The Two Cowards

Tapper harvesting palm wine
Tapper harvesting palm wine

Two cowards were banished from their village. They met and walked together into the deepest forest. Once there, they decided to start a home outside of God’s care. They lived there until winter (rainy season from July to October). They then decided to find some handles for their hoes. For that, they walked a long time until they arrived under the shadow of a raat (combretum glutinosum – tree with medicinal properties). One of them said:

  • You will climb on top of the tree to keep an eye out on the forest, while I will dig deep to find some good roots. If you see someone, let me know.
  • Sure, but you too, if you see something, do not forget to let me know.

The watchman climbed up the tree, while the other started digging at once. Soon, he finds two straight and long roots so beautiful that he can’t stop himself from shouting:

  • Ah! Here are two at last!

At these words, the watchman tumbled from the tree and, taking to his heels, dashed as an arrow. The other one, seeing his colleague running, throws away his shovel and runs after him.

running-iconThey run, they run losing their breaths and, when they think themselves safe, they stop. One of them asks:

  • What did you see?
  • No, I should be the one asking you that question, because I started running when I heard your warning!
  • But no, I did not raise the alarm! I was just cutting two beautiful roots that I had dug up. I only made a sigh of joy.
  • It is precisely your sigh that scared me.
  • And I, I ran away as soon as I saw you dash like an arrow!

Which of the two is the most coward?

According to the public, it is the one up in the tree, since the one digging only saw his roots.

Told by Khady Diouf, Contes Wolof du Baol, J. Copans and P. Couty, Ed. Karthala, 1988, p. 79. Translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com

How to Heal Fear

There once was a man who was walking alone in the forest. He walked for so long that he got hungry. He stopped in a village. There, he was given food, ate so well that he renounced to continue on his trip. He took a wife among the young women of the village, started a home, and no longer thought of leaving.

Lion
Lion

One day, after a good meal, the man decided to go to the forest which, unfortunately, was full of beasts, especially lions. The man knew not this.  As soon as he walked in, the king of the jungle came out with a long roar. Scared, the trembling old man peed on himself. The lion got close, and the old man  rushed into a thorny bush. The lion searched in vain; it could not find the man. However, it remained on the lookout for a week, then left disgusted. Then the old man stayed in his bush, completely stunned by his fate. A hunter came around. The man heard his footsteps and called out:

  • Who goes there?
  • It’s me
  • Who are you?
  • I am a hunter looking for game.
  • Hunter friend, could you please get me out of here?
  • But how did you manage to get in there?
  • It is big fear that drove me in here.
  • Then! It is a big fear that will get you out soon!
  • So what will you do?
  • You will know shortly.
feu3
Fire

Then the hunter started collecting firewood under the bush. All of a sudden, he put a fire in several places around the bush. Frightened, the old man rushed out, and with a violent head kick in the thorns, got himself out of danger.

The hunter welcomed him with a large smile. They hugged and became friends.

Told by Amsata Dieye, Contes Wolof du Baol, J. Copans and P. Couty, Ed. Karthala, 1988, p. 81. Translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com

The Egg Lover

poule3
La poule / The hen

There once was a man who loved eggs above all. He bought several chickens and went to pay a visit to his fiancée. She was invited to cook rice. He gave her the chickens and a great quantity of rice. Once she was done cooking, all the young girls from the village showed up, responding to her invitation; it was a true feast. After the feast, the young girls all left. From a corner in the bedroom, near a drinking pot, a hen came out, capturing the visitor’s attention. He then thought to himself:

If there is a hen, then there are eggs!

It was then impossible for him to stand still in the room, given that he wanted to take the eggs. He thus decided to leave, and told his beloved, who tried to stop him from leaving. His horse was readied, but before mounting, he told the young girl:

Hold my horse, I will go drink a little before leaving.”

egg
La poule / The hen

He advanced toward the pot, grabbed all the eggs, and put them in his pants. He then went out with his fragile cargo. But just as he climbed on his horse, one egg fell from his pants, then a second one, then a third, and so on.

Oh! What is it? What is coming out of your pants, my honorable host?” says the girl.

It is nothing,” replies the man, “in my country, this is the time of the day when men lay eggs.”

Told by Tamsir Dieye, Contes Wolof du Baol, J. Copans and P. Couty, Ed. Karthala, 1988, p. 64. Translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com