FAMOUS SWAHILI STORIES
The Swahili are great storytellers and use their stories to entertain each other well as teach the younger generation. Some of these stories include Nyamghondho and Abunwasi.
Nyamghondo was a young Swahili fisherman who was very poor. He hardly ever had any food because there was very little fish in the Indian Ocean. One day, he managed to catch a tiny little fish and he was very happy because he had not eaten anything in three days. Just as he was about to put it in his basket, the little fish spoke out,
“Nyamghondho, please do not eat me for dinner, I am very small and my mother will be very sad if I fail to return home,”
Nyamgondho was very hungry but he felt so sorry for the little fish that he put it back into the sea immediately and prepared to sleep hungry again. The little fish thanked him and dived back into the water happily. After a while, Nyamghondo was shocked to see a very beautiful woman coming out of the sea accompanied by hundreds of cows and goats. He was preparing to run when the beautiful woman spoke,
“Nyamghondho, please do no run; I am that little fish whose life you just saved. I wanted to test you and have discovered that you are a really kind person, now you can marry me and all these cows and goats will become yours”.
Nyamghondo was very happy and he married the beautiful woman. He became the richest man in his village and they lived happily ever after.
Abunwasi was a very clever trader who lived in a land where the King was very cruel. One day, the cruel king went to the market and saw that Abunwasi was selling the tastiest mangoes in the market. He asked his guards to take all the mangoes away and he refused to pay a single cent. Abunwasi was very sad and decided to make the cruel king pay for all the pain he had caused the people. The following day, he went to the king’s palace armed with a hugebakora (whip) and told the king,
“My king, I want to be your servant, please allow me to kill every fly that bothers you with this bakora,”
The cruel king was very happy because there were a lot of flies in the palace and he replied greedily,” You have my permission as long as you do not expect any salary.”
Abunwasi was very happy and he immediately took his place beside the king. After a moment, a big hairy fly landed on the king’s nose and Abunwasi hit it very hard with his bakora, the king yelled out in pain as another fly landed on his head and Abunwasi hit it too. The king was in a lot of pain but could not scold Abunwasi because he had allowed him to kill any fly that would bother him. He sent Abunwasi away without any punishment at all and all Abunwasi could do as the guards sent him away was smile because he had found a way to punish the cruel king.
One of the most popular children’s games of the Swahili children is called tipu(hide and seek). Around ten children gather at the village playground and one is chosen to be the “explorer”. He then shuts his eyes tightly and counts out the numbers 1-10 loudly. By the time he or she reaches number ten, everyone is supposed to have found a place to hide and the explorer then starts seeking them out. The kid who hides longest without being discovered is awarded a prize commonly referred to as “gold medal” and the game continues with the one who was discovered first becoming the next explore