How Cangala Saved Lozi from the Evil Spirit

Here is a story:

There once was a very big village. In this village there was a chief and a very beautiful girl. The girl did not want any man to marry her. One day, a boy (who was in fact an evil spirit, a lion-man) came to get engaged to her and she gave him her consent. The name of this girl was Lozi and she had a brother named Cangala. The boy who engaged Lozi didn’t go away but stayed with his go-between. What he did was this: Whenever they brought him a big piece of mush, he could never get full on it.

One day, this man went into the bush to hunt. He went very far, stood up on an anthill and changed himself into a lion in a flash. Immediately, when he saw animals grazing , he jumped on one nearby, killed it and ate and ate until he was satiated. In the evening, he did the same: he ate his food and then went back taking something along with him. Sometimes he killed Roan antelopes, sometimes Elands and then said to the people: Go and fetch the meat. They went and brought a lot of meat. The people shared the meat and the village was full of the aroma of meat.

People in the village were very happy, including the father-in-law. They had no idea what was going on. Every day, he did the same. Whenever he saw animals, he went on the anthill, changed himself into a lion and killed and ate. In the late afternoon, he did the same. Sometimes he killed two or three animals, so he said: Go and bring them! Then others went and brought in the meat.

Little Cangala looked like one who could see things in his dream. He said: Oh no, this meat shouldn’t be eaten. What kind of a man can kill animals not having a gun? He has only a spear. Can he kill an elephant, roan antelope, or eland with only a spear? What is going on? Little Cangala said: Oh no, you can give me only beans, not meat. He refused to eat the meat.

One day, small Cangala went after this man and said to himself: Let me see where he goes. Any time the man looked back, the small boy hid himself, until they eventually reached the marshes. The man found many roan antelopes there. He did as he used to do. He became a lion while small Cangala watched him in horror. He jumped on an antelope and killed it. Small Cangala climbed a tree and saw that the man was devouring the food when in the village he never ate nsima and always said: Prepare for me just a little. The man did as he always did and went back to the village and said: Go and bring in the meat! On his way back to the village, little Cangala followed another way (going off the path) and sat somewhere by himself.

Afterwards, he told everything to his mother, his father, and to Lozi. He said: Lozi, my sister, the man who is engaged to you is not a man! Listen, listen… it is a real lion. Tomorrow you will bring misfortune upon yourself. Lozi answered: Go away, you are a liar. She pinched him many times, beat him and then once again said: You’re just telling lies. He said: Really? He didn’t talk about that any more but just said: O.K., you will see for yourself. The bridegroom sensed what was going on: so he said to himself: Let me quickly bring the wedding gifts to brew the beer. He gave his gift. They said: O.K., bring everything. So he brought everything because they liked him so much, it looked like he brought the whole dowry a long time ago. Then the beer was ready.

The next morning, the wedding celebrations started and the two got married. The girl asked him: Where are we going to settle? He answered: We’ll go to the place where I live. I was just waiting for this marriage, that’s all. They went round in the village and chose some people to escort them. There was quite a group of the ones who were going to escort them. Early in the morning, they set out on a long journey, walking briskly. Little Cangala said: Let me go and follow Lozi, butshe forbid him. He was beaten so much that he nearly became blind. But he said: I can be beaten, it doesn’t matter. So he followed them at a distance. He hid himself whenever they looked back, in the same way as he had followed the lion before. So they went on and on. They asked: Hey you, what time will we arrive there? He answered: Let us go and continue. They slept in the middle of the bush – the middle of nowhere.

Early in the morning, they got up and with an incredible effort, they went on till they reached their destination. Little Cangala arrived as well. When they got there, they saw only one building: an enormous house. There was nothing in the house but meat. Immediately, they asked: You boy, is this your home? He answered: Yes, this is the one. We’ve arrived. There was nothing they could do and the place was far from anywhere, so they had nowhere to go. They had to eat roasted meat along with the little bit of flour (mush) that they had brought with them on their journey. It was all they had to eat. They said: O.K., as we are already here, there is nothing we can do now about it. Little Cangala sat at the side of the fire place and they said to him: You there, take some and eat. He refused, saying: Myself?!

The next day in the morning, the man brought fresh meat. Then he said: Today, you are going to eat raw meat for the first time, aren’t you? They said: Yes, it’s true. They just roasted the meat as they had nothing to cook with. They ate roasted food for many days and they became very fat, like pigs. One day, the man said to himself: They are fat now. I can go and call my friends so they can come and feast on them. When they were all asleep, little Cangala was up by the fire place. The man continued: Wow, what about this one? What about that one? He is fat too! Oh, Ntembwe Kasanga! You should come and see the strangers who have come here. He was asking himself: Whom shall I eat among them? Little Cangala just listened to everything.

After three days, Little Cangala told his sister: Listen to that. His sister said to him: Go away, you just want to bring misfortune upon us. We are living here well. If something happens, he will send us back.He said: I won’t talk about it anymore. He added: You will see for yourself. In the evening, when they were sleeping, the evil spirit started again, saying: Wow, what about this one? What about that one? He is fat too! Oh, Ntembwe Kasanga! You should come and see the strangers who have come here. Right away, his sister started to shiver from fear. This day Cangala was also ill at ease.

In the morning, when the evil spirit went, Cangala said to himself: All right. Then he told everybody, saying: Go and dig some clay (and there was a good place to get clay nearby). They went there and dug a lot of clay, heaps of it. Cangala started to make a lot of pots and it took him a lot of time too. For each of the pots, he prepared a lid. So, every pot made had a lid. He made enormous pots and they were the size of people so they could sit in them.

When the evil spirit came trotting, he said: Go and take this meat. So, they went and brought it. The man then asked: You, my brother-in-law, what are you making these for? The boy answered: The animals you are killing, we are not accustomed to eating them raw. You didn’t see that when you came to our village? Were we eating raw meat? I’m making pots for cooking meat. He was just deceiving him to keep him in the dark. So Cangala made as many pots as there were people. The pots dried and they burned them. When he hit them, they sounded like iron. They couldn’t be broken, even if someone was inside.

When the morning came, the evil spirit went away. Small Cangala then forged some arrows and fix them on a shaft and then made an excellent bow to go along with them. He cut a long strip of skin from an animal killed by the evil spirit and fixed it on the bow properly. He took the huge quiver in which he put a lot of arrows and then made a small drum according to its size. When the man came, he asked him: Brother-in-law, what is this for? Small Cangala answered: This small drum will make us dance and rejoice because we are sad here. This was just to keep him in the dark.

The next morning, the evil spirit went away again. As soon as he was gone, Little Cangala said to the people: Today we are going back to the village. Do you understand? Go inside the pots! Everybody went to his pot, one by one, and so all of them were inside. He took a lot of meat, which was in the house, to be their reward. Then he filled with it the space around the person in the pot and did the same in all pots. There were some holes in the pots so the people could breathe. He took the horns of the animals the evil spirit had killed. He threw one here, the other over there and scattered them all over the place. It looked as if he were flying, going here and there like this. Then the evil spirit approached. He came back trotting: nsewe nsewe nsewe, nsewe. When the small boy saw him coming very close, he started to shout:

You, my huge pots, go up;
let us first fly very high making a swishing sound: nghgwi, nghwi, nghwi,
fly very high making a swishing sound: nghwi, nghwi, nghwi,
making a swishing sound: nghwi, nghwi, nghwi.

The pots rose up, and they shoot up into the air. They hovered in the air, moving in different directions. Before they rose up, the boy told them: I will find you there! He specified the place where he would then find them. He said: I will catch up with you. All at once, the huge pots reached the place he had specified. Then the evil spirit arrived and asked: Brother-in-law, where did the people go? He answered: No idea, I don’t know where they went; some of them have gone cooking; some have gone to the river and others to fetch firewood. For this purpose, I made pots for drawing water and for cooking. Some people said: ‘We have been eating the same food for so long’, so they went to pick some ‘nkowa’ vegetables in the river grove. Where the others went, I have no clue. He mentioned all kinds of possible places. The evil spirit hustled and bustled about and then went to call the other evil spirits to come and eat the people. He shouted: Hey there! He heard the horn replying: I am here. He rushed to go there. He shouted and heard another horn which answered: We are picking inkowa vegetable. Doing that, he got very tired. When he came back, the other spirits were approaching. When they were very close, little Cangala went into the small drum which carried the arrows and sang a song:

You in-law, the drum is good.
You in-law, the drum is good.
You in-law, the drum is good.
Bang bang, the drum is good;
Bang bang, the drum is good.
You in-law, the drum is good.

The small drum went up, going higher and higher, while the spirits were just watching as it moved, so they shouted: There it goes, there it goes. Little Cangala caught up with the others at the place where they had landed and were resting. Just as he arrived, the spirits who followed approached in a gallop. When they were very close, they said to themselves: We have arrived. A small boy sang his song saying:

You my huge pots, you go up;
let us first fly very high making a swishing sound: nghgwi, nghwi, nghwi,
fly very high making a swishing sound: nghwi, nghwi, nghwi,
making a swishing sound: nghwi, nghwi, nghwi.

The pots went up with a blast and there they were. They were playing boisterously, high in the sky, going to the girl’s mother’s house where all of them landed at once. When the evil spirits came closer, a small boy beat the drum: bang bang, the drum is good. Immediately, he was on his way. He soared very high until he reached the village.

The evil spirits followed them, some grew tired and went back. The very one set his heart and said to himself: I have to reach the village. Cangala had already warned the people in the village, saying: Lock the doors, lock the doors, be careful. Something is coming here. Right away, the people locked themselves in their houses. The spirit came running with a galloping speed. As soon as it came closer little Cangala, with all his strength, with a mpa noise shot one arrow after another at it. Finally, he made it fall down. It died. When it was dead, the small boy said: Now you can open. When they opened, he told them: See what I have killed here. Then he started to explain the whole story as it happened, starting from the time they left the village and reached the place and ending with how they came back from there. This was what happened to Cangala. The others, each of them took the pot with meat to their parents. Cangala and Lozi stayed at their parents’ home.

And that is the end of our story.


Written by Daniel Daudi Simungala. It is a third version of a folk-tale (74) How Cangala Saved the Girl Lozi from the Evil Spirit told by Daniel Daudi Simungala from Nsindano (Kasakalawe) village (recorded). Cf. also a folk-tale (second version 10) Cangala: The Man Who Defeated the Man Who Could Turn into a Lion, written by Vera Mwimbe.