194. The Goat-Dung

Please throw some goat-dung my way!
Why goat-dung? To hurl at the sky.
Why the sky? To get a little water.
Why a little water? To make the burnt grass grow.
Why grass? To feed my cow.
Why a cow? To butcher it for the eagles.
Why eagles? To get eagle-feathers from them in return.
Why eagle-feathers? To put on my arrows.
Why arrows? To hunt my enemies’ cattle.
Why cattle? To get a wife.
Why a wife? To have a son.
Why a son? To pluck my lice.
Why lice? To go and die with them, an old man.

[a Nandi story from Kenya]

Inspired by: "Goats' Dung" in The Nandi, their language and folk-lore by Alfred C. Hollis, 1909.
Notes: You can read the original story online.  Kenya is home to the black-chested snake eagle:

This Nandi chain tale inspired Verna Aardema's book Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain. Her chain is more in the style of a "house that Jack built" way of telling the story: "These are the cows, all hungry and dry, who mooed for the rain to fall from the sky, to green-up the grass, all brown and dead, That needed the rain..." In her version, the feathers are for an arrow that a boy shoots at the sky to make the rain come.

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