A language exercise from last week was to read the story ‘Mfalme Mjinga’ and then complete it. I’ve translated it below. How would you finish it?
Once upon a time in a certain country of East Africa, there lived King Stupid. He was called Stupid because of how he decided cases. All judgements were made on a mountain. If a person committed a crime, the king would call all the people together with the accused and they went with him up the mountain. On top of the mountain, the king built two rooms facing each other and in one he put a hungry lion and in the other a beautiful woman. (Whether fortunately or unfortunately, all accused people in this country were men.)
The accused was put down the bottom of the mountain and when a bell was rung, he had to climb the mountain towards the rooms on the top. Halfway up the mountain he had to thank the king, saying, ‘Thank you Lord King for bringing me here. I am ready to be eaten by the lion if I am guilty and also I am read to marry the beautiful woman if I am not guilty.” After saying these words, he continued with his journey.
When he arrived up the top, if he opened the door of the lion’s room, the lion ate him. Therefore, he was guilty. And if he opened the door of the beautiful woman’s room, he would marry her. Therefore, he wasn’t guilty. All cases were judged in this way.
One day there was a big case that was about to happen. A soldier, a fine and strong youth was charged with making love to the daughter of the king because he came from a poor family.
The day of the case arrived. Like normal, the accused soldier stayed down the bottom of the mountain and on top a fierce and hungry lion was put in one room and a woman more beautiful than all the others in the whole country in the other room.
It happened that the daughter of the king loved the soldier a lot and desired to marry him but she knew that the soldier had already made love to the beautiful woman who was in the room up the top of the mountain. Because she was the daughter of the king, she knew which room the lion was in and which room the beautiful woman was in. The soldier didn’t know.
When the soldier arrived halfway up the mountain he stopped and like normal started to thank the king. While he was thanking him, the daughter of the king gave the soldier a special secret sign. The soldier finished thanking the king and continued to climb the mountain.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??
Categories: Uncategorized Written by Tamie
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.
I’m not sure where to begin. I feel like rewriting the story, but then I’d be judging it which isn’t what you’ve asked. And a ‘happy ending’ where everything works out isn’t necessary. But…
“The soldier got to the top of the mountain where the two rooms were, one with the hungry lion and the other with a beautiful woman. Now the secret sign he was given was to look for a small mark on the door handle. If there was a mark, it was the room with the lion.
But the soldier didn’t trust the king’s daughter because he had slept with her and with many other women. So he opened the door without the mark thinking there’d be a beautiful woman, but to his shock there was the lion. And he was eaten.
The king’s daughter was devastated and vowed not to marry. The kingdom eventually had no-one to rule over it, and thus ended the royal family of King Stupid.”
“The king, while being rather stupid, was not gullible and had suspected that his daughter may try to warn the soldier and guide him to safety. The king devised to wait until his daughter had left her secret sign and then change it so that the soldier would be killed by the lion.
The soldier got to the top of the mountain and behold, there were two letters drawn in the sand before each door. One was S – for simba, and one B – for bibi (woman). He did not know that the king had been there after his daughter and changed the signs around. What was S was now B and vice versa.
The soldier pondered the letters as he stood before the doors, he knew the the king’s daughter loved him but was worried that she knew about all his nights with other women and that she did not love him anymore.
As the soldier stood before the doors he decided to trust the kings daughter and choose the door with the B scrawled underneath. He opened the door to the beautiful woman, and he stood confused, dropping the knife hidden in his clothes as the woman ran to embrace him. He wondered what had gone wrong.
The king’s daughter and the soldier had talked the night before about him being prepared to kill the lion, so he did not have to marry the beautiful woman in the room, and would be free to marry the king’s daughter instead.
The king was furious as the soldier had not been killed, the daughter distraught that she would not marry the soldier. The soldier was upset but always tried to keep the beautiful woman happy, sneaking off to hold the hands of the king’s daughter in the moonlight for the rest of his life.”
I got slightly carried away with this…and this is also why I should stay at uni.