The Vegetable Patch An excerpt from the Epic of Sundaita
Sassouma, worried about Sundiata's popularity, calls the nine great witches of Mali and asks them to kill him. Soumosso Konkomba, the most powerful witch, says that since Sundiata has never hurt them, they can't use their evil powers. Sassouma then suggest that the witches steal leaves from Sundiata's mother, Sogolon's vegetable patch, so that Sundiata will get angry at them and overreact. The witches agree that this is a good idea.
At dusk the next day, the nine witches are stealing gnougou leaves from Sogolon's vegetable patch.
When Sundiata comes back from his day of hunting with his companions, he goes to the vegetable patch. When he arrives the witches try to run away, in an attempt to make themselves look guilty.
"STOP STOP!" said Sundiata
"Poor old women, what is the
matter with you to run away like this?
This garden belongs to all."
Straight away his companions and he
filled the gourds of the old hags with leaves,
aubergines, and onions.
The witches were confused,
"Listen, Djata," said Soumosso Konkomba
We have come to test you, but your
generosity disarms us. Nothing can be
can be done against a heart full of kindness.
Forgive us, son of Sogolon."
"I bear you no ill-will," said Djata, "I will give you an elephant each and then you will have some meat!"
The witches were very very pleased.
"Thank you, son of Sogolon."
"Thank you, child of Justice."
"Henceforth," concluded Soumosso Konkomba "We will watch over you."
And then the nine witches disapeared into the night.