There was once, in a village, a very rich man who owned many herds of cows, goats, and sheep. He had only one child, a son, still very young whose mother had passed away after giving him life!
When the old man felt his own death coming, he worried: who was going to advise his son so that he would not get devoured by the man-eating worms, the man-eating worms that migrated between the two great rivers where every day he went to water his flocks? The villagers could not do it. On the contrary, they would be jubilant at the idea of seeing his son devoured by the man-eating worms. They would happily split his herds among themselves!
He was going to entrust his son to a tree, an old cailcedrat :
- I am going to die, he said. I entrust my son to you so that you counsel him.
Then he passed away.
In the morning, before taking his flocks to pasture, the young boy would sing to the tree.
- My father entrusted me to you, great cailcedrat. Should I take my flocks to Toubalitou? Or should I lead them to Diabalidia?
The tree shook its heavy branches laden with leaves three times, and said:
- Go to Toubalitou. Do not go to Diabalida. The man-eating works will be at Diabalida today!
The young boy led his flocks to Toubalitou, and in the evening came back safe and sound to the village. The villagers were astonished and furious. Someone must be advising the boy for him not to be eaten by the worms! They were going to find out who was counseling him. They hired a hunter for that task, who brought back the secret. They cut down the tree, burnt it, and threw the ashes in the river.
When the orphan came for counsel, he found nothing. He cried, and still sang his song. One never knew. It was a turtledove who answered him. And once again he got home safe and sound. People were once again surprised. They were furious at the hunter, he had lied to them.
The hunter once again told them the new secret, and promised them that he would kill the turtledove. However, he never could. He became insane, and still runs to this day firing shots at the sky taking it for his turtledove.
Since that day, wise men and women tell their children never to kill a turtledove.
The French original can be found on Ouologuem Blog. Translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com
3 thoughts on “The Orphan and the Wicked Villagers”
That is a very innovative tale while containing a good message.
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Not going to lie, a lot of these fables are much better written than the fairytales and folktales I heard as a kid. It would be fascinating if some African filmmakers or animators would do adaptations of these stories.