Friday, June 29, 2012

A Tragic Love Story

Amanda Cushman, tr., Zarma Folktales of Niger (Niantic: Quale Press, 2010), pp. 73-74:
In a village there was a very beautiful girl. Her beauty was incomparable. Every time the boys came to her house to chat, she would do nothing but fart until they ran away. But nothing stopped the boys from coming. Soon she had killed twenty boys with her farts. If a boy presented himself there, his relatives knew they needn't prepare a dowry. The family declared that if a boy beat her at a farting contest, she would become his wife without any fanfare.

One day, a young man heard about the girl and prepared himself to go chat. His relatives opposed him. "Would this girl kill a boy she invited to come talk to her?" he asked.

"You may not go."

The boy refused to obey. He went into the forest and ate some gum arabic. Returning to the village, he bought a calabash of raw peanuts and green beans and asked to have it all boiled. After eating it, he searched for glue to seal his anus, then waited impatiently for night to fall so he could visit the girl. When night fell, he went to her house.

"Salaam aleikum."

Welcoming him, the father and the mother told him that the girl usually chatted outside her hut. He went to the hut, and the girl came out to meet him. She spread a mat, and they sat. The girl did not talk but immediately began to fart: "Atibuum buum, atibuum buum buut.” After her third volley, the young man reacted. He stood to remove the gum from his anus, and began a bombardment. His fart said, "Gaddu, gaddu, gadal, ga du, duut." Both fired off a few rounds of exchanges. The girl was soon exhausted. She died, totally weakened.

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