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Notes on the Folklore of the Fjort, by Richard Edward Dennett, [1898], at


Now this is a sad but true story, for it is of recent occurrence, and many living witnesses can vouch for its truth.

Poor King Jack, late of Cabinda, now retired a little into the interior of KaCongo, known to all who visit this part of Africa, either in whaler, steamer, or man of war, owns the fetish called Lifuma. Lifuma had all his life sniffed the fresh sea-breezes, and rejoiced with his people when they returned from the deep sea in their canoes laden with fish. But now circumstances (namely, the occupation of Cabinda by the Portuguese) forced him to retire to the interior, behind the coast-line between Futilla and Cabinda. How he longed to see his people happy yet again is proved by the trouble he put himself to in trying to gain possession of a part of the sea-beach that he thought should belong to his "hinterland." He left the sweet waters of Lake Chinganga Miyengela (waters that have travelled even to the white man's country, and returned without being corrupted) and quietly travelled down to the sea-beach, near to a place called Kaia. Once there, he picked up a few shells and pebbles, and filled a pint mug with salt water, meaning to carry them back to his sweet-water home, and to place them on the holy ground beside him as a sign of his ownership of the sea-beach, and as a means whereby his people might once more play on the sea-beach by the salt water, and once again occupy themselves in fishing in the deep blue sea. Peaceful and benevolent was indeed his mission, and perhaps, as he passed the town of Kaia and Subantanu unmolested, he at last thought that his object was secured. Alas! the bird Ngundu espied him, and rushed to town to acquaint the Kaia people's fetish, called Chimpukela. Then Chimpukela, ran after Lifuma, and caught him up, and roughly asked him what he had there, bidden under his cloth.

"Go away," cried the anxious Lifuma, as he pushed Chimpukela aside.

Chimpukela stumbled over an ant-hill and fell, so that when he got up again he was very angry with Lifuma, and knocked him down. Poor Lifuma fell upon a thorn of the Minyundu tree and broke his leg. The mug of salt water was also spilt, and Chimpukela took from him all the relies he had gathered upon his sea-beach.

Then Chimpukela swore that ant-hills should no longer exist in his country, and that is why you never see one there now as you travel through his country.

And Lifuma cursed the bird Ngundu, and the tree Minyundu, and canoes, and salt water, and everything pertaining to the beach. And that is why all these things do not now exist in his country, or on his sweet-water lake.

Next: XXV. The Fetish Of Chilunga.