GREAT chiefs, or men otherwise distinguished, whose memory lives on after many generations, are not only honoured beyond the worship paid to ordinary ghosts, but become the subjects of many a legend. Some of these heroes are plainly mythical, others are known to have actually existed, and some historical persons have become legendary without receiving divine honours. One knows that the genesis of myths is not confined to remote ages; they may spring up any day, even in civilized countries: there have been at least three well-known examples within the last twenty years. I remember being present at a conversation during which, as I believe, a legend was nipped in the bud. Some Zulus, after consulting together in undertones, asked Miss Colenso, very respectfully, whether it was true that her father had prophesied before his death that his house (Bishopstowe, near Pietermaritzburg) would be burned down. She answered that very likely he might have said, some time or other, that if due precautions were not taken a fire might reach the house during the grass-burning season-which, in fact, actually happened, owing, however, to a sudden change of wind rather than to any lack of care. I fear the questioners were disappointed; but one can imagine how the story would have grown if not discouraged.
In the countries to the west of Lake Victoria there is a cult of a being known as Ryang'ombe, or Lyang'ombe, concerning whom curious legends are current. His name means "Eater of an ox"; in full it is, in the language of the Baziba, Kashaija Karyang'ombe, "the little man who eats an [whole] ox." The name is distinctly Bantu, and is connected with his story. In Ruanda and Urundi, where his worship is fully developed, it does not seem to be entirely understood; and another indication of his Bantu origin is to be found in the fact that the mysteries of Ryang'ombe are supposed specially to belong to the Bahutu, the Bantu agricultural community; and, though the Batusi aristocracy frequently take part in them, there is a very strict rule that the reigning chief must never have been initiated into this particular rite. This seems strange, as Rehse, writing of the Baziba, says that Ryang'ombe is "the spirit of the cattle, only venerated by the Bahima." But there is much in the whole subject which still awaits investigation. The Baziba tell a story which differs considerably from the Ruanda legend as given by P. Arnoux and by Johanssen; but, for all one knows, both may circulate side by side-in one of the countries at any rate. Some feats of his remind one strongly of the Zulu Hlakanyana, but the latter is merely a trickster, and never, so far as I know, attained the status of a national hero, or became an object of worship. Ryang'ombe, according to this story,4 spoke before he was born, and ate a whole ox immediately after his entrance into the world. His father told him of a terrible ogre, Ntubugezi, notorious for killing people; Ryang'ombe at once made for the giant's abode, insulted and defied him, and made him give up eleven head of cattle, which he (Ryang'ombe) swallowed at once. He then attacked another ogre, Ntangaire, and swallowed him whole, but did not long enjoy his triumph, for Ntangaire cut his way out and killed him. In the Ruanda legend, likewise, Ryang'ombe's mortal career ends disastrously, though after a different fashion.
The Banyaruanda give Ryang'ombe's family affairs in great detail. His father was Babinga, described as the "king of the imandwa"; his mother, originally called Kalimulore, was an uncomfortable sort of person, who had
[1. The Bahima are the Hamitic invaders who form the pastoral aristocracy in Buganda, Bunyoro, and elsewhere. In Ruanda they are called Batusi.
2. Anthropos (1913),vol.viii.
3. Ruanda, pp.109-111.
4. H.Rehse, Kiziba p. 371
5. The imandwa are a superior order of spirits, distinct from the common herd of ghosts, who are called bazimu, and mostly thought of as malevolent. All the imandwa are known by name; many of them are in one way or another related to Ryang'ombe, and each has his or her own special ritual.
6. After the birth of her son she was known as Nyiraryang'ombe ('Mother of Ryang'ombe').]
the power of turning herself into a lioness, and took to killing her father's cattle, till he forbade her to herd them, and sent some one else in her place. She so frightened her first husband that he took her home to her parents and would have no more to do with her. After her second marriage, to Babinga, there seems to have been no further trouble. It is not clear how Babinga could have been " king of the ghosts " while still living, but when he died his son, Ryang'ombe, announced that he was going to take his father's place. This was disputed by one-of Babinga's followers named Mpumutimuchuni, and the two agreed to decide the question by a game of kisoro,[l] which Ryang'ombe lost. Perhaps we are to understand by the long story which follows that he passed some time in exile; for he went out hunting, and heard a prophecy from some herd-lads which led to his marriage. After some difficulties with his parents-in-law he settled down with his wife, and had a son, Binego, but soon left them and returned to his own home.
As soon as Binego was old enough his mother's brother set him to herd the cattle; he speared a heifer the first day, a cow and her calf the next, and when his uncle objected he speared him too. He then called his mother, and they set out for Ryang'ombe's place, which they reached in due course, Binego having, on the way, killed two men who refused to leave their work and guide him, and a baby, for no particular reason. When he arrived he found his father playing the final game with Mpumutimuchuni. The decision had been allowed to stand over during the interval, and Ryang'ombe, if he lost this game, was not only to hand over the kingdom, but to let his opponent shave his head-that is, deprive him of the crest of hair which marked his royal rank. Binego went and stood behind his father to watch the game, suggested a move which enabled him to win, and when Mpumutimuchuni protested stabbed him. Thus he secured his father in the kingship, which, apparently, was so far counted to him for righteousness as to outweigh all the
[1. A game variously known as mankala, mweso, bao, msuo, etc., and played all over Africa, either on a board or with four rows of holes scooped in the ground.]
murders he had committed. Ryang'ombe named him, first as his second-in-command and afterwards as his successor, and Binego, as will be seen, avenged his death. Like all the imandwa, with the exception of Ryang'ombe himself, who is uniformly kind and beneficent, he is thought of as mischievous and cruel, and propitiated from fear, especially when the diviner has declared, in a case of illness, that Binego is responsible. During these ceremonies, and also in the mysteries celebrated from time to time, certain persons are not only recognized as mediums of Ryang'ombe, Binego, or other imandwa, but actually assume their characters and are addressed by their names for the time being.
The story of his death is as follows.
Ryang'ombe one day went hunting, accompanied by his sons, Kagoro and Ruhanga, two of his sisters, and several other imandwa. His mother tried to dissuade him from going, as during the previous night she had had four strange dreams, which seemed to her prophetic of evil. She had seen, first, a small beast without a tail; then an animal all of one colour; thirdly, a stream running two ways at once; and, fourthly, an immature girl carrying a baby without a ngobe. She was very uneasy about these dreams, and begged her son to stay at home, but, unlike most Africans, who attach great importance to such things, he paid no attention to her words, and set out. Before he had gone very far he killed a hare, which, when examined, was found to have no tail. His personal attendant at once exclaimed that this was the fulfilment of Nyiraryang'ombe's dream, but Ryang'ombe only said, "Don't repeat a woman's words while we are after game." Soon after this they encountered the second and third portents (the "animal all of one colour" was a black hyena), but Ryang'ombe still refused to be impressed. Then they met a young girl carrying a baby, without the usual skin in which it is supported. She stopped Ryang'ombe
[1. The skin in which an African woman carries a baby on her back. The Zulus call it imbekko.]
and asked him to give her a ngobe. He offered her the skin of one animal after another; but she refused them all, till he produced a buffalo hide. Then she said she must have it properly dressed, which he did, and also gave her the thongs to tic it with. Thereupon she said, "Take up the child." He objected, but gave in when she repeated her demand, and even, at her request, gave the infant a name. Finally, weary of her importunity, he said, "Leave me alone!" and the girl rushed away, was lost to sight among the bushes, and became a buffalo. Ryang'ombe's dogs, scenting the beast, gave chase, one after the other., and when they did not return he sent his man, Nyarwambali, to see what had become of them. Nyarwambali came back and reported: "There is a beast here which has killed the dogs." Ryang'ombe followed him, found the buffalo, speared it, and thought he had killed it, but just as he was shouting his song of triumph it sprang up, charged, and gored him. He staggered back and leaned against a tree; the buffalo changed into a woman, picked up the child, and went away.
At the very moment when he fell a bloodstained leaf dropped out of the air on his mother's breast. She knew then that her dream had in fact been a warning of disaster; but it was not till a night and a day had passed that she heard what had happened. Ryang'ombe, as soon as he knew he had got his death-wound, called all the imandwa together, and told first one and, on his refusal, another to go and call his mother and Binego. One after another all refused, except the maidservant, Nkonzo, who set off at once, travelling night and day, till she came to Nyiraryang'ombe's house and gave her the news. She came at once with Binego, and found her son still living. Binego, when he had heard the whole story, asked his father in which direction the buffalo had gone; having had it pointed out, he rushed off, overtook the woman, brought her back, and killed her, with the child, cutting both in pieces. So he avenged his father.
Ryang'ombe then gave directions for the honours to be paid him after his death; these are, so to speak, the charter of the Kubandwa society which practises the cult of the imandwa. He specially insisted that Nkonzo, as a reward for her services, should have a place in these rites, and, accordingly, we find her represented by one of the performers in the initiation ceremony, as photographed by P. Schumacher. Then "at the moment when his throat tightened" he named Binego as his successor, and so died.
Here Ryang'ombe appears as a headstrong adventurer, whose principal virtue is courage, and it is a little difficult to gather from his story, as here related, why he should have been credited with so many good qualities. He shows some affection for his mother (though not sufficient to make him consider her wishes) and for his son, and gratitude to the poor dependent who fulfilled his last request-but that is all one can say.
The definition of a myth, as laid down by the Folk-Lore Society, is: "A story told to account for something"; of a legend: "A story told as true, but consisting either of fact or fiction, or both indifferently." The story of Ryang'ombe would seem to come under both definitions, for it is certainly (at least in Ruanda-in Kiziba it is more like an ordinary fairy-tale) told as true, and it is held to account not only for the kubandwa mysteries (of which P. Arnoux has given a very full account in the seventh and eighth volumes of Anthropos), but for certain volcanic phenomena.
The Virunga volcanoes, north of Lake Kivu, are a striking feature of the Ruanda country. They are among the few still active in Africa, and there have been several remarkable eruptions in quite recent times. It appears that after his death Ryang'ombe took up his abode in the Muhavura volcano, the most easterly of the group, where he still lives, though occasionally migrating to Karisimbi, about midway between Lake Kivu and the smaller lake, Bolere. The memory of former eruptions is preserved in accounts of battles between Ryang'ombe and his enemy, Nyiragongo, who then lived in Mount Mikeno. Ryang'ombe, with his fiery sword, cleft this mountain from top to bottom, and drove Nyiragongo westward to the mountain which still bears his name. He then cut off the top of this peak with his sword, threw Nyiragongo into it, and piled hot stones on him to keep him down. One is reminded of Enceladus, buried under Etna by Zeus.
The other imandwa, Ryang'ombe's relatives and dependents, are supposed to be living with him in Muhavura. As already mentioned, they are, in the main, spiteful and mischievous, and a great part of his energy is devoted to keeping them within bounds. The inferior ghosts, the bazimu, are by some said to haunt their former dwelling-places; others say that the good ones-i.e., those who during their lifetime were initiated into the kubandwa mysteries go to join Ryang'ombe in Muhavura, while the 'profane' (nzigo) are sent to Nyiragongo. This notion may be due to the Hamitic invaders, as the idea of a future state of rewards and punishments is, in general, foreign to Bantu thought. The absence of any really moral distinction ('good' being simply synonymous with 'initiated'), coupled with the recent date of the earliest missions to Ruanda, would negative the supposition of Christian influence.
Before quitting the subject of Ryang'ombe I should like to call attention to an interesting point. Dr Roscoe, writing of Buganda, speaks of "the fetish Lyang'ombe,"  but gives no details about him. In the absence of any further information it is impossible to determine whether the name alone was carried from Ruanda into Kiziba, and thence into Buganda, whether it was accompanied by any elements of the original story, or whether a fresh one grew up in its new
[1.Anthropos (1912), vol. vii.
2. The Northern Bantu, p. 134. This word-of which anthropologists are now somewhat shy-is used by Dr Roscoe as the equivalent of ejembe, literally, 'a horn,' because the objects in question are usually horns, filled with charms of all sorts and believed to be the abode, for the time being, of some particular spirit. The Baganda speak of "the horn of Lyang'ombe," "the horn of Nambaga," and so on. It seems hardly correct to speak of "the fetish Lyang'ombe," as it is the horn, and not the spirit, which is the 'fetish '-if that word must be used.]
home. It is evident that some, at any rate, of the Ruanda myths, if they were ever heard, would be speedily forgotten in a country with no active volcanoes.
Then there is Mukasa. In Buganda he is the most important of the ' gods '-i.e., heroes or demi-gods, originally ghosts, and quite distinct from Katonda, the creator, probably also from Gulu, the sky-god. He has much the same character as Ryang'ombe in Ruanda, being "a benign god, who never asked for human life, and, perhaps, a man of old time, deified on account of his benevolence. But the Banyaruanda make Mukasa the son-in-law of Ryang'ombe, and so far from being of a kindly disposition that his wife died of his cruel treatment. He was, curiously enough, the ferryman on the Rusizi, the river which runs out of Lake Kivu into Tanganyika. The story of his marriage seems to be connected with some traditional hostility between two sections of the Ruanda people.
Another point to notice is that the 'mediums'-people possessed by the 'gods' (balubale), through whom they give their oracles-are called in Luganda emandwa, which, as mentioned above, is the name for the superior class of spirits in Ruanda.
Dr Haddon says: "The term hero is usually applied to one who stands out from among ordinary mortals by his . . . conspicuous bravery or sustained power of endurance . . . but [also by] inventiveness, moral or intellectual qualities, or the introduction of new cults." This might apply to Ryang'ombe. 'Culture-heroes' are those who have done anything "to improve the conditions of human existence." I suppose we might reckon among these the Thonga chief who taught his people to peg out hides on the ground in order to dress them. The earlier process was for a number of men to stand round, hold the edges of the hide in their teeth, and lean back till it was sufficiently stretched. It is not clear how far this is to be taken seriously, but we have
[1. Encyc1opædia of Religion and Ethics, vol. vi, p. 633]
a distinct culture-hero in Kintu, who brought goats, sheep, fowls, millet, and the banana into Buganda. Several tribes have a legend of a mighty hunter who came into the country with trained dogs and, like Theseus, cleared out dangerous wild beasts or fought with monsters. Such was Mbega of the Wakilindi, whom we shall meet in the next chapter.
Such also was Kibwebanduka, the tribal hero of the Wazaramo, who led them from Khutu to their present home (probably about 1700), and drove out the cannibal Akamba, who were then occupying it. It is said that his footprints and those of his dog are still to be seen on a rock somewhere in Khutu, to the north-west of the Zaramo country. The Baziba have a similar hero, Kibi, who came from Bunyoro.
Sometimes animals figure as culture-heroes; one of the hare's many adventures turns on this notion, though sometimes the same story is told of an unnamed man or boy, who combines his benefits with flagrant cheating. One example of this, though not the best or most typical, occurs in the story of Hlakanyana (told in Chapter XI, below). Meanwhile the tale of Sudika-Mbambi will serve to illustrate what has just been said. It comes, like that of "The Son of Kimanaweze," given in Chapter V, from Angola.
Sudika-Mbambi was the son of Nzua dia Kimanaweze, who married the daughter of the Sun and Moon. The young couple were living with Nzua's parents, when one day Kimanaweze sent his son away to Loanda to trade. The son demurred, but the father insisted, so he went. While he was gone certain cannibal monsters, called makishi, descended on the village and sacked it-all the people who were not killed fled. Nzua, when he returned, found no houses and no people; searching over the cultivated ground, he at last came across his wife, but she was so changed that
[1. I do not know whether there is any warrant for this accusation against the Akamba. Cannibalism is regarded with horror by the East African tribes in general, though some of them are very sure that their neighbours practise it. For Kibwebanduka see Klamroth, in Zeitschrift für Kolonialsprachen, p. 44.
2 Chatelain, Folk-tales of Angola, p. 85.]
he did not recognize her at first. "The makishi have destroyed us," was her explanation of what had happened.
They seem to have camped and cultivated as best they could; and in due course Sudika-Mbambi ('the Thunderbolt') was born. Like others who will be mentioned later, he was a wonder-child, who spoke before his entrance into the world, and came forth equipped with knife, stick, and "his kilembe"-a 'mythic plant,' explained as "life-tree," which he requested his mother to plant at the back of the house. Scarcely had he made his appearance when another voice was heard, and his twin brother Kabundungulu was born. The first thing they did was to cut down poles and build a house for their parents. Ryang'ombe and (as we shall see) Hlakanyana were similarly precocious, but their activities were of a very different character. Soon after this Sudika-Mbambi announced that he was going to fight the makishi. He told Kabundungulu to stay at home and to keep an eye on the kilembe: if it withered he would know that his brother was dead; he then set out. On his way he was joined by four beings who called themselves kipalendes and boasted various accomplishments-building a house on the bare rock (a sheer impossibility under local conditions), carving ten clubs a day, and other more recondite operations, none of which, however, as the event proved, they could accomplish successfully. When they had gone a certain distance through the bush Sudika-Mbambi -directed them to halt and build a house, in order to fight the makishi." As soon as he had cut one pole all the others needed cut themselves. He ordered the kipalende who had said he could erect a house on a rock to begin building, but as fast as a pole was set up it fell down again. The leader then took the work in hand, and it was speedily finished.
Next day he set out to fight the makishi, with three kipalendes, leaving the fourth in the house. To him soon after appeared an old woman, who told him that he might marry her granddaughter if he would fight her (the grandmother) and overcome her. They wrestled, but the old woman soon threw the kipalende, placed a large stone on top of him as he lay on the ground, and left him there, unable to move.
Sudika-Mbambi, who had the gift of second-sight, at once knew what had happened, returned with the other three, and released the kipalende. He told his story, and the others derided him for being beaten by a woman. Next day he accompanied the rest, the second kipalende remaining in the house. No details are given of the fighting with the makishi, beyond the statement that " they are firing." The second kipalende met with the same fate as his brother, and again Sudika-Mbambi was immediately aware of it. The incident was repeated on the third and on the fourth day. On the fifth Sudika-Mbambi sent the kipalendes to the war, and stayed behind himself. The old woman challenged him; he fought her and killed her-she seems to have been a peculiarly malignant kind of witch, who had kept her granddaughter shut up in a stone house, presumably as a lure for unwary strangers. It is not stated what she intended to do with the captives whom she secured under heavy stones, but, judging from what takes place in other stories of this kind, one may conclude that they were kept to be eaten in due course.
Sudika-Mbambi married the old witch's granddaughter, and they settled down in the stone house. The kipalendes returned with the news that the makishi were completely defeated, and all went well for a time.
The kipalendes, however, became envious of their leader's good fortune, and plotted to kill him. They dug a hole in the place where he usually rested and covered it with mats; when he came in tired they pressed him to sit down, which he did, and immediately fell into the hole. They covered it up, and thought they had made an end of him. His younger brother, at home, went to look at the 'life-tree,' and found that it had withered. Thinking that, perhaps,
[1. Through the Portuguese occupation (dating from the sixteenth century) guns would be familiar objects to the Angola natives.]
there was still some hope, he poured water on it, and it grew green again.
Sudika-Mbambi was not killed by the fall; when he reached the bottom of the pit he looked round and saw an opening. Entering this, he found himself in a road-the road, in fact, which leads to the country of the dead. When he had gone some distance he came upon an old woman, or, rather, the upper half of one, hoeing her garden by the wayside. He greeted her, and she returned his greeting. He then asked her to show him the way, and she said she would do so if he would hoe a little for her, which he did. She set him on the road, and told him to take the narrow path, not the broad one, and before arriving at Kalunga-ngombe's house he must "carry a jug of red pepper and a jug of wisdom."  It is not explained how he was to procure these, though it is evident from the sequel that he did so, nor how they were to be used, except that Kalunga-ngombe makes it a condition that anyone who wants to marry his daughter must bring them with him. We have not previously been told that this was Sudika-Mbambi's intention. On arriving at the house a fierce dog barked at him; he scolded it, and it let him pass. He entered, and was courteously welcomed by people who showed him into the guest-house and spread a mat for him. He then announced that he had come to marry the daughter of Kalunga-ngombe. Kalunga answered that he consented if Sudika-Mbambi had fulfilled the conditions. He then retired for the night, and a meal was sent in to him-a live cock and a bowl of the local porridge (funji). He ate the porridge, with some meat which he had brought with him; instead of killing the cock he kept him under his bed. Evidently it was thought he would assume that the fowl was meant for him to eat (perhaps we have here
[1. Half-beings are very common in African folklore, but they are usually split lengthways, having one eye, one arm, one leg, and so on. This case I thought to be quite unique, but have since come across something of the same sort in a manuscript from Nyasaland.
2 What is meant by "a jug of wisdom" is not clear, but very likely it is merely a nonsense expression, used for the sake of the pun: ndungu is 'red pepper,' and ndunge 'wisdom.']
a remnant of the belief, not known to or not understood by the narrator of the story, that the living must not eat of the food of the dead), and a trick was intended, to prevent his return to he upper world. In the middle of the night he heard people inquiring who had killed Kalunga's cock; but the cock crowed from under the bed, and Sudika-Mbambi was not trapped.
Next morning, when he reminded Kalunga of his promise, he was told that the daughter had been carried off by the huge serpent called Kinyoka kya Tumba, and that if he wanted to marry her he must rescue her.
Sudika-Mbambi started for Kinyoka's abode, and asked for him. Kinyoka's wife said, "He has gone shooting." Sudika-Mbambi waited awhile, and presently saw driver ants approaching-the dreaded ants which would consume any living thing left helpless in their path. He stood his ground and beat them off; they were followed by red ants, these by a swarm of bees, and these by wasps, but none of them harmed him. Then Kinyoka's five heads appeared, one after the other. Sudika-Mbambi cut off each as it came, and when the fifth fell the snake was dead. He went into the house, found Kalunga's daughter there, and took her home to her father.
But Kalunga was not yet satisfied. There was a giant fish, Kimbiji, which kept catching his goats and pigs. SudikaMbambi baited a large hook with a sucking-pig and caught Kimbiji, but even he was not strong enough to pull the monster to land. He fell into the water, and Kimbij swallowed him.
Kabundungulu, far away at their home, saw that his brother's life-tree had withered once more, and set out to find him. He reached the house where the kipalendes were keeping Sudika-Mbambi's wife captive, and asked where he was. They denied all knowledge of him, but he felt certain there had been foul play. "You have killed him.
[1. This need not mean that we must suppose Kinyoka to have been other than a real serpent. Readers of "Uncle Remus" will not need to be reminded that animals in folk-tales perform all sorts of actions which would be quite impossible if their real character were strictly kept in view.]
Uncover the grave." They opened up the pit, and Kabundungulu descended into it. He met with the old woman, and was directed to Kalunga-ngombe's dwelling. On inquiring for his brother he was told, "Kimbiji has swallowed him." Kabundungulu asked for a pig, baited his hook, and called the people to his help. Between them they landed the fish, and Kabundungulu cut it open. He found his brother's bones inside it, and took them out. Then he said "My elder, arise!" and the bones came to life. Sudika-Mbambi married Kalunga-ngombe's daughter, and set out for home with her and his brother. They reached the pit, which, it would seem, had been filled in, for we are told that "the ground cracked," and they got out. They drove away the four kipalendes-one is surprised to learn that they did not kill them out of hand-and, having got rid of them, settled down to a happy life.
But the end of the story is decidedly disappointing. Kabundungulu felt that he was being unfairly treated, since his brother had two wives, while he had none, and asked for one of them to be handed over to him. Sudika-Mbambi pointed out that this was impossible, as he was already married to both of them, and no more was said for the time being. But some time later, when Sudika-Mbambi returned from hunting, his wife complained to him that Kabundungulu was persecuting them both with his attentions. This led to a desperate quarrel between the brothers, and they fought with swords, but could not kill each other. Both were endowed with some magical power, so that the swords would not cut, and neither could be wounded. At last they got tired of fighting and separated, the elder going east and the younger west. The narrator adds a curious sentence to the effect that Sudika-Mbambi is the thunder in the eastern sky and Kabundungulu the echo which answers it from the west.
Nature-myths of this sort, so far as I am aware, occur very rarely, if at all, among the Bantu, and I am inclined to doubt whether this conclusion really belongs to the story.
Many Bantu tribes have a tale which may well come under this heading. It has points of contact with those of Sudika-Mbambi (though the main theme is quite different) and Ryang'ombe on the one hand and, on the other, with the tricksters Huveane and Hlakanyana. The hero-always a wonder-child, like Ryang'ombe and Hlakanyana-is called by the Yaos Kalikalanje, by the Anyanja Kachirambe, by the Hehe Galinkalanganye, by the Baronga Mutipi (in another story Mutikatika), and by the Lambas Kantanga. They all have the following points in common:
A woman gets into difficulties-usually when alone in the bush-and is helped by an ogre, a demon, or an animal (in one case a hyena; in another a lion), on promising to hand over to this being the next child to which she gives birth.
The birth takes place with unusual circumstances, and the child shows marvellous precocity.
The mother, about to hand him over to the devourer, finds him too sharp for her, and devises one stratagem after another, which he always defeats.
Finally the ogre (or other enemy) is killed.
The opening incident varies considerably in the different stories. In one the woman cannot lift her load of firewood by herself; in another it is her water-jar, with which her companions unkindly refuse to help her (in both these cases the birth is expected very shortly); others introduce the episode (which also occurs in several quite different stories) of the woman sent out by her husband to look for water in which there are no frogs. In the Angola story of Na Nzua the mother has a craving for fish, which can only be satisfied by her promising the child, when born, to the river-spirit Lukala. Except in the above particular, this story differs
[1. This, from various indications, would seem to be the form whence the preceding two are derived. It means "the one who was held over the fire" (from kalanga, 'roast,' 'scorch'), because as soon as he was born he told his mother to put him on a potsherd and hold him over the fire. This may be connected with a custom of passing new-born babies through the smoke. The Yao name has the same meaning, but is differently explained. Kachirambe, in Nyanja, has no meaning applicable to the story.]
markedly from the rest. That of Kachirambe,[l] again, has an entirely different opening, and is altogether so curious that it may well be related here.
Some little girls had gone out into the bush to gather herbs. While they were thus busied one of them found a hyena's egg  and put it into her basket. Apparently none of the others saw it; she told them, somewhat to their surprise, that she had now picked enough, and hastened home. After she was gone the hyena came and asked them, "Who has taken my egg?" They said they did not know, but perhaps their companion who had gone home had carried it off. Meanwhile the girl's mother, on finding the egg in her basket, had put it on the fire. The hyena arrived and demanded the egg; the woman said it was burnt, but offered to give him the next child she had to cat. Apparently this callous suggestion was quite spontaneous on her part; but as there was no child in prospect just then she probably thought that the promise was quite a safe one, and that by the time its fulfilment became possible some way out could be found. The hyena, however, left her no peace, waylaid her every day when she went to the stream for water, and kept asking her when the child was to be produced. At last he said, " If you do not have that child quickly I will eat you yourself." She went home in great trouble, and soon after noticed a boil on her shin-bone, which swelled and swelled, till it burst, and out came a child. He was fully armed, with bow, arrows, and quiver, had his little gourd of charms slung round his neck, and was followed by his
[1. Rattray, Some Folk-lore Stories and Songs in Chinyanja, p.133.
2. There is no attempt at explaining this, and I have seen no other mention of a hyena's egg. But this animal is, in popular belief, so abnormal that anything may be expected of it.
3. This strange incident has several parallels, though none, so far as I am aware, in connexion with this particular story. The Wakuluwe (Tanganyika Territory) say that the first woman brought forth a child in this way, and the (non-Bantu) Nandi have a tradition that their first ancestor was an old man who produced a boy and a girl from the calf of his leg.]
dogs! He announced himself in these words: "I, Kachirambe, have come forth, the child of the shin-bone!" The mother was struck with astonishment, but it does not seem to have occurred to her to go back on her promise. When next she went to draw water and the hyena met her with the usual question she replied, "Yes, I have borne a child, but he is very clever; you will never be able to catch him, but I myself will beguile him for you. I will tie you up in a bundle of grass, and tell Kachirambe to go and fetch it." So she tied up the hyena in a bundle of the long grass used for thatching, and left it lying beside the path. Kachirambe, when sent to fetch it, stood still a little way off, and said, "You, bundle, get up, that I may lift you the better!" And the bundle of grass rose up of itself. Kachirambe said, "What sort of bundle is this that gets up by itself? I have never seen the like, and I am not going to lift it, not I!" So he went home.
The hyena, after releasing himself from the grass, came back and said to the woman, "Yes, truly, that youngster of yours is a sharp one!" She told him to go in the evening and wait in a certain place; then she called Kachirambe and said, "I want you to set a trap in such and such a place for the rats; they have been destroying all my baskets." Kachirambe went and chose out a large, flat stone; then he cut a forked stick, and whittled the cross-piece and the little stick for the catch, and twisted some bark-string, and made a falling trap, of the kind called diwa, and set and baited it. In the evening his mother said to him, "The trap has fallen. Go and see what it has caught!" He said, "You, trap, fall again, so that I may know whether you have caught a rat!" The hyena, waiting beside the trap, heard him, lifted up the stone, and let it fall with a bang. Kachirambe said, What sort of trap is it that falls twice? I have never seen such a one."
Next the mother told the hyena that she would send Kachirambe to pick beans. The boy took the basket and went to the field, but then he turned himself into a fly, and the hyena waited in vain. Kachirambe returned home with a full basket, to his mother's astonishment. She was nearly at her wits' end, but thought of one last expedient; she sent him into the bush to cut wood. The night before he had a dream, which warned him that he was in great danger, so he took with him his bow, and his quiver full of arrows, and his 'medicine-gourd,' as well as a large knife. He climbed up into a tree which had dead branches, and began to cut. Presently he saw the hyena below, who said, "You are dead to-day; you shall not escape. Come down quickly, and I will eat you!" He answered, "I am coming down, but just open your mouth wide!" The hyena, with his usual stupidity, did as he was told, and Kachirambe threw down a sharp stick which he had just cut-it entered the hyena's mouth and killed him. Kachirambe then came down and went home; when drawing near the house he shot an arrow towards it, to frighten his mother, and said, "What have I done to you, that you should send wild beasts after me to eat me?" She, thoroughly scared, begged his pardon, and we are to suppose that he granted it, for the story ends here.
Galinkalanganye was not so forgiving; he contrived to change places with his mother after she was asleep, and it was she who was carried off by the hyena. Similarly, Mutipi's mother was eaten by the lion to whom she had promised her son, and Kalikalanje himself killed his mother, after he and his companions had shot Namzimu (the demon who had come to claim him). The tricks devised for handing over these lads to the enemy, and the stratagems by which they are defeated, vary in the different stories, but the bundle of grass appears in every one, and also in that of Huveane.