Boasts of the Hero
When ten years had passed, the pregnant Beautiful-Rich
happened to be among some planters.
The baby became heavy,
and she began to feel pains.
And the baby said,
"Take me home, Mama.
I am not plant leaves to be cooked, (42)
I am not sweet potato tops, to make sweet potato,
I am no hog, to puff myself up,
I am no hedgehog, to go soft,
I am no dog, to have a dangerous tongue,
I am no locust, to show off,
I am no hedgehog, whose prickles can't prevent death,
I am no stone, to begin rolling,
I am no banana, of which one is enough,
I am no fog, to cover the earth
I am no cock, to wake in the morning,
I am no guinea fowl, to carry off my own young,
I am no crocodile, to wait at the ford. I am an edible arum in the chink of a rock, (43)
not crushed with the foot,
its leaves not eaten.
If you pass over it, your knees swell up,
if you look at it sidelong, you lose an eye,
if you point at it, you lose fingers.
Place it on the fire, there's a calamity,
cook it, there's a disaster.
But I am a poisonous creeper from beyond the sea:
pass under it, it blinds you,
step over it, your stomach swells up,
leave it there, it makes your toes drop off. "I am an enormous crocodile lying in wait at the ford:
if a pirogue strikes him, he overturns it,
if anyone crosses, he bites his stomach. (44) "I am 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 me,
I add them to my servants. (45) I am one dangerous boy:
I will destroy my rivals' lands
at the same time as my own,"
said the baby in his mother's womb.
"Magnificent am I, Mama," he said.
"When a time is fixed for me, I am not there,
but when I fix the time, I am there.
When I need something, I get it,
when someone needs something from me, they get nothing.
When I strike someone one years, he dies in a day,
when I give someone life one year, he has life for a day.
Easy it is to believe that I live,
hard to believe that I am dead.
Here am I alone,
yet numberless united warriors,
a thousand men shouting,
a hundred men united,
a thousand pirogues could not capture me," he said.
And his mother said,
"You all alone? A thousand pirogues, a hundred pirogues?
Ah, this one is fatal to his mother in her womb,
fatal to his father on the earth."
The baby said,
"I do not insult those who like me,
I use no bad words to those who leave me alone,
but I insult those who insult me,
I curse those who call me names.
For when sweet words come to me,
then those are my friends,
even those who lived beyond the sea, (46)
indeed those who live above the sky.
My feet were not made by man,
my hands were not made by man," he said.
"Mine is the earth, heaven is Sky Lord's. (47)
He is Sky Lord above, I am Sky Lord on earth.
If sweetest words come to me, I speak the sweetest words;
if worst words come to me, I speak the worst words.
Only I am the one who can fill the earth."