Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: unknown author

Translated into English

Original title (Papiamento):
Compa Nanzi i baca pinta

Country of origin: Aruba


English - aligned

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Copa Nanzi and the Cow

Shon Arey (Sir King) had a large plot of land, which was covered with nettle. He could do nothing with this land of his, so he went out to look for people, who wanted to plough his land. He who managed to plough the land without scratching his body, would win a big, fat cow. But he who could not, would end up hung on the pitchfork. Nobody wanted to try. Everybody really wanted to get the cow, but as soon as they realized the king would surely kill them, they gave up trying. Nanzi also thought it was great thing. One day he could not wait for longer. He told Shi Maria, that he wanted to give it a try. She cried, “Nanzi, I will not see you any more; how can you be so daring? You die and will have no cow”. Nanzi was stubborn and determined to do it. Upon arriving at palace, the king came out to meet him. He wanted to see who came to die. The king smile when he looked at Nanzi. However, he said, “You are really anxious to die. You are still young”. –“No, Your Majesty, I am not anxious to die, nor will I die either. But I am anxious to get the cow. But I have a favor to ask of you. Before I plough the land, I need to choose the cow. I hope Your Majesty will not oppose to it”. “Well, no, Nanzi. Follow me”. Nanzi walked a long way after the king, until they stopped by a nice, fat cow. “Your Majesty, can I have this one?”. Nanzi showed a very fat, spotted cow. “Sure, Nanzi, no problem. But make sure you win it, understand? Good by”. A sergeant came along to watch Nanzi plough the land. Nanzi began to work, but the nettle gave him much anxiety to scratch his body. Nanzi looked up to see the sergeant. He was watching him closely.

Then he looked at his cow, farther down. “Sergeant, sergeant, do you know which cow is for me?. It’s that one with a spot down here, another spot up here, one more over there. Nanzi was scratching his body all the time on the places he was showing to him. Each time he needed to scratch, he would show the sergeant where the cow had a spot. Thus, he finished to plough the land in less than a half hour. Sergeant and soldiers had to declare that Nanzi had not scratched his body at any time. They did not realize that Nanzi was scratching his body while he talked with them.

So, Nanzi won his big, fat cow. He came back home, singing aloud. Shi Maria and all his kids rushed out to meet him. They gave him a big, long hug. They thought they would not see him back again. So, they shouted, “Long live Papa Nanzi!”.