Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Clement M. Doke - 1927

Translated into English
  by Clement M. Doke

Original title (Lamba):
Icisimikisyo cakwe Kalama

Country of origin: Zambia


English - aligned

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The Story of the Steward

Clement M. Doke

The Steward of the chief used to bring (things) to the chief. And the next day meat came, (and the chief) said, "Fetch the Steward, let him divide it out." The Steward came and entered the chief's house, and many people gathered together ; and the meat he divided out, he divided it out to all the elders. (But) he refused a (certain) youngster. The youngster went out and went to his mother. He said, "Why does Mr. Steward refuse me meat like this, mother?" And again the following day meat came to the chief's residence, and the Steward was called. And the little youngster came and sat down where he was dividing the meat. On and on he divided to give to the people, and again refused the youngster. So again the youngster went away empty, he had grudged him. He went to his mother and said, "Mr. Steward, why does he refuse me, mother?" Then his mother said, "I wonder, dear!" Then he said, "One day I'll tell on him."

Then indeed one day meat came ; and that youngster came and entered where he was dividing the meat. Again he (Steward) divided out to his mates, and grudged him (the youngster). Again he went out empty, and reached his mother, and asked, "And today, mother, he's refused me meat; Mr. Steward was dividing." His mother said, "Leave him alone, let him eat (it) himself." Then he said, "I leave him alone. Then, when everyone had shut his door in the village, and the chief too had shut up, then went out that youngster to where the Steward was. He found that the Steward had shut up. Then he said, "Open the door. Steward!" Then Mr. Steward opened the door, and he entered. He said, "The chief calls for you ; he said let him come anyhow, let him leave his calico behind." Thereupon Mr. Steward went out stark naked. His wife said, "Man, dress yourself!" Then her husband said, "How am I to dress? The chief said let him come anyhow." Then, when he arrived at the chief's residence, that youngster disappeared. Mr. Steward said, "Open the door for me. Sir." And (the chief) sent his principal wife, saying, "Open the door!" The chief's wife got up and opened the door. When the chief's wife looked out, behold Mr. Steward coming in stark naked; and the chief's wife hasted away behind the screen where the chief had remained. The chief said, "What are you frightened at?" She said, "I'm afraid of Mr. Steward, he's stark naked! He has no calico." The chief said, "Oh, don't tell lies about him!" Adding, "Is an elder one to come stark naked here to the chief? " Then indeed the chief came to the doorway where he had arrived. He said, "Whyever do you go about like this. Steward?" And he answered, "I, whom you have called. Sir, am I not to come?" Then the chief sat silent (for a time) and said, "Oh, Steward, why have you done this?" He added, "Go back then." And Mr. Steward went back to his house.

When the morning had dawned, (the chief) said, "Call Mr. Steward, let us all hear about it." Then indeed they called him, and bound him. He said, "For what cause have you bound me, Sir?" He answered, "What sent you to go to the chief stark naked?" And he said, "What came to call me was a little youngster." The word was given, "Gather together all the little children, let him accuse to us the one that went to call him." Then they called all the children, and asked them one by one. All refused; but one confessed saying, "It was I, I went to call this Steward." — "Why did you start a quarrel against him by calling him like that?" He said, "It was because of (his) continually refusing me meat; because he gives to everyone (else)." Then (the chief) said, "For what reason do you refuse the youngster meat? Today, isn't it this little thing that has bewitched you, a scooped out groove?" Thereupon Mr. Steward they set free.