Sacred Texts  Africa  Index  Previous  Next 

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


|Xue was water; and the water was (in) the shadow of the tree. And the wood pigeons ate the fruit of the |kui. And |Xue was a lizard[1] and lay in the dead leaves of the |kui. And (he) saw the wood pigeons, and was water[2] And the wood pigeons saw the water, and settled upon the water's edge. And |Xue worked large grass, like reeds, and it took hold of a wood pigeon. And the wood pigeons came to drink (lit. to eat) water, and the grass came near, and bit the wood pigeon's bill, and the wood pigeon cried out; and the other wood pigeons flew away.

And |Xue was |Xue and rose up, and took hold of the wood pigeon, and plucked out the wood pigeon's feathers, and put the wood pigeon's feathers in his head, and lay upon the ground. And the water vanished, and he was and put the wood pigeon's feathers in his head, and lay upon the ground. And (he) put the wood pigeon's body into the hot embers, and lay down. And continued to lie down, and arose, and went to take out the wood pigeon's body from the fire.

And (he) ate the wood pigeon, and heard Ovahereró, and arose. And went to the Ovahereró, and the Ovahereró saw him. And he hid himself on the ground. The Ovahereró came to search for him, to search for him, (and) did not see him. For (he) was little, and was a |nu-erre;[4] and a little Omuhereró boy saw the |nu-erre upon a bush, and

[1. This lizard (called also ggoru and nggoru by my !kung informants and |hai-@pua by |hang#kass'o) appears to be the comnion Gecko.

2. (He) was not a large (piece of) water, but (?) was a little water, a water hole.

3. |Xue was a grass which is (called) go, and (is) small; and bit the wood pigeon. Large grass, which is (called) reeds, took hold of the wood pigeon; and was |Xue.

4. A (certain) little bird.]

he saw the Ovahereró, and cried out.[1] And was the Bushman's eye water and fell upon the ground. And he said: "Ye-he! Ye-he! Ye-he!" And the Omuhereró heard, and sought for him, sought for him, sought f or him, and did not see him, and (he, |Xue) flew away.

And (he, |Xue)[2] flew, coming to his mother's country, and saw his father, and was not a |nu-erre but was |Xue, and died.[3] And his father went to him, and came to look at him, and he was dead. And his father went away, and he was not dead, and was and rose up. He called to his father: "My father! O!" and his father called to him, and said: "My child! O!" and he called to his father once, and cried out: "#no! #no!" and came to his mother's country.

And his father saw him and stealthily approached him. And he heard his father. And (he) saw his father, and died; and was a lizard, and lay down, lay down upon the ground.

And his father saw him, and said: "It is my child, |Xue! for it is not another person, but is my child; and (he) saw me, and died. And (he) was rubbing sticks (to make) fire[4]; and saw me, and died; and is not another person, but is my child, and is |Xue. For, I went (?) away to my country, and did not see my child; and to-day,

[1. And (he) cried: "Tsuai! tsuai ! tsuai!" (Two) Ovahereró children saw him; for be was a |nu-erre.

2. |Xue was a |nu-erre, and cried out. He was not one |nu-erre; but was many |nu-erre.

3. He was [now] not many |nu-erre, bat was one |nu-erre, and went to his mother's country.

4. He carried over his shoulder a little bag, the skin of an antelope, a female antelope's skin.]

I saw my child, and my child was rubbing fire, little sticks' fire;[1] and my child rubbed fire, and saw me, and died. And is |Xue; and is not another person, but is |Xue. I am afraid of my child, for my child is dead.

"I go to my country; and my country is far away, and (during) many moons I go to my country, (and) do not see my country; my country is far distant. And, to-day, I see my child, for my child is and makes fire, little sticks' fire, and eats |shana,[2] and rubs fire, and his hands hurt (him), and he cries, and sees me, and dies; for I am |Xe-||n'u and my child, |Xue, sees me, and dies; and I am afraid of my child. I go away to my country, my country that(?) is far distant.

"And my child is another person; I see my child. And (I) wear in my head wood pigeons' feathers; and my child saw me, my head with wood pigeons' feathers, many wood pigeon feathers, for they(?) were two wood pigeons. And, to-day, I am afraid of my child, and (I) go to my (own) country."

And (he) went to his (own) country; the name of his country is ||noa; it is a mountain, a large mountain. And he went away to his (own) country.

[1. The tree's name was |n'au-|kumm; and (he had) two sticks; the fire stick (i.e., the one which he held in his hands) was long, small, and long, like a reed. The other (fire) stick lay on the ground; for he had laid (it) the other stick upon grass; he rubbed fire, the fire fell upon the grass; and he took up the fire (i.e., the grass), he blew the fire.

2. Tshana is the name of a tall fruit-bearing tree. The fruit of it is eaten raw.]


Next: Prayer To The Young Moon.