Oral Amazigh folktale translated : By Mohammed ELKADAOUI
Lunja and the ogress is one of the main I used to be told by my grandmother during my childhood . It's an amazing Amazigh fairy tale which is very familiar among the people of Rif in Morocco especially in Nador region .
« Lunja » is a female name. She is the protagonist of the folktale. The story talks about long suffering, that Nunja has faced with the ogress ("Thamza" in English), as a consequence of the insanity of her mother.
I hope you enjoy it .
Lunja and the Ogress
Once upon a time, during crop season, two wives, one of them insane, ask their husband to sow beans for them. He accepts on the condition that the beans must be roasted. He takes the roasted beans to a cave and eats them. He returns back home swollen and in pain. He claims he is ill of being worked too hard. When harvest time comes, the two wives ask him about the place where he has sowed. The husband gives them a cane stick answering : « wherever you find a bean as long as this stick, then the crop is ours » .They believe him and go out looking for their beans till they reach « the mountain of beasts ». The insane wife has a child daughter, whereas the normal one has a son. They find the beans are the same size as the stick. Then, they start reaping the harvest that is not theirs. In reality, their luck is bad, the true owner of the harvest is « Thamza » (it’s an Amazigh term which means the ogress) . The animals of « Thamza » start shouting once they see the two wives in the mountain. Soon, the ogress appears in front of them. She asks : « why are you reaping a crop which is not yours ? ».The two wives replied surprised : « It is ours. Our husband has sowed them ». « Thamza » thinks of a trick. She stops thinking and says : « ahh,you ! I have just recognized you. You are my nieces ».Then she invites them to her house. She slaughters their donkey and cooks its meat. She collects a quantity of lice from her own hair and mixes them with the meat. Then she gives them the meal. The insane wife starts eating while the other knows that the old woman is the «Thamza ».She pretends to be eating but is throwing the food under the table, and thinking of a way to escape « Thamza ».Then, she says to « Thamza » that they will bring her water. But « Thamza » is not that dumb. She says : « I am afraid that you would run away ».They reply : « you can tie us with cord ». Then, she does, but demands that she keeps their children. The insane wife gives « Thamza » her daughter. The other wife hides her son in her lap and puts rolled-up cloth on her back instead. When they go out they untie the cord. Then, the insane wife realizes, through the other, that she has left her daughter with « Thamza » and cannot go back to get her. The two wives have to escape otherwise they would be eaten by the ogress .