The Idiot who wanted to Fly

A man was blessed with a sister and mother, but unfortunately was without good sense, and for this reason he was known as Wabassi (lit., a sickly person). His sister had a dog called Warribisi (lit., a wasp). One day Wabassi went down to the seashore to catch big bunari crabs, and just as he was about to step out of the boat, an immense tiger approached; thinking it was his sister’s dog, he exclaimed: “Warribisi! Warribisi! Come on! What are you doing here?” And as the creature trotted up quite close, he seized it round the waist, and tried to pull it into the boat. Of course the tiger growled, but all Wabassi said was, “Don’t bite me, Warribisi,” and as the animal was too heavy and clumsy to be dragged in, he lost his temper and said: “Stupid Warribisi. Stay where you are, then, and may Tiger come and eat you!” When Wabassi got home, he told his sister that he had seen her dog. She said: “No, you did not. You can not be in your right senses. Warribisi has been here with me all the time.” On another occasion Wabassi joined some friends and relatives on a hunting expedition: they came across a herd of bush-hog, and Wabassi shot one. By and by, his friends collected into one big heap all the hogs that they had shot, and Wabassi came to have a look at their spoil, leaving his own quarry behind. “Oh!” said he, “my bush-hog is different from these. Mine has a mark on his head, and a flat nose.” So the other hunters told him to go and fetch it and let them have a look. When they saw it, they were much surprised to recognize a tiger, and still more so to learn that his captor had not even met with a scratch. Next day after they reached home. Wabassi dressed himself like a bird, with a feather (representing the tail) stuck into his belt behind; he climbed a high tree and jumped from limb to limb three times; on the fourth occasion he alighted on a dry limb, which broke, and he fell to earth. “How splendidly I can fly!” he remarked, when he picked himself up.

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