A Mother and her Child

Here is a story:

There was a woman who lived in polygamy with other women. The first wife had two children while the second wife had only one child.

A misfortune occurred and the wife that had only one child lost her child to death. The mother, seeing that her one and only child was dead felt it was too much for her and lost all of her strength and wit. How she mourned! The mother mourned her loss so intensely that she would often cry from the time she went to bed until morning.

After much time had passed since the child’s death, it rose up from the dead and spoke to its mother:Mother, I hear how much you mourn my death. So I will come back to life and you may die in my place. The mother, hearing this, had no idea what to think but she considered dying in her child’s place. When she had to chose between the two, she decided to refuse and said: My child, even though I love you very much, I do not want to die in your place. Therefore, you will remain dead. It is not a problem.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: all our life is in God’s hands. We must trust His better judgement. He chooses the time of our death. Also: death knows no age and has no master.         

The Mambwe proverbs say: Unripe fruit falls down, the overripe one remains (Cikulu cikapona, ionge lisyala; Ulukulu lukapona, ionge lisyala; Ulukulu lukapona, uluonge lusyala); God does not lop trees, he cuts down people (Leza asitema miti, akatem’antu); Stones do not undertake that journey, people do (Kusyaya mawe, antu akaya kweneko). English equivalent: Death defies the doctor; Death devours lambs as well as sheep; Death has no master; Death is sure to all; Death is the great leveller; Death keeps no calendar; Death knows no age; Death takes all; Every door may be shut but death’s door; Golden lads and girls all must, as chimney-sweeps, come to dust; A man’s destiny is always dark; There is a remedy for everything except death.

Subjects: death – God’s decision – time of death – unpredictability – trusting – God’s judgement


Written by Stanislaus Sinyangwe, 07th of September 1994.