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Hausa Woman [ca. 1900] (Public Domain Image)


by Maalam Shaihua, translated by R. Sutherland Rattray

Clarendon Press


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This is a collection of Hausa folklore, which is directly sourced from a Hausa storyteller, and translated by a European academic. This originally appeared as two volumes, the translation being in the first one. These West African stories, from what is today is Nigeria, are from an Islamic background, giving us a look into this important African storytelling tradition.

Title Page
Author's Note
A Short History, Purporting to Give the Origin of the Hausa Nation and the Story of Their Conversion to the Mohammedan Religion.
1. The story of the slave by name 'The World'
2. How brothers and sisters first came to quarrel and hate each other
3. The story of the boy and the old woman, and how the wasp got his small waist
4. The story about a beautiful maiden, and how the hartebeest got the marks under its eyes like teardrops
5. How the whip and the 'maara' spoon (a broken bit of calabash) came to the haunts of men
6. A story about a chief, and how his sons observed his funeral, and the origin of the spider
7. A story about an orphan, showing that 'he who sows evil, it comes forth in his own garden'
8. A story about a witch, and how the baby of the family outwitted her, and invented the first walled town
9. The doctor who went a pilgrimage to Mecca on a hyena
10. A story about a chief and his cook
11. A story about three youths all skilled in certain things, and how they used that skill to circumvent a difficulty.
12. A story about a giant, and the cause of thunder
13. A story about an orphan which was the origin of the saying 'The orphan with a coat of skin is hated, but when it is a metal one he is honoured'
14. A story of a jealous man and what befell him
15. A story of a great friendship and how it was put to the test
16. A story about a test of skill
17. A story about Miss Salt, Miss Pepper, &c.
18. The story of Muusa (Moses) and how it came about that brothers and sisters do not marry each other
19. A story about a hunter and his son
20. A story about a maiden and the pumpkin
21. The Gaawoo-tree and the maiden, and the first person who ever went mad