Sacred Texts  Africa  Index  Previous  Next 
 [73. The Singing Bird.]


73. The Singing Bird.

In Jekyll, 14-16, the incident of the warning bird is employed in the story of the two sisters, number 74. Version b is a poor tendering of Jekyll, 96-97.

In Theal, 217-220, the younger of two brothers secures a magic gift of cattle. The elder lets him down into a water-hole to drink and, leaving him there, goes home with the cattle. A warning bird leads rescuers to the place. See, for the same story, Jacottet, 60-62 and note; Folk-Lore Jour. of. So. Af. 1:139-147.

For the incident of the warning bird compare Torrend, 17; note 24-26; 166-167; Theal, 219; Renel 1:30-31; Dayrell, 110-114; FLJ (SA) 1: 75-79. The motive is common in ballads; e. g. JAFL 20:253. In the Cinderella story, it is a bird who gives warning of the false bride; e. g. Callaway, 130-135. Not all birds, only certain species, are looked upon as "prophet birds." See Cronise and Ward, 175; Dennet, 8. That these birds may be regarded in some cases as the actual soul of the murdered person is evident from Renel's story.

In Parsons, Andros Island, 129-132, a tree sings of a murder. See Grimm 47, The Juniper Tree, and Bolte u. Polívka 1:412-423 on Grimm 28, The Singing Bones.

Next: Note 74. Two Sisters.