Balewa Yola, the Black Horse of Yola, and the Contending Gods

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(Fulani, Fulfulde/Nigeria)

Because many people in the province of Adamawa retained their traditional religious beliefs, Modibbo Adama launched a jihad against Mandara at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

While they were attacking them, one of the people of Modibbo, called Bakera, of the Yola royal family, who had a black horse called Balewa Yola, was seeing about his own business, and did not hear what was happening to his countrymen. What engrossed his attention was this: There was a house standing by itself that he discovered close to the side of a moat. In this house, which had a wall around it, he found one of the best-looking women in the city, and he went in to her. He was so preoccupied with this woman that he was not aware that the Mandara had returned and driven out his countrymen. When the woman heard that her people had come back, she tried to detain him. Bakera remained until the husband, without his knowledge, arrived at the entrance. The Mandara woman told him that her husband had returned. She saddled his horse and held the stirrup for him. He mounted as the Mandara man entered and saw someone inside on a horse. He defied Bakera to attempt to escape. Bakera took his spears from the woman, and told the man of Mandara to prepare himself, that he was going out. Then he made his horse plunge forward toward the entrance. As the man awaited him, Bakera went up to him as though they would meet in the entrance, then turned his horse back into the courtyard at a full gallop. The man followed and they went through the courtyard together. When they reached the wall, Bakera pressed his horse forward to jump, and it leapt over both the wall and the moat at one bound. The man of Mandara urged his horse forward, but it jumped over the wall only; it could not clear the wall and the moat. Bakera turned, and struck his horse's quarters. So it was that Bakera escaped from them and departed.

Subjects: Religion.

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