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“The son (some storytellers say the daughter) of the giant Rapeto, asked him one day to pick the moon to make it his toy. Driven by the love of this son whom he adored, Rapeto, whose head touched the sky, set out towards the west on the day of the full moon. His son (or his daughter) waited in vain for his return. A giant torn off the moon from the celestial vault, a great universal cataclysm took place: the continents broke, the flood began, Rapeto, who supported the sky with his head, bent over into the Indian Ocean, formed the island of Madagascar : The big toe directed towards the Septentrion, the heel being to the South. “
This is how the old Malagasians explain the origin of the Great Island. All its
Tradition and its civilization are affected by these poetic origins. Malagasy philosophy and wisdom are revealed through legends and proverbs that testify to a great clairvoyance. To illustrate this, Dr Tsimahafotsy Randriamaro quotes:
“He who examines the truth at length, discovers its full significance. “
According to him, this wisdom is found at the bottom of all peoples whatever their language. The soul of human beings would therefore have the same sap and roots as one of our proverbs says: “Human beings are like the courgettes of a single plant of squash, the same roots and stems for bodies and souls. “
Author of a study on the Malagasy medical spirit through his proverbs or ohabolana, he specifies that the Malagasy literature, folkloric and symbolic is very rich. More than 4,000 proverbs are collected, he says, but in his study he is only interested in those related to Medicine. There are about 200 of them, but the translations I shall give you are very imperfect. It is impossible to render in a Western language humor so different from our tropical countries, the play of words, the sense of rhythms are untranslatable.
To show how vocabulary is in itself poetic and metaphorical, he gives some examples: the sun is “the eye of the day”, the moon is “the month”, the pupil is
“The prince of the eye”, the hill is “the child of the mountain”, the milky way is “the heavenly liana”, the fingers are “the branches of the hand”, the mica is the mirror of the ravens “Splenomegaly is the” egg of fever, “and so on.
Taking the proverb “Ny fanahy no mahaolona” (it is the soul that makes man), Dr. Randriamaro returns to some passages of the last kabary (discourse) of Andrianampoinimerina which reigns from 1787 to 1810; Ultimate recommendations to his people and to his son and successor Radama Ier. “Here come the signs of the fatal evolution of my illness … The will of the Creator calls me to Heaven … My flesh will be buried, but my soul and my mind will always whisper to you, oh! My dear friends, relatives and you my son Damalahy. Preserve it from all danger … “
“Make sure that he does not do the harmful days,” because “the will of man is useless when one is overtaken by events,” explains Dr. Randriamaro by evoking a proverb: “Do not obstruct the elk Of his heart “. For, he adds, “we do not tear the child the treat that makes him happy.” Speaking especially to his son, he advises: “Do not seek quarrel with yours and do not excite your slaves with violence,” for “the soul of a slave degrades.”
The ultimate advice of the great monarch to his successor is numerous and the author of the study translates them into a few proverbs: “Violence is not worth the good feelings” – “There is gentleness in great bitterness” – ” Do not keep in your heart that which annoys you. “
– “The dead have respondents, the living of the shadows, the children continue their father. “The name of a famous father is a heavy burden.” “
– However, “he is madman who does not exceed his father in life. “