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Monday, September 19, 2016

How the Mouse Won His Wife African Folktale

How the Mouse Won His Wife African Folktale



A daughter was born to a lonely pair, and the father said, "Anyone who wants to marry my daughter must first cut down the mahogany tree standing in my garden."

How the Mouse Won His Wife African Folktale

Years passed, and when the father was dying, he told his wife that only he who felled the mahogany tree could marry his daughter.

By and by, an Elephant arrived, and, sitting down in the town, asked the girl for a drink of water. She poured him some water and gave it to him, and he then asked her, "Are you married?" and she replied, "No, I am not yet married." The Elephant said, "I will marry you." Whereupon the mother called out, "You can marry her; but you must first cut down the mahogany tree."

The Elephant took an axe and cut, cut, cut until he was tired, and then went and rested so long that when he went again to the tree it was just as it was before he cut it. When the Elephant saw that, he threw down the axe, saying, "It is not my wedding, the woman is too much trouble."

As the Elephant was going away, he met the Buffalo, and told him all about it his problem, saying, "I came to marry, but I am not able to cut down the mahogany tree."

Then Buffalo picked up the axe and cut, cut, cut, and then rested under the verandah of the house. When he returned to the tree, he found it had grown again to its former size. Down he threw the axe and ran away.

As the Buffalo was running away, a Lion shouted out, "Where have you come from?" The Buffalo stopped and told him all his troubles. "Oh," said the Lion, "give me an axe, I'll marry her." However, the same thing happened to him, and to the Hyena, and to the Leopard also. They all cut at the tree, got tired, rested too long, and each ran away, saying, "I came to marry, but the girl is not worth the trouble."

As the Leopard was running away, a Mouse asked him "What is the matter?" and the Leopard growled, "I went to marry a woman, but whoever marries her must cut down a mahogany tree." Thereupon the Mouse went and gnawed, gnawed, gnawed without stopping, until at last the tree toppled over and fell to the ground.

When the mother saw the tree fall, she said, "Mouse, you can sleep here, and in the morning take your wife."

In the morning, they cut up six pigs and twenty loaves of bread, then the Mouse took his wife, and they started on their journey to his town.

They reached a stream where they camped for a time, and while there the Elephant arrived, and the Mouse said to him "See, this is my wife."

The Elephant would not agree to that, but said, "She is mine, I married her." "No," said the Mouse, "she is mine. Accept of two pigs for dinner."

When the Elephant heard that, he began to beat the Mouse, but the Mouse entered his trunk and gave him such pain that the Elephant cried, "Come out, and I will give you two pigs." The Mouse came out, received his two pigs, and went off with his wife.

How the Mouse Won His Wife African Folktale
How the Mouse Won His Wife African Folktale
They reached another town, and while resting and eating there, the Buffalo arrived. "Welcome to you," said the Mouse. But, the Buffalo did not want his welcome, and said he had married the woman, and when the Mouse would not give her up, the Buffalo hit him on the back with a big stick. 

The Mouse entered the Buffalo's ear and gave him so much pain that he bellowed: "Come out, and I will give you five sheep." The Mouse came out, received his five sheep, and went away with his wife.

As they journeyed along they met the Hyena, who said "Why, that is my wife," and when the Mouse denied it, the Hyena became very angry, and beat the Mouse and made him cry. The Mouse called the Squirrels, who came and fought the Hyena, and while they were fighting, the Mouse hurried off with his wife.

They travelled until they came to a high plateau, where they met a large Rat, who said, "Give me that woman." To him the Mouse replied, “I cannot give her, for I have had plenty of trouble to gain her."

"Very well," answered the Rat; "let us go to my home and I will give you some beer."

While sitting there the Mouse took a rat's head out of his bag.

"Where did you get that?" asked the Rat.

"Oh," boasted the Mouse,” I have eaten nine rats, and you will be the tenth." So alarmed was the Rat that he ran away and never said "Good- bye."

At last, the Mouse reached his town and gave his wife a house. There they feasted on the pigs and sheep they had gained on the road.

However, one day the Leopard paid a visit to the Mouse, and said "Mouse, let us jointly make a farm." This they did, and while the Mouse was watching the corn one day, the Leopard tried to run away with his wife. The Mouse, hearing this, invited the Leopard to drink wine in his house, and while they were drinking, the Mouse took out of his bag a Leopard's head.

"Where did you get that?" asked the Leopard.

"Down in the drinking-booth I killed and ate nine," said the Mouse, and you will be the tenth."

The Leopard was so frightened at this, that when the Mouse told him to get into the bowl, he went right in at once.

The Mouse put in the cork, and then put the bowl on the fire, and thus the Leopard died.


The Mouse said, "I will govern in this country, for there is not another chief left." Therefore, the Mouse rewarded for his courage, intelligence, and persistence.

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The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb