The Woman and the Evil Spirit

Here is a story:

One day, a pregnant woman went to gather some firewood and when she found the firewood, she made a big bundle of it and couldn’t lift it. While she was thinking of what to do, the Evil Spirit came to her. The woman told the Evil Spirit:If you come and put this bundle of firewood on my back, then without a doubt the child I have inside me will be yours. The Evil Spirit agreed and put the bundle of firewood on her back and she went to her village.

When the woman gave birth to her son, the Evil Spirit came and asked: Have you given birth yet? The woman said: Yes, I have. After the child grew up, the Evil Spirit came and said: Give me the child. The woman said: I will send him to the courtyard to get some firewood. Before the child went to the courtyard, the child said to his mother: You must bake me in a pot. The mother replied: You will die. The boy said: Just bake me! So his mother baked him. When the Evil Spirit came back that night, he asked: Is the child old enough for me to take him? The mother of the child replied: I will send him to the courtyard to get some firewood and then you may take him. She told her son: Go to the courtyard and get me some firewood. You just sit there and do nothing. The boy agreed: Yes mother. He went outside, stopped and thought: Father always told me to throw a big stone to the place where I am going. He threw a big stone in the courtyard and it hit the Evil Spirit – wham! The Evil Spirit ran away and later went to the woman saying: I don’t understand! Your son threw a big stone at me. What is that supposed to mean? The woman replied: Then I will send him to the river. You will recognise him by the white clothes I bought him.

The woman went and bought some white clothes, put them on the boy and said: Go to the river. The boy ripped the clothes in shreds and the Evil Spirit could not get hold of him. He returned empty-handed. So she said: I will catch him for you. Then she caught him and gave him to the Evil Spirit who took him to his house. When the Evil Spirit got home, he said to his wife: I have brought our dinner; we are going to have a feast. Immediately, the woman began to cook the boy in a massive cauldron. The child of the Evil Spirit was by the fireplace which was giving off a great deal of smoke.

When the water in the cauldron began to boil, the boy got out of the pot and made himself look like the son of the Evil Spirit, making even his hair similar. The boy threw the Evil Spirit’s son into the cauldron and he was cooked. The Evil Spirit returned and said to the boy, thinking that he was his own son: Are you feeding the fire? He answered: Yes! When he was cooked, they prepared mush. They gave the head to the boy, but he said: Since you always give me some part of the head, give me some of the other meat this time. They gave it to him and then finished all the mush. That night, the boy escaped and went back to his mother. Then the Evil Spirit said: We ate our own child. I will not kill the boy, but I am going to his place. When he got to the boy’s mother he said: Your child is responsible for me killing my own child. Therefore, I will take you. She said: Today you may come and take him. When he arrives, come and kill him. The Evil Spirit said: O.K. I will take him but in what way? She said: I will make him sleep at the door. He agreed: O.K. I will come. When they fell asleep, they put the boy to sleep at the door but he was uneasy about it. They went to bed and fell asleep. The boy took the old woman and put her by the door, and he slept inside.

The Evil Spirit came and took the old woman who was by the door. The old woman said: It should not be me! He replied: You have already caused me enough trouble so it should indeed be you! And he took her to his house.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: never turn to evil, even when in trouble, as it will turn back on you. Through perseverance in suffering you can achieve eternal life.

The Mambwe proverbs say: A person who loves plucking feathers must grin (Mukunda, kupanya akacenza). English equivalent: He that will not work, shall not eat/will want; he that would eat the fruit must climb the tree; if you won’t work you shan’t eat; no bees, no honey: no work, no money; no gains without pains; no pains, no gains; no pleasure without pain; no rose without a thorn; no song, no supper; no sweet without some bitter; no sweet without (some) sweat; nothing to be got without pain; roasted chicken do not fly to one’s mouth; you think that larks will fall into one’s mouth ready roasted.

Subjects: eternal life – fidelity – perseverance – sufferings – temptation – resistance

Written by an unknown author.