I HAVE, more than once, in previous chapters expressed my inability to accept in its entirety what is known as the Diffusionist hypothesis. I see no reason to suppose that the stories about the hare, for instance, were imported from India, even though some of them are almost exactly the same as those told of Mahdeo and the jackal, or that the tribes of the Amazon valley borrowed their tales of the Jabuti tortoise and his wiles from the imported Negroes.
But this is not to say that there are no stories which can be traced as having been introduced from outside, and we may conclude with a few of the most interesting specimens. Those chosen for the purpose must have come in long ago, so long as to have taken on a distinctly African colouring, even more thoroughly than Uncle Remus's stories have become American. I am leaving out of account such recent introductions as Æsop's fables, which circulate extensively in vernacular translations, or stories manifestly taken from Grimm or similar European collections. In a manuscript collection written by a Nyanja native I found not long ago, among a great deal of genuine local folklore, "The Story of the King's Daughter and the Frog," which the writer must have read or heard, probably in English. Again, in Kibaraka we find "The Story of Siyalela and her Sisters," which the compiler either failed to recognize as Cinderella, or thought sufficiently naturalized to pass muster with the rest. Contributors to Mambo Leo have even begun translating "Uncle Remus" into Swahili, and, though he is, in a way, only coming back to the country of his origin, there may be a danger of confusing these tales with the genuine local growth. In any case, considering the spread of reading and the circulation of extraneous matter, it behoves all interested in folklore to rescue the aboriginal stories as far as possible before it is too late.
In Captain Rattray's little book  "The Blind Man and the Hunchback" at once strikes one as having a distinctive character of its own; in fact, when I first read it I could recall no African parallel. Since then I find in Mr Posselt's Fables of the Feld (p. 6) a version-to my mind not nearly so good-entitled "The Man and his Blind Brother." And, more recently, it is included in the manuscript collection of Walters Saukila.
Many years after the publication of Captain Rattray's book I was surprised by coming across the identical story in volume xxxi of Folk-Lore (1920), with, of course, considerable differences of local colouring. It was told to J. D. Anderson by a Kachari in Assam. This is such a far cry from Central Angoniland, where the people were, at the beginning of this century, comparatively untouched by European influence, that there might seem to be difficulties in the way of supposing this to be a case of transference. But, though I have so far been unable to hear of an Indian or Persian analogue, it may be orally current among those populations of Indiawhose folklore is as yet but imperfectly recorded. Indian traders have frequented the East African coast from very early times, and a tale like this, told to the coast-dwellers and speedily becoming popular, would be passed on from tribe to tribe along with the trade-goods which in this way reached the far interior. The differences between the Kachari and the Nyanja versions are sufficient to show that it must have been a long time on the way.
The Nyanja version begins by saying that a certain village was plagued by a pair of man-eating lions (this passage is entirely wanting in the other), and the chief, by the advice of his people, opened negotiations with them: "Why are you seizing people every day?" The lions answered, "We say, if you give us your two daughters whom you love we will not come again to seize people." So the chief took his two daughters and built a grass hut for them on the hill where the lions were wont to show themselves.
[1. Chinyanja Folklore, p. 149.
2 See Ingrams, Zanzibar, p. 33]
Now, in another country there were two men, one was blind and the other humpbacked, and they set out for this chief s village. On the way the hunchback saw a tortoise on the path, and told the blind man, who said, "Pick it up." He refused, but his companion said, "just pick it up for me," and he did so, and the blind man put it into his bag. A little farther on they came to a dead porcupine, and the blind man asked his friend to pick up one quill, which, again, he did, after refusing at first. Some time later they came upon a dead elephant, and the man who had shot it was also lying dead, with his gun beside him. The blind man, again with some difficulty, persuaded the other to pick up the gun and one tusk, and they went on their way.
When it was growing dark they climbed a hill, and the hunchback saw smoke rising from a hut on the top. They went up to it, and, finding two girls there, said that, as they had been overtaken by night, they wanted a place to sleep in. The girls said, "You cannot sleep here; our father has built this house for us, so that the lions may come and eat us." But they would not listen, and said, "This is where we are going to sleep." While they were still speaking the lions arrived; they heard them roaring, and one of the lions asked, "Who is talking in the house? Whoever you are, we are going to eat you along with the rest."
The blind man said, "You can't eat us; we are only strangers seeking shelter for the night." The lion said, "I am going to throw one of my lice at you, and see if that won't frighten you!" The girls and the hunchback fainted with terror, but the blind man kept his head, and when the lion threw his louse he groped about till he caught it, and said, "That tiny little thing! Look at that now! I'm going to throw it into the fire!" And he did so, and it burst with a loud crack. Then he said, "Now I'm going to throw my louse," and he threw the tortoise. The lion picked it up and looked at it in astonishment, but, not to be beaten, he said, "I am not afraid of you. I shall throw you one of my hairs," and he pulled one from his mane and threw it. The blind man retaliated by throwing the porcupine's quill. Then the lion threw one of his teeth, and the blind man answered with the elephant's tusk, whereat the lion was so startled that he jumped and said, "Ha! Truly this person has a terrible tooth!" But he was not prepared to give in. "Now I am going to let you hear my voice," and he gave a tremendous roar. And the blind man, who had been loading his gun and getting it into position, said, "Let another of you roar, that I may hear his voice also." The other lion having done so, he said, "I have heard you. Now come close that you may hear mine." When they had done so: "Where are you?" "We are here." "Stick your heads close together." And he fired and killed them both. When the echo had died away he asked, "Have you heard my voice?" but all was silence, and he set to work to revive his companions. They would not believe his news, but he persuaded them to open the door, and they went out and found the lion and lioness both dead.
When morning dawned the grateful girls picked up their two deliverers and carried them on their backs to their father's village. When he saw them he was very angry with them for deserting their post and, as he supposed, endangering the whole village; but they soon placated him: "These men have killed those wild beasts." He was incredulous, but they swore most solemnly that it was true, and he sent some young men to see. These soon found the lions and cut off their tails. When they came back with the trophies the chief asked the people, "Now, as to these men who have killed the lions, what shall we do for them?" They replied that he ought to give them his daughters in marriage, which he did on the spot, and showed them where to build their village. He also gave them six mpande shells, to be divided equally between them. But the hunchback tried to cheat his friend, saying they had received only five, and giving him two. In the resulting quarrel the hunchback hit the blind man over the eyes, and the blind man struck him with a stick. And, behold I the one recovered his sight and the other was able to stand up straight. So they were reconciled.
In the Kachari story the men pass the night in a granary, used by a gang of robbers as a storehouse for their plunder; and, instead of the lions, a "terrible, man-eating demon" comes after them, and is scared away much after the manner described. Mr Posselt's version omits the girls, the brothers take shelter in a cave which is the lions' den, and the quarrel takes place over the sale of the lions' skins.
The Buddhist Jâtakas, which, I understand, are really folk-tales fitted into a religious framework by being represented as the adventures of the Buddha in his various incarnations, might appear to be quite remote from our theme; but some of them, in one form or another, have certainly reached the African coast. One of the best known among these is "The Washerman's Donkey,"  which is really the Sumsumara Jâtaka, and is also found in the Sanskrit collection of stories called Panchatantra, under the title of "The Monkey and the Porpoise." The Swahili title is only indirectly applicable to the story, or, rather, belongs to a story within the story, told by the monkey to the shark; "The Monkey who left his Heart in a Tree" describes it much better.
Another Jâtaka (the Vedabbha) has had the strangest fortunes, finally coming down to us in the shape of Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale." It was probably brought back from the East by some returned pilgrim or crusading soldier, and embodied in that queer compilation the Gesta Romanorum. The Swahili version, entitled "The Heaps of Gold,"  would seem to have come through Persia, perhaps subjected to Christian influence on the way. This, however, is doubtful, as Moslem literature abounds in elements taken from the Apocryphal Gospels or the floating traditions which furnished the materials for these.
The story opens by saying that Christ (here called Isa, as always by Moslems) while on a journey was joined by a
[1. Steere, Swahili Tales, p. 1.
2 Kibaraka, p. 89.]
man, who, though not encouraged to do so, insisted on accompanying him. When they were approaching a town Isa gave the man some money and told him to buy three loaves, "one for thee, one for me, and the third we will keep in reserve." He did so, and they sat down to rest. When they had eaten, each his loaf, they went on, the man carrying the third loaf. When they had gone some distance, thinking himself unobserved, he ate it. Next day they came to a spring and sat down there. When asked to produce the loaf the man said it had been stolen. Isa said nothing at the time, and they went on. They walked till they were both weary, and sat down to rest in a place where there was much sand. Isa made three heaps of sand, and at his prayer they were changed into gold. Then he said, "Friend, take one of these heaps to thyself, one is for me, and the third is for him who stole the loaf." The man, forgetting all else in his greed, exclaimed, "It was I who stole the loaf-I who am here!" The Master told him to take them all, and left him there.
The wretched man could neither carry the gold nor bring himself to leave it, so remained on the spot till three horsemen came by, who, seeing the treasure, stopped and murdered him. Two of them stayed to guard it, while the third rode on to the town to buy provisions. On the way it occurred to him that he might have the gold all to himself, so he poisoned the wine which he meant to give the other two. This part of the story is so well known that it is scarcely necessary to add that the two killed him on his return, and shortly died of the poison. "So all these four men died, because of that sand which had been changed into gold."
Not long afterwards Christ passed that way with his disciples, and they marvelled at seeing the heaps of gold and the four dead men. Then he told them the story, and said, "This is not gold, but sand," and at their request he prayed to God, and what had been gold then became sand once more.
[1. This opening does not come into the "Pardoner's Tale."]
Another story in the Gesta Romanorum, which must originally have come from India, is extant in at least three Swahili versions, all of which have the same moral, equivalent to the Latin of the Gesta: Quod omnium viventium in mundo de beneficiis acceptis est ingratissimus homo: "Of all things living in the world man is the most ungrateful for benefits received."
This story should be well known to all students of Swahili, as it is contained in the elementary reader generally used (a selection reprinted from Kibaraka). This version, though much shorter than that given by Dr Velten, contains several important points omitted by the latter. The following is an attempt to combine the two.
A king's son who wished to see the world set out alone on his travels. In course of time he found himself in a vast desert, in the midst of which he spied one solitary tree, to which, when he had reached it, he tied his horse, leaving his weapons on the ground beside it. Not far off was a well, and, being very thirsty, he hastened to let down the bucket which he found there. On drawing it up he saw that, instead of being filled with water, it contained a snake. He was about to kill it, but it said, "Don't kill me; some day I may be able to help you." So he spared it, and let down the bucket again, drawing it up with difficulty, as it was very heavy. When he got it to the top he found in it a lion, who addressed him in the same way as the snake, and both added this warning: "Never do good to any child of Adam: the son of Adam, if you do good to him, will only repay you evil." Then they thanked him and took themselves off.
The youth let down the bucket a third time, and brought up a man, who, so far from behaving like the snake and the lion, knocked him down, tied him up with the well-rope, took his weapons, and rode off on his horse. The lion, however, who had not gone far, came back and released him. He took him along to his den, and provided him
[1. Märchen und Erzälungen, p. 144.]
with food by lying up near the path to a village and, when he saw a man passing with a load of rice or beans, frightening him, so that he dropped it.
One day the lion ventured as far as the town, and, seeing the sultan's daughter walking in the garden attended by her slaves, sprang over the fence and seized her. The slave-girls scattered in terror, and the lion brought the princess back to the young man, saying, "Take her jewels, but give me the girl, that I may eat her." He answered, " f you want to give me anything give me the girl as well." So he took her for his wife, and built a hut for her in the forest, and they lived there happily for a time. One day the snake appeared, and handed the young man two of his teeth, saying, "If ever you get into trouble take a stone and beat these teeth with it, and I will come to you at once."
Now the man who had been rescued from the well had come to this very town and, by making himself very agreeable, had so got into favour with the sultan that, in the end, he became his vizier. And it happened on a day that, going out with a hunting-party, he was separated from the rest of the company, and, wandering by himself in the forest, came to the little hut, where he saw the sultan's daughter. At once he hastened back to the town to give the alarm; soldiers were sent out, and the couple were speedily brought before the sultan. Then the vizier came forward, accused the young man, not only of carrying off the princess, but of turning himself into a lion in order to do so, and advised his being shut up in a dungeon without food or room to lie down, so that he might be induced to disclose his secret arts.
This was done, but he did not quite starve, for a compassionate slave-woman fed him secretly with scraps of bread. And then he suddenly remembered the snake's teeth, and beat them with a stone. The snake appeared at once, and told him, "To-day when the sultan goes to bathe I shall bite him, and nothing can cure him except these teeth of mine." So he went and coiled himself on the ledge of the tank in the palace bathroom, and when the sultan took up the ladle to pour the water over his head struck him on the lip, and he fell down. All possible remedies were tried, but to no purpose, till at last an old woman came forward who said she had heard that the only man who knew of a cure was the one chained in the prison. He was sent for, and ground the snake's teeth to powder, which was applied to the snake-bite and soon effected a cure. The sultan made inquiries, heard the whole story, and ordered the treacherous vizier to be sewn up in a sack and cast into the sea. His daughter's wedding was celebrated in proper fashion, and the pair lived happily to the end of their days.
This clearly belongs to the "Grateful Beasts" class of stories, of which numerous examples, variations on this and other themes, are well known in Europe. The third Swahili version must be derived from the same original as the other two, but varies so considerably that this is not at first sight obvious. An ape is introduced as well as the lion and the snake, and a poor youth finds them, not in a well, but in the traps which he has set to catch game. There are other important differences, which, however, need not detain us.
Part of this-the providing of the only effectual remedy by a despised stranger-is to be found in a Persian story: "The Colt Qéytas,"  but this is much nearer to "Kibaraka," the tale which gives its title to the collection already mentioned more than once.
This is made up of various elements. The opening I have not so far traced. The sultan's son and the vizier's son, born on the same day, go for a walk together, and the former treacherously forsakes his companion, who loses his way and wanders about till he comes to a house inhabited by a zimwi. This being receives him kindly, to all appearance, but soon departs to call his friends to a cannibal feast. Here comes in the well-known motif of the Forbidden
[1. D.L.R. and E.O. Lorimer, Persian Tales, pp. 38-42.]
Chamber. The zimwi tells him he may go into every room but one. In the fifth, which is the forbidden one, he finds a gigantic horse, who speaks and tells him the true character of his host. The horse himself is being kept only till fat enough; then he and every other living thing in the house will be eaten by the ogre and his friends, who are due to arrive in two days' time. He directs the youth to let out all the animals shut up in the various apartments (a lion, a leopard, a donkey, and an ox) and to take out of a great chest seven bottles-containing the obstacles of the well-known "Magic Flight." The horse then swallows all the animals and a quantity of the ogre's treasure, directs the youth to saddle and mount him, and they escape in the usual way, throwing down the seven bottles, one after another, to produce thorns, fire, sea, and so on. This part comes into far too many stories to be repeated here; the flight, with much the same obstacles, is found, for instance, in the Persian "Orange and Citron Princess." 
They then build a house in the forest (one must understand that the horse produces it by magical means, but this is not stated in the Swahili), and Kibaraka ("Little Blessing" -this appears to be a name assumed for the occasion, though it has not hitherto been mentioned) strolls into the town, by the horse's advice, in the guise of a beggar. Here, one day, proclamation is made that the sultan is going to arrange the weddings of his seven daughters. All the people are ordered to assemble, and each girl is to throw a lime at the man of her choice. The eldest manages to hit the Grand Vizier's son, to the general satisfaction. Then the rest make their choice among the young nobles, up to the sixth; but the youngest aims her lime at the beggar-lad and hits him. This incident and similar ones are found in Persian and other stories-for instance, in " The Colt
[1. See The Folk-lore Journal, vol. iii (1885), pp. 193-242. The incident is found in several Swahili stories, in very different settings: e.g., "Hasseebu Kareem ed Din" and "The Spirit and the Sultan's Son," in Steere (Swahili Tales, pp. 353 and 379), and "Sultani Zuwera," in Kibaraka, p. 5.
2. D.L.R. and E.O. Lorimer, Persian Tales, p. 135]
Qéytas," of which the beginning is quite different. The conclusion of this is much the same as the end of "Kibaraka," with minor variations: the sultan is ill, and can only be cured, in one case by the flesh of a certain bird, in the other by leopard's milk. The six sons-in-law try in vain to procure the remedy: the seventh, who has been despised and kept at a distance, succeeds. For a time he allows the others to take the credit, on condition of letting him brand them as his slaves. But Kibaraka has previously, in disguise (or, rather, in his own proper form and riding on the magic horse), distinguished himself in battle and routed the sultan's enemies. This does not appear in the Persian tale, though it does elsewhere. Whatever the origin of this story, the hero's words when he finally reveals himself show whence it passed to the Swahili coast: "I am not Kibaraka: I am Hamed, the son of the Wazir in the land of Basra"-the last thirteen words being Arabic.
Parts of this story seem to have spread wherever the Arabs have carried their language and their traditions. The lime-throwing incident occurs both in Somali and in Fulfulde (the language of the Fulani, in West Africa). The Somali story of "Lame Habiyu" begins like "The Colt Qéytas," and goes on very much as "Kibaraka."
There was, in the reign of Harun-er-Rashid (765-809), a certain poet at Bagdad, named Abu Nuwis, whose work is highly praised by the best judges (it has been translated into German, if not into English), and whose name, twisted in various ways, is known up and down the Swahili coast but not for his poems. Whether or not any of the stories told of him are true, his legend has attracted to itself all the jests and practical jokes current before or during his time, or invented since. He has got mixed up with the hare, one of whose names in Swahili is Kibanawasi, which might be punningly turned into Kibwana wasi, "Little Master of Shifts." He is always being set impossible tasks by the caliph (sometimes Harun is mentioned by name), and always cleverly turns the tables on him. When told to build a house in the air he sends up a kite hung with little bells ("Don't you hear the carpenters at work?"), and then calls on the caliph to send up stones and lime, which, of course, he is unable to do. Some of his exploits have reached Delagoa Bay, where M. Junod, misled by the local colouring they had acquired by that time, concluded that "Bonawasi" was a corruption of the Portuguese Bonifacio. One of the most popular, here as elsewhere (it has been heard from Egyptian story-tellers), is the order to the whole population to produce eggs, by which it is hoped to entrap Abu Nuwâs. The charming illustration on p. 298 of Chants et contes des Baronga shows the Governor of Mozambique presiding at the performance in full uniform.
The Portuguese, who at one time made their name so much dreaded on the coast (even now "Proud as a Portuguese" and "Violent as a Portuguese" are current sayings in Pate), are represented as being pitiably duped by Abu Nuwâs. He burned his house down, loaded a ship with sacks full of the ashes, and put to sea. Meeting seven Portuguese vessels loaded with silver, he pretended that he was taking a cargo of treasure as a present to his sultan, and was so ostentatiously reluctant to part with it that they determined to buy it, and finally did so for a shipload of silver. Abu Nuwâs returned with this, and went to the sultan, asking him for some men, to unload his cargo of silver. This, of course, led to inquiries, which caused the sultan to burn down the whole town and load a fleet with the ashes. Result: a collision with the Portuguese at sea, in which ships were sunk and many of the sultan's men killed. Abu Nuwâs was sought for, but escaped as usual, and played further pranks in a fresh place.
There seem to be endless variations of the story in which a man received three pieces of advice from his father, or spent all the money left him by his father on three pieces of advice from a wise man. These are, in one case: "If you see a thing do not speak of it; if you speak of it something [unpleasant] will happen to you."  Secondly, "If the sun sets while you are on the road stay where you are till you can see where you are going." Thirdly, "If a friendly person hails you in passing never refuse to stop." Or, as sometimes found, if called three times you must turn aside, having returned a civil answer to the first and second summons. Other pieces of advice are: "Never tell a secret to a woman"; "A man does not betray one who trusts him"; "What is in your purse is your possession; what is in the field or in the box is no use to you." Some of these, in shortened form, are current as well-known proverbs and are frequently quoted.
The second of those enumerated above enables the hero to escape from robbers, while his companions, who insist on pressing on after dark, are attacked and murdered. The third saves him from a treacherous plot: he is sent by an enemy with a message intended to ensure his murder, but delays on the road when asked to stop-in one case by an old friend of his father's. This incident, or one very like it, is found in the Gesta Romanorum, as well as in some old French fabliaux, and was made use of by Schiller for his ballad Der Gang nach dem Eisenhammer. It also occurs, out of its proper setting, in a Swahili story called "The judge and the Boy,"  where it is combined with parts of several other stories, imperfectly told.
There is a Persian story, "The Man who bought Three Pieces of Advice", where the "three words" are of a somewhat different character, and the hero-or, rather, his wife-comes to grief through disregarding the third, though they are enabled to escape from their troubles by following the second. These counsels are:
"Don't go out when there are clouds in the sky in winter-time."
[1. This is much neater in the original, owing to the fact that neno means both .word' and 'something,' 'anything.' Literally, "If you see something don't say anything; if you say anything something will get you."
2 Kibaraka, p. 35: "Kadhi na Mtoto."
3 D.L.R. and E.O. Lorimer, Persian Tales, p. 269.]
"Whenever you see a pigeon, a hound, and a cat for sale, buy them, whatever the price, and keep them with you and take good care of them."
"Never tell to anyone the advice you have got, and never let an outside woman enter your house."
In the old Cornish folk-tale "John of Chyanorth"  the three pieces of advice (or, in the original, "points of wit") are: "Take care that thou dost not leave the old road for the new road"; "Take care that thou dost not lodge in a house where may be an old man married to a young woman"; "Be thou struck twice ere strike once"-or, as it stands in another part of the text, "Be advised twice ere strike once."
Another story imported from the East-whether from Arabia, Persia, or India I am unable to say-is that published by M. Junod  under the title of "Les Trois Vaisseaux," It is found in the most unexpected places, even on the Congo and the Ivory Coast, though some of these Western versions may be of independent origin. Three brothers go on a trading expedition, and acquire a magic mirror, a magic carpet (usually described as a mat or basket), and a medicine for restoring the dead to life. These enable them to see the young woman with whom all three are in love dying, if not already dead, to reach her before she is buried, and to administer the medicine. The question now arises: who has done the most towards saving her and shall consequently marry her? It is variously decided. Sometimes, as in the Congo version, the narrator stops short at this point, and leaves the decision to the audience.
Some of the stories in Chatelain's Folk-tales of Angola must certainly have come from Portugal, while others are
[1. See J. Morton Nance, Cornish for All (Lanham, St Ives, n.d.), PP. 38-48 - I am indebted to Mr Henry Jenner, of Bospowes, Hayle, for directing my attention to this book.
2. Chants et contes, p. 304.
3. Dennett, Folk-Lore of the Fjort, No. III.]
unmistakably of African growth, the latter being by far the more numerous. An interesting case of importation is the story of Fenda Madia:-one of the "False Bride" class. She sets out to disenchant Fele Milanda (Felix Miranda) by weeping twelve jugs full of tears, but is cheated when just in sight of success by a slave-girl, who takes her place and marries him. Here, too, a part is played by a magic mirror-a distinctly non-African element. The story is current both in Portugal and in Italy, but in all probability originated farther east. Parts of it resemble the latter portion of the Persian "Orange and Citron Princess." 
A magic mirror-which might as well be a ring or any other object, since its function is not to reveal what is happening at a distance, but to procure for the possessor whatever he wishes-figures in a story collected by Father Torrend at Quilimane. Here the African and European elements are curiously mixed. A childless couple are told by a diviner to eat a pair of small fish; in due course they have a son, who, when grown, goes to cut wood in the forest. He befriends a python in difficulties, and is rewarded by the gift of a mirror which gives him everything he wants, and enables him to marry the governor's daughter.
M. Junod describes "La Fille du Roi" as a Portuguese story. It was told him by a Ronga woman, who had heard it from some young persons of her own tribe employed by Europeans in the town of Lourenço Marques. The first part is much the same as Grimm's "The Shoes that were danced to Pieces," except that there is only one princess, instead of twelve, and the place where she goes to dance is called "Satan's house." The rest of the story is quite unlike anything in Grimm, neither is it distinctively African. I have, so far, been unable to trace this part.
In conclusion I may mention, in passing, the curious fact that a story substantially the same as that of The Merchant of Venice was written out for me in Swahili by a native
[1. Folk-tales of Angola, pp. 29 and 43.
2. See ante, p. 316.
3 Seidel, in Zeitschrift für afrikanische und ozeanische Sprachen, vol. i, p. 247.
4 Chants et contes, p. 317.]
teacher at Ngao, who said he had heard it from an Indian at Kipini. The Indian, he supposed, "had got it out of some book of his." He may, of course, have read Shakespeare's play, or seen it acted, but it is quite possible that he had derived it from his own country. The story is found in the Gesta Romanorum, and can therefore, in all probability, be traced to an Oriental source.
It is sometimes said that "all the stories have been told"-also that there are only about a dozen plots in the whole world. But the old stories are perpetually fresh to the new generations who have not yet heard them, and the dozen plots-if that is the number-are susceptible of such infinite variation that neither the novelist nor the collector of folk-tales need be unduly discouraged.
The more fully the subject is studied the more clearly will it appear that the folklore of Bantu-speaking Africans is not inferior in variety and interest to that of Asia, Polynesia, or America-if differing from them in character.
There is much that still remains to be known, and of what has already been recorded I have been forced to leave a large amount untouched. I trust the specimens here given will be sufficient to show that the notion of Africa as a continent without history, poetry, or mythology worthy of the name is wholly erroneous.