The Nunda, Eater of People

The Nunda, Eater of People

The Nunda, Eater of People is a Swahili fairy tale collected by Edward Steere in "Swahili Tales". Andrew Lang included it in "The Violet Fairy Book".

It is Aarne-Thompson type 550, the quest for the golden bird/firebird.

ynopsis

A sultan was very proud of his garden, and of six of his seven sons, but he scorned the youngest son as weak. One day, he saw that his date tree was ready to fruit; he set his six sons to watch it, or the slaves would steal the fruit, and he would have none for many a year. The oldest went, and had his slaves beat the drums to keep him awake, but when it grew light, they slept, and a bird ate all the dates. Every year after that, he set a different son, and for six years the bird still ate the dates. The seventh year, he set a man of his, and his youngest son asked why he did not send him, himself. Finally the father agreed. The youngest went, but sent his slaves home, and slept until early. Then he sat with corn in one hand and sand in the other. He chewed on the corn until he grew sleepy, and then he put sand in his mouth, which kept him awake.

The bird arrived. He grabbed it. It flew off with him, but he did not let go, even when it reasoned with him. It gave him a feather and said if he put it in fire, it would come wherever he was. He returned, and the dates were still there. There was much rejoicing.

One day, the sultan's cat caught a calf, and the sultan refused to listen to the complaint. The next day, it caught a cow, and then a donkey, a horse, and a child. Finally it lived in a thicket and ate whatever went by, and the sultan would still not hear complaints. One day, the sultan went out to see the harvest with his six sons, and the cat sprang out and killed three. The sultan demanded its death.

The youngest son set out after the cat, which was called "Nunda, Eater of People" and could not find it for many days. Finally, he and his slaves tracked it to a forest. The prince and slaves surrounded it and threw spears into it, killing it. The people and sultan rejoiced.

ee also

*Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf
*The Nine Peahens and the Golden Apples
*The Golden Mermaid
*The Golden Bird
*Simurgh

External links

* [http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/firebird/stories/nunda.html "The Nunda, Eater of People"]


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