In Africa, when an old man dies, a library is burned. These words of Amadou Hampaté Ba are well known. This African compiled stories and African stories throughout his life. In this African Story (III) we want to tell the third and last part of the story The King who wanted to kill all the old people (or nobody can see the crown).
This is our tribute to the rich oral tradition of the great African continent. Aimed at adults and children, this story is taken from the work Tales of the Wise Men of Africa (Paidós, 2010)
In short, oral tradition has always been an excellent source of knowledge.
The simplicity of the stories and stories reveals the wisdom treasured by the stories passed down from fathers / mothers to sons and daughters … from grandmothers to grandchildren …
Enjoy the story that my grandmother told me in my native Gambia …
African Story (III) Third Part
The king who wanted to kill all the elders
… And the next day in the morning, when the king arrived at the place of the executions, to his surprise, all the young people were found under fishing pots, but some pots * (nets or wicker baskets) woven with broad strings whose braid was so tight that it let in light. So that on the skin of the young there was at the same time sun and shadow …
–AHA! You have put yourself in the shade! – exclaimed the king.
–No, King! – replied the young men. – Look, we’re under the sun. – And they showed him the sun spots on their skin.
-So, are you in the sun?
– No, king. We are in the shade! – they said as they showed him the patches of shadow on his skin.
–You have said the last word again –said the king irritably. -But next time you will not get rid so easily. Come all to the palace square tomorrow morning. If you come on horseback, the executioner will kill you. And if you come on foot, it will kill you too.
And he returned to the palace so full of rage that he walked faster than is desirable for a respectable king.
Taasi went to see his father. Instead of being terrified by the king’s new request, the old man smiled:
-The solution is very simple, my son. This is what you have to do.
And the next day, when King M’bonki left the palace, he saw in the main square such a surprising spectacle that he could not help but smile: the young men were mounted on donkeys so small that their feet touched the ground. And, seated on their mounts, they advanced in all directions through the square, spurring their horses clumsily … The situation began to amuse the king.
-Oh! From what I see you are all mounted or riding! –exclaimed the king.
-No, king! Look, we’re walking …
-So, have you come by foot?
-No, king! As you see, we are ride on the back of our saddles.
Chopped, the king looked for a new trick.
–Come back tomorrow! – He ordered.– If you come laughing, your head will be cut off; and if you come crying, too. I said!
The next day, always following the advice of the elderly father of Taasi, the young people soaked their eyes with onion juice. So when they entered the main square, they shed abundant tears laughing to great laughter, as happy as they were to play again to the king.
El rey salió del palacio. Al verlos llorando y riendo al mismo tiempo, no puedo evitar reírse él también.
The king came to the palace. Seeing them crying and laughing at the same time, he cannot help, he started laughing him too.
When his heart subsided, he realized that only an old man hidden somewhere had been able to advise the young people like that.
–Come on, calm down!”- He said. – I will not bother you anymore. The only thing I ask is that you tell me if any of you has kept his father alive, because the answers you have given me can not come from you. Only the experience of a long life can inspire such wisdom …
Everyone was silent. Taasi, who did not trust himself, also fell silent.
-If you tell me the truth, I will not harm you –the king added. – I, M’Bonki, king of the country of Tula-Heela, declared by my ancestors that if one of you has hidden his father somewhere, he can confess it without fear. I will save the old man’s life. Moreover, I will offer him a place of honor next to me, because I have just understood that a king without major advisors is like a blind force that hits without measure and goes right to suicide. Traveling on a dark night is still dangerous, but a country of wise elders is like traveling on a moonless night. So, whoever saved his father addresses me without fear.
Taasi, reassured, and stepped forward:
-Oh, king! Your wise words have calmed our hearts. It is I who have saved my elderly father, and it has been he who has dictated all of our answers.
-Make him come.- said the king. – I will be happy to meet a wise man like him.
The young men went together to look for the old man who was in the cave and brought him triumphantly to the village. The king, recognizing his errors and inexperience, took the old man under his protection and made him his counselor or adviser for the rest of his life.
And they say that from that moment, the African kings always surrounded themselves with a ‘council of elders’ …
… BAKAN BUKA JAKA FON TABI ALJANA…
… that was the end of the story…