Adventurous Daughters

Once upon a time there was a Venda king who had five adventurous but very disobedient daughters. Every morning the five daughters went to fetch water in the nearby Mudasiri River. One morning, while they were filling their water jars and splashing in the shallows of the Mudasiri River a young man appeared. He had a  musical bow with him. He played on the bow, sang a song and danced in front of the girls.

“Do you think you could fall in love with me, young ladies?” he asked.
“What a silly fellow,” they said.

The young man left. After a while he returned with a hat on his head.
Again he played on the bow, sang a song and danced with his hat on his head.

“What do you think, dear ladies, can anybody fall in love with me now?”
“Good heavens,” they said, “you are insufferable, just get lost.”
“Wait a minute,” one of the daughters said, “I quite like the fellow.”
“Then come with me,” the young man replied.

Not wanting to let one sister follow the young man all by herself, they all decided to go along with him. The young man was very pleased with himself as he walked in the footpath, playing on his musical bow, singing a song with his hat on his head and behind him five beautiful young ladies. They followed footpaths, down valleys, through dark forests and at last they arrived at the young man’s homestead where he introduced the five ladies to his family. After a good meal they all went to bed. That night the girls woke up with a start. They heard something growling outside the hut.

The next morning they said,”We heard something growling outside our hut, last night.”
“Perhaps you had a bad dream,” the young man said.
The next night they were too scared to fall asleep and deep in the night they again heard growling right outside their hut.
“This is a dangerous place, lets run away.”
They crept  out in the dark, followed a footpath but by noon they knew they were hopelessly lost.

 

Suddenly a dove appeared in the branches. “Why are you crying?”
“We are running away from a monster but we are totally lost.”
“Can you help us to get to our village at the Mudasiri River?”
“My goodness, you really are lost. I’ll help you before the monster catches up with you.”
“What can you do, you are only a dove.”
“Wait and see,” said the dove.
He hopped down and one by one he swallowed the disobedient daughters.
Off he flew and circled above the first village.
“Is this the village at the Mudasiri River?” dove shouted.
“No this is the village at the Mutshindudi River,” women hoeing in the fields answered.
Off dove flew and circled above the next village.
“Is this the village at the Mudasiri River?” dove shouted.
“No this is the village at the Nzhelele River,” women collecting fire wood answered.
Off he flew and circled above another village.

“Is this the village at the Mudasiri River?” Dove shouted.
“Yes, this is the village at the Mudasiri River,” women carrying water answered.
“Where can I land with good news?’ dove asked.
“Wait there in the tree, if you are a bringer of good news we have to roll out the reed mat,” said the king.
Everybody rushed around to find the reed mat. At last they rolled the reed mat out and dove hopped down.

“Ugu!” coughed dove and out leapt Poppy.
“Ugu!” coughed dove and out leapt Maria.
“Ugu!” coughed dove and out leapt Violet.
“Ugu!” coughed dove and out leapt Agnes.
“Ugu!” coughed dove and out leapt Anna.

“Are there any children missing, oh King?” asked dove.
“Oh no, they are all back,” said the king.
“How shall we reward the dove for bringing back our children safely?” Whispered the king’s wife to her husband.
“Oh well, give him a small bag of grain.”
“Only a small bag?”
“Only a small bag. I know I should be grateful that all five daughters are back but they are such a nuiscance to me, what will they do next?”

They gave dove a small bag of grain and he flew off.

Copyright : Dr Ina le Roux

Interpretation

This is a straight forward warning to daughters not to be too adventurous and not to go off with strangers no matter how interesting or attractive. In this story we have two male figures, the chancer and the saviour – the dove.


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