Hausa Folklore by Maalam Shaihu and translated By R. Sutherland Rattray
A STORY ABOUT THREE YOUTHS ALL SKILLED IN CERTAIN THINGS, AND HOW THEY USED THAT SKILL TO CIRCUMVENT A DIFFICULTY
This tale is about (some) youths.
Certain young men went to an outlying village where some young girls were. They went on, and came to a stream; there was (practically) no water on the road; the water came (only) up to their ankles. They passed on.
They came to where the maidens were, and came and greeted them, and carried them off. They came to the stream and found it full up with water. (Then) they said, 'Ah (when) we passed this water it was not so,' and they said, 'How is this?'
One among them said, 'Let us turn back.' The rest said, 'No, we do not go back.'
Now they were three, the king of wrestlers, the king of bowmen, and the king of prayer.
(And) they said, 'Let each try and get out of the difficulty by resorting to his own particular skill.'
They said, 'Let the one who is strong in prayer commence.' So he prostrated himself, spat on his staff (and) struck the water; (and) the water opened, and he with his maiden passed over. Then the water returned to where it was.
Next the prince of bowmen drew out his arrows from his quiver, he set them in a line on the water, from one bank to another, he returned and lifted up his maiden. They stepped on the arrows, (and) passed over. Then he came back, (and) picked up his arrows.
There remained the king of wrestlers. He too sought for what he should do; he could not find a way. He tried this way, (and) failed, he made that plan (and) failed, until he was weary. Then he got in a rage, (and) seized his maiden, and with a wrestling trick twisted his leg round hers (and) they jumped, (and) rose in the air, (and) did not fall, except on the edge of the (far) bank.
Now among them who was better than another? If you do not know who was least, there you are.
Off with the rat's head.