THE LEGEND OF THE ROME, THE GIANT PEOPLE.
The people of the Rom were living with their cattle
everywhere. And the wells from which the Rom watered their cows were
very deep, about of the length of a packing-rope. (1) And every Rom man
when watering his cows used to draw [the water] putting his one foot in
the well and the other in the trough; and his water-vessel was the
entire hide of a bull, When he ate he was never satisfied; and he milked
his cattle into (a vessel made of) an elephant's skin and drank it; and
he killed one cow for every meal, and without cutting her into pieces,
he roasted her on a wood-fire and glutted her down. And when he gathered
wood for his fire, he tore the ’aqba tree.(1) out with its roots and
shoved it into the fire. And at a certain place there was living a man
with his wife, [both] of the now living mankind. Now the wife abused the
man and said to him: 'What [power] hast thou? Thou canst not raid the
cattle of the Rom!" The man replied: "Now if I do not take some of them
and come back [with them], I shall be a weakling according to thy word!"
And the man went to the Rom, and came to a Rom man, a cattle-owner. And
he sat down near his cattle. When the giant saw him, he went straightway
to him and greeted him and asked him: “From where art thou?" The human
manikin answered: “I am from such and such a place." Thereupon the giant
tore out the ’aqba trees and put them together [like the spokes of a
wheel] for a fire. Then taking the elephant's skin he milked all his
cows. When the visitor saw his doings he was frightened and said (to
himself): “Who can raid this man's cattle?" The giant having milked [his
cows] said to the man: 'Take [and] drink!" But the man was not able to
receive (and hold) the skin and the milk. Thereupon the giant seized it
and gave him to drink. But when the man had drunk a little, he said: I
am satisfied now!" The giant said: "Drink! How canst thou be satisfied
not having (even) begun?" The man said: 'I am satisfied; this is my
limit." And the giant went away with his milk saying: “What sort of a
manikin art thou? Thou hast no belly!" and he drank it himself.
Thereupon he killed a cow and roasted her; and for his visitor he tore
off a hind-quarter and gave [it] to him. And after the man had eaten a
little of it, he said to him "I am satisfied." But the other glutted all
the meat of the cow. Thereupon belching he said: 'Praise be to God! This
little locust has made us belch." And when the man saw all this he said
all night: "Thy wonder, o God!" The next morning the giant asked him
saying: 'Why art thou come and what doest thou wish?" The man replied:
'I have become poor, and I am come to tend this thy cattle." But the
other said: 'What power hast thou to tend my cattle? Thou canst not
water them nor carry the skin into which they are milked. But live from
these cows!” And he gave him a few cows.
The man returned with the cows to his wife and said to
her: "I have taken away the giant's cows." And when they were living
together, the wife said to her husband: "Now since thou art courageous,
take [again] the giant's cattle away!" And the man went to the giant.
Said the giant to him: 'Why art thou come? Have I 'not given thee cows
to live from?" The man answered: 'Those cows have perished. Now make me
thy herdsman; I can tend thy cattle." The giant said: “Very well then!
We shall see whether thou canst." Then he said: "Drive the cattle!" and
giving him the bull-skin he added: "Take it down and water them from my
well! But this my daughter shall go down with thee to hold back the
cattle [while they are not drinking]. Do not let her draw the water of
the well: descend thyself into the well and water [them]!" The man with
the giant's daughter driving the cattle went down to the river-bed.
Thereupon when he saw the depth of the well, he did not know what to do:
if he went down he would find nobody to take [the water] from him; and
if he went up, he could not reach the water, Then he let down the bucket
of the bull-skin into the water, but when it was Wetted and he wanted to
lift it, he could not [do so]. And the cattle grew very thirsty.
Thereupon the girl said to him: “I shall water the cattle the way my
father waters them. Then wipe the sand of the well thoroughly off from
me, lest my father see it and kill thee!" The man said to her: 'I shall
thoroughly wipe it off from thee." Now the girl descended into the well,
and she put her one foot into the water and the other into the trough,
and drawing [the bucket) she watered the cattle. After she had come up
from the well, the man wiped the sand off from her. When they came home
toward evening the giant asked: "Have the cattle drunk?" The man
replied: 'Yes, I have watered them myself." But the giant said to him:
'How couldst thou thyself? Probably thou hast made my daughter draw [the
water)." The man: "I have watered them myself; she has only kept back
the cattle for me”. Now the giant looked for san d on the body of his
daughter, and searching her, he found some grains of sand in her ear.
And he said to the man: "Thou hast made my daughter draw; is this not
sand?", and he sprang upon him to kill him. The man fled and came to
another giant and asked for his protection; that giant was ploughing.
The other giant running after him came to kill him. But the giant who
was ploughing said: 'He is my client, I shall not give him to thee!" And
when he refused him to the other, the giant tore up a baobab tree to
kill his brother, and came toward him. But the other put his client into
the fold of his cloak at his waist and went straightway against the
other with his ploughing instruments. And they struck each other and
wounded each other. Thereupon their friends came and reconciled them.
The other returned home, and the ploughman stayed with his client. Then,
in his anger he prepared his pipe and smoked; he opened his belt and
took the man out of the fold. But he had been crushed and was dead now.
Then [the giant) was frightened," but afterwards he said: 'Be like
fencic, (2) thou manikin! For thy sake I have been fighting in vain,
since thy soul is as weak as this!" - The tribe of the Röm used to
migrate everywhere and to pasture their flocks. One giant once when
migrating from his camping place sang thus:
'But treasure was left at Af-Meseb (3)
At thy right hand under the protruding rock:
Gable-beam and cross-bars and eight poles!"
For he had hidden his belongings at a certain place.
The Rom people are said to have been great singers.
The giant-poet speaks of his square house which he had
been obliged to take down when leaving Af-Meseb; such a house is a great
treasure. Its wood he hid at a secret place; this wood consists of the
beam in the gable the crossbars in the upper part of the wall and the
carrying poles in the lower part.
1) 1. e. Acacia spirocarpa.
A small bitter herb.
A locality in Bet-Shahqen.
x) The rope used for mule-loads is 10-12 m. long, the
one for donkey-loads 7-8 m
OF HOW THE ROME CAME TO AN END.
While the giants were living on and on, their end was
ripe. And God gave the tribe of the giants the choice of one of these
two ways: . 'Shall I now make you perish by a blessing or by a curse?.
Which do ye wish?" And the tribe of the giants said to God: 'Now then,
since thou art to destroy us, let us perish by a blessing!" And God said
to them: “Perish by a blessing then. Your wives shall bring forth male
children unto you; your cows, how-ever, shall all bring forth female
calves unto you!" And all came to pass as God had spoken. Their wives
brought forth only male children; and when they grew up they found no
wives to marry, for their whole tribe had begotten male children only.
And all their cows brought forth female calves; and when they grew up
they found no bull to cover them, and they died, weak from old age. Then
the tribe of the giants assembled to hold a council: 'What shall we do
now.? Our sons have found no wives to marry, and they shrivel up in old
age, and our offspring has diminished. Our cows have found no bull to
cover them; they have had no milk nor covering." Thereupon they decided:
this. "Let every one dig his grave and put the stones of his tomb
together like a hut (1) over it, but let him leave a door in it. Then
let him enter through the door with his property and close the door!".
And every one went to his place to do thus. And they did thus. Every one
of them dug his grave and built up the stones of his tomb like a hut
over it, and left a door to enter by it; and taking whatever he owned
and his cows he entered his grave and closed it. And in this way they
all perished at the same time. And their tombs are to be found until
this day everywhere those that have heavy and large stones (Fig, 11).
But they have left no known village or settlement, because they were
uncivilized and roaming herdsmen only. And now they say as a proverb
when the rains grows plentiful beyond measure '0. Lord, do not let us
perish by blessing like the giants!," And again as a proverb they say
"Does a man dig his tomb like the giants? On the contrary, his people
1) The "huts" have the form of a cone or a round