lisa monaghan

Reinton (1971). Imperialism and South Sudan

A Bakongo folk-tale runs as follows: There were two brothers, the Smart Man and the Fool, and it was their habit to go out shooting to keep their parents supplied with food. Thus, one day, they went together into the mangrove swamp, just as the tide was going down, to watch for the fish as they nibbled at the roots of the trees. The Fool saw a fish, fired at it, and killed it. The Smart Man fired also, but at nothing, and then ran up to the Fool and said:
'Fool, have you killed anything?'
'Yes, Smart Man, I am a fool, but I killed a fish.'
'Indeed, you are a fool', answered the Smart Man, 'for when I fired I hit the fish that went your way, so that the fish you think you killed is mine. Here, give it to me.'
The Fool gave the Smart Man the fish.
Then they went to their town, and the Smart Man, addressing his father, said: 'Father, here is a fish that your son shot, but the Fool got nothing.'

Category: Anthropology and History

Sub-category: Socio-Cultural Groups and Practices


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