An old woman who revealed a secret: A story told by Mwachosa Mwale (79 years old) (Mambo village, Zambia)

An old woman wanted to cross a river to reach her home. Since the river was full of water, she could not manage to cross it by herself. She stood there for a while trying to figure out how she could reach the other side of the river in order to get home. Suddenly there came a bird. “You woman I would like to help you to cross the river”, the bird offered the woman. “Me?” wondered the old woman. “Yes, you, don’t be surprised, I can help you,” said the bird. The old woman asked herself a question how a bird could help her cross the river. But since it was getting late, she accepted the offer. The bird came closer to the old woman and told her to hike on its shoulders. The bird indeed carried the woman on its shoulders. Slowly, slowly, the bird walked through the river and reached the other side of it. The old woman was amazed that a bird had crossed her over but, the bird warned her: “When you reach home, do not let anyone know that a bird has helped you to cross the river.” “I promise I will not tell anyone that you have helped me.” She said. They all went their way. The old woman could still not believe what had happened to her. When she got home, people asked her how she had crossed the river. She did not keep the secret at all. She immediately started narrating how she had crossed it. But remember she was told not to tell anyone about it. As soon as she had finished telling the people about it, she collapsed and died.


Transcribed and translated by author: 10.07.2016, Mambo village, Zambia

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