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tes of Haiti
ois Marcel-Turenne des Pr6s
children of ayoute
Folk Tales of Haiti
Frangois Marcel-Turenne des PrOs
FRANCOIS MARCEL-TURENNE DES PBES
A Citizen of the United States of America
Imprimerie Heanr Deschamps
ISIDORA W. MILES
ANNA L. CURTIS
ETHEL S. HALPERN
All rights reserved under INTERNATIONAL
and PAN AMERICAN COPYRIGHT CONVEN-
TIONS. No part of this book may by repro-
duced in any form without the permission in
writing from the author, except by a reviewer
who may quote brief passages in a review
to be printed in a magazine or newspaper.
THESE TALES ARE BASED ON ORIGINAL
STORIES HANDED DOWN THROUGH
MANY GENERATIONS AND ARE TOLD
BY THE PEASANTS THOUROUGHT THE
MOUNTAINS OF HAITI.
A LETTER TO THE READERS
I suppose you are wondering what the title of my book means. Well,
I am going to tell you, but before I do so, please allow me to say a few
words which will eventually lead to it but which have very little connec-
tion with the stories, if any at all.
.Island of Mystery. is the name often given to the island of Haiti.
One of the reasons probably is because when night falls on the
mountains, every weird thing imaginable (such as the lightning-bugs, a
falling star, the howling of a dog, the hooting of an owl, a torch seen
miles away, the leaping of a dog or a cat across the field) seems to come
out to contribute its share in making the only French-speaking republic
in the Western Hemisphere just what people outside the island call it -
.Island of Mystery.. The weird things are African in every way and are
practiced in the African ways. They were brought to Haiti by the slaves
and have been handed down by African fathers, who became Haitians,
to their children and on through many generations to the present day.
In the silence of the night, even from a boat at sea, the mysterious,
monotonous, yet restless sounds of the drums can be heard throughout
But at the first sign of dawn, like ghosts which were dancing AU
SON DU VIOLON and which heard the first morning cock crow, all the
things which make the night weird flee quietly to hide, perhaps under
the stones of their graves. Then the living awaken; husbandry begins;
the usual loud voices of the peasants echo everywhere in the green of the
mountains. Strange tales are often heard from the mouths of those lead-
ing their donkeys laden with charcoal on their way to market, or from
those going to the spring for water to make their coffee, or from someone
who is leading his cows to pasture. Sometimes the tales are about what
had happened during the previous night, sometimes they employ peculiar
terms and sayings that are unfamiliar even to the ear of the city people.
For example, one may hear a term like the following:
.Nous c6 pitites yayoute, oui.. This means simply, We are children
of African ancestry, yes..
,N the green mountains, under the royal palm, mango,
avocado, and breadfruit trees, among the cofee bushes, and
sugar cane fields of Haiti lived two creatures. One was called
Malice, which means malicious or roguish, and the other
Bouqui. The best definition we can give of the latter's name
is cold goat.,
Some people say that Bouqui and Malice were animals,
while others hold that they were Africans who came among
the earliest slaves and remained in Haiti until they died.
But because of the many stories and jokes told about them,
their names still live among the Haitian peasants.
It is evident that Bouqui and Malice were related to
each other. We often meet them as uncle and nephew.
Malice called Bouqui none. Those who visualize them as
people say that Malice was not an African of pure blood. He
had a dark reddish complexion and keen, long features like
those of a shrewd man. He was very enduring, and always
on the alert, but not for any working purposes. Whenever
he was found working he had something up his sleeve. It
must be because of his alertness that he is often associated
with the hare. Bouqui, on the contrary, was rather coarse-
looking with a black complexion and with a face as round
as a full moon. He was always confused, thick-tongued,
greedy. As long as his stomach was full he could stand any
sort of hard labor under any conditions.
During the course of their lives Malice seems always
to have had the best of Bouqui, except on the few rare occa-
sions when the big stick changed hands. Then Malice got
hit hard; but he always lived through.
Bouqui suffered many injuries because of the tricks
played on him by others, and especially by Malice. Some-
times his mishaps were caused by dreadful pranks which
he himself had played, or tried to play, on others. Some-
times he suffered such dire experiences that people thought
he had died, but somehow he always came up alive again.
Usually he took with resignation whatever hardships were
inflicted upon him, probably because he realized that those
mishaps were due to his own blundering. But when Malice
was responsible for his misfortune, he would set off to re-
venge himself on his tormentor. He might swear to kill
Malice on sight, but through another trick of Malice the
two would became more friendly than before.
Bouqui was very seldom seen without Malice. Wherever
the two were, there was bound to be trouble. And if there
was no trouble, Bouqui's greediness or clumsiness would
soon create some.
Because of the amusing peculiarities of these two,
whether they were beasts or men, people, eversince slavery
days, have been telling stories about them or listening to
the stories told by others.
Let us read a few of these tales.
1. San Naa.
.AADAME Rosana Pierre-Louis, known as San Naa to her
children, lived in a mountain section of Haiti called Carre-
four-Sans-Nom, (Crossroad Without Name), about fifty
miles from the province of J6r6mie in the south of the island.
Some years ago, when I visited Haiti I went to Jre&mie,
and on more than one occasion I had the pleasure of going
to Carrefour-Sans-Nom, and my greatest joy was to listen
to San Naa tell stories in her gentle, picturesque, Creole
tongue. At once I realized that San Naa was the greatest
interpreter of Bouqui and Malice stories of all time.
Here I have attempted to write these stories exactly as
San Naa herself told them, that is, in the language of the
Haitian peasant. Now I have the pleasure of bringing them
to the English speaking public for the first time.
In telling these stories, San Naa followed the traditional
pattern of story-telling, as do all Haitian peasants even to
To wake all around her that might be asleep she would
Crac! would reply the audience, jumping up wide
12 Children of Yayoute
Time-time ? (Pronounce Team-team) she would snap
to make sure they were on the alert.
Dry wood the audience would reply, meaning that
they wanted to hear stories.
How many branches ? San Naa would ask.
Thirty-three branches! the audience might answer
indicating the number of stories they wanted to be told that
-My first story San Naa might say is:
2. The Great House.
CVERYONE is supposed to know that a long time ago
there were no people in the world. The forest was popu-
lated with beasts; and among them were Bouqui and Malice.
It must have been at the time that God had begun to
change animals into men that He called the animals and
told them to build a great house to keep out rain and storms
and to live like one big happy family.
The animals were very eager for the change. At once
they set out to cut some wood for poles and split some
into shingles for the walls and roof. But Malice, who was
lazy even then, refused to help. All the animals talked it
over, and the wisest one suggested that they should go
before God and report the matter to Him.
No sooner said than done.
a Well P, said God, a if he refuses to help, when the house
is finished, do not let him in it, in rain, in storm, or in
They got to work and quickly, with so many hands, got
the house built. Malice, seeing the great achievement, be-
came envious, and curious to see inside of it. He tried to
go in but was barred out. They even threatened to beat him
14 Children of Yayoute
with cocomacaque, which contains some sort of charm that
kills anyone who receives a blow from it.
Malice, who never gave in to anyone, made up his mind
to get in the house if it was the last thing he did. So he
made himself a trumpet with woods from the tree by that
name. When night-time came, he slipped into the house
and lay under Bouqui's bed. At midnight, when all was
quiet, he blew on the instrument too, too The noise
sounded like the blowing of a ferry-boat whistle.
Then he said, in a disguised voice, I'm from God's house.
He sent me to tell you all to leave this house at once, or
it will fall upon you !
The animals were scared sick. All but Bouqui, who was
enjoying his bed, ran pell-mell, pushing one another out of
the way, to get out.
Bouqui turned over and continued to snore.
SToo, too! Malice blew again. K I say I'm from God's
house! He sent me to tell you, too, to get out, or you'll
be killed. You lazy scoundrel, get out! ,
Bouqui grumbled at being disturbed from his sleep; but
he got out to join his comrades in the jungle.
Since the animals were very democratic then, the first
thing they did in the morning was to call a meeting to
decide what to do about their house. The meeting result-
ed in sending a pair of cats back to see what had happened.
The cats went along and from a distance saw Malice walk-
ing to and fro on the verenda of the house, whistling. Ma-
lice saw them, too, and had to think quickly how to handle
the couple. At that moment he saw the pieces of a broken
The Great House
bottle on the ground. An idea came to him. He picked them
up, and waited for the newcomers.
Compare Cat, Commere Cat, how is your courage today ?
I hope you are feeling well..
SN1ot bad, not bad at all, Compare Malice replied the
I came to see Bouqui and I found the doors of the house
open, so I walked in and found not even a fly around. But
since you're here, will you, Compare Cat, do me a little
favor ? .
< State the nature of the favor. I don't think I'll mind ,
said Comp6re Cat.
SI would like for you to shave me ., he said, handing the
pieces of the broken bottle to the cat.
c Of course he won't mind Comm6re Cat put in.
Compare Cat shaved Malice in the shake of a lamb's tail.
Then the latter stuck out his tongue and asked the cat
to scrape it for him. I'm going to a rada dance tonight
and I want to be spick-and-span s.
Compare Cat did Malice's bidding as Commere Cat looked
on; and when he had finished, Malice said, I'd like to
take you two along to the dance as my gratitude for your
kindness to me. You are so kind. In fact, my host asked me
to bring two friends along..
SYes indeed ., cried Comm6re Cat. We'd love to go..
4 But your face, Compare Cat, must be shaved clean and
your tongue and Commere Cat's must be clean to look as
red as a cherry .. Showing the two cats his tongue, he said,
Like mine, you see ..
16 Children of Yayoute
a Oh-oh! said Commere Cat, c you'll shave him and
scrape our tongues, won't you, Compare Malice?,
Sure indeed, I will do that v.
Compare Cat agreed and Malice shaved his face clean,
and he said, Stick your tongue out *.
Compare Cat stuck out his tongue and in one stroke Ma-
lice sliced half of it off, together with part of his throat,
and then with another stroke reached over for Commere
Cat's throat, but he missed her. The two cats leaped back-
ward and went through the door like a gale. Compare Cat
ran to his comrades who were waiting for him in the jungle.
On arriving, he tried to tell them what had happened but
nothing came out but the rattle of a piece of a tongue, and
he soon died. As for Commere Cat, she was so scared that
she never tried to find the others. She went further and fur-
ther in the woods. To this day her descendants are still in
the woods, coming out at night to steal people's chickens.
All the animals became more scared and never returned
again to the great house.
If the men in the Haitian hills knew what happened to
Compare Cat's throat, maybe they wouldn't be still shaving
with pieces of broken bottles.
3. How Malice Went to Learn a Trade.
COMPERE Macaque, the monkey, Commere Macaque, his
wife, and Ti-Macaque, their young one, carrying their long
tails on their arms, were passing before Malice's house
when Compare Macaque stopped and said,
cLook at Compare Malice, still lying on his back in the
same spot where we saw him when we passed by this
,I hope you won't be as lazy as your godfather Malice,
Ti-Macaque, when you grow up,, said Commere Macaque.
Turning to Compare Macaque she said, -If it were left to
me, Malice wouldn't be the godfather of my child; it was
all your idea.,
cCompere Malice is all right, yes, if you understand him.
Hold, Compere Malice,, Compare Macaque cried.
cHola, godfather Malice,> Ti-Macaque cried.
*Hola, Commere, Compare and Ti-Macaque! And the
-Not bad, Compare Malice!, replied the three in turn.
18 Children of Yayoute
aWon't you come in and have a cup of coffee? I have
a new coffee bag which makes delicious coffee, yes.,
-No, thank you, Compere Malice. We want to get home
before it gets completely dark.,
They turned around the curve.
*Have you ever heard why Compare Malice is so lazy
and tricky?- Commere Macaque asked. -They say that he
learned it from a teacher, a real teacher.,
*Don't tell me, no; that couldn't be true,- Compare
Macaque said with a laugh.
,That's true. I was told that it was in the days when
Malice was young, Mere Malice could never get him to do
anything in the line of work. He would not even go into the
kitchen to get his food if he could find someone to bring
it to him.
-One day they say that M&re Malice called him, "Malice
get up from your back and dig some yams for supper."
<"I can't do it, maman, because I'd have to bend my back
to dig it, and that's too much work for me to do."
("As the old saying goes," said M&re Malice, "Maman
donkey bears her colt that's to help her carry the load on
her back;" but as for you, Malice, it seems that I bore you
to add more burden on me." She went in the field and dug
the yams herself. But a few minutes later she called, "Mali-
ce, child, go get some kindling wood to start the fire under
,"I can't do it. It's too far for me to walk; my legs might
*She had to go after the kindling wood and then build
the fire herself. But a while later she called, "Malice, get up
How Malice Went to Learn a Trade 19
from your back and bring me the gourds so I can dish up
the food so we can eat."
."I'm sorry, maman. I'm too tired to do that."
-"How can you be tired when you have been lying on
your back since daylight, and now the sun is behind mount
eShe went after the gourds and dished the food into
them. "Malice, your food is ready. The only thing you have
to do now is come and get it and eat it."
*Malice still lay on his back with his legs crossed, his
hands under his head, and his hat over his face, and he
said, "Please, maman, bring it to me. The gourd may be
too heavy for me to lift."
"If it's too heavy, it means there's too much food in it.
I'll take some out so you can lift it."
-"No, maman," Malice said as he jumped up. "I'll try to
come and get it. Don't take any of it out."
He walked as slowly as if he were going to a wedding,
as we say, and finally arrived in the kitchen and took his
gourd of dried goat meat stew with potatoes and yams and
congo peas; and then he sat down and began to eat.
tion of the stew. After a minute or so she said, "Malice, you
lie on your back so much, I should think you would get a
sore on it. And as lazy as you are, I don't know what you're
going to be when you grow up. You won't work; you won't
go to the chapel to school."
-"I don't see why I should waste my time going to school.
It's too much trouble for me to open a book and look in it.
The others are so mean that they won't open it and tell me
20 Children of Yayoute
what's in it. Besides that, I would have to carry the books;
when I get there I would have to sit up too long. That
would tire me out."
-Poor Mere Malice had tried every way she could to
get Malice interested in some sort of work. Now after think-
ing a second, she said, "In the morning I want you to go to
the village and speak to one of the trademasters down there,
maybe a hat maker or a shoemaker, so he can teach you
his trade. I don't want to hear that you aren't going. You'll
go if I have to chase you with a firebrand."
c"You won't have to do that, maman. I'll be glad to go"
-"At last!" she said happily seeing that for once Malice
was interested in work.
<"I'll go the first thing in the morning, but I'll have to
find one who won't ask me to do anythirig hard or lift any-
-The next morning Malice got up and went to the foot
of the village where all the trademasters' shops were. He
went into a shop, but came out saying to himself, It's out
with the blacksmith. I couldn't lift one of those horse shoes.
So he went into another place where the master taught hat-
weaving. But Malice came right out again saying to him-
self, "Not me! No indeed! My fingers would be too tired
,So he kept on going from place to place until finally
he went into an empty shop where there were no tools.
The boss, a very fat fellow, lay on his back with his eyes
-"This looks more like the place where I belong," Malice
said to himself, and he walked up to the man. "Boss, I would
like to know what trade you teach? I want to learn it."
How Malice Went to Learn a Trade
The man said nothing.
c"He can't be dead because he is breathing," Malice said.
He called again, "Boss, I want to learn your trade."
*The man twisted himself lazily, mumbling, "Why do
you come and make me talk? That's too much trouble, too
much work for a poor man."
<"Ah!" Malice breathed with enthusiasm." You'll be in-
terested in me if you will only listen to me. I think I have
-"What do you want?" the man asked impatiently.
a"I've been trying to tell you that I want to learn your
-"Nobody can learn my trade," replied the man. "I'm the
only lazybones and trickster-master in the land. I can easily
teach you to be lazy, but it is hard to be a good trickster."
,"I don't think it'll be hard because it is the only trade
in which I'm interested."
*"No use," said the boss. "It's hard enough to think of
teaching you, but I'd have to be thinking and talking to you.
That's too much work for me."
C"But you won't be sorry if you take me in," Malice said.
4"Good. I'll try you out. But as I've said, it will be easy
to learn to be a lazybones; but as for a trickster, if you can
learn it so well that you're better than I, you can put me
out of my shop and take it over. I'm sorry, though; you're
going to waste your time and mine."
,"I'll take the chance, boss," Malice said.
*So he began to take lessons right away. It didn't take
him long at all to master the art of being a lazybones, as
22 Children of Yayoute
the boss had told him. But it was after sometime that the
boss decided to see how much Malice had learned as a
trickster. He sent him to trick people who didn't have much
experience. Malice did very well every time. The boss
decided to try him on people who were more on the alert.
-One day, apprentice and boss were standing at the foot
of the hill when the boss said, "I see you're learning fast,
a"Yes, thank you. It's because you've taught me well."
around a curve nearby. He said to Malice, "I want you to
go and trick the goat right out of that man's hand, without
causing any trouble; and after you've done so, take the goat
back and place the rope in his hand without him knowing
*Malice looked somewhat puzzled. He didn't see how
he could do that. But he went just the same. When he saw
the man walking as if he had bad feet, an idea came to him.
He ran home, picked a pair of zapate, and sped across the
woods ahead of the man and his goat. Then he put one of
the zapate in the center of the road, and hid behind a bush
eThe poor fellow was limping along, leading his goat
by a rope, when he saw the zapate. He looked at it, picked
it up and examined it. "This is a good zapate, but what good
will it be for my two sore feet."
*He trew it alongside the road and went on his way.
aMalice came out of his hiding place and by a short cut
got ahead of the man again. He laid the other zapate in the
center of the road and quickly hid behind a bush again.
How Malice Went to Learn a Trade
,"Ai-ai-ai! My grandmother told me that I was born
dumb and would die dumb. I believe her now, because if
I had sense, I would have picked up the other zapate, and
now I'd have a pair for my sore feet. I'm going after it;
maybe it's still there."
So he tied the goat to a tree and walked back. Then
Malice came out of his hiding place and took the goat to
his boss. The boss was very surprised to see Malice with the
goods. He couldn't imagine how he had tricked the animal
away from the man without causing any trouble.
a"It looks as if he is better than I am already, because
I couldn't have tricked the beast away from the man like
that," the boss said to himself. "But I'll give him a more
difficult task. I'll send him after something he won't be able
to find anywhere. I've got to stop him, or he'll really take
my trade away from me."
aIn the meantime Malice took the goat back and found
the man, who had searched for his goat until he was exhaust-
ed, and fell sound asleep on the ground. It wasn't hard
then for Malice to put the goat's rope back in his hand. That
worried the boss still more. To him Malice was clever beyond
,From then on the boss tried very hard to think of
something impossible for Malice to do. One day he told him,
"You've done so well that I don't think there is anybody in
the land you won't trick."
*Malice smiled very cunningly. "I don't think I'm so
good, no, boss; but if you say that I am, it must be true."
aIt's good he doesn't know he is so good. That'll make it
easier to get him out of the trade," said the master to
24 Children of Yayoute
himself. Then, he said aloud to Malice, "This time I want
you to take your straw bag and go to the countryside and
trick somebody out of a bagfull of ouch and bring it back
4"You want me to bring you a bag of ouch?" Malice
<"Yes, a bag of ouch."
9"But ouch is nothing. It's only a sound people make
when something hurts them."
"I know it, but if you want to become a good trickster,
you must obey my command, or you'll be no trickster at all."
*The whole thing sounded crazy to Malice. But he began
walking along the mountainside, repeating, "Ouch... ouch...
Where am I going to find such a thing?"
-The thought of it gave Malice such a terrible headache
that he could no longer stand on his feet. So he went into
the woods to look for a soft spot to lie down. He laid his
straw bag aside and began to lie down. But when he was
half way down he jumped and yelled, "Oh, ouch!" in an
agonized tone. When he looked down he saw that he was
on a pile of thorny cousin-seeds. He brushed them off his
trousers and giggled.
C"Good father God is good, good father God is great.
Well, by the time I get back to the shop my headache will be
cHe filled his bag with cousin-seeds and went back to
the boss, who was waiting for him.
-"I've fooled him, my impertinent apprentice, who
thinks he can win my trade from me. I knew he'd never
find that ouch, because there is no such thing that anybody
How Malice Went to Learn a Trade
can lay hands on. This time I'm going to get rid of him."
This is what the boss was thinking while he waited for
Malice to return.
-As Malice came into the shop the boss began to laugh
deep down in his stomach, "Ha-ha, my clever apprentice,
have you brought the ouch?"
-"Yes, boss, I have it right in my bag."
-The boss was surprised. "You're joking. You couldn't
have found that!"
-"You only have to put your hand in the bag to get it,"
Malice said. "And since ouch is so slippery, you had better
get it with both hands."
-It was through sheer curiosity that the boss plunged
both his hands all the way to the bottom of the bag. Right
away his face froze and he yelled, "Ouch! Ouch!" Then
he pulled his hands out of the bag. They were covered with
the thorny cousin-seeds which stuck in his skin. "Ouch,"
he yelled again and again. Then he said to Malice, "Young
man, you've won. From now on I want to pay you to teach
me the trade."
<"I'll teach you only on one condition; it is that you
must take a gourd of sand and count every grain of it, and
tell me how many grains the gourd holds."
aBut since the man couldn't do that, Malice became
the first class trickster in the land," said Commere Macaque.
-God, my father, who could have made up this story
about Compare Malice? said Compare Macaque.
*Made up, did you say? It may be made up but it sounds
like the truth.,
26 Children of Yayoute
-How could it be true when no one has ever heard of
any such teacher or any such shop where these trades were
taught? Besides, we all know that not Mere Malice, but
Grand-Mere Bouqui brought Malice up,, said Compare
*It's a made up story, then, but I'm afraid Ti-Macaque
is going to be like his godfather. You know that it is the
belief of everyone in the country that a child inherits the
brain of those who hold the candle over his head in church,,
Commere Macaque said.
Carrying their tails on their arms, Compere Macaque,
Commere Macaque, and Ti-Macaque disappeared in the
twilight of the evening.
4. Grand-mere Bouqui's Bath.
WHEN Bouqui and Malice were boys they lived with
Grand-Mere Bouqui who practically brought them up.
At that particular time Grand-Mere Bouqui was so
old that her limbs were crooked. She could scarcely walk.
Because of her helplessness Bouqui had to remain in the
little grocery store she owned to sell kerosene oil, salt, and
tobacco leaves to the neighbors. Malice was the one who
did all the shopping and other errands.
In those days Bouqui was more stupid than anyone
can imagine. Everything he was to do had to be explained
to him over and over in the simplest words, and in spite
of that he would often get confused. This was the reason
why Grand-Mare Bouqui kept an eye on him as much as
she was able. Malice on the contrary was very smart. He
could quickly outwit anybody in the countryside or at the
One day Grand-Mere Bouqui became very ill. That
happened on a Friday, and the next day she was getting
worse; so Malice had to go to town for the usual Saturday
28 Children of Yayoute
Bouqui, -to buy groceries for the house and some things for
the store. You will have to take care of Grand-M&re. I have
prepared her bath of sour orange pulp and leaves in the tub.
When the sun is half way in the sky, heat some water
on the fire; and when the water is hot pour it in the tub
over the leaves. Then add enough cold water so that to
make it lukewarm. Now don't forget that the water must
be lukewarm before you put Grand-Mere in it.v
With his big basket on his head, Malice went to town.
Bouqui alone in the store, soon became bored. He could not
wait until the sun was half way up the sky. So he built up
a big fire, and put a large iron kettle full of water on it.
When it boiled, he began to talk to himself. KWhat did
Malice say, pour the hot water on Grand-M&re, or make her
drink it? He thought for a second and said, finally, 'Now
I remember.- He helped her into the tub of cold water, and
then poured the whole kettle-full of boiling water over her.
It happened so suddenly that Grand-Mere Bouqui made one
splash and passed right away without even a squawk.
When Bouqui, so stupid, saw the old woman's lips drawn
apart, showing her teeth white, he thought she was grinning.
So he said to her,
that you're grinning with every tooth in your head. Shall
I get you your pipe?,
The old woman, of course, did not answer.
Bouqui brought the pipe, filled with tobacco, lit it with
a firebrand, and placed it between Grand-Mere Bouqui's
teeth. ,Now,- he said,
When you want to get out, just yell and I'll come to help
Grand-mBre Bouqui's Bath 29
He went into the store and sat down, feeling that he
had done a good job.
Shortly after Malice came back and asked Bouqui, -How
is Grand-Mere? Did you give her her bath? Is she feeling
aYes,, replied Bouqui contentedly. She likes it so well
that she keeps on smiling, and I gave her her pipe. She is
enjoying the bath and her pipe so much that she doesn't
even call me to help her out.,
Malice felt that something was wrong. He ran behind
the house where the bath-place was and found Grand-Mere
Bouqui dead and quite stiff.)
Weeping, he said to Bouqui, (You nigaud, you scalded
Grand-M&re to death.)
,I didn't do anything to her,, Bouqui said, weeping
with Malice. -If she died, she must have done so by herself.,
Malice sobbed and sobbed until all the neighbors heard
him. They came over and learned about the tragedy. It was
Everybody helped to bury Grand-Mere Bouqui, and a
nine day novena was held for the repose of her soul.
Even though it happened a long, long time ago, people
in Haiti have never forgotten this terrible accident. And
ever since then when anyone of the peasants wants to
prepare a warm bath for a sick person the water is put in
an oblong gamelle together with the orange leaves and
pulp in it, and it is preferably heated in the sun, not
on the fire, so the ailing person will not be scalded to death
as was Grand-Mere Bouqui.
I _. I
5. Mere Malice and Mere Bonqui for Sale.
ONCE again the drought came and killed all the game of
the forest. As a result, there was nothing in the forest for
It was pathetic for everybody, especially for Bouqui who
loved so much to eat meat.
One day Malice got together with him and each offered
whatever suggestions they thought of in order to get some
-I've thought of a way,, said Malice.
-I knew you would, Malice,> Bouqui said. -Tell me
quickly. Can't you hear how my stomach growls like the
thunder at the headwater of La Mamelle? I'm so hungry.,
-The idea is this : we should both sell our mothers. Any
of those mulatto women in the city will be glad to buy them
from us if we take them to the market place.>
-That is a good idea, Malice. But what will they do
with them, as old as they are?, asked Bouqui.
aThey'll use them to wash dishes, wash and iron clothes,
and put charcoal in the stoves. And besides, what do we care
Mere Malice and Mere Bouqui for Sale 31
what they do with them? The only thing which we are
concerned about is to get some money for them. We can
buy enough food to last us a long time.>
Both concluded that the idea was an excellent one. They
parted and agreed to meet at the crossroad which led to the
market place in the morning.
Then Malice went to his house and said to his mother,
aMaman, I have a good joke to play on someone, but I want
,What are you up to?, asked M&re Malice.
cWell, there is not much that I can tell you now, except
that I want to tie a rope around your neck...,
And before he had finished his speech Mere Malice cried
as if she was being choked. "No, no, no! Not around my
neck! Oh-oh! You bring a child into this world and as soon
as he is big enough he wants to strangle you.,
cYou don't understand, maman,, Malice said. cIt is just
a joke. The rope will be only a weak string from the banana
tree trunk, which would not hold even a baby chicken. Let
me lead you on the road toward town and when I give you
a signal you may break loose and run. Later on when I come
home I'll tell you what the joke is all about.,
I don't like the idea of playing with a rope around my
neck, for I'm liable to be strangled. And besides, what will
people say when they see you leading me with the rope
around my neck?,
But Malice talked so sweetly to her that she soon
As for Bouqui, he got up next morning, and without
saying a word to Mere Bouqui, took a strong sisal rope and
threw it around her neck.
32 Children of Yayoute
-Hawk! Mere Bouqui cried. (What's the big idea? Why
-Don't jerk the rope or your neck will be broken. That
will be much worse than what I've planned. I'm going to
sell you to some mulatto ladies in the market place. Both
you and I will be benefited by it. Whoever buys you will
feed you well, and I'll get a few gourdes in return..
-You're ill, Bouqui,, she cried. -It is not customary for
a son to sell his mother in the market place.>
But Bouqui pulled the rope and kept on saying,
way will be better for you and me. I won't have two mouths
to feed. Food is too scarce in these days of drought.,
Mere Bouqui pulled, and Bouqui who was strong held
In the meantime a colibri came out of her hole in the
white tufa, called to her next door neighbor, aTrtheet!
Commere Colibri 6!v
me, no a child is doing this to his mother!,
If I had a child like this, good God my father forbids,
I'd get up at dawn and show my breast to the rising sun!,
-Oh, Commere! the worse curse a mother can inflict
upon her child.,
Both colibris flew away.
By this time Bouqui and Malice had started on, leading
their mothers to market. Upon arriving at the crossroad
which led to the market place Malice heard a lot of noise
Mere Malice and Mire Bouqui for Sale 33
coming from the other direction. He looked up and saw
Bouqui dragging M&re Bouqui who was fighting and dodging
to every side of the road. When Mere Malice saw that she
decided not to wait for any signal from Malice. She took
one hard leap, which was rather unnecessary, and the ba-
nana string broke, and she got away. Malice leaped after
her into the nearby coffee field. To make Bouqui believe
that he was chasing her, he sat for a while and then came
out along, puffing and blowing, as if he had been running.
aI'm sorry she has got away and I couldn't catch up
with her,. Malice said.
cWell,, said Bouqui, -I'll have to give you half of the
money I get for mine when I sell her.
By the time they arrived in the market place M&re
Bouqui was so disgusted with her son and so worn out
from trying to get away that she was forced to be quiet.
At the same time she was praying that she would manage
to get away from whoever might buy her.
Mere Bouqui was indeed sold for a good sum. There
was enough money so that the two friends bought enough
food to last them a long time and a donkey as well to
carry the stuff home.
After loading the donkey, they started back home to
the mountains. On the way Bouqui asked Malice to wait
for him, for he had to go somewhere to do what no one
could do for him. In his absence, Malice cut the poor ani-
mal's tail and ears off and quickly dug three holes in the
ground and put them in, leaving the ends outside. Then
quickly he hid the donkey and all that was on it from
Bouqui's reach. After he had done that he quickly ran back
34 Children of Yayoute
to where Bouqui left him, calling out, -Bouqui 6! Bouqui 6!
Come quickly! Something terrible has happened !
cWhat is it, Malice? What is it?> he yelled as he came.
-After you left me the ground began to swallow the
donkey and all that is on it. I tried and can't get it out.,
Why don't you get her by the tail and pull her out? Let
me try it. I'm always known for my strength., He grabbed
the tail with both hands and gave it one hard pull, and he
fell on his back with the donkey's tail in his hand, and made
a double somersault. Oh-oh.- he grunted.
I'll get it by the ear.v He took each ear in turn and they as
well came out. Oh-oh,, he complained. aThere is some-
thing crooked about the whole thing. Maybe I should not
have sold M&re Bouqui. I have to find a way to buy her
back.- Worriedly he went home.
Malice presented to have started back home too, but,
by a short cut he ran quickly back to get the donkey and
the load on it. But he found the animal had disappeared
with all the groceries. Malice, too, gained nothing by the
When Bouqui returned home he was surprised to find
Mere Bouqui there. She told him that the mulatto woman
who bought her said that she was too old, and therefore
gave her old clothes, food and ten gourdes; and sent her
The two colibris, on the way back to their niches from
the fields, came upon Bouqui and Mere Bouqui sitting
together, eating in the utmost harmony.
-Do you see what I see, Commere Colibri?
-Yes. She has forgiven him.,
Mere Malice and Mire Bouqui for Sale 35
-What more do you need to make you realize that
between the tree and its bark no one should put his finger,
< Trtheet !
The two colibris flew into their niches in the ground.
6. How Bouqui Was Burned At the Stake.
UHE king had a fat cow which was almost as big as a
mountain. He had a special stable, which took the whole
mountainside, built for her. She ate only the finest imported
hay and oats by the ton.
One day the king discovered that the animal was get-
ting thin. And as time went on she became much worse
until at last she was nothing but skin and bones. The king
called the voodoo doctor to see what was wrong with his
The leaf doctor came, lighted his black candle, spilled
water on the ground in the shape of a cross and spoke a
strange language that no one understood. When he finished
the ceremony he said, -A baca is sent out every night by
an unknown enemy to suck the blood out of the beast, and
it is too late to save her.,
The news of the king's cow got around and soon reached
Bouqui's ears. -The cow's dying, that's bad luck for the
king, but it's good luck for me. I'll go right over and find
a way to eat some of that cow.,
How Bouqui Was Burned At the Stake 37
When Bouqui arrived at the king's stable, the cow was
still alive. He made a hole in the stomach of the beast and
went into her and settled down and began to eat.
The king who could not stand to see the animal suffer
any more gave orders to his men to kill her, but to save
A little hole was made above the knee of the dead
animal. A very long green stick, which had been stripped
of its bark, was driven in it to penetrate between the skin
and the flesh; then the men took turns to blow wind with
their mouths into the cow through the hole. She soon became
as big as a giant balloon, her four feet stretched apart
from one another. That way the cow's skin and her flesh
were separated from one another. The only thing the men
did now was to go between them with a sharp knife, and
that was done very easily.
Malice came to help the men skin the beast, because
in Haiti all those who help skin an animal receive a piece
of meat. While all this was going on Bouqui remained inside
having a good time, eating.
Suddenly one of the men saw something moving in the
aThe voodoo doctor was right, the cow didn't die a
natural death. Let's beat this evil spirit, and make him
come out and tell us who his master is,, said one of the
One of them got a long stick and began to beat on the
cow's stomach. Ater each blow the thing in it changed posi-
tion, and soon began to yell.
38 Children of Yayoute
cMalice! Malice, my nephew, my friend! Have them
stop! This is I, your none Bouqui, in here! But they con-
tinued to beat him.
Finally, when Bouqui saw that they were not going
to stop striking him, and that Malice, his friend, did not
intervene in his behalf, he jumped out of the cow's belly
and leaped away.
The king told them to go after the insolent, to make
him pay for this cruel mischief. If they did not catch him,
the men would pay with their lives. Malice did not join
After a long chase Bouqui was caught and was beaten
up until he lost the little wits that he had. Then the men
asked the king what they should do with the vilain.
4Tie him to a tree and burn him alive,v the king ordered.
So, Bouqui was tied to a tree, with lots of dry sugar
cane leaves sprinkled with kerosene oil from his feet to the
top of his head. When Bouqui saw a red firebrand coming
to light the leaves on him he fainted. But at that moment
Malice came upon the scene and bribed the king's men to
save Bouqui's life.
The men returned and reported to the king. -We tied
him up to a tree with plenty of sugar cane leaves sprinkled
with kerosene oil, and set him afire. Ha-ha!> they laughed.
-How the flame went up. The fire cracked and Bouqui
sizzled! It was a beautiful blaze. And when it died down
Bouqui was nothing but ashes. If you should see anyone
around who looks like him, that's only his ghost; pay no
attention to it.,
The king was satisfied that Bouqui was burned to ashes.
How Bouqui Was Burned At the Stake 39
But on the other side of the mountain Bouqui and
Malice were talking.
EYes, I bought your life for twenty gourdes, and I can
sell you if I want to do so.,
And that was more ground for Malice to cheat Bouqui.
7. How Malice Sent the Donkey
to Marry the King.
JT was in the days when Malice was still a boy and
was in the king's service. The sign of laziness was already
beginning to show in him then. He complained about every-
thing he was told to do; even if he were to carry something
as light as a colibri feather. He was so lazy that his bones
were always aching. One day he got the king so angry
with his complaints that instead of punishing him for lese-
majesty the king gave him the punishment commonly in-
flicted on children by the peasants. It was a good whip-
ping with guava switches, which stung his legs terribly,
Malice became very angry and ran away from the king's
service on the spot. But he swore that he was going to play
at least one good trick for that whipping. He would do it
even if he had to get up from his death bed to do it, for he
wouldn't die in peace unless he did.
After Malice left him, the king took Bouqui into his
service. Bouqui was as stupid as ever, but he was always
willing to accept commands if they were not too complicat-
ed. For example, he could weed and water the flower garden,
and lift heavy things around the palace.
How Malice Sent the Donkey to Marry the King 41
In spite of the fact that the king had a big palace, trunks
full of gold under his bed, and everything anyone could
wish for, there was one thing lacking in his life. That was
a queen. He had not yet been married. Now he wanted a
young queen and he had the girl in mind.
Since in that country people of royal lineage married
whomever they wanted, whether of royal or common blood,
he selected the daughter of one of his brigadiers. She was
pretty and young. The king felt that he would do the bri-
gadier a great honor by marrying his daughter and thought
the girl would be so happy about the whole thing that she
would willingly marry him on the spot.
So he called the brigadier and told him his wishes. He
said that after he had married the girl, he would build the
brigadier a fine house and give him a couple of cows, a
donkey, and a bag of gold besides; maybe a knighthood later.
Upon hearing all this, the brigadier smiled broadly. He
would love to have the house and animals, but there were
other things involved.
who takes care of the pigs,, said the brigadier.
Send the boy away. Liza will be so glad to be my queen
that she won't mind it at all.,
in love with each other.-
But the king always got what he wanted in life because
no one dared to argue with him. So he commanded the bri-
gadier, 'Go and make her take her mind off the pig boy.
And if you know what's good for you, you'd better hurry
up, and tell me that you'll bring her to me, or you'll be
Children of Yayoute
The brigadier began to worry. But after a moment he
thought that since his daughter was just a child, and there-
fore her mind could be easily changed about the pig boy
and she could be persuaded to marry the king who had so
-Your Majesty, I'm sure I can arrange everything with
Liza as you want it. You can make all your plans for the
engagement reception and send for her when everything
The brigadier went away, and the king began making
preparations for the engagement reception.
But while the two were talking Bouqui was working
in the flower garden and listening to all that they said.
As soon as they parted he dropped his tools and ran to find
Malice. -Malice, Compare, come and listen to what I've
Malice came over.
-Oh-oh! Bouqui grunted. Some people are so lucky
and they don't even know it. I've just heard the king say
to the brigadier that he would give a house, two cows, a
donkey, and a bag of gold in exchange for Liza. The briga-
dier didn't want to exchange his daughter, but the king
said that if he didn't he would lose his head. So, now the
king is getting things ready for the engagement reception.
And just listen to this Malice, imagine, the king said that
I'm to go and bring Liza to him when everything is ready.,
cWhat! Would you like to have a custard-apple, Bou-
Yes, I would, but I'd love to have those two cows to
eat and that donkey the king wants to give to the brigadier
How Malice Sent the Donkey to Marry the King
in exchange for his daughter. But I'll take the custard-
apple,. Bouqui said.
dI'll give you a custard-apple, if, when the king sends
you after Liza, you come and tell me beforehand,. Malice
.Make it two custard-apples.
aGood. But I'll give you one now and after you tell me
when you are going after Liza, I'll give you the other, or
you might forget.,
Bouqui got one big custard-apple and ate it with good
At last the day for the reception in honor of Liza's
engagement to the king had come. The palace was
brightened up with all sorts of decorations. When all the
guests were present, the king sent Bouqui for Liza.
Now you stupid boy, be on your away; and if you don't
come back with her in the shake of a lamb's tail, I'll give
you the worst whipping of your life.
Bouqui ran. He kicked up a cloud of dust which rose
high behind him. He didn't want to be whipped with those
guava switches. They sting too much. But first he ran to
Malice to tell him that he was on his way to get Liza.
When Malice heard the news he grinned with every
tooth in his head. Now I'll take you where Liza is. She is
grazing on the plain.,
-Grazing!- Bouqui exclaimed. aI've never known her
to graze. Since when has she become a mule?-
(Come on, you'll see for yourself,D Malice said.
44 Children of Yayoute
So Bouqui trotted behind Malice across the plain. And
when they arrived Malice showed him Liza. Bouqui gulped,
for the Liza he saw was not at all the one he was going after.
Oh-oh., Bouqui grunted as he began to laugh. He
laughed until he had a pain. Finally he held his stomach
with both hands, and said,
Liza, the donkey. He wants Liza, the brigadier's daughter.,
wants Liza. the donkey.,
Bouqui frowned. aThat's strange. Why would the king
want to get engaged to a donkey?-
,But yes, he does. Trust me. I used to work for the king
and I know just what he wants.,
So both jumped on the donkey's back to hurry to the
palace. When they arrived they jumped off, and Bouqui
left the donkey behind the palace and ran inside to the
Has she come?,
'Now take her upstairs to the master room which will
be hers when we are married,D the king said.
'But, Your Majesty...> Bouqui said.
But before he had finished his sentence the king shook
his fist at him. -No buts from you. I command you. If you
have to, ask some of the others back there to help you take
Bouqui went out, and the king took his handkerchief
and wiped the perspiration off his royal forehead. He said
How Malice Sent the Donkey to Marry the King
to one of the guests,
the palace. She probably is a little nervous.,
Bouqui ran to the back and got Malice to help him
take Liza upstairs. He pulled on the rope in front and Malice
pushed from the rear, and after a good bit of struggle they
finally got the donkey into the big room, where beautiful
gowns were laid out on the bed. Six lady's maids were
waiting with instructions from the king to dress the future
queen and to notify the king when she was dressed.
The maids thought something was wrong that the king
wanted them to dress the donkey in all those beautiful
fineries, but one of them said that if they knew what was
good for them, they had better dress the donkey as His
Majesty had commanded.
Well, after some difficulties, they finally got her dressed.
She was wearing two beautiful pairs of white satin sandals,
instead of one pair; and a crown that was just lovely to look
at, was on her head.
Now one of the maids went down to tell the king that
his future queen was dressed.
aBring her down immediately,. the king commanded.
,And when she comes to the last step I'll take her by the
The maid went back with the message from the king,
and she giggled as she told the other, -My dears, His Majesty
will have to take his future queen by the foot instead of by
the arm., And she laughed.
Now they started down the steps with the donkey. She
made it much easier going down than going up, but just
the same you can imagine the fuss she made with her four
46 Children of Yayoute
shoes falling from her feet and held fast to her ankles only
by the strings. When she came to the last step she did not
wait to be introduced or give the king the pleasure of taking
her by the foot. She made her way into the parlor among
the guests with her two hind feet in the air, kicking in
every direction and upsetting the furniture. Some of the
guests screamed, some chuckled, and some laughed loudly
when the king's betrothed made her way out into the field
with her crown still on her head and her white gown with
a train flying high over her back.
The poor king fainted. But Malice, who was looking in
from the outside, came in chuckling. He had the presence
of mind to throw a tubful of cold water on the king who
was still lying on his back in the middle of the reception
hall. Then Malice slipped out before the king came to.
After this engagement reception you wouldn't think His
Majesty would ever want to be engaged again?
But he did. He got married and had many children;
but Malice kept on playing tricks on him.
8. How Malice Was Consumed on the Pyre
.URING one of those terrible droughts there was only
one place where there was a spring. It was in the king's
back yard. The king was so mean that he allowed only his
family to enjoy the water. Anyone who dared even speak
of that spring was beheaded. So no one dared to ask the
king for a drink, even thought they were dying of thirst.
When it comes to that spring,, the people whispered
around, (the king doesn't spread any butter on cassava
bread with his machete,, meaning that he doesn't fool
But Malice said to himself, (I, a child of yayoute, let
nothing stand before me. I'd be addled in the head, like the
king, if he thinks I'm going ten miles to wash my feet and
for a calabash of drinking water when there is plenty of
water just a few minutes walk away.,
Sure enough, every night Malice went to the king's
spring, washed his face, feet, and hands; filled his calabash
with fresh water and came out. When the people saw him
looking so clean, while everyone else was so dirty, they
began to gossip around; but fearing for Malice's head they
48 Children of Yayoute
dared not call any name. One of them whispered, cEvery-
body in this land believes in the saying, "goats always look
in the farmer's eyes to find out whether or not they are
welcome to eat a few yam vines in the farmer's garden";
but Malice just closes his eyes and walks in.,
The king suspected there was some whispering going on.
He didn't know what it was all about; so he began to inspect
everything. One morning he went to the spring and found
the water cloudy, and there were wet footprints around. So
he placed an armed guard there to catch the insolent one.
Very late in the night, when all was still, Malice came
along and saw the guard. Since he had made up his mind
not to go back home with his vessel empty, he thought quick-
ly and said, KDon't tell me you are a guard, no, standing
there and letting the man show his heels with the king's
-Where is he?- asked the guard, excited.
He's just turned around the mapou tree with his cala-
bash filled with water,. Malice said, pointing in the direc-
tion the supposed man had gone.
The guard ran away to catch the water thief, while
Malice went to the spring, washed himself clean, and came
out with fresh water.
In the morning the guard was jailed to be tied to the
tail of a wild mule, and torn to pieces at sundown the next
day, if no one caught the thief.
Bouqui, who was sorry for the guard, tried to find a way
to help. -No one but Malice can play such a trick. Who
does he think he is, the archbishop of Port-au-Prince? I'll
show him that he is not.>
How Malice Was Consumed on the Pyre 49
Audience was quickly granted to Bouqui before the
king. Everyone was curious to hear what that awkward,
thick-tongued fellow wanted.
cKing, if you wish, I can catch the man who's been
taking your water?,
The king who did not speak or act any different from
the other people of the land, laughed, Ha-ha-ha! Permit
me to laugh in your facet How could you, as stupid as you
are, Bouqui, catch a sly crook?-
cAs the old saying goes, King, you have to sleep with
Jacques to know how Jacques snores. I can do lots of things.
-Very well.. said the king. If you catch the insolent
one, I'll give you a bag full of gold. If you don't, your head
The king's threat did not scare Bouqui in the least. He
used the same technique that he used to catch birds. He
gathered plenty of latex from a wild fig tree. He prepared
it and covered a pole, shaping it into a pretty lady, then
placed it near the spring.
When all was dark and quiet Malice came as usual.
But he was startled by the beautiful figure, half hidden in
the dark and half in the moonlight.
cWhat's the good news about you? How do you carry
yourself, my little cat?.
The lady gave no reply.
-You think I'm your dog to ignore?.
The lady said nothing.
Malice walked close, -Say something to me!,
The lady remained silent.
50 Children of Yayoute
Malice walked closer still, -You're too lovely to have
bad manners. Let me touch your face., He touched her
face and his right hand stuck. Now be nice and let my hand
The lady, of course, was mute.
4I'll strike you if you don't release my hand.. With his
left hand Malice slapped the lady on the other side of her
face, and that hand stuck too. A good kick under the sto-
mach will fix you up., He kicked the lady, first with the
right knee and then with the left knee, and both knees
stuck. Now Malice stayed somewhat suspended.
You're getting nasty. Well, I have an idea what you'd like.
Maybe if I kiss you, you'll feel good enough to let me go.,
He kissed the lady right on the mouth, and his mouth stuck.
Now he couldn't even speak.
Early the next morning Malice was taken off the gum
and tied securely to a tree, for when the sun became warm,
it would soften the gum and he would be able to get away.
In the meantime Malice had been thinking of a way to
save himself. It was the most difficult situation he had ever
gotten himself into. After a considerable amount of thinking,
he remembered that when the king condemned a man, the
latter had the choice of one of two ways to die; and Malice
knew that this king always liked to grant the opposite way
to that selected by the victim. He had the choice of being
burnt alive or having his head cut off.
-By which of the two ways do you prefer to die?. asked
How Malice Was Consumed on the Pyre 51
*Ha-ha-ha!. the king laughed endlessly at the top of
his voice. KWell, Compare, you shall die by being burned
Quickly a funeral pile was built around Malice. The
wood was around him and up over the top of his head. Then
it was set on fire. The flames went up and lighted the whole
sky and the countryside. The fire cracked, and Malice
sizzled. Everyone knew that was the end of Malice.
After a little while there was nothing but ashes, and the
spectators went home, saying, If anyone sees someone who
looks like Malice it will be just a coincidence.,
*After all*, some said, there is no law which says that
people can't resemble one another..
But after all was quiet, and no one was around, Malice
got up, shook the ashes off his back and walked away. Being
a housi canzo he was fireproof.
*That's the advantage of being a child of yayoute.o
But just the same he walked away ashamed of having
been caught. For a long time he was not able to look anyone
in the face, not even Bouqui; and that was not a bit like the
As for Bouqui, the king rewarded him with the promised
bag of gold. But later on people said that Bouqui threw the
gold in the ocean, because gold always carries too much
evil with it.
9. Bouqui's Attempted Revenge on Malice.
"J'LL show that scoundrel, Malice, that I don't wear my
pants fly backward. His head is what I demand for that
trick he played on me,, Bouqui grumbled.
Malice and Bouqui were the only ones who knew what
the trick in question was. Anyway, Malice shook like a
cocoanut leaf, for he knew if Bouqui caught up with him,
it would be the end of him. So he kept on hiding day after
day. Finally one afternoon he sneaked out to see a cock
fight and as he went along the road his eyes fell on Bouqui.
He hid behind a bush to watch him pass by.
Bouqui was saying to himself, -I'm going to slice Ma-
lice's head and cook him up.,
When Malice heard this he was more frightened than
ever before in all his life. He spent hours walking and
thinking of a way out. While on the road he came upon a
dead horse covered with worms; that gave him an idea. He
skinned the horse and covered himself with the skin to
appear like one of those beggars one used to see years ago.
He sat by the roadside; and as Bouqui came passing by he
changed his voice, and said, -Please, papa, help the poor?,
Bouqui's Attempted Revenge on Malice 53
Bouqui looked at the creature, his big white round eyes
whirled. tOh-oh. Compare, you must have been sick a very
long time to be eaten by worms that way?,
'No indeed. Only yesterday I was well.
-How did you get that way, all rotten alive in such a
aIt is that evildoer Malice who put me in this condition.
He spat on me three times and said, "Madichon". And on
the spot something fell all over my body; flies began to
follow me; now I'm covered with these pesty worms.
cWhat was that word he said to you?, Bouqui asked
with much concern.
e"Madichon"> the supposed mendicant repeated.
,Imagine I had a misunderstanding with Malice and
I was going to avenge myself.,
'Oh, papa! Take my advice, friend, don't you do any-
thing of the sort. If you do, you'll find yourself like me.
My advice to you is to make up with Malice, and the sooner
Bouqui gave him a penny and started on, all the while
talking to himself. 'Oh-oh, God my papa. Malice has the
heart to do something like this. If someone had told me
that he would, I wouldn't have believed him. It goes to
show you again, you have to sleep with Jacques to know
how Jacques snores. It's a good thing he did it to this fellow
first, and that I met him before I met Malice.-
He went directly to Malice's house.
In the meantime Malice had thrown off his disguise
and by a shortcut reached home.
54 Children of Yayoute
Bouqui arrived out of breath. *Malice, my dearest
nephew, the son of my sister.*
-Ma...- Malice said after he spat once.
SPlease, Malice don't say ...dichon. If you don't spit
again, I'll be your friend always, to give you my money all
Wasn't that a double trick Malice played on Bouqui?
But don't stop here. Read more and see what happened.
10. How Malice Obtained Five Bags of Red Earth.
%AID you hear, CommBre ?>
,You didn't hear, Compere?.
-Tell us, papa..
-Malice went before the king and asked to marry his
That was the way everybody was talking.
Knowing the reputation of Malice, the king was
shocked, but dared not say no, because it was written in the
royal parchment made of a large banana leaf that "the
King shall not refuse his daughter's hand to any man who
wishes to marry her." But to prevent the catastrophe, as he
called it, the king commanded Malice, before he let his
daughter marry him, to bring five bags of terre-rouge, an
unusual red earth from the bedroom of the Diable, the
Devil who lived in Fond-Rouge, the only place in the land
where an earth as red as blood could be found. To make
sure that Malice did not obtain the earth elsewhere, the king
56 Children of Yayoute
demanded that the Devil write his initials with his children's
blood on each bag. He knew if Malice reached the Devil's
house, it would be the end of him. Then his daughter would
be free to marry whenever an honest man came along.
On his horse, carrying five bags along, Malice went off
directly to the Devil's dwelling where no one had ever been
up to that time. By nightfall he reached Fond-Rouge at the
top of the mountain of Bordes, on the road to Marhotiere.
That was where the Devil lived with his wife and six
At the gate, Malice cried, tHonor!,
Respect!> the Devil cried in reply.
Malice went in, and one of the little Devils took Malice's
horse, unharnessed and fed it. At the moment the Devils
were having their supper. Malice was invited to partake.
Each time he looked in the bowl of pumDkin soup in front
of him he saw the reflection of the Devil's eyes in it, two
huge brows frowning at him; so he did not eat.
The house of the Devil had only one room where the
big Devil and his wife slept. There was a galetas, a sort of
attic, where the six little Devils slept on a mat of dry
When it was bedtime, the Devil instructed Malice that
it was their custom that a guest of theirs must always sleep
with his head tied with a blood-red cloth, and he therefore
was given one. After he tied his head he went up the ladder
to the galetas where he joined the six young Devils by
request of their parents. His sleeping spot was indicated
How Malice Obtained Five Bags of Red Earth 57
Malice lay on the straw mat between the little Devils
and began to think. eThere must be a reason why they make
me tie my head with this red cloth; whatever the reason
is it can't be good, for Devils never have good intentions.
I'll soon find out.. When he thought the six little Devils
were asleep, Malice took the cloth off his head and tied it
around the head of the largest, a boy, and changed places
with him in the bed.
In the middle of the night, when all was very quiet and
the big Devils thought Malice was sound asleep, they
climbed up the ladder to the galetas with a torch.
cThat's he, where we put him, with the red cloth around
his head, whispered the Devil's wife.
aHold the torch,, the Devil said softly to his wife. And
he choked the creature to death, leaving the body to feast
upon the next day.
At daybreak, while the Devil's wife was making coffee
for breakfast, Malice appeared. -How good and fresh your
coffee does smell.,
The Devil's wife gave a start of surprise and knocked
over the coffee, for she did not expect to hear Malice's voice.
After she turned and saw Malice was really alive she ran
to the Devil who was behind the house, extracting some
juice from a sugar stalk to sweeten the coffee. In a whisper
she told him that Malice was alive. The shock gave him a
start, too. He dropped the whole container of cane juice on
the ground. He ran into the house, climbed up the ladder
to the galetas and found his son strangled. It was sad, but
since it was characteristic of them that no meat of any sort
was ever thrown away, they ate the boy.
Children of Yayoute
For good reasons now, the Devil was determined to
make an end of Malice in his pot. He had a rare mango
tree in his orchard. He went there and picked every mango
off the tree, except the prettiest one in which he inserted
some poison so deadly that anyone who touched it would
instantly be enveloped by flames. He went home and sent
Malice after the fruit on the tree; but after a short second
Malice returned empty-handed.
*Well, Comrade, where is the mango?,
*Oh-oh, papa,* Malice said,
the tree so small I did not climb it, for fear it might break
down with me and crush your pretty mango. But I sent one
of your children to get...a
As Malice said the last word, cries of horror and agony
were heard in the direction of the orchard. The Devils
rushed over and found a second child consumed by fire, the
fruit in his hand.
In a violent rage now, they wanted to make Malice
into a delicious bouillon aux epinards.
After they talked it over together, the Devil went into
the orchard again and inserted a different poison, but as
deadly as the first, in a bunch of fig miraine, the smallest,
sweetest, most honey-like banana in the land, and placed
it in the middle of the gateway.
Now he returned home, sure this time that he was going
to get Malice. He said to his intended victim, *I've left my
machete in the orchard. Please, go after it for me, for it is
too sharp for the children to carry.,
*Good. I'll bring it back to you in the shake of a lamb's
tail., And Malice went away and soon came back with the
How Malice Obtained Five Bags of Red Earth 59
cHow did you find it so quickly?, asked the Devils who
were waiting nervously.
cOh, when I reached the only passage to get into the
orchard, I saw a bunch of bananas which barred my way.
I talked to them the way I would have at home, asked them
to step aside so I could pass, but they refused. At that
moment I saw two of your children and I sent them in to
get it, telling them to handle it with care so they wouldn't
cut themselves. I left them dragging the bananas away from
the road, discussing how they were going to enjoy eating
With horror in their eyes the Devils ran to the field
where they found one child dead, already swelled up as
big as a house. Another was twisting and groaning in his
death agony, and soon died. Two others were just running
toward the bananas, but had not touched them yet.
The Devil's wife said, -Let's give this Christian what
he wants and ask him to show us his heels, or we'll all be
The Devil agreed.
He gave Malice the five bags of red earth, his initial
written on them with the blood of his children, and a nag
besides to carry them.
Malice mounted his horse and, with the laden nag before
him, went directly to the king's house. Upon seeing Malice,
the king, who was sure that the Devils had feasted upon
him, fainted from the shock. Then Malice, realizing that
the king did not care to have him marry his daughter, with-
drew his intention.
Children of Yayoute
The next day Malice was in his hut, lying on his back,
when there was a knock, -Honor!-
-Respect!, he said.
It was Bouqui. -Malice, why did you change your mind
about marrying the king's daughter?,
'After all, I might find it hard to live the life of royalty,,
The people said, -Malice had rather have his freedom
to play tricks than live the life of a prince.,
But that's not all. When the king came to, he tore up
the parchment on which was written: "the King shall not
refuse his daughter's hand to any man who wishes to marry
her." Now he wrote another which read: "the King shall
give his daughter's hand only to a man of royal blood."
This is the same rule that royal families all over the world
Even to this day, if you are in the mountains of Haiti,
you might hear a voice cry from the distance,
This is to let the host know that someone is approaching;
the host in turn replies, aRespect!* to let the newcomer
know that he is welcomed.
11. The End of Both Mere Malice
and Mere Bouqui.
JT was a long time back that once Malice and Bouqui
had return from hunting wild hogs. The hogs must have
been canny, for the two comrades caught nothing.
Bouqui was famished and began to act like a flesh-eating
animal, as he often did. When he acted like that, just be on
the lookout, for he ate any creature with flesh and blood
that came his way. Malice knew that; and of course, he
did the same on occasion.
cI've been thinking of a way by which we can get meat
to eat,, Malice said.
Green light flashed in Bouqui's tiger-like eyes. cTell
me where! Tell me where!, he cried, almost growling.
,This is the idea: Our mothers are old and almost
helpless. We have to feed them and they are of no use to us
or to anyone else. Caring for those two is what I call lost
Bouqui agreed with a grunt.
62 Children of Yayoute
them. They will soon die anyway. That way we'll save
food, money, and space. But I suggest that we change our
names, you to Moungoun and I to Baringu6. We'll tell them
to guess our new names and if they can't guess them, we'll
Bouqui approved. Immediately he had a look of hope
in his eyes.
Malice who found a good excuse to make Bouqui wait
for him under a tree, went quickly to his mother. *Maman,
Bouqui and I are going out in a little while and when we
come back you won't recognize us. We're going to change
our names; Bouqui to Moungoun and I to Baringue, remem-
cWhat nonsense is this?, asked Mire Malice.
*It's all a pleasantry. I'll have to explain later.* And
off he went to pick up Bouqui.
The two comrades went first to Mere Bouqui's house,
and found her taking her siesta under a mango tree.
Bouqui woke her up. -What's my name?, he asked the
*Tell us our names,, added Malice.
*What's all this about?, asked Mere Bouqui.
*We're going to eat you.,
*If you don't tell us our names,* said Malice,
going to eat you.*
Mere Bouqui realized that these queer fellows meant
business. Tremblingly she said, -You're Malice, my nephew
and you're Bouqui, my son,* pointing to each.
The End of Both Mere Malice and Mere Bouqui
-Oh, no! My name is not Malice.*
you changed them and didn't tell me? I'm not a nganga to
tell the future,* M&re Bouqui said.
cAll right, then we'll have to eat you,, said Malice.
Even though M&re Bouqui cried and begged and pleaded
they ate her to the last bit. But Bouqui still did not have
Now they started to Mere Malice's house. On the road
Malice said, -You know Mere Malice never used to eat salt.
I think we'll need some salt to put on her before we eat
her. Wait here for me while I go to get some.,
With the speed of a whirlwind Malice went home to
remind his mother that they had changed their names.
cNow remember Bouqui is Moungoun and I'm Baringue.
When we ask you our new names be sure you remember,
or it will be just too bad for you.,
He joined Bouqui, and the two went to M&re Malice's
house. They found her eating her bowl of cassava mush.
*What's my name?- Malice asked.
*Tell me my name.,
Pointing to each she said, aYou are Malice, and you are
eThose are not our names,, they said. If you don't tell
us our new names, we are going to eat you.*
Children of Yayoute
Mere Malice bit her nails. -Oh, now, let me think. You're
Moungoun you are Baringue.
Pretending to be surprised, Malice said to Bouqui, aLet's
show our heels.), When they were away from the old woman,
Malice said, ,People have always said that she is a loup-
garou, now I believe it. But we'll get her by careful plann-
Malice, who saw that Bouqui was still extremely vora-
cious, became alarmed for his mother. He moved her and
all her belongings to a hole on the top of the high mountain,
where no one could reach her, neither by foot or even by
the sure-footed donkey. It was after scheming and planning
that he succeeded in ascending into the cavern by a strong
rope. After he got his mother all settled, he told her that
he was going down and would come back every day to be
with her. In his absence she was not to let the rope down
to anyone. Then he explained to her in how much danger
Sure enough Malice went to see Mere Malice every day.
To let her know that it was he, he sang a song, and this is it:
,Maman, maman, let the rope down!
Maman, maman, let the rope down!
'Tis not Bouqui; 'tis not Bouqui;
'Tis your son Malice, who's ready to come up!,
She let the rope down, and then pulled Malice up
when he gave her a signal.
Bouqui, who was beside himself with hunger, did not
forget that Mere Malice was still there to be eaten. He
went after her one morning, but to his great surprise the
house was empty. He looked for Malice to get some expla-
The End of Both Mire Malice and Mere Bouqui 65
nation. When he found Malice, he asked, (Where is Mere
-Her?- Malice replied. KShe is too sly for me. She has
picked up and left. I've been looking for her everywhere.
She is wise to us, the loup-garou.>
Bouqui became suspicious of Malice and began to watch
him closely. He followed him secretly everywhere he went;
and one day saw the whole trick Malice was playing on
him and heard the song which he sang.
The next day, when he knew Malice was away, he went
under the cave and sang, imitating Malice's voice.
After the first song there was no rope. Mare Malice
evidently realized that it was not Malice's voice and gave
no reply. Bouqui sang more but had no luck.
Now he decided that he had to change his voice to
sound like that of Malice. He went right to the machoquette,
the local blacksmith, to have his throat smoothed out.
The machoquette must have done a good job, for after
Bouqui sang his song the next time, M&re Malice replied.
The rope came down. Bouqui seized it and Mere Malice
pulled him up. But when Bouqui was only a little way up,
Mere Malice looked and saw that he was not Malice. She
cried out and let go the rope.
Bouqui crushed down and was so bruised that he lay
in the woods several days, for he was not able to walk back
Later on, the passers-by said that M&re Malice was so
excited when she let the rope loose with Bouqui on it, that
she fell right after Bouqui and broke her neck.
Dear reader, you can't imagine what happened after
12. Bouqui and Malice Inside the King's Bull
4'FTER the king's favorite cow died he took a liking to
a bull which was the loveliest of all bulls in the land. He
prized him above all others.
But one day the king noticed that his bull had gotten
quite thin, in spite of all the food he ate. He did not know
that every night Malice took his little knife and went to
the stable, got inside of the animal and cut a piece of meat
That went on a long time, and one day Bouqui came
while Malice was barbecueing a piece of the bull's meat
on hot charcoal.
(Do you think so, Bouqui?, replied Malice.
Ah, Malice, I, your best friend, am still alive only by
cheating hunger. Give me a piece of it.o
Malice dipped a piece of meat in hot pepper sauce and
gave it to him. He swallowed it and said again, Give me
another piece, for I'm still starving.)
Bouqui and Malice Inside the King's Bull
Malice gave him another piece which he swallowed
without even chewing.
aThat's delicious meat, Malice. I've never eaten so good.
You've got to tell me where you got it from.,
I would tell you, but you'll ruin everything.,
aMalice, my friend, if you tell me, I won't ruin anything.
I'll do whatever you say. Honest!,
(I'm afraid,> Malice said, (if I take you where the meat
is you'll want to take it all at one time. Your eyes are
always bigger than your stomach.,
After much begging and pleading, Malice decided to
take him along. aTonight when it is very dark come with
your knife and a piece of banana leaf to put your meat in.,
Bouqui went home. Instead of a piece of banana leaf,
he took three big burlap bags and swed them together to
make a huge one, and in addition to his little knife, he
carried a machete. With these, when it was real dark, he
met Malice at the king's stable.
-Where is the meat? he asked Malice. 4I know it's
going to be delicious.i
Keep quiet, and stop celebrating Easter before fasting
through Lent,, Malice whispered.
They walked to the bull and Malice said, Open your
mouth up wide.
The bull opened his mouth, and Malice, followed by
Bouqui went in. Malice cut his usual sized piece of beef and
put it in the piece of banana leaf, while Bouqui just chopped
hunks of meat and put them in his huge bag.
68 Children of Yayoute
-Hold, Bouqui, said Malice. -I told you to cut just a
cut it, Malice.,
-If you don't stop, the bull will collapse and die with us
in here, and we won't be able to get out, Malice said.
NOne minute, Malice, just another tiny piece., He kept
on cutting to fill his bag, while Malice started to get out.
But Bouqui hacked such a huge piece that the bull bellowed.
-What have you done?, Malice turned around and
Nothing,. he replied. -I was getting a piece of liver.,
He had sliced the whole liver and put it in his bag. The
bull could not stand it any more. He leaped up and fell on
the ground dead, with the two comrades inside.
cOpen up! said Malice frantically. But the bull was
dead, and nothing happened.
take you. You never know when you have enough. You
never listen,, he said to Bouqui.
-But Malice, if you incline to blame the hawk, scold the
hen first. It was not my fault. It was the bag that was too
big. I couldn't go back home with just a little piece of meat
in the bottom of it.,
Well this is what you've got us in.,
.xMalice,, pleaded Bouqui, -You're smarter than I am.
It's up to you to find a way for us to get out, or we'll die
-You should die,- said Malice. -It would serve you
Bouqui and Malice Inside the King's Bull
They tried all they could but could not get out.
In the meantime, the king and his people who had
heard the bellowings of the bull, rushed to the stable.
cI wonder if it is a baca again;, said the king to the men.
cI'm not certain,, replied one. cSince the bull is already
dead no damage can be done by opening him.
cOpen it!- roared the king.
When the two comrades inside the bull heard this they
got excited. Malice said, -Quick, Bouqui, go into the little
stomach, and I into the large one.-
cOh, no, I'm bigger than you, I go into the large one.*
cAll right. It's up to you,, Malice said. He made himself
small and then crawled into the bladder.
Now one of the king's men took his little knife and
started to cut open the bull's stomach. Malice, with his
own knife, took this opportunity, sliced the bladder open,
and took such a swift leap out that no one noticed him. He
cried, *Messieurs! Messieurs, look how you threw the nasty
stuff from the bull's bladder and dirtied me all over.,
,Excuse us, we didn't see you, Compare Malice. Where
did you come from?.
*And now I'll have to find money to buy a new blue
aGive him three blue denims,- said the king.
*To blow such stuff on anybody is an outrage, an
insult,- Malice said.
'Begging pardon does not heal wounds,, said Malice.
70 Children of Yayoute
Give him as much beef as he wants when you're
through skinning the bull,, said the king.
-Too late. The damage is done, he said.
But after they prayed and begged him and the king had
kissed his foot, Malice accepted half the bull.
Now Malice and the king's men had made up, and he
became their adviser. It is best to blow wind into the bull
in order to save the skin,- Malice suggested.
Since Malice was always known to be smart, his sug-
gestion was welcomed. The bull soon was skinned and then
Then Malice told the men, cIf you take a stick and beat
the big intestine, you'll find out if it's a baca or not.,
In turn each man began to beat on the intestine of the
bull. Bouqui, in it, yelled. The men beat, and Bouqui con-
tinued to yell. And finally they took him out.
Malice in the meantime disappeared.
The men continued to beat Bouqui and insulted him.
When they turned him loose Bouqui went home well beaten
and with no hope for revenge, for it was all his fault.
Malice went home with half the bull and three blue
13. The King's Cherished Lamb.
JT was impossible for the king to be without a pet ani-
mal. After he had lost his big bull and the cow, he acquired
a young lamb which he cherished even more than the two
One day it came to Malice's mind that he should like
to eat a few lamb cutlets; and he saw no other lamb whose
chops would tickle his palate more. So he stole the king's
lamb, killed it, skinned it and handled the skin with great
care, and had a great feast all by himself.
In the morning the king sent after the lamb to be
brought to his bedside, as he did every morning, but the
man rushed back in great alarm and reported that the lamb
had disappeared. The king leaped out of bed in great alarm,
too, and sent for the houngan, the most successful sorcerer-
fortune-teller in the country, to tell him what had become
of his pet.
After the houngan had gone through the usual cere-
mony, he said,
killed and is totally consumed. The only thing I can tell
72 Children of Yayoute
you is that the shrewdest man in the land committed the
deed. Now hear me, King, the shrewdest man in the land...,
The king put two and two together and had a good
idea who the shrewdest man in the land was. So he sent
his guards after the thief. They were not to come back
without him; if they did, their heads would be chopped off.
The frightened guards bowed, scraped the ground, and
ran away in search of the thief.
Although the lamb was not found, the king arranged a
wake for him that night.
That same afternoon Malice, who was becoming more
and more scared of his deed, met Bouqui, and the two dis-
cussed the wake at the king's court.
,The king is giving prizes at the wake,, Malice said.
aPrizes? What for?, Bouqui asked.
aHe'll give a fat cow and two goats to whoever wears
the prettiest suit made of lamb's skin and who can sing the
loveliest canticle. It's too bad you can't sing,, Malice said.
-I'll give you money to buy me a suit. We've been good
friends long enough for you to do this for me. You'll teach
me a canticle, too. If I win, half will be yours.- This was
the plan Bouqui proposed.
Of course Malice was delighted to teach Bouqui a can-
ticle. When it was time, he covered Bouqui's back with the
lamb's skin, and both went to the wake.
When they arrived the wake was at its height. In the
courtyard groups of men played cards, and shot dice; others
formed circles and told stories. Women came with their
stools to sell bread, candies, rum, and tobacco. Coffee and
mat6 were served, as the king mourned.
The King's Cherished Lamb 73
At once Bouqui joined the group singing canticles and
he sang the song which Malice taught him as a solo.
'Tis I 'tis I, Tonton Bouqui,
Who went into the king's stable,
And stole the king's lamb -
The lamb which I cooked with eggplant
Into a delicious calalou;
Now its skin is right on my back
With the king's name in black and white.,
-Who sang that song? Come forward and sing it again,,
commanded the king.
Shyly Bouqui turned and looked at Malice.
,Don't stand there grinning with every tooth in your
head. Go and sing for the king,, Malice said in a low voice.
Already Bouqui felt that he had won the prize. He
walked before the king, his face beaming, and sang again.
cTurn around and let me look at your suit?. the king
ordered, after Bouqui finished the song.
Bouqui turned around.
*Seize him,, cried the king. -He is the one who killed
my lamb. He is wearing the skin with my initial stamped
on it. Burn his back with a hot iron!
Bouqui was seized and then tied to a tree, while the
men waited for a long flat piece of iron to get hot. When
it was very hot they untied Bouqui, who offered no resis-
tance. The people made a circle and waited breathlessly
for the red-hot iron to burn poor innocent Bouqui. The
iron had come and the excutioners were ready to apply it
when the king's voice rose above the voices of the chattering
74 Children of Yayoute
tStop! Don't burn the man. I pardon him, because firstly
he is honest, or he wouldn't have confessed his crime; se-
condly he is brave, because he was ready to take his punish-
ment without any protest. For his honesty, give him a steer
and a heifer and three male and three female sheep so he
can raise his own lambs.,
Now Malice did not at all expect this to happen. He
began to annoy Bouqui about giving him half of what the
king gave him. The king, who heard Malice, ordered the
guards to give him a good whipping with a cocomacaque
for molesting honest Bouqui.
Bouqui who felt that Malice was responsible for his
troubles went away laughing as he said, eSometime the
cocomacaque changes hand.,
Malice went home well whipped, and was lucky that
the king did not find out that it was he who had stolen
the lamb and with his tricks tried to make Bouqui suffer
14. How Bouqui Was Cooked Into
a Calalou of Lamb.
aHERE were always so many droughts in the land, that
the people themselves wondered how they lived through
them. This drought was so terrible that the animals died,
for there was not a green leaf for them to eat.
This was hard on Bouqui, who loved to eat goat meat;
but before things got any worse he heard of a country far
away, called lambs' country. There, only talking-lambs
lived. Since lamb is second cousin to goat, Bouqui's favorite
meat, he thought it would taste as good; especially as there
was now no goat to be had. So he started to this country,
hoping to find a way to eat some of them.
After walking a great distance, he arrived at the
M'sieurs! How is your courage today?, he asked them.
cOh-oh., cried the lambs. (Not so good, no, Compere.
Because of the drought we are dying of hunger.,
Children of Yayoute
,Oh-oh., Bouqui said, sotto voce. I'm glad there is a
drought here, too. It's all the better.- Then loudly he went
on, I know I know, that's why I'm here. I bring you news
from God that will please you.,
(You know, and I know, we don't mind being barefooted
and wearing just pieces of tiger cloth around our waists:
For this privilege we thank God. But as for our stomachs,
we have to put food in them. Now there is no food: For
this I know we don't thank God. But He knows that, that's
why He sent me to help you.,
-Thank you. Thank you,, cried the lambs.
Do you have a large iron pot with a heavy lid to go
,But yes, we have.,
put the pot, three-quarters full of water, on the fire; and
then get as many heavy stones, or maybe pieces of iron,
as you can.D
It took the talking-lambs no time to prepare what Bou-
qui had requested. Since little ones were responsible for
making the fire burn, a dozen of them came with their
palm husk fans to fan it.
cNow,, Bouqui said to them, KI'm going into the pot;
after I settle in it put the cover over me so that the water
will get hot. Then when you hear me say, "The water is hot!"
uncover it and let me out. And then you'll do likewise. When
I uncover the pot for you to come out it will be filled with
that deliciously cooked meat marinated in eggplant which
we all love so much.,
How Bouqui Was Cooked Into a Calalou of Lamb 77
So said, so done.
Bouqui jumped into the pot and was covered with the
heavy lid. After a while he cried, -The water's hot! The
The lambs quickly lifted the lid, and Bouqui sprang out.
aNow it's your turn to go in. We just can't wait for this
delicious eggplant calalou,' he said.
Every lamb in the lambs' country got in line and jumped
into the pot, including those little ones that had been fan-
ning the fire. Bouqui put the cover on, and, on top of that,
all the stones and iron that he could lay his hands on. Then
he fed wood to the fire, and fanned it with both hands.
Quickly the lambs cried, ,"The water's hot! The water's
aWait awhile, the calalou isn't done yet,> Bouqui cried.
cOh! Oh!' cried the lambs. -It must be hot, because
cJust a little while longer. You'll be surprised to know
how good the calalou will be...>
-Oh!!! Oh!! Oh! Oh...> cried the lambs and soon all
was quiet in the pot, except that it continued to boil.
When the lamb calalou was done, Bouqui ate all he
wanted and then took the rest home for his family to enjoy.
But one of the twelve little lambs who were fanning
the fire had not followed the rest into the pot. He had
escaped and hidden among the sugar cane, and had watched
what Bouqui did. When Bouqui went away, the little lamb
sped to his godmother, who lived across the mountains from
lambs' country. When he told her of the tragic incident,
78 Children of Yayoute
his godmother ran outside and yelled sorrowfully until the
news had reached the ears of everyone. She held a nine
day novena for the repose of the souls of the lambs; and
at the end she took council with her family, who concluded
that a way must be found to get revenge on Bouqui. They
might have to wait a long time, they figured, but they would
have patience. The whole family moved to lambs' country
to wait for an opportunity for revenge.
In several months Bouqui had finished eating the lambs
he had brought from the lambs' country. The drought was
still at its height, and meat was still scarce. Bouqui thought
that he should go back to the lambs' country maybe there
were a few more lambs left scattered among the bushes.
He would find a way to get those, too. So he started out
as he did before, and it did not take him long to reach his
Bonjou' Mesdames, bonjou' Mesdemoiselles, bonjou'
M'sieurs! How is your courage today.,
4Oh-oh, cried the lambs. (Not good at all, no. Because
of the drought we are dying of hunger.-
SOh-oh, Bouqui said to himself, (I'm glad there's still
a drought here. It's all the better. Loudly he said, -I know-
I know. That's why I'm here. I bring news from God that
will please you.,
Winking at one another, the lambs said, -Blessed be
Bouqui told the same story to them as he had toldthe
others. All showed much eagerness about the idea. Bouqui
leaped joyously into the pot; and the lambs put the cover
on, and the heavy stones and iron on top of that. The little
ones kindled the fire.
How Bouqui Was Cooked Into a Calalou of Lamb
After a brief second Bouqui cried, ("The water's hot!
The water's hot!">
cOh, no! Not yet!, cried the lambs.
"Open up!, cried Bouqui. -The water begins to boil!
"Not yet. The calalou isn't done. You have no idea how
good it will taste the sort of calalou that tickles the pa-
late!) bleated the lambs.
Bouqui got really furious. He beat on the cover from
inside. "Let me out, do you hear me? Puff! Puff... hot., he
"Never mind puffing and knocking! You've eaten all
our relatives, now it's our turn to eat you.,
Hearing this Bouqui knocked, crying, "Oh!!! Oh!! Oh!
Oh..., And slowly he passed out.
Because all had been quiet in the pot for sometime, the
lambs were sure that Bouqui was dead and now was stewing
into a calalou. Some went to the woods for kindling wood
for the fire, others went after greens to put in the calalou,
and the young ones went after water, leaving the pot alone,
But Bouqui was not dead yet. When the pot began to
boil really hard the heat revived the compare. He squealed
like a pig, and using all his strength, he gave the cover one
hard push and fell out. On his hands and knees he crawled
cWhat happened to you, -uncle Bouqui?. everybody
80 Children of Yayoute
-The talking-lambs in lambs' country threw boiling
water on me,- he said feebly, and then fainted. A bath of
boiled leaves and sour orange pulp was quickly prepared
It was many days before Bouqui was well again.
A smart bocor doesn't send his baca to steal chicken
twice in the same back yard!
15. How Malice Ruined the Bocor's Dance
and Made Him Lose His Foot.
CVERY year the greatest bocor of Haiti used to give a
banquet-service to feed the hungry souls of his deceased an-
cestors. This year he had planned to give the biggest one
yet, because one of his feet had swelled up : It was found,
through the capable vision of another bocor, that an ances-
tor, (of whom he knew nothing, because he died in Africa
hundreds of years back), had never been fed. This ancestor
held him by the foot to let him know that he was hungry.
For this banquet-service the bocor killed five bulls, fifty
sheep, fifty hogs. Fowls of all kinds, and vegetables, were
by the ton. He borrowed every iron kettle, and all the
spoons and eating and drinking gourds in the country to
cook and serve the food. He invited everyone to come and
share this feast which was to last from Friday evening
through Monday morning.
But there was one person he did not invite, and that
person was Malice. The bocor swore that he'd rather lose
that foot than have Malice as his guest, because, in the pre-
vious years, Malice had ruined his banquet with his mis-
Children of Yayoute
chief. From that day on he refused to lay eyes on Malice,
and when he mentioned the name "Malice", he spat to
show his scorn. He hated Malice so much that people wond-
ered why the sorcerer did not set a dreadful ouanga on
On Friday afternoon Malice passed by the bocor's place
and took a look at all the activities. Animals were being
killed, vegetables were being hauled in, big iron pots stood
on three stones each, with fires under them; women were
going to and from the spring for water, and men were
carrying dry wood to kindle the fires.
'He despises me so, he won't have me at his feast. Well,
he won't have any banquet, for I'll see to it that no one
Malice went away and got a few friends and took them
to the crossroad which led to the market place and to the
spring. This crossroad was the only one which led to the
bocor's house. There the women put pots of food on the
fires, and passed the tafia. When Malice thought it was about
time the people should be coming by to go to the bocor's
dance, he had his men beat the drums, and the women sang
and danced. From then on all who were going or coming
to or from the market put their baskets down to join the
drinking, singing and dancing. It grew late, and parents
who had sent their children for water went after them
with a mind to scold. But when they arrived at the cross-
road they forgot all about scolding and joined the dancing.
Wives who lived far away heard the drums, left their
husbands' dinners burning to follow the tom-tom of Malice's
How Malice Ruined the Bocor's Dance
Now the bocor had to take his pots off the fire, for
those of his household who had gone after water, and those
who went after wood for the fire had not come back.
Only the bocor and his wife were at home.
dance; and our children and servants went to the spring
this morning and now it is midnight and none of them have
I'm going to find out what is keeping them,, said the
here to watch the meats and things I'd go to the spring
with my cocomacaque and drive them back here like cattle.D
Meanwhile, at the crossroad, Bouqui said, aMalice 6,
you got everybody in Haiti at your dance, including the
bocor's wife, all good and drunk with aromatic tafia, and
full of food. But all this food you have borrowed for them
to eat, how are you going to pay back?,
cOnly a knife knows what's in the heart of a yam,,
said Malice. cI have plans.>
cHa-ha, Bouqui laughed. cYou break my back! Give
me a grog. Two fingers oh, make it four.)
*Help yourself, and sprinkle some on the bocor's wife.)
It was almost dawn. When the food and drink of Malice
was getting low, the people went home and brought their
The bocor saw it was almost daylight and no one had
come! He was desperately angry! He took his long coco-
macaque and started to the'crossroad, intending to beat
everybody in his household and everyone else who came
84 Children of Yayoute
his way. But when he got there, everybody was dancing
with such vigor that he dropped the stick; and with a broad
grin himself joined the dancing. The dance heated his blood
so that he forgot he had a bad foot.
Malice in the meantime slipped away. While his dance
was in full swing he carried every bit of the bocor's food
A few days after the dance, somebody said, -I saw the
bocor walking with crutches, for he had lost his foot. That's
because he failed to feed his dead.-
-If he didn't despise Malice so much and try to revenge
himself on him, this wouldn't have happened to him.,
-Malice is the last person in whose beard to play,- said
,But yes! the bocor reminds me of the bull who was
so angry with the pasture, that he tried to foul it on pur-
pose but only to dirty his own backside!,
16. How the Calenderique Bird Beat Bouqui.
6OUQUI was ready to put his pot of sweet potatoes on,
but his fire went out. He sent Ti-Bouqui, his boy, after a
fire-brand at Malice's house.
When the boy arrived at Malice's house, Malice was
eating an omelet of calenderique eggs, the most delicious
eggs in the world. Ti-Bouqui asked for the fire-brand, which
cousin Malice gave him. Instead of going back to his father,
however, the boy stood there, looking at Malice, who was
eating with such delight, that the water ran from his wide-
cGo away, boy. Go back to your father,, said Malice
without taking his eyes off the omelet.
But the boy stood there and paid no attention.
Malice knew what was keeping him. So he put a tiny bit
of the omelet on the tip of his finger and held it out to Ti-
Bouqui. -Show me your heels.,
After licking the egg off Malice's finger, the boy started
home; but on the way he felt that he should have more of
the delicious omelet. For a good excuse to go back to Malice
he spat on the fire-brand.
86 Children of Yayoute
*The fire-brand went out, cousin Malice,* he said.
*Take another fire-brand,. Malice said, and he gave
Ti-Bouqui another bit of omelet, for he knew that was
what the boy had come back for.
Ti-Bouqui ate and went away. But before he got far he
decided that he must go back for more eggs. Now for another
good excuse he again spat on the fire-brand and put it out,
and went back to Malice.
,The fire is out, cousin Malice.,
Malice was eating the last bit of the omelet. Handing
him a last bit he said, 'This is the last of the omelet, and
here is another fire-brand; now go on your errand.,
Ti-Bouqui ate and then put the smallest amount of egg
under his finger nail so that he could lick it whenever he
felt like it. He ran home at full speed. When he arrived
there, Bouqui sniffed.
SHmm. Where have you been all this time? What you
got here that smells so good?*
When he realized that the savory smell was omelet of
calenderique eggs under Ti-Bouqui's nail, Bouqui grabbed
the hand and swallowled it to above the elbow. If it had
not been for the shoulder, Bouqui might have swallowed
the boy entirely. After he released the boy's arm Bouqui
voraciously said, cWhere did you get it? Tell me quick!,
He shook the boy with all his might.
*Cousin Malice has lots of it.,
-Go away, go home, go anywhere, boy. I'm on my way
to Malice!, Bouqui went like the wind.
How the Calenderique Bird Beat Bouqui
When he arrived at Malice's he said,
that, quick, Malice. It is the best I've ever eaten.
and began to choke him. aTake me! Take...,
Struggling, Malice cried, -I will, I will. Early tomorrow
morning, at four o'clock, I will take you.*
Bouqui said, I just can't wait, Malice. Tonight I won't
be able to sleep.,
Bouqui went home and did not go to bed. He got his
bag and went right back to Malice's house.
tHey, Malice 6!. he called, knocking on the door. -Wake
up, it's time to start.*
aIt is not time yet, uncle Bouqui. I have not been to
bed yet. Besides, the Pleiades have not come up the horizon
yet. Go back home and sleep awhile.,
Bouqui did not like that. cPay no attention to those
stars. You can't depend on them, because sleep has got the
better of them. That's why they have not come up.,
When he saw Malice paid him no attention, he went
and climbed up a mango tree, and hit a stick on a piece
of palm husk to make it sound as if it were a cock beating
its wings; and he sang, imitating the cock. Then he came
down and called to Malice, (Hey, Malice, get up. Don't you
hear the four o'clock cock-crow?,
that was a Bouqui's crow.,
eThat four o'clock seems like waiting for a chicken to
grow teeth,* Bouqui grumbled.
88 Children of Yayoute
He saw he was not getting anywhere with Malice, but
he did not give up. He went into the woods and gathered
all the dry palm, sugar-cane, and banana leaves that he
could find. He made a great pile, then he set them afire.
The flame threw a bright glow over the whole countryside.
Now he ran to Malice.
cMalice, wake up! It's day! Don't you see how the sun
Malice opened his eyes, saw the bright rays, and thought
it was really the sun. He opened the door for Bouqui, and
then realized what Bouqui had done. He was angry, but
said nothing. He knew it was useless to go back to bed,
for Bouqui would not let him sleep. So he took his bag and
they started out to the nest of the calenderique.
They arrived in good time. The calenderique would not
come to lay eggs before sunrise.
ment. -Look at the eggs, piled as high as my grandmother's
hut so many of them. She must be a great bird, Malice?,
Close your mouth, no. Do you want to attract atten-
Malice put some eggs in his bag, but Bouqui filled his
to the top. They started back home, but every few second
Bouqui looked back toward the calenderique's nest.
sin to leave all those eggs behind.-
When Bouqui got home he routed the whole household
up. He told them about the mine of calenderique eggs he
had found, and wished everyone of the family to go with
him to haul them home. He emptied every matress in the
How the Calenderique Bird Beat Bouqui
house, every pillowcase, every burlap bag, every sheet was
made into bags; every basket was collected; and the whole
family started out with him.
When the procession arrived at the birds' nest they filled
their bags and baskets, leaving one lone egg. They started
back home, but on the way Bouqui asked them to wait for
him. He went back, and picked up the lone egg. aIt's a
shame to leave it behind when it might be the most deli-
cious one of all.,
cLeave one, no, so she can lay more,, Madame Bouqui
called to him.
eBon, Ti-Chate for good measure,, he agreed.
At sunrise the calenderique came to her nest to lay.
She thought she must have missed her direction, but she
looked for some signs and soon saw that she was not lost.
But all her eggs except one had gone. She was sad
indeed. She called to the birds and asked, aDid you see
who came to my nest?)
cNo, Commere Calenderique, they replied.
Commere Calenderique rolled her big eyes and tears ran
out of them.
aSome one is trying to put an end to the calenderique
race, mused the bird.
She set out to the only spring in the country, where
all living creatures had to go for water. She sat there and
asked every animal and every human being who came for
,What have you eaten to make you thirsty?>
Children of Yayoute
Everyone told her what he ate.
When Malice came, she said,
*Compere Malice, Compare Malice,
What have you eaten to make you thirsty?,
Only a little salt herring, yes, Commere Calenderique,,
Malice said slyly.
Now to Bouqui who came with an empty calabash in
hand for water, Commere Calenderique said,
*Compere Bouqui, Compare Bouqui,
What have you eaten to make you thirsty?,
*Calenderique eggs, Commere Calenderique, good, deli-
cious calenderique eggs,, he boasted.
Commere Calenderique could not believe her ears, so
she asked again,
*Compere Bouqui, Compare Bouqui,
What have you eaten to make you thirsty?,
*Did you hear me, Commere Calenderique, I ate good,
delicious calenderique eggs.D
The calenderique leaped into the air and came down
on Bouqui with her wings, beak, and claws; she picked his
eyes, broke his legs and arms, pecked holes in the soles of
his feet, and scratched him all over until he appeared to be
dead. Then the calenderique went away infuriated, but sa-
In the meantime, everyone hid behind bushes and
rocks, to escape the dreadful battle.
When Bouqui came to his senses he grumbled that
others ate the eggs too, but the calenderique let them go
unharmed. Then somebody said,
How the Calenderique Bird Beat Bouqui 91
-Think well, Conmpere Bouqui, and figure out for your-
self why she picked only on you.,
Bouqui sighed. Ah, my friends, all the animals of the
sea eat human flesh. But only the shark has a bad reputa-
17. The Yams That Were Twice
As Large As Bouqui.
OUQUI once owned a pig which he fed on avocado pears.
Everybody in Haiti knows that hogs fed on this fruit
can get so fat that they fall on the ground and never again
get back to their feet; and also when a finger is pressed on
their backs a hole remains; these are two of the ways to
know when they are ready for butchering.
That was about how fat Bouqui's pig was.
For sometime Malice had been scheming to eat that
pig. Being Malice, it was not hard for him to find a plan.
He went to Bouqui and said, *Uncle Bouqui, I've just
returned from my godmother's house where something
cWhat happened? Tell me quick, Malice!,
-For four days they have been digging a yam in her
field and they have just finished.-This fruit of the earth is
twice as large as you. It is so large that it took ten men to
carry it. Now my godmother has to build a special house
to put it in, because the one she lives in is too small. The
The Yams That Were Twice As Large As Bouqui 93
most interesting thing is that she felt the vines of the other
yams, and they all seem to have yams of the same size,,
aWhat! cried Bouqui. 4A yam twice as large as me?
My! your godmother must have put cow, horse, and hog
manure in the earth.,
aNo. Not cow, horse, or hog manure. She killed her pig,
cut it up, seasoned and cooked it, and buried some of it
around each yam patch. That's how she fertilized her yams,,
yams twice as large as me, too, Malice. I have a pig too,
you know. Maybe the fatter the pig is the larger the
yams will be, won't they, Malice?,
Yes, yes, none. That's what my godmother said.,
Bouqui hurried up, killed the pig, cut the meat up,
seasoned and cooked it well, and buried it around his yam
Malice who had been hiding and watching all that Bou-
qui had been doing, went back at night and dug up every
piece of pork and every yam and took them home.
Early next morning Bouqui ran to the field to see if
the yams were bursting the ground; even the leaves should
be greener. But at the sight of the yam field he fainted.
When he came to he accused Malice. He swore vengeance,
and death to Malice was his cry.
Malice who had been hiding in the bush behind Bou-
qui's house, heard every curse and every swear-word that
Bouqui used against him, and what he was going to do to
him. He had to find a way td save his neck. When he knew
94 Children of Yayoute
Bouqui was coming after him, he filled his mouth with a
liquid compound which a local vodoo doctor had composed
for him. It smelled to high heaven. Then he lay in bed and
began to groan.
Bouqui came and heard Malice groaning. He said,
lice you thief, you crook! No use your groaning, carrying
my heavy yams to hide them from me. I come to make you
pay for this theft.-
It was hard for him to speak with the stuff in his mouth,
but Malice croaked lamentably, -Ah, Bouqui, none. I'm
dying. That yam and hog meat of yours is killing me, I'm
going to get you arrested for putting poison in there to kill
cOh-oh, Malice, law or no law, you've stolen my yams.
But don't tell me, no. Is that true, that my yams make you
SAh! I'm dying!, Malice went on, and caughed out the
stuff which splashed by Bouqui's feet.
Bouqui jumped back, lifting his nose away from the
stinking compound. cOh-oh, my friends,, he said, as if he
had an audience of several people.
Malice, give you that indigestion? I wonder if it is catching.,
Malice kept on grunting. ,Oh, my stomach! Oh, I'm
Bouqui was afraid of catching the disease and ran out.
,That was papa God who is punishing Malice for steal-
ing my yams. God is good to me to let him try them first.
Now I don't mind their being gone.,
Malice got up and washed his mouth. He rubbed his
hands together, sat down before a heaping gourd of pig and
18. How Malice Got the Three Elephants Killed.
VHE people in the Haitian hills were amazed when Ma-
lice went fishing. The reason for their amazement was that
Malice never liked to work, as we all know.
cI bet he goes fishing because he doesn't have to do
anything but sit down and hold a string, hoping that no
fish will bite. And if a fish that appears to be too large bites,
he even cuts the line so he won't have to bother to pull it
out,* said one.
,I bet he goes fishing only when Compare Bouqui has
nothing to be cheated out of. That is the only way Malice
cheats hunger,, said others.
,That Malice there is nothing you can offer him to
make him exert more power than a child at its mother's
breast,* said somebody else.
But whatever Malice's reason was, he used to go to the
sea quite often. And during the course of his fishing trips he
cultivated the friendship of Commere Baleine, the whale.
The two used to talk and talk; Commere Baleine told Malice
what happened in the ocean, and Malice, of course, told her
what happened on land, mostly about Bouqui.
Children of Yayoute
At that particular time there was a drought, and Malice
found no meat to eat. And he began to think of eating
Commere Baleine, or three huge elephants that lived in
the nearby forest.
One day Malice wanted to discuss nothing else but
strength with Commere Baleine. His scheme was to urge
Commere Baleine and the three elephants to some sort of
struggle, so that they would kill one another.
Comm&re Baleine said, But you, you don't look strong
at all, Compare.,
but that's not the way she catches mice. On land I'm the
strongest creature alive.,
-But I know better, Comp&re Malice. A fish lives in the
water and if he tells you a crocodile is sick, believe him.
I'm the strongest creature alive anywhere..
If you are not joking, Commere Baleine, I'll bet you
a ton of meat that I can drag you out of your domicile in
the ocean,> Malice said.
cAs far as I'm concerned, Compare Malice, you may dig
your grave beforehand to save others the trouble; for I ac-
cept your bet. A ton of fish from my ocean is what I bet
you in return.,
Holding hands each said:
To conclude the bet Commere Baleine struck her hand
between the two hands that had been held. While doing so,
they said together,
-It's a bet!,
How Malice Got the Three Elephants Killed 97
Then Malice went into the forest.
aBonjou Compares Elephants! How is the courage to-
,Not bad at all, Compare Malice.,
cAnd how is your strength today?, said Malice.
eWe are feeling stronger than ever, with the grace of
,Don't tell me, no, when I know I am the strongest man
on this island stronger than the three of you together.,
cHa-ha-ha!, laughed the elephants together.
,If you don't believe me, I'll bet you a ton of fish that
I can drag the three of you together into the ocean.,
tBon! We will bet you our very lives,, said the ele-
phants who were certain that they were stronger than
Holding hand with each in turn, Malice said:
,It's a bet.,
Then Malice went to Tonton Lemieux Duquelas' hard-
ware store and bought a piece of cable a mile long. With
that he went to Commere Baleine.
,Tie this end of the cable around your waist, Commere
Baleine; I'm going to tie the other end around mine; and
when I yell "pull", you can begin to pull me in. But I really
am going to pull you out.,
98 Children of Yayoute
Then he went and gave the same instructions to the
elephants. After doing this, he stood near the center of the
cable and shouted, Pull!, in the direction of the whale,
and then in the direction of the elephants.
The struggle began. Commere Baleine pulled at one
end and the elephants at the other. They pulled all day,
and by nightfall the cable wore out and broke right in
The elephants fell back, turned ten somersaults and
broke their necks. Commere Baleine on the other end
hurtled back. Had it not been for the protection of Dam-
balla Oueddo, the Master of the Heaven, she would have
Malice gathered his booty. He had enough elephant meat
to last him for months.
19. How Innocently Bouqui Was Punished.
WHEREVER women were, they were whispering.
-Ma Commere 6, did you hear?, said some.
cHear what, ma Commire?, said the others.
aThat Malice outwitted the king right before his very
-Oh-oh. Ma Commere 6, times ago, pigs used to know
on which tree trunk they could scratch their backs, but
not today; for Malice above all people should know better
than to play a trick on the king again, so openly too. Tell
me, no, how did it happen, Commere?>
aI don't know exactly, but they say that there was a
rumor that Malice was planning to steal the king's favorite
goat. When the king heard it he swore words which were
so strong that they swelled his jaws, bragging that never
again would Malice steal anything from him. So, instead of
setting guards, he himself took charge, and watched the.
goat night and day to catch Malice in the act. Knowing
Malice with his sly tricks, everybody kept one ear and one
eye open, waiting for the outcome. How he did it I can't
100 Children of Yayoute
tell you, no. The only thing I know is that Malice did not
only take the animal right before the king's eyes, but he
took the pants he was wearing. They said he had to wrap
banana leaves around his waist to get home from the pas-
ture. You can imagine how humiliated he was. They've
caught Malice with the goat though.>
Ma Commere 6, that must be why, when I passed by,
I saw Malice tied to the tree in the king's yard.,
The king, who had realized that there was nothing
which could kill Malice, had planned to make him sit on
a hot iron for punishment. At least the king thought he
would turn him loose with a blistered back.
While he was still tied to the tree, Malice was figuring
out a way to escape. It was at that moment that Bouqui
came by, and Malice knew that his problem had been solved.
Bouqui on the other hand, was very surprised to see
Malice tied to the tree. Malice, what's happened to you?
What have you done to the king for him to tie you to the
-The old king has asked me to do something impossible,,
.What does he want you to do?,
aHe wants me to eat a cow all by myself," Malice said.
Stammering with excitement Bouqui said,
worries are over, Malice. Let me take your place. You know
how much I can eat. Just leave it to me. Is that the cow tied
to that tree over there?"
-Yes. If I don't eat the cow, he'll kill me. In a short
while he will send his men to ask what else do I wish to
eat with the grilled cow.,