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Hausa Folk-Lore, by Maalam Shaihua, tr. by R. Sutherland Rattray, [1913], at

14. A story of a jealous man and what befell him

This is a story about a jealous man.

A story, a Story. Let it go. Let it come.

There was a certain man who used to live in a town, but afterwards he rose up and went to the bush, lest people might go after his wives, until one day the chief of the town heard about him and he said, 'He who goes and seduces his wives, if he comes (to me) I will give him a horse, and a cloak, and one hundred thousand cowries.'

Then a certain man said he would be the one to go and lie with his wife before his eyes. Then he went off and sought some baobab seeds. He opened them, (and) cleaned out the inside well; he sought for some very small pieces of money and poured them inside. He went, reached (the place where the man was) (and) gave him a present of them.

When he broke (one) open he saw the small money inside. He broke another also, (and) in the same way broke open another. And he said, I My friend, will you not show me where this baobab tree is?' He replied, The place where this baobab tree is is far away.' (And) he said, Take me (to it).' And he said, 'It cannot be climbed except by a ladder, (and) no one knows where it is save me.'

And he continued to entreat him; and at last the seducer said, I Let us go, I will take you there, but if it was not for you, I would not show any one the place.' So they set out along with his wife. When they came to the baobab tree then the seducer lifted the ladder and placed it (against the tree), (and) told the woman's husband to climb up. So up he climbed.

When he had finished climbing, then he lifted away the ladder, (and) carried it somewhere else (and) set it down, (and) came back. He seized the wife and threw her down. He did what he intended, the woman's husband looking on (and) not able to descend; but he said, 'I shall spit on you, I shall spit on you,' until they had finished what they were doing.

The seducer went his way. He came, (and) told the chief what they had done. The chief gave him his reward, and added to his gifts. He said, 'That's the medicine he required.' As for the (jealous) man, his wife with difficulty lifted the ladder, (and) brought it to him, (and) he descended. On his return home he collected all his goods, (and) returned (to live) in the town. He said, 'My jealousy dragged me into this; if I remain here, people will destroy me.'

That is the story.

Off with the rat's head.

Next: 15. A story of a great friendship and how it was put to the test