The Hunter’s Bride

Here is a story from: Ethiopian Folktales.  You can read the full story there.


Afar Girl
Afar Girl

Once there was a very beautiful Afar girl and one young man fell madly in love with her. So he sent people to her father’s house to ask for her hand in marriage.

But her father said, “I’ll only bestow my daughter if he gives me all his wealth, his camels, his cows, everything.”

So they went back and said, “Look, her father’s asking for the impossible. He wants all your wealth.”

The young man said, “That’s OK. She’s everything in this world. You can take all my animals.”

And he married the girl.

But he had nothing to feed her and therefore he had to become a hunter and he fed her.

San (Basarwa/Bushmen) hunters
San (Basarwa/Bushmen) hunters

Then one day her father decided to go and visit his son-in-law and daughter and he came over to their house. Of course a guest has to eat, so she brought in her father and made him sit down and she started boiling water hoping her husband would soon come in with the kill, but all the water in the pot boiled away. So she put in more water, but it too boiled away. She filled it again and it boiled away. By this time she was desperate and she looked out of their hut and saw another man walk by with a bush buck he had just killed.

So she went to him and said, “Look mister, I have an unexpected guest and my husband, who is a hunter, has gone out, so please give me one of the legs of the bush buck so I can feed my guest. When my husband comes back, I’ll repay you in kind.”

And he said, “No way. I’ve got enough meat for myself, therefore I don’t want the leg of meat that your husband is going to bring. But since you are so beautiful, I want to make love to you.”

She said, “OK, but the guest is in my house right now, so go and come back after dark.”

So she took the leg of meat and went in and started cooking it. Then her husband came, having killed a zebra, so there was plenty of meat and he gave it to her and he sat down and started eating with his father-in-law.


When it became dark the other hunter came and he threw a pebble on to the roof so that she would come out. But she just sat down and went on cooking the zebra meat. He threw a second pebble, but she pretended not to notice. Then he threw a third pebble and she burst out laughing.

Her father turned round and said, “What are you laughing at?”

She said, “I’m laughing at three fools.”

Her father said, “What do you mean?”

She said, “I’m laughing at three fools. The first fool is my husband, who gave away all his wealth for the sake of a woman. The second fool is my father, who took away all the wealth of his child, his son-in-law, then comes to have a meal and where does he expect the meat to come from? And the third fool is the man outside who gave me a leg of his bush buck and expects me to make love with him.”

So the moral is: (i) men are foolish over women and wealth; (ii) wealth is necessary for people to live well besides love.

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