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An African story of love and
valor from the oral traditions of the Fulani people. It is hard to find African stories of love in the oral
traditions that I have searched; but the story of a
An African story of love and
valor from the oral traditions of the Fulani people.
It is hard to find African stories of love in the oral traditions that I have searched; but the story of aFulani couple in the ancient kingdom of Mali comes close. These stories may sound strange to western people; but tremendous thought and meaning goes into their creation. Check back again soon to find more.
The Story of Samba Gana
Annallja Tu Bari was the daughter of a prince. Everyone who saw her was impressed with her
tremendous beauty and wisdom. Many noble
men sought to marry her, but she always demanded that each would do something
that they would not be willing to do.
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The woman's father was the ruler of the village where
Annallja Tu Bari lived; and of many smaller villages as well. In a dispute with a neighboring ruler, the
father lost the village. The sorrow that
followed caused the father to die.
Annallja now demanded that every suitor win back the lost village, and
that they conquer an additional 80 villages as well. Years passed, and no one was able to meet her
demands. Annallja grew more beautiful
every year; but she grew steadily more melancholy as well. All of her servants and citizens followed her
example, and laughter was not heard in her dominion.
A neighboring prince had a son named Samba Gana. As was customary in his land, when Samba Gana
left the home of his father to seek a land of his own. He took with him his tutor Tararafe; and as
they traveled, Samba Gana was filled with joy and laughed often.
They came to a town and challenged the prince who ruled
it. They conquered the village, and when
the defeated prince pled for his life, Samba Gana said: You can keep your
village, it means nothing to me.
As Samba Gana traveled on, he fought one prince after another
and was victorious in every battle.
Always he said: : You can keep your village, it means nothing to me. Finally Samba Gana had conquered
all of the princes in the region; but had no land of his own. He always returned what he had won, and
continued on, laughing on his way.
One day while he was camping by the river, his tutor sang a
song of the beauty and loneliness of Annallja Tu Bari: Only he who conquers
eighty villages can win Annallja Tu Bari and make her laugh. After hearing the song, he sprang to his
feet, and commanded his servants to ride immediately to the land of Annalja Tu
The company rode day and night for many days to reach the
town. Samba Gana was entranced with the
woman's beauty; and saw that she did not laugh as he did. Annalja Tu Bari gave Samba Gana the names of
the 80 towns she required; and Samba Gana set off at once to win the woman's
love. He left Tararafe his tutor with
Annalja Tu Bari to sing to her the stories of his master; and of his many
Samba Gana journeyed across the countryside conquering one
prince after another. After each
conquest, he commanded the defeated prince to travel to Annalja Tu Bari; and to
tell her that the village was hers. Soon
the eighty princes; and many more; had reported to Annalja Tu Bari, and she
ruled over them all.
Samba Gana returned to Annalja Tu Bari to tell her that all
she had wished for was now hers. Annalja
Tu Bari said: You have indeed performed an amazing task. Take me, Im yours. Samba Gana said: I will not marry you until
you laugh. Annalja Tu Bari replied: At
first I could not laugh for the pain of my father. Now, I can not laugh because of my hunger. When Samba Gana asked how he
could cure her hunger, Annalja Tu Bari replied that he must conquer the snake of
Issa Beer, which causes plenty in one year, and famine the next. No one has ever dared to attack the serpent
replied Samba Gana; but because of my love for you, I will attack and defeat
Samba Gana set out on a long journey. He traveled through one village, and then
another. He journeyed further and
further up the banks of the great river, but still he found no serpent. After many days had passed, Samba Gana found
the serpent; and a tremendous battle followed.
At first Samba Gana seemed to be defeating the serpent. Then the serpent would appear to be the
victor. The struggle continued for
days, and months, and years. For eight
years Samba Gana battled the serpent.
During this time, mountains collapsed and earthquakes created giant
chasms. Samba Gana broke eighty swords;
and had only one sword left. At the end
of eight years he conquered the serpent, and gave the final blood stained sword
to Tararafe saying: Return to Annalja Tu Bari; give her the sword; and tell her
that the serpent has been defeated. I
want to know if she will laugh now.
Tararafe returned to Annalja Tu Bari and gave her the
message. The woman told the tutor to
bring the serpent to her so that it might be her slave, and lead the river to
her country. Only then, said Annalja Tu
Bari, will I laugh.
The tutor returned with these words to his master. Samba Gana answered: the woman asks for too
much. He took up the bloody sword,
plunged it into his heart, laughed once more, and he died.
Tararafe took the sword, mounted his horse, and returned to
Annalja Tu Bari. He reported to the
woman: Here is the sword of Samba Gana.
It holds now the blood of both the serpent and of Samba Gana. Samba Gana has laughed for the last
Annalja Tu Bari called on all of the princes and chiefs who
were gathered in her town. Together they
rode their horses day and night until they came to the place where Samba Gana
had died. Annalja Tu Bari commanded:
This prince was greater than all that have come before him: build him a tomb
that will tower far above those of every other chief and prince and great
The tremendous work began.
The workers numbered eight times eight hundred. A giant pyramid rose from their labors. As time passed, this became the greatest tomb
in the land.
One evening as Annalja Tu Bari, the tutor, and the chiefs and
princes ate together, Annalja Tu Bari proclaimed that now the tomb of Samba Gana
was the greatest of the land. Annalja Tu
Bari laughed. After laughing she
commanded all of the princes and chiefs over whom she ruled to go and conquer as
Samba Gana had done. She then laughed
again, and she died.
The people mourned the death of Annalja Tu Bari; and she was placed in the tomb with Samba Gana. The chiefs and princes then all rode away. Each journeyed in a different direction, and fought to create great kingdoms of their own.
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