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THE word izimu, in the Zulu tales, is usually, as by Callaway and Theal, translated 'cannibal.' But this word, with us, is ordinarily applied to people who, for one reason or another, are accustomed to eat human flesh. As Callaway pointed out long ago, however, "it is perfectly clear that the cannibals of the Zulu legends are not common men; they are magnified into giants and magicians." Perhaps it might also be said that the attributes of the legendary amazimu were transferred to the abhorred beings, who, driven to cannibalism by famine, kept up the habit when it was no longer needed and, as Ulutuli Dhladhla told the bishop, "rebelled against men, forsook them, and liked to eat them, and men drove them away . . . so they were regarded as a distinct nation, for men were game (izinyamazane) to them."[1] In fact, he distinctly says that "once they were men," and implies that they were so no longer.


The practice of cannibalism undoubtedly exists in Africa, though it is much less common than is sometimes supposed; and it is usually of a ceremonial character, which is a different matter from using human flesh as ordinary food. This last seems to be-or to have been-done by some tribes in West Africa-e.g., the Manyema-but one need not accept all the sensational statements that have been published on this subject. So far as there is any truth in these, the custom probably originated in famine times, as it did with the people referred to by Bishop Callaway's informant. Thus, it is said, in Natal, after a long drought, a certain chief of the Abambo, named Umdava, "told his people to scatter themselves over the veld and catch all the people they came upon in the paths to serve as food . . . and those people lived on human flesh till the time for the crops came round." [2] The dwellers on Umkambati (the Table Mountain

[1. Nursery Tales, p. 156.

2 Colenso, Zulu-English Dictionary, P. 705.]

near Pietermaritzburg) were more than once attacked by these cannibals.

The old chief Nomsimekwana, who died less than thirty years ago, had a narrow escape from them in his childhood. They seized his whole family and drove them along, making the boy carry on his head the pot in which, so they told him, he was to be cooked. Watching his opportunity, at a turn in the path hidden by the tall grass he slipped into the Umsunduzi river, and lay concealed under the bushes which overhung the bank-the spot was pointed out to me in 1895. Failing to find him, the enemy came to the conclusion that he had been killed by the hippopotami, who at that time abounded in the river, and passed on their way. Nomsimekwana's sister and the other captives were ultimately killed and eaten.

Those man-eaters who refused to give up the practice when the necessity for it had passed fled to the mountains, pursued by universal execration, and eked out a wretched existence in dens and caves, sallying forth, when occasion offered, to attack lonely travellers. Moshesh, paramount chief of the Basuto, spared no pains in putting an end to these horrors, though he refused to exterminate the criminals, as his councillors advised, provided they would turn from their evil ways. He gave them cattle, and encouraged them to till the soil, and when that generation had died out cannibalism was a thing of the past,

Ulutuli Dhladhla, whom we quoted in a previous paragraph, said that "the word amazimu, when interpreted, means to gormandize-to be gluttonous." But the word exists in so many Bantu languages, with (as far as one can discover) no such connotation, that I cannot help thinking him mistaken. Moreover, it has, distinctly, some relation to mzimu (of a different noun class), which means 'a spirit' -in the first instance an ancestral spirit. It is not used in Zulu, where the ancestral spirits are called amadhlozi, or amatongo, save in the phrase izinkomo ezomzimu, "cattle of the spirits"-i.e., slaughtered as a sacrifice to them. Here umzimu seems to be "a collective name for amatongo."


The Basuto use the word madimo (singular ledimo) for 'cannibals,' badimo for 'spirits' or 'gods.' Zimwi is the Swahili word for a being best described as an ogre; the word occurs in old, genuine Bantu tales, and I have heard it used by a native; but most Swahili nowadays seem to prefer the Arabic loan-words jini and shetani. A ghost is mzuka; but the stem -zimu survives in the expression kuzimu, "the place of spirits "-thought of as underground -and muzimu, a place where offerings are made to, spirits. The Wachaga and the Akikuyu have their irimu, the Akamba the eimu (the Kamba language is remarkable for dropping out consonants), and the Duala, on the other side of Africa, their edimo. Other peoples in West Africa, while having a notion of beings more or less similar, call them by other names. The makishi of the Ambundu in Angola play the same part in folk-tales as the amazimu-their name may perhaps be connected with the Kongo nkishi (nkisi in some dialects), which meant originally 'a spirit,' but now more usually 'a charm,' or the object commonly called a 'fetish.' The Aandonga (in the Ovambo country south of Angola), strangely enough, tell the usual ogre tales of the esisi 'albino.' Albinos are found, occasionally, in all parts of Africa; they are not, as a rule, so far as one can learn, regarded with horror, though the Mayombe of the Lower Congo think that they are spirit children, and observe particular ceremonies on the birth of such a one.

The appearance of the izimu is variously described, but it seems to be agreed that he can assume the appearance of an ordinary human being, if it is not his usual guise. The Zulus and the Ambundu say they may be recognized by their long, unkempt hair-a noticeable point among people who either shave off their hair frequently for reasons of cleanliness, or build it up into elaborate structures, like the conical coiffures of Zulu wives or the head-rings of their husbands.

The makishi are sometimes said to have many heads; in one story when the hero cuts off a dikishi's head he immediately grows a second; in another a dikishi carries off a woman and makes her his wife; when her child is born and found to have only one head the husband threatens to call it "our folk" to eat her if she ever has another like it. As the second baby appears with two heads the threat was not fulfilled. But, thinking it best to be on the safe side, the wife took the elder child and ran away, hid for the night in a deserted house, was surprised when asleep by a wandering dikishi, and eaten after all.

Other accounts of the amazimu are still more weirdly sensational. The irimu of the Wachaga is said to be a 'were-leopard'-that is, a man who is able at will to change himself into a leopard. But in one story this irimu, or leopard, is described as having ten tails; in another he presents himself in human shape at a homestead, as a suitor to the daughter, but is detected when she catches sight of a second mouth on the back of his head.[1] In the Ronga story of "Nabandji" [2] the people of the cannibal village whence the young man takes a wife all have this peculiar feature. It may not be out of place here to mention a Hausa (Nigeria) belief that a witch has mouths all over her back. It is not easy to see what can have suggested this notion.

The Chaga idea of the irimu seems to be a fairly comprehensive one. An unfortunate man, who broke a tabu, was turned into an irimu, with the result that thorn-bushes grew out of his body, and he wandered about the country, swallowing everything that came in his way. His brother, whom he had considerately warned to keep his distance, consulted a diviner and, by his advice, set the thorns on fire. When they were all burned away the irimu returned to his own proper shape.[3]

Sometimes the amazimu are said to have only one leg, or only half a body; one story of a Kikuyu irimu describes him as having one leg, but two heads, one of which was stone; one-half of his body was human, but the other half stone. The Basuto speak of a set of beings with one leg, one arm,

[1. Gutmann, Volksbuch, p. 75

2. Junod, Chants et contes, p. 246.

3. Gutmann, Volksbuch, p. 73.]

one ear, and one eye, but these are called matebele [1] (it is not quite clear why), not madimo. They carry off a chief's daughter, though it is not suggested that she is to be eaten. In the story of "The Mothemelle" [2] we hear of cannibals (madimo) "hopping on one leg." But these half-bodied beings, while appearing in folklore all over Africa, are, as a rule, quite distinct from the amazimu. They are not invariably malignant; often,. indeed, very much the reverse. They will be discussed later on.

The Little People

Chatelain thought that the makishi were the aboriginal inhabitants of the country, the 'Batua' (Batwa) Pygmies, "not as they are now, but as they appeared to the original Bantu settlers." But there is no evidence that the Pygmies or the Bushmen (whom the Zulus call Abatwa) were ever regarded as cannibals. Callaway's Zulu informants were very emphatic about "the dreadfulness of the Abatwa," who, if offended, as by a reference to their small stature, about which they were especially sensitive, would shoot you with a poisoned arrow as soon as look at you. But there is no reference to their eating human flesh.

There is a distinct body of tradition about these 'little people,' who are nowhere confused with the amazimu; they may be dangerous if irritated, as stated above, but are otherwise inoffensive, and even helpful, when approached in the right way. The Wachaga have tales about the Wakonyingo, supposed to live on the summit of Kilimanjaro (formerly believed inaccessible to human feet), which show them in quite an amiable light. Even the man who insulted them by taking them for children and asking when their parents were coming home met with no worse fate than waiting dinnerless till nightfall, and then going home as he

[1. This name is applied by the Basuto not only to the Zulus of Rhodesia (Amandebele), but to the Zulus and Xosa in general. Their relations with these people have so often been hostile that their name may have been given for this reason to the monsters in question.

2. Jacottet, Treasury of Ba-Suto Lore, p. 224.]

had come, whereas his more tactful brother was presented with a fine herd of cattle.

Dr Doke,[l] writing about the Lamba people, also distinguishes between ogres (wasisimunkulu or wasisimwe[2] and dwarfs (utuchekulu), whom he calls 'gnomes.' These, however, differ from the other 'little people' in one important respect-they eat people. The gnome is renowned for the one long tooth, blood-red and sharp, with which it kills its victims. Moreover, the Lamba people recognize the existence of pygmies (utunyokamafumo), distinct from the gnomes. In the one story in which they figure they come much nearer the character of the wakonyingo. Yet in "The Choric Story [3] of the Lion" a gnome shows himself helpful in saving a man and his sister from an ogre.[4] And in another tale a gnome who has been robbed of his drums by the chief's orders sprinkles 'medicine' over the men carrying them off, whereupon they all fall down dead, and he recovers his property. But, having done so, he sprinkles them again, and they return to life. And the matter was arranged amicably in the end.

The Kamba Aimu

A different origin for the amazimu has been suggested by others-viz., that they are the ghosts of evil-disposed persons. This is expressly affirmed by the Akamba about some spirits called limu ya kitombo. They

haunt woods and waste places . . . they are evil spirits and are supposed to be the disembodied relics of people who have killed their neighbours by the help of black magic. . . . God has banished them to the woods, where they wander about without anyone to care for them by sacrificing to them. . . . A man who lived at Kitundu went out one night about midnight to look at a maize-field

[1. Lamba Folklore, pp. 385-386.

2 This word contains the same root (-simwe) as -zimu.

3 Dr Doke uses this expression to translate ulusimi, "a prose story interspersed with songs," in which the audience join. See also Steere, Swahili Tales, Preface, p. vii.

4 This belongs to the type of story labelled "Robber Bridegroom" in the Folk-Lore Society's classification.]

some distance away.... On his way back he met a spirit in the path; it was of enormous size, and had only one leg ... before he could move he was struck down by a flash of fire, and the spirit passed on its way.'

This may well have been the origin of the amazimu, but I fancy that in most cases it has been forgotten, and they are looked on as quite different from the ghosts, good or bad. Another point to notice is that the ghosts are still largely believed in and taken quite seriously, while the amazimu proper occur only in stories related for entertainment (and, possibly, instruction), but not accepted as fact. This fits in with Mr Hobley's account of the aimu, described by the Akamba as wicked ghosts, and actually seen (and even felt!) by people now living.

It will be noticed that the Akamba, like the Akikuyu, give the aimu, or some of them, only one leg. Dr Lindblom also mentions this characteristic. In addition he states that the eimu is "a figure appearing in different shapes, sometimes smaller than a dwarf, sometimes of superhuman size . . . though, on the other hand, he also often appears as a wholly human being . . . he is a gluttonous ogre, and kidnaps people in order to eat them up." This writer refers to several Kamba stories-unfortunately not yet published in one of which the eimu appears as a handsome young man and lures a girl to his home; in another a Kamba woman turns into an eimu and eats her own grandchild.[2]

The idea of the eimu seems here to be mixed up, in some cases, with that of the Swallowing Monster, in the peculiar form in which it occurs in Basutoland and in Ruanda:

A favourite ending to many tales about the eimu, or nearly related, more or less monstrous beings, is that the monster, now

[1. Hobley, Bantu Beliefs, pp. 89 and 91. It is curious that both this and other authorities give the plural of eimu as aimu, which is properly a plural of the person class, whereas the right form would be maimu, of the sixth noun class. Aimu is also the Kamba word for the ancestral spirits, but this plural is seldom, if ever, used for the ogres, while the singular of aimu, 'ghosts,' is equally rare, so that there is not likely to be any confusion between the two. Izimu and all cognate words in. Bantu belong to the li-ma class (5-6), while the words for the ancestral ghosts belong (with some exceptions, as aimu, above) to the mu-mi class (3-4).

2 Lindblom, Kamba Tales, pp. viii and ix.]

at length vanquished, tells his conqueror in his death-hour to cut off his little finger, and, this having been done, the people and cattle that he had devoured all come to life again.

Stories of Escape from Ogres

There are several stories which, in slightly differing shapes, are found probably in all parts of the Bantu area. Some of them are familiar to us from European analogues, though this does not necessarily mean that they have been imported. In one the ogre puts a girl into a bag and carries her about the country till she is rescued by her relations. Another tells how a party of girls or lads pass the night in an ogre's hut, and are rescued by the ready wit of the youngest. Then we have the girl forcibly married to an ogre who makes her escape in various ways. And, again, there is the theme, already referred to, of the "Robber Bridegroom," though he is more commonly a transformed animal (hyena, leopard, or lion) than an ogre properly so called. But, as the Chaga irimu, for instance, is also described as a 'were-leopard,' it is not always easy to keep the two notions distinct.

Some stories of escape from ogres employ the familiar device of obstacles created by the fugitives throwing various things behind them, which become a rock, a fire, a forest of knives, and a lake or river. This particular incident may not be indigenous to Africa; it is not found in all the stories, and those which have it-e.g., "Kibaraka," referred to in our concluding chapter-contain other foreign elements. There is no reason to suppose that most of the other incidents are not of home growth.

Of the type first mentioned there is a well-known example in the story of "Tselane," which (first published by Arbousset in 1842) was introduced to English readers by Sir James G. Frazer, under the title of "A South African Red Riding-hood." [1] The resemblance to the European Red Riding-hood is not very close, and applies chiefly to the opening incident, which is not found in most of the versions.

[1. Folk-Lore Journal (1889), vol. vii, p. 167.]

Tselane, remaining behind in the hut from which her parents have migrated, is charged by her mother not to open the door to anyone but herself. The ogre, by imitating the mother's voice, gains admission and carries the girl off. The same opening is found in "Demane and Demazana" (where it is a brother, not the mother, whose voice is counterfeited), but in the Zulu "Usitungusobendhle" [1] and the Xosa "The Cannibal's Bird," [2] and in most, if not all, of the other stories, a party of girls go out to bathe, or to gather wild fruits, or for some other purpose, and one of them, either unwittingly, or even in wanton mischief, offends the ogre, who thereupon seizes her.

A curious point in the Sesuto, Xosa, and Zulu versions is that when the ogre has been (as they think) finally disposed of he is changed into a tree, which seems to have retained harmful powers, for when people tried to get honey out of the hollow trunk their hands stuck fast.[3] Something of the same notion appears in the Swahili tale I am about to relate. It is called " The Children and the Zimwi."

A Swahili Tale

Some little girls went out to look for shells on the seashore. One of them found a very beautiful shell and, fearing to lose it, laid it on a rock, so that she could pick it up on the way home. However, as they were returning she forgot it till they had passed the place, and then, suddenly remembering it, asked her companions to go back with her. They refused, and she went alone, singing to keep up her courage,[4] and found a zimwi sitting on the rock. He said, "What do you want?" and she sang her song over again. He said, "I can't hear you. Come closer!" And when she

[1. Callaway, Nursery Tales, p. 74.

2. Theal, Kaffir Folklore, p. 25.

3. The same thing happens in a Ronga story to some women who had offended the ghosts by trespassing on their sacred grove.

4. The words of the song are a mixture of Yao and Swahili (indicating a probable origin for the story). The meaning is not very clear, except for the two lines: "I have forgotten my shell; I said, Let me go back and pick it up." Neither is it clear from the text as it stands whether she began to sing before or after she had seen the zimwi. If the latter, the song may have been intended to propitiate him, though it seems to have had the opposite effect.]

had done so he seized her and put her into a barrel (pipa)[1] which he was carrying.

He then set off on his travels, and when he came to a village made for the place of meeting [2] and announced that he was prepared to give a musical entertainment in return for a meal. "I have this drum of mine. I should like a fowl and rice." He beat the drum, and the imprisoned child sang in time to the rhythm, to the delight of every one. He was given plenty of food, but gave none to the girl. He went on and repeated his performance at the next village, which happened to be the girl's own home. The report of his music seems to have preceded him, for the people said, "We have heard, O zimwi, that you have a most beautiful drum; now, please, play to us!" He asked for pombe (native beer), and, being promised that he should have some, began to beat the drum, and the girl sang. Her parents at once recognized her voice, and when the performance was over supplied the drummer with all the liquid refreshment he required. He soon went to sleep, and they opened the drum, released their daughter, and hid her in the inner compartment of the hut. They then put into the drum a snake and a swarm of bees and some biting ants, and fastened it up again.

In the Sesuto and Xosa versions the parents, instead of making the ogre drunk, induce him to go to the stream for water, and give him a leaky pot in order to delay his return as long as possible. In one case they put in a dog as well as the venomous ants, in the other snakes and toads, the latter being supposed poisonous.

After a while they awakened him, saying, "Ogre, wake up! Some strangers have arrived, and they want to hear.

[1. Later on it is called a drum (ngoma), as it is in Dudley Kidd's story of "The Child in the Drum," in Savage Childhood, p. 233. In this the child is said to be a boy; but I cannot help thinking this is a mistake. Europeans seem to take for granted that a child is masculine unless otherwise specified.

2. Called by Duff Macdonald the 'Forum'; in Chinyania bwalo; in Swahili baraza. It is sometimes merely an open space under the village fig-tree, sometimes an erection like a bandstand, sometimes a more ambitious structure, with seats for the elders, who hold their discussions there. Strangers arriving at a village always make for this place.]

your music." So he lifted his drum and began to beat it, but the voice was silent. He went on beating, but no other sound was heard, and at last he took his leave, and was not pressed to stay.

When he had gone a certain distance and was no longer in sight of the village he stopped and opened his drum. Immediately the snake shot out and bit him, the bees stung him, and he died.

The Baleful Pumpkin

But that was not the end of him. On the spot where he died there sprang up a pumpkin-vine, which bore pumpkins of unusual size. One day some small boys passing by stopped to admire them, and, prompted by the destructive instinct which seems to be inherent in the very young of all climes, exclaimed, "jolly fine pumpkins, these! Let's get father's sword and have a slash at them!"

The largest of the pumpkins waxed wroth and chased the children-breaking off its stem and rolling over and over, one must suppose-and they took to their heels. In their headlong flight they came to a river, and saw the old ferryman sitting on the bank by his canoe.

"You, Daddy, ferry us over! Take us to the other side! We are running away from a pumpkin."

The old man, without waiting for explanations, took them across, and they ran on till they came to a village, and found all the men sitting in the baraza, to whom they appealed: "Hide us from that pumpkin! The zimwi has turned into a pumpkin. You will just have to take it and burn it with fire."

No doubt this version has lost some particulars in transmission; the whole neighbourhood must have known the story, and been aware that the pumpkin-plant had grown out of the zimwi's remains; one may guess that the boys had, over and over again, been told not to go near it, and, boylike, were all the more attracted to the forbidden thing.

The men seem at once to have appreciated the danger; they hurried the boys off into a hut and told them to keep quiet behind the partition at the back. Presently the pumpkin arrived. It is not explained how it had crossed the river, but in such a case one marvel the more is easily taken for granted. It spoke with a human voice, saying, "Have you seen my people [i.e., my slaves] who are running away?"

The village elders, who by this time had returned to their seats and were deliberately taking snuff, asked, "What are your people like? We don't know anything about them." But the pumpkin was not to be put off. "You have them shut up inside the hut!"

Then the old headman gave the word, two or three strong men seized the pumpkin, chopped it to pieces, and built a roaring fire, in which it was consumed to ashes. They scattered the ashes, and then released the boys, who went home to their mothers.

We have already referred to versions in which the dead ogre turns into a tree; in a Kiniramba story I collected by Mr Frederick Johnson a porcupine, which seems to partake of the nature of an ogre or some other uncanny being, is killed and buried under the fireplace. "In the morning they found a pumpkin growing." This began by speaking, repeating everything that was said in its presence, and ended by swallowing all the people in the village. The Shambala people also have a story in which a pumpkin figures as the Swallowing Monster-but here nothing is said about its origin.

To return to the story of the ogre, some other versions give it a more dramatic ending. In these he reaches his home, hands the bag to his wife, and tells her to open it and cook the food. She refuses, on finding that "the bag bites"; so, in turn, do his daughter and his son. He shuts himself into the hut and opens the bag, with the result already related; but instead of expiring on the spot he forces his way out, and throws himself head first into a pool, or a marsh, out of which a tree subsequently grows.

[1. Kiniramba Folk-tales, p. 334.]

The Magic Flight

The second of the types mentioned above is well exemplified by the story of Sikulumi, which is told, without much variation in its main features, by Zulus, Xosas, Basuto, and Baronga.

One day a number of men seated by the fence of the chief's cattle-fold saw several birds of a kind they had never seen before perched on a tree not far off. The chief's son, Sikulumi, said, "These are indeed beautiful birds. I want to catch one and make a plume for my head [isidhodhlo] of his feathers."

So he and some friends set off in pursuit of the birds, which had already flown away while they were seizing their knobkerries. They followed them across country for a long time, and at last succeeded in knocking down several. By this time the sun had set, and they were far from home; but as darkness fell they perceived the glimmer of a distant fire, and made for it straightway. When they came up with it they found it was burning in an empty hut, which, though they could not know it, belonged to some amazimu. They went in and made themselves at home, plucked their birds, roasted, and ate them, after cutting off the heads, which Sikulumi arranged all round the ledge of the hut. Then they made plumes out of the feathers, and when they had done so went to sleep-all but Sikulumi.

In the middle of the night an ogre arrived, having left his fellows at a distance, and Sikulumi heard him muttering to himself, "Something smells very good here in my house!" [1] He looked at the sleepers, one by one-Sikulumi, of course, pretending to be asleep-and said, "I will begin with this one, I will cat that one next, and then that one, and finish up with him whose little feet are white from walking through the sand!" [2] He then caught sight of the birds' heads, crunched them up, and swallowed them, before starting off to call the other ogres to the feast.

[1. Endhlini yami lapa kwanuka 'zantungwana! Some versions make him say, "I smell human flesh."

2. In the Ronga version he says, ". . . I shall get fat right down to my little toe!"]

Sikulumi at once roused his friends and told them what had happened, and they, picking up their plumes and their sticks, set off for home, running for all they were worth. They had gone quite a long way when Sikulumi remembered suddenly that he had left his plume behind. His friends said, "Don't go back. Take one of ours. Why should you go where cannibals are?" But he persisted. He took his stick, rubbed it with 'medicine,' and planted it upright in the ground, saying, "If this stick falls over without rising again you will know that I am dead, and you must tell my father when you get home. As long as it stands firm I am safe; if it shakes you will know that I am running for my life."

Meanwhile the ogre had come back with his friends, and when they found no one in the hut they were furious with him for cheating them, so they killed and ate him.

On his way back to the hut Sikulumi saw an old woman sitting by a big stone beside the path. She asked him where he was going, and he told her. She gave him some fat, and said, "If the ogres come after you put some of this on a stone." He reached the hut, and found a whole party seated round the fire, passing his plume from hand to hand. On the fire a large pot was boiling, in which they were cooking toads.[1] Sikulumi sprang in among them, snatched his plume from an old hag who happened to be holding it at that moment, and at the same time shattered the pot with a blow of his knobkerrie, scattering the toads all over the floor. While the ogres were occupied in picking them up he made his escape. They were not long, however, in following him, and when he saw them he did as the friendly old woman had told him and threw some of the fat on a stone. When the ogres came up to this stone they began (it is not explained why) to fight for the possession of it. One of them swallowed it, whereupon the others killed and ate him. Sikulumi thus

[1. Is this significant? I do not remember to have seen it noticed by any writer on folklore; but a Nyasaland native told me that witches, at certain seasons, eat frogs (or toads) as a part of their magical practices. The incident of the stone, a little farther on, is not easy to understand.]

gained some advantage, but soon they had nearly come up with him again. He threw some more fat on a stone, an

the same thing happened as before. Again they started after him, and this time he threw down his skin cloak, which began to run off by itself. The ogres ran after it, and were so long catching it that he was able to rejoin his friends, and they all made their way home.

Here, properly, the story comes to an end, but the Baronga add another adventure at a cannibal village, and the Xosa version [1] gives the further incident of the ogres again nearly coming up with them and being baffled by a "little man" (not accounted for by the narrator) who turned a large stone into a hut. They took refuge in it, and the ogres, to whom the outside still looked like a stone, tried to bite it, till they broke all their teeth and went away.

The young men then reached their own village, and found that it had been swallowed up, with all its inhabitants, except one old woman, by a monster called an inabulele. This episode really belongs to another story, which will be dealt with in a later chapter. The tale then goes on to relate Sikulumi's courtship and marriage to the daughter of Mangangezulu. It is not said that her family are cannibals, though "no one ever leaves the place of Mangangezulu," as they seem to be in the habit of killing strangers. By the help of a friendly mouse Sikulumi escapes with the girl, and she takes with her "an egg, a milksack, a pot, and a smooth stone." When she throws down the first it produces a thick mist, the milksack becomes a lake, the pot darkness, and the stone a huge rock. Thus the pursuers are baffled, and he reaches his home in safety.

The Ogre Husband

From the Duruma, a tribe living inland from Mombasa to the west and north-west, comes the story of "Mbodze and the Zimwi," which forms a good illustration of our third type.

There was a girl named Mbodze, who had a younger

[1. Theal, Kaffir Folklore, P. 78.]

sister, Matsezi, and a brother, Nyange. She went one day, with six other girls, to dig clay-either for plastering the huts or for making pots, which is usually women's work. There was a stone in the path, against which one after the other stubbed her toes; Mbodze, coming last, picked up the stone and threw it away. It must be supposed that the stone was an ogre who had assumed this shape for purposes of his own; for when the girls came back with their loads of clay they found that the stone had become a huge rock, so large that it shut out the view of their village, and they could not even see where it ended. When they found that they could not get past it the foremost in the line began to sing:

"Stone, let me pass, O stone! It is not I who threw you away, O stone!
She who threw you away is Mbodze, Matsezi's sister,
    And Nyange is her brother."

The rock moved aside just enough to let one person pass through, and then closed again. The second girl sang the same words, and was allowed to pass, and so did the rest, till it came to Mbodze's turn. She, too, sang till she was tired, but the rock did not move. At last the rock turned into a zimwi-or, rather, we may suppose, he resumed his proper shape-seized hold of Mbodze, and asked her, "What shall I do with you? Will you be my child, or my wife, or my sister, or my aunt?" She answered, "You may do what you like with me." So he said," I will make you my wife"; and he carried her off to his house.

There was a wild fig-tree growing in front of the zimwi's house. Mbodze climbed up into it, and sang:

"Matsezi, come, come! Nyange, come, come!"

But Matsezi and Nyange could not hear her.

She lived there for days and months, and the zimwi kept her well supplied with food, till he thought she was plump enough to be eaten. Then he set out to call the other ogres, who lived a long way off and were expected to bring their own firewood with them. No sooner had he gone than there appeared a chitsimbakazi,[l] like the friendly gnome in the Lamba story, who, by some magic art, put Mbodze into a hollow bamboo and stopped up the opening with wax. She then collected everything in the house except a cock, which she was careful to leave behind, spat in every room, including the kitchen, and on both the doorposts, and started.

Before she had gone very far she met the ogres, coming along the path in single file, each one carrying his log of wood on his head. The first one stopped her, and asked, "Are you Marimira's wife?"-Marimira being the ogre, Mbodze's husband.

She sang in answer, "I am not Marimira's wife: Marimira's wife has not a swollen mouth [like me [2]]. Ndi ndi! this great bamboo!"

At each ndi she struck the bamboo on the ground, to show that it was hollow, and the ogre, seeing that the upper end was closed with wax, suspected nothing and passed on.

The other ogres now passed her, one after another. The second was less easily satisfied than the first had been, and insisted on having the bamboo unstopped, but when he heard a great buzzing of bees [3] he said hastily, "Close it! Close it!" The same happened with all the rest, except the last, who was Marimira himself. He asked the same question as the others, and was answered in the same way, and then said, "What are you carrying in that stick? Unstop it and let me see!" The sprite, recognizing him, said to herself, "Now this is the end! It is Marimira; I must be very cunning," and she sang:

"I am carrying honey, ka-ya-ya!
I am carrying honey, brother, ka-ya-ya!
Ndi ndi! this great bamboo!"

[1. This sprite will come into the next chapter. There is usually no indication as to its sex, unless we can infer it from the termination -hazi which in some languages is a feminine suffix. But in a Swahili story very like this one the helpful being is expressly said to be "a little old woman."

2 The appearance of the chitsimbakazi is not described, but one may assume that it had some sort of a snout, like an animal.

3 These bees are not accounted for; the text says simply The bees buzzed at him-who-o-o-o!" Perhaps we are to suppose that the sprite had filled up the top end of the bamboo with honeycomb, and that the bees hatched out inside!]

But he kept on insisting that he must see, and at last she took out the wax: the bees swarmed out and began to settle upon him, and he cried in a panic, "Funikia! funikia! Shut them up!"

So he passed on with his guests, and the sprite went on her way.

The ogres reached Marimira's house, and he called out, "Mbodze!" The spittle by the doorposts answered, "He-e!" He then cried, "Bring some water!" and a voice from inside answered, Presently!" He got angry, and, leaving the others seated on the mats, went in and searched through the whole house, finding no one there and hearing nothing but the buzzing of flies. Terrified-and, as will be seen, not without reason-at the thought of the guests who would feel themselves to have been brought on false pretences, he dug a hole to hide in and covered himself with earth-but his one long tooth projected above the soil.

It will be remembered that a cock had been left in the house when everything else was removed; and this cock now began to crow, "Kokoikoko-o-o! Father's tooth is outside!"

The guests, waiting outside, wondered. "Hallo! Listen to that cock. What is he saying?" "Come! Go in and see what Marimira is doing in there, for the sun is setting, and we have far to go!" So they searched the house, and, coming upon the tooth, dug him up and dragged him outside, where they killed, roasted, and ate him-all but his head. While doing so they sang:

"Him who shall eat the head, we will eat him too."

After a while one of them bit off a piece from the head; the others at once fell upon him and ate him. This went on till only one was left. He fixed up a rope to make a swing and climbed into it, but the rope was not strong enough; it broke, and he fell into the fire. "And he began to cry out, 'Maye! Maye! [Mother!] I'm dying!' And he started to chew himself there in the fire," and so perished.

This incident is somewhat puzzling; it may be a misunderstood report of an episode in another story [1] in which the ogre tries to trick his victim by inducing him to get into a swing fixed above a boiling cauldron, but is caught in his own trap. The swing is quite a popular amusement in Africa, wherever children can get a rope fixed to a convenient branch of a tree.

Meanwhile the chitsimbakazi had reached Mbodze's home. A little bird flew on ahead, perched outside the house, and sang:

"Mother, sweep the yard! Mbodze is coming!"

The mother said, "just listen to that bird! What does it say? It is telling us to sweep the yard, because Mbodze is coming." So she set to work at once, and presently the sprite arrived and said, "Let me have a bath, and then I will give you your daughter."

She gave her a bath and rubbed her with oil and cooked gruel for her. The. sprite said, "Don't pour it into a big dish for me; put it into a coconut shell," which the woman did. When the chitsimbakazi had eaten she unstopped the bamboo and let Mbodze out, to the great joy of the whole family, who could not do enough to show their gratitude.

The Were-wolf Husband

The ogre as bridegroom appears in a Chaga story, of a kind found all over Africa,[2] and told to warn girls against being overhard to please in the choice of a husband. But the wooer is not so often called an ogre, as such, as a lion, a hyena, or a leopard, who has assumed a man's shape for the time being. Some of these stories are more detailed than the one I am about to give, and will come better into the next chapter.

There was once a girl who refused to marry.[3] Her

[1. Steere, Swahili Tales, p. 383: "The Spirit and the Sultan's Son."

2. Thus by the Ewe on the Gold Coast, the Ikom, the Hausa, and others. English-speaking people in Sierra Leone call the ogre the Devil (the story is headed "Marry the Devil, there's the Devil to pay"), but such a person is not known to Africans, unless they have heard of him from white people.

3 Gutmann, Volksbuch, p.75]

parents, too, discouraged all wooers who presented themselves, as they said they would not give their daughter to any common man. (This is an unusual touch: in most tales of this kind it is the parents who remonstrate and the girl who is wilful.)

On a certain day the sword-dance was going on at this girl's village, and men came from the whole countryside to take part in it. Among the dancers there appeared a tall and handsome young man, wearing a broad ring like a halo round his head, who drew all eyes by his grace and noble bearing. The maiden fell in love with him at first sight, and her parents also approved of him. The dancing went on for several days, during which time she scarcely took her eyes off him. But one day, as he happened to turn his back, she caught sight of a second mouth behind his head, and said to her mother, That man is a rimu!" They would not believe it. " That fine fellow a rimu! Nonsense I just you go with him and let him cat you, that's all!"

The suitor presented himself in due course, and the marriage took place. After spending some days with the bride's parents the couple left for their home. But her brothers, knowing the husband to be a rimu, felt uneasy, and followed them, without their knowledge, keeping in the bushes alongside the path. When they had gone some distance the husband stopped and said, " Look back and tell me if you can still see the smoke from your father's hut." She looked, and said that she could. They went on for another hour or two, and then he asked her if she could see the hills behind her home. She said yes, and again they went on. At last he asked her again if she could see the hills, and when he found that she could not said, What will you do now? I am a rimu. Climb up into this tree and weep your last tears, for you must die!"

But her brothers, watching their chance, shot him with poisoned arrows, and he died. She came down from the tree and the brothers took her home.

Next: Chapter XIII: Of Were-Wolves, Halfmen, Gnomes, Goblins, and Other Monsters