Book: Hausa Folklore
Author: Maalam Shaihu

Hausa Folklore By Maalam Shaihu

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 86
Publication Date: 1913

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Published in 1913, this is a delightful collection of 21 folk tales. The book has an introductory section which details the history of the Hausa people and their relation to Islam. The tales themselves are collected directly from a Hausa Storyteller.

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In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful, and may the peace of Allah be upon him, after whom there is no prophet. This is the history of the Hausa (nation). It has been familiar to everyone from the time of their grandfathers and grandmothers, (and) is a thing which has been handed down from the malamai (learned men) and these elders. Any account other than this one is not authentic. If a questioner ask of you (saying) I Where did the Hausa people have their origin?' Say (to him) 'Truly their origin was (from) the Barebari and Northerners'. And this is the account of how this came to pass.

The king of Bornu had a horse with a golden horn. This horse did not neigh just at any time, but only on Fridays. If it neighed you would say it was a tornado. It was hidden away in a house. Now the king had a son. He (the son) continually gave him who looked after the horse money and robes in order that (he might persuade him) to bring his horse out, and they should come, and he should mate the horse with his mare. And it was always thus. (And) one day the man who was looking after the (king's) horse took (it) the horse out and brought it. The king's son too took his mare out. They went into the forest and the mare was covered.

Now the king has (had) previously said that whoever was seen (with) a foal from this horse at his house, he would have his throat cut. Things remained at this, (and) one day the mare gave birth, (and nothing happened) till the colt grew up, (when) one day the king's horse neighed, then the young horse answered. And the king said, 'At whose ever house they see it let (that person) be killed (lit. Be cut), and do not let him be brought before me.' Then the councillors scattered (to make search) in the town. They were searching for the young horse.

And they came to the house of the king's son, and behold as it were the king's horse with its golden horn. Then the councillors said, I The king has said we must come with you.' Then the king's son lifted his sword. He cut down two men, the remainder were scattered. Then he saddled up the young horse. He mounted.

The king ordered he should be seized and brought (before him). The whole town mounted their horses (and) followed him. They did not come up with him. He has gone his way. The king, moreover, has given orders that his own horse is not to be mounted, and if not his horse, then there was not the horse to overtake him. The king's son (rode) went on and (eventually) dismounted in the country of Daura. He saw the daughter of the king of Daura, she possessed the town. He stayed with her. And one day she said she wanted him in marriage and he too said he loved her. So they married. The king's daughter became with child. She bore a child, a son. She weaned it. She was again with child (and) bore a girl. And that was the origin of the Hausa nation.

The Barebari and Daura people were their ancestors. But the Mohammedan religion, as far as that is concerned, from Bornu it came. Hausas and Barebari and whatever race (you can name) in the West were at first in early times pagans. Then the maalamai (scribes) said that this is what happened.

There was a certain man away there at Bornu from among the children of their royal house, his name (was) Dalama. When he came to the throne he was called Mainadinama, the meaning of that is, 'a chief more powerful than any other.' After he had reigned for some months then he sent a messenger to the Caliph.

Now at this time Abubakari Sidiku, the blessing of Allah be upon him, he was Caliph. You have seen the beginning of his being sent, referring back to that man (Mainadinama), was that he was hearing about Mohammedanism before he succeeded to the kingdom. Behold the name of his envoy whom he sent, his name was Gujalo. At the time when the envoy came he found the Caliph's attention occupied with a war. He said nothing to the envoy. All he said was, 'Remain here.' Then he did not again remember his words because his mind was so occupied with words of the war of the father of the twins.

The messenger remained there till the messenger died. After three months and a few days then the Caliph Abubakari Sidiku he too died. After some months Umaru Ibunuhutabi was set up. He was the Caliph after Abubakari Asidiku. Then he called to mind the report of the envoy and his death. Then they held a consultation, they his friends who remained. They joined their heads about the question of sending an envoy to Bornu. Umaruasi was sent with manuscripts of the Koran. It was said the writing of Abdulahi the son of Umoru the Caliph, and turbans and a sword and spears and shields and the kingly fez and such things and plates; all these presents from the Caliph to Mainadinama.

When the envoy drew near he sent to them one to acquaint them of the news of his coming. The king of Bornu and his men mounted their horses and met him afar off.

When he (the envoy) entered his town, then he bound the turban on him, he was established in his right to the kingdom, he was given the name of the king of Bornu, he (the king) gave him everything he was told to give him, because of the presents which he (the envoy) had been sent with for him. He lived among them.

He was instructing them (the people of Bornu) in the creed of Allah and the names of His messengers, may the salvation and trust of Allah be assured to them.

They continued to honour him, to the extreme that honour could be carried. They sought a blessing (by eating) the remains of his meals and his food and from the spot (he) set his feet. Half of them were seeking blessing from the mucus from his nose and his spittle (by rubbing it on their persons). They were climbing the roofs in order to see him. They also sought blessing by touching his robes and his slippers and his whip, until it was even said they looked for a blessing from his beasts, and the remains of their fodder and their dung.