THE LOST SISTER

A long time ago, there lived a young man called Wamwea and his beautiful sister Wachera. Their parents had died in the cassava famine. Their lived in an empty hut whose eaves hang forlornly with want for repair. It was haunted by hunger and need, but the sibling love between them saw them from this moon to the next.
Wamwea used to go the field to tend after their few goats. One day, when he came from the fields, his sister told him:

Two young men came here today. If you go away tomorrow they will carry me off.

Before girls get husbands get husbands to nag, they nag their brothers.

You talk nonsense my sister, Wamwea replied.
I lie not. Wachera said. Wamwea kept silent, ruminating on her sister’s words, turning them his mind.

If they carry me off I will carry a calabash full of seeds which I will drop along the way so that you can follow my trail. Women,unlike men,based on age-old intuition,plan ahead of danger.Men plan when danger looms before their nose.

That following day Wamwea brought the goats from the fields and went away to some muthunguci dance in the next ridge. When he came back home he found the homestead empty. His sister had been carried away by some young men. They had carried her to some faraway land, her young nubile breasts bobbing up and down like two lost mangoes.
Several moons passed, Wachera did not come back. Wamwea had no one to cook for him. He slaughtered goats for his food, and within no time, they were finished. It’s then that he thought of his sister.

The seeds which his sister had dropped in her trail had now grown, and were big shrubs. Wamwea followed them. He journeyed for months in jungles where the sun never seeped through and a green river flowed through the forest floor like an alligator. He got lost in a fogbank of flora, until one day when he came to some children who were fetching water by a gurgling stream. The children took him home like a long lost uncle. Their mother came and served him with little food in a potsherd since he was a stranger. They didn’t give him water to drink-so he drank down the water he used to wash his hands with. After eating he was told to sleep on the floor since there was no bed for him. But since he was tired, he soon dozed and dreamt of his lost sister Wachera.
The following day Wamwea went out with the children to chase the weaver birds from their father’s millet fields. As he threw stones at them, he sadly sang:

Fly away little bird,
As my sister Wachera flew away,
Never to come back again.

Why does he say the name Wachera?  The children wondered.
When they went home they told their mother about this. The following day she came and hid amongst the nappier grass. Then Wamwea started singing again:

Fly away little bird,
As my sister Wachera flew away,
Never to come back again.

At that moment, Wachera realized that this was Wamwea her brother. They slaughtered a goat for him, and there was a great feast and dance. Wamwea lived with his sister for some time, until he came of age and was taken to the river to become a man.

Wachera’s husbands gave him many goats and cows as bride price for her sister. Wamwea grew into a strong man, straight as a Maasai hunting spear. Soon, he fell in love with a maiden called Wacici and they got betrothed. Later, they got married and Wamwea didn’t go back home but set up his home near his sister’s Wachera.

If you go down to the village with big rock facing the river, the names Wamwea and Wacici exist to date.The song too exists in the hearts of boys and girls who sing it as they chase after lost butterflies.

 

PS

This is the last story in the these series of forgotten folktales.If you have folk story that needs to be retold,get in touch with us on njambigilbert@yahoo.com

Thanks for finding time to visit this blog.

MG

 

8 Replies to “THE LOST SISTER”

  1. “Before girls get husbands get husbands to nag, they nag their brothers.” Hehe, this might scare the men away.

    “Wamwea only knew how to cook goats.” I am smiling.

    Nice read.

  2. “They didn’t give him water to drink-so he drank down the water he used to wash his hands with.” hmmmmm…. Eating with dirty hands would have been better. But I believe he got thirsty after eating. “Giko kiariire mwalimu na muka.”

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