Sacred Texts  Africa  Index  Previous  Next 

Specimens of Bushman Folklore, by W.H.I. Bleek and L.C. Lloyd, [1911], at


The Rain formerly courted(?) a young woman, while the young woman was in (her) hut, because she felt that she was still ill. The Rain scented her, and the Rain went forth, on account of it; while the place became misty.[1] And he, in this manner, courting(?) came, while he courted(?) the young woman on account of her scent. He in this manner trotting came; while the young woman was lying down, while she held (her) child (by her) on the kaross; she was lying down.

And she lay, smelling the Rain's scent, while the place was fragrant,[2] while the place felt that his (the Rain's) breath was that which closed in the place; it was that[3] through which he coming passed; it resernbled a mist.

And the young woman became aware of him, as he came up; while he lowered his tail (?). And the young woman perceived him,[4] as he came past her, at, the side of the hut. And the young woman

[1. Resembling a fog (or mist). The people spoke tbus, they said to nue that the Rain's breath was wont to shut in the place, when he came out to seek food; (while) he was eating about, the mist was "sitting" there,

2. The Rain's scent it was. The people say that there is no scent as sweet, hence the people say that it is fragrant.

3. His breath is that through which he passing comes.

4. He resembled a bull, while he felt that (he) was the Rain's body.

5. The word Xoro also means an ox; but the narrator explained that a bull (Xoro gwai) is meant here.]

exclaimed: "Who can this man be who comes to me?" while he, crouching (?)[1], came up.[2]

The young woman took up buchu in her hand, the young woman threw buchu upon his forehead. And she arose; and she pressed (the buchu) down upon his forehead (with her hand); she pushed him away; and she took up (her) kaross; she tied it on.

The young woman took up the child,[3] she held the child very nicely; she, holding (it) very nicely, laid the child down upon a kaross; she, covering (it), laid the child[4] away.

She mounted the Rain; and the Rain took her away.[5] She went along; she went along looking at the trees. And she went along, she spoke, she said: "Thou must go to the tree standing yonder, the one that is big, thou shalt go (and) set me down at it. For I ache; thou shalt first go to

[1. His ears (they) were; those which he laid down; while he felt that he crouched (?).

2. While he felt that he stood in front of the opening of the hut.

3. She seems to have laid the child away for (her) husband; while she felt that she was not going to live; for, she would living go, go, go, go, she would go to become a frog, for the Rain intended that she should go to the water pit, that water pit from which he went forth, he courting (?) went.

4. At the hut. She laid it down, while she thought that she should die, (and) go to become a frog.

5. While the Rain felt that the Rain was going to the Rain's home, the pit from which he came out. Therefore, the young woman said he should go to let her sit down.

The people say that the Rain's Bull goes out from his pit, and the Pit becomes dry, while it feels that the Rain has gone out, the Rain's Bull. Therefore, the pit dries up on account of it.]

set me down at it." Therefore, the Rain trotted, taking her straight to the |kuerriten|kuerriten.[1] And he trotted up to the |kuerriten|kuerriten. And the young woman said: "Thou must go underneath, close to the stem of the tree." Therefore, he went underneath, close to the stem of the tree. The young woman looked at him; the young woman took out buchu, she rubbed him (with it).[2] Then the Rain went to sleep, on account of it.

Therefore, when she saw that the Rain slept, she climbed up, she stole softly away, she climbed up, she climbed along (?) the |kuerriten|kuerriten. And she descended at a distance, she in this manner stole softly along, while the Rain continued to sleep. She, afar, softly returned home; while the Rain awoke behind her back, when the Rain felt that the place was becoming cool.

He arose, he walked away; he went away to the middle of the spring(?) from which he had courting(?) gone out, while he believed that the young woman was still sitting upon his back. He went away, he went away to the water. He went into (it), while the young woman went along, she went to burn buchu; while she was "green", while

[1. It is a large tree, which is found in kloofs.

2. The singular form of |kuerriten|kuerriten is, |hang#kass'o says, |kui|kuerri. It is the name of a bush found in the ravines of a 'red' mountain, on this side of Kenhardt, called Rooiberg by the white men. (VIII-21, p. 7835.)

3. Rubbed his neck (with buchu).

4. With dry things they rub. Therefore, they are wont to say that they rub 'with them.

If things are wet, they are wont to say that they anoint with them.]

she smelt strongly[1] of the scent of the ||khou; she was rubbing herself, while she rubbed, taking away the smell of the ||khou from herself.

The old women who had been out seeking food were those who came to burn horns, while they desired that the smell of the horns should go up, so that the Rain should not be angry with them.[2]

[1. To smell strongly.

2. Her own scent it was which resembled (that of) the||khou. The ||khou (possibly a fungus?) is a thing belonging to the Rain. Her (the young woman's) intelligence was that with which she acted wisely towards the Rain; hence all the people lived; they would (otherwise) have been killed; all (of them) would have become frogs.]


Next: The Girl's Story; The Frogs' Story.