Sacred Texts  Africa  Index  Previous  Next 


The !kung women respect these things, (they) do not take hold (of them). Men take hold (of them). A small !kung child, who is a little girl, does not take hold of this thing; for (she) respects (it). For, her mother says to her: "This thing, thou must respect, my mother." And the child listens, (and) respects the thing; but a little male child does not fear the thing, (and) takes hold of the thing, (and) carries, carries the thing to his father.

And his father puts down[2] the thing upon the ground, and (the child) does not see (or look at) the thing, he goes away. For his father objects

[1. The |Xu is a set of four pieces of wood, two "male" and two "female ". Spoons are also made from the wood of the same tree. The narrator described it as follows:--

The name of the tree is !ke; and (it) is a food tree; (it) is not a mere tree. (It is) one tree, (from) which we make the thing (i.e., the set of !Xu).

By the Makoba, the !Xu is called |nu|num. Their name for the fruit of the !ke tree is kanzuai.

2. (When putting down) one thing, I say ||ning; (when putting down) several things, I say ||ning-a.]

(to his looking on, and says): "Go, my father!"[1] The child laughs, and runs off, goes to his mother, (and) says to his mother: " My mother! give water." For the child ran, coming (and) saying to his mother:

Give my father water."

And his mother took water (from the pot) with a gourd(?), the skin of food; and gave her child water; and her child carried the (vessel of) water in his hands, carried water to his father. And the water (vessel) fell, and (the water) poured upon the ground; and he (the boy) saw, and cried out: "My father! the water pours down, oh dear! My father! the water pours down, oh dear!" And his father heard him, and ran, coming to take hold of him. And (he) beat his child, broke off a little stick, and beat his child; and the little stick was a shana. And his son's speech was this (?): "My father! leave off beating me! oh dear! My father! leave off beating me! oh dear! My father! leave off striking me! oh dear! My father! leave off striking me! oh dear!"

And the people[2] took hold of him, his mother came to take hold of him (saying): "My mother! my child! oh dear! My mother! my child! oh dear! My mother! my husband is striking my child, oh dear!"

His (the child's) father came and took (his) quiver, and drew out an arrow, and put his arrow upon his bow; and the people (ie., the women) called out. For, he took aim at his wife with (two)

arrows; for his arrows were a |nubbo, and a ||Xi.[3]

[1. (He) caressed (?) his child; for his child was a little boy.

2. (They) were not men, but were women.

3. He aimed at his wife with two arrows (one after the other).]

And his wife cried, and avoided the arrow. And (she) cried; and his wife's mother cried: "My mother! my son-in-law takes aim at my daughter with two arrows, oh dear!" And (she) fell down, and lay upon the ground, and cried; and the people (many other women) came (and) took hold of her, and said to her: "Do not cry!" And she refused (saying): "No! my son-in-law aims at my daughter with two arrows, oh dear!" And the people took hold of her; and she would not listen to the people, and refused.

Next: To Beat The Ground (With A Stone).