Bayajidda's Tale

According to legend, it all started when a certain great Kingdom somewhere to the north expelled its greatest prince. Most say the reason for expulsion was jealousy, others say the prince was too greedy to be accommodated by the kingdom. There are also those who say that his father’s kingdom was conquered by Queen Zidau of the Zigawa and the Prince and his numerous warriors were forced to leave. There are a lot of things we don’t know, like what kingdom it was. Some say it was Baghdad others say it was Nubia, or some other kingdom in the north. But we do know one thing, this Prince from the North, who started it all according to the legend was named Bayajidda

Bayajidda travelled with his band of warriors, helping people and achieving great feats. He also became a very famous person whose name was whispered and for whom songs and dramas were made up. But Bayajidda soon tired of his nomadic life and decided to settle down in one place. This was a problem, because of his fame, most people already knew of his prowess and military skills. Added to this was the fact that his band of warriors were often more numerous than the standing army of the areas he came across. Poor Bayajidda could simply not convince any of the local rulers that he came in peace. So he kept moving with a following that seemed to be increasing on a daily basis, consumed with the responsibilities he felt towards his people, and determined to do his best by them.

One day the King of Kanem-Bornu asked Bayajidda and his band of fierce warriors to do him a favour. As payment, Bayajidda asked for and received a portion of land where he and his followers settled, it was called Hadejia. To prove to the king that he meant no harm and intended to live in Kanem-Bornu as a peaceful subject, Bayajidda took one of the kings daughters as his wife. There was peace and calm for a while but sadly, that was not to last.

The intrigues in the palace of the King did not stop simply because Bayajidda took a princess for his wife. In fact, in some corners it stoked the embers of jealousy. Some jealous courtiers whispered into the ears of the King, telling him tales of how easy it would be for Bayajidda to take over Kanem-Bornu especially as he already lived near the very heart of the Kingdom. They also pointed out that as Bayajidda was already connected to the royal family by marriage, it wouldn’t take much for the people to accept him as their king. Now all these conjuncture was quite probably true but what the plotting courtiers and indeed the king of Kanem-Bornu failed to take into consideration was Bayajidda himself and the fact that he had no interest in ruling any land. In fact, after leaving his rightful kingdom Bayajidda decided not to rule any other kingdom ever again. But nobody asked him. Instead he was persecuted at every turn and eventually forced to flee Kanem-Bornu leaving behind his pregnant wife and most of his men. Bayajidda fled Hadejia and Kanem-Bornu to a town called Gaya. He was unarmed so at Gaya he asked to local blacksmiths to make him a knife and a sword. Now armed, he continued on his way, putting distance between himself and the king and courtiers of Kanem-Bornu. Bayajidda made his way to Daura. Of course at the time he didn’t know it but Daura would be where he settled for the rest of his life, providing him with what he’d always wanted – a home.

Now Daura at this time was ruled by a female monarchy. Following the line called the Habe Queens descended from Magajiva Daurama I, rulers of Daura had always been female. At the time Bayajidda entered Daura, the queen (also known as the Kabara) was Magajiva Daurama II. Daurama II was a good queen and a fair ruler. Her people were peaceful and lived a simple but content live. From her capital in Tishon Birni, Daurama II guided the affairs of her people. But she, like Bayajidda, often struggled from the burden of responsibilities that was hers to bear. To give herself time away and time to think, Daurama II used to  take long walks alone. It was while she was on one of those walks that she met an exhausted Bayajidda just entering the city. Bayajidda did not recognize the Queen of Daura and for fear of being turned away because of the looming threat of the Kanem-Bornu, did not give Daurama II  his real name. Being a kind hearted person, she offered him some water and fruits. The two of the started talking and discovered that not only did they have a lot in common but they shared a lot of views. So Daurama II and Bayajidda became friends but Daurama II soon had to return to her duties and Bayajidda had to find a place to live and work, but neither of them ever forgot that afternoon under the shade or the company they shared it with.

Bayajidda settled into Daura, discovering in it the slice of heaven he had been seeking since he left his father’s kingdom. The simplicity of life in Daura was something Bayajidda craved and delighted in. Being a smart man, Bayajidda soon noticed that life could be a lot easier for a lot of people if only they could draw water from a great well at the edge of the city. Not wanting to step on the toes of his very kind hosts, Bayajidda set out to find out why the people didn’t use what looked like a perfectly good well to him. He discovered that a huge and highly venomous snake had moved into the well, terrorizing the locals and effectively stopping them from using the well. The people of Daura had tried everything they could to get rid of the snake to no avail. The Queen had even offered great wealth (by Daura standards) to whoever was able to kill the snake. So Bayajidda decided to make an attempt. It was touch and go for a while but Bayajidda was able to kill the snake although he was severely injured in the process. Taken to the Queen’s palace, Bayajidda was gently nursed back to health.

Daurama II was happy to have this man she’s not forgotten back in her life. Once Bayajidda got his health back completely, he was granted a private audience with the Queen. To his shock and delight (although the delight came a little latter than the shock), the benevolent Queen he’d heard a lot about was none other than the kind woman who had offered him water and fruits. Bayajidda revealed who he was and told his story right from when he had to leave his father’s Kingdom. He told her of his most desperate desire, for a place to call home. He also told her of how he thought he’d achieved that in Kanem-Bornu only to have his wife, son and even his people taken from him because of a jealous and fickle king. All he wanted was a home and a family. Bayajidda declared his love for Daurama II and asked for her hand in marriage. She reciprocated his feelings and accepted his request. Soon the two were wed.

Meanwhile, in Kanem-Bornu, the old King had gone on to rest with his ancestors and one of his sons had taken over. The new King was favourably disposed to Bayajidda and wanted to ensure that his brothers (some of whom were eyeing the throne) could not get an army near enough to challenge his hold on the throne. So he sent Bayajidda’s son with the army Bayajidda had commanded to Daura. Bayajidda’s first wife, the Princess of Kanem-Bornu, stayed behind in her native land.

At Daura, Bayajidda’s men became the warriors of Daura, defending the state against enemies and protecting Daura’s interests. Bayajidda found with Daurama II in Daura what he’d always wanted; a home, security, peace and love. With the support of her famous husband, Daurama II ruled a peaceful and prosperous Daura well into her old age. Their son, Bawo ended the line of the Hume Queens, the female Kabaras of Daura. Bawo’s sons would go beyond Daura, forming the various Hausa states. Bawo’s seven legitimate sons founded the ‘legitimate’ hausa states, the Hausa Bokwai while his seven illegitimate sons founded the seven ‘illegitimate’ Hausa states, the Bansa Bokwai.

So there you have it. Thus ends Bayajidda’s Tale.

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