Kikuyu - Fables and Legends

The Hunters and the Hartebeest


From "Gikuyu Oral Literature", by Wanjiki Mukabi Kabira and Kerega wa Muthahi (1988: East African Educational Publishers, PO Box 45314 Nairobi, Kenya). See the copyright notice for textual extracts.


The Hunters and the Hartebeest, by Charles Kabera


Long ago, there were some hunters who met a hartebeest. They chased it and chased it until it hid in a bush. It laid an egg. Now, when it laid an egg the hunters came and picked the egg. One old man took the egg with him.
   The egg hatched into a baby. The baby was a girl.
   The wife to the old man kept telling the girl she (the woman) would quarrel her. One time, she was quarrelled. She left home and ran away. Her father came and called.

Lone child! come back!

She said:

Father I shan't come back
You wife having called me
An egg of an ostrich
That I was picked from departed homesteads
By hunters while hunting

The father would call again:

Lone child! come back

She would then say:

Father I shan't come back
You wife having called me
An egg of an ostrich
That I was picked from departed homesteads
By hunters while hunting.

After running for a distance, the father would call again:

Lone child! come back!

She would then say:

Father I shan't come back
You wife having called me
An egg of an ostrich
That I was picked from departed homesteads
By hunters while hunting.

The girl ran and ran when she discovered that she was about to be caught she passed air. A thick mist came into existence. Her father called again:

Lone child! come back!

She said:

Father I shan't come back
Your wife having called me
An egg of an ostrich
That I was picked from departed homesteads
By hunters while hunting

After moving a little further, the father would say:

Lone child! come back!

She would then say:

Father I shan't come back
You wife having called me
An egg of an ostrich
That I was picked from departed homesteads
By hunters while hunting.

She went and went and when she saw that she was about to be caught she excreted. A huge mountain came into existence. Her father would call from the other side of the mountain:

Lone child! come back!

She would say:

Father I shan't come back
You wife having called me
An egg of an ostrich
That I was picked from departed homesteads
By hunters while hunting

She went and went and when she saw that she was about to be caught, she urinated. A sea came into existence. She went and met other hartebeests and turned into a hartebeest.

The story ends there.


 
 
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