He Refuses Other Wives

When Ibonia returned, he did not place himself at the entry gate of Long-Standing. His father and mother were glad. Ibonia said,
     "The baby is not a bird,
          the season is no empty boast.
     Now it is spring,
          the people are digging the fields.
               But Ibonia is longing for Joy-Giving Girl." (100)
     Beautiful-Rich said, "O Ibonia, you have hands like a baby's, hands like a woman's. You will not be able to stand the blows of Stone Man. Stone Man is a thunderbolt, a meteor. His fingers are horns; he makes hammers of his fists; his head he uses as an anvil." But Ibonia answered,
               "I became betrothed when just conceived,
                    I was married as a baby.
               If Joy-Giving Girl dies,
                    I will not leave her on the earth,
               if she lives,
                    I give her to no man.
               I will give her to no one. She is my wife."
     Then Beautiful-Rich replied, "Enough, Ibonia. If you are really in search of a wife, there is the daughter of the Prince of the West. She is noble." He agreed. (101) They sent for that daughter, and she came. Then Ibonia spoke, saying,
               "Send that girl back.
                    She has bushy eyebrows.
                    She will cast bad looks at her husband as she enters.
               Still, she is beautiful among the beautiful,
                    and good among the good,
               so give her money, give her precious stones."
     Then they brought him the daughter of the Prince of the South. When she came, Ibonia said,
     "She is beautiful among the beautiful
          and good among the good.
     Still, she has one small fault -- her feet are cracked.
          She is a carrier of ulcerous disease,
               one who brings sand into the bed.
     So send the girl back,
          but give her money, give her precious stones." (102)
     Then Lord Not-to-be-Mixed-With, who was Ibonia's mother's brother, heard about this, in his country. He said to his slave, "Full-of-Zeal, go to Resist-Long and say to Great-King-Maker, Beautiful-Rich, and Ibonia, If it is a wife you want, Ibonia, there is the child of your uncle. She is noble, she is a queen. Her mirror is a golden mirror; her hairbrush is silver. When she goes, she is like a dance of warriors; when she comes, she is like a line of dancers.'"
     When Ibonia heard that, he answered, "This is my message to you, O messenger of Lord Not-to-be-Mixed-With; tell him this:
               I will pull you out of bed,
               I will knock you on the hearthstones,
               I will throw you down by the door,
               I will toss you in the ditch.'
     Say that. If my uncle takes that, I will not fight. My wife can belong to Stone Man, and the daughter of Lord Not-to-be-Mixed-With will be my wife. Also tell him,
                I will set your house on fire, and your village,
                    but I will take no furniture.
               I will cut off your children's heads
                    and hang them at the entry gate.
               Kestrels will perch there
                    and lemurs will feed on them.'
If Uncle accepts that, I will not fight. My wife can belong to Stone Man, and the daughter of Lord Not-to-be-Mixed-With will be my wife." (103)
     When Lord Not-to-be-Mixed-With heard that, he was angry. He said, "He may go after whoever he wants, and fight too. A son-in-law of mine should be stronger."
     Then Ibonia said to Beautiful-Rich, "A man who goes in quest of a wife can be killed. Let me go rescue Joy-Giving Girl.
     Plant this banana-tree now, and water it often.
          If it withers, I am sick,
               if it dies, I too am dead,
                    if it is green, then I too am healthy. (104)
     I will go leaping over the hills.
     Where I hit the ground, it dissolves in mud.
     Where I kick the rocks, they roll like mountain torrents."

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