Stories and other Notes from the Upper Congo
IT may interest you to know how these stories were obtained. Soon after we opened this station, in August, 1890, I tried to get some native stories from the boys, but failed in every attempt. I felt sure, however, that they had some, and it was not until one evening early in 1892 that I was successful. On that evening while I was writing, some boys were sitting on the floor at my feet talking. After a time I noticed that one was talking and the others listening intently. I made a mental note of
... de a mental note of it, and the next day I asked him to write out on a slate for me the palaver he had told the boys on the previous evening. He did so, and I found it was a native story. I gave him a small present and asked him to write some more, which he did, and in a short time I had four or •five boys writing stories on my verandah, and very often one boy who knew a story, but could not write, sat and told it to one who could, and then shared the spoil. We,have between sixty and seventy native stories, and the majority of them was handed down by one chief, who, although he died before we came'here, is still spoken of with respect on account of his knowledge of the ancient myths and customs. These stories, or most of them, have been printed in the original, to use: first, as a reading book for our school; secondly, as a storehouse of native idioms for bur own use; thirdly, so as to have them in a handy and permanent form for reference. 1 Some of the stories are witty and amusing; others are only remarkable for the way in which they account for the present state • 1 The thanks of the Society are due to Mr. Weeks for the copy of this work which he has kindly presented to the library.-ED.