Basic Information

Type/Species: Great Serpent
Origin: Soninike Folklore

About Bida

In Wagadu, it rained gold three times a year because Lagarre's grandfather had given Bida, the dragon, ten maidens every year. Under Koliko's guidance, Lagarre planned to continue with Bida's deal, except he would only sacrifice one maiden a year.

Bida was outside the gates of Wagadu, where Lagarre agreed to give him one maiden a year so that it would rain gold three times a year.

For three years, women were sacrificed to Bida. By custom, the next first born female in Wagadu was to be sacrificed to Bida. This was Sia Jatta Bari, perhaps the fairest maiden born to Wagadu. Her lover was Mamadi Sefe Dekote, who often wooed her with gold. But, she was promised to Bida, so she wsa dressed up in marriage attire and brought to the well outside the city, where she was to be consumed by Bida. The people of the two came out with her, following her. Mamadi did not wish her to die, so he road out with the precession to face Bida. Each time Bida took a maiden, it was his wont to raise his head three times out of the well, on the third time taking his victim.

When Mamadi reached the well, he cut off Bida's head as he reached out for the third time. His head flew off, and he cried a curse out upon Wagadu, which would make the golden rain stop for seven years, seven months, and seven days. The people, upon hearing this curse, chased Mamadi and Sia Jatta Bari out of the area. It was only because of Mamadi's uncle that they escaped to a safe place.

Their story does not end with a happily ever after, however, for Sia Jatta decieved Mamadi. She did not love him, despite his sacrifices he made for her. After having cut of his small toe and his small finger to cure her headache, she told him she would only love someone with ten fingers and ten toes, not nine. Out of revenge Mamadi had her hairdresser run a magic ointment upon her forehead which forced her to fall in love with him. Afterwards, he tricked her into sleeping with his man-servant, which caused her to die in shame. [1]

Physical Description

Bida was said to be seven coils long, much like a giant serpent.


  1. Courlander A Treasury of African Folkore

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.