The First Wedding

Here is a story:

There once was a village where men lived all alone and there was nobody to do the cooking for them. As it was a vast village, there was a king there. The men cultivated finger millet and stored it in the granary but they did not eat it.

One day, a woman showed up and turned herself into a small goat. That small goat went to the men’s village and began to bleat: Mee mee mee mee. She went to the village outskirts bleating. An older man of the village who stayed home while the others went hunting and looking for different things in the bush heard the goat bleating and went and caught the small goat. After catching it, he tied the goat to his house. When the others came, they said: What is that? He answered: All I heard was that thing somewhere crying: ‘Mee mee mee’. So I went and caught it. They said: You did a good thing. And the goat stayed and they took good care of it. The king became very happy seeing this and said: O.K. You may take care of it.

In the morning, everyone left and the goat, which was in the man’s house, discarded her outside skin and turned into a beautiful woman. She then went to the granary and took many small portions of finger millet. She began to thresh it until all was done. Then she roasted and began to grind the millet with a big rock called mukalai, which is easy to find. She began to sing:

The men here are blubbers, oh yes, blubbers,

They don’t know how to grind, blubbers, oh yes blubbers,

Allow us to grind for them, blubbers, oh yes blubbers.

She ground the flour very well. Since they always ate everything raw, she then prepared to cook the mush and the meat and indeed did it very well. She prepared a dish for everyone with a lot of mush for each man. She ate some meat until she was full. Then she heard the bells ringing: njele njele and turned back into the shape of a goat and began to bleat: mee mee mee.

When the men came home, they didn’t know what to think of everything they saw so they asked themselves: Where is it from? What is that? This is something difficult. They picked two people from the village and told them: Try the food to see where this takes us. The men ate and ate and then they went to sleep comfortably. The others said: Let’s listen if there is some noise: pelekete, pelekete (in the belly of the two men), but there was nothing wrong with them.

In the morning, they woke up well and said: That food is good, so they went hunting in the bush. The goat stayed home and did the same thing as the day before. That day, she did something else: she took a lot of finger millet and left it in the water. When the men came home making their distinctive ringing noise: njele, njele, njele, njele, they found everything was done as usual. She worked very hard. So they threw themselves at the food and ate till they were full. Will this food give us some problems? – but nothing happened. They were very healthy, and it became their staple food. They all wondered: Who has been doing this? At this time the millet was about to be taken out from the water and was ready to sprout.

In the morning, she ground a great amount of millet and made some leaven out of the millet and in this way prepared some malt. When the beer was not yet ready, she kept making it as she used to do before. Finally, the beer was well fermented and smelled very nicely and was strong. When the men came back, they found some mush and everything was ready for them. She had prepared the beer well and strained it through a sieve. When they came back, they said: Let us try to drink and see how it tastes! Then some of them drunk and were a lot happier than the rest of the men. They said: This is something strong! The others said: Maybe it is something bad! The next day, in the morning, all of the men drank the beer and began playing on the drums. They were having a great time but they all wondered: Who was behind this?

One day, when they were about to go, they left two young men in the village and said: Find out who is doing this! They hid themselves in the very house where the lady was used to prepare things. When she came out of her body, her hair became very smooth and shiny. The people hidden in the corner were very surprised at how beautiful the girl was. She prepared everything well, and when she heard the sound of the bells ringing: njele, njele, njele, njele, she went outside and turned back into a goat. When they came back, the boys said: This is not a goat, there is the most beautiful person inside who has little rocks on her chest. We could not catch her because we were too scared.

In the morning, they left behind two very brave men. She came out as usual and prepared everything as she always did. After preparing everything, she ate. When she heard the bells, she wanted to go outside and turn back into a goat but the men caught her. They said: Where are you going? They took the skin and threw it far away. The men that were in the bush were just returning. They took her to the king and said: Listen to this… Then they told the king: Take her; she is yours. The older man who found this goat will be rewarded later. The king took her and they lived in one house together. After a very short time she gave him a daughter which was given to the older man and the older man later gave the girl to a boy. In that way, people began to have children and multiply and began to marry. The village became full of women, and that is how the first marriage of people occurred.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: we must persevere in marital love since Christ has said that what he bound on earth shall not be put asunder.

The Mambwe proverbs say: Trees that are close to each other are seldom without a squeak (Imiti ipalamine isyaula kusyana); From afar the mountains look very attractive to me, but when they are near each other they start to rub against each other and produce a squeaking noise (Myamba yanzipila patali, ndi yapalamana iyakuzana).

Subjects: inseparability – Christianity – perseverance – marriage


Told by Mr Daniel Daudi Simungala from Nsindano (Kasakalawe) village (recorded).