This tale is taken from our book of tales, ‘Once upton a time in Niger’. You can order it from ourshop.

The formidable child

Once upon a time a woman kept grieving that she did not have a child. She prayed God to give her one. Kind and merciful, God granted her prayer. The woman gave birth to a handsome boy named Da’di, meaning Desired, or Long Expected.

Days, months and years went by. The child grew up and became his family’s provider.

It came to pass that one day, the village chief, an evil-minded man, called Da’di’s father and ordered him to milk the oxen of his yoke..

The father led the oxen to his son’s place and reported the chief’s orders; furious, Da’di grabbed an axe and went to the chief’s place. Once there, he set to felling the tree that grew before the chief’s home. Branches, boughs, leaves fell. It made such a racket that the chief came running and said :

  • Da’di, what are you doing to my tree ?
  • It so happens that my father has given birth, now I am to bring him some firewood.
  • But how can a man give birth to a child ?
  • But how can bulls be milked? Da’di retorted.

Much annoyed with the child’s cheeky answer, the chief decided to get rid of him. He ordered his attendants to dig a very deep hole in which to bury Da’di. But, blessed as he was with magic powers, the latter started to dig another hole connecting with the first one. The day came for the burial. The child was buried by the chief’s men. Thereafter, everyone was certain that Da’di, his mother’s darling, was dead. But, after a while, the attendants saw the child coming toward them. Lo and behold, Da’di was alive!

The chief’s anger and despair were boundless. And he decided again to resort to other means to eliminate the child. Therefore, the chief called his most faithful attendants and asked them to tie the child up in a bag and dump him into some backwater.

However, against all odds, the child was saved one more time, for a crocodile released him, and carried him to the river bank.

Da’di, alive and well, showed up once more at the chief’s court.

Realising that he was dealing with a formidable child, the chief decided not to harm him ever more. Da’di and the chief then became good friends.

As our tradition has it, if you escape from your evil-minded fellow creature, you will become his friend.

Madé school.

Il était une fois au Niger