This tale is taken from our first book of tales, ‘At School with Nigerien Tales’, now out of print. You can order our second book of tales ‘Once Upon a Time in Niger’ from ourshop.

A great famine

Once upon a time a village was struck by a great famine.

Mato and his numerous childen had nothing to eat. Mato went and visited Doguwa to get food on credit.

Doguwa lent a bull until the next year and told Mato :

  • When I come, I want you only to say my name in exchange for the bull that you have to give back. My baptism name is Tchilo Tchilo Mata Nakambari.

Mato accepted, went and sold the bull to purchase food. He made his children repeat the name of Doguwa several times a day to remember her name.

Days went by and when Doguwa was supposed to come, all the family had forgotten the magical name.

They proposed to leave the village to avoid the anger of Doguwa, they took their luggage and left.

When they arrived under a tamarind, the wife of Mato asked for a few minutes to feed the baby.

Suddenly they heard the baby saying:

  • Tchilo Tchilo Mata Nakambari.

All of them were surprised and came back to the village and waited for Doguwa who entered and greeted

  • Salama Allékoum.

Mato answered:

  • Wa Allékoum Salam.
  • What is my baptism name?
  • Your name is Tchilo Tchilo Mata Nakambari.

When Doguwa heard her name she left.

This tale tells us that we must not neglect anything in life, not even the youngest children.


Nigerien tale submitted to a tales contest by the school of Argoum (IECB1 Doutchi). The contest was organized by « Aide et Action » and the RAEDD at the tales festival Gatan Gatan.

  • Teller: Mme Kallé Digé.
  • Pupils: Ramatou Oumarou, Rilwano Kallé, Bachirou Mounkaila, Barak Issa, Sakina Mamane.
  • Staff teachers: M. Ousmane Tamo, Mme Alio Salamatou
A l'école des contes nigériens
A l’école des contes nigériens