The Young Man named Mutulamfwa (The One Who Offers Death)

Here is a story:

There once was a man who had one child, a son named Mutulamfwa. This child killed many different animals when he went hunting but he never gave any of them to his father. Instead, he paid tribute to his king. That is what he was doing: whenever he killed an animal he would always give it to the king’s advisor. He arrived and knocked on the door, and when the door was opened, he would throw the game meat on the pole inside the house. The advisor would then pass it on to the king. This child would never give, even the smallest piece of meat, to his father.

One day, the child of the king said: I will go for a walk in the bush. As the child was walking through the bush, it fell into a game pit and died. The king searched for his child for four days. At this time, the young man said: Let me go and check my traps. He went and checked everywhere, and he found nothing. When he got to the last pit he found the dead body of the king’s child. There was nothing he could do and he was dumbfounded.

He went to his father’s home and asked: May I come in? His father replied: What brings you here since you never came here before? The young man said: The king’s child has fallen in one of my pits and has died. The father replied: Tell that to those with whom you eat your meat, they will help you. Mutulamfwa replied: I cannot because if I tell them, they will tell the king who will kill me. His father said: O.K. You have learned that ignoring your parents is not a good thing, is it? Haven’t you heard what they say: ‘When it gets rotten, the scent goes to the nose.’ So persevere and let’s go together.

The father said everything to the boy’s mother and she agreed to keep it a secret. When they arrived, the father said to his son: Come inside. The child went in. Then the father sent him outside saying: Go and get some grass. He did so. Then he told him: Wrap the king’s child in grass and make a bundle. He made a bundle. He added: Make sure you wrap it well so that it doesn’t slip out. The boy explained: You know, Father, I shall go, knock at the door, and when they open I will just throw it inside, and leave. The father said: In that case, it is easy. Today you will do as you used to do bringing meat. Listen, you must not show fear, or otherwise they will catch you. Go and knock as usual and say: ‘It is me Mutulamfwa’.

So he took this bundle with him. He arrived, knocked and said: It is I, Mutulamfwa. Somebody opened the door and he threw the bundle inside as normal. Then he quickly left. He went to his father and said: It is over with, the matter is finished. The father replied: Do not stay here, you must leave. You can come back when everything has calmed down. He agreed and left.

In the morning, the king’s advisor brought the bundle to the king’s palace. The king said: Hurry up, so we can eat soon. The time has passed and we must go and search for my child. The advisor approached and broke the bark rope of the bundle and he found the king’s child and said: Oh, how awful! My lord, we have found the one you are looking for and he has been killed. The king replied: Maybe this is just a dream? One of the men replied: No, this is real. The king said: Find the man who offered the meat. And he added: Do any of you know him? The man answered: He said his name was: ‘I am Mutulamfwa’ (the man who brings death). The king said: Then it is easy: just call him. The man called and called saying: Mutulamfwa, Mutulamfwa but failed to find him.

The king called his people and told them what had occurred, but they failed to understand it. They said only: It must be him who killed the king’s child. Let us catch him and simply kill him! So they struck the king’s advisor and he died.

And that is the end of our story.


Written by an unknown author. It is a second version of a folk-tale (49) The Bundle Wrapped Up With Straw that Contains a Person of Abraham Cisawawa.