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


ALL the towns in Molembo or Neotchi were suffering terribly from the awful scourge or evil wind (the disease we know by the name of small-pox). And the chief prince called the princes and people together and asked them if it were not time to ask Nzambi Mpungu why he was so cross with them? And they all agreed that it was so. But whom were they to send? They said that the Ngongongo was a wonderful bird, and could fly in a marvellous way. They sent him with a message to Nzambi Mpungu; but when he got there, and cried out "quang, quang, quang," it was evident that Nzambi Mpungu did not understand his tongue. So he flew back back to Neotchi and reported his failure.

Then Neotchi sent the rock-pigeon (mbemba), but he could not make Nzambi Mpungu understand, and he also returned to Neotchi.

Then the prince sent the ground-dove (ndumbu nkuku), and she went and sang before Nzambi Mpungu:

"Fuka Matenda ma fua
Vanji Maloango ma fua
Vanji Makongo ma fua
Sukela sanga vi sia."

("Mafuka Matenda is dead,
Vanji Maloango is dead,
Vanji Makongo is dead;
This is the news that I bring."[1])

And Nzambi Mpungu heard what the dove had said, but answered not.

[1. Mafuka means ambassador, and is a title given to certain rich natives. Matenda is the name of a prince of KaCongo. Vanji is a title and has the sense of creator, lord. The last line is a form expressing that one has delivered one's message.]

Next: XXIX. Nzambi Mpungu's Ambassador.