Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Why do Good Girls fall for Bad Boys?

Have you ever noticed how good girls fall for bad boys and nice boys end up chasing mean girls? so that sometimes the most beautiful ladies are married to good-for-nothings and the most extraordinary men have awful wives. It makes you wonder how they ever got together! Well, in case you’ve ever wondered this, there’s a Fulɓe legend as to why couples are the way they are which explains the reasons why:

When God (Guéno) had finished creating the human race, he distributed the virtues and the faults among both men and women. One day, he gathered all the women to him and told them:

“O ladies! Look at the horizon and tell me what you see?”

“O Lord, they replied, we see a resplendent sunrise over the Earth. Everything seems to celebrate its arrival. The higher it rises, the more it seems that everything which was about to die is re-born to new life.”

“Ladies!” said God, “Until now you have only experienced the pain of night. Now it is time for you to set off on the path to Paradise. Angels will watch over you all along the way, others will receive you on your arrival. Do not be discouraged, do not complain, and especially do not give up!

I have been, I am and I always will be the One who warns and guides you. Also, I am letting it be known that sumptuous dwellings and jewels of incomparable beauty will be distributed amongst you in the order of your arrival. The first amongst you will be blessed most; they will have precedence in all things. I remind you that Paradise is your eternal abode. Only the most senseless amongst you would allow yourselves to be overtaken or to put another before you.

Now that you know what you must do, leave O ladies, in search of your happiness.”

The women took to the road. Their long retinue stretched out and began to flow like the tributary of a river whose course becomes narrower and narrower.

At the end of the third day, the idlest could take it no more.

“What is the use in envying the glory of those who can walk quickly?” they whispered. “Who knows indeed the fate of the first arrivals? Paradise is as vast as all the heavens together, the dwellings as numerous as the number of grains of sand in all the rivers and on all the shores combined. Is it not said of these abodes that if laid end to end they would reach from the deepest depths to the outer reaches of the firmament? Why run then and lose the soft roundness of our thighs? Why sweat and make our bodies stink? Let us go easy, sisters, and conserve our freshness. When we reach Paradise, there will still be an abode for each and every one of us. And even if those who come first are lodged in sumptuous rooms, the forced march will have made their flesh melt. Their skeletal features will tarnish the beauty of their dwellings and the brilliance of their finery.”

With words like these the idle stragglers began to drag their feet like fattened ducks. To sustain their shuffling progress which was as slow as a tired chameleon, they began to sing:

Why hurry us? Why lament for us?
Why shout? Yeah, why?
We who are going to Paradise.
We’re not going to an arid land
Where the hyena seizes the young goat
Or the wild cat plunders the poultry yard.

Let us take the lazy road,
Let us question the book of judgment.
We’ll find the enigmatic question,
“What happened?”
Was asked for the benefit of women who run
Like a deer runs to escape a hunter.
We take the lazy way,
We question the book of judgment…

Three days after the departure of the women, God said, “Now three evenings and mornings have passed since the ladies have been on the path. Let us send the men after them.”

God therefore gathered all the men to him and said, “It is not good that a male lives without a female. And indeed I have created ladies to be your companions. They have already left in the direction of Paradise. They are three days and nights in advance of you, but I will make you three times quicker and send you in pursuit of them.”

“Each of you,” added God, “Will have for a wife the lady you find on the road and you may only have one.[1] Those who straggle along the way will therefore risk being without companion. It will be tough luck for them. I will condemn them to celibacy. They will never know the joy of the home nor the privilege of procreation. They will not be begetters continuing their own kind. The semen that I placed in them will remain like dry seed. My face will have a scowl for them and they will be sorely distressed by it…”[2]

The men took to the path. As they went, they sang:

Every being has an origin,
Every metal has a mine,
Every fact has a cause
If Guéno, the Eternal, put us on the path
Which leads to our wives,
There must be a reason for it.

Those who will be our wives
Are said to be beautiful and well-formed
They are passionate, but not shameless.
They are ardent, but not perverse.
They will put an end to the pain
Which darkens our hearts.

Let us go, let us walk quickly to Paradise!
Where we will find our wives
And live in wisdom!

Divine intelligence rises there
Like a gigantic mountain
From which one extracts precious metals
To adorn the valiant and the wise

We go, we walk quickly to Paradise!
We will live there in wisdom,
In wisdom, in wisdom! …

After a few hours’ journey, the men divided into three groups: the Hammadi-Hammadi at the head, the Hammadi in the middle and the Hamanndof bringing up the rear.[3]

The women also were divided into three groups: the Mantaldé at the head, the Santaldé in the middle and the Mantakapous bringing up the rear.[4]

The group of Hammadi-Hammadi, made up of brilliant, wise, enterprising and courageous men, fell upon the Mantakapous, that is to say the last of the women in feminine virtues. Not knowing that finer women were up ahead, they chose their wives from amongst the Mantakapous.

The Hammadi, the group of men of ordinary brilliance, fell upon the Santaldé, women of quality and virtue equal to their own. They took their wives from amongst them.

During this time the Mantaldé, the most excellent of women, had outstripped their companions of the two other groups and had already arrived at the gates of Paradise. Angels came to greet and congratulate their arrival. When they wanted to cross the threshold, the angels stopped them, saying, “Sorry, Ladies, but you are still ‘halves’. But a half is incomplete and thus imperfect and the imperfect has no place in Paradise. Wait until each of you has a husband to complete you.[5] Then you will enter by twos, that is to say, as a perfect human unity.”

Before the women had recovered from their shock, the Hammadi-Hammadi presented themselves accompanied by their Mantakapous wives. “What a mystery!” the angels exclaimed, “Are these the ladies whom God has set aside to be your companions?” The Hammadi in turn arrived flanked by the Santaldé.

At last, the Hamanndof, the last of men, reached the heavenly gates empty-handed. The beautiful Mantaldé were obliged to give themselves in marriage to them in order to enter the heavenly Abode.

And that is how the first of men are shared with the last of women and how the best of women fell into the hands of the worst of men!

Once inside Paradise, the most exceptional men came to file a complaint with God. In agreement with the best of women, they called for a settlement, desiring to re-arrange the order of things.

God said, “I do not refuse a right to one who deserves it. But the intelligence of my acts is not always within your realms of understanding.

Brave ladies of supreme excellence, accept with good heart the men of little value. And you, distinguished gentlemen, suffer by your sides the lazy and the vulgar women. I have decided things as they are out of wisdom and foresight. If I put all the values on one side and all the faults on the other, the affairs of the world would go awry, like a badly apportioned load on the back of a carrier-ox. There would be neither equilibrium nor stability. At each turn, the loads would swing on one side and your universe would be even more difficult to control than it is at present.

As long as you remain coupled, the worthy men will stop the idle women from falling into the hands of ruffians who would shed all the softness from their eyelids.[6] And the wise and dignified women will serve as a refuge for lesser men with whom they are united in marriage.

I have regulated everything according to a measure whose mystery I alone know. Do not be hateful any longer. Do not push each other away under the pretext that your values and conditions are unequal and thinking that you deserve better.

Love each other, especially husband and wife. And let it be known that among the things which please your God, the perfect conciliation between husband and wife is of the highest order!”

Image: František Kupka,
Amorpha, fugue in two colours(Prague)

Translated from: Amadou Hampâté Bâ,
Contes des sages d’Afrique (Paris)

Notes: [1] In this Fulɓe legend, God instituted monogamy for the human race at the creation of the world. This corresponds with the tradition of the red Fulɓe (the Fulɓe pastors) who only had one wife. The difficulties of pastoral life make polygamy unsuitable in any case. The latter turns out to be an urban phenomenon (of sedentary life) linked to the accumulation of wealth. One thinks for example of the lion, which although being the “king of the bush” is amongst the least well off because it sometimes has to go ten days at a time without finding anything to eat. The lion has only one companion, unlike the bustard, which finds grains everywhere to peck at, and always has several.

[2] Celibacy has always been very badly seen in traditional African culture. The unmarried man was treated like a minor regardless of age, and his speech was not respected in public assemblies.

[3] Hammadi-Hammadi is the name of a hero of great renown and of great value for his family, his district, his village and the whole country. When he travels, not only does his landlord benefit from his reputation, but the district, the village and the whole country know he has come.
Hammadi is a man of worth, but his worth is limited to his family, his district and his village. When he travels, one knows of his arrival within the limits of the village.
Hamanndof is a man of whom it is said that when he is absent, even his family do not notice his departure. And if he travels, even his landlord does not notice his arrival.

[4] Mantaldé is a wife of very great qualities who can stand in for her husband, and if necessary earn a living for her family, who can do everything for herself.
Santaldé is an excellent mother of the family and a good housewife. When her husband brings something home, she knows how to preserve and share it out. But she seeks and earns nothing for herself.
Mantakapous is a woman who not only does not know how to make anything for herself, but also if her husband brings something home she wastes it. If one gives her nothing, she starts crying. If one gives her something, she says it is not enough. She complains constantly and never does anything right.

[5] This story happened a long time ago. Feminism had not been invented yet and the angels have since had diversity training.

[6] They would make them cry.

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