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The Sheep, the Goat and the Dog

     The sheep, the goat and the dog wanted to travel to Sarh.  A truck arrived.  The sheep asks what the price of the trip is. The driver wanted them to pay five hundred Francs each. So the sheep gave him five hundred Francs. The dog gives him a thousand Francs. The goat asks to pay on arrival, and the driver accepts. 
     And so, the truck leaves the village. When, the truck arrived in the town of Sarh, the sheep jumped out of the truck and ran away. The goat ran away as fast as he could without paying. Then the dog came over to ask the driver for the five hundred Francs he owes him. The driver answers, "Go ask the goat for your five hundred Francs."
     This is why today, whenever a truck arrives in a village, the goat runs away, the dog runs after it, and the sheep does not move, because he paid his fare.

This history is taken from the book Contes du Tchad : Goundi Tome 2 by Togueyadji Mindengar and Maurice Fournier. 1998: Publications pédagogiques de Sarh, BP 87, Sarh, Chad.

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When the Hyena and the Billy Goat Signed a Peace Treaty

After ceaseless quarrels which caused them to fight one against the other, all the animals, those of the village and those of the bush, agreed to sign a peace treaty, to cease killing one another. It was agreed that from now on all must live as brothers and be united against their common enemy, Man, who is undoubtedly weak, but to whom God gave the means to remain Master of some of the animals and to hold in respect the others, either to pester them for fun, or to kill them to feed himself.
     Moreover, weren't the domestic animals originally from the jungle, before man's control came over them? Thus, messengers were sent out, to broadcast the good news everywhere. Yes, reconciliation and harmony would certainly be born, live and go from this moment on.
     At last, a specific time was decided upon, an evening, to celebrate the peace treaty with a festival in a vast field in the heart of the bush, not too far from some uncultivated fields. All animals, large and small, those who live in the village, in the bush or in trees, in holes and in the water, those who fly, who run, who go about on two or four legs, those who crawl, those who were crippled, those who were victims of the ferocity of their fellow animals or the blows of Man; in short, all those which life opposed gathered together to seal their reconciliation permanently.
     Soon, an enormous and dense crowd filled up the vast field. There were congratulations, and brotherly shaking of paws. The lion, the elephant, the buffalo, the bull, the dromedary and some other notables spoke one after another in exciting terms about the object of the meeting (the peace treaty). When they had finished, everyone was full of joy. They were warmly applauded.
     Then the dance started, led by a very fascinating music. The musicians were: a monkey, a hare with long ears, a porcupine with his body armed with prickles, a jackal with a long muzzle, along with other virtuosos playing, one on the tam-tam, one on the xylophone, one on the flute.  Each competed to be considered the most skilful musician. Soon, the fever of the moment grew and filled the crowd. The ostrich, the giraffe, the horse, all excellent dancers, had great success. As for the enormous horse, that genius of the African rivers (I speak of the hippopotamus, that dreadful mastodon badly cut out of his pattern with scissors by Mother Nature), did not spare anything to entertain the audience with his buffooneries.
     After several other dancers had danced in the middle, the Billy Goat dizzily jumped into the circle and, by his clumsiness, caused a certain amount of disorder. And, as the proverb says, "The bone which the dog sees, the goat does not see it". The hyena, which undoubtedly was lying in wait for him, went to be near him, pretending to admire him and tossing him looks which did not mislead as to his intentions.
     At last, when he was not able to contain himself any longer, the hyena threw himself brutally onto the Billy Goat, attempting to pull him out of the circle to better strangle him. The goat cried out desperately and the audience hurried to release him from the power of the hyena which had already started to lick his chops. Confusion and panic then filled the crowd. The panther benefited from the opportunity to attack the sheep and at last a heated battle ensued.
     The members of the Animal Steering Committee vainly tried to restore order. The lion, by not paying attention, tore an ear off the bull which, in turn, popped one of his eyes out. The brawl spread and the height of the panic was followed by a generalized escape. The domestic animals, instinctively, headed toward the village, pursued by the blood thirsty beasts.  There were cries of attack, keen fighting and shrieks of anguish. Alerted, the men of the village seized their weapons and left their homes. Rifle shots rang out, and arrows whistled.
     The wild beasts, frightened, quickly ran back into the bush, but not without leaving behind them some of their own, dead or wounded.
     Thus the peace treaty failed. "Harmony does not rule in a city without ignorance." One can maintain peace only by tolerance, by give-and-take, by the reciprocal compromises and the forgetting of the old reflexes of hatred. The animals learned this lesson at a price.
     The moral of this story: "Peace and harmony do not come from speaking clever words; above all, they are behaviours and actions."

This story is drawn from the book Paroles d'hier et d'aujourd'hui : Ainsi parlaient nos ancêtres by Djimtola Nelli. 1995: CEFOD - Éditions, BP 87, Sarh, Chad. 

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The Story of the Jackal and the Dog

     The jackal, the dog and their children, according to our ancestors, lived and ate together in the bush.  One year, long ago, the weather was rather cold, and as they could not bear the cold, they and their children were about to die. The jackal asked the dog: "How will we ever find fire to heat ourselves?"
     The dog said: "Mondo, Mondo, look over there!  This Man is lighting a fire!  I will immediately go to fetch a piece of burning wood so that we can heat ourselves." The dog went to talk to the Man who was heating himself. The Man asked him, "Where do you come from?" The dog answered, "We will die from the cold, which is why I came to seek fire to heat ourselves." The Man answered him, "Heat yourself well before you take some of the fire with you, then you can be on your way."
     Then the dog, with her mouth raised up, put herself nearer the fire to heat herself.  She heated herself until she burned her fur, but her nose remained moist. During this time, the Man's Wife came to prepare a meal for them. They ate well, and the dog even ate the bones. Thus it forgot to take some fire with her.  Meanwhile, the jackal suffered from the cold with her children.  And to this day, she continues to call the dog to bring fire so that they can be warmed by its heat.
     Then the dog said, "I will go into the bush, where my nose leads me, only if it first becomes dry." Thus she gave up on the jackal with her children.  As for the dog, she followed the Man to return to his house. This is why, even today, the nose of the dog always remains wet.  When you notice that the nose of the dog becomes dry, you will know for certain that she just died, and so you should throw it in bush. To this day, whenever you hear the jackal crying out, it is that she is calling the dog. The dog in  turn will bark, to affirm that it will go into the bush when its nose becomes dry.

This history is drawn from the book Taaya gede (Dog Stories) by the Association for the Development and the Promotion of the Guerguiko Language. 2000: Association SIL Chad, BP 4214, N'Djaména, Chad.

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The Hyena, the Monkey and the Hare

     Long ago, a hyena climbed up on top of a well, and fell into it.  Soon afterward, a monkey was passing by. He heard heard the hyena's cries for help. "My brother, please help me, I want to get out of here!"
     And so, the monkey put his tail into the well. The hyena caught hold of it, and left the well.  Then the hyena asks his rescuer, "My brother, please carry me home, I want to go home to my house." So the monkey agreed to carry him home.
     When he got home, the hyena got hungry. He wanted to eat the monkey. The monkey began to run away, then the monkey and the hyena got into a fight.
     The hare heard the cries of the monkey. He arrived and they both explained what happened. The monkey explained it all to hare. Then the hare asks him: "Can you carry the hyena?" The monkey answers: "Yes, I can carry the hyena." The hare called to the monkey: "Carry the hyena to the well."
     The monkey carried the hyena to the well. The monkey threw the hyena into the well. The hare called to the monkey: "Leave him in the well." The hare and the monkey return to their homes, and the hyena died in the well.

This history is drawn from the Contes du Tchad : Goundi Tome 2 by Togueyadji Mindengar and Maurice Fournier. 1998: Publications pédagogiques de Sarh, BP 87, Sarh, Chad. 

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The Orphan Nidjema (Arabic for "Star")

"... There once was a virtuous girl, who was a devoted to helping others and a good friend of everyone.  We called her Nidjema because she was especially beautiful.  Even though she was an orphan, her friends knew they could use and abuse her willingness to serve.  She would correct their mistakes.  When they forgot to do something, she got them out of trouble.  The apron of her skirt always hid for them the best part of her meagre dinner.  Thus, in her adopted family, Nidjema was not happy.  They reserved for her the most difficult of the chores: she went to draw water from the well, she went to gather firewood.  And it was always Nidjema who lit the fire, ground the millet, washed the calabash cups.  No one was ever happy with the work she did, so she was beaten.
     One morning, she was beaten so severely that she ran away into the wilderness to end her life.  She kept walking, not caring at all about the ferocious beasts or reptiles which might kill her if she came across their path...."
     Our hero met hideous monsters on her pathway, and asked them to kill her.  One after another, they refused.  At last, she met death himself, who told her this:
     "Adorable little star!  No one can escape their own destiny.  All must await their moment in time.  Your moment has not yet come to die.  So you must return to where you came from; go back to your own village.  Here on earth, happiness comes from our moral excellence!"

This story, along with many other interesting ones, are to be found in the book Au Tchad sous les étoiles by Joseph Brahim SEID. 1962: PRESENCE AFRICAINE, 25 bis, rue des Écoles, Paris 75005. ISBN 2-7087-0499-0. We highly recommend this extraordinary book!

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