A Difficult Naming

The servant Hated-by-the-Hearth came, startling Great-King-Maker,
and said, "Beautiful-Rich has given birth,
          but the mother has died on the throne."
Great-King-Maker was shaken. He said,
"Call my man Not-Protected-from-Call
     to get a thousand women to bathe this baby."
Then a thousand women came down from Long-Standing.
     They entered the house and came forward to take the baby.
When one came up to hold him,
     he kicked her and broke her leg.
When another came,
     he kicked her and put out her eye.
Some had their teeth knocked out,
     some had their hands cut off.
And when his father came to take and bathe him,
     he kicked him and broke his leg. His father said,
"Ah, that is a trouble baby, a calamity baby.
     In the womb he was fatal to his mother,
     dropped on earth he is fatal to his father."
Then he came off the golden throne
     and jumped into the blazing fire.
To help him, they threw water on the fire,
     but that did not stop it; instead it flamed up.
Then they tried to take the baby,
     but he was slippery nad could not be held,
     and hot as the fire was, it made no difference to him.
Then said Great-King-Maker to Beautiful-Rich's sister,
                         Twin-of-the-Dead,
"This will not do. Go to Great Echo:
     take a thousand men with muskets and spears
     and ten women to go with you." And she went.
At that moment Great Echo said,
"Is it you that is making such noise and bothering me?
     I understand the unsignified,
     I know the unsaid."
Then came Twin-of-the-Dead to Great Echo.
And Great Echo said, "I know your errand.
The 'line for two' is not made by my foot,
     The 'line for four' is not made by my hand.
Beautiful-Rich has given birth,
     a thousand people have been killed,
     a hundred people wounded.
Aahh, this will not do.
Send a thousand men for firewood,
     and give the baby the first wood they find.
Then the fire will blaze up-for that baby needs a name." (58)
His man left and did what Great Echo said.

Then Great Echo set forth, and reached Long-Standing.
When he reached the door, the baby cried once, saying "Ahhh!"
     Then he was silent and did not speak. Great Echo said,
"Go get four bulls from the Herd of a Thousand
          and kill them at the four points of the earth,
     and get four thousand men from Long-Standing
          to fire the cannon and bathe this baby."
The four bulls were killed,
     and the four thousand mouths of cannon
          were discharged to the four points of the earth.

Only then did Great Echo speak a name for the baby. He said,
"Shout, men! Shout, men!
     Here is the name I will give this boy: Male Big-Winged Kite.
     Offered or not, he steals under the owner's eyes;
          he swoops into his father's eyes,
               he steals in his mother's womb;
     Curses aimed at him only make him stronger.
     Look at him sideways, like the ground where you have fallen.
     He does not go far to cut up his meat,
          he does it on his victim's head.
That is a dangerous man on earth," said Great Echo.

But the baby refused that name,
     and ran all round the house
          because he did not like the name.

"Oh, that baby is one heavy one," said Great Echo.
"But I will give him the name Lord Eagle.
     He carries away,
          but he does it only under the eyes of a thousand men,
               not under the eyes of a few.
     Those who escape him get their due:
          they are put to rout in the end.
     What is in his claws is not dropped.
          One like that is enough to swallow the earth."
"I like that one well enough, Father," said the baby.
     "But he is a chicken thief,
               so after all I do not want it."

"That baby is a heavy one," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for I will give him the name Lord Friday's Hog.
     He rumbles though unprovoked,
     he lights the fire without rubbing,
     he cuts without an ax,
     he digs without a spade,
     he goes down valleys where no war has been,
     he crosses the hills without shoes.
     He has eight hundred manioc fields.
     Where he has cleared the crowds away
          are eight thousand stalks of fern.
     Those he has not caught are unheard-of,
          those he catches are knocked down and useless."
"Ehh, I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.

"Oh, that baby is one heavy one," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for I will give this baby the name Big-Maned Cat.
     He raises his head like a man,
     he has the loins of a hard man,
     he has the feet of a Big-Pursuer,
     he kills with only his voice.
     He takes what is under his ax
          as if it were under his leg.
     He eats no meat, but he drinks blood.
          Now that is a hard man on the earth.
     For the one he strikes one day dies that day,
          the one he strikes in the night dies in the night."
"I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.

"Oh, that baby is one heavy one," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for I will give this baby of mine the name Prince Soaked Cuckoo.
     He flies, but not high,
     he travels, but not far,
     he eats slowly,
     he does not touch rum,
     he has a hundred small silver needles and a thousand big ones,
     he wakes up by the conch,
     he swallows a bull in one gulp.
     Now that is a hard man on the earth."
"I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.
     "It is the mark of an abortion."

"Oh, that baby is one heavy one," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! shout, men! said Great Echo,
"for the name I will give this baby of mine is Prince Approaches-Frogs.
     He is a thousand men of doom
          ten thousand men in accord,
          a hundred men united.
     All he does is croak, yet his shouts split the earth."
"Eh, I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.
"He likes to stretch out.
     The lazy pass over his head,
          the cowardly insult his wife.
I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.

"Oh, that baby is one heavy one," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for the name I will give this baby of mine is Prince Owl-Terror-by-Night-Quiet-by-Day.
     He makes night into day and day into night,
          All by himself he swallows an ox.
     He takes no knife to cut it,
          he takes no chopper to slice it,
               he just swallows."
"I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.

"Oh, that baby is one heavy one," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for the name I will give this baby of mine is Prince Big Boy. (59)
     He bathes and does not smell bad,
          swims and is clean.
     Unchallenged in his village,
          he is master of many servants,
     breeder of many fattening oxen,
          a sugarcane with young shoots.
A hundred dogs cannot swallow his fingernail clippings,
     ten thousand cannot swallow his toenail clippings.
The tenrec lodges in the hair of his armpit,
     hedgehogs nest in his eyebrows,
little birds lay their eggs in the hair of his nose,
     crows lay their eggs in the hair of his head,
          guinea fowls give birth in the hair on his neck.
One of his legs can be used to wash clothes,
     the other cna be used to sharpen a knife.
His knees are anvils,
     his fists are hammers,
          his fingers are tongs,
               his calves are bellows.
He says, 'Put it on the fire, put it on the fire.'
     and 'Take it off, take it off.'
He eats a hundred rams,
     he eats ten bulls at a sitting.
What cannot be eaten he cuts up,
     what cannot be cooked he puts on the fire.
He cuts without a knife,
     he slices without a sickle.
That is a hard man on the earth," said Great Echo.
"I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.

"Oh, that baby is a heavy man," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for the name I will give this baby of mine is Smith-of-the-Silver-Gods.
He is a hard man on the earth:
     he makes a thousand bulls fight,
          he eats a hundred bulls at a sitting.
He is a descendent of Rich Man,
     a son of Owns-Not-Little.
He steals from another,
     he gathers up what is not his own.
What he takes cannot be taken back,
                    because he is the man who owns it."
"I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.

"Oh, that baby is one heavy one," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for the name I will give this baby of mine is Handsome Gray-Eyed Man.
Now he is a hard man on the earth:
     he takes what is not his,
          he steals from the owner's hands.
He is a descendant of chiefs,
     a child of Kills-This-Very-Day.
Where he goes, all is not well,
                         But crushed into little pieces."
"I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.

"Oh, that baby is a heavy man," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for the name I will give this baby of mine is Princess Like-a-Man. (60)
He has a woman's name, so he is hard on the earth.
For he is a descendant of Killer,
          a child of Life Giver,
     a descendant of The Sharer,
          a child of The Giver,
     a descendant of Gold Being,
          a baby of Silver Being.
It would be hard to believe he were dead,
                         easy to believe he lives.
A thousand love him, a hundred honor him.
He is a thousand men in accord, a hundred united men.
Also, those he strikes one year die the same year
     those he give life to one year live that same year.
A descendant of Rich Man, a child of Big Herds.
When he looks up, the sky opens,
     when he looks down, the earth opens.
If he kicks a rock, it shatters in ten pieces.
     When he spits, that is a rainy day;
          when he does not spit, that is the dry season."
"Ah, Father, I almost like that one," said the baby,
     "but something in it I do not like."

"Oh, that baby is one heavy one," said Great Echo.
"Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for the name I will give this baby of mine if Father-of-Powerful.
Now he is a hard man on the earth,
     a descendant of Rich,
     a baby of Many-Red-Coral-Beads,
     grandson of Much Money.
He makes a thousand bulls and men fight,
     and eats ten rams at a sitting.
Son of Always Generous,
     grandson of Always Giving Away,
          from the lineage of Kills-Only-a-Little."
"I do not want that one, Father," said the baby.

"Well!" said Great Echo. "What name shall I give this baby, then?
Shout, men! Shout, men!" said Great Echo,
"for the name I will give this baby of mine
     is Iboniamasiboniamanoro. (61)
He points out what is there,
     he points out what is here.
What he demands he gets,
     what is demanded from him no one gets.
At a time fixed he is not to be found,
     if he fixes the time, it is respected.
At the same time he is out seeking fortune,
     he is at home winding thread on the bobbin.
When he looks up, the sky opens,
     when he looks down, the earth opens.
He points to the east and it overturns,
     he points to the north and kinsmen are destroyed.
He points to the west and all goes barren;
     he points to the south and lice attack like chickens.
No one takes care for him. He cannot be constrained.
     He does not need two nights' sleep,
          he needs one night's sleep to go to battle.
The sky trembles, the earth shakes,
     waters dry up, hills fall down
          in the path of this dangerous man.

"He is descended from Great-in-Length,
     a child of Great-in-Width;
descended from Gold Being
     a child of Silver Being,
          a child of The Giver,
               grandchild of Distributor;
descended from Ordered Being,
     a child of The Slicer,
          grandson of Big Cattle-Pen,
               a child of Many Fattenings,
descended from No-Need-to-Breed-to-Have-Cattle-to-Kill,
     a son Burdened-by-None,
          a grandson of He-who-is-Owed.
Those he strikes one year die the same year,
     those he gives life to one year live that same year.
The power he has no one else has.
     His authority is shared with no one.
          It fits only him.
He scorns what comes from others,
     even from beyond the roaring sea,
          but he is scorned by none.

Grandson of Unique Prince, son of Only-One-to-Have-Good,
     no one can be found to fight him.
          He it is who pacifies the earth.
               He is a hard man.
Now animals are animals,
     and crocodiles are crocodiles,
          but he is a huge crocodile lying in wait at the ford.
If a pirogue strikes him, he overturns it;
     if anyone crosses, he bites his stomach.
He is a big house seen from afar.
     Not even a whole crowd can chip it,
          but if they do, it takes revenge;
and when those from across the sea catch sight of him,
                         he adds them to his servants.

"Ibonia is a bull with horns curving forward.
It is dangerous to fight with him.
     What is caught on his horns is pierced,
     what he makes big eyes at goes bald,
     what is on his ears he shakes off,
     what is on his tail he switches off,
     what is under his hoof he treads.
     His breath changes to a waterspout,
          his right hand kills ten thousand,
          his left hand kills a thousand,
          his bull's heel burns on the earth.
                         Grass dries.
                         Earth shakes.
                         Villages burn.
His village smells of cattle,
     its ground smells of rum.
Meats are preserved there in melted fat, reduced to pieces.
     With a single jug he makes a thousand men drunk,"
                         said Great Echo.
"That is the name for the baby."

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