The story below is a Bakweri folktale culled from a collection of proverbs, fables, riddles, etc., put together by Carl Bender during his first stay in Buea between 1899 and 1919. These were later published in 1921 in a 122-page book written in German and Bakweri and titled: “Die Volksdichtung der Wakweli: Sprichworter, Fabeln, Marchen, Parabeln, Ratsel, und Lieder” [Folklore of the Wakweli: proverbs, fables, tales, parables, riddles and songs.]
Oso na esu wa ma-towo motango wunya woko. E mwana mba oso a m'oka, si a wa. Once upon a time, Parrot and Owl had a quarrel. Parrot’s child took ill and died.
Oso a m'ene nanu, owa ama : “Esu ndi a owi mwanami, ewanji, imba na ma mo towi motango! Inyo mene yongo woso weni wo weli wongo!" Ndi wato wa ma-luwe mamee oso e mowi. When Parrot saw what had happened, he said: “The Owl is the one who has killed my child because I quarreled with him. Take a look at his face yourselves, he is scary!” So people believed what Parrot said.
Ndi wa mende Ii nyo kwawe, oso e lembea. O wetimbeli weawu e oso a mowana esu, ama: “mwai, oa fusea e la mboa o lowea wato, e ma: Esu a su a kwawe! imba ndi na lembeli!" Esu a mimalene. So both of them were put through the sasswood (Kwawe) test. Parrot failed the test (he failed to vomit). On their return home, Parrot told the Owl: “friend, take the (longer) path that goes through the village and tell the people that Owl passed the Kwawe test. I (Parrot) failed it.” Owl agreed.
E oso e mende si a woa ibwea e tuka o lisenge leni e te mesea, e ma: „Na su e kwawe! "Wato wa ma-mwene wa mwijoa, wama: The Parrot ran ahead to the village, took a horn, put it on its beak and shouted saying: I passed the Kwawe test! People who saw him asked him:
Esu a wo? "A ma-timbisele, ama: “A lembeli, a fusili e la wanga." Wato wa ma-te mesea, wama: "Joke, oso e su e kwawe, sue a lembeh a kwawe!" Where is Owl? He answered saying: He failed the kwawe test, he has taken the path that goes through the forest (because of shame?). The people shouted and said. “Truly, the Parrot passed the kwawe test, The Owl failed the Kwawe test!”
Esu a ma-weye nanu, a ma-fingele Ii ja o mboa, a owea wato ama: “Na su kwawe!" Ndi wato wasi luwe, wa mwambwa mo mayai. When Owl heard this, he hurried and came to the village and told the people: “I passed the Kwawe test. The people did not believe him. They just threw stones at him.
Nanu esu a wanga, e si je fe: a ja ndi wu o lowea wato, ema: Na su kwawe!" Nanu ndenga esu a s'enea mwese. Wato fe wa moka wongo, wama: “A weli liembe." So Owl ran and and did not return: That is why he comes back only at night to tell the people that: “I passed the Kwawe test.” That is why the owl is not seen during the day. The people were scared of him and said he is a witch.”
KEYWORDS AND PHRASES FROM STORY
1. towo motango Quarrel (verb) = towo Quarrel (noun) = KayE; motango
Pick a quarrel = asa metango (Source: Mokpe-English dictionary by Edwin Ardener)
2. Kwawe = Sasswood ordeal