Sacred Texts  Africa  Index  Previous  Next 


THE legend of a monster which swallows the population of a village-or, indeed, of the whole country and is subsequently slain by a boy hero seems to be current all over Africa. We have found part of it fitted into one of the ogre tales already dealt with, and we shall find some versions incorporating parts of stories which, strictly speaking, should be classed under other headings. McCall Theal [1] remarked:

There is a peculiarity in many of these stories which makes them capable of almost indefinite expansion. They are so constructed that parts of one can be made to fit into parts of another, so as to form a new tale. . . . These tales are made up of fragments which are capable of a variety of combinations.[2]

This might be taken to imply that conscious invention was at work in so constructing the stories, but it is not necessary to assume that this was the writer's meaning. Classical mythology affords numerous examples of the way in which floating traditions attach themselves to each other without special intention on anyone's part. After writing has been introduced and poets have given literary form to these traditions the case is different. African folklore has not in general reached this stage.

The main points of the legend are these:

A whole population is swallowed by a monster.
One woman escapes and gives birth to a son.
This son kills the monster and releases the people.
They make him their chief.

Some versions add that the people in time become envious and plan his destruction (here the incidents resemble those of Huveane's story); and these, again, vary considerably. Some say that he triumphed over his enemies in the end; others that he was slain by them.

[1. The historian of South Africa, who also collected the folklore of the Xosas.

2 Kaffir Folklore, p. vii.]

In most of these legends the boy is miraculously precocious, like Hlakanyana and Kachirambe; but occasionally, like Theseus, he has to wait till he is grown up. In one his mother tells him to lift a certain stone, several years in succession, and when at last he is able to do it he is reckoned strong enough for the great enterprise.

The Whale and the Dragon

E. B. Tylor [1] was of opinion that this legend is a kind of allegorical nature-myth.

Day is daily swallowed up by night, to be set free at dawn, and from time to time suffers a like but shorter durance in the maw of the Eclipse and the Storm-cloud. Summer is overcome and prisoned by dark Winter, but again set free. It is a plausible opinion that such scenes from the great nature-drama of the conflict of light and darkness are, generally speaking, the simple facts which in many lands and ages have been told in mythic shape, as legends of a Hero or Maiden devoured by a monster and hacked out again or disgorged.

The point is illustrated by examples from the myths of the Burman Karens, the Maoris, and the North American Indians, as well as by the stories of Ditaolane and Untombinde, about to be related here. Tylor traces to the same origin the legends of Perseus and Andromeda (ultimately modernized and Christianized as St George and the Dragon), Herakles and Hesione, and Jonah's 'whale.' This last introduces a different element, which finds a parallel in some African stories we shall have to consider in a later chapter.

But such allegorizing, as Wundt [2] has shown, is foreign to the thought of primitive people. They may think that the lightning is a bird and that an eclipse is caused by something trying to eat up the sun or moon; but this myth of day and night is too abstract a conception for them.

It may be worth noting that a Christian writer of Basutoland has made use of the Swallower legend as a dim

[1. Primitive Culture, vol. i, p. 334 sqq.

2 Völkerpsychologie, vol. v, Part II, p. 268.]

foreshadowing of the promise of a Redeemer.[1] In his somewhat mystical story Moeti oa Bochabela (The Traveller to the East) the old men relate it to Fekisi, the young dreamer, tormented by the "obstinate questionings" of 'whence' and 'whither.' And, indeed, it might well lend itself to such an interpretation.

Khodumodurno, or Karnmapa
The Basuto tell the legend as follows.

Once upon a time there appeared in our country a huge, shapeless thing called Khodumodumo (but some people call it Kammapa). It swallowed every living creature that came in its way. At last it came through a pass in the mountains into a valley where there were several villages; it went to one after another, and swallowed the people, the cattle, the goats, the dogs, and the fowls. In the last village was a woman who had just happened to sit down on the ash-heap. She saw the monster coming, smeared herself all over with ashes, and ran into the calves' pen, where she crouched on the ground. Khodumodumo, having finished all the people and animals, came and looked into the place, but could see nothing moving, for, the woman being smeared with ashes and keeping quite still, it took her for a stone. It then turned and went away, but when it reached the narrow pass (or nek) at the entrance to the valley it had swelled to such a size that it could not get through, and was forced to stay where it was.

Meanwhile the woman in the calves' pen, who had been expecting a baby shortly, gave birth to a boy. She laid him down on the ground and left him for a minute or two, while she looked for something to make a bed for him. When she came back she found a grown man sitting there, with two or three spears in his hand and a string of divining bones (ditaola [2]) round his neck. She said, "Hallo, man!

[1 Thomas Mofolo, who has more recently written an historical romance, Chaka, introduced to English readers through the medium of Mr Dutton's translation.

2 So in some versions of the story he is called Ditaolane; in others he is merely Moshanyana, which means 'little boy.']

Where is my child?" and he answered, "It is I, Mother!" Then he asked what had become of the people, and the cattle, and the dogs, and she told him.

"Where is this thing, Mother?"

"Come out and see, my child."

So they both went out and climbed to the top of the wall surrounding the calves' kraal, and she pointed to the pass, saying, "That object which is filling the nek, as big as a mountain, that is Khodumodumo."

Ditaolane got down from the wall, fetched his spears, sharpened them on a stone, and set off to the end of the valley, where Khodumodurno lay. The beast saw him, and opened its mouth to swallow him, but he dodged and went round its side-it was too unwieldy to turn and seize him and drove one of his spears into it. Then he stabbed it again with his second spear, and it sank down and died.

He took his knife, and had already begun to cut it open, when he heard a man's voice crying out, "Do not cut me!" So he tried in another place, and another man cried out, but the knife had already slashed his leg. Ditaolane then began cutting in a third place, and a cow lowed, and some one called out, "Don't stab the cow!" Then he heard a goat bleat, a dog bark, and a hen cackle, but he managed to avoid them all, as he went on cutting, and so, in time, released all the inhabitants of the valley.

There was great rejoicing as the people collected their belongings, and all returned to their several villages praising their young deliverer, and saying, "This young man must be our chief." They brought him gifts of cattle, so that, between one and another, he soon had a large herd, and he had his choice of wives among their daughters. So he built himself a fine kraal and married and settled down, and all went well for a time.

Ingratitude of the Tribe

But the unintentionally wounded man never forgot his grudge, and long after his leg was healed began, when he noticed signs of discontent among the people, to drop a cunning word here and there and encourage those who were secretly envious of Ditaolane's good fortune, as well as those who suspected him because, as they said, he could not be a normal human being, to give voice to their feelings.

So before long they were making plans to get rid of their chief. They dug a pit and covered it with dry grass-just as the Bapedi did in order to trap Huveane-but he avoided it. They kindled a great fire in the courtyard, intending to throw him into it, but a kind of madness seized them; they began to struggle with each other, and at last threw in one of their own party. The same thing happened when they tried to push him over a precipice; in this case he restored to life the man who was thrown over and killed.

Next they got up a big hunt, which meant an absence of several days from the village. One night when the party were sleeping in a cave they induced the chief to take the place farthest from the entrance, and when they thought he was asleep stole out and built a great fire in the cave-mouth. But, less successful than the MacLeods in the case of the MacDonalds of Eigg, when they looked round they saw him standing among them.

After this, feeling that nothing would soften their inveterate hatred, he grew weary of defeating their stratagems, and allowed them to kill him without offering any resistance. Something of the same kind is told of Chaminuka, the Prophet of the Mashona, as will be seen in due course. Some of the Basuto, when relating this story, add, " It is said that his heart went out and escaped and became a bird."

The Guardian Ox

The legend of Ditaolane, however, does not always end like this, on a bitter note of sorrow for human ingratitude. One version makes him escape from his enemies, like Hlakanyana, by turning himself into a stone, which one of them throws across a river; but this, somehow, does not seem quite in character.

A Sesuto variant [1] ascribes his safety to a favourite ox, which warns him of danger, cannot be killed without its own consent, and returns to life after being slaughtered and eaten. The peculiar relationship between Ditaolane and this ox is not explained: but in a Zulu tale which resembles this episode (though it has no reference to the Swallowing Monster) the ox is said to have been born shortly before the boy and to have been brought up with him.[2] The latter, with two others of the same kind, being quite distinct from the subject of this chapter, will not be dwelt on here. In this version the conclusion is so well worked out in connexion with the earlier part that it does not strike one as a mere accidental mixing up of two stories. It seems, however, to stand alone among the many variants of the Khodumodumo legend.

A notable point is that the young man's own mother, frightened by the neighbours' talk, turns against him and tries to poison him. Warned by the ox, he refuses the bread she gives him; his father afterwards takes it by accident and dies. The ox said: "You see, you would have died yourself; your mother does not love you." Here, as in the case of Huveane, we see natural affection overcome by the fear of one who is regarded as an uncanny being. The circumstances of his birth would have become known, and, the villagers would argue, a being so powerful for good would be equally capable of doing harm, quite regardless of the fact that he had never given them cause to distrust him.

Untombinde and the Squatting Monster

In the Zulu tale of Untombinde the isiququmadevu 3 lives in the Ilulange, a mythical river not to be located nowadays. The names applied to this monster in the course of the story show that it is looked upon as a female.

A chief's daughter, Untombinde, goes, with a number of

[1. Jacottet, Treasury of Ba-Suto Lore, p. 76.

2 Callaway, Nursery Tales, p. 221: "Ubongopa ka'Magadhlela."

3 Callaway explains this word to mean "a bloated, squatting, bearded monster."]

other girls, to bathe in the Ilulange, against the warnings of her parents: "To the Ilulange nothing goes and returns again; it goes therefor ever." The girls found, oncoming out of the water, that the clothes and ornaments they had left on the bank had disappeared; they knew that the isiququmadevu must have taken them, and one after another petitioned politely for their return. Untombinde, however, said, " I will never beseech the isiququmadevu," and was immediately seized by the monster and dragged down into the water.

Her companions went home and reported what had happened. The chief, though he evidently despaired of recovering her ("Behold, she goes there for ever!"), sent a troop of young men to "fetch the isiququmadevu, which has killed Untombinde." The warriors found the monster squatting on the river-bank, and were swallowed up, every one, before they could attack her. She then went on to the chief's kraal, swallowed up all the inhabitants, with their dogs and their cattle, as well as all the people in the surrounding country.

Among the victims were "two beautiful children,[1] much beloved." Their father, however, escaped, took his two clubs and his large spear, and went his way, saying, "It is I who will kill the isiququmadevu."

By this time the monster had left the neighbourhood, and the man went on seeking her till he met with some buffaloes, whom he asked, "Whither has Usiququmadevu [2] gone? She has gone away with my children!" The buffaloes directed him on his way, and he then came across some leopards, of whom he asked the same question, and who also told him to go forward. He next met an elephant,

[1. The narrator says they were twins, but nothing in the story turns on this, which is remarkable, as twins are usually considered by the Bantu either as extremely unlucky (in former times one of them was frequently killed) or as possessed of abnormal powers and bringing a blessing to the family and the village.

2. Note the different initial. U- is the prefix for personal names, which has not hitherto been considered necessary; it is used only by the father of the twins. The buffaloes, the leopards, and the elephant, in replying, call her by three elaborate "praise-names," with which the reader need not be troubled. The father as deliverer is an important variation.]

who likewise sent him on, and so at last he came upon the monster herself, and announced, " I am seeking Usiququmadevu, who is taking away my children!" Apparently she hoped to escape recognition, for she directed him, like the rest, to "go forward." But the man was not to be deceived by so transparent a device: he "came and stabbed the lump, and so the isiququmadevu died."

Then all the people, cattle, and dogs, and, lastly, Untombinde herself, came out unharmed, and she returned to her father.

Her story is by no means finished, but the rest of it belongs to an entirely different set of ideas, that which is represented in European folklore by the tale of "Beauty and the Beast."

The same monster figures in the story of "Usitungusobenhle," [1] but only as the final episode. Here it is a girl who effects the deliverance. Nothing is said of her subsequent career, only: "Men again built houses and were again happy; and all things returned to their former condition."

The Family swallowed by the Elephant

Another story,[2] which treats the theme after a somewhat different fashion (though agreeing in one point with the last), is that of a woman who rashly built her house "in the road, and left her children there while she went to look for firewood. An elephant came by and swallowed the two children, leaving a little girl who happened to be staying with them and who told the mother, on her return, what had happened. The woman (like the father in the previous tale) set out to look for the elephant, carrying provisions (a large pot containing ground maize and amasi [3]) and a knife. She went on her way, asking all the animals she met where she could find an elephant with one tusk, which had eaten her children. They told her to go on till

[1. Callaway, Nursery Tales, p. 84.

2. Ibid., p. 31: "Unanana-bosele."

3 Sour milk, a staple article of diet with the pastoral tribes of Africa. Fresh milk is not, by the Zulus at any rate, drunk by grown-up people; but it is given to children.]

she came to a place where there were white stones on the ground under some high trees. She found the elephant in the place indicated, and asked it the same question: it also told her to go on, and, when she persisted, swallowed her. Inside it "she saw large forests and great rivers and many high lands; on one side there were many rocks; and there were many people who had built their villages there, and many dogs and many cattle; all were there inside the elephant; she saw, too, her own children sitting there."

The elephant thus comes into line with Kammapa and the other monsters, though we are not in their case told anything about the country inside them. This is quite natural, as the deliverer, coming from outside, would not, of course, see anything of the interior. Tylor says that the description of the country in the elephant's stomach "is simply that of the Zulu Hades"; but I have hitherto failed to come upon any other evidence for the country of the dead being so located.

The mother gave her children some amasi, and, finding that they had eaten nothing since they had been parted from her, said, "Why do you not roast this flesh?" They said, "If we eat this beast, will it not kill us?" She reassured them: "No, it will itself die."

She made a great fire-how we are not told; but as she had been gathering wood she may have had some sticks of the right kind for producing sparks by friction. She then took her knife and cut pieces off the elephant's liver, which she roasted and gave to the children. The other people, who had never thought of this expedient and had likewise eaten nothing, soon followed her example, with the result that "the elephant told the other beasts, saying, 'From the time I swallowed the woman I have been ill; there has been pain in my stomach.'" The animals could do nothing to help him, merely suggesting that the pain might be caused by his having so many people inside him, and he soon afterwards died. The woman then began to cut her way out, and before long a cow came out, saying, "Moo, moo; at length we see the country!" followed by a goat, a dog, and the people, who all, in their several ways, said the same thing. "They made the woman presents: some gave her cattle, some goats, and some sheep," and she set out for home with her children, rich for life. There she found the little girl who had been left behind and who had given her up for dead.

There is an important difference here, in that the deliverance is effected from inside, by one of the persons swallowed. In the story of "Little Red Stomach" ("Siswana Sibomvana" [1]) the boy is swallowed by a monster called "the owner of the water," but not further described, and when it died in consequence (nothing is said of his inflicting any further injury) cut his way out, and was none the worse.

But in the great majority of Bantu stories the Swallower is cut open, as by Ditaolane, and usually (though not always) by a small boy. The Zulu story last mentioned has points of contact with a curious and rather repulsive incident occurring in some of the animal tales, in which the tortoise, or some other creature, gains entrance to the body of some large animal and proceeds to eat it from the inside. We find this outside the Bantu area, among the Malinke of French West Africa and the Temne of Sierra Leone, [2] and Dr Nassau has recorded [3] from the Bantu-speaking Benga of Spanish Guinea the story of the giant goat, who was done to death through the greed of the tortoise and the leopard.

The Devouring Pumpkin

In the story of Tselane [4] it was seen that the slain ogre was changed into a tree. In "The Children and the Ogre [zimwe]"-told in Swahili, but apparently coming from the Yao tribe-a pumpkin-vine springs up on the spot where he died. This in due course produces pumpkins, and one of these, apparently offended by the remarks of some passing children, breaks off its stem and rolls after

[1. Theal, Yellow and Dark-shinned People of Africa, p. 227. Also in South African Folk-Lore Journal, March 1879, P. 26.

2 Cronise and Ward, Cunnie Rabbit, p. 231.

3 Where Animals Talk, p. 202.

4. See ante, p. 180.]

them. In Usambara a gourd or pumpkin appears as the Swallowing Monster. Nothing is said as to its origin, but a comparison with the Swahili story suggests that it may have been the reincarnation of some ogre or wicked magician.'

Some little boys, playing in the gardens outside their village, noticed a very large gourd, and said, "just see how big that gourd is getting!" Then the gourd spoke and said, "If you pluck me I'll pluck you!" They went home and told what they had heard, and their mother refused to believe them, saying, "Children, you lie!" But their sisters asked to be shown the place where the boys had seen the talking gourd. It was pointed out to them, and they at once went there by themselves, and said, as their brothers had done, "just see how big that gourd is getting!" But nothing happened. They went home, and, of course, said that the boys had been making fun of them. Then the boys went again and heard the gourd speak as before. But when the girls went it was silent. It would probably have been contrary to custom for all to go together.

The gourd continued to grow: it became as big as a house, and began swallowing all the people in the village. Only one woman escaped-we are not told how. Having swallowed every one within reach, the gourd made its way into a lake and stayed there.

In a short time the woman bore a boy, and, apparently, they lived on together on the site of the ruined village. When the boy had grown older he asked his mother one day where his father was. She said, "He was swallowed up by a gourd which has gone into the lake." So he went forth, and when he came to a lake he called out, "Gourd, come out! Gourd, come out!" There was no answer, and he went on to another lake and repeated his command. He saw "one ear of the gourd" come out of the water (by which it would appear that the gourd had by this time assumed some sort of animal shape), and climbed a tree, where he kept on shouting, "Gourd, come out!" At last the gourd came out and set off in pursuit of him; but he

[1. Seidel, Geschichlen und Lieder der Afrikaner, p. 174]

ran home and asked his mother for his bow and quiver. He hastened back, and when he came in sight of the monster loosed an arrow and hit it. He shot again and again, till, wounded by the tenth arrow, it died, roaring " so that it could be heard from here to Vuga."[1] The boy then called to his mother to bring a knife, and the usual ending follows. It may be worth while to remark that the young chief seems to have lived out his life without further trouble.

Another Talking Pumpkin

The pumpkin-monster who swallowed up a whole population is also found, but in a totally different Setting-in a Kiniramba story collected by Mr Frederick johnson.[2] Here the first part, relating how Kiali left her husband because he had murdered her sister, and was thrown into a hole and left for dead by a porcupine on her way to her mother's village, has very little to do with the episode which mainly concerns us. The connecting-link is the porcupine, which assumed Kiali's shape and took her place in her home, till exposed by the recovery of the real Kiali. They threw it on the fire, and "it died, and they buried it in the fireplace." Next morning a pumpkin was seen growing on the spot, and, some one remarking on it, it repeated the words. Everything that was said before it it repeated, and when they brought an axe to make an end of this uncanny growth "they were swallowed, and it swallowed all the people in the land, except a woman who was with child and had hidden herself in some cave." The child, when born, asked, "Where are the people?" and, on being told, went off to forge a weapon. This boy, Mlilua, is the hero of another story where, in somewhat different circumstances, people who have been swallowed are restored to life. In this one he set out to seek the giant (lintu) of whom

[1. The old capital of the Shambala paramount chiefs, distant about twenty-five miles from the mission station where one gathers that the story was told.

2 The Aniramba are to be found in the central districts of Tanganyika Territory
(Kiniramba Folk-tales, p. 334).]

his mother had told him, and brought her one animal after another (beginning with a grasshopper!) only to be told every time that this was not the right one. In the same way the lad in the Swahili tale of "Sultan Majnun" brought his mother the various animals he had killed, hoping that each one was "the Nunda, eater of people."[1]

At last Mlilua found the monster bathing, and shot an arrow at it. He went on shooting, while his mother sang, "My son, throw the spines, Kiali, hundred spines [of the porcupine]! If you do not throw to-day we shall be finished completely!" (It is not clear whether this is a figurative expression for arrows, or whether Mlilua really shot the spines of the porcupine at the monster. The mention of the name Kiali refers to the fact that the pumpkin took its origin from the porcupine which had personated the woman Kiali.)

At last the giant's strength was exhausted, and he said to Millua, When you begin cutting me begin at the back. If you cut me in front you will kill your people." Having said this, he died. Mlilua took the hint, and the people, cattle, goats, and fowls came out safely, all except one old woman, who, being in an awkward place, had her ear cut. She apparently accepted his apologies, and made some beer, which she invited him to drink. But she bewitched (poisoned?) him, and Mlilua died.

Three Variants

In the Delagoa Bay region the 'Swallowing' (or 'Engulfing') Monster theme is represented, in a somewhat different form, by two tales [2]: in one a little herd-boy, swallowed by a cannibal ogre, made him so uncomfortable that the ogre's own companions, with his consent, cut him open and thus released-not only the boy, but all the people and cattle previously swallowed.

In the other tale the giant Ngumbangumba is killed by the boy Bokenyane, who, like Kachirambe, is produced from an abscess on his mother's leg, but, unlike him, is followed

[1. See infra, p. 220.

2 Junod, Chants et contes, pp. 198 and 200.]

by two younger brothers. Bokenyane first hit the ogre with an arrow, and the other two went on shooting at him till he died. It was the mother who cut the body open-in this case with an axe. The conclusion is somewhat unusual. After the people had begun rebuilding their villages they asked who was their deliverer; the mother answered, "It is Bokenyane." They gave the three brothers five wives apiece, and then chose Bokenyane for their chief, because it was he who had shot the first arrow.

The other two were not pleased with this decision, and Bochurwane, the second, said, Let me reign!" Bokenyane refused absolutely, but his brothers dispossessed him by force, and he fled into the bush, where, in the end, he went mad.

Mrs Dewar's Chinamwanga collection[1] contains two very different versions of the same tale-one, certainly, incomplete. This one opens like "Tselane," but, as a brother and sister are concerned, it also recalls "Demane and Demazana" and the almost too well known parallel in Grimm. It begins by saying that " Once upon a time a goblin [ichitumbu] ate up all the people in the world. Only two remained-Nachiponda and Changala."

But when Changala had killed the goblin with his spear nothing further is recorded. When first wounded he said, "A hippo-fly has stung me"-just as Ngumbangumba, as each arrow hit him, remarked, "The mosquitoes are biting me."

The second story, called "Ichitumbu," begins and ends like most of the others, but the mother is shut up in a hut by her two sons (as Tselane is by her parents) while they go to hunt, and foolishly opens the door to the goblin. He suggests 'playing'; she wrestles with him, but is overcome and carried off. The boys come up in time, set their dogs on the goblin, and rescue her. Next day (in spite of the sons' warning) the same thing happens, and again on the day after that; but this time she is killed and eaten. The sons bring about the usual ending, and so "became chiefs, and the people honoured them."

[1. See Chapter VII, p. 106.]

Yet another version has been obtained from the Duala people, in the far north-west, but quite sufficient have already been given.

The Nunda

Quite a different line of thought, which may or may not have developed out of the "Swallowing Monster" idea, is that connected with "the Nunda, eater of people." This is found in the story of "Sultan Majnun," [1] but has little if any connexion with the first part of the story, which relates how a bird year after year stole the dates from the sultan's garden, till defeated by his youngest son. This may be of exotic origin, but the Nunda, whether under this name or another, is not confined to Swahili-speaking Africans. The peculiarities of this particular version seem to be: the Nunda begins as an ordinary cat, which, being left unmolested when catching and eating the chickens, grows in size and fierceness with each successive year, till it ends as a monstrous creature larger than an elephant. Secondly, though it has devoured everything it came across, nothing is ever recovered. The youngest son, who kills the Nunda in the end, does so only after bringing in a succession of animals, each larger than the last, and ending with an elephant. He is told by his mother, on every occasion, "My son, this is not he, the Nunda, eater of people."

This "method of trial and error" is that followed by Mlilua in the Kiniramba tale, which, however, in what follows is true to the main type of the 'Swallower' stories.

Jonah's Whale, the Frog, and the Tortoise

Both Tylor and W. A. Clouston (though the latter does not mention the African legend we have been discussing in the pages he devotes to "Men swallowed by Monster Fish" [2]) associate the Biblical story of Jonah with the same class of ideas. Whether or not one can suppose any original connexion, there is this important difference that Jonah was

[1. Steere, Swahili Tales, pp. 199 and 247.

2. Popular Tales and Fictions, vol. i, pp. 403-411.]

returned to the upper air unharmed, and (so far as one knows) without injury to the whale. But in all but one of the examples he quotes as parallels the fish is cut open. In these two cases we have a link with a curious incident which occurs more than once in African ogre-tales: a frog, or in some cases a tortoise, swallows some children in order to save them from the ogre, and produces them safe and sound at their home. A good, typical instance of this class of tale is that given by M. Junod [1]under the title of "L'Homme-au-Grand-Coutelas." We have the usual set of incidents-girls passing the night in the ogre's hut and saved by the wakefulness of one among them; the friendly frog is less frequently met with, but Dr Doke has a similar ending to the story of "The Great Water-snake and the People." [2] A man of the Luo tribe (a non-Bantu-speaking people commonly called 'Kavirondo' in Kenya Colony) told me much the same story, in which the girls were swallowed by a tortoise.

Those of us who have been brought up on Grimm will easily remember "The Wolf and the Kids," which, like "Red Riding-hood," if not springing from the same root, must have originated in a similar stratum of thought. The differences of background and colouring are as interesting as the resemblance persisting through the long course of development which has separated the European stream of tradition from the African.

[1. Chants et contes, p. 144.

2 Lamba Folklore, p. 247- See infra, p. 300.]

Next: Chapter XV: Lightning, Thunder, Rain, and the Rainbow