Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Makonde "Just So Story"

How the toad got his belly.

One day a father toad and his son were in the forest. The father told his son to wait for him in the shade of a tree while he went out hunting for lunch.

As the little toad waited a man walked past. The toad had never seen a man and was astonished at his size. Afraid and in awe, he crouched in the shadows silently and waited for the monster to pass.

When his father returned he told him that a huge creature, the like of which he had never seen, had passed by while he was gone.

"How big was he?" asked his father. "As big as me?"
"No, much bigger," replied the son.
"This big?" asked his father, puffing himself up.
"This big?" puffing himself up further.
"Bigger still!"
"This big?" puffing himself up as far as he could.
"Even bigger! He was enormous!" replied the little toad.

But when his father tried to deflate himself, he found that he was stuck, and that is how the toad got his belly.

(Told me by a Makonde artist as I admired his block prints at an arts and crafts fair last week. I was looking at an illustration of this tale.)



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