Tunjur, Tunjur!

There was once a woman who could not get pregnant and have children. Once upon a day she had an urge; she wanted babies. “O Lord!” she cried out, “Why of all women am I like this? Would that I could get pregnant and have a baby, and may Allah grant me a girl even if she is only a cooking pot!” One day she became pregnant· A day came and a day went, and behold! she was ready to deliver. She went into labor and delivered, giving birth to a cooking pot. What was the poor woman to do? She washed it, cleaning it well, put the lid on it, and placed it on the shelf.

One day the pot started to talk. “Mother,” she said, “take me down from this shelf!”

“Alas, daughter!” replied the mother, “Where am I going to put you?”

“What do you care?” said the daughter. “Just bring me down, and I will make you rich for generations to come.”

The mother brought her down. “Now put my lid on,” said the pot, “and leave me outside the door.” Putting the lid on, the mother took her outside the door.

The pot started to roll, singing as she went, “Tunjut, tunjur, clink, clink, O my mama!” She rolled until she came to a place where people usually gather. In a while people were passing by. A man came and found the pot all settled in its place. “Eh!” he exclaimed, “who has put this pot in the middle of the path? I’ll be damned! What a beautiful pot! It’s probably made of silver.” He looked it over well. “Hey, people!” he called, “Whose pot is this? Who put it here?” No one claimed it. “By Allah,” he said, “I’m going to take it home with me.”

On his way home he went by the honey vendor. He had the pot filled with honey and brought it home to his wife. “Look, wife,” he said, “how beautiful is this pot!” The whole family was greatly pleased with it.

In two or three days they had guests, and they wanted to offer them some honey. The woman of the house brought the pot down from the shelf. Push and pull on the lid, but the pot would not open! She called her husband over. Pull and push, but open it he could not. His guests pitched in. Lifting the pot and dropping it, the man tried to break it open with hammer and chisel. He tried everything, but it was no use. They sent for the blacksmith, and he tried and tried, to no avail. What was the man to do? “Damn your owners!” he cursed the pot, “Did you think you were going to make us wealthy?” And, taking it up, he threw it out the window.

When they turned their back and could no longer see it, she started to roll, saying as she went:

“Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the honey.
Clink, clink, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the honey.”

“Bring me up the stairs!” she said to her mother when she reached home.

“Yee!” exclaimed the mother, “I thought you had disappeared, that someone had taken you.”

“Pick me up!” said the daughter.

Picking her up, my little darlings, the mother took the lid off and found the pot full of honey. Oh! How pleased she was!

“Empty me!” said the pot.

The mother emptied the honey into a jar, and put the pot back on the shelf.

“Mother,” said the daughter the next day, “take me down!”

The mother brought her down from the shelf.

“Mother, put me outside the door!”

The mother placed her outside the door, and she started rolling—tunjur, tunjur, clink, clink—until she reached a place where people were gathered, and then she stopped. A man passing by found her.

“Eh!” he thought, “What kind of a pot is this?” He looked it over. How beautiful he found it! “To whom does this belong?” he asked. “Hey, people! Who are the owners of this pot?” He waited, but no one said, “It’s mine.” Then he said, “By Allah, I’m going to take it.”

He took it, and on his way home stopped by the butcher and had it filled with meat. Bringing it home to his wife, he said, “Look, wife, how beatiful is this pot I’ve found! By Allah, I found it so pleasing I bought meat and filled it and brought it home.”

“Yee!” they all cheered, “How lucky we are! What a beautiful pot!” They put it away.

Toward evening they wanted to cook the meat. Push and pull on the pot, it would not open! What was the woman to do? She called her husband over and her children. Lift, drop, strike—no use. They took it to the blacksmith, but with no result. The husband became angry. “God damn your owners!” he cursed it. “What in the world are you?” And he threw it as far as his arm would reach.

As soon as he turned his back, she started rolling, and singing:

“Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the meat.
Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the meat.”

She kept repeating that till she reached home.

“Lift me up!” she said to her mother. The mother lifted her up, took the meat, washed the pot, and put it away on the shelf.

“Bring me out of the house!” said the daughter the next day. The mother brought her out, and she said, “Tunjur, tunjur, clink, clink” as she was rolling until she reached a spot dose by the king’s house, where she came to a stop. In the morning, it is said, the son of the king was on his way out, and behold! there was. the pot settled in its place.

“Eh! What’s this? Whose pot is it?” No one answered. “By Allah,” he said, “I’m going to take it.” He took it inside and called his wife over. “Wife,” he said, “take this pot! I brought it home for you. It’s the most beautiful pot!”

The wife took the pot. “Yee! How beautiful it is! By Allah, I’m going to put my jewelry in it.” Taking the pot with her, she gathered all her jewelry, even that which she was wearing, and put it in the pot. She also brought all their gold and money and stuffed them in the pot till it was full to the brim, then she covered it and put it away in the wardrobe.

Two or three days went by, and it was time for the wedding of her brother. She put on her velvet dress and brought the pot out so that she could wear her jewelry. Push and pull, but the pot would not open. She called to her husband, and he could not open it either. All the people who were there tried to open it, lifting and dropping. They took it to the blacksmith, and he tried but could not open it. The husband felt defeated. “God damn your owners!” he cursed it, “What use are you to us?” Taking it up, he threw it out the window. Of course he was not all that anxious to let it go, so he went to catch it from the side of the house. No sooner did he turn around than she started to run:

“Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the treasure.

Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the treasure.”

“Lift me up!” she said to her mother when she reached home. Lifting her up, the mother removed the lid.

“Yee! May your reputation be blackened!” she cried out. “Wherever did you get this? What in the world is it?” The mother was now rich. She became very, very happy.

“It’s enough now,” she said to her daughter, taking away the treasure. “You shouldn’t go out any more. People will recognize you.”

“No, no!” begged the daughter, “Let me go out just one last time.”

The next day, my darlings, she went out, saying “Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama.” The man who found her the first time saw her again.

“Eh! What in the world is this thing?” he exclaimed. “It must have some magic in it, since it’s always tricking people. God damn its owners! By Allah the Great, I’m going to sit and shit in it.” He went ahead, my darlings, and shat right in it. Closing the lid on him, she rolled along:

“Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama
In my mouth I brought the caca.
Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the caca.”

“Lift me up!” she said to her mother when she reached home. The mother lifted her up.

“You naughty thing, you!” said the mother. “I told you not to go out again, that people would recognize you. Don’t you think it’s enough now?”

The mother then washed the pot with soap, put perfume on it, and placed it on the shelf.

****This story is taken from Speak Bird, Speak Again by Muhawi and Kanaana

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s