The rule of the unmarried girl: A story told by Peter Nkhoma (Kamangadanzi village, Zambia)
In a certain village there was a very beautiful girl. Whenever a man came to ask her for marriage, she always scared him away. “Who ever wants to marry me, should vow to go with me when I die.” she told all men who approached her. There were rich men who came and promised to give her everything she needed if they marry her, but they could not promise to go with her into the grave if she died.
Another man came, whose name was “I don’t come back”. Mr. I don’t come back liked the girl so much that he agreed to go with her into the grave if she die. He however told this beautiful girl that his name was “I don’t come back” which meant that he was doing everything once and for all. These two then got married and started to live together. They lived happily and loved each other. From time to time the girl reminded her husband about the vow. “My husband, do you still remember that we shall go together to the grave when i die?” she asked him. “Yes my dear wife! Remember my name is I don’t come back and I promised to be burried together with you.” He responded.
After living together for some years, the girl became ill and died. The day of her burrial, it was announced that Mr. I don’t come back would be burried together with his wife. He was prepared to be burried too. The time came that all had to head to the graveyard. Mr. I don’t come back was the first to be put into the grave. As men of the village tried to fit the casket into the grave, they realised that the grave was not big enough for two bodies. For this reason they needed to enlarge the grave. Soon Mr. I don’t come back was ordered to get out of the grave so that they could make it bigger. Without hesitating he went out. He then stood up and told the people who were attending the funeral that he would never go back to the grave as his name was “I don’t come back.” “I am so sorry to say that my name is I don’t come back, I do everything just once.” He defended himself. At this point he was freed and continued with his life.
Story recorded and translated by author: Kamangadanzi village, chief Chanje, Chipata Zambia 13.09.2017