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15 7 The Chief’s Daughter A chief had a daughter. He wanted to marry her to a clever man. So he came up with this challenge: ‘‘The one who brings me the brain of a genie, some milk from a she-buffalo, and the tendon of a tortoise, will have my daughter in marriage.’’ The hare thought these things would be easy to obtain, so he set off in search of them. In the bush he found a shebuffalo that was looking for some monkey bread1 for her children. The hare greeted her and said: ‘‘Since you are so strong, all you need to do is back up, get a running start, then charge into the baobab. That way, the fruit will fall and each of us will take some for our children.’’ No sooner said than done: the she-buffalo gathered up speed and charged into the baobab tree. Her horns sank deep into the trunk. The hare went to fetch his calabash bowl and began to milk the she-buffalo, saying: ‘‘It is said that no one can milk a she-buffalo, but we know how to do it.’’ He filled his calabash. 1. The quarter where the Peuls live. 16 Alain-Joseph Sissao (Translated from the French by Nina Tanti) The hare continued his search. He met the genie kinkirga, and asked him: ‘‘Dear kinkirga, can you do a summersault on top of a rock?’’ The latter said no. He told him that in that case, all he needed to do was to follow him to learn how. He led the little genie up to the top of the rock. He did the first summersault to show him how it was done. The genie wanted to imitate him, but he struck his head against the rock and broke his skull. The hare collected his brain and continued on his way. He arrived in the middle of the bush and said: ‘‘Hey! All you the inhabitants of the bush, come, all of you! For the sky said that you have taken his egg away, and he asks that you give it back!’’ All of the animals of the bush gathered around the hare. ‘‘Since you cannot give the sky his egg back,’’ he told them, ‘‘all you have to do is to go up and apologize to him.’’ The hare told the animals to climb on top of one another. ‘‘Since the tortoise has a shell,’’ he added, she has to be on the bottom so that all the other animals can climb on top of her.’’ So the tortoise lay down, and the elephant as well as the other animals climbed onto her back. Knowing that the tortoise could no longer move, the hare began to sever the tendon of one of her back legs. Surprised, the tortoise asked: ‘‘Who is cutting off one of my tendons?’’ The hare replied: ‘‘Listen, everyone! Take up the song which the tortoise has just begun to sing !’’ 17 Folktales from the Moose of Burkina Faso And the others started to sing in chorus: Saaree geele ! When he had finished cutting the tendon, the hare left them, one on top of the other, and ran to the chief’s house. He gave him the buffalo milk, the genie’s brain, and the tendon from the hind leg of a tortoise. In return, the chief gave him his daughter in marriage. ...


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