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95 35 Bibêga, the Terrible Child T here was a pregnant woman. She went into the bush to look for wood. A thorn pricked her in the belly. The child came out and asked her: ‘‘Mother, do you know what my name is?’’ ‘‘I don’t know,’’ answered the mother. ‘‘Well! My name is Bibêga! Let’s go home, do not be afraid!’’ His mother brought him home. Some time later he asked her if there wasn’t another fearless person in the village. He asked the same question in a place where there were children. The latter told him that they too, were afraid of nothing. He asked them to accompany him on an adventure. They arrived at the home of a chief and asked him to put them up for the night. The latter had some porridge1 prepared for them and asked that an animal be killed for his guests. When night fell, Bibêga told his companions that he wanted to go and chat for a while with some girls. The chief had three girls come over for he thought they liked one another. In the course of the evening, the girls fell asleep. Bibêga told his companions that he was going to kill his girl. They tried to dissuade him. After all, the chief had given them hospitality, had brought them girls for the night, and had treated them well. Why did he want to kill the girl he had taken? He told them: 1. Dish made from millet or corn flour, eaten daily by the Moose, sagbo in Moore. 96 Alain-Joseph Sissao (Translated from the French by Nina Tanti) ‘‘I am going to kill her, but I didn’t ask you to do the same.’’ He killed her, as well as the two others. His companions ran off. He climbed a tree in front of the compound and signaled their disappearance. He had them hunted down with no success after alerting the whole village with the sound of his drum. From up in the tree, Bibêga defecated into the flour water2 which the chief had asked for to quench his thirst. The chief looked up and saw him sitting in the tree. He alerted the population, for he had found his enemy. People arrived and began cutting down the tree. Right when the tree was about to fall, a long-crested eagle3 came and asked the boy what was going on. He told him that they were chopping down the tree in order to kill him. The bird told him: ‘‘If that is the case, then come under my wings!’’ He did so and the bird flew off with him. When they reached the top of a rock, he told the bird that he was going to cut off one of his wings and draw water with it. He cut one of his wings off and they both fell to their deaths. The tortoise came along and wondered how on earth both of them could have died. She said: ‘‘If there was gratitude on earth, I would do something good for you.’’ 2. Zom koom in Moore. 3. Lophaetus occipitalis (Accipitridae). 97 Folktales from the Moose of Burkina Faso She went and fetched some water and splashed it on them. They were both resuscitated. And Bibêga exclaimed: ‘‘A tortoise ! A tortoise !’’ The eagle said to him: ‘‘She saved us and you want to kill her?’’ He said: ‘‘I am going to kill my tortoise, but I didn’t ask you to do the same.’’ He killed it, cooked it over a grill, ate it, and continued on his way. He went and found an old woman who was working in her okra field. He told her: ‘‘Dear madam, let me help you !’’ The old woman accepted his help and said: ‘‘I am going home to pound some millet and I will bring you back some water to drink.’’ So she left for her home. As she was returning to the field, she met Bibêga, who was coming to join her at her house. He told the old woman that he wanted something hot to eat because he had been out a long time. They went back to the house. The old woman prepared a sauce and took some flour to make porridge. When she began to stir the porridge, Bibêga seized her and plunged her head into the cooking pot. Then he went on his way. 98...


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