African Legends :
The story of the boy and the old woman, and how the wasp got his small waist
|The story of the boy and the old woman, and how the wasp got his small waist|
|This tale is about a bush-burning. A story, a story. Let it go, let it come.|
A chief gave permission for the grass to be burned. They went all round but did not see anything (game) until all the grass was burned. Then a certain bad boy saw a hole and dug (there); he did not see anything. But an old woman came out, and on her emerging she screamed (with rage) and said, 'The chief has set fire to the bush; (hitherto) whosoever has seen this hole has passed on, and now you must dig it up. To-day you will see.'
Then she sprang on the boy, but the boy struck her with his axe. Up she leaped and turned into a hawk, and when she was about to swoop down on him he shot at her; and so (they fought on) until she got the better of him. He ran away. (As) he ran he came across a wasp, he was weaving cloth. Then the wasp said, 'Where are you going?' He said, 'An old woman chased me.' Then the wasp said, 'Sit here (till) she comes.' So the boy sat down.
He was there when the old woman came sure enough, and she sprang to catch the boy; but the wasp swallowed her. He lifted a single thread and gave it to the boy (and) said he must tie it round his middle. So the boy tied him up, until his back was almost cut in two. That is the origin of what you see; the wasp's belly is big, the old woman is inside. His back, which has become a thread, the boy bound it at the middle, behind.
That is all. Off with the rat's head.
The rat will not eat my head,
rather will I eat (its) head,
son of a worthless fellow