How the Man from Far Away Turned Out to be Caring

This story speaks of how racism is a bad thing.

Here is a story:

There once was a great village and the chief was in it. In that village there lived a blind man. The people hated him because wherever he went, they said: Get out of here, get out of here! What is it that you want here? The blind man went to live not too far from them. The people chased him also from that place, so he finally said: This is very bad. Oh God, it is better to die than to live here on earth where no one likes me. Everywhere I go, the people tell me to go away. Everywhere the same happens. So what is left for me to be happy about? And the blind man continued complaining like this for a long time.

One day, a man from a far away place showed up. The first person he met was the blind man and he greeted him with joy and happiness. The man asked the blind man: My friend, where do you live? The blind man replied: I live over there. The man then asked the blind man: Who takes care of you? The blind man said: There is none in the village who would want to take care of me; therefore I live alone with God who looks after me. I should tell you that everyone in the village hates me. There is not even one person in the village who likes me. They have great amounts of food yet no one ever brings me any. The man said: What is the reason behind it? The blind man said: I don’t know what I have done wrong. The man asked: Why do they hate you and your behaviour without reason? And as you are blind, who brings you food? The blind man said: I find food myself by feeling my way. The man became overwhelmed with mercy for the blind man and he said: Would you like to go with me to my village? The blind man said: I do not want to leave this village, I will stay here to live as I have for a long time. The man said: But you will die of hunger. The blind man said: I will not die of hunger and even if I do, it makes no difference. The man could not return to his home after meeting the blind man, and being overwhelmed with mercy for the blind man, he said: Then we shall live here together.

When the people who hated the blind man saw what had happened, they got very angry and began asking one another: How is it possible that everyone in the village hates the blind man, yet that stranger cares for him? He moved away from the village he came from just so that he could live with the blind man but nobody knows where he comes from. Does he not know why everyone hates the blind man? So one day they said to him: How can you love the blind man? Don’t you know why everyone in the village hates him? How come you love him? The man replied: I have no idea why you hate him but I can’t go in your footsteps. I should love him because he is a human just like all of you since we are all created in the same way. So I don’t see why I should hate him for no reason. He does not argue with me or insult me, and therefore we live together in this way. They noticed that the way of life of the man was not all that bad: they had plenty of food, ate very well and were nicely dressed. So the people of the village became jealous of them: Friends, what shall we do to destroy this blind man and his prosperity? We should kill the man that lives with him. They took the man and killed him.

When the man died, the blind man decided: I cannot stay here alone very long. However, I am not sick and have to do everything possible to follow my friend. When the people of the village refused to bury the man, the blind man said: O.K. Let me do it! Since my friend died, I shall go and throw him in the river. After I throw him in the river, I will jump in myself. And so the blind man did. He alone took his friend, wrapped him in a mat and threw him in the large river. After that, he jumped in as well.

In the huge river, they found a house so magnificent that it shone. The blind man said to the one who died first: Listen, we have found a house, don’t you want to go in? The man replied: Can I possibly go into a house that shines like that? Oh no, I might burn myself. And the two of them began to argue that way outside of the house. The blind man said: Let’s go in, my friend. The man replied: I don’t want to go into a house like that. I refuse to do so. The blind man said: If you think that the house is evil, let me carry you on my back. The man said: In that case, very well, you can carry me on your back. So he took him on his back. When they went inside the house they found that the house shone because there were a great amount of candles that were lit inside and they found a lot of lamps, food and other things as well. So this is where they came and entered. Some other people came from somewhere. They came with things to seduce the ones who were inside: drums and a lot of beer. When they arrived, they put these supplies near the door and the ones who were in the house and the one who was on the back of his friend, received them very well saying: He is one of us, he is O.K.

The ones who were outside started to beat drums, shout and dance vigorously, the one who was on the other’s back said: Worse luck! Why did you bring me in? So the one on the back started to argue with the other one: Did you not see how good it is outside? I want to go there. The man who carried him said: You stay where you are. You might bring me shame, after all we are in a palace. So do not go down from my back, don’t move. The man said: No, I can’t accept that, I have to go outside. They both began to quarrel and in the end the people who were inside asked: What are you two fighting for? At this very moment he wrenched himself free, went outside and right away he began to dance and sing and scream. When they saw him, they turned around and began to make their way home.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: (1) firstly, this story teaches us to love each other indiscriminately and to help each other; (2) then it also teaches us that if a friend of ours is helping us, we should not refuse his help too rashly because we may be unable to manage by ourselves.

The Mambwe proverbs say: (1) When you have to give to a wicked person, you should break a piece off; (2) He left the peace, and bartered for misfortune (Wat’ulongo, akaulu mukosi). English equivalent: “Be slow in choosing a friend, but slower in changing him”; “The cure is worse than the evil”; “Don’t lose the substance for the shadow”; “He went from clover to rye-grass”.

Subjects: indiscrimination – love – prudence – assistance – racism – helping each other

Told by Makrina Mpande from Vimbuli village (recorded).