Three Young Men in Search of Brides

Here is a story:

There was once a big village where a large group of young people lived together. The young men went off in search of a bride. One of the young men who went on his journey to look for a girl found a woman sitting on the side of the road who was very old and her whole body was covered in wounds that were bleeding. He found her as the sun began to set.

As dusk began, the young man asked the old woman: Old lady! Please tell me, where must I go in search of a bride! The old woman answered: I will tell you, but tomorrow, when the sun comes up, you must do exactly as I say. So they went to sleep. In the morning, when the man awoke, he went to the old lady and the old lady said: This is what you have to do! First, lick all of the wounds off of my body and then I will show you where you can find a woman. The young man said: You are crazy, you swine! You are out of your mind! He hit the old woman across the face and started walking away. Before he could get far, he was ambushed by Lions and killed. The second young man met his end in the same way as the first one.

The third young man, when he arrived at the old lady’s house, did exactly as the old woman told him to do. He licked off all the wounds until there was nothing left of them. After the young man had finished licking the old woman’s wounds, she said: Oh young man! You certainly have faith! The old woman gave the young man some medicine so he would throw up all of the things he had licked. Then she said: Everything I tell you, you must keep in mind at all times. She told him how to get to the river where the young women bathe. Then she said: If you get there, hide yourself and you will see the women coming down from heaven with their chains. Pick the beautiful one you want to marry and stay hidden as she washes herself she will put down her chain. You should steal the chain and run away. After she has washed, she will follow you. And then she said: But if she says anything, don’t turn back – just go home.

The young man did exactly as the old woman told him. The girl came out of the river and said: Young man! Look at me! I have deformed eyes and no nose. Just look and see, I have no breasts! She said many things to try and get him to turn around and look at her so she could return to where she came from. The young man, being no one’s fool, didn’t turn around until he got home. Soon the woman and the man were married and had many children and thus they lived happily ever after.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: we should spare no effort to achieve what is really important to us. To achieve our objectives we must carry out instructions to the letter.

The Mambwe proverbs say: 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: instructions – success – priorities – determination


Written by Joseph Kafunda, 07th of September 1994.