11. Fire Fire in y’Wire Wire

So, imagine you meet a fella, and he tell you he see a soucouyah. Ole people talk, right. But he’s serious, he say he see a soucouyah. What you going to say back? You might mock the fella, laugh even, but I bet you listen. And, when you listen, what? You think you going to believe the story? 

Well imagine it’s a kinda old fella from country, still speaking patois like they do up in Paramin. Now, he doesn’t come right out and say he saw a soucouyah, no, he starts off disclaiming. He says he can’t say for sure what is a soucoyah. He says, all he could say is -it was l’spirit, a spirit. Because, well… he doesn’t know if a soucouyah is a person, or if it is a bird -cest zozyo. He could only say that a soucouyah is a thing that is seen at night – epi lumiere – with a light. 

Anyway, the story goes, that the fella left the village one day, around nine o’clock -lannwit- at night. And he was going up the road, when he reached by a silk cotton tree. He looks up and -moka lumiere. He sees a light at the very top of the tree. He says to hisself, -garçon, why is there a firelight at the top of that tree?  The fella says he wasn’t frightened, but something told him, -alle, alle- go, go, cause is a bad spirit. So he starts walking. And while he’s walking he’s saying to hisself, -pa gade viwe, pa gade viwe, don’t look back. Eh, eh, after he reaches a good way up the road he decides to look. -We sa ka fet.-  what does he see? A flame. A fire going up, and going back down. He says -yo ka joie, it was playing. So he starts talking to hisself again. -Alle, alle, garçon, don’t stop. But he can’t move. 

The fella says, -compere, I hear bout soucoyah before, but I never see one. 
So, you ask him if he thinks it was a bird, and he says, no, it wasn’t no bird, because birds don’t have fire on them. 
-Fire? You ask, 
And he nods. Serious, serious. So you ask how big it was. 
And he says, -the lumiere?
It was small like this, and then it get big like this. I’cest’ah piti, I’ah twape gwan. It was getting smaller and then getting bigger. And it was lighting up and going up and then going down.
-Yan ga moute, yan ga descen. He says  -It was playing. Yo ka joie. It was playing. 

Well you don’t want to believe the fella, eh, but… it’s the way he’s telling the story. He believes what he saw. And he’s frightened still, you can tell, remembering the fright. So, you ask him, just to be clear, if it was a soucouyah, and he nods and he says, that’s what they say it was, soucouyah. 
He says when he told people, the person said to him, -garçon, that was a soucouyah. 
-But soucouyah is a woman, you tell him.
And he says, -Yes, soucouyah is a woman. A woman who can fly. Who can take off her skin at night and fly in a ball of fire. Peel off her skin and twouve ko diable, come like a devil, and the devil control her. And is only one thing stop a soucouyah from sucking you blood, he says.  -Salt! 
-Salt? you repeat.
-Soucouyah can’t take salt, he promises. -If you find where they hide they skin and put salt on it, you kill the soucouyah. 

The fella takes a long drink of his rum and shakes his head.
-If the fire I see was soucouyah, he says. -I don’t know. Cause as it come closer, kowui vant a te. 
He run for his life, and it never catch him. And never, sise san dewo, suck his blood. And then just so the old timer starts singing.

-Well, Long time people say 
Spirit and duppy will take you away
Don’t doubt me, Long time people say
Jabless and lagahoo make you stray 
Catch you in the dark on a full moon night, 
Take you spirit or take you life
So careful how you go 
Or devil eat your soul
And you never going back home 

Singing, manje, devowe, man sot zye, sot lam’e

Have all kinda bush folk
The mother of the river call Mama Glo 
Believe me, have Papa Bwa too
Living in the bush with the Lagahoo
Have Dwens with they backward foot 
And Moko jumbie waiting on the road
Under the Silk Cotton tree
Lose you soul if you sleep
So careful of who you meet.

Singing, manje, devowe, man sot zye, sot lam’e

Black bee bringing news
A jumbie bird call, mean a body dead soon
Bad luck to play with shadows
And maljeaux always follow a cock crow. 
Throw down salt to stop soucouyah
At night, enter y’house walkin backward
Cause you never know 
If jumbie trail you home
And don’t take money from the road

Singing, manje, devowe, man sot zye, sot lam’e

What you going and do?

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