The Seven Young Men that Wish to Get Married

Here is a story:

There once was a man who had seven children, all of whom were boys. When they grew up, they said to their father: Father, we all wish to marry. The father replied: I want you all to wait until the youngest is old enough to marry.

When the youngest was old enough to marry, the father said: You may all go and marry, but you can only marry girls from a house that has seven girls and no boys. When you go to look for your wives, you will come across a big river but do not bathe in it. There will also be a small river which is the one you may bathe in.

They got up and began their journey. When they got to the big river, they all said: Brothers, let us wash ourselves here! The youngest said: Do you all not remember that our father forbade it? The rest of the brothers said: Do not listen to what that child has to say. The oldest brother said: My brothers, we must listen to what our father said. The rest of the brothers said: You’re a hopeless case; you are listening to the advice of a little child. They began to bathe in the river. In the meantime, the youngest brother found the little river and began to wash himself in it. The other brothers came to the little river and found him bathing by himself.

The brothers arrived at the king’s village and the people who live there asked them: What are you all looking for? The boys replied: We are looking for seven girls born by one mother who have no brothers. They replied: Only the king has seven daughters. He is looking for seven young men born by one mother who have no sisters.

The people took them to the king. The king said: Are all seven of you brothers from the same mother? They replied in unison: Yes we are. The king said to them: Very well, we will see. He brought out 14 horses and gave each one of the brothers a wife. He told them: If the girls beat you all in a horse race, that means not all of you are from one mother. The oldest brother began to race, and he came in at the same time as the girl. The second brother was taken by the girl, as well as the third. It was the same until they got to the sixth, the girls beat the boys. Finally, the youngest brother was ready to race the girl, and the youngest of the boys beat the girl in the horse race. The king told them: Now I believe that all seven of you are of the same mother, but I now realise that the oldest children are the ones that don’t listen to their parents. In that case, I want all of you to take your wives with you and go home!

On their way home they came across the small river and the youngest brother said: You men! Let’s wash ourselves just here. The rest of the brothers said: Why should we wash ourselves in such a small river? Since the wedding is long over we can wash ourselves in the big one. The youngest brother and his wife washed themselves in the small river while his older brothers washed themselves in the big river. When the youngest brother and his wife caught up with the rest of the brothers, they asked him: Are you the only one who listens to our father? The rest of the brothers caught him and threw him in the river. As he fell in the river, a giant viper grabbed him and swallowed him. The older brothers went to see his father and told him: He died in the river. But, the youngest son didn’t die. The giant viper threw him up on the riverside where there was a great city. The boy went to the king’s palace and the king gave him a heartfelt reception.

The king then told him: If you go and bring me a girl named Maliya kulwa mpepo (Maliya sick of malaria), I will give you everything you want. The boy went off and travelled to the home of an old lady. When he got there, he noticed that she had a giant boil and so he went up to her and popped it. She told him: The place you are going to is very dangerous. Many men have gone there and have never came back. So when you have trouble just yell: ‘What shall I do?’ and you will be told exactly what to do. He went and immediately came across a massive Lion, so he yelled out to the Thunder: What shall I do? The Thunder replied: Just don’t lose hope. Finally, he got to the king who had a daughter named Maliya kulwa mpepo (Maliya sick of malaria). The boy did everything he could to convince the king to give him the girl. Finally, the king gave in and handed him the girl.

The boy carried the girl to the king who became overjoyed to see a girl that was so beautiful. The boy said to the king: Give me what you promised me. The king gave him an ivory bracelet, and the young man went home to his mother and father. When they saw that he was alive, they rejoiced so much. He then said: My bracelet, I want vast wealth. And the bracelet gave him a great fortune. He then said: I want a big house, and a house then appeared in front of him. He then gave his mother and father a great fortune and they lived happily ever after.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: (1) people should never despise those who may appear unimportant or poor; honesty, wisdom or goodness cannot be recognised by somebody’s appearance, age or sex; (2) being obedient to parents or elders always pays in the long run. Riches and goods of this world come from God and He disposes of them as He wills so a prudent person keeps His commandments.

The Mambwe proverbs say: (1) An abdomen (belly) which ate a guinea fowl does not shine (Inda ilili kanga, isyawalala; Inda ilili kanga, isyaengesa); Beauty is like a thin, uncooked gruel (Usuma, uli munya); Beauty is in the calabash (Usuma, uli nu ku nkolo); Important people haven’t got big feet(Amalumba, yasikula ngazo).English equivalent: All that glitters is not gold; Appearances are deceptive/deceitful/deceiving; Beauty is but/only skin-deep; Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; Beauty will buy no beef; Never judge a book by its cover; Never judge from appearances; Things are not always what they seem; You cannot judge of a tree by its bark; You can’t tell a book by its cover; (2) Who wants to produces salt has to follow the instructions of people who know how to do it, or he will come back empty-handed (Wa kuli wimbi, ntanzi na miloncele).

Subjects: appearances – judging – wisdom – honesty – goodness – elders – advice – obedience – parents – prudence – keeping God’s commandments – underestimating – dangers – wealth – God’s gift


Written by Bernard Kungula.