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42. THE WAR PALAVER. The "palaver" before King Nippe and his head men is whether or not war should be "carried" to the Gebbo people in the adjoining country. When old King Forke ruled the Gebboes, his name was everywhere spoken with fear and awe, so fierce and terrible were his raids. But King Forke is dead; and Nagbe, his son, rules. Of King Nagbe nothing is known except that he seeks to increase the power exerted by his father in the affairs of his neighbors, and that he possesses the old king's invincible war-medicine. King Nippe and some of the head men wish to humble the young upstart, and the arguments of the majority of the head men against war are not heeded. With impatience King Nippe dismisses the council, crying, "Enough! Enough! I'll hear no more. War I will make, and that settles it. What! Must I, who have fought Leopard himself, now be afraid of his skin?"
43. LEARN THE STEP. Mussa is a visitor in the town of Buloba, over which rules his friend King Gbesi. Soon Mussa begins to find fault with things in Buloba: the rice-crop is not planted right, the fish-traps are made wrong, the roofs of the huts are not strong. One day King Gbesi has a big palaver to talk. With his decision Mussa also finds fault. King Gbesi retorts, “My friend, when a stranger comes to a town and the people are dancing, he should learn the step before joining in, otherwise he will spoil the dance."
BY GEORGE SCHWAB.
1. WHAT HAPPENS TO WIVES WHEN THEY THINK MORE HIGHLY OF
ANYTHING ELSE THAN OF THEIR HUSBANDS.
It happened thus. Great hunger came upon the forest. Then Male-Gorilla took his wives, and they all went walking. As they walked, they found an éngong -tree laden with ripe fruit. Then Male-Gorilla said to himself, “I am going to act wisely. I will test my wives." So he climbed an ôtunga-tree which grew beside the engong-tree, and bent it down to the ground. His wives climbed it and from it to the engong-tree, where they began eating with the greediness of hunger. Then said Male-Gorilla thus to his wives: "As you are eating up there, is it me or is it the fruit you like most?” 2 They answered him thus: “We like only you," and they came down laden with fruit. So he, too, ate until he was tired eating. Then they all returned to their village, passing the village of Chimpanzee, where there was also great hunger.
Now, when Husband-Chimpanzee saw the stains of the engongfruit on the hands and faces of Male-Gorilla and his wives, he asked of them the location of the tree éngong in the forest. Male-Gorilla instructed him.
Then Husband-Chimpanzee called all his wives, and they walked to the place of the tree engong in the forest. They became tired searching for the place where Male-Gorilla and his wives had climbed up, until suddenly Husband-Chimpanzee spoke thus: “Ke! it was by the path of the ôtunga.” So he climbed up and bent it to the ground, and then his wives climbed on to it and over on to the tree éngong. At once they began to eat greedily. “I will test them,” said Husband-Chimpanzee to himself. So he asked, “You, up there! is it myself or is it the engong-fruit which you like most?” They thus to him: “We like a bunch of éngong-fruit." Again HusbandChimpanzee asked, “Myself or éngong-fruit, which is it you surpass liking?" They thus: “A bunch of the fruit éngong." So HusbandChimpanzee let go of the ôtunga-tree, and began to eat the fruit that his wives dropped.
It happened that a man walking in the forest came to the engong
1 Éngong-tree (Trichoscypha sp.), whose large plum-like fruit makes a blood-red stain, is much sought after by both natives and animals.
? Literally, “surpass liking."
tree. Husband-Chimpanzee saw him, ran away and hid himself. When Man looked up into the tree and saw the chimpanzees eating, he quickly returned to his village, called the people, who went out to the tree éngong, where they saw the chimpanzees. “Woe is us!" said Wives-of-Chimpanzee. “Let us quickly descend by way of the ôtunga!” But they could not reach it, so all were killed, dying with a great dying. Thus did Wives-of-Chimpanzee suffer because of their greed.
2. TURTLE DECEIVES ZOÉ, GIVING LEOPARD THE BLAME FOR STEALING
zoé's DAUGHTER. It happened thus. Zoé made preparations for a great dance, inviting all his forest friends to come on the night that the moon would begin to (wane). When Turtle heard of it, he said, “Woe is me! Leopard will be there! He and I are very great enemies."
So Turtle went to Porcupine's village to ask what he should do. Porcupine answered him thus: "Go to Okpweng and ask him for his horns. Wear them; and when you meet Leopard, tell him it was not Turtle, but Viper, who killed Leopard's mother," said Porcupine.
So Turtle left Porcupine and went to Okpweng, begging him for his horns for a night. Okpweng answered, "Take them." Then Turtle went to the dancing-place.
Now, Turtle and Leopard met at the joining of the path, near Zoé's village, which they entered together. As soon as Zoé's daughters saw them coming, both fell in love. Turtle spoke thus in his heart: “There will be a blood-feud here to-night.” As night fell, Leopard felt * great hunger in his stomach: so he took up a fruit of the adjaptree and ate it, leaving only a small piece.
Turtle saw Leopard eating. Now, Turtle wanted to marry Zoé's younger daughter. So he went to her hut, where she was ornamenting herself for the dance, and said thus: "Ah, Daughter-of-Zoé! you will
1 Zoé, the African civet-cat, Viverra civetta.
• Literally, Bulu and other South Kamerun Fan peoples say "hear" for "feel," whether hunger, pain, cold, thirst, etc.
• Adjap or ajap tree (Mimusaps jave, Lang. Eng.). The fruit, when its skin is pierced, exudes a white, sticky, stringy latex, which soon coagulates, and adheres to the fingers, mouth, or anything with which it comes in contact, much as does coagulating rubber latex.
• The ornamenting of the Fan women of the Southern Kamerun, outside of brass and beads, consists mainly of redwood-powder and oil. The body may be entirely smeared with redwood-powder, and then spots of oil in ornamental rows be made with the tip of the finger, or thick oil may be poured on the coiffured head, and allowed to run down the face, neck, and body.
get a real woman's present if you will go out behind the adjap-tree and await me, as soon as you hear the dance-drum begin to talk." 1
As the moon began to rise, Zoé called all his guests to come to the place near the palaver-house. "Who will begin the dance, and who will pound the drum for him?" asked Zoé. "I will; and Leopard, who surpasses every one in the beating of the dance-drum, he will pound for me." Zoé thus:“Yes, Okpweng, even so shall it be.”
So Leopard went to the dance-drum and began, while Turtle danced. And even as he danced, Turtle began to sing, “He! He! Where is beautiful Youngest-Daughter-of-Zoé? Has not he on whose mouth the adjap-fruit has stuck, has not even he hidden her to elope with him? He! He! Why is she not at the dance?"
The guests all looked at one another, but no adjap-fruit did they see sticking to the mouth of any one. No, not so much as would fill the eye of a needle. "He! He! under the adjap-tree she awaits him. The fruit on his hands stuck to hers! He! He!" continued Turtle as he danced.
Then rose Zoé and went to the adjap-tree, where he found his youngest daughter with adjap-fruit on her hands, which Turtle had put there as a sign that he might know her in the dark. Zoé carried her back. As Turtle saw them coming, he sang, “He! He! Why does the drum's head stick to the hands of the drummer? He! He!"
"It is even as Okpweng sings," said Zoé, who went over to Leopard and looked at his face. "I invited Leopard, and he is spoiling my village by way of thanks for my friendship!” So Zoé took his spear and wounded Leopard, so that he died. Then said Zoé to all the guests, "And where can I find a son-in-law who can surpass Okpweng in cunning?” So Turtle took her to his village.
3. HOW TURTLE INHERITED LEOPARD'S GOODS.? It happened thus. Leopard and Turtle arose, and said they would go to the forest to camp and hunt and set traps. So they left their villages and went. They walked through the forest until they found a place to build a shelter.
When they had built it, they said, "Now we'll go out and set traps.” So each went his own way into the forest, where he set his traps. When Leopard had finished setting his traps, Turtle set a noose-trap near a log. Then they both returned to the camp. Night fell. At dawn they went out to look at their traps to see if anything had been caught. Leopard had caught many animals in his traps.
1 All musical instruments, drums included, are said to "talk." They have "good" and "bad" voices, according to whether they are pleasing in tone to the Fan ear or not pleasing.
· Variant of JAFL 27 : 284.
These he took along. He came upon Turtle, whom he found near a tree from which a noose-trap was suspended.
Then Leopard said to him, "Ah, my Brother Turtle! and do people set traps to catch animals as you have set this one?"
Turtle asked of him, “Ah, Leopard! how is it that traps are set? Show me how it is done."
So Leopard cut the end off a sapling, dug the shallow pit for the noose-trap, and then set the trap for Turtle. Now Turtle said, "Ah, Leopard! show me also how it is an animal can get caught in that thing you have made.” Leopard answered him, "Is it that you wish to snare me?" Turtle thus to him: "I'll come quickly and release you."
So Leopard put his head through the noose of the trap, which caused the sapling to spring up, suspending Leopard in the air. Leopard struggled with a great struggling to free himself. Turtle took up his spear, wounded Leopard, who quickly died. Then Turtle cut him into pieces, took all the animals he had caught, put them into a basket, and went to his village.
Soon the wives of Leopard came to him, asking what had become of their husband. Turtle thus: “If he comes not to-day, he'll never come. This he said to me when we parted in the forest. He was tired living with homely wives like you, he said. But in my eyes you are all surpassingly beautiful.”
Then the wives of Leopard went back to their village, waiting even until nightfall for the return of their husband Leopard. At last the head wife said, "And why is it that we wait here for him in whose eyes we are ugly?" So they took their baskets and all the things of Leopard's village, and went to live with Turtle. And thus it was that Turtle became rich at Leopard's cost.
4. HOW KNOWLEDGE SPOILS FRIENDSHIP. It happened thus. The two young animals named Young-Leopard and Young-Otter lived in friendship all the time, never thinking of their fathers. When they were together, they did not know that one could kill the other.
Suddenly they separated one day, the one going to his village to see his father, the other doing likewise. As they were in the palaverhouse, Father Leopard said to Young-Leopard, “Never again play with Young-Otter, seize him and bring him here. Father Otter, in his palaver-house, said to Young-Otter, "When you play again with Young-Leopard, be sure that it is on the river-bank, near the water."
Day dawned, and the two playmates met again. Young-Leopard addressed Young-Otter thus: "Come, let us play!" Then YoungOtter answered, “The thing your father told you, that same thing did