Here is a story:
There was a big village where many people lived but it was plagued with great famine. One day, three girls went into the bush in search of fruits from the masuku tree (a small fruit-bearing tree). While they were picking fruit from the masuku tree, they noticed a tree that appeared to have a belly button. Two of the girls began to laugh so uncontrollably because of seeing a tree with a belly button that they fell to the ground. The third girl began to reprimand them: My friends, you know well that the bush is full of many different things. For that reason alone you should stop laughing. Don’t you realise God also creates it? The two girls did not pay any attention to it.
On their way back home, the girls found themselves in front of an enormous river. They just stood there with no idea of what to do. The girl which had not laughed at the big tree with a belly button asked the river to part so she could get to the other side. To her amazement, the river heard what the girl asked and it parted. The girl went to the other side. The other two girls said to themselves: Let’s try to go to the other side of the river! Both of them fell in the river and a big fish devoured them. This is how they met their death. The girl that survived ran to the village and told everyone what had happened, but no one really wanted to make any comments. They knew that they brought misfortune upon themselves because of their open contempt and lack of respect for the things around them.
And that is the end of our story.
The moral of the story: respect always pays. Man should always respect others even when their behaviour or appearance is strange. You are in big trouble if you have ignored or wronged your elders.
The Mambwe proverbs say: You climbed a tree stripped of bark (Wakwelu ku muti, ufopole).
Subjects: appearances – behaviour – tolerance – ignoring elders – dangers – respect – importance
Written by Stanislaus Sinyangwe, 07th of September 1994.