Hausa Folklore by Maalam Shaihu and translated By R. Sutherland Rattray

A STORY ABOUT A MAIDEN AND THE PUMPKIN

There was a certain man by name Alabarma, a rich man. He had much money, (but) he had not any children. But among his concubines was one called Watapansa, (and) she had given birth to one daughter; and he, Alabarma, did not wish anything to touch this little girl.

Now the girl's name was Furaira. And one day her mother took her on her back and they went off to the bush in order that she might ease herself. And Furaira saw one young pumpkin, that was all she (the mother pumpkin) had; there was not another. And she, (the little girl) said, 'Alabarma (Watapansa?) pluck the baby pumpkin for me to play (with).'

But Alabarma (Watapansa?) said, 'Come now, Furaira, how is this? One solitary baby pumpkin is there. See, there is its mother, (which) I will pluck and give you.' But Furaira began to cry and her mother Alabarma (Watapansa?) said, 'If you are going to cry you must just cry, but I am not going to pluck the solitary baby pumpkin to give you.'

They returned home, (and) the little girl continued weeping. Her father asked (the cause). Her mother told him from the beginning. And the little girl's father said, 'Go back, (and) pluck (it), -and give to her.' So she returned, (and) plucked it, (and) gave her. Then that day the baby pumpkin commenced to follow the maiden. It kept saying, 'Meat I must eat, Furaira, meat I must eat.' And they came and bore witness to him saying, 'Look at Furaira, the baby pumpkin is following her (and) saying he must eat meat.' Alabarma said, 'Put it among the goats.' It (the pumpkin) was put among the goats. It ate them up. It was taken to some others. It ate them up. And so on till it had devoured three hundred and fifty flocks of goats. But the pumpkin returned and said, I Meat I must eat, Furaira, meat I must eat.'

They came and told her father and he said, 'Let it be taken to the sheep-fold.' It was taken, and ate up a flock of seven hundred sheep. It came back, (and) kept following the maiden, (and) saying, 'Meat I must eat, Furaira, meat I must eat.' And they said, 'It has eaten the flock of sheep, (and) has come back and is following her (the maiden).'

Her father said, 'Let it be taken to the cattle kraal.' It was taken to the cattle kraal. It ate up the whole kraal of cattle. It returned, (and) was following the maiden (and) saying, 'Meat I must eat, Furaira, meat I must eat.' And they came and told her father, and he again said, 'Let it be taken to the camel kraal.' It was taken to the camel kraal; but it ate them up, (and) returned.It was following the maiden (and) saying, 'Meat I must eat, Furaira, meat I must eat.' And they said, I Let it be taken to the slaves' quarters.'

It was taken to the slaves' quarters, it ate them up; it returned, (and) was following the maiden, (and) saying, 'Meat I must eat, Furaira, meat I must eat.' Her father said, 'Take it to the cattle grazing ground.' They took it to the grazing ground (and) it devoured all the people on the ground, (and) came back, (and) said, 'Meat I must eat, Furaira, meat I must eat.'

And so on, until it ate up all the people, cattle, goats, sheep, camels, horses, all it devoured, even the fowls, guinea-fowls, ducks, pigeons, everything (and) there remained only the master of the household. And it (the pumpkin) followed the maiden, and she ran, (and) went after her father, and her father said, 'There is nothing left but I myself. If it is I you would eat, take me, (and) eat me.'

And the baby pumpkin took him up and swallowed him; then it followed the maid. She fled, and came to the paschal ram of her father's. And it came on, (and) was about to seize the maiden, but the paschal ram sprang forward, (and) struck the young pumpkin with his horn. And thereupon it split open, and sheep, and goats, and cattle, all kept coming forth.

That is all.

Off with the rat's head.




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