and said " The Girl is to be taken to her Bridegroom's 
house to-day " (3). 






3(>4 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Then Dodo set off on the road, and came to the 
wedding ; there was a great crowd there, and when he 
had come, he called out "See Kadindi has come." 
Then the Girl, who was sitting there, said " O Father, 
O Mother," and they replied "Urn." "See, Dodo 
has come to demand payment of the debt," she con- 
tinued. " Whose is this Horse? " asked the Father, 
and she replied " It is mine." Then he said " Seize it, 
and give it to Dodo in satisfaction of the debt." So 
she seized it, and gave it to Dodo, who took it, and 
swallowed it. 

But again he said " See Kadindi has come to demand 
payment of the debt." Then the Girl said " Do you 
hear that, O Father? Do you hear that, O Mother? " 
Her Father said "Are not these Cattle yours? Give 
them to him to eat." So she gave him them, and he 
swallowed them. 

But again he said " See Kadindi has come." So 
the Father said " Seize all your Guests," and she did 
so, and gave them to Dodo [and he swallowed them]. 
Again he said that he had come to demand payment 
of the debt, and her Father said " Give him these 
pots of food." She did so, but they were not 
enough, so she seized her Father and gave him to Dodo, 
but Dodo only said " See Kadindi has come." Then 
she cried out " O God, dost Thou hear ? Dodo has come 
to demand payment of the debt." And lo ! a knife was 
thrown down to her from above, so she gave it to Dodo. 
But when he had put it in his mouth to swallow it, the 
knife ripped him open, from his mouth right down to 
his stomach, and Dodo fell dead. 

Then the People came out, and also the Cattle, the 
Horses, the Guests, and the Father, all re-appeared. 
So the Bride was veiled and taken to her Husband. 



THE EAGLE SAVES THE MAN 365 

In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 47) the Rival Wife hides 
and watches Dodo help the other. She tells Dodo of 
the birth of a Son, and he comes to congratulate the 
Mother. She hears in time, substitutes a Lizard, and 
shows it to him, and he swallows it. Later on, the 
Rival tells Dodo of the trick, and he waits for the Boy 
and catches him, but on being swallowed for the fourth 
time, the Boy emerges from Dodo's heart, and the 
Monster dies. The Boy then brings some of the flesh 
to the Rival Wife, telling her that it is venison, and she 
eats it, and is seized with such a thirst that she drinks 
the river dry, and it is only when the Boy pierces her 
with his spear that the water runs as before. 



The incident of Men and Animals delivered from 
the stomach of a Monster by which they had been 
swallowed is very common in folk-tales. In Africa it is 
widely distributed. It is found among the Berbers in 
the north (Basset, Nouveaux Conies Berberes, 96, 106) 
and the Bushmen in the south (Bleck, 2nd Rep. con- 
cerning Bush Researches, 8; Lloyd, Account of 
Bushman Material, 6) and among many intermediate 
tribes. Compare the story of Jonah and that of the 
rescue of Hesione by Herakles (H.). Perhaps the 
idea of Christ rescuing the souls from Hell is somewhat 
similar, for in the ancient print before referred to (in 
connection with spots, on page 162), the souls are 
coming out of Hell's mouth, which is like that of a 
monster, and, in fact, that is the usual mediaeval idea. 



How THE EAGLE OUTWITTED THE TOWNSPEOPLE. 

There was a certain Man amongst the King's 
Followers who had seven Bulls (i), and he came to 
the People, and said " See my Bulls, he who buys them 
[need not pay any money, but] the day that the King's 
Mother dies they must be buried together, both the 



3 66 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Mother and the Purchaser who eats my Bulls." And a 
certain Man agreed, saying " Give me the Bulls, on the 
day that the King's Mother dies let me also be taken 
away." 

Well, he accepted the Bulls, and next morning he 
slaughtered one, and, taking a piece of the meat he 
climbed a tree, and crawled along, and placed it so that 
the young Eaglets might eat it. [But when he tried to 
sell the remainder in the market], the People refused to 
buy it, for they said "It is the meat of Death," and 
they would not eat it. So he ate the first Bull himself, 
and when it was finished he slaughtered another one, 
and chose a piece and took it to the young Eaglets in 
the tree. But the Mother-Eagle, when she had returned, 
said " He who is bringing this meat evidently wants to 
kill my Young Ones." [So she decided to watch, for 
she feared some trick] (2). 

Well, when the Man had slaughtered another Bull, 
he again brought a piece of meat to the Eaglets, but 
this time the Mother-Eagle [was waiting, and] said 
" Look here, what are you bringing this meat here for ?" 
He replied " I bought seven Bulls, the condition being 
that when the King's Mother dies we shall be buried 
together. Now I have no one to help me eat them, that 
is why I am helping you to look after your Young." 
Then she said " I see, well go home now, on the day 
that the King's Mother dies you come and tell me." 
So he went home, [and at last he had slaughtered all 
the Bulls] (3). 

The very next morning the King's Mother died, 
and immediately he went to the Mother-Eagle, and 
said "She is dead." And .the Eagle replied "Oh! 
well, go back, when they have finished digging 
the grave, and are about to bury the King's Mother, 



THE SPIDER'S DEBT 367 

and they have summoned you, say ' Let me have a 
moment more, I am really coming.' Then take some 
water in a gourd, and bathe your eyes and your feet, 
and stand up facing the East, and call on God three 
times, and you will see that God will help you. You 
must say ' O God, I am to die, but not because Thou 
wishest it, [but because the People are going to kill 
me].'" 

The grave was dug, and they summoned the Man. 
Then he arose, and prayed, saying " God, he is God," 
and he again cried out " God, he is God," and again a 
third time. Then the Eagle replied " O " from up in 
the sky. " O God," the Man said " I am to die, but not 
because Thou wishest it, [but because the People are 
going to kill me]." Then the Eagle said " If you die. 
neither beer, nor water, nor anything else shall they 
obtain to drink." And when the People heard this, they 
exclaimed "It is God Who has spoken." And then 
they said to the Man " Go, shall the whole city perish 
because of one Man ? You are free." 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 28) an Old Woman sells her 
Bull to the Chief Butcher on the condition that he will 
be killed at the feast of Salla. He feeds Birds on the 
meat, and the Eagle helps him in a way similar to the 
above, and the Old Woman is thrown into the ready- 
made grave instead. For other variants see F.-L. 4 
and 5. 



77 

THE SPIDER PASSES ON A DEBT. 

There was once a certain Woman who had a 
Daughter, and, when she was going to give her in 



11AUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

marriage, the Daughter said that she had no basins, and 
no plates (i), [and that she would not be married with- 
out them]. So the Mother, who had a Bull, took it to 
the Slaughter-men and asked them to buy it, ten basins 
and ten plates was the price. But they said that they 
could not give that for it. 

Now the Spider heard, and he came up, and said 
that he would buy the Bull, and that when the marriage 
was about to be performed he would bring ten plates 
and ten basins. So the Woman handed over the Bull 
to the Spider, and he took it home, and killed it. 

When he had cooked it, he poured the broth into a 
pot, and took it, and placed it in the road, and he 
climbed a tree above, and hid there. Now the Goat 
[was passing, and he] was very thirsty, so he came up, 
and put his nose into the pot, and immediately the pot 
caught hold of his nose. Then the Spider slid down 
and said " Good." And he continued : 
"The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 
For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 
The payment is upon you now, O, He-Goat." 

And the He-Goat replied " Very well, I agree." 

So he went to the river to drink water, and there a 
Crab seized his nose, and then he said 
"The He-Goat is the Drinker of the Spider's broth; 
The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 
For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 
The payment is upon you, O Crab." 

And the Crab replied " Very well, I agree. 

Now when the Daughter came to the stream, she 
trod upon the Crab, and the Crab said : 
"The Daughter has stepped on the [poor little] Crab (2) ; 
The Crab is the Catcher of the He-Goat's beard; 
The He-Goat is the Drinker of the Spider's broth; 




XXXI." DAINTIES." XXXII. MILK. 

The dainties may consist of dried fish, European tinned provisions, condiments, or any kind 
of vegetables, raw or prepared. 
The milk trade is in the hands of the Filani, and sour milk is much preferred to fresh. 



THE SPIDER'S DEBT 369 

The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 

For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 

The payment is upon you, O Daughter/' 

And the Daughter said " Very well, I agree." 
So the Daughter took the water which she had come 

to get, and was going home, when the Slipperiness 

caused her to fall, and she spilt the water. Then she 

said 

"Slipperiness made the Daughter fall; 

The Daughter is the Stepper on the [poor little] Crab ; 

The Crab is the Catcher of the He-Goat's beard; 

The He-Goat is the Drinker of the Spider's broth; 



FIG. 84. 



FIG. 85. 
FIGS. 84 and 85. Brass trumpets. L., 50! in. and 62| in. 

The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 

For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 

The payment is upon you, O Slipperiness." 

And the Slipperiness said " Very well, I agree." 
Now the Slipperiness stayed on the ground, and soon 

afterwards a White-Ant came, and made a passage (3) 

across the wet place. Then the Slipperiness sang 
1 The White-Ant has built on the Slipperiness ; 

The Slipperiness made the Daughter fall ; 

The Daughter is the Stepper on the [poor little] Crab ; 

The Crab is the Catcher of the He-Goat's beard; 

The He-Goat is the Drinker of the Spider's broth ; 

The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 
24 



370 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 

The payment is upon you, O White-Ant." 

And the White-Ant said " Very well, I agree." 
After a little while a certain Bird came and built [a 

nest] upon the White-Ant's hill (4), and then the White- 
Ant said 

11 The Bird has alighted on the White-Ant's hill; 

The White-Ant built on the Slipperiness ; 

The Slipperiness made the Daughter fall ; 

The Daughter is the Stepper on the [poor little] Crab ; 

The Crab is the Catcher of the He-Goat's beard; 

The He-Goat is the Drinker of the Spider's broth; 

The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 

For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 

The payment is upon you, O Bird." 

And the Bird said " Very well, I agree." 

Now the Bird stayed there, and one day a Boy who 

was shooting came along, and when he saw the Bird 

sitting on the Ant-hill he shot it. Then the Bird said 

"The Boy is the Shooter of the [poor little] Bird; 

The Bird alighted on the White-Ant's hill ; 

The White-Ant built on the Slipperiness; 

The Slipperiness made the Daughter fall ; 

The Daughter is the Stepper on the [poor little] Crab ; 

The Crab is the Catcher of the He-Goat's beard; 

The He-Goat is the Drinker of the Spider's broth ; 

The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 

For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 

The payment is upon you, O Boy." 

And the Boy said " Very well, I agree." 

So the Boy went home, and just as he had opened 

his mouth to tell his Mother about it, she covered him 

with blows. Then the Boy said 

"The Mother is the Beater of the [poor little] Boy; 



THE SPIDER'S DEBT 371 

The Boy is the Shooter of the [poor little] Bird; 

The Bird alighted on the White-Ant's hill ; 

The White-Ant built on the Slipperiness ; 

The Slipperiness made the Daughter fall ; 

The Daughter is the Stepper on the [poor little] Crab ; 

The Crab is the Catcher of the He-Goat's beard; 

The He-Goat is the Drinker of the Spider T s broth ; 

The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 

For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 

The payment is upon you, O Mother." 

And the Mother said " Very well, I agree." 
Now it happened soon afterwards that a certain 

Blacksmith burned one of the Mother's cloths, and then 

she said 

11 The Blacksmith is the Burner of the Mother's cloth; 

The Mother is the Beater of the [poor little] Boy; 

The Boy is the Shooter of the [poor little] Bird; 

The Bird alighted on the White-Ant's hill ; 

The White-Ant built on the Slipperiness; 

The Slipperiness made the Daughter fall ; 

The Daughter is the Stepper on the [poor little] Crab; 

The Crab is the Catcher of the He-Goat's beard; 

The He-Goat is the Drinker of the Spider's broth ; 

The Spider is the Buyer of the Old Woman's Bull 

For ten large basins and ten large plates ; 

The payment is upon you, O Blacksmith." 

Then the Blacksmith said " Very well, I agree." 
Immediately all the Blacksmiths started work, and 
ten basins and ten plates, and took them to the 
oman. The Woman took them, and gave them to 

the Boy. The Boy took them, and gave them to the 

Bird. The Bird took them, and gave them to the White- 
Ant. The White-Ant took them and gave them to the 

Slipperiness. The Slipperiness took them, and gave 







372 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

them to the Daughter. The Daughter took them, and 
gave them to the Crab. The Crab took them, and gave 
them to the He-Goat. The He-Goat took them, and 
gave them to the Spider. And the Spider took them, 
and gave them to the Old Woman. 

That is an example of the Spider's cunning. He 
himself ate the flesh of the Bull, but he made others 
make the payment for him, he gave nothing in return 
for what he had got. 



In a variant the Spider owes an Old Woman money 
as before. He climbs a shea-butter tree but falls down, 
so the tree has to take over the debt, and it then passes 
on to the Girl who picks the nuts, a root which trips 
her, a Goat which eats the leaves, a Slave who beats the 
Goat, the King's Wife who beats the Slave, and then 
to the King who quarrels with her. But in this case, 
the debt does not return to the Old Woman, for the 
King pays it. 



This story has some resemblance to " The House 
that Jack built," and others of our nursery tales, but it 
is quite possible that at one time it belonged to the kind 
known as " All-around-the-Clock," i.e., that the debt 
having been brought back to the Mother, the story 
would have ended, and she would have lost her Bull and 
still have had to provide the basins and plates. Thus 
in a Malayan tale (Skeat, op. cit., page 9) where 
the Chevrotain has danced and has stepped on 
the Otter's children, he excuses himself to King- 
Solomon by saying that the Woodpecker had 
sounded the war-gong, and that he, being Chief 
Dancer in the war-dance could not keep quiet, and 
that he had not noticed where he was stepping. 
The Woodpecker said he had sounded his gong 
(tapped the tree) because he had seen the Great Lizard 
wearing his sword (his long tail) ; this was because the 
Tortoise had donned his coat of mail ; this was because 
the King-Crab had been trailing his three-edged pike 



THE SPIDER PAYS HIS DEBTS 373 

(a spike at the end of his tail); this was because the 
Crayfish had shouldered his lance (antennae) ; and this 
was because the Crayfish had seen the Otter coming 
down to devour the Young Crayfish. So the Otter 
had no redress. 



78 

THE SPIDER PAYS HIS DEBTS. 

The Spider had contracted a number of debts, he 
had borrowed from every Beast of the forest, and he 
took counsel with himself as to what he should do, for 
he had no money with which to pay. So he gave out 
that, on the Friday, all the Creditors should come and 
receive payment. 

When Friday had come, [while it was still] early in 
the morning, the Hen arrived to collect her debt. And, 
when she had come, the Spider said " Good, I will 
pay you at once, but wait a minute or two while I pre- 
pare you some food." So the Hen was waiting inside 
the hut, and soon the Wild-Cat came. Then the Spider 
said "Good, the repayment (i) is in the hut, go and 
take it." So the Wild-Cat went and entered the hut, 
and seized the Hen, and twisted her neck. 

Just as he was about to go off, the Dog arrived, and 
the Spider said " Good, the re-payment is in the hut, 
go and take it." So the Dog went and seized the Wild- 
Cat, and bit him, and killed him. Just as he was about 
to go, the Hyaena arrived, and the Spider said " Good, 
the re-payment is in the hut, go and take it." So the 
Hyaena ran and seized the Dog, and ate him up. Just 
as she was about to leave, lo ! the Leopard appeared, 
and the Spider said " Good, the re-payment is in the 
hut, go and take it." So the Leopard sprang upon the 



374 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Hyaena, and killed her. Just as she was about to leave 
who should arrive but the Lion, and he came upon the 
Leopard. 

So they began to fight, and while they were fighting, 
and fighting, the Spider took some pepper, and poured 
it into their eyes. When he had done this, he took up 
a big stick, and began to beat them, and he beat them 
until they were dead, both of them. Then the Spider 
collected the meat in his house, and said that he had 
extinguished his debts. 



For an English parallel, see " The Crocodiles' 
Dinner Party." 



79 
THE YOUNGEST SON AND THE WISE EWE. 

A certain Man was very rich, and amongst his 
possessions was one old Ewe. He had three Sons also, 
two he loved, the third he did not love. Now he was 
about to die, so he summoned his Eldest Son to the 
door of his hut, and said " When I am dead, say that 
you do not want any of my possessions except the old 
Ewe." But the Son replied " What, there are great 
riches here, what should I do with the old Ewe ?" Then 
the Father said " Very well," and he summoned the 
Second, and said " When I am dead, say that you do 
not want any of my riches, but simply take this old 
Ewe." But he answered '* I see that you are very 
rich, why should I be content with the old Ewe?" 
So the Father said " Very well," and he sum- 
moned his Youngest Son, Auta, whom he did not 
love, and said to him " Now, listen, when I am 



THE WISE EWE 375 

dead, say that you do not want any of my pos- 
sessions except this old Ewe." And Auta replied 
" Father, even now when you are alive, riches 
are of no account to me, they will matter even less when 
you are no more," and he continued "The Ewe will 
be enough for me." So the Father said " Good, and 
remember that of whatever you have to eat, give some 
to the Ewe first, then you may eat of it also." And 
Auta replied " I will remember." 

Now when the Father had ceased speaking, and had 
re-entered his hut, he died, and there was wailing, and 
wailing, and wailing. Then Auta took the Ewe, and 
left the house, and the People said " Opp, there is one 
who made a foolish promise, there are great riches, yet 
he has given up his claims to them, and has taken only 
the old Ewe." 

So Auta travelled on, and on, and on with the Ewe, 
and when he got water he gave her to drink before he 
himself drank. At last they came to the hut of a 
Weaver who was very poor, for he had nothing to 
eat. When Auta had saluted the house, the Weaver said 
" O Stranger, do you wish to rest here? " And Auta 
said " Yes." " Very well," said the other, " but I have 
no food for myself, much less any to give you." Now 
the Weaver had a Wife whom he loved, the House- 
Mother (i), and she had a Daughter. There was also 
a Second Wife whom he did not love, and she also 
had a Daughter. And the Weaver said to his Beloved 
Wife " O House-Mother, draw some water for the 
Stranger to drink." But she replied " Poof, I have no 
water in my hut, I have nothing to give the Stranger." 
Then the Weaver said to his Unbeloved Wife " Hey, 
you, draw some water for the Stranger to drink." The 
Unbeloved Wife had a little guinea-corn in her binn, 



376 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

about a handful, and she ground it, and put it into the 
water, and took it to Auta. He gave it to the Ewe first, 
and they said " What ! drink it yourself indeed (2), the 
Ewe will get her food separately." But Auta said 
11 No, no, this will do for both of us." So he gave it 
first to the Ewe, and she drank some of it, and then he 
drank also. 

In the evening, when the sun had set, the House- 
Mother said " Good gracious, is this Stranger going to 
sleep here ? " And the Husband said " Yes," and then 
continued " Have you any more guinea-corn with which 
to make gruel for him?" And she replied "I? 
All the corn I have left is one handful, and I 
am going to make gruel for my Daughter, I shall not 
give it to the Stranger." Then he said to his Unbeloved 
Wife " Is there a little guinea-corn in your hut enough 
to make gruel for the Stranger? " And she said " All 
I have is one handful, but I will make gruel, and give 
it to him." So she made gruel of the handful of corn, 
and gave it to the Stranger, and when he had taken it, 
he gave it to the Ewe to drink first, and then he drank 
also. And they rested until daybreak. 

Now, that day the Ewe was going to talk to Auta, 
so she said " Arise and let us go, accompany me as far 
as the edge of the forest." So they started off, and 
the Host asked "Are you going to leave us?" But 
they replied " Oh no, we are going only to the edge 
of the forest, and will return." Now when they had 
reached the edge of the forest, the Ewe said " Stay 
here." But she went to and fro in the grass, and then 
returned to the Boy, and said " Go, wherever you see 
that I have been, you follow." When he went, he came 
upon about two hundred Horses, with their saddles and 
bridles, and royal caparisons, and he returned to the 



THE WISE EWE 377 

Ewe, and said " I have seen about two hundred Horses, 
with their saddles, and bridles, and royal caparisons." 
Then she said " Good, stay here/' and again she went 
to and fro in the grass, and returned to the Boy, and 
said " Go, wherever you see that I have been, you 
follow." When he went he saw about two hundred 
Grooms, each one with a rug upon his arm, and when 
he had returned, and had told her, she said " Good, 
go, let each Groom hold a Horse." And when they 
had done this, she said " Now, let us return to the 
house at which we lodged." 

When they arrived, the Weaver stared at the Horses 
surrounding his house, and said " Certainly that 
Stranger has not gone for good, his Horsemen have 
come." And, as he stared, he saw the Ewe in front, 
and she said " Yes, it is we, we have not left you." 
And then she continued " Take all these Horses (3) to 
the Unbeloved Wife." 

When the Horses had been handed over, the Ewe 
said " Come, let us return to the edge of the forest," 
and, when they had reached it, she stopped, and said to 
Auta " Look in front." Then he looked, and saw 
Slaves and Concubines to the number of about three 
hundred, each carrying a sheaf of corn. Then again 
she said " Now let us return to the house at which we 
lodged," and she continued " Let all these Slaves, and 
Concubines, and sheaves of corn be. taken to the house 
of the Unbeloved Wife." 

Now when they had been handed over, the House- 
Wife said that Auta should marry her Daughter, but 
the Ewe said no, no, that Auta was to marry the 
Daughter of the Unbeloved Wife. So thus it was, she 
was given to him, and they were married, and her 
Father, the Weaver, and her Mother who was un- 
beloved, both had a share in the riches. 



378 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Well, they had been living there for some time 
the Ewe had had a house built for her and Auta used 
to mount a Horse covered with trappings, and his 
Slaves used to follow him. But one day he said to 
the Ewe that he wanted a Second Wife, and she replied 
" Very well, but if you must marry, do not take a Bad 
Woman,'* and he said " I will not." But one day he 
had mounted a Horse, and was going for a ride, when 
he saw a certain Bad Woman, so beautiful that there 
was no one like her. Then he came and told the Ewe 
that he had found a Woman to marry, and the Ewe 
replied " Oh, very well, I have nothing more to say," 
she did not remind him [of her warning]. So he 
married her, the Bad Woman, and brought her to his 
house. 

He lived there with the Bad Woman, and one day 
he mounted his Horse to go for a ride, and when he 
went, he left the Bad Woman at home with some of his 
Runners (4). Then the Bad Woman said "Oh dear, 
we have no meat to eat to-day, we must kill this old 
Ewe." But one of the Runners said " No, no, the Ewe 
was here before I came [and is not meant to be 
killed] " (5). Then she said " If you do not kill that 
Ewe I will have you sold." So he said " Very well," 
and he seized the Ewe, and cut its throat. 

Now the Ewe was being skinned when the Boy 
returned from his ride, and he asked " Where did you 
get that meat? " (6). Silence ! ! Then he said " Ah I 
I have asked you a question, are you not going to tell 
me?" Then the Bad Woman said " Oh, it was I, 
I had no meat, so I had the Ewe killed." Then he 
said " I see," and he collected all the flesh, and wrapped 
it in the fleece, and tied it up. Then he addressed him- 
self to his first Wife, the [one whom he had taken as a] 



THE WISE EWE 



379 



Virgin, the Daughter of the Unbeloved Wife, and said 
11 Give me a pair of white trousers, a white tobe, a white 
turban, and a knife.*' So he put on his white trousers, 
his white tobe, and his white turban (7), and he took the 





FIG. 86. 




FIG. 87. 

FIG. 86. Iron rattle, tied to ankle when dancing. L. of body, 8 in. 
FIG. 87. Drum. The usual form is not so irregular as this. May be more 
than 12 in. in diameter. 



Ewe's flesh, and went off to the forest. There he 
cleared a space, and placed the flesh of the Ewe in 
front of him, and he took the knife and said " Since the 
Ewe has died through my fault (8), I will stab myself, 



3 8o HAUSA SUPERSTIT10.\S 

and die also." Now as he took the knife to stab him- 
self, the Flesh said "Stop," but, as he saw that the 
Flesh did not arise, he said '* No, no, I shall not stop, 
I will stab myself," and again he took the knife to stab 
himself. Then the Ewe arose, alive, and said " Verily, 
I told you not to marry a Bad Woman." 

Then he said to the Ewe " It is so, let us go home," 
and when he arrived he drove away the Bad Woman 
(9), and said " One Wife is enough for me." 



Another version of the death of the Father, and the 
Youngest Son's promise, is found in T.H.H. 6, where 
Salifu takes the Old Mare, and the Mare brings him 
wealth, though in a different way. 



Another Ewe story makes the Animal give the Boy 
everything he wants on condition that he will give her 
and her family water daily. The condition is kept for 
a while, but one day the Boy refuses to get water, and 
his riches are taken away from him again. This is a 
variant of the Dove story, F.-L. 39. 



The father who leaves apparently worthless objects, 
which turn out to be magical, to his children is found 
in Sicilian tales. Vide Gouzurbach ; Siciliansche 
Mdrchen (Leipzig, 1870), 192; Pitre, iv, Biblioteca, 252. 
Compare a Balearic tale, Archduke Ludwig Salvator, 
Mdrchenans Mallorea (Urirzburg, 1896), 50. (H.) 



80 
THE LUCKY YOUNGEST SON. 



There was once a certain lucky Person, Ahmadu the 
Rich Man, who had three Children, and three Wives, 
each one having exactly one Son. At last he fell ill, 



THE LUCKY YOUNGEST SON 381 

and knew that he was about to die, so he summoned 
his Eldest Son, and said " When I am dead, of all my 
riches do not take anything except my stick and my 
boot." But the Eldest Son replied " Father, is that 
the kind of Man you are? Of all your goods I am 
not to take anything except the stick and boot ? Well, 
I shall not take only the stick and boot." Then the 
Father said " Very well, go and stay with your Mother." 
So he summoned the second of them, and said " Listen, 
Mohamma, when I am dead, do not take anything 
except the prayer-jug " (i). But Mohamma replied " Is 
that the sort my Father is ? I shall not take the prayer- 
jug." Then Ahmadu summoned Auta also, and said 
" When I am dead, do not take anything except the 
stick and boot." And Auta replied " Father, I love 
you better than anything," and he continued "what- 
ever you tell me to take, I will take only it." So 
Ahmadu said " Very well, take only the boot and the 
stick." 

Now when Auta had taken them, and had left the 
hut, his Father died, and the Women of the house 
mourned. When they had ceased, they applied to the 
King for the division of the heritage, and when it had 
been divided up, the Eldest Son was given his share, 
and the Second was given his, but when Auta was given 
some of the property, he refused it, and said that the 
boot and stick would content him. Then his Mother 
came up, and began to abuse Auta, but when she had 
finished abusing him, he still said that he would not 
take anything, and when he had got tired of being 
abused he went off into the forest. 

When he had reached the main road, he met with a 
certain Person who had collected some wood, and had 
lit it, and he said " O Youth, where are you going? " 



382 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

" What has that to do with you ? " asked Auta, and he 
passed on. Soon he came upon a Hunter, who said 
11 O Youth, will you not give me your stick?" And 
Auta took the stick, and gave it to him. Then the 
Hunter saw a Bird in a tree, and he threw up the 
stick at it, and the stick stuck in the branches. So he 
took the Bird, and gave it to the Boy. 

Then Auta went on, and came upon a certain Person 
who had lit a fire, but had nothing to cook, and he said 
" O Youth, will you not give me the Bird that I may 
cook it? " When Auta had given it to him, he cooked 
and ate it, and then he took some ashes, [and gave 
them to Auta], and Auta wrapped them in his coat. 

So he went on, and came upon a certain Woman, 
who was making porridge, but had no ash to put in 
it (2). So she said " O Youth, will you not give me the 
ash ? " And he gave it to her. Then she took a broken 
piece of calabash [with some food in it] and gave it to 
the Boy, and he went on. 

Next he came upon some People digging on a 
farm, and they said " O Youth, will you not give us 
your porridge that we may eat ? " And he took it, and 
gave it to them, and they ate it, and then they took a 
hoe and gave it to him. 

So he went on, and came upon a Blacksmith who 
had made a great fire with his bellows, but had no iron 
for forging. So he said " O Youth, will you not give 
me the hoe that I may make knives with it ? " (3). And 
Auta took it, and gave it to him, and the Blacksmith 
made knives with it, and when he had made them, he 
gave Auta one. 

When the Boy had taken it, he started travelling 
on again in the forest, and he went on, and came upon 
a Weaver, who had made a white cloth. Then the 



THE LUCKY YOUNGEST SON 383 

Weaver said " O Youth, will you not give me your 
knife that I may cut this white cloth?' 1 (4) When 
Auta had given it to him, he cut the white cloth, and 
then Auta said " Right, now pay me for my knife." 
So the Weaver took all the white cloth and gave it to 
the Boy. 

Auta went on, and came to a place where a 
Maiden had died. As for her People, they had no white 
cloth in which to take her to the grave, and they said 
" O Boy, will you not give us this white cloth in 
which to take the corpse to the grave? " So he took 
it, and gave it to them, and they cut it up, and sewed 
the strips together, and wrapped it around the Girl. 
But when they were about to take her to the grave, the 
Boy caught hold of the Corpse, and said " Pay me for 
my white cloth." So they took the Corpse, and gave 
it to him, and he lifted it on to his head (5). 

He went on, and at last he emerged from the forest, 
and went on, and came near to a large city. Now there 
was a river at the gate of the city, and each day the 
King's Wives would come there to get water. And 
when he had come with the dead Girl, he dug two 
holes, and put her feet in them, and stretched the body 
upright, so that she stood up. Then he took the white 
cloth, and wrapped it around her, right down to the 
ground, and after that he went back in the shade, and 
waited. When the King's Wives came to get water at 
the place, he said " For God's sake will you not give 
my Wife some water that she may drink ? I gave her 
some, but she refused to drink because of her pride " (6). 
Then one, the Chief Wife of the King, got some water 
in her calabash, and came and said " Here you are " 
Silence, she did not accept it. Then another of the 
King's Wives bounded forward, and seized the cala- 






; V S 4 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

bash, and came, and said "Here!" Silence. 

Then she hit the Corpse on the forehead, and the Corpse 
fell down. Immediately the Boy ran out from the 
shade, and began to cry, and he said that the King's 
Wives had killed his Wife at the stream. The alarm 
reached even to the King's palace, but the King said 
that it was a lie, for his Wives "would not quarrel. 
However, he said " Go and see.'* 

When the Messengers had come, they found the 
Corpse lying down, so they went back, and said to the 
King " Ah, it is true, your Wives have done murder." 
Then he said " Very well, bring the Corpse here." 
And, when it had been lifted up and brought to the 
King, he said ** Here, Boy, whence have you come 
with this Woman ? " But he said to the King " What 
has that to do with you ? " Then the Judge said " This 
Boy may do mischief, settle with him, and let him go." 
So the King brought two Wives of his own, and gave 
them to him (7), and the Boy went out of the city 
and entered the forest, and he went and lived in the 
forest, and built a house there. But when he had 
built the house, he drove away the two Wives whom 
the King had given him, and said that he would live 
alone. 

One day a Frog said " Auta, may I come to your 
house and live? " and he replied " Remain certainly." 
Then a Monkey said " Auta, may I come to your house 
and live? " and he replied " Remain certainly." Then 
a Horse said " Auta, may I come to your house and 
live? " and he replied " Remain certainly." A Camel 
a Donkey, Stinging-Ants, Ordinary Ants, Large 
Stinging-Travelling-Ants, a Mule, a Large Snake, a 
Crown-Bird, and a White-Breasted Crow, all came and 
lived with him. 



THE LUCKY YOUNGEST SON 385 

Soon all conceived, at the same time, and a Bull 
came, and said that every one of them was to build 
a storehouse in the compound, there being thirty 
altogether. The Bull came, and built thirty receptacles 
inside the houses, and again he came and made thirty 
deep holes in the compound. Then the Bull filled all 
the storehouses with gold, that is what he gave birth to. 
The Mule came and brought forth silver, he filled all the 
thirty holes. The Camel filled the receptacles with 
cowries. The rest of the Family, the Small Ones, 
brought forth Slaves, they filled the house with Slaves. 

Now, one day, the Spider came to the house to beg, 
and Auta took guinea-corn and gave it to him, and the 
Spider went to the King, and said " What will you 
give me for my news? " The King replied " A kola- 
nut." " How many ears have you ? " asked the Spider. 
The King replied that he had two ears. " Add two 
more," said the Spider, "and you will hear news." 
And the King said that he had added them. So the 
Spider said " The Boy here in the forest, in the whole 
world there is not one who is so rich." " It is a lie," 
exclaimed the King. Then the Spider said " Very well, 
send me and the Councillors to go and see." So the 
King sent him and the Councillors, and they went off, 
and when they had been and had seen the wealth, they 
knew that the riches were greater than those of the 
King himself. So they returned and said " This Boy 
is very rich." 

Now the King had a White Leper in his palace, and 
the advice of the White Leper was what the King 
listened to, so he said " Now White Leper, what shall 
we do that we may take this property? " The White 
Leper replied " Take some soup, and put it in a bag (8), 
and take grains of guinea-corn, and put them in the 
25 



386 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

bag." Now a great number were put inside the bag; 
and then black-ac/ia grains were taken and put in the 
bag; elusine was taken and put in the bag; millet was 
taken and put in the bag; acha was taken and put in 
the bag; rice and beans were taken and put in the 
bag. When the bag had been filled and tied up, it was 
taken to the Boy's house, and he was told that by 
daylight he must have sorted out the grains separately. 
The Boy saw that he could not do this, and began to cry, 
he cried hard ; but the Ant came, and the Stinging-Ant 
came, and they told him to be patient. So he took all 
his calabashes, and gave them to them, and one took 
a grain and put it here, one took a grain and put it 
there, and so by the time that day had broken, they 
had sorted them out separately, and when the Coun- 
cillors came to take them, he lifted them up, and gave 
them to them. Then the King again called the White 
Leper, and said " Well, how shall we kill that Boy? " 
Now there was a certain big lake which no one 
would enter, and there was a fan-palm (9) in the 
middle of the lake, so the White Leper said to 
the King "Tell the Boy to fetch two fruits of 
the palm-tree." So Auta was told to do so, and 
when he saw that he was unable to enter the 
water, he cried hard. But the Monkey and the Frog 
came to the Boy, and said " Dry your tears, because 
of such things we asked you of old if we could come 
to your house and live." Then the Monkey arose, 
and hopped to the edge of the lake, and from there 
he jumped, and alighted upon the fan-palm. But the 
Frog dived, and did not come up until he had reached 
the fan-palm, and he also climbed the tree (10). When 
the Monkey had plucked one, he jumped straight 
out [on to the bank], and the Frog pulled off his, and 



THE LUCKY YOUNGEST SON 387 

fell into the river, and did not rise until he was at the 
bank. So they brought the two fruits of the fan-palm, 
and the Boy went and put them aside, and when the 
Councillors came next morning to take the fruits, he 
took them, and gave them to them, and they brought 
them to the King. 

Soon afterwards, the King said " Well, White 
Leper, what shall we do to get this Boy's riches?" 
He replied " It is now the dry season, there is no water, 
so you tell him to bring a leaf of the millet about 
daybreak." Then the King said "Very well" [and 
sent to Auta to tell him]. Then the Boy cried hard, 
until the White-Breasted Crow and the Crown-Bird 
came, and said " O Boy, what are you crying for?" 
" The King has said that I must bring him a millet leaf 
now, in the dry season," he replied. But they said 
" Come, dry your tears, and be easy." Then the 
Crow went north, the Crown-Bird went south, and they 
flew along, saying " Da da da " (i i), [at least] the Crow 
did. She went on to a country where she found that 
the millet was high, the Crown-Bird came to a country 
where the millet had begun to put out eyes (12). The 
Crow found a country where the millet was ready to be 
threshed, so she arrested her flight and took a bundle. 
As for the Crown-Bird, she found a place where the 
leaves were peeling off, so she also tied up a bundle. 
The Crow carried hers, the Crown-Bird carried hers, 
and they brought them to the Boy, so when day broke 
he took them to the King. 

Now the Snake saw that the Boy had been very near 
losing his life, and said " O Youth," and Auta replied 
" Urn." The Snake said " The King has a Daughter 
of whom he is very fond." And it continued " Let me 
enter into her stomach, and even if all the Magicians 



388 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

in the world be assembled to attend to the Girl she 
will not get well. But you, when you go, you will heal 
her. I it is who will give you medicine with which to 
heal her." " When you go to the King," it continued, 
" you must say that your medicine is difficult to obtain, 
and the King will say * What can be difficult to me ? ' 
You must say * It will certainly be hard for you,' but 
he will reply ' O Youth, whatever the difficulty, I will 
get it.' Then you must say ' Very well, I want a 
White Leper's liver brought me immediately.' ' The 
Snake went on " When you have been brought the 
White Leper's liver, put it with some water in a pot, 
and give it to this Girl that she may drink, and she will 
be healed at once." So the Boy said " Very well." 

Now the Girl was playing with the other Girls of 
the city, her Fellows, when the Snake reached her, and 
it crawled inside her stomach. Then the Girl said to her 
Playmates that she had a stomach-ache, and that she was 
going home, so the other Girls said " Let us go, the 
King's Daughter is not well." When she had reached 
her home, she lay down, and her stomach began swell- 
ing, and swelling, until it was as big as a storehouse. 
Then the King arose, and began crying, and crying, 
and crying, and falling down, and doing all kinds of 
things. The White Leper of whom the King was fond 
came, and gave his advice, all the Magicians in the 
city were summoned, every one gave her medicine. But 
it was no good, the Girl did not get better. They went 
to Faki Fatatika (13) and summoned the Magicians 
of the town, and they came and worked their spells, but 
the Girl got no better (14). 

At last the Rich Boy came with one old rag on, he 
did not wear a good tobe, and he came to the King 
and said " May your life be prolonged." Then the 






THE LUCKY YOUNGEST SON 389 

White Leper arose, and hit him, and said " The King's 
Daughter is ill, have you, a Wearer-of-Rags come to 
bother him ?" (15). "I have come to give her medicine/' 
he replied. Then the White Leper said "The Magi- 
cians have not been able to cure her, can you, a Wearer- 
of-Rags, know what medicine to prescribe? " Then the 
King heard, and said " No no, leave him alone, 
everyone has the gifts that God has given him." And 
he continued " Go with the White Leper to where the 




FIG. 88. Drum. The note can be altered by pressing the string with 
the arm. L., i8 in. 

Girl is." When he had gone, and had returned to the 
King, Auta said " Now, O King, I know an antidote, 
but my antidote is hard to obtain." " Tell me what 
it is," replied the King; " however difficult it may be, 
the medicine will be obtained and brought." Then Auta 
said " I wish you to get me the liver of a White Leper 
at once. Now here is a White Leper with you, will 
one go searching in the city to look for one? " And 
immediately the Councillors rained blows upon the 
White Leper there, in the hall, until they had killed 



390 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

him. Then his body was seized, and torn open, and 
the liver was pulled out, and given to the Boy, 
who told them to get some water for him and to 
put it in a pot. When water had been poured into a 
new pot, it was brought to him, and he put the liver 
in it, and shook it up, and then he said " Give it to the 
Girl to drink." Now when it had been given to the Girl, 
and she had drunk, she became violently ill,* and the 
Snake came out, and went away* (16); no one saw it. 

Then the Girl arose, and asked to 'be given porridge 
to eat, she said to give her flour and water to drink, 
and she was given some, she was also given kola- 
nuts, and she ate them. Immediately the King took 
the Boy aside, he brought five Horses and gave 
them to him, he brought five tobes and gave them 
to him, he brought twenty pairs of trousers, and dark 
blue tobes and gave them to him. Then he separated 
off one-half of the city and offered it to him, but Auta 
said " No, as far as I am concerned, I do not wish to 
live in the city, I am going home." 

So he took his Horses and the other presents 
which the King had given to him, and he went 
to the forest, and he overtook the Snake, as he 
was going home. The Snake said " O Boy, the 
treachery is done with, there remains only mine 
to you " (17), and it continued " Now, look here, 
I am going to live in an Ant-hill." Then Auta 
said " If you live in an Ant-hill, how can I repay 
you? " The Snake replied " Every Sunday you must 
give me a piece of meat/' And the Boy said " Agreed, 
I understand." So when Sunday came, the Boy arose 
from his bed, and went out, and got a piece of meat 
in the house, and he took it, and carried it to the Ant- 
hill, and then he returned home. 






THE LUCKY YOUNGEST SON 391 

Every Sunday Auta did this for him, until one day 
he went out of his hut in the morning, but did not see 
the piece of meat in the house, for as it happened, 
the Frog had come, and had taken it in the early 
morning. Now as he had not obtained a piece of 
meat, the Snake arose, and came to Auta, and said 
to the Boy " To-day is Sunday, but I have not seen my 
piece of meat." " I am now looking for it," he replied; 
" must you come and ask me for it? " And he con- 
tinued " Formerly I had a store of them in the 
house, but to-day when I got up I did not see 
any, there are no more pieces." Then the Snake 
said " Indeed! Is there disloyalty in your own 
house?" And Auta replied that he did not know. 
" Will you give the Thieves over to me that I may 
come and seize them?" asked the Snake. And the 
Boy said " Very well," for he thought that all 
were acting fairly towards him. " Very well," he 
said, " but who is the one to be punished amongst 
them ? " The Snake replied " Right, I am going home, 
I shall know the Thief when he comes." But when 
the Snake had gone a little way, it returned and hi'd 
behind the door of Auta's house. 

Now the Rich Boy could not rest without going 
and reasoning with the Snake, so he went out of the 
door of the house, and the Snake (which was by the door 
of the house) bit him, and when the Snake had bitten 
him, Auta went back into the house, and lay down, for 
his leg was painful. Then the Frog came up, and said 
" What has befallen you, O Rich One? " And Auta 
replied " Something bit me by the door of the house." 
Then the Frog said " Whatever it be, I will go and 
see." So he went out, hopping, and came to the door 
of the house, and the Snake bit him, so he also went and 



392 HAL'S A SUPERSTITIONS 

lay down. The Frog died, he also, the Rich Boy, 
died. 

That is the end of this. The Frog brought this 
upon Auta. Because he took the meat, he brought 
disaster upon him. 



In a variant (L.T.H. 129) the story goes on the 
same lines as far as the trick with the Corpse, but the 
Youth takes a Girl offered him and marries her. He 
has a Daughter by her, and sings to the Baby, telling it 
that he had obtained the Mother by the means of a 
Corpse. The ending is the same as that of F.-L. 12. 

With the White-Leper incident in this story may be 
compared one from the Malay Peninsula (Fables and 
Folk-Tales from an Eastern Forest, W. Skeat, page 3). 
The Great King of all the Tigers was sick, and the 
Tiger-Crown-Prince suggested that he should eat the 
flesh of every Beast until he got the right one. All the 
Beasts were summoned, and all came except the Chevro- 
tain, and the Tiger-King ate of them. Last of all came 
the Chevrotain, whose excuse w r as that he had had a 
dream in which the proper medicine had been indicated. 
When the Tiger-King had asked what it w r as, the 
Chevrotain replied that he must devour that which was 
nearest to him. Immediately the Tiger-Crown-Prince 
was seized and eaten, the King-Tiger got well, and the 
Chevrotain became Crown-Prince. 

A Sierra Leone story (Cunnie Rabbit, page 249) 
bears a greater resemblance to the Hausa one. Here 
the King is envious of the Boy's riches, and, acting on 
the advice of a Messenger, sets the Boy to pick fruit 
from a tree covered with Poisonous Ants, but the White- 
Ants do it for him. Next the Boy is ordered to pick 
out a certain Cow from a herd, and the Butterfly shows 
him which is the right one by settling upon her head. 
The third test is to make the Boy sit on a chair on a 
mat which hides the mouth of a hole filled with knives 
and broken bottles, but he pokes the mat before sitting 
down, and the plot is exposed. Lastly the King is 



THE DIVISION OF THE INHERITANCE 393 

going to throw him into the river, but by a trick the 
Messenger is drowned instead, and so the Boy is 
molested no further. 



The contract with a Snake appears in an Indian tale, 
and Snakes are supposed to live in ant-hills (Crooke, 
op. cit., pp. 135 and 276). 



The youth, who, starting with the capital of an 
article of negligible value, by repeated commercial 
transactions like those of the youth in this story, 
arrives at riches, or brings himself into collision with a 
wealthy and powerful man and is condemned to be 
drowned, but extricates himself, contrives to substitute 
his opponent as victim and succeeds to his possessions, 
is a favourite in European and African folk-tales. 
Among the variants recorded in Africa are tales current 
among the Kabyles (Riviere, Contes Pop. Kabyles, 
Paris, 1882, 79, 95), Ewhe (i, Rev. d'Ethnographie 
et Sociologie, Paris, 1910, 71, where other references 
are given), Anyanja (iii, Folk-lore, 92 ; xv, 344), 
Herrero (Bleek, Reynard the Fox, 90) and Zulus (Cal- 
loway, Nursery Tales, London, 1868, 37). Variants 
are even found as far to the east as among the Katchins 
of Burma (iv, Anthropos, 121, 135). The corpse often 
figures in the story. (H.) 



81 
THE DIVISION OF THE INHERITANCE. 

There was a certain Man who had three Children, 
two Daughters and a Son ; the name of the Son was 
Karrambanna, one of the Daughters was called Kum- 
bu(r)rin Dammo, and the other Maihakuri (i). 

Now their Father died, and left twenty thousand 
cowries and one cowry, and, when the property was 
about to be divided, the King (2) said " What can be 



394 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

done with one cowry ? Let it be given to Karrambanna 
as he is the eldest." But Kumbu(r)rin Dammo said 
that she would not agree, she said " Let it be divided 
into three so that no one can get the better of the 
others." So the King said " Very well, but who can 
divide a cowry into three equal parts?" 

Then a certain Old Man said " There is one who 
can divide the inheritance equally, his name is Atteyu, 
his whole body is nothing but liver." So they went and 
summoned Atteyu, and the King said to him " Here are 
twenty thousand cowries and one cowry, there is no one 
who can divide them equally, that is what caused us to 
summon you." " Opp," he replied, " that is easy," 
and he asked How many Children had he?" And 
they said " Three." Then he said " Give them 5,000 
each," and of the 20,001 cowries there remained 5,001. 
He said " Give them 1,000 each " so there were 2,001 
left. " Of the 2,001 give them 500 each," he continued 
and there remained 501. Then he said " Give them 
loo each " and 201 were left. " Of the 201," he 
continued, " give them 50 each "and there were still 
51. Then he said " Of the 51 give them 10 each " 
so 21 remained. "Of the 21," he continued, "give 
them 5 each "and 6 were left. " Now of the 6 re- 
maining give them 2 each, and so no one will get the 
better of the others." Then he said " I have divided 
the inheritance for you." 



82 
THE CITY OF WOMEN. 

There was once a Bachelor, who had no Wife, and 
he went and worked on his farm, but after he had gone 



THE CITY OF WOMEN 395 

home, a Tortoise came, and said " O Farm of the 
Bachelor, rise up in disorder," [and the farm became 
as if it had never been worked]. 

Now when the Bachelor returned, and saw this, he 
said " Oh dear ! Who has done this to me ? " And he 
continued " Well, I will wait in hiding, and see who 
is spoiling my farm.'* So when he had finished work, 
he hid himself at the edge of the bush, and waited. 
When the Tortoise arrived, he said " O Farm of the 
Bachelor, rise up in disorder," and the farm became 
as it was before. Then the Bachelor came up, and took 
a hoe, and beat the Tortoise on the back until he cried 
out " O Bachelor, let me off, let me off, and I will 
give you a Wife." [And when the Bachelor had 
desisted], the Tortoise said " Now, go, Bachelor, and 
make a bundle of stalks " (i), and, when this had been 
done, the Bachelor said " Here it is, I have made it." 
Then the Tortoise said " Good, now get inside, and I 
will carry you," and the Bachelor said " Very well." 

So the Tortoise carried him to a certain city where 
there were only Women, there was not even one Man, 
and when he had brought him to this city where there 
were no Men, he said " Listen to the weeping " (2), 
and he undid the bundle. Now when the Lower-Class 
Women saw the Bachelor, they said " Oh, this One is 
too good for us, let us take him to the Queen." And 
when the Queen saw him, she gave him a tobe, a pair of 
trousers, and a turban, and she bought him a Horse, 
all the good things suitable for a King she gave 
him, [and she married him]. 

One day she said " I am going off to the war," 
and she continued " See this little basket with a lid, you 
must not open it. Everything in this palace is yours 
except this little basket, and if you open it you will have 



396 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

a great shock " (3). So she started off, and went to the 
war, leaving him at home. Now when she had gone, he 
said " Well, everything in this palace is mine, so I \\ill 
open this little basket." But no sooner had he done so, 
than he found himself back in the middle of his farm, 
with nothing but a leather loin-covering, and a hoe, he 
could see the palace no longer. Then he began to cry, 
and he said " Where shall I get another Tortoise to 
take me back?" 

So he went to the edge of the bush, and found a 
young Tortoise, and he took him up, and said " Now, 
when I have farmed, you must say ' O Farm of the 
Bachelor, rise up in disorder,' when I come to pick up 
the hoe to beat you, you must say ' Let me off, let 
me off, and I will take you to the city of Women.' ' 
When they had done this, the Bachelor said " Good, 
now tell me to make a bundle of stalks," and the Little 
Tortoise said '* Do so." When he had made it, he 
got inside, and said 4< Little Tortoise, carry me," and 
the Tortoise said *' Very well." So when he had got 
inside, the Little Tortoise managed to lift him up, but 
he began to groan, for he was not strong, and he said 
"Alas! Alas!" 

Soon he met a Hyaena, and the Hyaena said " O 
Little Tortoise, what are you carrying? " and the Little 
Tortoise replied " Oh, the Bachelor said that I must 
carry him." Then the Hysena said " Throw down the 
Base-born One of his Parents,* and let me eat him." 
So the Little Tortoise threw down the bundle, and the 
Hyaena came up and tore it open, and took out the 
Bachelor, and ate him. 



An Annamite story (S.F.T. 200) relates how a 
Daughter of a Jinn was married to a Mandarin who 



THE SLEEPLESS TOWN 397 

had sought her in the abodes of the Immortals. " His 
happiness continued until the day when it was his 
Lady's turn to be in attendance upon the Queen of the 
Immortals. Ere she left him she warned him against 
opening the back door of the palace where they dwelt, 
otherwise he would be compelled to return home, and 
his present abode would be forbidden to him from that 
moment. He disobeyed her. On opening the door he 
beheld once more the outside world." 



The typical tale is that of the Third Kalandar in the 
Arabian Nights (Burton's Translation, i, page 139). 
The earliest mention of the City (or rather the Isle, 
as it is usually represented) of Women is in Pom- 
ponius Mela, iii, 9, where an island is mentioned off 
the West Coast of Africa, inhabited only by women. 
The Hausa, inhabiting an inland district, naturally 
speak of a city, not an island. 



83 
THE TOWN WHERE NONE MIGHT GO TO SLEEP. 

A certain Woman had two Daughters, one was 
married to a Man who lived in a town where no one 
was allowed to go to sleep, the other to one in a 
town where no one might spit.* 

One day she cooked a dish of sweetmeats to take to 
the Daughter who lived in the town where no one was 
allowed to go to sleep. As soon as it was ready she 
started off, and when she had arrived, all the Household 
said to her " Welcome, welcome." Food was prepared 
for her, for the Son-in-Law said " See, my Mother-in- 
Law has come." But the Daughter said " O Parent, 
no one may sleep here, do not eat too much lest 
sleepiness should overcome you." But the Mother said 
" I knew long before you were born that sleep was not 



398 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

permitted here." " Oh, very well then," replied the 
Daughter, " I'll say no more." And the Mother ate 
every bit of the food that was brought to her. 

That night, although she lay down, she managed to 
keep awake, and in the morning the Daughter took up 
her jar to go to the stream for water (i), and said to 
her Mother " See here, I have put the breakfast on to 
boil, please keep up the fire while I am away." But 
when the Daughter had gone, although her Mother 
managed to replenish the fire for a time, drowsiness 
overcame her in the end, and she lay down and fell fast 
asleep. Just then a Neighbour came to get fire (2), and, 
when she saw the sleeping Woman, she exclaimed 
" Alas, So and So's Mother-in-Law is dead." 

Then the Drummers (3) were sent for, and soon the 
whole town had assembled at the house, and a grave 
had been dug (4). The drums were saying 

11 Birrim, birrim (5), get a corpse-mat (6), 
Death's in the Son-in-Law's house." 

But the Daughter heard from where she was, and she 
cried out . 

" Stay, oh, stay, don't get a corpse-mat, 
We are accustomed (7) to sleep." 

And when she had come, she roused her Mother, and 
said "Wake up, wake up." Then the Mother awoke 
with a start, and the People were terrified, [but they 
soon saw that it was nothing to be afraid of], and the 
whole town began to learn how to sleep. 

Now the Mother returned to her own home, but 
one day she cooked more sweetmeats, and decided to 
visit her other Daughter, the one living in the town 
where no one might spit.* When she had arrived, the 
Household said " Welcome, welcome," and the Son-in- 



THE SLEEPLESS TOWN 399 

Law said " My Mother-in-Law has come." So he killed 
a Fowl, and sent her a dish of rice. But the Daughter 
said to her Mother " Do not eat too much, you know 
that in this town no one is allowed to spit." The 
Mother replied " Thanks for the information ! I knew 
that before ever you were born." So the Daughter said 
' Very well," and took no more notice; and the Mother 
ate until she was full. 

Now when night came, she wanted to spit badly, 
but she did not know where she could do so [without 
being found out]. At last she went to the place where 




FIG. 89. Drum, of uncommon shape, and stick. H., io| in. 

the Horses were tied up (8), and she spat, and covered it 
up with some of the cut grass there. But the earth was 
not used to this, and the part spat on rose up and began 
to complain, saying 

" Umm, umm, I am not used to this, 
Umm umm, I am not used to this." 

Soon all the People came, and said " Who has spat 
here? " Then they said " Bring out the Magic Gourds, 
the small one and the large, and let everyone come 
here, and step over them; and the gourds will catch 



400 HA USA SUPERSTITIOXS 

hold of the one who has spat." So all the People 
of the town stepped over them, but no one was seized, 
[and they were surprised]. Then someone said " See 
here, there is a Stranger amongst us, let her come and 
step over the gourds." Immediately she had come, 
and had lifted up a leg to step over, the gourds seized 
her, and everyone said " It is she who has spat, 
it is she who has spat." And the gourds began singing 
these words 

" The things which clasp and hold on, 
The Mother-in-Law has got them." 

She could not sit down, for they held on to her body. 

Now, the Spider, the interfering Person, met her, 
and said " O Mother-in-Law, how lucky you are to 
have gourds which sing such a beautiful song, I should 
like to have them." So she replied 4< Very well, spit on 
the ground, and say that it was not you who did it." 
And when he had done so, he said " There, but it is 
not I who have done it, if it is I, O You Magic Gourds 
seize me." And immediately the gourds loosed the 
Woman and seized him. Then they began singing 

" The things which clasp and hold on, 
The Spider of Spiders has got them," 

and the Spider felt exceedingly pleased, and began to 
dance. 

But soon he got tired, and said " O Mother-in-Law, 
Thou Thing to be avoided (9), come and take your 
gourds." But she refused to do so. Then the Spider 
climbed a tree, and when he had got high up he threw 
himself down on his buttocks, so as to smash the gourds. 
But they did not agree to this, and moved to one side, 
and so the Spider's back was broken, and he died. 
Then the magic gourds returned to where they had come 



THE MENDER OF MEN 401 

from (10), and all the Townspeople began to spit, for 
they saw that there was no harm in it. 



In a Banks' Islands myth, Quat, who began the 
work of creation, sailed to the foot of the sky to buy 
darkness from Night, and Night darkened his eye- 
brows, and showed him how People fall asleep of an 
evening. On Quat's return, the sun began sinking in 
the west, and his People were much afraid, and when 
their eyes began to blink they feared that they were 
about to die. But he reassured them, and at daybreak 
they awoke to find themselves still alive (Frobenius, 
op. cit., page 300). 



84 
THE MENDER OF MEN. 

All the Maidens of the town had assembled, and 
had gone to the forest to pick certain herbs, and, while 
they were doing this, it began to rain, from the east 
it came, and they ran, and got inside the hollow of 
a Baobab tree (i), and the Devil closed it up. When 
the rain had ceased, the Devil said that each must give 
him her necklace and cloth before he would release her, 
and all gave them to him except one Girl who refused 
to do so. So she had to remain, but the others went 
off home. 

Now the tree had a small hole in the top, and they 
went and told the Maiden's Mother, so she started off, 
and came to see the place where her Daughter was. 
Then she returned home, and prepared food, and she 
went back to the tree in the evening, and said 
11 Daughter, Daughter, stretch out your hand, and take 
this food." So she stretched out her hand through 

26 



402 HAUSA SUPERST1TIO 

the hole, and she got it, and ate it, and then the Mother 
went home again. 

As it happened, a Hyaena had heard all this, and 
later on he (2) returned, and said "Daughter, Daughter, 
stretch out your hand, and take this food." But 
she replied " That is not my Mother's 
[and she would not]. So the Hyaena went to a Black- 
smith (3) and said "Alter my voice for me, [so that 
it will resemble that of a Human Being]," and the 
other said "If I do improve your voice for you, even 
before you have arrived at the foot of the tree you will 
have eaten whatever you have found," and he con- 
tinued " but I'll do it for you," [and he did so]. But 
as the Hyaena was returning, he saw a Centipede, and 
he said " Does one ignore what he finds in the morn- 
ing? "(4). And he took the Centipede, and ate it. 
Then he went to the tree, and said " Daughter, 
Daughter, stretch out your hand, and take this food." 
But she replied " That is not my Mother's voice." 

So the Hyaena became angry, and he returned to 
the Blacksmith, and was about to eat him, but the 
other said "Stop, stop, stop, you must not eat me," 
and he continued "Why do you want to eat me?" 
Then the Hyaena replied " Because you did not alter 
my voice properly." Then the Smith said " Stop, I 
will do it properly." So he altered the Hyaena's voice, 
and then the Hyaena returned to where the Maiden was, 
and said " Daughter, Daughter, stretch out your hand, 
and take this food." This time she stretched out her 
hand, and, when she had done so, the Hyaena seized 
it, and pulled the Maiden out of the tree, and ate her, 
leaving only the bones. Then he went away. 

Now the Maiden's Mother brought food in the 
evening, and, when she had come, she saw her 



THE MENDER OF MEN 403 

Daughter's bones, and she burst out crying there. Then 
she went home, and got a basket, and she returned, 
and collected the bones, and took the road to the city 
where Men were mended. 

She travelled on and on, and after a time she came 
to a place where food was cooking itself, and she said 
" O Food, show me the road to the city where Men 
are mended." Then the Food said " Stay here and 
eat me," but she replied " I have no appetite, I do not 
wish to eat you." So the Food said " When you have 
gone so far, take the road on the right hand, and leave 
that on the left." 

After a time she came upon meat which was grilling 
itself, and she said " O Meat, show me the road to the 
city where Men are mended." Then the Meat said 
" Stay here and eat me," but she replied " I have no 
appetite, I do not wish to eat you." So the Meat said 
"When you have gone so far, take the road on the 
right hand, and leave that on the left." 

So she started again, and as she was travelling, she 
came upon jura which was mixing itself in a pot, 
and she said " O Fura, show me the road to the city 
where Men are mended." Then the Fura said " Stay 
here and eat me," but she replied " I have no appetke, 
I do not wish to eat you." So the Fura said " When 
you have gone so far, take the road on the right hand, 
and leave that on the left." 

She travelled on again, and at last there she was 
in the city where Men were Mended. Then the People 
said " What has brought you here?" And she replied 
" The Hyaena has eaten my Child." " Where are the 
bones?" they asked. And she put down her basket, 
and said " See, here they are.." So they said " Very 
well, to-morrow your Daughter will be mended." 

When morning broke, they said to her " Go out 



4 o 4 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

and tend the Cattle," so she unloosed the Cattle (5) and 
took them off to feed. Now these Cattle had no food 
except the fruits of the Adduwa tree (6), and when she 
had picked off the fruits above, and had thrown them 
down, she picked out the ripe ones, and gave them to 
the Cattle, but she herself chose the green ones to eat. 
She fed them thus until the evening, and then they 
returned home, and as they reached the enclosure (7), 
the biggest Bull began bellowing 

" This Woman a good heart has, 
Mend her Daughter well." 

So the Daughter was mended well, and the Mother 
returned to her hut, for the People said to her " Sleep 
here, and to-morrow you will go home." So next day 
the Daughter was brought and restored to her Mother, 
and they went home. 

Now the Mother had a Rival Wife, who also had a 
Daughter, but a very ugly one, and, when the Mother 
had returned home, the Rival said that she too would 
kill her Daughter, and go to the city where Men were 
mended. 

So she took her Daughter, and put her in a mortar, 
and began to pound her up. Then the Daughter cried 
out " O Mother, are you going to kill me? " But she 
went on pounding, and at last she took out the bones, 
and she brought a basket, and put the bones into it, 
and then she took the road to the city where Men were 
mended. 

She travelled on and on, and after a time she came 
to a place where food was cooking itself, and she said 
" O Food, show me the road to the city where Men 
are mended." Then the Food said " Stay here and 
eat me," but she replied " Opp, do you need to invite 
me to eat you? " So she stayed and ate up the food. 



THE MENDER OF MEN 405 

After a time she came upon meat which was grilling 
itself, and she said " O Meat, show me the road to the 
city where Men are mended." Then the Meat said 
" Stay here and eat me,'* and she replied " Opp, do you 
need to invite me to eat you? " So she stayed and ate 
up the meat. 

She started again, and as she was travelling, she 
came upon fura which was mixing itself in a pot, and 
she said " O Fura, show me the road to the city where 
Men are mended." Then the Fura said '* Stay here 
and eat me," and she replied " Opp, do you need to 
invite me to eat you? " So she stayed and ate up the 
fura. 

So on she travelled again, and at last there she was 
in the city where Men were mended. Then the People 
said " What has brought you here? " And she replied 
" The Hyaena has eaten my Child." " Where are the 
bones?" they asked. And she put down her basket, 
and said " See, here they are." So they said " Very 
well, to-morrow your Daughter will be mended." 

When morning broke, they said to her " Go out 
and tend the Cattle," so she unloosed the Cattle and 
took them off to feed. Now when she had picked off 
the fruits of the Adduiva tree, and had thrown them 
down, she picked out the green ones, and gave them to 
the Cattle, she herself chose the ripe ones to eat. She 
fed them thus until the evening, and then they returned 
home, and as they reached the enclosure, the biggest 
Bull began bellowing : 

" This Woman a bad heart has, 
Mend her Daughter ill." 

So she tied up the Cattle, and went to her hut, for 
the People said to her " Sleep here, and to-morrow you 



406 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

will go home." In the morning, the Daughter was 
created with one leg, one buttock, one hand, the whole 
consisted of only one side, half a nose was there, the 
other half was missing. And when the Mother came, 
and said that she was going home, the Daughter was 
brought out to her, and they went off along the road. 

When they had emerged from the forest, the Mother 
said " I am not your Mother," and she started off at a 
run, and went and hid in some grass. But the Daughter 
followed the footprints, and went on and on [until she 
had found her], and said " Arise, let us go on." Then 
the Mother said " Go away, you are not my Child." 
But the other said " Ah, it is you who are my Mother." 

Soon afterwards, the Mother again started off at a 
run, and went and hid behind a tree. But the Daughter 
followed the footprints, and went on and on [until she 
had found her], and said " Arise, let us go on." Then 
the Mother said " Go away, you are not my Child." 
But the other said " Ah, it is you who are my Mother." 

After a time the Mother again started off at a run, 
and went and hid in a cave. But the daughter followed 
the footprints, and went on and on [until she had found 
her], and said " Arise, let us go on." Then the Mother 
said " Go away, you are not my Child." But the other 
said " Ah, it is you who are my Mother." 

Once more the Mother started off at a run, and 
entered their own town, and went into her hut, and shut 
the door. But the Daughter came to the door, and 
called out " O Mother, I have come." But the other 
remained silent. " O Mother, I have come," said the 
Daughter again, and she opened the door, and went to 
her Mother. So they lived together, and the Rival 
Wife had to put up with the fact that the other's 
Daughter was beautiful while her own was hideous. 



THE PORCUPINE STEP-FATHER 407 

In a variant (M.H. 50), the Girls were caused to 
fall down from the roof of the hut, and, though their 
bones were broken, they were not killed. The second 
Girl, however, was not made into a Half-Girl. 



Compare the English story of " The Three Little 
Pigs " in Jacoby's English Fairy Tales (1890), pages 
68 and 233. 



85 
THE PORCUPINE BECOMES A STEP-FATHER. 

There was once a certain Old Woman, and when- 
ever she gave a cough, it turned into a Child, so she had 
given birth to a whole city, and when she had borne 
them all, she died. Now they also, the Children, all 
died, and went to the next world (i), and they roused 
her, and said " Where is our Father? " Then she said 
" Don't you trouble yourselves, I'll find your Father 
for you," and she continued " To-morrow your Father 
will come." So they slept, and when God's day had 
broken (2), they came, and said " O Mother, where is 
our Father? " And she replied " Your Father has not 
yet come." 

It was always thus, until one day the Porcupine 
heard the news, and next morning he went and said 
to the Old Woman " When these Children come again, 
say to them ' See, your Father has come.' ' So next 
morning when the Children came, she said " See, your 
Father is in the hut," and then the Porcupine came 
out, and said " Let each one come and take hold of one 
quill each, and if you see that they are the same 
number as you, you will know that I am your Father." 
So they all came, and each took hold of one quill, and 



4 o8 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the quills were exactly the same number as they were. 
Then they said " O Father, when you die what in- 
heritance are you going to leave us? "(3). And he 
replied that there was an inheritance that he would leave 
to them. Then he told them that on the day that he 
died, they must come and pull out the quills which 
they had taken hold of, and that when they had done so, 
each must bury his in the grave. 

So they lived on there until the Father died, and 
then each Child came, and plucked out a quill, but 
only half of them buried theirs, the other half put them 
in their huts. Now as for those who had buried theirs, 
after seven days the quills turned into Cattle, and they 
came out of the grave. But as for those who said that 
they would not bury theirs, the quills said that they 
would not remain without any hiding-place, so each 
arose, and stuck itself into a Child's body, and each of 
these Children died. 

Nor will they ever rise again, for they ignored their 
Father's words; but the others were happy. 



86 

HOW AUTA KILLED DODO. 

A certain Dodo came to the town, and began calling 
out " In this town who is able to fight with me ? " And 
the whole of the People hid, and at night they even 
lay in the grain-binns (i). 

Now a certain boy called Auta [Little Mite] heard 
about this, and he came and stopped at the house of 
an Old Woman in the town. And when night came, 
and Dodo was calling out " Who is my equal in this 



HOW AUTA KILLED DODO 409 

town?" Auta said " I am." But the Old Woman 
said "Are you mad, Boy? Come into the house 
quickly, Dodo is coming." But Auta said " You go 
to sleep in peace." Then he picked up seven stones, 
and put them in the fire, and Dodo was calling out, 
and Auta answering back, until at last Dodo came up 
close to the door ! 

Then Dodo said " Where is he who is equal to 
me?" And Auta replied "See me." Then Dodo 
stooped down, so that he might enter the porch to seize 
Auta, but Auta took one of the stones and threw it 
into his mouth, and when Dodo had swallowed it, he 
went outside again and stood up. 

Then again Dodo said "Who is equal to me?" 
And Auta replied " I am equal to you." So Dodo 
again tried to enter the porch, but Auta took another 
stone, and threw it, and Dodo swallowed it, and went 
outside again. And Dodo kept on coming, and Auta 
kept on throwing stones until the seven were finished. 
Then Dodo went outside again, and stayed until the 
dawn, when he died. [But Auta went out during the 
night and cut off Dodo's tail, and hid it in the house.] 

Now in the morning, the Women came out of their 
houses to go to the stream, but, as they were going, 
they saw Dodo lying where he had died. Then they 
put their hands to their mouths and gave the alarm, 
calling out " U, U, U." 

Then the King told the Drummers to beat the 
assembly, and said to his Soldiers "Go to where Dodo 
is, and see if he be alive or not, to him who has killed 
him I will give ten Slaves." But as each one came 
near, his Horse saw Dodo, and at once bolted, until at 
last the Sa(r)rikin Karma (2), the Swordsman, came, and 
when he had examined Dodo, he saw that he was life- 



410 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

less, so he went and said to the Townsmen " Come, 
look, he is dead." So then they all arose, and their 
Horses also, and went to where Dodo was. 

Then the King sought all over the city, but could 
not find his Slayer, until one Man said " I heard a 
certain Boy answering Dodo back from the Old 
Woman's house." So the King said "Is that so? 
Go to the house, and see, and if the Boy is there bring 
him." So they went and brought Auta, and he brought 
Dodo's tail, and showed it to the King. Then the 
King chose ten Slaves and gave them to him, he 
brought his Daughter and married her to him, and 
he chose a house and gave it to him. 

That is all. 



A variant of this is the more common, perhaps. It 
states that there was once a certain Rich Man who had 
a Daughter named Barra, and a Son named Auta. The 
Father died, and the Mother also died. But as they 
were about to die, they said " See here, Barra, you 
must not let him be unhappy, whatever he wants you 
to do, do it." 

The Brother and Sister lived there, and one day 
Auta began crying " Kuhum," and she said "What 
is it, Auta? " He replied that he wanted to assemble 
all the Slaves, and to sell some, give others away, and 
kill the rest. Then she said " Auta, what you want 
to do is not right." But he replied " Mother and 
Father said that you must not make me unhappy." 
So she said " Very well, do it." So he assembled all 
the Slaves, he sold some, he gave others away, and he 
killed the rest, so that of all the Slaves there were none 
left, and there had been a hundred ! 

Then again he cried " Kuhum," and she said 
"What is it, Auta, the Brother of Barra?" He re- 
plied " I want to collect all our possessions, and burn 
them, the clothes, the cowries, the salt, the pounding 
implements, and the corn." Then she said " Auta, 
Brother of Barra, what you want to do is not right." 



HOW AUTA KILLED DODO 411 

But he replied " Mother and Father said that you must 
not make me unhappy." So she said " Very well, do 
it." So he burned up all their possessions, and the 
house, so they had nothing to eat. 

Then she said " Well, as far as I, Barra, am con- 
cerned, I had better take you up and go to another 
city lest you bring some other misfortune upon us, and 
kill us both." So she took him, and put him on her 
back, and went to another city, to the King's palace. 
Now the harvest was ripe, the corn was being brought 




FIG. 90. Bridle of leather, cloth, and brass. 



from the farm, and the whole city assembled to go to 
the King's farm to get the corn (3). The King had 
two little Sons, and Barra said " Now, Auta, you wait 
here and play with the King's Sons, for I am going 
to where the corn is being collected" [and she went 
off]. 

After tHey had been together for a time, Auta said 
to the King's Sons "Come and let us play Kirribi, 
kirribi, rup karupki " (4), and, he continued, " I'll lift 
up one of you, and throw him down on the ground, 
and then he can lift me up and throw me down also." 



412 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

So he lifted up one of them, and dashed him on the 
ground, and he died, and Auta threw him by the door 
of his Mother's hut. Then he lifted up the other, and 
dashed him on the ground, and he died too, and Auta 
threw him by the door of his Mother's hut. 

Now, as it happened, Barra was saying to herself 
" Let me make haste and outstrip the Harvesters, and 
get in front of them all, perhaps Auta has done me 
another evil turn." So she outstripped them, and 
came, and found that Auta had killed both of the 
King's Sons, and was sitting down and playing in the 
dirt. No sooner had she arrived, than she snatched 
him up, put him on her back, and ran. As she was 
running away, the King returned and found that his 
two Sons had been killed, so everyone mounted his 
Horse, and said " Pursue Barra, her Brother has killed 
the King's Sons." They would have been captured 
had not a White-Breasted Crow caught them up and 
flown off with them, and Auta repaid her kindness by 
wounding her with a sharp stick. 

The tale is then practically the same as the one 
above, but in addition to taking Dodo's tail, Auta 
placed his boots on the body. Next day the boots were 
taken to the King, who said that he whom the boots 
fitted had done the deed. So the whole city came and 
tried on the boots, but they did not fit. Then a certain 
Man said " Ah ! there is a Boy at the Old Woman's 
house." Then another said " If all the Strong Men 
have failed to kill Dodo, could a Boy have done it? " 
But the King said " Summon him, however, one never 
knows." And when the Boy had come he put on the 
boots, and they fitted exactly (5), and then he produced 
Dodo's tail. 



87 
How THE ZANKALLALA KILLED DODO. 

This is a story of the Zankallala (i), and Dodo, the 
Swallower-of-Men. Now one day, Dodo was chasing 
a certain Boy on the bank of the river, and the Boy 
was running away, until at last he came upon the 



HOW, ZANKALLALA KILLED DODO 413 

Zankallala, and the Zankallala said " Where are you 
going?" He replied " I am running away from 
Dodo." The other said " Stay here, Dodo will not do 
anything to you." 

All of a sudden, a silk-cotton tree grew up above 
the Zankallala, and the Birds in the tree began singing 
his praises, saying : 

" The Lion is afraid of the Zankallala, 
The Hyasna is afraid of the Zankallala, 
Dodo is afraid of the Zankallala." 

And as they were singing and saying this, Dodo 
came up, and heard, and said to the Zankallala " Where 
is my property?" " What property have you given 
me? " asked the Zankallala. Then Dodo replied "Very 
well, if you will not give me my prey, you yourself 
shall furnish my meal." So he seized the Zankallala, 
and swallowed him, but the Zankallala emerged from 
his stomach, and jumped up, and told the Birds to sing 
his praises. Then Dodo again seized him, and swal- 
lowed him, but he emerged from the middle of his back, 
and told the Birds to sing his praises. Then once more 
Dodo swallowed him, but he emerged from his head, 
and Dodo fell down, and died. 

Then the Zankallala said to the Boy " Now you can 
go in safety, you have seen that one is more powerful 
than another, you have escaped because you met me." 



Two variants of this story have been published 
already (F.-L. 44 and Man 5), the Girl or Boy being 
promised help by Warriors and others against the 
Snake or Witch before they are saved finally by the 
Centipede or the Hedgehog, as the case may be or, 
as in this story, by the Zankallala. 

A tale from Altair, on the other side of the world, 
is given by Dr. Haddon (op. cit., page 166) : "Once 



414 11AUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

upon a time a man named Nadai, living on the Island 
of Boigu, went into the bush to collect the eggs of the 
Mound-Bird. . . . He found a large mound, and dug 
into it until he came to what he thought was an egg. 
He tried to pull it up, but it stuck fast ; then he tried 
to get another, but neither would that come away. It 
so happened that a Dorgai [Bogey] named Metakorab 
was sleeping under the mound, and she was wearing 
several large white cowry shells, and it was these that 
Xadai was pulling at, mistaking them for eggs. Nadai 
at last caught hold of the shell, which was tied on to 
the Dorgai's chin, and giving a tremendous pull he 
dragged the Dorgai out of the ground. He was so 
terrified at her appearance, that he fled back to the 
village and called out to the inhabitants to arm them- 
selves and kill the Dorgai, who was sure to follow after 
him. 

" By-and-by a fly came, and behind it came the 
Dorgai ; but the men no sooner saw her terrible face 
than they threw down their weapons and ran away in 
a fright. Then Nadai went on to the next village, but 
the same thing happened again. So he went on all 
round the island, but it always happened as before. 
At last Nadai came to a village called Kerpai, on the 
north side of the island, and he begged the people to 
stand firm and attack the Dorgai. They armed them- 
selves, but when the fly came, and after it the Dorgai, 
they all took to their heels as the others had done 
before, with the exception of one man named Bu. He 
remained in the bachelor's quarters, and armed him- 
self with a bow, and with arrows that are used for 
shooting wild pigs. When the Dorgai arrived, Bu 
shot her and killed her. 

" Both are now in the sky [forming the constellation 
of Dorgai] ; the Dorgai going first, being continually 
followed by Bu." 



88 
THE WRESTLERS AND THE DEVIL. 

There lived once a Youth, Awudu, who was nick- 
named the Strong One. His Father had 150 head of 



THE WRESTLERS AND THE DEVIL 415 

Cattle, and he slaughtered them all, and made bags of 
the hides, and then he went off on a trading trip to sell 
them, and Awudu went out into the world to try his 
strength. 

As he was travelling along, he met another Youth, 
called Hambari (i), and he also was noted for his 
strength ; he had just arrived at a well, and had opened 
his mouth and had drunk the water, when Awudu came 
upon him, and they travelled on together. Now they 
went on, and came to a running river, and Hambari 
beat the water with his hand, and the water divided 
into two. Then Awudu said " Hullo, Hambari, you 
certainly are strong." 

As they were travelling they met Dashira (2) who 
also was a powerful Man. And he said to them " Are 
you going out to try your strength?" And they said 
" Yes." He said that he would go also, and so there 
were now three of them. 

As they were travelling, they met Tankoko (3) who 
also was a powerful Man. And he said to them 
"Where are you going?" They replied "We are 
going out into the world to try our strength." And he 
said that he would accompany them, so there were now 
four of them. 

Well, they went into the forest, and slept that night 
at the foot of a Monkey-bread tree, all four of them. 
Next morning they said " Ah ! the day has broken, let 
us go hunting, but let us leave Hambari to keep guard 
over our possessions." So they went off, the other 
three, to hunt. 

Now, as it happened, there was a Devil in* the foot 
of the tree (4), and the Devil came out, and said " Hullo 
Hambari, it is reported that you are strong, get up and 
wrestle with me." So they got up and started wrestling, 



416 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the Devil and Hambari, and the Devil threw Ilambari 
on the ground, and bound him, [and then he went 
back]. So when the others returned, Awudu said 
"Opp, what has happened to you Hambari?" And 
he replied " I wrestled with the Devil, and he threw 
me, and bound me." So they [unbound him and] said 
11 Oh, well, to-morrow let us leave Dashira on guard." 

Next morning the others went off hunting, Awudu 
and Tankoko, and the Devil came out again, and said 
" Hullo Dashira, it is reported that you are strong, 
get up and wrestle with me." And when they had 
wrestled for a time, the Devil threw him, and bound 
him, [and then he went back again]. So when Awudu 
and Tankoko returned, Awudu said " Opp, Dashira, 
what has happened to you?" And he replied "I 
wrestled with the Devil, and he threw me, and bound 
me." Then Awudu said " Very well, Tankoko, to- 
morrow it will be your turn to look after the place." 

So next morning Awudu went off alone to hunt, 
and, when he had gone, the Devil appeared, and said 
" Hullo Tankoko, it is reported that you are strong, 
get up and wrestle with me." And when they had 
wrestled for a time, the Devil threw him, and bound 
him, [and then he went back again]. So when Awudu 
returned, he said " Opp, Tankoko, what has happened 
to you ? " And he replied " I wrestled with the Devil, 
and he threw me, and bound me." Then Awudu said 
" Very well, to-morrow I shall not go hunting, let the 
Devil come and meet me." 

So next morning the Devil appeared, and said 
"Hullo Awudu," and the other answered " Urn." 
Then the Devil said " You have come out in the 
world to try your strength, you four, yet I alone am 
equal to you all." And he continued " You see I have 




XXXIII. THE CHALLENGE. XXXIV. THE ASSEMBLY. 



This is a war dance. It may be performed by men only, who hit each other's sticks as they pass 
round in opposite concentric circles, or by both sexes, the women clapping hands instead of using 
-sticks. 



THE TWO GIRLS AND THE DEMONS 417 

already beaten three, you are the only one left." Then 
Awudu arose, and they started to wrestle, Awudu and 
the Devil began wrestling. And they wrestled, and 
wrestled, neither one being able to beat the other, 
and they rose up to the sky, grunting all the time. 
Then Hambari, Dashira and Tankoko ran away. But 
Awudu and the Devil kept on grunting, and they have 
never stopped even unto this day, that is the reason 
of the rumbling of the thunder (5). 



In a variant (L.T.H. 17) the food of the three Hun- 
ters was stolen by a Dog, and when they beat it, " The- 
One-inside-the-Tree " came out and wrestled with them 
in turn. The third Hunter threw his Adversary, and 
then he and the other two killed him. 



In another (L.T.H. ii, 32) Dodo takes the place of 
Iblis, and eats the Hunter's food, until he is killed by 
the youngest (6). 



89 
THE Two GIRLS AND THE DEMONS. 

This is about a Beloved Daughter and one who was 
not loved. The Parents* farm was far away in the 
forest, and they called the Unbeloved One and took her 
to the farm, and said " You are never to come home 
again,'* they told her that she was to stay there, and 
keep the Monkeys away (i). So she lived there, and 
watched for the Monkeys, and at night she would enter 
her hut alone and sleep. 

One day some Demons (2) came, and assembled at 

the door of the hut, and when they got up next morning 

to go, they brought her presents, and left them at the 

door of the hut, and went off. These she sent to her 

27 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIO.\S 

Father at home, and said that her Father must come and 
take the presents from her hut. So the Father came, 
and took the presents, and they all went to the town, 
and she returned to live at home (3). 

Now when the Mother (4) of the Beloved Daughter 
saw the presents she said " Where did she get them ? " 
So they said " She got them at the farm." And then 
she said that the Beloved Daughter should go also. 
By the time that the Beloved Daughter had arrived, 
it was night, and she entered her hut, and, while she 
was lying down, the Demons arrived. Then she went 
outside the hut, and mixed with them, and immediately 
they pulled off the flesh from her body, and ate it, and 
disappeared (5). 

She died. 



90 
THE THREE YOUTHS AND THE THREE DEMONS. 

Three Youths used to go to a certain town to get 
Women to bring back to their own town to sleep, they 
were always doing this. Now, as it happened, there 
were Devils on the road, and three of the Female- 
Demons said " Let us take counsel that we may kill 
these Youths." 

So they adorned themselves, and when the three 
Youths set out from their own town to bring Women, 
lo ! they met the three Female-Demons, and said " Well, 
look here ! We came to look for Women, and see we 
have got them." Then the Women said " Let us sit 
here awhile, and talk, and after that we will return with 
you." So they sat down, and were talking, and were 
leaning against the Women's thighs, when the eldest 



THE THREE DEMONS 419 

of the Youths stretched out his leg, and touched a foot 
of one of the Women and lo ! it was a hoof, like 
that of a Horse I 

Then he felt afraid, his body trembled, and his 
heart sank, and he called the youngest of the three, 
and said let him send him home, for he had forgotten 
something. But when they had gone aside, he said to 
him " When you have gone home, do not return, these 
Women are Devils." So when the youngest of them 
had gone, he stayed at home. Then the eldest Youth 
called the next, and said " I sent Auta to bring me 
something, and he has not returned, go quickly, and 
call him." But when they had gone aside, he said 
' When you have gone home, do not return, these 
Women are Devils." So he followed Auta. And then, 
except for the eldest himself, there was no one left but 
the three Female-Demons. 

Soon he said that he was perspiring too much, and 
he pulled off his tobe, and rolled it up tightly. Then 
again, he said that the perspiration was bothering him, 
and he pulled off his trousers, and rolled them up 
tightly, and took the tobe, and put it inside his trousers, 
and put them on the ground close to him (i). Suddenly 
he jumped up, snatched up the bundle, and hung it on 
his shoulder, and bounded off at a run. And the 
Female-Devils followed him. 

When he had reached the fence of his house, he 
jumped, intending to fall inside, but they caught his 
foot, and so his head was swinging to and fro in the 
compound, for they kept hold of his foot. Then he 
said " Opp, it is not my foot that you have seized, but a 
post" (2). And they let it go, and he fell, and ran 
inside the house. 

So the Female-Demons went away. 



420 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

This story is to some extent a variant of No. 10, 
but the ending resembles that of a variant of No. 23 in 
which the Hyaena sends her cubs away one by one to 
get water for the Goat, who has frightened her, telling 
them secretly not to return. When all have gone, she 
goes also " to see what has become of them." 



THE UNGRATEFUL MEN. 

Once there was a certain Woman who went to 
where a Witch was getting herbs for her broth. Now 
this Woman had nine mouths, [but no one knew], and 
she went and got leaves of the locust tree and boiled 
them, and when she had made the broth she took it 
to her Husband, and after that, she took some to her 
Husband's Father, and to his Mother, and to her Rival 
Wife. 

Now the Husband uncovered the food, but no sooner 
had he done so, than the food cried out " Cover me, 
cover me, if you do not cover me up at once you will 
die." Then the Husband's Father uncovered his food, 
to eat, but it also called out " Cover me, cover me, if 
you do not cover me up at once you will die," so he 
covered it up. Then the Husband went and got his 
Mother's calabash of food (i), and he heaped that of 
his Mother and his Father with his own, and he went 
and threw it upon his Wife's head, and immediately her 
nine mouths could be seen. Then she rushed upon the 
People, and became an out-and-out Witch ; before that 
she had not been a real one. 

Well, the whole town was depopulated, everyone 
ran away but a Blind-man and a Lame-man (2). The 
Blind-man said to the Lame-man " Ahem, that Woman 



THE UNGRATEFUL MEN 421 

is a Brute, her Husband told her not to get the leaves 
of the locust tree but she did so." And, as it happened, 
the Woman was standing close to them. Then the 
Lame-man said " Hey, Blind-man, I have no feet, 
you carry me, for I have eyes, and if I see her I will 
tell you, and we can run away." So the Blind-man said 
" Agreed," and he took the Lame-man on his back. 




FIG. 91. Bit and reins used with fig. 90. 

But as he did so, he saw the Witch, and she came up 
to them, and said " O Blind-man, touch my mouth, and 
feel it." Then the Lame-man said " It is she," but the 
Blind-man said " Let me feel," and he put out his 
hand, and immediately she pulled it off. Then the 
Blind-man shook off the Lame-man, and went away at a 
run, and he went and hid in a thorn-bush (3). And 



422 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the Lame-man crawled off, and he got inside a hollow 
Monkey-bread tree. 

Now after a time the Lame-man found that he had 
got feet again, and his legs were lengthened, and he 
could walk a little. And he called out " O Blind-man, 
I can walk." Then the Blind-man said " O Lame-man, 
I have got back my eyes," for he could see a little. 
Then the Blind-man emerged from the thorn-bush, 
and the Lame-man came out of the hollow Monkey- 
bread tree, and when they met, they said let each return 
so that he could be quite healed. So the Blind-man 
returned to the thorn-bush, and the Lame-man again 
got inside the hollow Monkey-bread tree. But when 
they had done so, the Lame-man's legs became crooked 
again, and the Blind-man's eyes once more grew dim, 
so the Lame-man died in the hollow Monkey-bread tree, 
and the Blind-man died in the thorn-bush. 

God had given them some alleviation of their 
distress, but they were not thankful, they only said that 
they would not be content until they were quite 
cured (4). 



Compare Grimm's story of the Goldsmith who, not 
being satisfied with the present which the Pixies had 
given him, even though they had also removed a hump 
which he had had on his back, tried to get more, and 
found that his present had become worthless, and that 
his hump had reappeared. 



92 
THE MAN AND HIS WIVES WHO WERE WITCHES. 

There was a certain Man who had married three 
Wives, and all of them had the art of magic. One's 



THE WIVES WHO WERE WITCHES 423 

magic was not that of eating Men, but that of the other 
two was of that kind. 

Now they used to go to the forest, and have magic 
dances with their Drummer, and as they danced he 
would sing, and say " O House-Mother, can you not 
do the witchcraft dance? " And she would reply that 
the witchcraft dance was too hard, wait until she had 
given her Husband as an offering. Then the Drummer 
would say " O Second Wife, can you not do the witch- 
craft dance?" And she also would reply that the 
witchcraft dance was too hard, wait until she had 
given her Husband as an offering. Then the Drummer 
would say " O Youngest Wife, can you not do the 
witchcraft dance?" But she would reply that the 
witchcraft dance was too hard, wait until she had 
given her cloth as an offering. 

Now the Drummer went and called the Husband, 
and said that he was going to roll him up in a mat (i), 
and that he must stay quiet, and hear what his Wives 
would say. So the Husband remained in the mat, 
and the Drummer came, and took up his drum, and 
began drumming, the beat of the witchcraft dance. 
When the two Wives said that they would seize their 
Husband to give him as an offering to the witchcraft 
dance, the Husband jumped up and ran towards them. 
And as he ran, he seized one Wife and killed her, and 
he came and seized the second, and took her to the top 
of a tree, and tied her there, but he left the other, the 
one who said that she would give her cloth to the 
dance. 

They lived together, for the black magic was gone. 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 97) the Good Wife warns 
the Husband, and he pretends to go off on a journey, 



424 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

but really stays with his Friend, the Drummer. He is 
rolled up in a mat, and hears one Wife say that if God 
will give her money, she will give it to the Drummer, 
but the others say that they will give him the liver or 
heart of a Man. The Husband returns to his house 
after seven days, and drives out the two Witches, and 
lives with the other Wife (2). 



93 

How THE ILL-TREATED MAIDEN BECAME RICH. 

A certain Man had two Wives, and each gave birth, 
and brought forth a Daughter. But the Mother of 
one of them died, so the Father said to the other Wife 
"See now, this One's Mother is dead," and he 
continued " You must look after both your own and 
her's." " Very well," she replied, " I will do so." 

They lived on, and the Maiden grew up, and the 
Wife was always beating her Step-Daughter. One 
day the Father scolded her for it, and she said '* Oh ! 
so you would quarrel with me because of her? I will 
take her to a place where she will be eaten " (i). 

Now there was a certain river called the River 
Bagajun, and whosoever went there was eaten by a 
Witch (2), and one day the Step-Mother declared that 
the Maiden had soiled* a skin [used as a mat for the 
floor], and that she must go to the River Bagajun to 
wash it. So the Maiden started off, and was travelling 
along in the forest, when she saw a river of sour milk 
flowing along, and the river said " Here, Maiden, 
come and take some of me to drink." But she replied 
11 No, no, what is the use?" and she passed on. Then 
she came to a river of honey flowing along, and the 



THE POOR MAID BECOMES RICH 425 

river said " Here, Maiden, come and take some of 
me to drink." But she replied " No, no, what is the 
use? " and she passed on. Next she came upon some 
Fowls which were cooking themselves, and, as she 
came up, they said " Here, Maiden, look here, we are 
cooking ourselves; you must come and take one to 
eat." But she replied " No, no, what is the use? " and 
she passed on. 

Soon afterwards she came to the River Bagajun, 
and she stood close up against a tree, and watched a 
certain Woman who was washing herself in the river. 
All over her body were mouths, and the mouths were 
saying: 

" Here you have given me, 

Here you have not given me." 

After a little while the Maiden emerged into the open 
space on the bank (3), and immediately the Woman [who 
was the Witch] beat her body with both hands, and the 
mouths became one like that of an ordinary Person. 
Then she said " Welcome, Maiden," and she continued 
"What has brought you to the River Bagajun 
to-day?" "Because I soiled this skin, and I was 
told to come and wash it," replied the Maiden. Then 
the Witch said " Indeed! Then come here and rub 
me." So the Maiden went to her, and while she was 
rubbing her back, lo ! the back opened but the Maiden 
remained silent. Then the Witch asked " What is it ? " 
And the Maiden replied " Your back has opened." 
"What do you see inside?" demanded the Witch. 
" A little basket with a lid," was the reply. Then the 
Witch said " Take it, you may go home, I give it to 
you." And she continued " After you have gone, if, 
when you say * Shall it be broken here ? ' you hear 



426 HAUSA SUPERSTITIOXS 

[a voice saying] * Break, let us divide,' do not break 
it [but go on]." 

So the Maiden departed, and, while she was 
travelling, she said "Shall I break it here?" And 
she heard " Break, let us divide," so she passed on. 
After she had walked on a good distance, she again 
said "Shall I break it here ? "silence ! "Shall I 
break it here?" silence. So she broke it; and 
immediately all kinds of riches appeared, Cattle, Slaves, 
Camels, Goats, and Horses, and she sent on word to 
her Father saying that he was not to be afraid, and 
run away, it was only she who was returning from 
the River Bagajun (4). 

When she had arrived, and her Mother's Rival 
Wife had seen the possessions, she was seized with 
anger, and she said to her own Daughter " You also 
soil a skin, and go to the River Bagajun." [So she 
did so, and started off, and] she went on, and on, until 
she came to the river of sour milk, and the river said 
" Here, Maiden, take some to drink." Then the 
Maiden replied " You are full of impudence, must I 
wait for you to ask me to take some? " So she took 
some, and drank until she had rilled her stomach, and 
then she passed on. Then she came to the river of 
honey, and the river said " Here, Maiden, come and 
take some of me to drink." Then the Maiden replied 
" You are full of impudence, must I wait for you to ask 
me to take some?" So she took some, and drank 
until she had filled her stomach, and then she passed 
on. Next she came upon the Fowls which were cooking 
themselves, and as she came up, they said " Here, 
Maiden, come and take one and eat it? " So she took 
one and passed on. 

Soon afterwards she arrived at the River Bagajun, 



THE POOR MAID BECOMES RICH 427 

and saw the Old Woman in it, washing, her mouths 
were saying : 

" Here you have given me, 
Here you have not given me." 

Suddenly the Girl jumped out with a boop, [and 
ran into the open], and the Old Woman hit her body, 
and the mouths became one again. " Did you see 
me?" she asked. And the Maiden replied "Great 
Scot ! I should think I did see you, with about a 
thousand mouths." " What has brought you to the 
River Bagajun ? " asked the Witch. " Oh ! I came 
to wash a skin," was the reply. " Come here and rub 
me," said the Witch. But the Maiden replied " Non- 
sense, I have come to wash a skin." " Come neverthe- 
less," said the Witch. So the Maiden said "Very 
well," and when she had come, and had rubbed, the 
back burst open. " There, it is through your own 
silliness," exclaimed the Maiden, " I said I should not 
rub you." "What do you see?" asked the Witch. 
"What could I see except a little basket?" was the 
reply. Then the Witch said " Take it, I give it to 
you," and she continued " After you have departed, 
and are going along, if, when you say ' Shall I break ? ' 
you hear ' Break, let us divide,' pass on." But the 
Maiden replied " Nonsense, If I hear ' Break, let us 
divide,' I will break it." 

As soon as she had departed, she said " Shall I 
break?" And she heard "Break, let us divide," so 
she broke the basket. Immediately Lepers appeared 
to the number of about a thousand, and Lame-men 
about a thousand, and Cripples and Blind-men ; and 
she sent them on in front to go to the town. But her 
Father heard the news, and he said that she was not 



428 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

to come into the town, but that she must live out in 
the forest with her unclean Family. 

In a variant (M.H. 19) the Maidens eat food with 
the Old Woman, and stay with her for several days. 
She is evidently a Witch, for she performs wonders 
with her provisions, dry bones turning into meat, and 
so on. It corresponds in many respects to Grimm's 
tale of the two daughters visiting Madam Holle. 



In a Sierra Leone story (Cunnie Rabbit, page 265), 
the Step-daughter dirties a rice-stick, and is sent to 
the Devil's river to wash it. The Devil knows, and, 
changing himself into first a hoe, and then a Man a 
44 pusson (who) get one yi' middle heen head " meets 
her on the way, and, although the Girl is surprised, she 
is polite, and does not show her astonishment. At last 
she arrives at the place, and finds the Devil, who has 
taken human form and invites her to pull the lice out 
of his bald head (5). This Devil had so many eyes 
that he could see if she played any trick, but she did 
not, and so the Devil washed the rice-stick for her, and 
told her to choose four eggs from a heap. She took 
four small ones, and was told to break them one by one 
en route to her home. She did so, and, of course, got 
all she wanted. But her Step-Sister, who came after- 
wards, was rude to the Devil, chose four large eggs, 
and, on breaking them, was stung by Bees, crushed by 
Snakes, flogged by Men, and lastly burnt up with her 
Mother. The good Girl, however, managed to raise her 
own Mother from the grave. Here we see that the 
Devil was able to have eyes all over his body, or only 
one in the middle of his head, as he pleased. 



94, 

DAN-KUCHINGAYA AND THE WITCH. 

Once there were certain Boys, three of them, one 
named Dan-Kuchingaya (i), and his two Brothers, and 



DAN-KUCHINGAYA AND THE WITCH 429 

they were courting Maidens. Now, these Maidens were 
the Daughters of a Witch, but the Boys did not know 
this (2), and they went to the Maidens* house. 

When they had arrived, food was prepared for 
them, and they went outside to walk about [while it was 
being cooked]. Now it happened that they came upon 
the Witch, combing the plaits of one of her Daughters, 




FIG. 92. 



AAA 



FIG. 93. 



FIG. 92. Saddle in general use, of wood, iron and leather, covered 
with skins. FIG. 93. Stirrup and leather. 



and looking for lice (3), and the Boys came up and 
said " Peace be upon you." Then the Mother loosed 
her Daughter's head, and when she had done so, the 
Boys came and sat down. And when evening came, 
food was brought to the Boys, and they ate it. 

Now that night, the Witch was unable to sleep, and 



430 



HAUSA SUPERST1TIO 



she took a knife and began sharpening it. But Dan- 
Kuchingaya [heard her, and] pulled off her Daughters' 
breasts, and put them on to his Brothers [and himself] 
while the Witch was sharpening the knife. When she 
had sharpened it, she came to cut the Boys' throats, 
but Dan-Kuchingaya coughed, and said " Urn." 
Then she exclaimed " Oh ! Boy, what do you want ? " 
He replied " I want an egg, to do something with it " 
(4). So the Witch went and brought it to him, and then 
went and lay down. Then Dan-Kuchingaya went and 
pulled off the under-cloths of the Witch's Daughters, 
and put them on his Brothers [and himself] ; and he 
pulled off his Brothers' loin-cloths and his own, and 
tied them on to the Witch's Daughters (5). 

No sooner had he done this, and lain down again, 
than the Witch came, and began feeling about [in the 
dark], and when she found a loin-cloth she killed the 
wearer. So she killed all her Daughters [without 
knowing it], and, after she had done so, she returned, 
and lay down by herself. Then Dan-Kuchingaya dug 
a hole in the floor of the hut, and made a tunnel right 
to his town, and he roused his Brothers, and they went 
off, only he alone, Dan-Kuchingaya, stayed in the 
Witch's house. 

When morning broke, the Witch came, and said 
" Get up, you Children, day has broken." Then 
Dan-Kuchingaya emerged, and said "I am Dan- 
Kuchingaya, I will show you what I have done." So 
she w r ent and found her Daughters, and saw that she 
had killed them all, and she said " Mark me, I will 
be avenged on you for what you have done to me." 
Then the Boy went home and told his Brothers, and 
said " If you see a Woman come soliciting, do not 
go with her." 



DAN-KUCHINGAYA AND THE WITCH 431 

Now the Witch arose, and became a Bad Woman, 
and came to the Boys' town on market-day, and it 
happened that Dan-Kuchingaya's Elder Brother saw 
her she had put forty needles in her hand [but he 
did not know this] and when he saw her, he wanted 
to go with her, and she said " Very well." But Dan- 
Kuchingaya came up, and saw her, and he called his 
Elder Brother aside, and said " Do not go with that 
Woman." But the Elder Brother abused the Boy, so 
he said " Oh, very well, go." So the Elder Brother 
called the Woman aside, and they began to talk 
together, when, all of a sudden, she plucked out his 
eyes, and disappeared. Then Dan-Kuchingaya said 
"Ah! I told you not to go with her," and he 
continued " Now I must go and get back your eyes for 
you." And the Elder Brother said " Good." 

So Dan-Kuchingaya transformed himself, and 
became a beautiful Filani Maid, and he carried some 
milk for sale, but he did not begin to offer it until he 
had reached the door of the Witch's house (6). And, 
as it happened, the Witch said " Bring it here." So he 
took it to her, and she bought it. Then he asked her, 
saying " Do you know of a charm to recover eyes? " 
And he continued " Dan-Kuchingaya, a Wicked Boy, 
has been and has plucked out the eyes of my Cattle." 
"Is that so?" the Witch replied, "Well, go, and 
get the eyes of a Black Goat (7), and when you have 
procured them, I will give you a certain ointment to 
put with the eyes, and you will see that the eyes of 
your Cattle will be restored." So he said " Good [but 
give me the ointment now." And she gave it to 
him] (8). 

So Dan-Kuchingaya left her, and when he had got 
a good distance away, he changed himself into a Youth 



432 



HAL'S A SUPERSTITIONS 



again, and said ' I am Dan-Kuchingaya, it is on 
account of the eyes of my Elder Brother which you 
plucked out, that I came and questioned you." Then 
she said " Go and get some pepper, and put it in." 
But he replied " Oh ! I know all about that " and 
he went off. So they bought a Black Goat, and 
killed it, and Dan-Kuchingaya put the eyes into his 
Elder Brother's sockets, and it came to pass that his 
eyes were restored. 

A variant (L.T.H. ii, 38) makes Dan Kuchin-da- 
Gayya a Younger Sister, and the story proceeds upon 
the same lines as The Girl who Married a Snake (F.-L. 
44), except that the Snakes are Dodos. The escape, 
however, is like the one here by changing the clothes 
as in the story of Hop-o'-my-Thumb. 

Compare the Breton story of La Perle, S^billot, i, 
Conies Pop. de la Haute Bretagne, 131. It is also told 
among the Shuswap of North America, ii, Jesup North 
Pacific Expedition (Mem. American Museum of 
Nat. History, Leiden and New York, 1900-1908), 
757. French trappers have perhaps been the medium 

of transmission. (H.) 



95 
THE BOY, THE WITCH, AND THE WONDERFUL HORSE. 

There was once a certain Hunter, he was always 
hunting; and he had a Son who was also a Hunter. 
Now, one day, the Son went into the depths of the 
forest, and there he saw a shed, and said to himself 
" I am going to see who lives in that shed," so he 
climbed up into a tree. And when he had climbed up, 
and was sitting there, suddenly a Woman came out of 




TAKAL XXXV. THE BATTLE IN PROGRESS. XXXVI. THE FINAL MELEE. 

All the dancers become greatly excited, and the mimic fight sometimes becomes so realistic that 
they have to be restrained. Vide Illustrations XXXIII. and XXXIV. 



THE WONDERFUL HORSE 433 

the shed, and, when she had come out, she got a great 
jar, and put it on to boil, and, when it began boiling, 
she brought a sackful of acha [and poured it in], and 
began stirring, and stirring it. Then she took it off the 
fire, and beat her body, and suddenly over the whole 
of her body appeared mouths, and she took the food, 
and began feeding the mouths, and they ate. Each 
mouth would say " O Mother, are you not going to 
give me any? " Soon all the food was finished, even 
the dregs, and she beat her body again, and her mouths 
once more became only one. Then she took the jar, 
and carried it into the shed, and soon afterwards she 
came out again with a mat, which she spread at the 
foot of the very tree in which the Boy was, and she 
lay down. 

Now the Boy was sitting up above her, and he broke 
off a branch, and threw it down on her, and she said 
" O God, ever since that tree has been here its branches 
have never fallen, whatever has happened to them?" 
Then she cast up her eyes, and saw the Boy, and said 
to him "Descend," so he did so, and then she said 
11 O Boy, did you see me? " And he replied " I did 
not see you, Mother," and he started to go off. But 
she said " Come back," and, when he had done so, she 
said "O Boy, you saw me." But he said "No, I 
did not see you, O Mother," and then she said " You 
may go." When the Boy got to the gate of the city, 
he blew horns and trumpets, and said " To-day I saw 
a Woman with many mouths, one would say ' You 
have given me some,' another would say * You have 
not given me any.' " 

Now the Woman heard from where she was, and 
when she had heard, she bit her fingers [hands], and 
said that the Boy had put her to shame in the city. 
28 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

So she made preparations where she was, and turned 
herself into a Woman beautiful in all truth. And when 
she had done this, she came to the door of the King's 
palace. The King said that he wanted to marry her, 
but she took a little basket with a lid, and placed it by 
the King's door, and said that whoever hit and opened 
it, he would be her Husband. Then the King threw 
at the basket and hit it, but it did not open, so he 
made room for the Heir to try, and the Heir hit it, but 
it did not open. So the Councillors were given the 
chance to try, and they hit it, but it did not open. 

Nmv the Boy, the Hunter, was away in the forest, 
and a Friend left [the spot where the throwing was 
taking place] to go home, and, as he was going, he 
met the Boy, who had returned from the forest, so he 
said " Come and let us throw at the basket." The Boy 
said " Whose? " And the other replied " It belongs to 
a certain Woman, a most beautiful one." Then he 
asked " Has the King not thrown ?" and the other said 
11 He has." " When he threw did he not win her? " 
asked the Boy. [Then the other replied " No "], and 
the Boy said that if the King had tried, and had not 
succeeded, how was he going to do so ? ' But the 
Friend said " Let us go, how do you know that you 
cannot? " 

So they went, and when they had come to the place 
the Boy took a tiny stone, and threw it, and, when he 
had done so, the basket opened ! Then she said that 
now she had got a Husband. So they were married, and 
they left the place, and went to the Boy's house. He 
left the hut in which formerly he used to sleep, and he 
lived with the Woman. He refused to go near his 
First Wife, he preferred the new one. But his Father 
told the first one to say nothing, and so they lived thus. 



THE WONDERFUL HORSE 435 

Now, one day, the New Wife said that she must go 
to her own city, and at night they began talking. At 
last she said "Do you go hunting with charms?" 
And he said " Um," and he began telling her [what 
they were]. But his Father swore at him, and then he 
kept silence. So in the morning he arose, and was going 
to girth the saddle on his Horse, but the Woman said 
" Are you going to ride, and kill me in the forest 
with the Horse? " So he left the Horse, but he took 
up his sword. Then she said " Are you going so that 
you can cut me down in the forest?'* So the Boy 
returned, and left his sword, but he took up his water- 
gourds. Then she said " Are you going to make some 
charm against me in the forest?" So he left all his 
weapons in the hut, and was going off thus, when his 
Father scolded him, and said " Get all your things 
from your hut, and take them," so he got them. Then 
his Father said " Your Horse says that he is going 
to follow you in the forest," so he said " Very well, I 
will saddle him." So he put on the saddle, and 
mounted, and he sent her in front of him, and they 
started off. 

After a time, she said to the Boy " Do you know 
this part? " and he replied " Certainly I do know it, 
for we hunt in all directions." At last they reached her 
shed, and she said " Do you know that shed? " And 
he said that he knew it. Then she asked "What did 
you see in it?" And he replied that he had seen a 
Woman, a Many-mouthed one. Then she exclaimed 
"Oh hoh! " So they went on, and on, and on, for 
six days they travelled, and then she asked " Do you 
know this part? " And he said that he did not. On 
and on again they went, until they had been going for 
ten days, and then they arrived at the city. 



436 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

When they had got to the house, she prepared her 
magic, she got food, and took it to the Boy, and he 
ate it. And in the night she sharpened her teeth, for 
she was going to enter the Boy's hut, and eat him. But 
the Horse spoke, and the Boy asked " Who is there? " 
And she replied " It is only I." Then he said " What 
has brought you?" and she answered " I was won- 
dering if the fire was out." Then the Boy said " Oh 
no, go away." So she went out, and re-entered her 
own hut (i). 

For three days the Boy was in the city, and there 
was nobody else there but them. Then the Boy said 
to his Horse " To-morrow morning do not eat any 
grass." So when morning came, the Horse did not 
eat any. Then the Woman asked " What is the matter 
with your Horse?" And he replied "He has pains 
in his inside." Then she asked " What is the cure for 
that?" And he replied " Here is a basket in which 
water can be drawn (2), if he has water from it he will 
be cured." So she took the basket and went off to the 
river, and when she had gone, the Boy put the saddle 
on his Horse, and mounted, and started galloping 
away. 

Now the Woman tried, and tried, but whenever she 
took it out, the water would not remain in the basket, 
until at last she made a charm, and the water remained 
there. Then she returned to the house, but she did not 
see the Boy, so she threw down the water (3), and took 
to the road, and followed the Boy. Soon she saw him 
afar off, and she called out " Alii, (4) you Youth 
possessed by fear, you have left your loin-cloth, you 
have left your turban " (5). Then the Boy turned his 
head, and said " I have left them as a present." But 
she replied "That present is given because of fear." 



THE WONDERFUL HORSE 437 

So she ran on [and overtook the Boy], and was about 
to seize one of the hoofs of the Horse, when lo ! the 
Horse's tail became a razor, and cut her hand. Then 
she stopped and began licking the blood. 

But soon she started off again, and followed, and 
called out " Alii, you Youth possessed by fear, you 
have left your loin-cloth, you have left your turban." 
Then again the Boy turned his head, and said " I 
have left them as a present." But she replied "That 
present is given because of fear." So she ran on [and 
overtook them], and wounded one of the Horse's legs. 
Then the Boy was very much frightened, and said " O 
Horse, would you fail me ? Take me home, it is not 
close." And the Horse replied " Even had I only 
one leg I would take you home safely," and he con- 
tinued that he would carry him for the Boy's own sake, 
not his. Soon the Woman came on again, and fol- 
lowed, and followed, and called out " Alii, you Youth 
possessed by fear, you have left your loin-cloth, you 
have left your turban." Then again the Boy turned 
his head, and said " I have left them as a present." 
But she replied " That present is given because of 
fear." So she ran on [and overtook them], and 
wounded another of the Horse's legs. Then the Boy 
said "O Horse, O Loved One, would you fail me? 
Take me home, it is not close." And the Horse re- 
plied " Even had I only one leg I would take you home 
safely," and he continued that he would carry him 
for the Boy's own sake, not his. 

At last they arrived at the gate of their city, and 
just then the Woman managed to wound another of 
the Horse's legs and he fell down dead. Now the 
Father knew what was going on, and he opened the 
hut where the Dogs were kept, and they followed 



433 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

behind him, and they chased the Woman, she got away 
only just in time. Then the Father said "That is 
enough for now, there will be more to do to-morrow." 
So the Boy dismounted from his Horse, and took the 
path to his home, and he bought white cloth, and the 
Horse was wrapped in it, and buried. 

After about two days, the Woman turned herself 
into a mass of flowers, and the Women of the town 
went and began picking them. Then the Boy's Friend 
came to him [and asked him to go also], but he replied 
11 It is that Woman." Then the Friend said " Poof, 
are you afraid of her?" So the Boy said " All right, 
let us go." So they went, but the Boy would not go 
to the place where the flowers were, and when he had 
returned home he said " I tell you that it is that 
Woman." And in the morning, when the People had 
gone to look for the flowers there were none. Then 
the Boy said to his Friend " You see, I told you so." 

About two days later, she transformed herself into 
a Horse, and said that she would kill the Boy, [so she 
wandered about loose in the streets of the town]. Now 
the Youths of the town went and caught the Horse (6), 
and mounted it, and made it gallop, and the Boy's 
Friend came to him, and suggested that they also 
should go and catch the Horse, and ride it. But the 
Boy refused, saying " It is that Woman." Then the 
Friend said " Poof, are you frightened of your own 
Wife? " So the Boy replied " Very well, let us go." 
So they went to where the Horse was, and the Friend 
caught it, and rode it, he galloped, he rode away, 
and then returned. So then the Boy also mounted 
it, and, when he had done so, and was gallop- 
ing, she turned herself into a Wind, and was going 
to carry the Boy up in the air, but he caught hold 



TEE WONDERFUL HORSE 



439 



of a branch of a tree, and, when she saw that he had 
done so, she went off. Then the Boy descended from 
the tree, and went to his Friend, and said to him " You 
see, I told you that it was that Woman," and the other 
said " Yes, it was so," and they went home. 




FIG. 94. 




FIG. 95- 

FIG. 94. Brass stirrup. L., iof in. FIG. 95. Head ornaments 
(for horse) of leather, coloured flannel, and cotton. 



Again the Woman came, and changed herself into 
a Sword [and went to the market], there was no other 
like it in the whole city, and the Youths came and 



440 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

tried it. Then the Boy's Friend came to him, and 
suggested that they also should go, and see the Sword. 
But the Boy said " It is that Woman." Then the 
Friend said " Poof, are you afraid of your own Wife ?" 
So the Boy replied 4< Very well, let us go." They 
started off, but, as they went, he called his Dogs, and 
no sooner had he arrived than he cut at the Sword with 
his own, saying let him test its edge with that of his 
own. So he cut it in two, and lo ! the Woman 
appeared, and the Dogs chased her, and ate her 
flesh (7). Wherever even a single drop of blood 
dropped on the grass he told the Dogs to take it, and 
so all the Dogs followed, and licked up the blood. 



In a variant (M.H. 20) the Youth buys a Horse with 
the breasts of his own Mother which he has cut off, 
and he sets out to see where the world ends, the Spider 
accompanying him, riding on a leaf. At last the 
Travellers arrive at the end of the world, where " there 
is no land, not a tree, nothing but wind, water, and 
darkness." The Youth will not touch the food at first, 
but the Spider says that there is no harm in it, so he 
eats it. In the night the Cock warns them three times 
that the Witch is coming, and so she has to desist. In 
the morning she asks her Visitors if they have seen her 
do anything which was not quite the thing, and they 
reply in the affirmative. She manages to capture the 
Cock and kill it (though at first it contrives to escape 
and to hide in the grass), and she gives it to them to 
eat. Three times she comes in the next night also, and 
the Spider, who is watching by the door, beats her on 
the head with an iron club on each occasion, breaking 
her head, so she retires to lick the blood which is flow- 
ing on to her body. Next morning, they say " Good- 
bye," and go off. She follows, and catches the Horse's 
tail, but her hands are cut by razors which have been 
tied there, "again she comes like the wind," and 
catches them at a river of hot water, but again her 



THE BOY WHO CHEATED DEATH 441 

hands are cut. They pass through rivers of fire and of 
cold water with a similar result, and at last they reach 
terra firma, the Witch turns back* and they arrive home 
in safety. 

In a Sierra Leone story (Cunnie Rabbit, page 184) 
a Girl is wooed by a Half-Devil and is taken to his 
home, her Young Brother following them against the 
Half-Devil's wish. In the night the Devil sharpens his 
knife, and creeps up to kill the Girl, but the Brother 
speaks, and asks for more clothes ; next time he coughs, 
and asks the Devil to get him some water in a fishing- 
net, and the Devil goes off to do this " Because he wan* 
hurry yeat de ooman, he stupid; he no wait t'ink he 
no able get wattah wid fis'-net." While the Devil is 
away, the Brother and Sister go off, of course, and 
escape. 



96 
THE BOY WHO CHEATED DEATH. 

There was once a very Rich Man, there was no 
other in the whole city so rich, and he had a Son. 
The King of the city also had a Son, and the latter 
said that he wanted the Rich Man's Son to be his 
Friend. But as for any real friendship [there was none, 
for] the King's Son did not really like the Rich Man's 
Son very much, and he, the Rich Man's Son, did not 
really like the King's Son very much. The King's 
Son was friendly to him on account of his Father's 
riches; and the Rich Man's Son was friendly to the 
other because he was the Son of the King of the city. 

Now there was a certain town where Death lived, 
with her Children, and whosoever went there never 
returned. And one day the King's Son said to the 



44-: HAUSA SUPERST1TIOXS 

Rich Man's Sun " Look here, you are very proud of 
yourself because your Father is rich." And he con- 
tinued *' [If you are as fine a Man as you think), go 
to Death's house, eat her food, and bring me the 



remains." 



Then the Rich Man's Son told his Father, and said 
" Listen to what the King's Son said to me when we 
were at the games (i), in front of the Women, before 
all the People (2). He said that my Father is rich, let 
me go and eat Death's food, and bring him the re- 
mains." Then the Father said " Well, look here, I will 
give you twelve Slaves to take with you, and while 
she is killing them, you can get away, and escape." 
But the Son replied " No, no, I am not afraid, let 
my Horse be saddled, and I will go." So his Horse 
was saddled, and off he started. 

He went on, and on, and on, and after a time he 
came upon a certain Man who was carving out 
stools (3), and the latter said " O Rich Man's Son, 
where are you going?" "I am going to Death's 
house," he replied. " Then let me give you a stool," 
the Man said, " it will be useful to you." So he took 
it, and started again. 

He travelled on, and on, and on, until he came 
upon a Blacksmith, who said " O Rich Man's Son, 
where are you going?" "I am going to Death's 
house," was the reply. "Then let me give you this 
hammer," the Blacksmith said, " It will be useful to 
you." So he took it, and started again. 

He travelled on, and on, and on, until he came 
upon a Woman who was collecting firewood, and she 
said " O Rich Man's Son, where are you going?" 
" I am going to Death's house," was the reply. " Then 
let me give you a bundle of wood," she said, " it will 



THE BOY WHO CHEATED DEATH 443 

be useful to you." So he took it, and he put all of 
them behind him on his Horse. 

Soon afterwards he arrived, and came upon the 
Children of Death, who were farming, and they said 
"O Rich Man's Son, welcome, welcome." "Where 
is Death ? " he asked. " She is at home," they replied, 
so he came up, and saluted. Then Death came out, 
and said " Ah ! Rich Man's Son, welcome," and she 
said to her Children " Cook rice for the Rich Man's 
Son, prepare a meal for him." When they had cooked 
it, and had got it quite ready, she said " Good, give it 
to him to eat, I am going to the stream to find my 
Husband." 

Now when the Children had given the Rich Man's 
Son the food, and he had eaten, and was filled, 
he threw the remains into his haversack, and then he 
[remounted his Horse, and] spurred it, and galloped 
off. And when Death returned, and asked the Children 
where the Rich Man's Son was, they said "Oh! he 
has gone." But she exclaimed "It cannot be true! 
Does he who comes to my house ever return?" 

Then she pursued him, she ran on, and on, but 
just as she had come up close, and was about to seize 
the Horse's tail, he let the stool fall, and immediately 
it became a great tree, and it closed the road. So she 
returned to her house, and got an axe, and came again, 
and started chopping. She chopped, and chopped, 
and, while she was doing so, the Rich Man's Son was 
getting further away. 

When she. had chopped through the tree, she threw 
down the axe, and ran on, following the Rich Man's 
Son, but just as she had come up close, and was about 
to seize the Horse's tail, he let the hammer fall, and 
closed the road. Then Death said " Bother it, I must 



444 HAUSA SUPERST1TIO 

go and get the hoe, and dig under the hammer, and 
loosen it and throw it aside." 

By the time that Death had loosened it, the Rich 
Man's Son was a long way ahead, so she ran after 
him again, but just as she was about to seize the 
Horse's tail, the Rich Man's Son let the bundle of 
wi>od fall, and it closed the road. Then Death ex- 
claimed " Bother it, I must return to the place where 
I left the axe." 

By the time she had chopped it through (4), the 
Rich Man's Son had reached the gate of his own city, 
but she ran on, and almost caught him. Then [when 
he had escaped] she stopped, and called out 4t O Rich 
Man's Son, you are very lucky; you will not die until 
God Himself kills you, for you have come to my house, 
and have returned alive." 

When the Rich Man's Son had entered the city, 
he went to the King's Son, and said '* Here is Death's 
food which I have saved for you." But the King's 
Son replied " That is a lie ! You must have played a 
trick upon her; if you are not afraid, go to the house 
of the Rago "(5). At the Rago's house, for him who 
arrived one day would be killed the Guest who had 
come the day before, and the New Arrival would be 
slaughtered for the morrow's Visitor. 

So the Rich Man's Son went and told his Father, 
and said " Listen to what the King's Son said to me. 
He dared me to go to the house of the Rago." Then 
the Father said " Well, look here, I will give you 
twelve Slaves to take with you, and while the Rago 
is eating them, you can get away, and escape." But 
the Son replied " No, no, I am not afraid, let my 
Horse be saddled, and I will go." 

When he had arrived at the Rago's house, he 



THE BOY WHO CHEATED DEATH 445 

saluted, and the Rago said "Ah! Rich Man's Son, 
welcome." So the Rich Man's Son dismounted, and 
there was killed for him the Stranger who had come 
the previous day, and by the time he had been killed, 
and soup had been made, the Rich Man's Son and 
his Horse had gone inside the Rago's house. Now 
when the meal had been served and eaten, the Rago's 
Wife opened the door at the back of the house, and 
the Rich Man's Son galloped off, but the Rago was 
in the entrance-hall (6), and did not know that they 
had escaped. 

Just then another Stranger arrived, and saluted, and 
when he had done so, the Rago said " Welcome, wel- 
come," and, when he had welcomed the New-Comer, 
he entered the house, and said " Where is the Rich 
Man's Son ?" He wanted to kill him for the Stranger. 
Then the Wives said " Oh, none of us have seen him, 
he must have run away." But the Rago exclaimed 
" It cannot be true. I shall follow him," and he ran 
after him, calling out " O Rich Man's Son stop." 
Then the Rich Man's Son replied " Oh ! no, I will not 
stop ; why do you not run and catch me if you can ? " 
So the Rago followed him, and ran on, and on, and on, 
but the Rich Man's Son escaped. When he had got 
right away, and had reached the door of his house, 
the Rago said " O Rich Man's Son, you are indeed 
lucky, you will not die until God kills you." 

Now when the Rich Man's Son had returned, he 
went to the King's Son, and said " I have been to 
the house of the Rago." But the King's Son replied 
"It is a lie, to-morrow you must mount your favourite 
Horse, I also shall mount my favourite Horse, and we 
will gallop before the door of the council chamber, 
my Father's door (7). 



446 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

So next morning, the Rich Man's Son said to his 
Father " Listen to what the King's Son said to me, 
he said that I must mount my favourite Horse, and 
that he would mount his favourite Horse, and that we 
must gallop before the door of the council chamber, 
his Father's door." So the King's Son rode a Horse 
worth ten Slaves, the Rich Man's Son rode one worth 
twenty, and when they had come to the open space 
at the entrance of the council chamber (8), the King's 
Son said " O Rich Man's Son, you gallop first." But 
the Rich Man's Son replied " No, no, you must go 
first, this is your Father's door " (9). So the King's 
Son galloped off, and when he had come back, he said 
" There you are, now you go." Then the Rich Man's 
Son said that he would, but as he was returning to 
where the King's Son was waiting, his Horse neighed, 
and, when it had finished neighing, the King's Son 
and his Horse had disappeared, the neighing had 
carried them off, there was no one who knew where 
they had gone, he and his Horse. 

Then the Rich Man's Son went to his Father, and 
said " See, I galloped with the King's Son, but he 
has disappeared, I have not seen him since." 

So the King mourned the loss of his Son. 



In a Sierra Leone story (Cronise and Ward, page 
292) a Girl and her Dog go with the Ghosts to their 
country which was far away on the other side of a big, 
big valley and the Ghosts disappear one by one, until 
she is left alone with the one whom she has followed, 
and his house is furthest away. The Ghosts come and 
try to kill her, but she is saved by her Dog which can 
see " dem die pusson " on condition that she never 
calls him " Dog " again. All goes well for a time after 
their return, but one day she uses the word in a fit of 
anger, and falls dead. 



THE CANNIBAL KING 



447 



97 
THE KING WITH THE CANNIBAL TASTES. 

There was once a certain King, and, while his 
evening meal was being prepared, a Hawk, which was 




FIG. 96. 





FIG. 98. 



FIG. 97. 

FIGS. 96, 97. Spurs. FIG. 98. Iron bell tied to horse's mane. 
H., iin. 



carrying a piece of human flesh, flew over the palace, 
and, while she was flying, the flesh slipped from her 
grasp, and fell into the soup, and no one saw it. So 
when the food had been cooked, it was taken off the 



448 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

fire, and brought to the King, and the soup also was 
brought. So the piece of human flesh was put before 
him, and he ate it. 

Now when he had eaten the food, he thought that 
he had never tasted anything so nice before it was 
the piece of human flesh which he thought so good, but 
he did not know and he asked for more. So he had 
a Goat killed, but he did not get a flavour like that 
of the other, then he had a Bull killed, but again he 
missed the delicious taste of the flesh. And though 
he sent and had brought to him meat of every Beast 
of the forest, when he ate it, he did not get the flavour 
he wanted. 

At last he had a Slave seized, and he killed him, 
and ate him, and then he recognized the taste, so he 
kept on seizing the People of his household, and killing 
them, until they were all finished (i). And then the 
other People in the city ran away, and left him alone, 
and so, when the longing overcame him, he would pick 
off a piece from his own body, and eat it. At last he 
was nothing but bones, and when he ran, you could 
hear the bones rattling, and making a sound like 
gwarrang, gwarrang. 

One day he went along the road to the resting- 
place of the Traders, and he lay in wait to rush upon 
them, and on their arrival he [let them pass, and then] 
followed one at a run to catch him, and bring him 
back to eat. So he went and killed him, but when he 
wished to carry back the corpse, he fell down, he was 
too weak to carry it, and he died. 

That is all. 



In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 49) the King discovers what 
the flesh was by seizing the Slave who comes to light 



THE MANY-HEADED CANNIBALS 449 

his fire, and, as this happens always, the Wives find 
it out and run away. His Married Daughter comes to 
visit him, and nearly loses her life, but manages to 
escape in time. 



In a Malayan tale (Skeat, op. cit., 59), an Attendant 
takes the carcase of a Goat to the river to wash it before 
roasting for the Prince. A Vulture flies down and 
carries off the heart, and as the Attendant is afraid to 
take the flesh back thus, he kills a Boy who is passing, 
and substitutes his heart for that of the Goat. The 
Prince so much enjoys the new meat that, when he has 
found out what it is, he has a Boy killed daily, and he 
gradually grows tusks. 



98 
THE MANY-HEADED CANNIBALS. 

This is a story about the Girringas, the Many- 
headed Cannibals. There was one Girringa who had 
two heads, and he went to a far city to get a Wife, 
and while they were returning, he and his Wife, they 
met with another Girringa who had three heads, and 
when he saw them he sang : 

44 Welcome Girringa. " 
And the other replied, also singing, 

44 Urn, hum, Girringa." 
And then they sang again, 

44 Welcome Girringa." 

44 Urn, hum, Girringa." 

44 Where have you come from ? " asked the one with 
three heads. 

44 I come from Kano," sang the other. 
44 What did you go for? " asked the new-comer. 
44 To find a Wife," replied the other. 
29 



450 HA USA SUPERSTITIONS 

" Where is the Woman ? " asked the Three-headed 
One. 

" See her behind me," was the reply. 
" What is she crying for? " asked the other. 
" She is crying at the sight of your heads/' said 
the Husband. 

" Wait until she sees the King," replied the other. 
So they parted, and [the Wife and her Two-headed 
Husband] went on towards the city, and lo ! they met 
with a Four-headed Being, who sang : 

" Welcome Girringa." 
And the other replied, also singing, 
" Um, hum, Girringa." 
And then they sang again, 

"Welcome Girringa." 
" Um, hum, Girringa." 

" Where have you come from ? " asked the one with 
four heads. 

" I come from Kano," sang the other. 
" What did you go for? " asked the new-comer. 
" To find a Wife," replied the other. 
"Where is the Woman?" asked the Four-headed 
One. 

" See her behind me," was the reply. 
" What is she crying for? " asked the other. 
" She is crying at the sight of your heads," said 
the Husband. 

"Wait until she sees the King," replied the other. 
So they parted, and [the Wife and her Two-headed 
Husband] went on towards the city, and lo ! they met 
with a Five-headed Being, who sang : 

" Welcome Girringa." 
And the other replied, also singing, 
" Um, hum, Girringa." 



THE MANY-HEADED CANNIBALS 451 

And then they sang again, 

" Welcome Girringa." 
" Um, hum, Girringa." 

* Where have you come from ? " asked the one with 
five heads. 

" I come from Kano," sang the other. 
" What did you go for ? " asked the new-comer. 
" To find a Wife," replied the other. 
"Where is the Woman?" asked the Five-headed 
One. 

" See her behind me," was the reply. 
" What is she crying for? " asked the other. 
" She is crying at the sight of your heads," said 
the Husband. 

" Wait until she sees the King/' replied the other. 
So they parted, and at last [the Wife and her Two- 
headed Husband] arrived at the city, and they went 
to the palace, and then she saw the King of the 
Girringas who had ten heads ! And the King sang : 

11 Welcome Girringa." 
And the other replied, also singing, 
" Um, hum, Girringa." 
And then they sang again, 

" Welcome Girringa." 
" Um, hum, Girringa." 

41 Where have you come from?" asked the King. 
' I come from Kano," sang the other. 
"What did you go for?" asked the King. 
" To find a Wife," replied the other. 
" Where is the Woman? " asked the King. 
" See her behind me," was the reply. 
" What is she crying for? " asked the other. 
"She is crying at the sight of your heads," said 
the Husband. 



452 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

Then she was taken to her Husband's house, but 
she refused to go in, and cried, and cried. Then 
they argued, and argued, with her, and at last she 
entered the house. Goats were killed in her honour, 
three of them, and she hid some of the flesh to eat, 
and she ate her fill (i). 

Well, she lived there for some time, and they fed 
her up until she had got very fat (2). And on the very 
day that they meant to kill and eat her, they gave her 
a pot to get water with which they were going to wash 
her [although she did not know what it was for] (3). So 
she went off to the river, but when she had got there, 
she began to feel afraid, for they had never before 
allowed her to go outside the house. So she [deter- 
mined to escape, and] turned herself into a tree-stump. 

Now as she delayed, and did not return, one of 
the Girringas went and followed her tracks, but he 
could not find her, so he returned and told them that 
she had run away. Then they said " Oh well, we 
must put up with it," and so they went about their 
business. But at night she became a Woman again, 
and she ran away to her own city. 



This is possibly a variant of F.-L. 45 (and see 94), 
one of the Men being sent out to marry a Girl with 
the intention of bringing her back for the Family to 
devour. 



99 
WHY THE YOUNG GIANT LOST HIS STRENGTH. 

There was a certain Youth, a Giant, as high as 
from Jemaan Daroro to Kano, or to Bauchi(i); 
amongst all the others there was not his like. Now 



THE YOUNG GIANT 453 

a Magician had given him a charm, and had said that 
he must never know a Woman. [And while he re- 
mained single] if a Giant came, no matter whence, 
when he arrived, then the Youth killed him when they 
boxed. 

Now there was a certain Girl, a Virgin, who was 
as tall as Sokoto is distant from here (2); Men used 
to leave places *like Damarghera and go to see the Girl 
because of her beauty. Supposing the King of Damar- 
ghera (3) said that he wanted her, she would say that she 
did not like him. Supposing the King of Zungo (4) 
(Malam Yerro) came to her, she would say that she did 
not like him. 

But one day she heard the news of this Young 
Giant, and she said that she would go to him. So she 
started off, and commenced the journey, and after two 
months' travelling, she came to the Youth. When he 
saw her, he said that he wanted to marry her, so he 
took her, and led her to his house, and married her. 
Now for the next day a great tournament had been 
arranged, so the Youth went out, and showed off. And 
another Giant came from somewhere else, and he also 
showed off. Then they approached each other, and got 
to close quarters, and the Stranger caught the Youth's 
hand, and he watched his armpit (5), and when he 
punched him, he killed him (6). 

Now, when the Young Giant's People saw this, 
they came and said " Girl, see, him to whom you came 
has been killed in the tournament." Then the Girl 
said "What is the remedy for this?" They replied 
that there was a remedy, and when a grave had been 
dug, they said that if the Girl came and entered this 
grave, and was buried inside, the Youth would arise 
again. So she agreed, and was buried in the grave, 



454 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

and the Young Giant arose, and the Girl who had been 
buried in the grave arose with him. Immediately the 
grave became a great palace, and inside this palace 
of the things in all the world there was not anything 
wanting, so they settled down, and were married (7). 



100 
THE BOY AND THE ONE-SIDED GIANTESS. 

There was once a certain Boy, a King's Son, who 
said that he was going out into the world. So he 
started off, and travelled on, and on, in the forest. 
Soon he came to a big lake, and he went round, and 
round the brink, but he could not see any footprints. 
Then he took out a handful of water, and drank it(i), and 
he took another handful, and gave it to his Dog. Then 
he said that he would see that very day what kind of 
Animal used to drink water there (2), so he climbed a 
tree, and his Dog lay down at its foot. The width of 
the water was like from here to the barracks (3). 

After a time, in the afternoon, he saw a certain 
Woman, a Giantess, with one arm, one leg, and one 
eye, coming to the shore of the lake, and she drank up 
the water pap, and it was finished. Then she began 
crying, saying that her thirst was not quenched. The 
water was finished really because the Boy had taken 
a handful for himself and had given his Dog one ! 

But she calmed herself, and walked towards the 
house (4), and she went and brought out a whole barn- 
ful of corn, about two hundred bundles, and she 
pounded them up, and made a porridge of the corn. 
Then she went and caught two big Bulls, and came 
and slaughtered them, and made soup with them. 



THE ONE-SIDED GIANTESS 455 

Now the Boy arose from where he was, and came 
to her house, and when he arrived, he saw a tree close 
to the door, so he climbed it, and left his Dog at the 
foot. Just then the Woman brought out her soup, 
and she went and brought out her porridge, and then 
she entered her hut again to get her proper cloth to 
wear when eating food (5). While she was there, the 
Boy pushed his spear into the porridge, and drew it 
back, and picked off [a little piece of food that had 
stuck to it]. This he divided into two, one piece he 
put into his mouth, the other he threw down to his 
Dog on the ground. 

Just then the Woman emerged again from her hut, 
and came and sat down to eat the food, and she began 
to eat the porridge first. When she had finished, she 
began to cry, and to say that Something had stolen her 
porridge from her that day (6). Even until midnight 
she was crying, but then she calmed herself, and went 
inside. 

Then the Boy climbed down, and called his Dog, 
and escaped at a run, he did not pause until he had 
reached his own town. And when he had arrived, he 
said " O my Father, I have seen what is in the world." 






In a variant (L.T.H. ii, 7) a Hunter comes upon the 
houses of two Witches. He creeps up, and takes a 
little food from the pot of one of the Witches, and 
gives it to his three Dogs, and the Witch, called 
Pando Pando, complains to the other, Kumbo Kumbo, 
that she has not had enough. Kumbo Kumbo suggests 
that there must be a Man in the house, but they can 
find none, and later on, he and his Dogs escape. 
Pando Pando resolves to be avenged, however, and the 
story then continues as does number 48. She takes him 
to the forest, and tries to kill him, but he gets up a tree, 
and calls his Dogs, and they kill both of the Witches. 



456 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



There are some drops of blood left, and he calls out 
" May I descend ? " The drops of blood reply " If you 
do we will kill you." So he waits until the Dogs have 
eaten every bit, and have licked up all the blood. 



In European tales also, drops of blood can speak, 
vide page 18, where reference is made to one of Grimm's 
stories. 




FIG. 99. \Vhip of hippopotamus hide. L., extended, 48 in. 



FIG. 100. 




FIG. 101. 

FIGS. loo, 101. Dane -guns or bunduks, imported from England. 
Patterns in cowries (embedded in rubber) on butts as charms. The barrel 
and stock of the lower one are bound with grass, rubber and leather 
L., 5 ft. 7 in. 



PART III. 
1 Notes. 

I. ON THE TALES. 

N.B. There is no note for *, it simply means that 
a word has been purposely mistranslated. 

I. 

[i] Literally drunk water. 

[2] On a charge of theft, but the punishment for 
serious forms of this crime was the cutting off of a hand 
or foot (left hand first), not impalement, this (or cutting 
off the parts) being more usual in sexual offences. In 
the case of an ordinary theft, where the thief was equal 
in status to the person robbed, the punishment might 
be that of tying a long piece of wood to one side of 
the thief's head so that it projected before or behind. 
Mutilation and other barbarous punishments have been 
abolished in the districts under British control, but in 



458 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

some of the large capitals, specially appointed natr 
courts have the power of passing sentence of death, 
and of carrying it out after the sanction of the Resident 
has been obtained. 

There was no fixed scale of punishments, a power- 
ful chief could order what he liked, but usually tl 
lex talionis prevailed except when the chief himseli 
had been injured. Sometimes the offending slave 
animal would be handed over. In one story (L.T.H., 
ii, 86) a man gives up his wife so that she may be put 
to death, because he himself has killed a woman. Bi 
this is probably not a Hausa rule, it seems to 
been borrowed from the Berbers, though there is a 
trace of it in Story 80, see LXXX, 7. In Hausaland, 
as elsewhere, the early court helped the successful party 
to enforce the judgment (62). 

In one story, an old woman who was called in to 
wash the dead body of a young virgin, touched a 
certain part of the corpse and made an untruthful re- 
mark about the virtue of the deceased. Immediately 
the old woman's hand stuck fast, and it was not until 
she had been flogged with the proper number of lashes 
for slander that her hand was released. This seems 
somewhat analogous to the touching of the body of 
a dead man by persons suspected of having killed him. 

II. 

[i] Not Sunday, but our Saturday, the Seventh 
Day (Ran Assabat). I am not sure if all the pagan 
Hausas had a holy day, but it is quite possible, for 
members of one community do not work on Sunday, 
but sacrifice to their Gods on that day (Man, 1910, art. 
40), and in the Gold Coast " no fishing ever takes 
place on a Tuesday, the day being sacred to the fetish 



NOTES ON THE TALES 459 

of the sea, and devoted to the repairing of nets'* 
.(N.W.S. 15). If the holy day had been a Moham- 
medan innovation, it would have been Friday, and 
not Saturday, as is shown in the other tales. 

III. 

[i] The daughter of a rival wife, who was evidently 
dead, as we hear nothing of her, and the step-mother 
is in charge of the girl. 

[2] There is no indication as to what kind of fish 
it was. Perhaps the manatee is meant, for it is 
found in the Niger. But talking fish are common in 
folk-lore, and a dead fish laughs in Somadeva, Katha- 
Sarit Sagara (Ed. Tawney, i, 24 (C) ). 

[3] In some places the masculine pronouns are 
used, in others the feminine, and to avoid confusion 
I have called the fish " it,*' but there is no neuter in 
Hausa. 

[4] The Salla, at the end of Ramadan. Horse-races 
and dances are held at these times and people dress up 
in new clothes and all their finery, see illustration, 
page 1 6. Two of the dances are described in T.H.H. 
pages 262-264. 

[5] There were proper preliminaries to be arranged 
first, and the chief would have to approach her father 
at home, in the usual way. There is a saying that a 
bride should never be chosen on a feast day, because 
she will be excited and painted, and over-dressed, so 
it will be impossible to tell what she is really like. 

[6] Really they must have found him at the dances, 
for the wife was still there, and she heard them talking. 

[7] The new one, the bride. 

[8] They did not wish to be seen. Perhaps it would 
have been dangerous for any person who saw them. 



46o HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[9] It is possible that there was some tabu on her 
doing household work, such as that on speaking which 
we find in European tales. Compare Story 30. 

[10] Rather a mild punishment for such mutila- 
tion. In most of the stories the rival wives are killed 
for much less than this. 

IV. 

[i] A strange expression, corresponding in some 
respects, perhaps, to our " Lend me your ears." A 
more usual reply is " Increase the number of your ears 
and you will hear some news," implying that two are 
not enough for the wonders to be described. This is 
more intelligible, and is something like our " He 
listened with all his ears." 

[2] As long as the bull pulled against it, the rope 
could not be undone. The narrator gives no reason 
why the peg itself was not pulled out, by far the more 
simple proceeding. 

[3] Wives, concubines, and others would all be 
jealous of the new arrival, especially as she was con- 
sidered too much above them and too delicate to help 
in the ordinary w r ork (grinding and pounding corn, 
fetching water, cooking food &c., evidently the latter 
in this case). The idea of protecting one's wife from 
work seems more in accordance with the European than 
with the native temperament; the true solution is 
probably to be found in tabu, to which a Kaffir tale 
seems to give a clue. The variant suggests a different 
reason, however. 

[4] In North-west Uganda, if " your enemy is 
already afflicted with loathsome specific disease, you 
may take a branch of the castor-oil tree, and with it 
beat the place where he has been sitting ; the result will 



NOTES ON THE TALES 461 

be that the disease will become chronic and refuse to 
get well." (Kitching, On the Backwaters of the Nile, 
page 238.) 

V. 

[i] Evidently a tabu. Mr. Crooke tells me that in 
India a man often refuses to live in the town where his 
wife's family resides, and thinks that this may be a sur- 
vival of marriage by capture. Dr. Seligmann tells 
me that he has noticed the same thing amongst the 
Beja of the Red Sea Province of Kordofan. It has 
been observed amongst the Matse, an Ewhe tribe in 
German territory on the Slave Coast. Here, when a 
woman lives in her husband's house, he may not eat in 
the house of her parents, and they may not eat in his. 
A breach of this rule is shameful ; many people say 
that it would prevent the wife from bearing children. 
(Frazer, op. cit., vol. ii, page 581. See also XXIV (6).) 

[2] So that he could feel his way back in the dark. 

[3] I do not know why it should be a mare, unless 
she would be more likely to sympathize with the wife's 
parents ! ! Mares are kept for breeding purposes, and 
are dangerous to ride because the horses are entire. 

VI. 

[i] The cakes are made of flour soaked in honey, 
water and pepper. 

VII. 

[i] There is usually some hiding place for non- 
combatants where food is stored and other preparations 
are made for the outbreak of war. All over the coun- 
try in the old days of the slave-raiders (and even now 
in the districts of the unsubdued tribes) no town knew 
when it might have to fight for its very existence. 



4 62 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



[2] The Commander-in-Chief, usually called the 
4 War-Father,'* a man is meant. I am told that the 
Uban Ya(i)ki in each district is always chosen from 
among the members of a certain family unless they 
happen to be incompetent or in disfavour with the chief. 
The office, therefore, is to a certain extent hereditary. 

[3] Apparently quantity and not quality is the 
native's idea of happiness, as in the case of Job. 

[4] The word surukuta means "shame," "avoid- 
ance," or " relationship of mother-in-law and son-in- 
law." 

[5] I saw very little leprosy amongst the Hausas, 
and I did not question them on the subject, but it is 
often attributed to the bite of certain species of lizards. 
The Kagoro say that it has nothing to do with a fish 
diet, but Canon Robinson (Hausaland, page 150) 
found that there was such an idea in Kano, and he 
ascribes the disease to the rotten fish eaten in the 
inland districts, for there was less leprosy nearer the 
coast, although there was a more plentiful supply of 
fish, because the fish was fresh. The Hausas will eat 
fish so rotten that no European could come near them 
during a meal, and it would not be surprising if such 
food were the cause of many diseases. 



VIII. 

[i] Locusts are caught in nets, and when fried are 
considered a great delicacy; or they may be boiled in 
oil and well salted, and they then taste rather like an 
insipid prawn. They cause great damage in Hausa- 
land. It is related that Mohammed once read these 
words upon the wings of one of these insects: "We 
are the army of God; we lay 99 eggs, and if we laid 



NOTES ON THE TALES 463 

100 we should devour the whole earth." The Prophet 
was aghast, and prayed to God to destroy the locusts, 
and an angel appeared, telling him that a part of his 
prayer had been granted. The best charm even now 
is said to be a piece of paper on which is written this 
prayer, stuck on a stick in the plantation threatened. 

[2] This does not mean that she did so at once. 
The child would probably not be carried on the back 
for some time after birth, but in a calabash on the head. 
See T.H.H., page 306. 

[3] Meaning that some were killed and the others 
ran away. I have left it thus just to show the apparent 
contradictions which increase the difficulty of translation. 

[4] Chronological order wrong, the lion said it 
before he went, of course. 

[5] Apparently there was nothing in the wife using 
the lion's name to make him commit suicide, it was 
simply the fact that he had been discovered, so he 
evidently had the same objection to being seen as have 
witches. The ending of the first variant shows that 
this story was invented to account for the lion's living 
apart from man. 

[6] See remarks on Alkaivali in Chapter IV. The 
lioness was killed to atone for the death of the boy's 
mother, and now the youth has to commit suicide to 
make things even again. 

[7] Iddah, or better Idda, is on the Niger River, 
almost opposite Egori, the first town in Northern 
Nigeria. 

IX. 

[i] A form of address. 

[2] Probably no crime on the poor man's part, and 
so preferable to suicide. 



464 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 
X. 



[i] Owing to tornadoes, a shallow stream with 
banks may become a river in an hour or so, and when 
the bed is of sand, the channels may be altered alm< 
as quickly. 

XI. 

[i] These titles do not refer to the powers of good 
and evil, much less to God and Satan. King or chi< 
is merely a title (see introduction), and correspond 
somewhat to our captain. 

[2] So as to keep the father in. 

XII. 

[i] No reference to the powers of good and evil, 
See Note XI [i]. 

[2] Instead of the speech continuing after the 
interruption, it goes off in a new direction. 

[3] But he still remained the King of Good, of 
course ! 

XIII. 

[i] Really no worse than the belief of the ol< 
slavers that God would give them good store of slaves. 
See N.W.S., page 6. 

[2] Apparently it was too dark by then for her to 
distinguish the ram. 

XIV. 

[i] See LVI (i). 

[2] She pretended to be insulted because Dodo 
could tell that the smell of human flesh was stronger 
than usual. 

[3] The creation of beings by means of spittle or 
excrement to answer for an escaping hero is not un- 




XXXVII. and XXX VIII. BOXING, OR DAMRE. 

Blows may be dealt either with the bandaged left fist, or with either foot. The drum is often 
necessary in order to encourage the boxers to serious efforts. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 465 

common in folk-tales, vide Hartland, The Legend of 
Perseus, ii, 60. 

[4] Zirka is perhaps a corruption of zikri " to pray,'* 
or may be from dirka, " a post." The word bude 
means " open." I have kept the Hausa form as it is 
usual in such cases. Gumgum is a corrupted word and 




FIG. 102. FIG. 103. FIG. 104. 

FIG. 102. Arm-knife. L., 12^ in. FIG. 103. Knife or Dagger. 
Red sheath has strips of green and yellow leather. L., 14! m. f IG. 104. 
Naked Iron Knife (? of Munshi manufacture). L., u in. 

means " shut." Zarga, in the variant, probably means 
" move." 

XV. 

[i] Ground-nuts are grown mainly in the north of 
the country, and some kinds are valuable to Europeans 
commercially because of their oil, while most make a 
30 



466 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

very good soup. There are several varieties, e.g., 
aya which gives the oil for watches, gedda which gives 
oil for lamps, and gujia, used mainly for food. The 
plants grow low on the ground, and have yellow 
flowers. 

[2] Apparently he took other nuts with him to sow 
or else Mrs. Spider must have been rather easy to 
deceive. 

[3] Possibly if the wife had worked the farm she 
would have had a right to sell a part of the produce 
and to keep the proceeds for herself. 

[4] Rubber (principally landolphia) is found in 
many parts of Northern Nigeria, but the natives are 
gradually killing off the supply by digging up the 
roots. What they sell is often so much adulterated 
that it is almost worthless. 

[5] A long neck is supposed to be a sign of great 
beauty, the breasts indicate the age to some extent. 
The Hausa seldom pays much attention to the face of 
his beloved, it is her body which attracts him. To call 
more attention to her charms the narrator here says 
" See her neck, see her breasts!" Compare F.-L. 9. 

[6] The Spider had evidently taken the shape of 
a man. 

[7] Grease is rubbed into the bulala, the cat of hide, 
to make it soft and pliant, but it is not necessary to do 
this in the case of a switch. 

XVI. 

[i] The Arabic salutation, in great favour in 
Hausaland. 

XVII. 

[i] It is hard to render this in English, we might 
say " a bean or two," although meaning a sufficient 



NOTES ON THE TALES 467 

quantity, but the Hausas often use the singular for the 
plural, so "cook a bean " means "cook a dish of 
beans." 

[2] Really the water-tank (earthenware) of the 
house, too big to be carried to the river. 

[3] Only one is mentioned in the Hausa text, 
though it is obvious that all must be meant. The 'fact 
that the bodies of the Gazelles could not go into one 
bag would not trouble the narrator, but there is more 
than one bag, for there are several donkeys. This is 
another instance of the plural being included in the 
singular. 

XVIII. 

[i] Uivarmu (" our mother ") is the name given to 
any woman who provides food, or otherwise takes care 
of or protects others, who become her "children." 
Compare the uivar tuo in the remarks on Bori, and see 
Story 45, where the poor boy becomes his rival's ruler 
and "father." It is usually, though not necessarily, 
a title of respect (cf. the Scotch " wifie "). 

[2] This shows that the variant making the hare 
the hero is the true version. 

[3] A very favourite ending to a story, but showing 
the attention to certain details. 

XIX. 

[i] The native carries hoes, axes, &c., thus, nothing 
is carried in the hand but a weapon in ordinary 
circumstances. 

[2] The slave did not hear this, of course. 

[3] The best. 

[4] Not rifle-men, the guns being long muzzle- 
loading weapons of modern make, from Birmingham, 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

which are usually known as " Dane-guns." See figs. 
ioo and 101. 

[5] Unnecessarily elaborate means, see Chapter II. 

[6] The native beer (usually called pito by us, 
Hausa name gia) is very heady if drunk while out in 
the sun. It is often called " water " in fun (cf., our 
" Adam's ale "), but probably here the slave was pre- 
tending to think that both gourds really did contain 
water. 

[7] Mr. Hartland sends me the following note : 

The principal incident of this tale is to be distin- 
guished from that of The Letter of Death, whether it 
accomplishes its object as in the case of Uriah the 
Hittite, or is superseded by a forged letter as in the 
case of Hamlet the Dane. The incident above is found 
in many European tales, having an edifying purpose, 
in which the hero escapes from having turned aside to 
attend a religious service (see De Puymaigre, Vicux 
Auteurs Castillans, ii, 84; Schischmanoff, Legendes 
Relig. Bulgares, 97 ; Be*renger-Fe*raud, Superstitions et 
Survivances, ii, 264, apparently from the Roman 
Martyrology; the Fables of Cattwg the Wise in lolo 
MSS., 1 66 sqq.). Among the Siamese, potters are said 
to be excluded from bearing witness in a Court of Jus- 
tice on account of a similar story (Journ. of the Indian 
Archipelago, i, 407). In the Hausa tale, the macfic 
contest which follows seems to have no real connection 
with the former. It is a common incident in folk-tales, 
of which the best-known example is found in the story 
of the Second Calendar in the Arabian Nights. 

XX. 

[i] The meaning is that the wild-cat intended to 
accompany the cock and kill the other fowls (and so 



NOTES ON THE TALES 469 

cause two deaths), but when he heard that the cock was 
living with the dog, he knew that he himself would 
be killed if he attempted it that would be the third 
death. 

[2] According to Major Edgar, the cock (in the 
variant) missed entirely the sarcasm of the wild-cat's 
remark, and, being without any sense of humour, took 
it quite literally to mean that the cat was coming with 
him to the funeral, and so would have the pleasure of 
meeting his friend, the dog. 

XXI. 

[i] I do not think that this has any reference to the 
preparation of a charm, it is simply to save the wild-cat 
the trouble of flavouring his victim. An infusion of 
the root of the bazere is often drunk as a charm. 

XXII. 

[i] The house is a compound containing a number 
of huts, each wife would have a separate one. This is 
a deadly insult, signifying that the occupier is worth- 
less. 

[2] But the rooster still remained the principal 
person (cf. the relationship of a Governor and the 
G.O.C. troops in a colony) because the original quarrel 
was on his account. 

[3] See description in XLV [4]. 

[4] In this case the word goro (kola-nut) is used, it 
is much the same as alkaivali in this sense. See 
Chapter II. 

XXIII. 

[i] A male guest would not be expected to do the 
ordinary work of the house, for the Hausas are very 



470 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

hospitable, but the women might help in the preparation 
of food. 

[2] This is generally done where there are two 
performers. The conjurer at Jemaan Daroro (T.H.H., 
page 207) would sing a line (impromptu), and the 
youth would reply " It is true, God knows it," or 
something to that effect. Where the performer is 
only one of a number the whole company may take up 
the chorus. 

[3] The kid was sharp enough to see its mother's 
plan, and acted accordingly. 

[4] As it was intended that she should. 

[5] Possibly the variant explains why the hyagna 
lives in the forest, while these two animals are domes- 
ticated. 

XXIV. 

[i] Probably a gourd from which spoons are made. 
SeeLVI[i]. 

[2] But this is really affectation on the Spider's 
part, for most of the people use the four fingers of the 
right hand, the fingers being held stiff. They remind 
one of European babies eating bread and butter. 

[3] Evidently a kind of alkawali. 

[4] Perhaps the following story accounts for the 
guinea-fowl's stupidity. It is said (M.H. 40) that 
when things were first made to fly " all the birds said 
' If God wills, we shall rise.' But the guinea-fowl said 
* Whether God wills or not I will fly/ and she rose in 
the air, but fell down. Then God said to her ' I 
retract my blessing from you, O guinea-fowl, you will 
travel on your legs.* " The bird can fly, of course, 
but most often it seeks safety by running if there is 
cover available. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 471 

[5] And that he was to be pursued for having killed 
one of their number. Drums are always used to give 
the alarm. The francolin is called "bush-fowl" in 
British West Africa. 

[6] In this story the Spider seems to have no hesi- 
tation in eating in the house of his Parents-in-Law, in 
the variant he does not go there. In a Kagoro tale 
(R.A.I. Journal, 1912, vol. xlii, page 190) probably bor- 
rowed from the Hausa, the Hare seems to object to 
eating even in the town of his Parents-in-Law. 

XXV. 

[i] The lot is drawn by holding out pieces of grass 
of unequal lengths as with us. In a variant (M.H. 77) 
where the hare is the hero, cowrie shells are used as 
dice for the purpose they are loaded sometimes. 

XXVI. 

[i] A large tree with many branches, bearing a 
sweet edible fruit. 

[2] Although the monkey was still in the tree, 
apparently ! But a little difficulty like this is not worth 
the consideration of the narrator. 

[3] An aperient is made from the fruit of the 
Kimba, so the monkey's speech was hardly polite ! 

[4] He is the Malamin daji, see Chapter II. 

[5] This would seem to indicate that in the ancient 
native trials (as in ours to-day) the prisoner appeared to 
be free so that no prejudice would be raised against him. 
But such, I believe, was not the case. 

XXVII. 

[i] See XXXI [i]. 

[2] Potash is often smoked with tobacco, and 



472 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

ground-nut oil, cow-butter, or shea-butter may be 
added in order to produce more smoke. After all, soda 
was once drunk with tea ! 

[3] The youths go out with the cattle, the girls 
sell the milk, the women stay at home in the camp and 
look after the calves, and the older men visit their 
neighbours, or help to guard the cattle if required. 

[4] Not much sense of proportion in this. 

[5] He is nearly always the chief of the market also. 

XXVIII. 

[i] The correct reply, the intonation making it a 
sound of pleasure, and not merely a rude grunt. 

[2] A woman always kneels when handing food to a 
man. 

[3] This can be used like whitewash, and the cala- 
bashes are coated outside, a decoration particularly 
appropriate at wedding feasts I believe. Here a mark 
of favour. The white powder is sometimes obtained 
from the bones of cattle, burnt and ground. Several 
of the calabashes in the illustration, page 368, are 
whitewashed in part. 

[4] Little round grass mats which act as covers 
or lids, see fig. 69. 

[5] The farms are the only clearings in many parts 
where the population is not too plentiful. 

[6] He was so hungry that he would have been 
unable to resist eating the whole, for he thought it con- 
tained food. 

[7] So that she could take her own away again. 

[8] A proverb, meaning that whatever you do for 
a man who is fated to be unlucky he will not profit by 
it. See an expansion of the proverb in the next story. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 473 

XXIX. 

[i] The Hausa trader is known all over North- 
West Africa, both as a traveller and a bargainer. 

[2] He got more because of his profit. 

[3] The most valuable. 

[4] Long soft boots, see fig. 24. The sides fall to- 
gether when off the legs, as do the breasts of old 



FIG. 105. Wooden club, bound with leather, in general use. L., 32^ in. 




FIG. 106. Sword in general use. Sling of purple and green cotton. 
L., 37iin. 



women. Sometimes they are compared to razor-strops. 
It is needless to say that the Hausa women's breasts are 
very long. 

[5] It does not mean that the old woman was 
obtained in direct exchange for the three cloths, for 
this would have been an excellent result. It means 
that at the end of his trip (see Story 27) she was all he 
had to show. 

[6] Ga jura, ga jura, a very common cry in the 
markets during the heat of the day. See XXXI [i], 

[7] The man walks behind his wife to be ready to 



474 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

help her with her load, and also to guard against her 
being surprised and robbed. 

[8] A hundred slaves would probably be less valu- 
able than 1,000 horses, so the progression is not clear. 
Rather a high price for one old woman. 

[9] Mafari usually means " origin," but here seems 
to bear the meaning ascribed, though perhaps germ or 
nucleus would do. 

[10] The fact that they could not have overtaken 
him when his horse was the faster and he had had a 
start does not occur to the narrator. 

[n] I do not think that there is any idea of a City 
of Refuge in this, it is probably merely because to have 
gone further would have meant fighting. 

[12] The elder brother is nearly always indebted to 
the younger in the stories, and is benefited even though 
he does not deserve it. 

[13] This points to the conclusion that kindness to 
animals precedes a good turn done by them. 

[14] The native dogs are scavengers, and wander 
about at night. 

[15] They build nests in the roof, have white 
bellies, and are smaller than the ordinary variety. 
They would always be in the house, and would see 
what was going on. 

[16] Why he should have been awakened the 
narrator could not explain, for it was not necessary 
since the ring had been secured. This has evidently 
been introduced from a variant. See Story 62. 

[17] Where anyone wanting it could obtain it him- 
self for nothing ; but the lucky man would persuade 
him to buy instead. 

[18] Another example of the virtue of laziness, the 
fourth wife " had never done anything but lie down." 



NOTES ON THE TALES 475 

XXX. 

[i] In many towns strangers are the chief's special 
care, and lodgings in special huts are set aside by him 
for that purpose. See T.H.H., pages 245, 246. 

[2] I could not obtain any explanation of this, the 
reason is not apparent. It might possibly have been 
meant as a compliment to the girl to persuade her to 
talk (such " working-bees " are quite common, see 
F.-L. 6), but it is more likely that she was to be put 
to shame as in Story 3. 

[3] A complimentary form of address. For an 
equivalent in England compare the Roman Catholic 
priests and superiors of convents. 

[4) Accented to resemble the sounds of the pestles 
in the wooden mortars. The women were evidently 
three to a mortar, and each making one beat in turn, 
as there are six sounds which represent two rounds of 
beating. Sometimes two women pound together, more 
often there is only one. Something like this can be 
seen in England in the case of road repairers using 
very heavy hammers. Cf. LXXXVI, 4. See fig. 41. 

[5] The literal translation of the proverb runs : 
" If a boy lives with a bad master he will invent tricks." 
Here it means that the girl was not going to allow 
any rivals, especially as the elder wives were her 
superiors. 

[6] At one time dogs were eaten by the pagan 
Hausas, and this story seems to be connected with the 
dying out of the practice under Islam. 

XXXI. 

[i] Flour and water, known as jura, is the regular 
uncooked meal. Travellers take dry flour in bags and 



476 ll.WSA SUPERSTITId 

mix it with water en route, and evidently enjoy the paste 
thus formed, though it looks very uninviting to a 
European. A little sour milk makes the drink a very 
dainty beverage. See Story XXYII [i]. It is sold in 
the markets, XXIX [6]. 

[2] Tulu is a large and long earthen vessel kept in 
the hut, the ordinary pots taken to the stream are much 
smaller and more round. The latter are also used for 
cooking. 

[3] There does not seem to be much point in this 
story, greed is rather rewarded than punished, for few 
people would mind being driven out of a town if they 
thereby obtained four slaves. 

XXXII. 

[i] Xot bullock, there is no such mutilation amongst 
these people so far as animals are concerned. 

[2] Not matches, of course for these area European 
introduction, and not known even yet in some districts 
but a burning ember, or a fire-stick. A flint and steel 
(see figs. 71 and 72) are used in many districts. 

[3] Generally recognized, I believe, as the perquisite 
of the person acting as butcher, if he be part-owner, 
in return for his trouble. At any rate the skin always 
went to such a one when goats were killed by one of 
my caravan. 

[4] It can hardly be imagined that the Hausas con- 
sider it right to allow flies, &c., to share in the feast, 
and yet judging by the crawling masses of stinking 
meat in the markets one might be led to think so, but the 
story evidently is intended to emphasize hospitality. 

XXXIII. 

[i] See note (2) on fire in preceding story. 

[2] The Hausas talk of the fire " being killed," and 



NOTES ON THE TALES 477 

of its " dying." There is, at any rate now, no ob- 
jection to its going out except that of the trouble ot 
lighting it again. See T.H.H., page 193. 

[3] Always removable in the case of small round 
mud huts, they are made separately. See T.H.H., 
page 140, and the illustrations in this book, page 80. 

[4] Should be about 4.30 a.m. 

[5] The real words used on such occasions are not 
fit for translation, but they reflect on the parents of the 
person abused, and so sting more than if applicable 
only to the person himself. Unless the Hausas in- 
dulged in ancestor-worship, the reason is hard to 
imagine, considering the loose morality of the people. 
Perhaps it is a case of "The greater the truth the 
greater the libel " or slander rather. 

[6] It used to be a good thing to be a chief's son. 
Can we wonder that our rule is unpopular with the old 
nobility ? 

[7] Usually such a thing does not bother the narra- 
tor, and in this case it may have been merely that the 
Spider was too lazy to carry the Elephant, not that he 
could not do so. One can usually carry more than one 
can eat at one meal. 

XXXIV. 

[i] A mark of greater respect, mats being cheaper 
in Jemaan Daroro (where this story was told), and not 
so soft as skins. A distinguished visitor might have 
several mats and a skin on top as well. Another 
reason is given by the Spider. 

XXXV. 

[i] A very handy doctrine for servants and others. 



478 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

XXXVI. 

[i] The shea-butter tree. The oil obtained from its 
seeds is an important article of diet in Africa, but in 
Europe it is more useful as an ingredient in candles 
and soap. 

[2] There being no conveniences in the native 
houses (except in a few cases for the chiefs) all must 
go out of their huts as soon as they awake. Therefore 
dawn is usually synonymous with " The town is astir," 
and this is another name for it. 

XXXVII. 

[i] The animal evidently belonged to the one who 
had killed it, and not necessarily to the one who had 
caught it, as is usual in the district (see T.H.H., page 
291), though sometimes there might be an agreement 
to pool the bag. 

[2] Thinking, like Ananias, to make the Some- 
thing believe that that was all she had. Kura (hyaena) 
is feminine, Zomo (hare) masculine. 

XXXVIII. 

[i] These insects build little hills, which are dif- 
ferent to those of the ordinary white-ant, for they 
are much smaller, and not black but red. If they are 
knocked over, husks of corn can often be seen in the 
little tunnels which run from the hill into the ground. 
See story F.-L. 45. 

[2] Absolutely the height of bliss to the native 
mind, of course. Lizards are always plentiful in the 
houses. 

[3] What is the moral in this ? That the husband 
should do nothing and the wife everything? It would 
seem so. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 479 

XXXIX. 

[i] This evidently refers to the facts that the 
frog is seldom seen in the heat of the sun, and appa- 
rently does nothing towards keeping himself, while 
the fowl is always busy with something. 

XL. 

[i] It is perhaps worth noting though I do not 
say that this story suggests anything of the kind that 
a cure for snake-bite is inoculation with the poison 
obtained from another snake, and, according to Canon 
Robinson, this treatment is practised not only in 
Hausaland, but all along the coast. He says that there 
are 343 different kinds of snakes in Hausaland. The 
Hausas rub onions on their feet to keep snakes away, 
and drink an onion broth if bitten. Onions are used 
also against ticks and tsetse-flies. 

XLI. 

[i] The corn is planted in April, after the rainy 
season has commenced. The ground is first cleared of 
weeds, &c., and then long more or less parallel hollows 
are made with hoes, the earth from these forming 
ridges. Probably millet is sown in the furrows, and it 
will ripen in three or four months' time, but the guinea- 
corn (planted in the ridges) will not be ripe until after 
the commencement of the dry season (November). The 
latter sometimes reaches a height of nearly twenty feet ! 

[2] Not at all an uncommon proceeding, and quite 
the reverse of our saying to turn our swords into 
ploughshares. But if peace and not war is desired, 
the hoes are often given as part of the tribute, wedding 
gifts, &c., and in this latter case there may be some 
notion of symbolism as well as of utility. 



480 HAUSA SUPERST1TIO 

[3] The animal workmen can delay quite as well as 
their human mates. 

[4] This is why he has no house now and must 
live in a web, I was informed afterwards, but as it was 
not the narrator who told me this, but a servant, I 
have not inserted it in the story. 

XLII. 

[i] Moses. 

[2] The literal translation is " she was feeling 
shame of him," and it may mean that avoidance was 
necessary and (also the non-mentioning of the name) 
because she regarded Musa as her " spiritual hus- 
band." 

XLIII. 

[i] Soft new sprouts of the diniya tree (which has a 
fruit resembling a plum) are squeezed and put into 
water with certain seeds; the whole is then dried, fried, 
and pounded up with salt, and this is Denkin Deridi. 
A very good liqueur can be made with the fruit, re- 
sembling sloe-gin in taste. 

[2] Robinson's " Hausa Dictionary " gives " sweet 
potato " for gwaza, but it is a very bitter root, the 
leaves being something like those of the water-lily in 
shape, but standing up straight perhaps 3 ft. from the 
ground. See LXXIV. It is an article of diet much 
despised by the Hausas, and used by them only in the 
case of the scarcity of other foods. 

[3] A plant with evil-smelling fruit which is dried 
and pounded up before being cooked. 

[4] Windows are unknown in the ordinary round 
huts, so the text simply says " there was no door," but 
that would not be sufficient for a translation. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 481 

[5] Sometimes the women squat in the water and 
get others to rub their backs with some native substitute 
for soap. Possibly the old woman was a witch, for 
such beings like to be rubbed. See Story 93. 

[6] See note on nicknames in Chapter VII, i, and 
[12] below. 

[7] The Hausa is Dan Yaro, the literal translation 
of which may be little boy, or son of a boy, but 
either would sound contemptuous in English though 
not so in Hausa. 

[8] When fried in butter with plenty of pepper and 
salt, these roots remind one of stale and rather tasteless 
asparagus, but they are a welcome change. 

[9] The Hausa method of cooking it is this, accord- 
ing to the narrator. A pot of water is placed on the 
three stones, and above this (forming a lid) is a cala- 
bash full of bread-fruit, the steam entering through a 
small hole in the bottom of the calabash. 

[10] She, naturally, would not call it by the name 
that the others had used. 

[11] SeeLIX[i 3 ]. 

[12] Does this mean that dadawam basso is the 
best of all dishes ? It is possible, for judging by what 
they eat, one would think that the more evil the smell 
the greater the delicacy of the food ! 

XL1V. 

[i] Agaddez is the southern capital of Air or Asben. 
There is a curious legend regarding the origin of these 
people which may account for the magic powers of the 
hero of this story. It is said that a certain demon or 
jinn stole King (Prophet) Solomon's ring, and by its 
means managed to get into the women's apartments. 
Solomon had a thousand wives, and the demon man- 



4-S2 II A i SA SI PERST1TIONS 

aged to make one hundred of them conceive before he 

But the King heard < .f it, and dro . 
women out of his palace into the wilderness, and there 
they brought forth their children, the Asbenawa. 

[2] Buy is the literal translation, but probably the 
cowries were a phallic emblem, and sending them con- 
veyed an invitation ; it would certainly seem to be so 
from what follov rhaps this was a preliminary to 

marriage, the girls of certain Arab tribes were required 
tain a dowry by prostitution before being wedded, 
and there may have been something similar in the 
of the Hausas. 

[3] I could hear of no reason why he or she should 
been beaten, perhaps the explanation is to be 
found in [i]. Possibly, however, the father beat his 
daughter simply in revenge, for the youth was evi- 
dently the son of the King of the city, and did not 
belong to Asben. It has been suggested that the 
beating here and in Story 42 was intended to act as an 
a ph rod is 

[4] Pairs of trousers are a form of currency, as are 
the other articles. 

[5"] \Ve our;ht not to be very much surprised at 
this, for "the art of medicine," says I,ord Redesdale 
in Tales of Old Japan (page 219), "would appear to 
be at the present time in China much in the state in 
which it existed in Europe in the sixteenth century, 
when the excretions and secretions of all manner of 
animals, saurians, and venomous snakes and insects, 
and even live bugs, were administered to patients. 
'Some patients,' says Matthiolus [in 1574], 'use the 
ashes of scorpions, burnt alive, for retention caused by 
either renal or vesical calculi. But I have myself 
thoroughly experienced the utility of an oil I make 



NOTES ON THE TALES 



483 



myself, whereof scorpions form a very large portion of 
the ingredients. If only the region of the heart and 
all the pulses of the body be anointed with it, it will 
free the patients from the effects of all kinds of poisons 
taken by the mouth, corrosive ones excepted.' Decoc- 
tions of Egyptian mummies were much commended, 
and often prescribed with due academical solemnity; 



FIG. 107. 



FIG. 108. 



FIG. 109. 



FIG. no. 



FIGS. 107-109. Bone Hairpins. Design in red and black. L., about 
6^ in. FIG. I io. Brass Hairpin. Engraved design. L.,7f|m. 

and the bones of the human skull pulverized and 
administered with oil, were used as a specific in cases 
of renal calculus. " 

[6] All Malams and students beg, and usually to 
some purpose. They are hard to get rid of, and their 
voices are loud and harsh, so they are particularly 
unpleasant visitors to an invalid. 



484 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

XLV. 

[i] The same contempt for the " suburban person " 
is felt by the city dweller in Hausaland as elsewhere. 
Compare the well-known proverb ' Shi ke nan birni,' 
en ji Bakauyi. " This is the city, so says the villager." 
A kauyi may consist of only one compound, or of 
several. 

[2] The tsaiwa is a blind of coloured string, hung 
in a doorway, like our " Japanese blinds " of reeds and 
beads. It is usually made of a grass called rumewa, 
so this was a very special one. Another kind of blind 
made of reeds or canes tied loosely together, one above 
the other, is called munafiki (treachery) because those 
inside the hut can see what is going on outside (e.g., 
watch the master of the house) while they themselves 
are hidden. 

[3] The doorways of the inner huts are often too 
low to allow an adult to pass in with a bowl of water 
on her head, for she would have to keep erect, and 
this is evidently the case here. 

[4] This may be an exaggerated description of the 
size of the nuts, or the narrator may be comparing them 
to a certain shrub of that name. 

[5] Were they all bewitched? Potash is smoked 
with tobacco in many parts, but not by itself. 

[6] The house (gidda) consists of several huts 
(da(i)ki) surrounded by one or more mud walls 
(bango) y hedges (shinge), or fences (dampammi), 
arranged in circles, and having only one outlet for 
each, the exit being a hut or enclosure-hall (zaure) with 
two doors opposite one another. The outside hut is 
generally used for horses, or for strangers, but there 
might be slaves there also, and if the horses were valu- 



NOTES ON THE TALES 485 

able they would probably not be in the outside zaure, 
but in an inner one. The dogs usually sleep in their 
respective owners' huts, or wander about the town 
making night hideous. For an account of Hausa 
house-building see T.H.H., pages 138 to 143. 

[7] Here the story-teller got mixed, for he altered 
the arrangement, but I have left it as he told it me. 
It helps to illustrate the difficulty one experiences in 
obtaining the correct rendering of a tale. 

[8] See page 104. 

XLVI. 

[i] This probably means that a woman who marries 
out of her tribe may bring ruin on her own people (like 
the native mistress of Cortez in Mexico). 

XLVII. 

[i] It is possible that the variant shows Moham- 
medan influence. 

XLVIII. 

[i] These pits are valuable and are usually if not 
always in the centre of the town (in Jemaan Daroro in 
the market) so that they can be guarded. The smell 
is sometimes offensive. The owners of the dye-pits pay 
a special tax, the Kurdin Korofi. The chief dye is 
obtained from the baba, or indigo tree, by the fer- 
mentation of its leaves in water. 

[2] No slight reward in a country where wives are 
practically property, and must be paid for in the 
ordinary way. 

[3] A variant makes the task the opening of the 
basket instead of knocking it over as above, and the 
narrator has evidently mixed up the two. So as to keep 



HAVSA SUPERSTITIONS 

the continuity, and yet not disturb the story, I have 
introduced the words " knock it over and." This shows 
one of the difficulties of story-collecting. 

XLIX. 

[i] Worn only by men, women have a short 
petticoat instead. Both are tied by a string, part of 
which may hang down behind, and is called the 
icutsia (tail). 

[2] Thought more of than a daughter. Charms for 
child-birth are in great request. In India, says Mr. 
Crooke, Mohammedan women who long for children 
often wear their husband's "trousers as a magical means 
of getting them. 

[3] The natives have a good idea of rhythm, and 
drums are generally used to spur them on and make 
them keep time. Very often the foreman will sine: a 
few words, and the others will repeat it as a chorus. 

[4] Being tied very tightly between the legs, it 
would be much more uncomfortable than the garment 
which she was accustomed to wear. 

[5] This must be an original Hausa story, for it is 
not thought fitting to make a wife hoe. " Farm-work 
is not becoming for a wife, you know ; she is free, you 
may not put her to hoe grass " (Specimens of Hausa 
Literature, page 6). Still, the rule is honoured as 
often in the breach as in the performance, as also are 
the directions which follow. 

L. 

[i] See remarks on chronological order in Chap- 
ter II. 

[2] These beds are made of mud, and have fire- 



NOTES ON THE TALES 487 

places, tsaria, underneath to keep the sleeper warm in 
the Harmattan season, and it was in one of these 
that she hid. 

[3] This does not mean that the chief wife must 
share her possessions with her rival, for she, at any 
rate, keeps all that has been given to her, but that the 
rival was already rich, and so had no need for more. 
The chief wife had been the poor one. 

[4] Hyaenas will seize sleeping adults, though 
usually afraid of them when awake. They have been 
known to enter grass huts at night and carry off infants. 

LI. 

[i] Probably made from a guinea-corn stalk, very 
common in harvest time. Vide T.H.H., page 250. 

[2] A wife must not mention her husband's name 
even to a co-wife. 

LII. 

[i] There are no elaborate ceremonies with a widow 
as with a maid. 

[2] This is wrong, as each wife is entitled to her 
turn. 

[3] " Had I known " means remorse. 

LID. 

[i] The form of address is Ya Kura, Kure bangaya. 
The last word may come from banga, "a procession," 
or bangara, a drum, but " dancer " is probably correct. 

LIV. 

[i] Higher than King. Solomon is said to have 
known the bird-language. Vide Koran, xxvii, 40. 



//.-if SA SI PERST1T1ONS 

[2] The women always beat the floor, either 
stamping it down with their feet, or hammering it with 
smooth pieces of wood. There are certain songs sung 
during the performance to ensure that the women 
time, and to cheer them on to more exertion. 

[3] To shield him from the sun, apparently. 

[4] Meaning " I am impatient for the morr* 

[5] Usually the point of the story would come in a 
third question and answer since three subjects are 
mentioned. The second is missing here, for the nar- 
rator had forgotten it, but Mr. Evatt sends me the 
following : The Kini: of the Birds asked Solomon 
which men preferred, (a) riches, (b) children, or (c) a 
wise and contented disposition and the form of the 
tale which he heard is evidently somewhat different to 
mine, for to fit into Story 44 it would be the bird's 
answer which is related. Solomon said " Once upon 
a time three men were asked which they would rather 
have, and the first man said ' I will have riches,* and 
they were given unto him. And the second man said 
* I will have children,* and they were given unto him. 
And the third man said ' I will have a wise and con- 
tented mind,* and it was given unto him. 

" Now the men who had been given riches and 
children found a house, and lived together, but the 
contented man went far away, and lived alone. And 
one day, the child of the man who desired children 
entered into the rich man's store and scattered his 
money about, so that much of it was lost. And the 
rich man came home, and found his money gone, and 
he beat the child, who ran away. 

"Then the rich man went to the man who had 
children, and said to him ' Your child has scattered 
my money, you have your children [which are, in a 



NOTES ON THE TALES 489 

sense, property] but I have no children, my possessions 
are my children.' And the man who had children 
replied * Go and live far away so that you cannot beat 
my children, who, being children, will be continually 
scattering your money.' And the contented man con- 
tinued to live far away, owning nothing. 

" Now the story of these three men was told to 
Mohammed, the Messenger of God [who, in that case 
would have lived before Solomon's time], and 
Mohammed said ' I would fain see this man who wishes 
for nothing but a wise and contented mind,' and he 
was brought to him. And Mohammed asked ' Do 
you want nought but contentment ? ' and he replied 
* Nothing.' Then Mohammed said * You surpass those 
men who wanted riches and children, and I will make 
you a present. I will give you riches, and children, 
and slaves, and kingship in addition to the wise and 
contented mind which you have already received.' 

" And it was done." 

[6] It must have been somewhat infra dig. for the 
once-wise Solomon to have been lectured by a bird ! 
The idea of the great king living in a mud hut and 
being concerned about the colour of the floor of that 
of his wife is rather amusing. But it is also instructive 
as an instance of people being unable to imagine any 
condition better than a glorified edition of their own. 

LV. 

[i] Men may wear a lock of hair (a scalp lock) but 
usually they are close shaved. In some cases, the lock 
shows that the wearer is a hunter. 

[2] One of the high ranks, generally held by a 
prince. Possibly duke would be an equivalent, but the 
title is not hereditary. 



490 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[3] A mode of execution. See T.H.H., page 66. 

[4] He and the tree were evidently connected 
together, for he could not move from the spot. 

[5] The Cow-Filani live in grass shelters in the 
bush with their cattle. They do not build proper huts, 
their shelters resemble the mia-mias of the Australian 
aborigines, or the bell-tents of our army. A temporary 
camp is called ruga. 

[6] Which was in a calabash on her head, of course. 

[7] The Hausa says only " Um hum," but th<- 
intonation is everything. 

LVI. 

[i] White people with very long hair. 

[2] The Hausa says "at the back," of course. 

[3] The du(m)ma is a creeping and climbing plant 
which bears a fruit (gora) which can be cut and used 
as calabashes. A smaller sized gourd is used as a 
water-bottle (fig. 49). If a long neck be present it is cut 
in two lengthwise, thus making a pair of spoons, or 
ladles (fig. 63). If not cut in two, this gourd has a hole 
pierced at each end, and is then used as an enema, the 
operator blowing down the hole in the large end, the 
patient lying on his stomach. 

[4] As being more holy and fertile; evidently a 
Mohammedan touch. 

[5] This is larger than a tsaria, a space under 
the earthen beds. See L [2]. 

[6] A mark of respect as with us. See T.H.H., 
page 51. 

[7] Only very high ladies in Hausaland have such 
an honour, in most cases the husband rides while the 
wife carries his baggage on her head. 

[8] Otherwise he would have thought that it was a 



NOTES ON THE TALES 491 

hostile army coming to destroy the city, and so he 
would have fled, for strangers who come in force are 
prima facie hostile. 

[9] Seems quite superfluous in this story as nothing 
happens. Possibly a part is missing, though I think 
not, as there is the usual ending here, except that the 
father ought to have ordered the bad daughter to stay 
in the bush. 

[10] Lest I win him from you a tabu. 

[u] He did not like such behaviour in a stranger. 

LVII. 

[i] The opening is at the top, see note on house. 
[2] See remarks on marriage in Chapter V. 

LVIII. 

[i] Very small yellow or red tomatoes, not much 
bigger than large grapes. 

[2] See LXXXIX, i. 

[3] Only the under petticoat is tied on, nothing is 
pinned or buttoned, the cloths are simply wound on 
and folded over, and there they stop. A woman 
carries the baby on her back simply by folding her 
body-cloth around it and herself ! 

[4] Possibly totemism is indicated here, vide 
Chapter VI. 

LIX. 

[i] A survival of matrilineal descent, the parents 
of the wives formerly taking the children. The same 
thing happens in the case of some of the Beja tribes, so 
Dr. Seligmann tells me. 

[2] This was often the case with natives taken when 
children from their towns by slave-raiders. 



492 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[3] The word in the Hausa is not " head," but 
another part of the anatomy. Considering the con- 
text, it is just possible that there is some phallic 
significance, but this is so very doubtful that I think 
no harm will be done by the translation given here. 

[4] See remarks on charms in Chapter VII. 

[5] The midwives; there is no male accoucheur, I 
believe. 

[6] Often, if not always, done outside in a sheltered 
spot, the newly-made mother being helped usually by 
other women. I heard one being washed, and the 
operation was evidently a painful one. It is possible 
that the after-birth is then brought away, but I do not 
know for certain, I did not see what was happening, 
and I am told that the washing is not done until after- 
wards. 

[7] See XVIII, i. 

[8] Maria Theresa dollars are greatly prized, espe- 
cially in Bornu, and it is not uncommon to see them 
elsewhere used as ornaments. Value from is. 6d. to 
35. See N.W.S., page 29. 

[9] Evidently the stream near which the town was 
built, they would naturally wish to look their best on 
their return. 

[10] It is needless to say that this is where they are 
carried except when newly-born then in a calabash 
on the head if the woman be travelling. 

[n] Probably to hunt, or to take part in other 
manly exercises. Possibly he used to farm, as the 
" farming age " is as much a recognized stage in de- 
velopment as is the " house age,*' or fitness for mar- 
riage. 

[12] Each had a separate hut, of course, for herself 
and her children. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 493 

[13] A cooking-place is made of three stones. See 
T.H.H., page 316. 

[14] These last two sentences are rendered graphic- 
ally in Hausa by six words only : He said " Agreed." 
Severed. She remained. 



LX. 

[i] One of the things expected of well-born youths 
is that they should ride, so this one naturally felt some 
disgrace. 





FIG. in. FIG. 112. 

FIG. in. Green glass bracelet, made from European bottle. 

FIG. 112. Wristlet of horsehair, with leather knobs. L. (open), io in. 



[2] She bore all the expense which ought to have 
been met by the real parent. 

[3] This means that he was pretending that they 
had come from the city. 

[4] Sa(r)rikin Rafi is king of the stream, a spirit. 
Sa(r)rikin Rua is king of the water, an official in charge 
of the ford or ferry. Evidently the former is meant here, 
because the canoes appear from nowhere, and in the 
other version the girl throws a stone and divides the 
waters. 



494 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[5] It is just possible that this story may have some 
connection with the fact that it was a custom of the 
Sudan for the conquering chief to demand a girl from 
the royal family of the conquered tribe as a wife, a 
gentle means of cementing the union of the peoples. 

[6] The literal translation. 

LXI. 

[i] Every town is built near a stream or lake of 
some kind. This is magic, of course. 

[2] The ordinary beast or man trap is a hole, the 
mouth of which is covered with sticks and grass, but 
there may be sharp stakes or ropes inside it. For other 
kinds, see T.H.H., pages 58, 124, and 292. 

LXII. 

[i] Meaning that a bridegroom rich enough to 
satisfy the demands of the parents would be able to keep 
her in much greater luxury than he, the youth, could 
afford. 

[2] A sheath-knife like a dagger, hung usually by 
a sling, but often furnished with a leather armlet, to 
enable it to be worn on the arm. See figs. 102-104. 

[3] Even the Hausas know how to " forge " real 
evidence, for the bloody knife would have told against 
the youth himself of course. Or it may have been that 
the owner of the knife would be held responsible in 
any case, for in other parts, I am told, if a native 
injures himself with a borrowed weapon, the real 
owner is held liable. 

[4] A small gourd with a neck, and in shape like a 
carafe, slung over the shoulder by a string (fig. 49). 

[5] The only mode of progression. If the legs are 



NOTES ON THE TALES 495 

not sore and the irons not too heavy, the prisoner can 
travel at a fair rate. 

[6] Hung up at hand in every house in unsettled 
districts, in fact in most houses all over Nigeria. 

LXIII. 

[i] No previous mention of any difference, but in 
these Hausa tales one mother is usually rich, the other 
poor and so jealous. This is a curious way of saying 
" the richer wife died." It is not explained either, how 
the mothers became able to distinguish their sons, but 
such details are often omitted. 

[2] The real mother would have had a share in the 
property which the father left to the son, but evidently 
she had had private property of her own also, else both 
wives would have been equally well off. Probably in 
the case of the death of the orphaned son, his property 
would have passed to his half-brother in which case 
the women would have taken a share as mother of the 
successor or else the step-mother would have been en- 
titled as such to a share. 

[3] I do not think that the tree had any magical 
part in the performance, it seems that the boy was told 
to climb simply -because he would then be in the most 
suitable position for the operation. 

[4] The town would be called Giddan Mutum Biyu 
(House of Two Men) at first, in all probability. See 
remarks on " Development " in Chapter V. 

LXIV. 

[i] The order of precedence of the officials varies 
in different towns. See Robinson's Dictionary. Heiress, 
mentioned later, is only a title. 



496 IIAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[2] Evidently to protect him, the male usually walks 
behind. 

[3] The Hausa expression is " he reached house," 
i.f., marriageable age, probably about 16 years. 

[4] Marriage is, of course, but a modified form of 
purchase. See remarks in Chapter III. 

[5] Means something like Young Master. Possibly 
she was not allowed to mention his name, for he had 
become her eldest son by adoption. 

[6] By adoption, but anyone who supplies food may 
be called by this name. 

[7] The Fita furra, see Chapter V. It may be 
noted that the erection of the gausami (page 77) re- 
sembles to some extent the pole-rite of some of the 
wild tribes of India (Hopkins, The Religions of India, 
pages 378 and 534). Hopkins believes that the phallic 
practices of the Hindus were borrowed from the Greeks 
(op. cit., 471), and if so, could not the Hausas have 
obtained theirs from the same source via Egypt? 

[8] In -which they were soaked. The walls would 
appear as if kola-nut chewings had been spat upon 
them. 

[9] He must have felt in sore straits to have done 
this, for the opposite is usually the case. He was even 
more humble to the next. 

[10] He married five girls, but he had only four 
wives at the end, apparently, so this may be a pagan 
tale influenced by Islam. 

[n] Evidently an act of magic, the pagans beinp 
thrown down as was the perspiration. 

[12] The Sa(r)rikin Agaddez seems to have retired 
or died (as kings conveniently do in tales), and to have 
made room for the boy and his bride to inherit the land, 
for the narrator told me that the fight took place at 





XXXIX. AND XL. WRESTLING, OR KUKUA. 

The wrestler gets his head as low as possible, and spars or a chance to catch hold of the 
other's body, often pulling his opponent's arm as a feint or to upset his balance. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 497 

Agaddez. It is possible, however, that the youth had 
returned to his own (the leper's) town with his bride; 
certainly the other wives had gone there. 

[13] This accounts for the white breast. 

[14] "O Son! O Son! O Son ! " 

LXV. 

[i] Sometimes magic rites cannot be performed by 
females. 

LXVI. 

[i] I do not know if this is intentional; the narrator 
said it was as he had heard it, so Europeans are not the 
only ones who confuse these animals. 

[2] Jagindi, a town twelve miles west of Jemaan- 
Daroro. The name means " Red Behind," probably a 
nickname of the founder. 

[3] Keffi is the chief town of the Nassarawa pro- 
vince, about 70 miles north of the Benue, and 50 miles 
south-west of Jemaan Daroro. Keffi (or more correctly 
Kaffi) means " stockade." 

[4] Literally " War is taking me away," and this 
usually means enslaving, but here the obvious meaning 
is as given. 

[5] Towards the end of the Filani rule, the chiefs 
became so corrupt and avaricious that they would sell 
even their own people into slavery, and risk the lives 
of any number for the sake of a small personal gain. 
It would be too dangerous to say that this story was 
intended as a skit upon this state of things, though it 
certainly does for one. 

LXVII. 

[i] Or Absen, or Asben, it is all the same to the 
Hausa. See XLIV, i. 
32 



4<>H HA I SA .S I TERST1TIOSS 

[2] < >nr of thr native tortures is to till the victim's 
mouth and othrr parts \\jth honey, \< ., and lay a trail 
to an ani-hr.-ip. This. hour\<-r. *ouM nt appear to be 
thr ras<- hrrr (nor ha\r I hard of th<* Hausas using 

thi^ parti* ,jlar !"rm of < rurltvi. for ants naturally crawl 
upon an\;!i:n^ -n :hr ground. 

<s -'-< - r-n !-p!ion 1:1 (')iaptrr V, and on 

sa< r ;ti ;n ( '!.a;>' r \ 1 . 

[4 h . \ nijr.t n . 

I X\ III. 

i I h < . >n\ -rs.it:. -n .-..is r-\n!rnti\ in private, the 
thriT wf* ;n tn ha\- ^-in' a'A.iy f:;n thr fvist. In fact 
all th;s is v'a'^i in a \. riant (I.. I.I I. 2 ( t). As the 
s>n ki!'.-d ! - f. i !):. :h- i <;. ;>' ;',d th;nk that 

thr latter had 1*--n nc. a:-.d * thr kind stranger's 

I XIX 



\- . an'.iar ra <>r /.;/;>;rf j is a 

pikjr'!i; 1 k: .'.r:.i. hu? /\";FJ beri is a 

man - ! Ifa-j^.i pa it.i^'f h'-'injn* up m an 

.il:rn s:atr. - ;!-. i v. hat thr meaning 

u.is. nr h.ni an\nr cN- \\h--:n 1 tjurs ; .n'<!, thr only 
thine 1 <an su^^i-s 1 is that '!: U'-r<is have Ixvome 
t hancril in lh- ^>nt; and that thr translation should be. 
" Shr ol)ta:nrd ( 7\; t*'-l h t ;,:.<*., t >u( hrdt a I la usa Son " 
(Kiimbcr:), !r,i: I ha\<- om:ttrd *h;s par;. 

fj] C'hildh'ss. If a \\oman has . hildrrn she is said 
to dir "in thr oprn." Thr rxprrsNjon "to sleep in 
the a^hr> " app!jr> to a \\oman \\h. having had a child 
or (hildrrn. >o iiltrrats thrm as to make them leave her 
\\hen old enouph. The neighbours' children mock 



NOTES ON THE TALES 499 

her, and after death she is taken far into the bush, and 
buried in a grave so shallow that the hyaenas can find 
her. 

LXX. 

[i] The insect, not the shell-fish. 

With regard to this story and the next one, Mr. 
Hartland remarks that the literal fulfilment of a wish is 
a frequent subject of tale and superstition. Among 
mdrchen of Supernatural Birth it is often the incident 
on which the tale is founded, and the child that is born 
is often enclosed in a husk or envelope. Thus in a 
story from the Greek Archipelago a poor woman wishes 
for a Son, even though he were a Donkey ; and a Son 
is born in the form of a Donkey. He afterwards casts 
his skin and remains human (W. R. Paton, Folk-Lore 
xii, 320). In a Gipsy tale from Southern Hungary a 
childless Woman wishes for offspring, even though it 
were only a Hazel-nut. She gives birth to a Hazel-nut 
and a Worm, and throws them away. The nut takes 
root and grows into a bush, from which a Maiden 
appears, and is caught and wedded by a King (von 
Volislocki, Volkssichtungen der Siebenburge und 
Sudungar-zigeuner, 343). The Husk, however, often 
exists independently of the Wish incident. In a Chain 
tale from Annam a Girl having drunk of a magical 
spring gives birth to a Son round as a cocoa-nut and 
covered with a cocoa-nut envelope (A. Landes, Conies 
T james, 9). In another story from the Greek Islands 
a poor Woman gives birth to a pumpkin, out of which 
eventually a Boy comes (Paton, Folk-Lore x, 500). 

[2] The son was still on her back, else she need 
not have returned to him ; or, at any rate, she need not 
have taken him on her back again. In a variant it is 



500 HALS A SUPERSTITH* 

explained that the mother and the magician arranged 
all this without the boy understanding, by " making 
words with their hands," vide Chapter IV. 

[3] From a small tree, at the junction of several 
branches, which when prepared has something of the 
shape of an umbrella frame. It is then turned upside 
down, and tie-tie is attached to it to suspend it. See 
T.H.H., page 135. 

LXXI. 

[i] The literal translation is "gave her stomach." 
There is apparently something miraculous in the con- 
ception since the child was no ordinary one. 

[2] The verb used here, shafa, usually applies more 
to ceremonial washings, but it would hardly be safe 
to say definitely that anything of the kind was meant 
here, though it is quite probable. 

[3] Evidently some mixture of animals here. 

[4] By clearing the ground and levelling it, &c. 

LXXI I. 

[ij Chiwo. A ciimbing tree or shrub, very tough 
at the fork, with soft fruit. A native rope is made from 
it. There is a proverb " O Chiwo, you are hard at the 
(nose) fork, you ripen, but do not fall," i.e., a stingy 
man does not give readily. This is a kirari. 

[2] The meat is placed in a little heap, on top of 
the porridge. 

LXXIII. 

[i] Acha (Pennisetum typhoideum) is a very small 
" dirty white " grain, and would be very hard to dis- 
tinguish from earth. Probably the grain would float, 
though, and thus be separated. It grows to a height 



NOTES ON THE TALES 501 

of about 1 8 inches, and gives two or three crops per 
annum. 

[2] Apparently the water was very low, and the girl, 
standing up in the well, could reach the outstretched 
arms of those above. There is often a rope and a bucket, 
but evidently there was neither in this case until Dodo 
had brought them. The bucket would be a calabash 
or a skin unless the owner had bought a foreign article. 
Sometimes a long pole is erected and weighted at the 





FIG. 113. FIG- "4- 

FIG. 113. Bracelet of tin or silver. FIG. 114. Ring of the same metal. 

short end, while to the long arm is attached a bucket 
for purposes of irrigation. 

[3] Carrying water is, of course, " women's work," 
and no self-respecting male, whether man or Dodo, 
would do it when there was a member of the weaker 
sex available. 

[4] So that Dodo could always know where his son 
was. Bells are tied to horses and cattle as well as to 
sheep. Vide fig. 98. 

[5] The narrator did not know why she could not 
have simply taken the bell off instead of having to stuff 



502 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

it up. Perhaps it would have sounded of itself if so 
treated like the giant's harp in our tales. 

[6] See remarks on Infanticide, in Chapter V. 
Why should Dodo's gifts have been taken away only 
to be destroyed? Their weight would make her less 
able to run. It is possible that there is some idea of 
sympathetic magic in this, and that he could have 
exerted some influence over her by their means had she 
left them behind. 

LXXIV. 

[i] And the mother apparently went away, and 
left him. 

[2] Means those whose utterances have weight. 
This story is a play upon words, as ba(i)ki, " mouth," 
is used (as with us) in both senses, ku(n)ne means 
" ear " or " leaf," and ido has many equivalents be- 
sides that of "eye." 

[3] The baby could hardly stop when the creditor 
was carrying him. It evidently means that the baby 
made him stop, and then got down. 

[4] Probably directly through much reading, or 
else indirectly by over study and insufficient nourish- 
ment, and so means learned men. 

[5] It has very large flat leaves like a water-lily. 
See XLIII, 2. 

LXXV. 

[i] So that she should be scolded for bringing back 
Jiriy water, or at any rate have to drink it herself since 
the wives would be in different huts. 

[2] It is almost impossible for a person to get a 
heavy load up on to his head without assistance, even 
though he may be able to carry it easily when once 



NOTES ON THE TALES 503 

there. One way is to get it up gradually into the fork 
of a tree, and then to place oneself underneath, but a 
pot of water could hardly be treated in this way. Some- 
times when a trader makes a temporary halt he backs 
himself against a tree, catching one end of the load in 
a fork, and steadying the other end with a long staff. 
See illustration, page 256. Often there are recognized 
places where this is done. 

[3] See remarks on marriage, in Chapter V. 

LXXVI. 

[i] Only Bulls are brought to a town. The cows 
are kept in the rugas by the Cow-Filani. Even in the 
districts where the natives do not milk the cows, they 
keep them to bear calves, and so they do not come to 
the meat-market. 

[2] Mikia here, and in Story 62, I have translated 
as eagle, as it is thus called in the dictionary. Canon 
Robinson also gives it as "a species of buzzard with 
white breast = Neophron percnopterus (?)." Another 
writer gives meke (another form of the same word, pro- 
bably) as " the black and white fishing vulture (Gypo- 
hierax angolensis)." 

[3] Where cattle are used to draw carts or for 
riding, there would not be the same anxiety to sell 
them, but such transport is restricted to certain dis- 
tricts, and is not used (except by us) in the greater 
part of Hausaland. Thus to keep them alive would 
mean a loss of time and of money spent in their up- 
keep. 

LXXVI I. 

[i] Becoming very common in Hausaland, and fit 
and proper articles of the trousseau. Sometimes plates 
are let into the mud walls as decorations. 



504 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[2] I have inserted the words to better resemble the 
rhythm. The words are sung in Hausa, the syllables 
being drawn out to the length required. 

[3] The white-ants build up covered passages (above 
the ground level) to protect themselves when travelling 
to and fro or up trees. They are really termites, and 
are a prey to all kinds of ants and of birds, hence the 
necessity for this protection. One species (? a soldier) 
can give a very painful sting. 

[4] They are often to be seen sitting upon these 
hills, but I have never seen a nest there. Possibly the 
narrator was wrong in using the word " build " (ginni), 
especially as he alters it to " alight " in the song. 

LXXVIII. 
[i] Repayment in kind is quite usual, of course. 

LXXIX. 

[i] Or chief wife, the first one. She has authority 
over the others. 

[2] One can imagine the disgust and anger of the 
starving people at seeing a sheep fed with food which 
they could ill spare, and which was too good for an 
animal. But it is a frequent occurrence in Folk-lore. 

[3] Horses are one form of currency, also their 
saddles, &c. 

[4] Slaves who run alongside the chief's horse, 
grooms, and others. 

[5] It seems that no one knew of the ewe's wonder- 
ful powers except Auta, the weaver, and perhaps the 
first wife. But it may have been that the second wife 
knew of the ewe's warning, and for that reason had a 
spite against her. 

[6] It may seem strange that even a chief as Auta 



NOTES ON THE TALES 505 

(still called " the Boy ") now was could not get meat 
whenever he liked, but out of the cattle districts even 
Europeans to-day cannot obtain fresh meat from the 
natives, they must depend on fowls, and perhaps fish 
also in some places. 

[7] Possibly these clothes took the place of the 
white shroud used for a corpse for Auta was going to 
commit suicide. Or they may have been merely the 
signs of mourning for the ewe. 

[8] The literal translation is " without my know- 
ledge," but, as in Story 76, sa(ri)ni means more than 
this, it has something of the Biblical sense of permis- 
sion " And one of them [the sparrows] shall not fall 
on the ground without your Father." 

[9] A very mild punishment. It may be that Auta 
remembered that he himself was the cause of his trouble, 
but I doubt if many native chiefs would be willing to 
make allowances on that account ! 

LXXX. 

[i] A small earthenware jug taken by a man going 
to the Mosque, which holds water to wash with, see 
fig. 43. It is not clear why this has been substituted 
for the stick and the boot; probably the person who 
told the narrator the story was careless, and mixed up 
a variant, so the mistake became crystallized. 

[2] Many natives use ash (of guinea-corn or acha) 
instead of salt when the latter is unobtainable. 

[3] The same piece of iron ore may take many 
shapes during its life-history (cf. Story 41). 

[4] Made in long strips about 4 inches in width. 

[5] The proper way to carry it. 

[6] A woman usually gets water for a man, not 
vice versa. 



506 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[7] And, apparently, there was then no need to 
punish the wives who had been declared guilty of the 
murder. Auta's property (the girl) had been damaged, 
but the injury had been more than made good to him, 
so he could not complain, and it was not likely that the 
king was going to lose more wives than he could help. 
See I, 2. 

[8] Bolster-shaped with a slit in centre, and slunj 
on donkeys so that the slit is above the middle of tl 
back. 

[9] Giginnia, the dileb palm. The fruit is much 
prized, resembling to a slight extent a very large 
apricot in colour and shape. The leaves are used for 
making hats, mats, and baskets. There is a proverb 
" Only at a distance (from the trunk) can the shade of 
the fan-palm be enjoyed," because there are no 
branches except at the top, and this is applied to a 
man who neglects his own family but helps outsiders. 

[10] In a variant (T.H.H. 6), he waits at the bottom 
of the tree, and a crow throws down the fruits, or rather 
kola-nuts. 

[11] See Story 64, end. 

[12] " Eyes " (ido) where we should say " ears." 

[13] A town between Zaria and Kano. 

[14] Or else it was that the learned men were sum- 
moned, and gave her medicine ; the words are the same 
in Hausa. The belief in sickness caused by a snake or 
other animal swallowed by or generated in the patient is 
world-wide, says Mr. Hartland. The commonest alter- 
native to a snake is perhaps a newt (cf. Douglas Hyde, 
Beside the Fire, 47; Folk-lore, X, 251 ; XV, 460) or a 
lizard (Hill-Tout, J.A.L, xxxv, 156). The usual remedy 
is to cause the parasite intolerable thirst and to entice 
it to crawl out of the patient's mouth in order to obtain 



NOTES ON THE TALES 507 

drink. The process is graphically described in Dr. 
Hyde's Irish tale. 

[15] The word of a poor man has not much weight 
in Hausaland. 

[16] This seems very much like a tapeworm. 

[17] The narrator could not tell me why this phrase 
was inserted. It may have been to account for the fact 
that snakes bite men ; or else it signifies that Auta owed 
a debt of gratitude to the snake. 

LXXXI. 

[i] The usual meanings of these words are Impu- 
dence, Proud (or Swollen) Lizard, and The Patient 
One, but as there may be some other meaning implied 
in the second one, the Hausa names are given instead 
of the translations. 

[2] Probably the King, as he would get something 
for his trouble. Now a Malam usually does it, and 
takes a fixed percentage as a fee. 

LXXXI I. 

[i] Used for carrying soft articles, might also be 
wrapped around a corpse and bound tightly. 

[2] Because of the lack of men, so the narrator told 
me. 

[3] A " little basket (with a lid) " is always the 
" magic bottle " of the Hausa. See figs. 68 and 70. 

LXXXIII. 

[i] It must be hardly necessary to state that there 
are no water pipes in this country, and that the women 
have to go to the streams and wells for water. 

[2] See XXXII, 2. 

[3] As much noise as possible is necessary in funeral 



508 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

rites, and the drums are also used as signalling instru- 
ments to call the mourners. 

[4] No time can be lost in hot countries. See re- 
marks in Chapter V, and T.H.H., Chapter XIV. 

[5] The birrim corresponds to our boom, but the 
sound is a double one ; another rendering is Birrip. The 
sentence should be accented to resemble the beats of a 
drum. 

[6] Corpses are wrapped in mats. See " Death and 
Burial " in Chapter V. 

[7] The literal translation would be " sleep is our 
inheritance" and the meaning would be, perhaps, 
"entitled to sleep,*' but the above probably conveys 
the idea sufficiently well. 

[8] Sometimes the horses are kept in the entrance- 
halls, sometimes in special huts inside the compound, 
but they are often simply tied by one leg to a peg in 
the ground. If there is plenty of room, the horse is 
tied by a hind leg, if but little then by a fore leg. 
See XLV, 6. 

[9] The literal translation is " thing of shame," but 
there is no shame in the fact of her being a mother-in- 
law, the words merely refer to the avoidance by her 
daughter's husband. See remarks in Chapter V, and 
T.H.H., pages 197 and 233. 

[10] " Returned home " is the translation, and 
evidently this means that they left the town, otherwise 
the danger would still have been present. 

LXXXIV. 

[i] Kuka, also called the Monkey-bread tree, sup- 
posed to be inhabited by spirits. See remarks on Bori, 
and Story 88. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 509 

[2] The hya-na is masculine in this story, I do not 
know why. 

[3] The blacksmith is regarded by some of the 
tribes around Jemaan Daroro as having greater powers 
than the ordinary individual (T.H.H. 136), but the 
Hausa has no such belief now, I think, though this 
seems to point to such a superstition in their case, 
also at one time. 





FIG. 115. FIG. 116. 

FIG. 115. Wooden armlet, inset pattern of brass. !D., 4^ in. 
FIG. 116. Wooden comb. H., 7^ in. 



[4] Possibly this also indicates some superstition 
the Hindu, I am told, will never let his first customer 
in the morning go away without anything, and a 
similar fancy has been met with in England. In Keta, 
on the Gold Coast, the early morning is the best time 
to ask or to give a thing, vide Alone in West Africa, 
page 287. 

[5] Tied by the leg during the night. 

[6] Thorny tree from which gum can be obtained. 
Robinson gives the name as Balanites JEgyptiaca 



510 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[7] A zareba is formed of branches of thorn and 
other trees to keep off the hyaenas and other animals, 
and also to keep the cattle from being lost or stolen. 

LXXXV. 

[i] The word used here is the Arabic kiama which 
really means " resurrection." 

[2] Literally, the city of God was astir. See 
XXXVI, i. 

[3] Apparently they -would have preferred a father 
of the usual kind. See remarks on "The Next World*' 
in Chapter VI, and on " Inheritance " in Chapter V. 

LXXXVI. 

[i] Some consist of separate huts, built in the com- 
pound, with removable grass roofs. Others are much 
smaller vessels, placed in the dwelling huts. It is the 
latter kind which is referred to here. 

[2] Sa(r)rikin Karma, one of the chief's principal 
slaves, many of whom used to hold high office. 

[3] The whole adult population would help in this 
Hausa Harvest Home. 

[4] This represents the sound of the pestles in the 
mortars (c/. XXX, 4), a possible translation is " Pound, 
pound, bang the pestles." 

[5] Judging by the Hausa idea of a fit, the account 
of the trying on of the boots must have been borrowed 
from foreign sources. See figs. 24 and 25. It is 
worth noting that in a Boloki story given by Weeks 
(Among Congo Cannibals, page 203), Libanza, the 
hero (who went forth with his sister into the world) 
turned blacksmith, and killed " The Swallower of 
People " by throwing molten iron into his mouth. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 511 

Possibly Auta was the first blacksmith to arrive 
amongst the pagan Hausas ! 

LXXXVII. 

[i] The narrator told me that the zankallala was a 
kind of locust, but the description given on page 130 
is the more satisfactory, perhaps. 

LXXXVIII. 

[i] Hambari means " kicker," the narrator informed 
me. I do not know the word. 

[2] A name of the Magazawa, or pagan Hausawa. 

[3] Probably a wrestler, from " tankwaria," bend- 
ing. 

[4] This tree is supposed to be inhabited by spirits. 
The Bori dancers have a particular veneration for it, as 
already noted. The word used here is the Arabic Iblis. 

[5] But not of the sharp claps. 

[6] Wrestling is regarded as being important. In 
one Magazawa community a gausami (pole) is set up 
in the village, and wrestling contests are held in the 
vicinity. As long as the pole stands, so long will the 
youths of the village be strong; if it falls down it is 
not erected until the next generation is ready to wrestle 
(vide Man, 1910, Art. 40). This pole is symbolical of 
the virility of the clan or village, in all probability, 
vide LXIV, 7. 

LXXXIX. 

[i] Always a nuisance; the watcher has to keep 
calling most of the day, and when the dog-faced 
Baboons come in numbers the watcher may lose his 
life if he tries to drive them away. He sits upon a 
platform raised (on poles) sufficiently high for him to 



512 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

see over the fields. For birds, strings are tied on sticks 
above the corn, and the watchers (usually boys) pull 
these to and fro and call. 

[2] Aljannu means " jinns," "demons." Here 
they are apparently good spirits rather than evil. 

[3] For, having made a profit out of her, the father 
was now graciously pleased to take her into favour. 

[4] Always different mothers in the tales, the chief 
wife and the rival wife, and they are always at daggers 
drawn. 

[5] The demons were incensed at her coming 
amongst them uninvited. See remarks on " Tabu " in 
Chapter VI. 

XC. 

[i] The long tobe and the loose trousers (like those 
of the Arabs, see illustration, page 32) would have 
impeded him very much. 

[2] The fence (danga) is made of grass-mats, twigs, 
or canes, supported by posts which usually stick out at 
the top. See illustration, page 112. 

XCI. 

[ij She would not be eating outside with the men, 
of course, but inside the hut. The food when cooked 
would be placed in calabashes, and covered with a 
round mat (see illustration, page 368). 

[2] Blindness is very common in Hausaland, so is 
lameness, the feet often being eaten away by leprosy, 
or through the destruction of the toes by the " jiggers." 

[3] The juice of the euphorbia is one of the 
causes of blindness, so why a thorn-bush should heal 
the complaint is not quite apparent, for all prickly trees 
would be dangerous. Possibly the idea is much the 



NOTES ON THE TALES 513 

same as that of the Kagoro, who imagine that the 
water in which a spear has been dipped will cure a 
wound inflicted by that spear (see T.H.H., page 194). 
Or it is a case of " the hair of the dog that bit you." 
[4] One of the few stories which has a moral. 

XCII. 

[i] Like a load, see illustration, page 288. 

[2] Merely driving a witch out of the house does 
not appear to us to be a very severe punishment, but 
it may be considered adequate by the Hausa husband. 

XCIII. 

[i] Presumably she said the last sentence to herself. 

[2] This does not agree at all with the description 
following, for even the rude girl was well treated. 

[3] There would be an artificial clearing, if no 
natural one existed, where the washing was done, and 
the drinking-water was drawn. A flat sandy open space 
would be chosen when possible. 

[4] See LVI, 8. The father was evidently the king 
of the city. 

[5] The authors (Cronise and Ward) remark "A 
common sight among the natives is a little child busily 
engaged in picking the lice from the woolly head of 
some older person. Sometimes the child's place is 
taken by the pet monkey. If the monkey fails to find 
the object of his search, he loses his temper, and ex- 
presses his feelings in strong language, and in boxing 
the person's head." See also page 176. Monkeys are 
very useful in keeping dogs free from ticks and fleas. 

XCIV. 

[i] Ku chi gaya=" You will have revenge." 
33 



514 HAUSA SI 

[2] The two brothers did not, but Dan-!-, 
knew it. 

[3] See remarks in T.H.H., page 243, and the 
parallel to the last story. 

[4] In order to gain time. The great object of the 
intended victim is to delay the operations of the witch 
or devil (see parallel to next story) so as to allow him 

>cape about daybreak. 

[5] The native certainly can sleep very soundly, bu: 
this is flattering his powers in that way to some e 
The differences Ix-tv. een the men's and women's gar- 
ments are explained in XL1X, i. 

[6] Lest he should be sold out before he saw her. 
In the usual course the wares are "cried" by tin- 
sellers as they go along. 

[7] A black goat has magic properties. See re- 
marks on Bori, in Chapter VI. 

[8] This is evident from the context. There se< 
to be an idea that the wound could be healed only by 
the one who caused it. 

xcv. 

[i] Why was she not sleeping with him, she was 
his wife? For explanation, see page 112. 

[2] Some baskets are lined with cow-dung, clay, 
&c., and will hold honey and even water (see T.H.H., 
page 287), but this was evidently not one of that kind. 

[3] Meaning that she did not wait to let it down 
carefully so as to save the water. This would have 
taken time as there was no one to help her. 

[4] The first time his name is mentioned can a 
witch do this without fear ? It would seem so, but I 
am informed that this is not the case. 



NOTES ON THE TALES 515 

[5] Apparently referring to the haste in which he 
had departed. 

[6] For there was no owner to claim it. 

[7] The woman appeared in two halves and was 
bleeding. The dogs ate the flesh, but apparently even 
a single drop of the blood would have been dangerous, 
and might perhaps have developed into a witch. 

XCVI. 

[i] Probably in the market square, or in some place 
where dancing, &c., is indulged in. 

[2] So that if he refused to go he would be branded 
as a coward. 

[3] Made from a solid block. The Hausa stools 
are round with short legs, very small ones being 
carried by women on their waists. See fig. 42, p. 159. 

[4] About the last thing a native would think of 
would be to remove the obstacle, he would go round 
it, and this is the reason why most of the West African 
roads wind in and out. Death clears the way perhaps 
to show that she is no ordinary mortal, but probably 
it is merely to suit the story. 

[5] Rago means " ram," and also " Terrible One." 
A mixture of both is intended here, for this rago is 
Kuri, the god with the ram's (or he-goat's) head. 

[6] This should have been the only entrance or exit 
at night. 

[7] The council meetings are usually held in the 
entrance-hall of the chief's house. . This seems a very 
mild test after the two dangerous ones. 

[8] There would be a clear space in which courtiers, 
visitors, &c., could congregate while waiting for an 
audience, and where processions could be formed up. 



516 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

[9] Probably there is some etiquette in this apart 
from the fact that the king's son was of higher rank. 

XCVI1. 

[i] If cannibalism really existed in the district in 
\vhich this story originated, it was due, apparently, to 
no religious reasons, but simply to a taste for the flesh. 
See T.H.H., pages 180-184. 

XCVIII. 

[i] Perhaps at one time the wife could not share in 
the feast at all, even now she must keep apart, inside 
the house. 

[2] This story also shows that cannibalism is 
attributed to a taste for the flesh. 

[3] Some South American tribes actually bred from 
captive women so as to secure constant supplies of 
flesh. They were permitted to eat such offspring, be- 
cause, as kinship went by the female side, the father 
was not akin to his child by the alien woman. (A. 
Lang, op. cit., page 70.) 

XCIX. 

[i] Kano is about 180 miles away, in a straight 
line, and Bauchi 100, but a few miles more or less 
makes no difference in a story of course. 

[2] Perhaps 350 miles. 

[3] In what is now French territory to the north, 
once tributary to Asben. 

[4] Near Daura on the northern boundary of the 
Kano province. 

[5] See the attitude in illustration, page 496. 

[6] Absolute continence is frequently found to be a 



XOTES ON THE TALES 517 

condition of the continuance of wonderful powers. The 
importance of it in magic rites is found in many parts. 
[7] This is merely carelessness on the part of the 
narrator, it does not mean that a second marriage was 
necessary. 

C. 

[i] The two hands are generally used, held tightly 
together, but one of my servants used to throw the 
water into his mouth with each hand alternately. 
The distinct methods of drinking remind one of the 
story of Gideon. 

[2] The water is said to be a stream, but he has 
encircled it, and the woman drinks it all up, so I have 
rendered rafi by " lake." Had it been a stream, he 
might have searched for human footprints so as to 
know where there was a ford. A lake is so rare that he 
would be certain to search there for the spoor of 
animals. 

[3] About a mile, with a river between, when I was 
there, but since 1909 the Resident's quarters have been 
moved to the other side, and the distance is how not 
more than a couple of hundred yards, I am told. 

[4] No previous mention of this, but such sudden 
introductions are typical, as is also the dropping out 
of one or more of the characters. 

[5] The narrator said that women always loosen 
their body cloths, and remove the outer one. There 
does not seem to be any reason for this except the wish 
that it may not be soiled. Another man says that the 
women merely loosen their cloths so as to give them- 
selves greater comfort. I have not seen a woman 
eating. 

[6] The narrator offered no explanation of the 



518 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



why she could not see the youth, nor even tli 
dog which was close beside her. 




FfC. 1 17. Cat theO firdU, worn bj women. 



II. ()\ TRIBAL MARI. 

No. 2. An arrow on each side of the neck is '- 
common. 

No. 3. The first figure was outside of each eye, 
and the second (a conventionalized lizard) on each side 
of the neck. The latter is said to be a charm to attract 
prostitutes, and is called kvanche da masoye (sleeping 
with the one desired). There was also a lizard on 
each upper arm and rows of small cuts, kaffo, on the 
back. Both of his parents came from Girku (Zaria) 
according to him. 

No. 4. (Abdominal pattern only.) Parents from 
Zamfara and Zaria respectively. 



* For a fuller account and measurements of head, &c^ see 
A\ A. L Journal* Jan.-June, 191 1. I ought, perhaps, to apologize for 
the drawings of the heads and bodies, but, on a previous occasion, 
when I had them drawn by an artist, the result was that many of the 
designs were incorrectly rendered, so I have done them myself this 
time. After all, the outlines are not important. 



NOTES OX TRIBAL MARKS 5'9 



1 






520 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

No. 5. The lines yam ba(i)ki* on each side of the 
mouth are common, though the number is more often 
three or nine, but the catherine-wheel (dan taki, " cow- 
pot," said to denote ownership of cattle) on each cheek 
is very unusual. The abdominal patterns are called 
yan chikki (young ones of the stomach). Parents from 
Kano. 

No. 6. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 7. The long line down the forehead seems 
to indicate Filani blood somewhere, though the bearer 
denied it. The mark is not so deeply cut as with the 
I jo in Southern Nigeria, and is, I was told, optional. 
Parents from Bauchi and Kano respectively. 

No. 9. These patterns, kalango, were outside the 
eyes; the one above (right side of head) was done 
early and badly the other shows the true form. Both 
parents from Kano. The wearer was a slave in all 
probability, as a free man would have subbe. 

No. 10. Mayiro (a corruption of Miriamu), a 
woman, had this pattern behind each eye. It is 
common and is called akanza. Parents from Zaria and 
Bauchi respectively. 

No. u. Kumatu, a woman, had what were said 
to be abwiya (friendship) marks, and may have been a 
charm to preserve friendship. Parents from Zaria and 
Gobir respectively. 

Nos. 12 and 13 are somewhat unusual abdominal 
patterns. Parents from Kano and Zaria respectively. 

No. 14. These yan chikki show the commonest 
pattern, except that four lines instead of three are used 
once on each side. Both parents from Kano. 

* Van or Yam (n changes to m before 6) the plural of da and dia 
means " children of," " young ones of," &c., hence " children of the 
mouth." 



XOTES ON TRIBAL MARKS 521 




522 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

No. 15. Fourteen lines on each cheek and eight on 
forehead. Said to be marks of Zanfara. Both pan nts 
from Bakura. 

. 27 shows a \<-r\ elaborate pattern of yam ba(i)ki. 
Both parents from Uti (Kano). 

No. 29. The six small squares underneath and out- 
side each eye are known as tsuguna ka chi < 
(" squat and eat yams "), and as their name implies 
are a charm to obtain plenty of food. Both parents 
from towns in Kano. 

No. 30. These two lines are farther back from the 
mouth, and much broader than the usual yam ba(i)ki. 
Both parents from Daura. 

No. 31. There was also a short cut down the fore- 
head, which, the wearer said; was to prevent headache. 
The eye marks he called daure, and said that they had 
been done on reaching puberty. Both parents from 
Dutsi (Kano). 

No. 32. Both parents from Girku (Zaria). 

No. 40. An unusual pattern. Parents from Tofa 
and Yelwa (Kano) respectively. 

No. 41. There once were similar marks also on the 
right side of the body in all probability, but they were 
too faint to be distinguished. Abdu said that the marks 
on the face were those of Gobir, but that his parents 
came from Katsina and Sokoto respectively. 

No. 43. Both parents from Zaria. 

No. 44 had what he called babba goro on the left 
side of the body below the waist, but no marks on his 
face. These, he said, were to relieve stomachache. 
Both parents from Zakua (Kano). 

No. 45 had no tribal marks, but nine cuts under the 
left nipple to relieve pain because it swelled. Both 
parents from Zaria probably Gobir. 



NOTES ON TRIBAL MARKS 523 




524 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

No. 46. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 47 had faint yam ba(i)ki and two plainer marks 
like No. 30 on each side of mouth, and there was a 
strange pattern around the navel also, and I think that 
the bearer had tried to obliterate his old marks by add- 
ing those of another clan. Parents from Kano and 
Zaria respectively. 

No. 48. Both parents from Kano. 

The wearer said that both his parents were 
Hausas from Kora (Kano), but that he had been caught 
and enslaved by Ningi people, and that they had made 
these marks, obliterating his own. 

No. 53. Both parents from Bauchi. 

No. 55. There were no marks on the face except a 
dan taki on each cheek like No. 5. The four ro 
cuts on his abdomen were to prevent internal bleeding, 
so he said. Both parents from Bauchi. 

No. 56 had a pattern of yam ba(i)ki which he called 
Icmu. 

No. 57. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 58. These the wearer said were Buzu ( ? As 
marks, his grandfather being of that tribe. Both 
parents from Geso (Kano). 

No. 62. Both parents from Kura (Kano). 

No. 64. Gude (wife of No. 65), had a very orna- 
mental mouth, with even more cuts than No. 27, and 
there were lines beneath the lower lip, a bille and six 
rows of four above the nose. The chest and abdomen 
were also decorated, the pattern here showing as far 
as the clothes would permit. Both parents from 
Anchari (Kano). 

No. 65. Both parents from Zaria. 

Nos. 66 and 67. Both parents from Bella (Bauchi) 
in the first case, from Gaya (Kano) in the second. 



NOTES ON TRIBAL MARKS 525 




s-o II A US A SUPERSTITIONS 

\. 69. The four lines on each side resemble the 
kumbu of No. 53, but are slightly lower than the 
mouth. Both parents from Bauchi. 

No. 70. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 72. The pattern on the abdomen was sur- 
mounted by cuts to give relief from (?) stomachache. 
Both parents from Igabi (Zaria). 

No. 74 had \vhat he called haka(r)rika(r)rin kifi, 
('* ribs of fish ") in place of a bille to the right 
of the nose for the purpose of attracting women. There 
was also a tsuguna ka chi doiya like No. 29. Both 
parents from Ringi (Kano). 

No. 75. Parents from Tofa and Rimin Gado 
(Kano) respectively. 

No. 76. A double kalango on each side (see dif- 
ferent pattern in No. 9 and a single one in No. 46). 
Both parents from Zaria. 

No. 77. The chest and abdomen showed a pattern 
which is partly a conventionalized lizard, apparently, 
and is called sanen bangaro ( ? the marks of a butcher). 
The cut above the left ear is very unusual. Both 
parents from Kano. 

No. 78. Parents from Kano and Kantamma 
(Kano) respectively. 

No. 80. The wearer said that these were the marks 
of the Wangarawa. Both parents from Goram 
(Bauchi). 

\o. 81. Both parents from Kano. 

Xo. 84. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 85 had a cut down the nose, made, so he said, 
by Nigawa, who caught and enslaved him. Also a 
double bille on the left side, and an dkanza (see another 
shape in No. 10) outside each eye. Parents from 
Takai and Falale respectively. 



NOTES ON TRIBAL MARKS 527 




' 75 



528 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

No. 86. Both parents from Bauchi. 

No. 89 had a conventionalized lizard's head above 
his nose, and a double bille on the left side. Both 
parents from Kano. 

No. 90. These were said to be the marks of the 
Kutumbawa. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 91. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 92. Both parents from Kano. 
>. 93. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 97. Auta (woman), had yar giro, (eyebro 
above each eye, which, she said, were for ornament. 
Both parents from Gani (Kano). 

No. 98. Hassana (woman), had yam ba(i)ki like 
No. 56, but in threes (one four) instead of in fours. 
Both parents from Kano. 

No. 99. The irregular cuts between nipples were 
either badly done tribal marks or, as he said, to prevent 
pain. Both parents from Bebeji. 

No. 100. Parents from Kano and Gwalchi (Bauchi) 
respectively. 

NO. 101. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 102. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 107. Pupils of eyes bluish, and irritating from 
amoderre (? a kind of blight). In another case the 
eyes were light blue, said to be due to cactus (Kerenna) 
juice, which causes blindness. Both parents from 
Kano. 

No. 109. Had a long cut down the nose like 
No. 7, and the square pattern probably represents a 
book. Both parents from Kano. 

No. no had another kind of haka(r)rika(r)rin kifi 
(see No. 74). Both parents from Bauchi. 

No. 112. The three inside lines were made, he said, 
to cure sore eyes. Parents from Kano. 



NOTES ON TRIBAL MARKS 529 




89 



34 



530 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

No. 113. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 114 had a very badly executed pattern on his 
cheeks. Both parents from Kura (Kano). 

No. 156. Both parents from Kano. 

No. 158. Both parents from Zaria. The lower, 
central figure is probably a simplification of the lizard 
in No. 3. 

The final nine figures have been taken from Dr. 
Kumm's From Hausaland to Egypt. He says that 
they represent the marks of the people of Kano (i, 2, 3, 
cf. 48, 84 and 107, above), Sokoto and elsewhere (4), 
Daura (5, cf. 30, above), Zaria (4 and 6), Rago (7), 
Katsina (5, cf. 155, above), and Gobir (9, cf. 41, ah 



III. ON BORI. 

I HAVE been trying during the last two years to get 
someone to take a photograph of this " dance " for me, 
but to no purpose, as the performance is absolutely for- 
bidden now. I had, therefore, to be content with the 
snapshots forming the frontispiece, and since it is quite 
possible that bori may never be seen again in Northern 
Nigeria, I give this extra note even at the risk of repeat- 
ing myself in part. 

The master of ceremonies is called the Uban Mufane ; 
he takes charge of the offerings of the spectators, but 
they are afterwards divided amongst the musicians (a 
violinist, and a man who drums on an overturned 
calabash), and the dancers. A mat is usually spread in 
front of him, so that those onlookers who wish to give 
money will know where to throw it though it is not 
refused should it fall elsewhere. Often a particular 
dancer will have kola-nuts poured into his or her 



NOTES ON BORI 



91 




10) 



98 




109 



53* HA US A SUPERSTITIONS 

mouth, as is shown in the frontispiece. Soon after the 
musicians have commenced, some of the dancers begin 
to go round and round in a circle with shuffling steps, 
the hips swaying from side to side, and in a few 
minutes the strains of the violin and the scents used by 
the dancers take effect. The eyes become fixed and 
staring, the dancer becomes hysterical, grunts or 
squeals, makes convulsive movements and sudden 
rushes, crawls about, or mimics the actions of the 
person or animal whose part he is playing, and then 
jumps into the air, and comes down flat on the buttocks, 
with the legs stretched out in front horizontally, or with 
one crossed over the other. The dancer may remain 
rigid in that position for some time, often until each 
arm has been lifted up, and pressed back three times 
by one of the other performers. 

This may be the end of that particular dancer's part, 
but often he will continue to act up to his name, his 
words and actions being supposed to be due to the spirit 
by which he is possessed, and if it is not clear which 
spirit it is, the chief mai-bori present will explain, or 
the performer himself may do so. Finally, in most 
cases, the dancer will sneeze, this evidently being for 
the purpose of expelling the spirit. Sometimes, not 
content with the dashing on the ground, the dancers will 
claw their chests, tear their hair, or beat various parts 
of their bodies, and even climb trees and throw them- 
selves down, but all deny that they feel any pain while 
possessed, whatever they do. Sneezing expels the 
spirit, as has been said, but it is some days before the 
effect of the seizure wears off, even if no serious injury 
has been done, the appropriate diet meantime being 
kola-nuts and water. 

Owing to the inquiries of Mr. Evatt, and the author 






NOTES ON BORI 



533 




534 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

of Hausa Sayings, I am enabled to make the caste of 
characters much longer than the one I gave before*, and 
it is possible that this is exhaustive, but it seems likely 
to me that every trade and profession is represented, 
and there may be no limit to the length of the list. 

(1) Ba-Absioi Person from Asben, despised by the Hausas, 
vide Xote xliv, i. Played by both sexes. The dancer hops on 
each foot alternately, at the same time raising and dropping his 
spear. He wears a black tobe, trousers, and turban. 

(2) Alfanda Lion. The tsere is a black fowl which has a 
heavy plume representing the mane. 

(3) MaUm Albaji Learned man and pilgrim. Pretends to 
be old and shaky, and to be counting beads with his right hand 
while reading a book in his left. He walks bent double, and 
with a crutch, coughing weakly all the time. He is present at 
all the marriages within the Bori sect. His tsere is anything 
white the malam's proper dress being of that colour. 

(4) Almijiri Disciple. He copies a malam to some extent. 
His tsere is a small iron bow. 

(5) Aoakwaache Lying down. The person may pretend to 
be helpless. His tsere is two brown chickens. 

(6) And! ? His tsere is a monkey-skin. 

(7) A radii Thunder. The person is possessed during a 
storm, and either imagines himself to be the cause of it, or else 
that the spirit of the storm has entered into him. 

(8) Nana Ayetha The wife of the Sa(r)rikin Rafi. The 
dancer rushes about waving a sheet over her (or his) head, and, 
when tired, bends down and rubs or scratches her legs. The 
tsere is a blue cloth. 

(9) Sa(r)rikin Bakka Chief of the Bow, i.e., Principal 
Huntsman. He moves about as if stalking game. 

(10) Sa(r)rikln Barde Prince, leader of cavalry. He (or 
she) is always in front of the other dancers. He moves round 
in a circle, stamping the outer foot, and resting a staff first upon 
his right thigh, and as the pace quickens, trailing it on the 
ground. Suddenly he sits down with a bump, covers up his 
head, and pretends to sneeze. The dancer, even if he be a 
male, wears a woman's cloth, tucked under the arms in the 
ordinary way. The tsere is a red cloth or cock, red being the 
royal colour. 

* The Tailed Head-hunters of Nigeria, pages 254-257. 



NOTES ON BORI 



535 



rf) 





. 
I!'' 




' * 






6 






8 



9 



536 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

(n) Son Bawa The Desirer of a Slave. He or she walks 
about weeping and saying " I am looking for a slave," and call- 
ing upon other Bori spirits to help in the quest. 

(12) Bete Deaf Mute. He or she sits alone, with tears 
streaming down the cheeks, or runs around, mouthing, in either 
case making no sound. 

(13) Blrri Monkey. The player climbs trees and apes this 
animal generally. 

(14) Buwaye Strong one. The same as Dan Galladima, 
q.v. 

(15) Mai Jan Chlkkl The drawer along of the stomach. He 
crawls with his belly on the ground, and imitates the movements 
of a snake. 

(16) Dogon Dajl Tall one of the forest, i.e., guinea-corn, 
and so gia (guinea-corn beer) and drunkenness. The tsere is 
gia. 

(17) Kworro na Daji Insect of the forest. The tsert is a 
small chicken. 

(18) Ba-Dakia ? Also said to be a wife of Sa(r)rikin Raft. 
The tsere is a speckled hen. 

(IQ) Dandn David, or Dan Sa, Son of a Bull. Said to be 
the same as Dan Galladima. 

(20) Mai Ga(r)rin Danra ? 

(21) Dogna A double spirit (see page 118). The wife of 
Malam Alkaji, but acted by both sexes. Indoors, it is known as 
the wearer of the white cloth, and for this character the dancer 
lies at full length on his side (either one), and rocks himself 
backwards and forwards, while one person behind and another 
in front flap a cloth which is laid over him. The outside part 
of the spirit is known as the wearer of the black cloth, and for 
this the dancer lies on his face, a man sitting on his head and 
stretching out his legs so that they grip the dancer's sides, and 
the latter puts his arms around the body of the man sitting 
upon him. Another man then sits by the dancer's feet, and he 
and the one at the head flap the cloth. 

(22) Sa(r)rikin Filani Filani Chief. He goes around with 
a staff, counting imaginary herds of cattle, and then presents 
himself to the Dan Galladima. His tsere is a string of small 
cowries, the shells being a favourite ornament of these people. 

(23) Sa(r)rikin Fushi King of Wrath, i.e., a bee. He is 
said to be a younger brother of Babban Mazza. The tsere is 
honey. 

(24) Dan Galladima Son of a Prince. The dancer puts on 



NOTES ON BORI 537 

a large cloth, which comes over his head. He walks along 
slowly, head bent, and then, crossing his feet, he sits down. 
He is then approached and saluted by everyone. He is the 
highest judge of the sect, appeals being brought to him from 
the court of the Wanzami. If he agrees with the decision of 
the latter, he remains seated, if not, he jumps up and falls down 
three times, and then he gives his decision. The tsere consists 
of the full attire of a prince, vis., a blue tobe and trousers, white 
turban, shoes, -and scent. 

(25) Zeggin Dan Galladima Equerry of the Dan Galladima. 
He or she precedes him, helps him to sit down, and then fans 
him. 

(26) Garaje ? The same as Mai Gworje? The dancer 
stamps about, taking four steps forward at a time in any direc- 
tion. He (or she) holds his head high, but eventually crosses 
his feet and falls backwards. 

(27) Dogon Gidda ? Tall one of the house? The tsere is 
fresh milk. 

(28) Ba-Gobiri Man of Gobir. The tsere is a weapon, the 
Gobirawa being renowned warriors. 

(29) Mayannen Gobir He with the comrades from Gobir. 
The tsere is a pair of irons. 

(30) Ba Gu(d)du Not running, i.e., brave man. The tsere 
is a white kola-nut and a woman's white headkerchief, white 
being the colour of death, which this spirit does not fear. 

(31) Gwari A Gwari (pagan). The dancer wanders about, 
stooping and leaning on a staff, and carrying a load of rubbish 
in a bag or bowl on his back, after the manner of the members 
of the Gwari tribe. 

(32) Mai Gworje He with the bell. The tsere is a small 

stick. 

(33) Ibrahima Abraham. The tsere is a white-bellied kid. 

(34) Inna Stuttering. The actor pretends that he is afflicted 
with an impediment in his speech. 

(35) Janjare or Janzirri ? From Khanziri, a hog. The 
same as Nakada. Sometimes, if not forcibly prevented, the 
person possessed, naked, except for a monkey-skin, will rush 
about devouring or rubbing his body with all kinds of filth, and 
pushing an onion or tomato into the mouth is the only cure, 
other occasions he hops round a few times, then puts a stick 
between his legs for a hobby-horse, and prances. Finally, b 
simulates copulation, falls to the ground, and pretends to sneeze. 
The tsere is a monkey-skin and a bell, the latter to rouse it. 



538 HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 

(36) Kaikai Itch. The actor is continually scratching 
body. 

(37) Kind!-? A female spirit which is said to be respon- 
sible for the raising of the magic hoe (see page 167). The tsere 
is a small hoe. 

(38) Kavra See page 112. The dancer moves around about 
ten times, stamping the right foot, and then falls backwards. 
The tsfre is a yellow cloth or a sheep with dark markings round 
the eyes. 

(39) Rare Hyaena or ? god (see page in). The dancer 
(either sex) goes on all fours, growling and champing his jaws, 
and pretending to be looking for goats. Sometimes a man holds 
a girdle tied around the dancer's waist, and the latter pretends 
to try to escape. The t*?re is a piece of meat. 

(40) Knu Deafness. The actor pretends that he cannot 
hear. 

(41) Kitira Leper. The actor either sits like a leprous 
beggar, and, hiding his legs, pretends that they have been 
amputated at the knee-joint, or he walks as if his limbs were 
distorted, making faces and noises. He contracts his fingers, 
and, holding a cap in them, begs for money, and drives away 
flies from his imaginary sores. 

(42) Kyeinbo ? The tsrrc is a large bead. 

(43) Lambu ? Possibly the same as Sa(r)rikin Bakka. The 
dancer, carrying a miniature bow and arrows, and sometimes 
wearing the skin of a Burutu bird as a head-dress, goes through 
the movements of sighting, stalking, and killing game. 

(44) Madambacbe The boxer. He pretends to box. The 
tsere consists of a boxer's equipment, as is shown in illustration 
No. 38. 

(45) Be Magnje See page in. The dancer wears a loin- 
cloth, a quiver, and a bag in which are tobacco and a flint and 
steel. He carries an axe on his shoulder, a bow in his hand, 
and smokes a long pipe. He walks along, mimicking a pagan, 
and presently lights his pipe with a spark from the flint (the 
Hausas now use imported matches). He then calls out " Che- 
waki, Tororo (two common pagan names) bring beer," and on a 
person bringing him some, he drinks greedily, letting the beer 
run down his chin. He then gives back the calabash of beer, 
relights his pipe, and moves off. 

(46) Masakl Weaver. The dancer (either sex) wears a 
woman's cloth folded tightly under the arm-pits. He passes a 
wisp of grass from one hand to the other (as if throwing the 
shuttle), and rubs it along his thigh (like a strand of cotton). 
Finally, he covers up his head and sneezes. 



NOTES ON BORI 539 

(47) Bakka Mashi Black spear. The tsere is a black stick. 

(48) Maye ? A wizard. 

(49) Babban Mazza Great one amongst men. The tsere is a 
cock, preferably one with red feathers. 

(50) Dan Mayiro Child of Merarnu. 

(51) Meramu Miriam. The tsere is a string of scented cow- 
ries and a small red cloth. 

(52) Dan Musa Son of Moses. Possibly the same as Mai Jan 
Chikki. The dancer, covered with a black cloth, imitates the 
movements of the samami, a large snake with a red neck. Has 
this any reference to the contest before Pharaoh ? The magicians 
are supposed by some to have come from West Africa (N.W.S., 
page 16). 

(53) Nakada Nodder. The same as Janjare, q.v. 

(54) Dan Nana Child of Ayesha. The dancer pretends to 
be a small boy suffering from stomach-ache, and he groans, sits 
down, and holds and rubs his body. 

(55) Sa(r)rikin Paggam_? 

(56) Sa(r)rikin Rafi Chief of the river, i.e., of the fishermen, 
canoe-men, &c. He pretends to be spearing fish all the time, or 
he stares, beats his breast, and walks round in a circle, bringing 
one foot up to the other, and leading off again with the same 
foot. The tsere is a hanurua nut (species of kola) and a small 
chicken. 

(57) Mai Bakkin Rai -He with the black soul. The tsere is 
anything black. 

(58) Mai Jan Rua He who has red water. He behaves as if 
he had fever, and is covered with a black cloth which is flapped 
to and fro to fan him. Under this treatment his stomach 
gradually swells, and eventually he vomits, and then recovers. 

(59) Na Rua Rua ? Possibly a modification of the preceding 
one. The dancer at first stands, then kneels, nodding his head 
all the time. Finally he bends over until his head touches the 
ground, and he turns it to and fro, groaning as if suffering from 
stomach-ache. 

(60) Sambo ? 

(61) Dan Sa(r)riki Son of a Chief. He is the principal actor, 
but he does not dance, but seats himself and cries because his 
father has not given him a present. The other masu-bori salute 
him, stand when he stands, and generally pay him the marks of 
respect due to a prince. 

(62) Tsuguna Squatting. The actor sits like a dog. 

(63) Wanzami Barber. The judge of the Bori sect, the mem- 
bers of which obey his sentences. He puts four to six razors 
into his mouth and turns them round, and then strops them on 



MO 



HAUSA SUPERSTITIONS 



his fore-arm. Finally he places the razors on the ground, and 
cleans his teeth with sand and tobacco flowers. The tstrt is a 
razor. 

(64) Za(l)ki Lion. The dancer runs around with a bone in 
his mouth, and calls out " God is to be feared, man is to be 
feared " (see page 28). Another man holds a girdle made fast 
to the dancer's waist. The tserc is a bone or a piece of meat. 

(65) Zb ? The dancer moves around in figures of 8 until 
he drops. 

Those are all that I have been able to collect so far, 
but I have no doubt that there are many others, and it 
is to be hoped that a record will be made of them \\hile 
particulars are still to be obtained. 

, 




XLL THE BORI JUMP. 



L'Envoi. 



AND now I must say Au Revoir. The Hausa is a 
very interesting person, good-natured, honest, brave, 
and in many respects admirable. He has his faults, of 
course, and his ideas of morality are not ours, but, on 
the whole, his good qualities easily outweigh the bad 
ones. My aim has been to give a true picture of him, 
hiding nothing, and exaggerating nothing. I believe 
that my opinion of him is accurate, but can a European 
living for most of his time in a European country ever 
be absolutely certain that he has got thoroughly to 
the back of the black man's mind? I have had to 
leave the solution of other problems to the spider 
(page 96), and perhaps the safest course is to refer this 
question also to 




THE KING OF CUNNING AND OF FOLK-LORE. 



Index to Parts I. and III. 



ABNORMALITIES, 93, 94, 126 
Address, Forms of, 6, 43, 174- 

178, 464, 467, 475, 487 
Adoption, 06, 137, 138 
Adultery, 52, 78, 79 
After-life, 118 
Agaddez, 481 

Age for marriage, The, 76 
Agriculture, 97, 471, 478-480, 501, 

507, 510 
Ajcnge (Head of Bon) t The, 149- 

151 

Albino, The, 93, 138 
Aljan (demon), The, 18, 109, no, 

148, 150, 152, 154, 164, 170 
Alkali (native judge), The, 7, 64, 

68 
Alkawali (obligation), The, 51, 

142, 463, 469* 470 
Ancestors, The worship of, 96, 97, 

477 

Angels, 158, 159 
Animal community, The, 30, 42 
Animals, Domestic, 39 
- Habits of, 40 

Names of, 30, 179, 181 

Marriage of, with human 

beings, 43, 79 

Powers of, 32-39 

Sacrifice of, 135-138 

Substitution of, 138 
Transformation into, 132-135 

Transmigration into, 118 

Wonderful, 130, 131 

Ants, 19, 25, 41, 497 
Aphrodisiacs, 31, 77, 482 
Appearances, Magical, 160 
Aragga tribe, The, 106 
Asben (or Air), 49, 5<>, 497, 534 
Ash, as salt, 505 

Association, The British, 10, 109 
Aunt, The, 76, 99 
Authorities, 8-10 



Avoidance of parents-in-law, 88, 
89,461, 471. 508 

the wife's sister, 88 

Ayu (A spirit), in 

BABOONS, 34, 43, 67, 1 1 1 
Baby, The Tar, stories, 20-23 
Bachelor, The, 89, 176 
Ba-Maguje, The, 26. 34, ' n , no 

<llfu> x 



Basket, The magic, 75, 485, 507 
Baskets, 514 
Bat, The. 40 
Beauty, A woman's, 52 
Bees, 130, 536 

Beings, Half-, 15, 75, 123, 
>54 

Mythical, 122-128 

Best-man, The, 82, 86 
Betrothal. 76 
Biblical Stories, 17, 26 
Birds, 19,39,62,63, 119, 125, 

165, 470, 487 

Births, Miraculous, 90-92, 94, i; 
499 

Bitch, The, 14, 34, 115, "6 
Blacksmiths, 156, 509-511 (Illus. 

Blessing, The. 140, 141 

Blind man, The, 46, 48, 58, 60, 
98, 178, 512 

Blood, 18, 62, 63, 157, 515 

Bon, 109, 145-152, 530-540 (Fron- 
tispiece and XLI) 

Boxing, 57, 538 (Illus. XXXVII 
and XXXVIII) 

Bravery, 46, 47, 537 

Bride, The, Dress of, 87 

First right to. 83 

giving way of, 76 

Parents of, 82 

Reluctance of, 82, 86-88 

Signs of virgin, 83, 88 



INDEX TO PARTS I AND III 



543 



Bridegroom, The, 82, 83, 86 
Bridesmaids, The, 82, 86 
Bride-price, The, 76, 78, 81, 82, 

BRITISH ASSOCIATION, THE, 10, 

IOQ 

Brother, The, 18, 75, A 79, 81, 

Buffalo, The, 133, 154, 166, 167, 

171, 172 

Building, Methods of, 106 
Bull, The, 476, 503, 536 
Burial, 71, 72, 105-107, 136 

- Death and, 71, 72, 103-107, 
151, 458, 507, 508 

Butchers, 476 (Illus. XXI) 
Butterfly, The, 134, 175 

CALABASH, THE, 24 
Camel, The, 38, 75 
Cannibals, 18, 123 
Cannibalism, 516 
Capitals, The use of, 43 
Capture, Marriage by, 83, 86, 87 
Cat, The, 14, 21, 27, 44, 133 

- The wild, 26, 28, 38, 41, 468 
Cattle, 44, 48, 49, 59, 92, 94, 102, 

in, 132, 148, 164, 503 
Centipede, The, 39 
Ceremonies of marriage, 80-88 
Charms and potions, 23, 24, 31, 

33, 101, 125, 135, 147, M9, 153, 

156, 168-172, 469, 482, 483, 486, 
_5i8, 520, 522, 526 
Chief, The, 98, 103 

Election of, 104, 105, 132 
Rivalry between, 96 
Child-birth, 92, 100, 101, 170, 177, 

463, 486, 491, 492, 498, 499 
Child, The, Means to prevent 

death of, 179, 180 
Children, Rivalry between, 18 
Choice, A woman's, 75 
Cinderella, 14, 40, 127 
Circumcision, 93 
City, The growth of, 103 
Clothing, 58, 114, 144, 149, 150, 

486, 491, 510, 512, 517 
C Dck, The, 21, 28, 39, 113, 129, 

130, 140, 469 
Coffin, The, 106 
Collecting, Difficulties of, 6-8, 

485, 498 

Colour, 144, 150, 161, 164, 534 
Commencement and ending of 

tales, 10-12, 467 
Conjuring, 167, 168, 470 '. 
Consent of parents, 76, 84 . 
Contempt, 54 



Cooking, 481, 493 
Corpse, The, 18, 52 

- Treatment of, 103, 107, 118 
Coughing, 92 
Counting games, 68-70 
Courtship, 42, 48, 74-78, 81, 82, 

142 

Covenant, The, 140 
Cowries, 77, 82, 83, 85, 86 
Creation, Magical, 165, 464, 465 
Crocodile, The, 124, 174 
Crow, The, 19, 39, 41, 133, 165, 

'75 

Culture, 4, 14 
Curiosity, 142, 145, 154, 155 
Curse, The, 140-141 
Custom, The force of, 3 
Customer, The first, 509 

DANCING, 35, 42, 57, 84, 145 
Dan Zanzanna (small-pox), 118 
Darra (like Backgammon), The 

game of, 57, 59 
Daura, Legends of, 103, no, 124, 

125, 140, 141 
Days, Lucky and unlucky, 150, 

163, 164, 458, 459 
Dead, The, 34 
Deaf-mute, The, 49, 536 
Death, 46, 157 

and burial, 103-107, 151, 163, 

458, 507, 508 

Life after, 118 

Second, 118 

Debts and debtors, 42, 49, 136 

Deceit, 48 

Degrees of relationship, 77, 79 

Demons, 18, 109, no, 481 

Descent. 99, 100 

Development, 103, 492, 495 

Diseases, 118, 119, 462 

Divination, 66 

Divorce, 78 

Dodo (monster), 14, 25, 34, 75, 

109, 114, 124-128, 135, 156, 157, 

163, 176, 464, 5oi, 502 

Offspring of, 126 

Wife of, 126 

Dodoniya (female), 133, 154 
Dog, The, 17, 19, 20, 26, 28, 29, 

33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 41, 44* 59, 126, 

474, 475, 485, 540 

Maiden, The, 16, 120, 131 

Dogua (evil spirit), 18, 119, 536 
Donkey, The, 35, 37, 38, 41, 499 

Maiden, The, 16, 119, 131 

Door, The magic, 15 

Dove, The, 16, 17, 19, 39, 42, 132 
Dreams, 167 
Drums, 117 



544 



INDEX TO PARTS 1 AXD III 



Drunkenness, 54 
Dwarf, The, 66, 123 
Dyeing, op, 4<>, 141, 45 

EAGLE, THE, 39, 133, 75, 503 

Ears, 59, 460 

Earth, daubed on body, 142 

Properties of, 163, 460 

taken by emigrants, 142 

The eating of, 142 

Eating, Customs regarding, 54, 

55, 144, 472 
Echo, The, 112 
Eclipse, The, 116 
Economy, 55 

Eggs, 15, 39, 59, 62, 68, 130 
Elephant, The, 31, 32, 38, 43, "9, 

125, M3 
Ending and commencement of 

tales, The, 10-12 
Escapes, Easy, 25 
Evil eye, The, 144, 161-163 
Evil wishing, 163 
Ewe, The, 25, 44 

Fables and Fairy Tales, 20 
Family, The Hausa, 74, 78, 80, 
88, 90, 95, 96, 99, 103, 107, 108 
Fatalua (evil spirit), 112 
Fear, 54 
Feasts, 459 . 

at marriage, 84-86, 89 

at naming, 92 

Filani, The, 58, 72, 80. 148, 151, 

472, 490, 497, 520, 530 
Fire, 30, 58, 61, 62, 126, 139, 141, 

Fish/ 40, '119, 539 

Fita Furra (intimacy previous to 

marriage), 77, 78, 496 
Folk-lore and Folk-law, 23 

Value of, 2-5 

Food and drink, 471, 475, 478- 

484, 500, 505, 512 (Illus. 

XXIX-XXXII) 

- Supernatural, 157 
Forgiveness, 51-53 
Form of a story, The, 8, 25-29, 

95, 463, 464, 467, 468, 475, 485, 

493, 504, 5.17 

Fortune-telling, 147, 106, 167 
Fowl, The, 39, 4i, 60, 62, 84, 85, 

149, i5i, 536 
Fox, The, 19 
Francolin (or partridge), The, 22, 

41 

Friends, Valuable, 66 
Frog, The, 15, 41, 66, 67, 119, 

133, 479 



Fufunda ( ? the phoenix), 112, 113, 
128-130 

Gajjimare (God, rainbow), 112 
Gambling, 46, 58 
Games, 57, 58 

Counting, 68-70 

Gausami (sacred pole), 77, 78, 

496, 511 

Gazelle, The, 22, 132, 133 
Gestures, 54-57 

Giant, The, 14, 32, 122, 123, 126 
Gifts, Magic, 172 
Giraffe, The, 31 
Goats, 32, 35, 36, 40, 149, 1 5 it 

164, 1 66, 470 

God, 28, 36, 3?, 50, 61, 66 
Gods and spirits. 34, 78, 110-112, 

493, 5H, 532 
(characters in Bon), 534, 

536-540 
Gourds, 12, 48, 60, 139, 167, 490, 

501 

Gratitude, 40, 44, 5<>, 52 
Graves. 71, 106, 107, 136 
Ground-nuts, 465 



Guest, The, 54. 469 
Guinea-fowl, The, 63, 



470 



HAIR, 92, 126, 128, 176, 489 

dressing. 46 

Half-being, The, 15, 75, 123, 124, 

55 

Hallucinations, 146, 151 
Hare, The, 20, 22, 30, 31, 4O, 66, 

114 

Haruspication, 166 
Hatred, 54 

Hausas, The habitat of, i, 2 
- Language of, 4, 5, 7, 9- 12, 

28 

Origin of, 2, 123 

as soldiers, 47 

as traders, i, 38, 40, 97, 102- 

108, 473, 503 (Illus. A IX, 
XXIII-XXVI) 

Hawk, The, 41, 132, 133 

Head-hunting, 138 

Healing powers of leaves, 19 

bird's droppings, 128 

Hedge-hog, The, 38 

Henna, Staining with, 82, 85, 87, 

88, 121 

Hero, The Hausa, 47 
Hiccoughing, 141 
Hippopotamus, The, 32, 38 
Hoe-shovel, The magic, 167, 537 
Honesty, 47 



INDEX TO PARTS I AND III 



545 



Horse, The, 18, 37, 42, 62, 83, 87, 
113, 130, 133, 134, 138, 148, 156, 
157, 168, 174, 459, 46i, 508 

Neighing of, 92 
Hospitality, 54, 469, 4?o, 476 
Houses, 42, 106, 469, 475, 477, 

478, 480, 484, 485, 487, 488, 490, 
508, 510, 512, 515 (Illus. IX- 
XIV) 

Hunting, 34, 534, 537 

Husband, The choice of a, 75 

The duty of a, 53, 80 
Hyaena, The, 14, 24, 26, 28, 29, 

30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 41, 5i, 
61, in, 115, n6, 166, !72, 174, 
487, 498, 538 
Hypnotism, 24, 145, 167 

I bits (devil), 109, 112 

Iguana, The, 119 

Imitation, 28, 29 

Inanimate objects, 15, 19, 43, 122, 

J34 

Indolence, 50, 474, 478 
Infanticide, 93, 116 
Inheritance, 107, 108, 487, 495, 

Ink, 70, 169, 170 
Insanity, 146 
Invisibility, 171 
Iron, 139, 144, 156 

JACKAL, THE, 19, 26, 32, 33, 35, 

49, 1 66 
Jansirn, 537 
Jemaan Dororo (or Jemaa), 5, 7, 

34 

Jerboa, The, 20, 33, 35, 49, 50, 130 
Jt-ptllima (magical bird), The, 128 
Justice, 33, 457, 458, 463, 47i, 

494, 505, 506 

Kama (disreputable persons), 146 
Kaura (evil spirit), 112, 538 
Kid, The, 26, 27 
Kindness to animals, 19, 44 
King-killing, 103-105, 132 
Kirari (form of address), The, 33, 

72, 174-178, 487 
Kishia (" jealous wife "), The, 12, 

78,95 
Kola-nuts, 77, 83, 92, 142, 160, 

496 

Kurt (a god), 78, in, 515 
Kurua (shadow), The, 112 
Kwiyafa (magic animal). The, 

130 

35 



LAMB, THE, 32 
Language, 98 

- Sign, The, 49, 55, 57, 500 
Laziness, 50 

Leaves, The healing properties 

of, 19 
Leopard, The, 15, 22, 23, 31, 33, 

34, 116, 172 

Leper, The, 78, 128, 538 
Leprosy, The causes of, 462 
Lice, 176, 513 
Lion, The, 14, 28, 29, 31, 33, 36, 

43, 49, 5i, 52, 128, 133, 174, 

463, 534, 540 
Literature, 70-73 (Illus. VII and 

VIII) 
Liver, The virtues of the, 165, 

1 66 
Lizard, The, 35, 39, 478, 518, 526, 

528, 530 

Locust, The, 38, 61, 62, 175, 462, 
T 463 
Love, 58 

MAGIC APPEARANCES, 160, 167 

Animals, 130, 131 

Basket, The, 75, 485, 507 

Birds, 128-130, 165 

Creation, 165, 464, 465 
Door, The, 15 

- Eye, 161-163 

Gifts, 172 

- Gourds, 139, 167 

Handkerchief, The, 19 

Names, 178-180 

Ointment, The, 130, 131, 514 

Rites, 164-167, 496, 502, 505, 

511, 513, 517 

Spells, 67 

Tree, The, 172 

- Words, 139, 131, 465 
Magiro (evil spirit), 112 
Mai-bori (member of the sect, pi. 

Masu-bori], 146-151 
Malam (priest, magician, " doc- 
tor "), 31, 87, 90, 92, 94, 148, 
166, 168, 172, 483, 534 (Illus. 

Mare, The, 26, 461 

Marks, Tribal, 100-103, 119, 161, 

170, 171, 518-531, 533, 535 

Indicate calling, 101 

Marriage, 34, 42, 43, 78-89, 459, 

482, 485, 494 

with animals, 43, 79 

by capture, 83, 86, 87 

ceremonies, 80, 142 

dress, 85 

feast, 84, 85, 86, 87 



546 



l.\I)EX TO I'ARTS I AM) III 



Marriage, Intimacy previous to, 
77, 78, 496 

reluctance of bride, 82, 86, 

87, 88 

Test of fitness for, 74, 75 

to a tree, 120-122 

of a virgin, 85 

Mats and blinds, 484 (Illus. XX) 

ider of men, The, 45 
Milk, 151 (Illus. XXXII) 
Miraculous births, 00-92, 94. 
Mirage, The, 151, 152 
Monkey, The, 22, 26, 34, 38, 43, 

51, 471, 511, 5'3, 536 

woman, The, 120 

Monsters. 113, 114, 123, 172 

Moon, Tne, 59, 116, 117 

Morals, 50, 52 

Mosques, 148 

Motherhood, The desire for, 90 

Mother sacrificed with her 

dren. The, 136 
Mourning, 106 

Mouse, The, 14, 41, 63, 122, 133 
Mouths, The numerous, of 

witches, 154 
Mud-fish, The, 175 
Mutilation. 457, 460, 476, 532 
Mythical beings, 122, 128, 144, 

M5 
Myths, Nature, 112-118 

- of the sun, 25 (Note), 112- 

118, 129, 130 
of the wind, 117, 118 

NAME-FEASTS, 92 

Names, 16, 74, 92, 120, 143, 170, 

178-182, 487, 496, 507 
Narrators, The, 35 
Nature myths, 112-118 
Niger and the West Sudan, The, 

2, 10 

Nursing children, The period of, 
93, 159 



OATHS, 139 

Objects, Inanimate, 15, 19, 43, 

!22, 134 
Oil, 466, 478 
Ointment, The magic, 104, 131, 

132 

Ordeals, 139, 140, 166 
Organization, 97-99 
Origin of the Hausas, The, i, 2 
Ostrich, The, 35 

PAINTING, 102 
Parables, 17, 26 



Parentage, 90 

Parents, Consent of, 76, 84 

- -in-law, 
Partridge (or francolin), The, 22, 

4i, 47i 
Pens, 70 
Pigeon, The, 25, 33, 39, 4. 

58, 119, 183 
Poetry, 7073 
Poison, 31, i 
Politeness, 66 
Porcupine, The, 38, 79 
Potions and charms, 135, 147, 

U9, 53, 156, 168-172, 482, 483, 

486 

Pottery, 173 (Illus. XY-XVIII) 
Poverty, Contempt for, 99, 507 
Proverbs, 60-66, 500, 506 
Punishment, 457, 458, 460 
Puns, 66 

RABBIT, THE, 20, 21 
Rago (Kuri a spirit), in, 515 
Rainbow (Gajjimare), The, 112 
Ram, The, 25, 79, 92, 132, 140, 

464, 497 
Relations of husband and wife, 

80 

of parent and child, 95 

Remus, Uncle, 19, 20 
Resurrection, The, 164 
Riddles, 58, 59 
Ridicule of witches is dangerous, 

155 

Ring, The magic, 133, 134 
Rites, Magic, 164-167, 172 
Rolling on the ground, 134 
Rubber, 466 

SACRIFICE, 106, in, 134, 135-138 
Salt, 84, 153, 154, 505 
Salutations, 55, 177, 466 
Sandals, 144 
Sa(r)riki (chief), 98, 103 

- Election of the, 104, 105 
Sa(r}rikin Rafi ( ? Dodo), 111, 151 
Scarification, 100-102, 170 
Scorpion, The, 35, 38, 41, 58, 94, 

130, 133, 482 
Seduction of the chief's wife, 104, 

132 

Shame, 88, 143 
Sheep, The, 36, 504, 505 
Shivering, 36, 37, 139 
Sieve, The, 18 

Sign-language, The, 49, 55-57 
Similarities, 14-23, 27, 2& 
Sister, The, 18, 75, 76, 79, 81, 



INDEX TO PARTS I AND III 



547 



Slave, The, 25, 66, 67, 102, 136, 

141, 181, 497, 536 
Sleep, 508, 514, 534 
Slipperiness, 25 
Snake, The, 32, 38, 41, 45, 75, 98, 

99, 119, 131, 133, 479, 482, 506, 

539. 

Sneezing, 141, 532 
Solomon, Prophet, (King), 39, 48, 

80, 481, 487-489 
Song, A war-, 72, 73 
Songhay, 47, no 
Soul, The, 144 

External, 132, 474 
Sparrow, The, 175 
Spell, The magic, 167 
Spider, The, 10-14, 22, 30, 31, 32, 

33, 38, 41, 49, 75, 79, 96, 113, 

n6, 133, 157, 174, 175, 466, 470, 

480, 541 
Spinning, 42 
Spitting, 54 
Spots, 101, 162 
Stars, The, 59, 114, "6 
Stepmother, The, 95 
Sterility, 96 

Story, The form of the, 8 
Substitution, 134, 138 
Succession to chieftainship, The, 

104-5 

Sung-parts in stories, 6, 28 
Sun-myths, 25 (Note), 112-118 
Supernatural beings, 18 
Swallow, The, 21, 175 
Swallowing, 114, 117, 126 



Tabu, 16, 88, 89, 104, 142, 145, 

1 80, 181, 460, 461, 487, 49i, 

406, 407, ?o8 
Tailed Head-hunters of Nigeria, 

The, 5, 10 

Tail-wearers, 43, 126, 127 
Takai (war - dance) (Illus. 

XXXIII-XXXVI) 
Tar-baby stories, 20, 23, 466 
Thieving, 23, 48, 171, 457 
Time, The lapse of, 157-160 
Tobacco, 471, 472, 484, 538 
Tongue, A woman's, 46, 52 
Tortoise, The, 32, 38 
Totemism, 17, 52, 80, 119, 122, 

143, 179 

Conceptional, 120-122 
Traders, Hausa, i, 38, 40, 52, 97, 

102, 103, 473, 503 (Illus. XIX, 

XXIII-XXVI) 
Transformation, 43, 126, 132-135, 

154, 158, 159 



Transmigration, 118 
Traps, 24, 25, 494 
Tree-marriage, 120-122 

The fortunate, 172 

Tribal marks, 100-103, 119, 161, 

170, 171, 518-531, 533, 535 
Turkey, The, 175 
Twins, 93, 94 

UNCLE, THE, 76, 81, 99 

Remus, 19, 20 

Unnatural parents and children, 

95 

Uivardawa (" corn-mother "), in 
Uwardowa ("forest-mother"), in 
Uwargona (" farm-mother," a 

spirit), 78, in 
uwaryara (evil spirit), in 

VALUE OF FOLK-LORE, 2-5 
Village, Origin of the Hausa, 103 
Violin, The, 84 
Violinist, The, 149, 530 
Virginity, Signs of, in bride, 83, 

88 

Virgin-marriage, 85, 88 
Virtues, 46-52, 54, 60-63, 66, 70- 

72 
Vulgarities, 4 

WAR-SONG, A, 72, 73 

Washing, 158-160, 164, 171 

Water, 125-128 

Wealth, Nature of, 53, 99 

Weaning, 90, 93, 159 

Weaving, 538 

White-Ant, The, 14, 5i 62 , 478, 

504 

Widows, The re-marriage of, 88 
Wife, The human, of Dodo, 126 

and her husband's name, 
180, 181 

The Kirari of a, 176, 177 

and the Kishia, The, 12, 78, 

512 

Power over, 458, 485, 49O 

A right through the, 104 

Sacrificed with her husband, 

The, 136 

The sister of the, 143 

The youngest, The 

triumph of, 78, 460 

Wild-cat, The, 26, 28, 38, 41, 468 
Wind-myth, A, 117-118 
Witchcraft, 2, 93 
Witches, 13, 18, 34, 35, 38, 75, 

109, 113, 126, 133, 135, M5, I 53- 

157, 48i 



INDEX TO PARTS I AND 111 



Wolf, The, 19 

Woman, The ideal, $2, 466 

Old, 32, 153, 76 

The character of, 48, 52, 53, 

80 

Word-game, A, 66-70 
Sequence, A, 68 
Words, Magic, 130, 131 

Plays upon, 67, 502 

Special, in Bori, iji 

Work, Dislike for hard, 40, 5O, 

98 



World, The next, 42, "8, 136, 

157, 164 

The people of, 160 

Wrestling, 42, 57, 5" 

XXXIX and XL) 

YAWNING, 141 

Younger brother or sister, The, 

18, 75, 81, 143 
Youngest wife, The triumph of 

the, 78 

Zankallala, The, 130, 511 



JOHN BALE, SONS & DANIBI.SSON. LTD., 83-91, Great Titchfield Street, London, W, 






BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 



The Tailed Head-Hunters of Nigeria. 

An Account of an Official's seven years' experiences in the Northern 

Nigerian Pagan Belt, and a description of the manners, habits, and 

customs of some of its Native Tribes. 

[LONDON: SEELEY, SERVICE & Co., LTD., 1912. Price 16s.net.] 



The Times." The work of a writer well qualified for his task." 

The Standard. " A brilliant contribution to anthropology, written 
by a scholar who knows how to handle a magic pen. Nothing like it 
has hitherto appeared, and, unless we are greatly mistaken, its welcome 
on the broad scale is assured. Major Tremearne not only knows the 
savages of Northern Nigeria at close quarters, in the actual manner of 
their life, but how to make them real to English readers." 

The Morning Post. " We are grateful to Major Tremearne for 
some really valuable matter." 

The Pall Mall Gazette. " His account of native customs and 
beliefs, given with sympathetic insight into the negro's mind, deserves 
close study. . . . The book is a noteworthy addition to our ' Empire ' 
book-shelves." 

The Birmingham Gazette. "A most fascinating study . . . The 
whole book is full of the glamour of mysterious Africa ... It is not 
easy to explain the fascination, but the book is alive with it." 

The Graphic. " . . . fascinating book. . . . His experiences . . . 
make the most exciting reading, and are amusing too, their narrator 
having a remarkable gift of unforced humour." 

United Empire (R.C.I.). " Whilst nearly every chapter contains 
valuable information as to the manners and customs of the Northern 
Nigerian tribes, that on music and dancing is especially valuable." 

The Glasgow Evening Citizen* -"The spirit of ad venture permeates 
the pages. If you are young in heart you will read these books as you 
used to read Henty's novels. The narratives are engrossing . . . 
splendidly illustrated," 



The Niger and the West Sudan ; The 
West African's Note-Book. 

A Vade-mecum containing Hints and Suggestions as to what is required 

by Britons in West Africa, 
together with Historical and Anthropological Notes* 

[LONDON: HODDER & STOUGHTON, 1910. Price 6. net] 



The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society." Captain 
Tremearne's useful manual . . . bears strong testimony to the author's 
industry. . . . The views of an officer who has had much experience of 
natives and is conversant with their modes of thought deserve careful 
consideration. ... His hints are very much to the point ... the 
author's advice is eminently sensible. . . . Probably the kits of most men 
who hereafter go to the West Coast will include a copy of this book." 

Man (Royal Anthropological Institute). "Very useful little book. . . 
The compilations which form the ethnographical part are the work of an 
industrious and careful student, and are well suited to help those who 
intend to push inquiry forward. . . . Captain Tremearne deserves the 
gratitude of the West Coast natives for advocating the wise development 
of their own civilization instead of the systematic application of European 
codes of honour, morals, and education all equally unsuited to them. . . . 
This chapter ought to be read by all colonial administrators.* 

The British Medical Journal. " Captain Tremearne's book is really 
remarkable in its way ; the amount of information respecting The Niger 
and the West Sudan that he has contrived to pack into a thin volume of 
moderate size is quite extraordinary. . . . The author's instructions and 
hints as to health, medicines and food seem generally very good. . . . 
For those who serve in West Africa, whether in a medical, civilian, or 
military capacity, one can hardly conceive of a better 'guide, philosopher 
and friend ' than this little book of Captain Tremearne's." 

The Broad Arrov,." There is little about West Africa that cannot 
be found inside the . . . covers of this admirable little book. . . . [It] is 
certainly the most comprehensive work on a small scale we have yet 
seen." 

Travel and Exploration. " It is practical, reliable, and thoroughly 
informative. . . . The author's style is natural and spontaneous, and his 
genuine love for the country. . . . enables him to give reality and atmo- 
sphere to his description. 



Fables and Fairy Tales for Little Folk ; 
or, Uncle Remus in Hausaland. 

BY MARY AND NEWMAN TREMEARNE. 
[CAMBRIDGE: HEFFER & SONS, LTD., 1910. Price 2s. 6d. net.] 



The Colonial Office Journal. "The inexhaustible charm of the fairy 
tale, and especially of that form of the fairy tale which makes animals act 
and reason like human beings, attaches scarcely less closely to the folk 
stories of West Africa than it does to those of Europe. . . . The stories 
are told with a simplicity and absence of affectation which are welcome." 

Journal of the African Society." Major Tremearne has collected 
a large quantity of valuable folk-lore material during his residence in 
Northern Nigeria. . . . The present volume contains twelve stories retold 
in an attractive style for children, and illustrated with some very spirited 
and characteristic drawings." 

Nature. " A popularized version of a series of folk tales collected by 
Captain A. J. N. Tremearne, and published, with much useful information 
on the ethnology and customs of the Hausas, in the Proceedings of 
various societies. ... Its quaint and humorous incidents of animal life 
will doubtless be fully appreciated in the nursery." 

The African Mail. " Mrs. Tremearne has put them into simple 
clear English so that the little folk may read and understand them. She 
has performed this task admirably . . . [she] has the art of telling an 
interesting story at her command." 

The Child." New ground has been broken for the student of child 
life and folk-lore. The tales . . . are full of human interest, and their 
description of the adventures of animals will fascinate children of all 
ages. . . . The whole of this volume manifests great skill and exceptional 
understanding on the part of those responsible for its production." 

Morning Post. " To those who are on the look-out for a new type of 
book to give to children we can recommend the Hausa tales. . . . Not 
only will the little ones find them amusing, but ... it would be an 
experiment worth trying if teachers told stories of this class to older boys 
and girls as a part of school instruction. ... Or the child may just be 
left alone to enjoy the tales, and give rein to wonder and imagination." 

The Dundee Advertiser. " The dainty and excellently illustrated 
volume , . . The tales absorb attention and carry the reader forward 
unresistingly. No child will fail to be charmed ... or to delight in the 
extravagance." 



IN PREPARATION. 






Hausa Superstitions and I 
Customs I 

VOL. II., 

Containing the Hausa text of the tales translated in Vol. 1., and 

in Man (R.A.I.) 1910. and Folklore 1910 1911, together with 

full Grammatical Notes. 



READY AT EASTER. 

Some Austral African Notes 
and Anecdotes 

Containing Chapters on the first Australian Contingents to South 

Africa, West African Journalism, Music, Bush Warfare, and 

Missionaries and Officials. 



Fables and Fairy Tales for Little Folk 
or, Uncle Remus in Hausaland. 

BY MARY AND NEWMAN TREMEARNE. 
[CAMBRIDGE: HEFFER & SONS, LTD., 1910. Price 2s. 6d. net] 



The Colonial Office Journal. "The inexhaustible charm of the fairy 
tale, and especially of that form of the fairy tale which makes animals act 
and reason like human beings, attaches scarcely less closely to the folk 
stories of West Africa than it does to those of Europe. . . . The stories 
are told with a simplicity and absence of affectation which are welcome." 

Journal of the African Society." Major Tremearne has collected 
a large quantity of valuable folk-lore material during his residence in 
Northern Nigeria. . . . The present volume contains twelve stories retold 
in an attractive style for children, and illustrated with some very spirited 
and characteristic drawings." 

Nature. " A popularized version of a series of folk tales collected by 
Captain A. J. N. Tremearne, and published, with much useful information 
on the ethnology and customs of the Hausas, in the Proceedings of 
various societies. ... Its quaint and humorous incidents of animal life 
will doubtless be fully appreciated in the nursery." 

The African Mail. " Mrs. Tremearne has put them into simple 
clear English so that the little folk may read and understand them. She 
has performed this task admirably . . . [she] has the art of telling an 
interesting story at her command." 

The Child. " New ground has been broken for the student of child 
life and folk-lore. The tales ... are full of human interest, and their 
description of the adventures of animals will fascinate children of all 
ages. . . . The whole of this volume manifests great skill and exceptional 
understanding on the part of those responsible for its production." 

Morning Post. 11 To those who are on the look-out for a new type of 
book to give to children we can recommend the Hausa tales. . . . Not 
only will the little ones find them amusing, but ... it would be an 
experiment worth trying if teachers told stories of this class to older boys 
and girls as a part of school instruction. ... Or the child may just be 
left alone to enjoy the tales, and give rein to wonder and imagination." 

The Dundee Advertiser. -"The dainty and excellently illustrated 
volume . . . The tales absorb attention and carry the reader forward 
unresistingly. No child will fail to be charmed ... or to delight in the 
extravagance." 



Some Austral-African Notes and Anecdotes. 

[LONDON : BALE, SONS & DANIELSSON, LTD., 1913. Price 7s. 6d. net.] 



The Tim**." Major Tremearne's books . . . make one greet him 
warmly, both as writer and observer, when he appears as author once 
more. He gives us varied fare. First, some delightfully fresh chapters 
on an overwritten subject the Boer War . . . and then more matter 
equally fresh, though he has himself written so much on the subject, 
about West Africa. . . . Very amusing. . . . His literary geniality 
has devised a rhetorical artifice which is new to us. ... [The book] 
undoubtedly has fas come ! out with it cination." 

The Scotsman." In one chapter will be found a description of native 
warfare ; in another an account of a punitive expedition against the 
Ayashi, * the invisible cannibals ' ; in others a temperate and very sensible 
discussion of the relations between the officials and the missionaries. 
Some of the most entertaining sections of the book deal with * Coast 
English and the Native Correspondent' and * West African Journalism,' 
and give amusing samples of the educated native's literary style." 

The Dundee Advertiser." The writer . . . has already won an 
established reputation as an authority on all matters dealing with 
Africa . . . We warmly commend [this] volume to the careful attention 
of all readers interested in the outlying parts of the Empire." 

The Western Press. "This book, like its predecessors, cannot fail 
to give a large amount of pleasure to readers. . . . What he saw, 
what he learned, native customs, personal experiences, and, more important 
still, his own adventures and deductions, are all written in an engrossing 
style; his diverse information, given in a cheerful and stimulating 
manner, throwing much Might' upon these little-known places.' 1 

The Eastern Daily Press. " A ready, but a very well-equipped 
writer, having, moreover, that cheerful optimism which transmutes what 
to some would be a catastrophe into a mere adventure. The vivid, and 
often very quaint, illustrations . . . largely help to explain the fascina- 
tion and mystery, which in some degree seem to enthral all visitors to 
Africa. . . . He conveys to his readers some of the sense of wonder 
inspired by the West African forest . . . The anecdotes in this very 
live book bejewel many pages . . . All lovers of travel and adventures 
which we hope includes the bulk of us will delight in this literary 
variety entertainment." 

The Western Mercury. " There are amusing chapters which treat of 

* Coast English ' and ' West African Journalism ' . . . with character- 
istic fairness, he admits that many of the coast journals are * quite worthy 
of local support' . . some of the extracts are droll enough. . . . 
The same earnest striving to be fair characterises the chapters on 

* Missionaries and Officials in West Africa.' " 

The Yorkshire Observer. " Looking at all with a mind which is 
singularly free from prejudice, his observations carry a good deal of 
weight. . . . He gives many amusing specimens of negro English, very 
grandiloquent and often very effective. . . . The book is exceedingly 
well illustrated." 



Extracts from Reviews of the First Edition. 

The Times. " No one who has not undergone the exhausting labour 
of taking down stories in the vernacular from illiterate natives can 
appreciate the patience and industry which Major Tremearne has 
shown ... the utmost pains have been taken to guard against any 
temptation to edit the stories. Folk-tales so collected are a valuable 
* control ' upon our knowledge of the customary law, the moral code, and 
the religious belief of a primitive race. ... It is not surprising to find 
in these tales suggestions of the Uncle Remus stories, for Northern 
Nigeria may well have been their birthplace." 

The Athenaum. *' That indefatigable anthropologist . . . being 
faced by a difficult problem of method, has tackled it courageously in 
the only possible way . . . [he] is perfectly justified in making it his 
prime object to sketch the life of Hausaland under certain of its more 
general aspects, noting as he goes how in this respect or that the stories 
bear out his facts and interpretations. . . . The student . . will be ready 
to acknowledge a debt to Major Tremearne for a most sincere and 
searching piece of work." M. 

The Geographical Journal (R.G.S.). " The student of folk-lore will 
at once recognize the great value of Major Tremearne's work ... a 
very thorough and trustworthy piece of work. . . . It is of peculiar 
interest to find among the Hausa folk-tales parallels to many English 
and other nursery tales and to Biblical stories. . . . The figures in 
the text, illustrative chiefly of Hausa industries, are a valuable feature of 
the book." F. R. C. 

The Morning Post. " Major Tremearne adopts the good practice 
of telling us the methods he employed in collecting and writing the tales, 
and this gives the reader a confidence which is not misplaced. . . . The 
numerous illustrations of scenes, implements, utensils, and tribal marks 
further increase the interest and value of the book." A. C. H. 

The Pall Mall Gazette." Major Tremearne has evidently brought 
to bear upon his subject knowledge of native character, enthusiasm, and 
a logical and scholarly intellect. We can congratulate him upon the 
result of his labours." H. A. W. 

The Globe" The tales are often extraordinarily interesting. . . His 
book is not only of great interest to all who care for 'fairy tales,' but of 
real scientific value. It is likely to be the classical work on African 
folk-lore." 

The Graphic." No 'prentice hand in the sifting of savage and 
barbaric lore, Major Tremearne adds to the services already liberally 
given in that department of anthropology by the volume under review."- 
Edward Clodd. 



The Field." Major Tremearne has placed students of native 
manners and customs in West Africa under a fresh debt of gratitude to 
him. ... A very good piece of work. . . . Among the illustrations, 
the numerous drawings by Miss E. M. Clarke, illustrative of Hausa arts 
and crafts, deserve a special word of praise." 

The Scotsman. ** Major Tremearne's book gives him a good claim 
to be considered the Grimm to their goblins . . . invaluable to serious 
students of folk-lore. . . . A noteworthy contribution to the literature 
that instructs Europeans in African anthropology." 

The Dundee Advertiser." ' Hausa Superstitions and Customs ' will 
add materially to the growing reputation of a writer who promises to be 
one of our most brilliant students of anthropology. This book, moreover, 
besides being replete with scholarly observation and written with 
authoritative knowledge, is one which the general reader will keenly 
appreciate." 

The Western ^fercury. " No more interesting glimpse into the 
inner life of a people has been afforded us than we obtain in this 
important work, for which all anthropologists and students of folk-lore 
owe Major Tremearne their heartiest thanks. These 'African Nights 
Entertainments,' as one may call them, continually remind of such dear 
old friends as the yarns of Uncle Remus, the stories of the brothers 
Grimm, and even such native favourites of the British nursery as ' Little 
Red Riding Hood,' 'Jack the Giant Killer,' and 'Hop o' my Thumb,' 
. . [which] make delightful reading. ... It is difficult to overestimate 
the value of such a work." 

The Yorkshire Post." A particularly valuable feature of this book 
is that the stories are treated comparatively. . . . But much of Major 
Tremearne's collection is surely unique . . . this delightful book in 
which the general reader will find much amusement and the student 
much profit." 

The Glasgow Herald." Major Tremearne knows the tribes of 
the West Coast of Africa as few men do. . . . The tales reach a high 
level . . . their scientific interest is undoubted. . . . This book will 
certainly add to the reputation of the brilliant and unselfish scholar." 

The Publisher's Circular. " A striking example of sympathetic 
study. . . . The legends, customs, &c., abundantly illustrated as they 
are, are not only of extreme value to the student of anthropology and 
folk-lore, but may be read with pleasure by the mere ' joy reader.' " 

La Dtyeche Tunisienne." M. le major Tremearne a pu obtenir ici et 
en Nigeria, sur les mceurs, les croyances, et le folk-lore de ces peuplades 
mysterieuses, de precieuses informations qui lui ont fourni ddja la 
matiere de plusieurs ouvrages remarquables." 



My Life Among the Wild Birds 

in Spain. 

By COL. WILLOUGHBY VERNER. About 500 pp. 
letterpress. Size 9 by 7. 25 Plates and over 150 illustrations 



r ^ V j /B -3 .. **iK.a emu uvci xso illustrations 

from Photographs and Pen and Ink Sketches by the 
Author. Price 21s. net. 



A Supplement to the "Birds of 

New Zealand." 



By SIR WALTER L. BULLER, K.C.M.G., F.R.S. 
Two volumes, 6 6s. net. 



Studies of Birdlife in Uganda. 



By R. A. L. VAN SOMEREN, M.D.,'D.P.H, M.B.O.U., 
Uganda Medical Staff; and V. G. L. VAN SOMEREN, 
L.D.S.R.C.S.Ed. _ This work is issued in separate plates, 
each 16 in. by 12 in., accompanied by brief descriptive 
letterpress, the whole contained in a handsome portfolio. 
Price net 31s. 6d. or Rs. 25. 



History of the Rifle Brigade. 



By COL. WILLOUGHBY VERNER. In Four Parts. 
Demy 410. Plain edition, with maps, only 2 2s.; 
illustrated edition, 4 4s. Part I. only, plain edition, 
12s. 6d. ; illustrated edition, 1 5s. 



Adventures in Search of a Living 

in Spanish America. 



By "VAQUERO." Royal 8vo, pp. viii. + 304, about 
70 illustrations. Price 8s. 6d. net ; postage, inland, 6d. ; 
foreign, is. 



Lectures on Biology. 



By DR. C. THESING. Translated from the Second 
Edition by W. R. BOELTKR. Medium 8vo, 334+viii. pp., 
with the original coloured and other illustrations, cloth 
lettered, price 10s. 6d. net. 



The African Rubber Industry and 

Funtumia Elastic* ("KICKXIA") 

By CUTHBERT CHRISTY, M.B., CM.(Edinb.) Fellow 
of the Royal Geographical Society ; the Zoological Society ; 
the Royal Society of Arts ; Member of the African Society, 
&c. Profusely illustrated. 250 pages. Demy 8vo, cloth, 
12s. 6d. net ; postage extra (United Kingdom, 4d. ; 
abroad, is.). 



JOHN BALE, SONS & DANIELSSON, LTD., 
83-91, Gt. Titchfield Street, Oxford Street, London, W. 



JglNDING SECT. SEP 2 9 



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CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 

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T7892h Hausa superstitions anc 

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