Explorations in History and Society

Exploring and Collecting the History of the Somali clan of Hawiye.

Humorous folktale of the Hawiyya tribes

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       The Arab and the Abgal women

An Arab, having just come from the Arabian peninsula and who did not understand anything in our language, was sitting in his store one day. A woman entered the store. She bought something. When she had bought something, she stopped a while to look at the new goods that were in the store. The Arab was first of all an Arab, and when he had taken her money, he began to be suspicious. ‘Go away!’ he wanted to say and he did not know the language; he proceeded to say: ‘yâ bint, yâ bint sau gál sau gál’  (The Arab wanted to say ‘Go away!’ but in his ignorance of the Somali, instead he says, pronouncing it badly: so gal,   which means the opposite: ‘Enter)

 The woman was surprised. She went into the store once more. The Arab again cried: sau gál sau gál!’ And then what did he do? He seized the stick and beat the woman! There was screaming. People ran up. They said: ‘Oh what are these beatings for?’ ‘Well!’ he said, ‘I said: sau gál sau gál,  and this one entered my house. Cursed Somalis!’ ”

A misunderstanding between Hawiyya and Rahanweyn

“The Rahanwên, in their language, if they say harbarta, it is ‘your wife.’ One of us and an Elay who had come in search of hire in Mogadiscio. Elay cameleer who was trying to get a load in Mogadiscio for the return trip. ) quarreled. ‘Well!’ the Elay exclaimed. ‘What a bad language the Hawíyya is! The wife with whom you sleep, do you suck her breast?’ ‘You do worse’ the boy said, ‘the mother who gave birth to you, you sleep with her’ .The misunderstanding is caused by the different meaning that habarta   (literally: ‘your old woman’); ‘your lady’ in an honorific sense) has among the Hawiyya, where it is said of the mother, and among the Rahanwen, where it is said of the wife.

The Abgal bedouin and the deception of the freed

“Once a young Abgäl was drawing water at the watering place. A crocodile seized him, dragged him to the middle of the river, and ate him. This news became known on the east bank. Another Abgäl ran and stopped at the edge of the river. And he cried out: ‘Oho! Oho!’ To a freed who was passing through the forest of the western bank, it popped into his mind to answer: ‘Oh!’ The Abgal said: ‘Oho! Oho! If the serpent leaves you, come to find me on the eastern bank opposite Marerray! (Marerray is a watering place on the river) ’ I see very well that he gave him the last recommendations.

The promise of theAbgal bedouin

“An Abgâl and his wife were pasturing their sheep. While they were grazing, four sheep were lost in the woodland. The man said: ‘My God, make the sheep return to us. I will offer you a sacrifice of my goat!’ The wife jumped up to say: ‘Oho! Do you want to cut the throat of my goat?’ ‘Hush, ‘he said, ‘you are a stupid one. I was only flattering him (Another tale of this series which jokes about the ingenuity of the Abgal pastoralists.)

The Abgal bedouin who did not know mosquitoes

An Abgal who never went out of the woodland of the left bank one day had the thought: ‘I shall go to the black land to visit for a short time my brother-in-law Hamud.’ ‘Do not do that, uncle ‘Addo!’ ‘Uncle, will you go away from us?’ ‘I am already going!’ He left, and after having walked and crossed the river, he came to his brother-in-law’s house. They greeted each other. ‘Are you well in the black land?’ ‘Well, praise the Lord. But there are too many mosquitoes!’ ‘What mosquitoes?’ ‘Mosquitoes. Do you not know the mosquitoes?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘my God is God. (Oath formula. )! I have never heard of them.’ ‘It is an animal, an animal that bites people, and when it bites, it makes one sick.’ ‘Praise God!’ he said. And they talked of something else. But they understood at once that the old man was stupid. When night came, the bed was laid out in the small hut that was in the enclosure. ‘Good night, brother-in-law!’ ‘To us all!’ ‘Be careful, there are many mosquitoes here.’ ‘Do not worry, brother-in-law, because I am thinking about the mosquitoes here.’ Everyone went to sleep. The cat of our young man was in the hut. The cat was sleeping there; when it heard the old Abgal snore, it miaowed. The old man woke up! ‘Oho! Here we are, ‘he said. He stretched his hand toward where he heard the miaow and seized the cat’s tail. It scratched him. Its last day had arrived. The old man jumped from the bed, took the dagger, took the lance, and in the darkness he struck so much and hurled so much everywhere that he finally hit the cat. It died there. When it was morning, they gathered for breakfast. ‘Good morning, uncle, ‘Addo!’ ‘Good morning!’ ‘Did you see any mosquitoes last night?’ ‘Do not speak of it!’ he said, ‘a mosquito as big as a ram jumped on me. However, I cut its throat with a dagger. Look at the blood!’

 The contest in robbery between two Hawadla’s

Two Hawadlä fought. They said: ‘I am more of a thief than you!’ ‘No! I am more of a thief than you!’ Then one [of them] said: ‘I shall steal the eggs of that dove in the tree, without her perceiving it.’ ‘So be it! I shall watch you!’ the other said. The former jumped into the tree. He seized the dove’s eggs. He let them fall into the other hand. With this one he takes them, into that one he drops them. Then the other man, who is below, steals them from the hand. Did not the thief drop into his left hand the eggs that he took with the right one? When again he raises his right hand, in order to introduce it into the dove’s nest, the thief who is below removes from the hand the eggs taken. He steals them in turn. They came down from the tree. One said: ‘Where are the eggs that were in your hand?’ ‘I do not know!’ he said. Then the other one said: ‘Here they are! Thus, am I not more of a thief than you?’ He said: ‘You are indeed more of a thief than I am. (Here, too, a joke is made about the reputation for ingenious deception that those of Hawadla trbie have made for themselves.)



Source; Enrico Cerulli  “How a Hawiye tribe use to live”













Written by daud jimale

March 15, 2009 at 11:47 pm

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