Constance van Niekerk, SA
I miss the good old days when we used to sit around a fire in the evening at the rural areas and listened to a folk tale.
The teller always started with, “Paivepo” which is the equivalent of “Once upon a time”. And the listeners will respond, “Dzepfunde”. An acknowledgement that we are listening.
What I wouldn’t do to go back to those days! These were the times the family got together for some quality time just before bedtime. After toiling all day in the fields, herding cattle or just playing ‘Mahumbwe’, storytime was the time to relax and just be together. Sometimes we will be roasting dry mealies or peanuts… And sometimes we were just content with folding our arms and gaze at our story teller who was usually our grandmother, ‘Mbuya’ in Shona.
Here is one African folk tale I stumbled upon on the internet and would like to share with you.
The Frog and His Wives :
Once there lived a Frog who had two wives. His first wife lived in Dumbi and the second wife lived in Dala. He himself lived in a little place between Dumbi and Dala. He went sometimes to Dumbi and sometimes to Dala to see his wives.
Once a little frog came to him and said, “Come to Dumbi, please! Your first wife has a nice pudding for you. Come at once while the pudding is hot!” The Frog was very happy, because he liked puddings very much.
He was ready to go when another little frog came up to him and said, “Please, come to Dala! Your second wife has a nice pudding for you. Come at once while the pudding is hot!”
The Frog sat down and began to think.
“If I go to my first wife for the pudding, my second wife will be sorry and angry. If I go to my second wife for the pudding, my first wife will be sorry and angry, too. Where shall I go to Dumbi or to Dala?” He sat and thought for a long time. And he stayed at home and began to cry “oh! Where shall I go, where shall I go?” Now, when you hear frogs gaou, gaou, gaou, you will understand that it means: “Where shall I go? Where shall I go? Go Go Go?” How bad it is to have two wives who make puddings at the same time.”