Black Tales for White Children | Annotated Tale

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Story of Kibaraka and the Bird, The

ONCE upon a time there was a Sultan, and he had one son, a very handsome youth, called Hasani.

               Every day at noon the Sultan and his son used to go to the mosque to pray. After they had gone the Sultan's wife used to sort out the seeds of every kind of grain in the Sultan's store. Those that needed drying she gave to a slave, called Kibaraka, to put out in the sun to dry.

               One day, after the Sultan and his son had gone to prayer, she called to the slave, "Kibaraka, take these seeds and put them out in the sun." Kibaraka took the grain and spread it out to dry, each kind by itself.

               Suddenly a wondrously fine bird came and sat down by the grain and called out--

               "Kibaraka! Kibaraka!"

               He answered, "Here, lady, here."

               Then the bird sang--

Bird. "Shall I eat of this wheat?
Or shall I not eat?
Or shall I eat millet?"

Kibaraka. "Eat, Lady, I will it."

Bird. "Shall I eat rape instead?  
Or must I not be fed?
Shall I eat maize to-day?"

Kibaraka. "Eat, Lady, eat, I pray."

Bird. "Shall I eat all the grain?  
Or must I now refrain?
Shall I eat rice to-day?"

Kibaraka. "Eat, Lady, eat, I pray."

Bird. "Where has your master gone to-day?"

Kibaraka. "Gone to the mosque to read and pray."

Bird. "My greetings to the Sultan give
When he returns. Long may he live."

               At that it flew away.

               On the next day and the day after the bird came again and sung the same song.

               Till one day Kibaraka told his young master Hasani, "Master, every day at one o'clock, when you are at the mosque, a lovely bird comes here."

               Hasani asked, "What kind of bird is this?"

               Kibaraka said, "All ordinary wonders are surpassed by this bird, for it sings a very beautiful song," and he told his master of the song.

               At these words the Sultan's son perceived that this bird was of the daughters of the Jins, and he fell in love with her.

               Then he said to Kibaraka, "See here, I have given you your freedom, you are no longer a slave, and now you must catch this bird for me."

               After that Hasani was seized with a grievous illness because of his longing for that bird till, on the third day at one o'clock, the Sultan went out to look for all the wisest of the medicine men to attend to his son.

               Whilst he was gone that bird came and sat by the grain and called, "Kibaraka! Kibaraka!"

               Kibaraka cut a thin pole and made a noose at the end and set it near the bullrush millet, the grain the bird loved best.

               When it had finished eating all the seeds it wished to fly away, but one of its wings caught in the noose.

               Then it said to Kibaraka, "Please let me go and do not touch me, for you will injure me. Take this feather of mine and carry it to your master, and let it be my salaams to him."

               So Kibaraka brought the feather to the Sultan's son. Hasani was very pleased. Then he said to him, "Kibaraka, my brother, why did not you catch the owner of this feather?"

               Kibaraka said, "I was not able to catch it. When I saw it I fell down seven times because of its light, and my wisdom forsook me."

               When the Sultan returned, his son said to him, "My father, you must sound the pallaver-horn, that all the people may come before the palace." The Sultan loved his son exceedingly, so he gathered all his people together. Then Hasani said, "Tell the people that they must look for this bird and bring it to me, and if they do not bring it I shall die." So the Sultan gave out the order, "There is no leave to weave or spin, to grind corn or pound grain, until this bird has been brought."

               At once all the people of that country went out into the jungles and deserts to look for that bird. Every one who found a fine bird would seize it and bring it to the Sultan's son, but to each he said, "This is not the one."

               Till one day, as people were sitting in the Sultan's court holding a pallaver, just after one o'clock had struck, they looked up and saw a dustcloud coming like rain.

               Behold, it was that bird coming, and Kibaraka recognised its coming.

               When it came it sat down by the grain and ate all the seeds till, as it came to the last, Kibaraka caught it and brought it to his master. When Hasani looked on that bird, behold, it was a beautiful woman.

               He said, "Kibaraka, run quickly, go your way to the audience chamber and tell my father that he must fire the cannons, for the thing I desired has come to pass, and the request I made of Allah has been granted."

               So Kibaraka came and told the Sultan, and the cannons were fired, and wedding festivities and feastings were held for nine years.

               After that Hasani and the fair Jin had a child, a boy like pearls and precious stones.

               And Hasani loved his wife exceedingly, and the people of that country saw wonders come to pass, for the second son was like the stars and the moon.

               The house of that Sultan was greatly blessed, and the story ends here.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Story of Kibaraka and the Bird, The
Tale Author/Editor: Stigand, C. H. & Stigand, Nancy Yulee
Book Title: Black Tales for White Children
Book Author/Editor: Stigand, C. H. & Stigand, Nancy Yulee
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication City: Boston
Year of Publication: 1914
Country of Origin: Africa
Classification: unclassified

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