A story is the wind


“You know that I sit waiting for the !xoe-sho-!kui (the moon)*

to return for me,

to go back to my place,

listen to all the people’s stories,

when I visit them,

listen to the stories that they tell.

They listen to the stories of the people of the Flat, yes,

from the other side of the place,

this they do,

they listen to them.

When the other !xoe-sho-!kui (the sun) becomes a little warm,

I sit in the sun;

seated, I listen to the stories that come from afar,

stories that come from a distance.**

Then; I shall get hold of a story from them, yes,

because the stories float out from a distance.

When the other !xoe-sho-!kui is a little warm,

I feel that I must definitely go and visit;

to talk with them, my fellow men. […]

I must first sit a little, cool my arms;

that the fatigue may go out of them.

I do merely listen,

watching for a story that I want to hear;

I sit waiting for it to float into my ear.*** […]

I will go to sit at my place

to turn back (with my ears) to my feet’s heels,

on which I went, yes,

because I feel that a story is the wind:

it is wont to float along to another place”


* Literally, “the man of the place”, and later in this narrative is used to refer to the sun, and then to ||kabbo himself. Here it appears to be a kind of “praise name” for the moon.

** ||kabbo explains that a story is “like the wind, it comes from a far-off quarter, and we feel it.” (Note by Lucy Lloyd)

***||kabbo explains that when one has travelled along a road, and goes and sits down, one waits for a story to travel to one, following one along the same road. (Note by Lucy Lloyd)


(W. H. I. Bleek & L. C. Lloyd, Specimens of Bushman Folklore, London: George Allen, 1911, p. 299-305)
Illustration inspired by a knot of traditional Finnish design .