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Full Text: Anthropos, 69.1974

The Bird Motif in Kaguru Folklore: 
Ten Texts (Tanzania) 
T. O. Beidelman 
I. The Man and His Child and the Bird 
II. The Man and the Bird 
III. The Man and His Two Wives and the Bird 
IV. The Man and the Bird 
V. The Man and His Two Sons 
VI. The Man and His Son and the Bird 
VII. The Man and His Child and the Bird 
VIII. The Three Men 
IX. The Man and Wife and Their Grinding-Stone 
X. The Man and the Wife of His Maternal Uncle and the Birds 
Over the past thirteen years I have been engaged in the publication 
of Kaguru folklore (cf. Bibliography). This task is still far from completed; 
however, even at this point certain motifs are clearly prominent: old women, 
oppressed younger children, trickster hares, villainous hyenas, cruel step 
mothers, unjust elders, all occupy morally negative or questionable posi 
tions within the general system of Kaguru ideology and tradition and there 
fore constitute important elements in the repertoire of any Kaguru storyteller. 
One such motif is that of a bird, and in this set of texts I briefly consider 
this in terms of various Kaguru tales and also within the wider context of 
certain other aspects of Kaguru thought. The broader aspects of Kaguru 
society may be discerned from other publications (19670; 1968c, 19716) and 
their contained bibliographies. 
Leach has rightly criticized those analysts who see symbolic motifs 
mainly at face value rather than in terms of their structural or modal signif 
icance (1966). He damns Eliade and other members of the JuNGian school 
who construct a kind of intellectual patchwork-quilt out of scattered symbolic 
artifacts plucked out of the contexts of their respective cosmologies. Thus,

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