His Companions; His Weapons

That was the end of the combat of wits between Ibonia and Great Echo. (70)
Great Echo went back to his own village, and Ibonia stayed with his parents.     More Info

     There were four women, slaves of Great-King_maker, who had given birth at the same time as Beautiful-Rich. All four of the slave women's children were boys. So Great-King-Maker gave them to Ibonia, and the slave boys grew up with Ibonia and played with him.     More Info

     When the five boys were big enough to be "citizens" of the village, they went to play with the other children in the fields. There the children, divided into two teams, would throwclods of dung at each other. But Ibonia would not play that way. He said, "All of you be one team, the five of us be the other." There were a good many children at Long-Standing. But Ibonia would not listen; he said, "Just go over there to that side, and we will be the other team." Then they started throwing clods. But when Ibonia threw them, the boys he hit fell to the ground, and the ones he did not hit were dizzy and reeling. (71) So the five slaves beat all the other children.

     That evening the children went back to the village and said to their parents, "We fought with Ibonia with cowpats. It was just him and his four slaves on one team and all of us children of Long-Standing on the other team, but all of us could not win." And their parents said, "That is your ordinariness. Five children winning over all the children in Long-Standing?"

     On another day Ibonia again played with the boys in the fields, throwing clods of dung. The five were on one team, and the other children did not win. That evening they went to their parents and said, "We got beaten by those five slaves." And their parents said, "You are children no one is going to feed if five people can beat you." And the children said, "Then you go to the fields when Ibonia goes to the fields." Then one day Ibonia went to the fields with the children, and they were throwing clods of earth, but the children did not win. And the adults who had come there to watch were surprised when they saw the clouds of dust Ibonia raised.

     Later, they were throwing rocks, and again Ibonia was the winner. Still later, all the young men of Long-Standing played there in the field with Ibonia and his five slaves. They did arm wrestling and boxing; later they did jumping. Some tried hard and did two lengths, some did two-and-a-half lengths, some did three. Finally Ibonia too tried, and he jumped over a hill that was three day's march away. (72) When the young men reached the village, they went to the villagers and said, "We did jumping with Ibonia. He went last. He went over that hill over there, and went over some others too, and we do not know where he has gone." And the people were surprised to hear that, and said, "Bad news for us if the king's son is lost or dead." But when his parents heard about it, they did not worry. They knew their son. And when three days passed, here came Ibonia. He came all the way back on foot, and did not jump.

     Now when Ibonia was grown up, he did not play any more with the children in the fields. He changed the names of the slaves with him, who were all grown up too. His favorite he called Like-to-See; another he called Handsome-Lad-Does-No-Work, another Goes-Seldom-to-the-Fields, and another Likes-Rice-Water.

     Ibonia sat playing fanorona (73) at the gate with his mother's sister. (74) it was spring. And Ibonia said,

     "O Living Lady!
          The days are hurrying toward spring,
               the workers are tilling the fields,
                    but I am longing for my betrothed."

Living Lady said, "That will do, child. You are still a boy; your palms are those of a woman. Assuredly Stone Man is a meteor; assuredly Stone Man is a thunderbolt."

     "Oh Living Lady," said Ibonia, "with you indeed I am gentle, but with others I am hard.
     "I am a big house seen from afar.
          Not even a whole crowd can chip it,
               but if they do, it takes revenge."
But Like-To-See then said, "Swim your own way, cousin,
                         swim your own way, cousin.
     You are a child of the moon,
          grandchild of the sun,
               in the middle of the skies.
     You are a child well named Prince,
          for you are a son of Prince-By-Himself,
               a grandchild of Him-whose-Memory-does-not-Wither.
Let your power shine here in Long-Standing."
     "Yes," said Ibonia.
     "I stand up and the sky breaks,
     I stoop and the earth breaks,
     I lean over and the eastern forest burns,
     I kick the earth in Long-Standing, and it dissolves in mud,
     I outreach all others at shooting."
And Ibonia made the earth reverberate with his foot.
     It trembled and shook as far away as Many Palms, where Stone Man lived. Utensils there fell from their places. Then Stone Man said,
     "I do not see how this land of Many Palms will end.
          It is to be conquered by a man of powerful charms.
     So those who have animals fattened should kill them,
          those who have thin animals should trade them."
     His father, Big-Eared Prince, said to him, "That is only your fear. How can this land be conquered by a man of powerful charm?"
     "Ah," said Stone Man.
     "Father seems to have knowledge but does not know,
          he seems to have memory but does not remember."
Then Stone Man left off and said no more. He went off by himself, saddened to think of the calamity coming.
     Now Ibonia, in Long-Standing, left the entry gate and went back to his house. Another day, when Ibonia and his mother's sister were playing fanorana (75) in the house, said to her,
          "I became betrothed when just conceived,
          I was married as a baby.
     And if Joy-Giving Girl dies,
          I will not leave her on the earth,
               if she lives, I give her to no man." (76)
     And Living Lady said, "That will do, child. She is not the only wife for you." but Like-To-See then said,
     "Swim your own way, cousin,
          swim your own way, cousin.
     You are powerful, Ibonia.
     You are rich with goods, rich with property,
               not forgotten, not ignored,
     an arum swallowed by Long-Standing. (77)
     You will make braided hair out of Many Palms."

     "I am a big man," said Ibonia.
     "The name I will give this spear,
          which I will carry to fight Stone Man,
               will be Spear-That-Many-Trust,
                    Spear-Making-Many-Capable,
                    Forged-on-Sunday,
                    Monday's Beard,
                    Digs-in-Earth-with-Tenrecs, (78)
                    Submerges-with-Eels-in-Water.
It is an edible arum in the crevice of a rock,
     not dug for the roots,
          not plucked for the leaves.
If the wind does not fell it,
     it will not be pulled up."
                    Again he said,
"Yes, I am a big man.
     The name of my ax
          will be Male-Iron-Sparing-No-Banana,
               Struck-by-Pirogue-But-Not-Turning,
               Delicious-as-Unique-Lemon-Grass,
               Does-Not-Chatter-with-Birds,
               Does-Not-Think-with-His-Knees,
               Peerless Life,
               Protector-Against-Death."

                    Again he said,
"Yes, I am a big man.
     The name of this knife of mine
          will be Needs-No-Knife-to-Cut,
               Needs-No-Ax-to-Cut,
               Grandson-of-Long-Stream,
               Need-Not-Breed-Any-to-Have-Animals-to-Kill."
                    Again he said,
"Yes, I am a big man.
     The name I will give tis ox of mine
          will be Born-of-Wild-Silver,
               Smoking Firebrand,
               Firebrand-of-Perfumed-Fire.
When commanded, he goes in a circle,
     tuned, he jumps,
     drinking, he takes all the pieces, (79)
     lying down, he casts a big shadow,
     eating, he swallows in one gulp.
     Put to work, he beautifies the land.
     He is victorious.
               From him the people draw their strength."

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