The Man with Dreams, the Hunter, the Boatman and the Thief that Saved the King’s Child

Here is a story:

There was a great village and in this village there was a beautiful daughter of the King. The King didn’t allow any man to come and talk to her, saying: I only want to look at my child because she is as beautiful as the moon. So the King built a house of glass just for her . One day, an Evil Spirit saw the girl when he was by the lake and said: That girl is very beautiful. Since I cannot look at her every day, I will take her home with me so we can live together. He set out on his journey and when he arrived, he took the girl. He brought her down to the lake, and then he put her in his house and locked her inside.

Early in the morning, when the king went to open the house, he discovered that someone took his daughter. The King sent his advisors to look for her in the village, and they searched for her but could not find her. Finally, a villager came up and said: My Lord, your daughter is by the lake where the Evil Spirit took her. The King said: Sit down here. While he sat there, four men arrived; the first was a man who could foresee things in his dreams (the Seer). Then a Hunter, a Boatman, and a Thief arrived. The King told them: If you bring her back, you may marry her. This idea appealed to every one of the young men.

Early in the morning, they set off on their journey to save the girl the Evil Spirit had taken. The Thief crept into the house and took the girl in such a way that the Evil Spirit didn’t even notice. When the Evil Spirit found that the girl was gone, he got very mad and said: When I find them, a terrible thing will happen: I will eat them all. Then the Evil Spirit set out on his journey. The man with the dreams said: Hunter, get ready because the Evil Spirit is coming our way. When the Evil Spirit showed up, the Hunter shot him and the Evil Spirit died. The Boatman rowed them rapidly in his boat and brought them to the King. The King was very happy, but when he realised that he had no way of paying them, he said: You may all go now, I will call for you all another time. And they all went home.

After some days had passed, the King called the Thief first. He enjoyed the way he was received, but because of the beauty of the Queen’s dress he desired her so much that he forgot to eat. The second man was the Boatman, and he acted the same way. The Hunter did the same as well. The last man, the Man with the dreams, paid no attention to the Queen’s dress, ate the food and having finished left the house and sat outside. Finally, the King learned what he wanted to know and said: This is a good man. And he gave him his daughter. The King called the other three men: You yourself have taken the reward a long time ago.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: we should trust each other and work together if we are to receive God’s great rewards. Only the co-operation of many people brings about good results.

The Mambwe proverbs say: One single arm does not finish the work (Ikasa lyonga, lisimala milimo);A single mouth does not feel a good taste Kanwa konga, kasiuvwa cilyompe); A single man is unable to gather dowry (Muntu wenga, asifwa lupango); You cannot catch a louse with a single finger (a single finger cannot seize a louse)(Munwe onga, usisoli nda); One finger cannot squeeze (catch) a louse (Munwe onga, usifeni nda); The bracelets sound when there are two (Tuyenjele tukalila, ndi tuli twiili); When small iron bracelets are ringing it means that there are two (Utuyenjele ukulila, ala tuli twiili); The blood of a louse is (found) between the finger nails (Uwazi wa nda, uli ngala kwiili); A great number of bees put out the fire (of the honey-hunters)(Uwinji wa nzimo, wazimizyu moto).English equivalent: “Many hands make light work”; “One body is nobody”; “One man cannot do the job alone”; “Two are stronger than one”; “Two hands/heads/wits are better than one”; “Union/Unity is strength”; “United we stand, divided we fall”.

Subjects: co-operation – reward from God – success – helping each other


Written by Eugeni C. Nambela, Cikunta 9th of April 1984.