Even in the autumn we walk on dust!
Even in winter we trample in the mud!
How can a man escape poverty?
Poverty is a great misfortune.
Tall men it shortens.
Short men it destroys totally.
It makes little stools out of chairs.
It makes rags out of fine clothes.
It turns away invitations.
The wife of a poor man
goes home without invitations,
without “please sit down here”.
She quarrels with her husband,
as if he had beaten her!
~ Anonymous, trans. by Enrico Cerulli
Editor’s note: Originally published in Enrico Cerulli, ‘The Folk Literature of the Galla of Southern Abyssinia, 1917’ (Harvard African Studies)