Loundja, the Ogress’ Daughter


The Kabyle title is “Lundja yellis n Tamza” (Loundja the ogress’ daughter). The translation made by the author is “The king and the three girls”.

In fact, the tale is about three young girls who met at the fountain and started dreaming up, so that each of them told what she would be able to do to the king if he would marry her.

By chance, the king was at the fountain to water his horse and he caught the three girls while talking each other. The first one told: “Should the king agree to marry me, I would be able to clothe his whole kingdom with just a fleece”. The second girl told: “Should the king agree to marry me, I would be able to nourish his whole kingdom with just measure of corn.” The third one told: “Should the king agree to marry me, I would give him a son and a daughter with gold and silver hair. Then, the king told that all the three girls were asked to marry him. He wanted to see their parents and to make a proposal of marriage. The girls had to go with him to the palace and each of them would have to fulfill her promise.

The first two girls were not able to demonstrate their statements. The third one was made pregnant by the king, who isolated and put her in a place where she could not meet anyone. The other two women became jealous of the third and turned to the sorceress of the village who came on the day of delivery with a box. Just after delivery, the sorceress takes both babies, a male and a female with gold and silver hair, and put them into the box, from which she takes out two puppies and puts them in replacement. Then, the sorceress throws the box into the sea. The king was astonished by the bad news and ordered to house the woman with the dogs and that she had to live with them.

The box thrown into the sea got to a strand where there were an old man and his wife dreaming from their marriage about a baby who could alleviate the burden of their solitude. So, both infants were adopted by the old man and his wife who took them away. After the death of the old man and his wife, the babies got bored to be alone and decided to leave. By chance, they arrived at the country of their parents.

So, the boy and the girl settled in the country of their parents and many events had to occur – in particular some adventures of the boy – before they could be reunited to their mother and father, in spite of all the efforts of the other two wives of the king aimed at impeding such a reunion with the help of the sorceress of the village.