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Home :  African Legends :  The Three Young Men

The Three Young Men

Bura Folktales Legend (Nigeria)

Three young men sat talking about their experiences. One said, "Neither of you has had the wonderful experiences in the world that I have had. One day I went to the chief's house and his wife hid me under a gourd. After a while some men came into the compound. They began to talk about corn, whether it would fill the gourd under which I was hiding. One man said, 'Try it and see whether it will hold it." But when he was reaching for the gourd he saw that the roof was on fire. While they were putting out the fire I escaped. Was that not a wonderful escape?" They answered, "It surely was."

The second young man said, "But you have not had the wonderful experiences in the world that I have had. Before I was born my mother was caught by a leopard. While the leopard was carrying her off I was born and left on the ground. When the leopard reached his den he ate my mother. The next morning men followed the tracks of the leopard and found me. They raised me without a mother. Was that not a wonderful experience?" They answered, "That was surely a wonderful experience."

The third man said, Do you want to hear mine? One day four of us started on a journey. Before we had gone far we came to a cannibal chief's village. We were caught and taken to the chief. The chief said that they should kill one of us and divide the meat among his people. They killed one and left the three of us. They penned the three of us in an iron tower. After a while the chief sent them to kill another one of us for soup. They came and caught one of us and killed him. That left only two of us. On the morrow the chief sent to have another killed. They came and killed the other one. I alone was left. They said, 'Tomorrow, we will come and kill you.' In the night I looked up and saw that god had opened the top of the tower. I tried to climb to the top of the tower, and with great difficulty I got to the top and jumped down outside. I ran and ran until daylight. In the morning they went to the tower to get me, and I was gone. They followed me. But I did not keep going. I climbed into a tree and hid there. The men who were hunting me came near the tree and asked a man whether he had seen any one running away. The man said, "I have seen no one." The men who were hunting me said that they would have to give up and go home. One of them said, "I believe that I will climb this tree and cut some verandah poles." He climbed the tree and began to cut poles. He cut three poles. Only one was left, and I was on that one. When he began to cut the one which I was on, there was a cry from the river. The children had gone to the river to swim, and one had fallen into the water. He stopped cutting poles and ran to the river to help save the child. I came down and ran away before he came back to the tree. Was that not a great experience?" They said, "Indeed, that was a great experience."


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