Embu & Mbeere - Fables and Legends
Kiondondoe and the Ogre (Kiondondoe na Irimarimu)
|This story, narrated by Ndekere Muruambeti - a 90 year-old Embu woman from Gaciari - is an example of the ever-popular genre of ogre stories, in which the evil ogre - half-animal, half-human - usually ends up gobbling up the protagonist (the tale below is an exception!). The tales warn children against bad behaviour, being stupid, gullible, or of the consequences of not doing what they're told. From Ciarunji Chesaina's outstanding book "Oral Literature of the Embu and Mbeere" (1997: East African Educational Publishers, PO Box 54314 Nairobi, Kenya). See the copyright notice for textual extracts.
Long, long ago, there was a child called Kiondondoe. She was named Kiondondoe because she was a very stupid girl. This child lived with her grandmother because her mother and father were dead.
Kiondondoe was stupid because if her grandmother left food for her and told her not to give any to strangers, she would actually go to look for people up to the path. She would give them all the food and stay hungry the whole day. If she was told not to open the door for people she did not know, Kiondondoe never listened.
One day, Kiondondoe's grandmother locked her up in the hut. She told her not to open for anybody. Now, immediately her grandmother left, the ogre came and asked, "Who is in this home?"
Kiondondoe replied, "It is me, Kiondondoe. My grandmother locked me up in the hut and told me not to open for anybody whoever it might be. She also told me if I'm called I should not answer."
The ogre told her, "Aaaa! Is that so?"
"Oh yes! Even food, she leaves some for me and tells me not to give to anyone!" Kiondondoe replied.
The ogre told her, "Open the door we play."
The little fool named Kiondondoe opened the door.
Now, the ogre took Kiondondoe and put her in his bag. The ogre then ate Kiondondoe's food and finished it. The ogre's intention was to get a child who could beg for food for him. So wherever he went, he used to tell Kiondondoe, "Kiondondoe, make a little noise we either be given or denied."
Kiondondoe would make noise, begging for food while she was in the ogre's bag. If they were given a banana, the ogre would tell Kiondondoe, "Kiondondoe have a bite of a banana!"
Just as Kiondondoe was going to have a bite, the ogre would swallow the whole banana.
The ogre roamed with Kiondondoe in his bag for many days. If they reached a home where there was gruel, the ogre would tell Kiondondoe, "Kiondondoe make some noise, either we are given a sip or we are denied."
They would be given some gruel. The ogre would then tell Kiondondoe, "Kiondondoe have a sip of gruel."
Whenever Kiondondoe was about to have a sip, the ogre would drink the gruel in one gulp, Metu!"
Now Kiondondoe grew very thin because she had nothing to eat. One day, the ogre found a certain woman in her home. He first told Kiondondoe, "Kiondondoe make a little noise we either be given or denied."
Kiondondoe made some noise. The woman gave them food and gruel. The ogre ate all the food and drank all the gruel. Now, because of having eaten so much, the ogre felt he wanted to go to the toilet.
So he told the woman to keep his bag for him while he visited the bush for a little while.
When the ogre had gone to the bush, the woman took Kiondondoe out of the bag quickly and hid her. She then put a stone in that bag. When the ogre carne back and she gave him his bag, he asked, "How come it has become so heavy?"
The woman told the ogre, "Ah! You ogre! Don't you know that when a load is put down it always becomes heavier?"
The ogre took his bag, saying, "Oh! Yes! When a load is put down it becomes heavier. That is good because today is when this meat of mine will be eaten."
Now the ogre had planned how he and his ogre friends would feast on Kiondondoe that day. So when he arrived at his home, the ogre told his friends that he had brought meat so they should collect firewood.
The firewood was collected by all the ogres, big and small. The fire that was lit was huge!
When the ogres went to remove Kiondondoe from their friend's bag, they found a stone. Do you know what they did when they found a stone? They took the ogre who owned the bag and who had troubled Kiondondoe so much. They took that ogre who had planned that they feast on Kiondondoe.
They threw him into the fire. That ogre is the one who was roasted and became meat for his fellow ogres.