Children of the King
A Bushman Story from South Africa by Karen Rose
A long long time ago when Rain was a beautiful woman and the Great Fire in the sky was a man,
Xanis the Rain and Xameb the Great Fire decided to get married. They lived very happily together
where the sky turns pink at the first light of dawn.
Sometime after the wedding, Rain had a daughter.. and another, and a third. When she was growing up, the eldest daughter looked upon the place of our birth and decided she wanted to come down.
Rain warned her eldest child.. "There are both good and bad people that live on the earth and if you go, beware of the bad ones."
Rain had another child and he was a boy and she called him Son-eib.
The eldest daughter came to earth and fell in love with one of the people and she stayed and did not go home to that place in the sky. The sisters grew up and they too asked their mother.. "Can we go down to the earth and visit our sister and stay with her people?"
The boy Son-eib heard his sisters talking and didn't want to remain behind so he asked.. "Can I go too, please, Mother?"
Rain was not happy about all of her children wanting to go, she was afraid that they might get lost so she thought and thought..
The Wolf heard Xanis and Xameb talking and he saw that the daughters were beautiful. "Do not worry, I will go with them. I know the earth and the people of the earth," he said.
"Let them go, let them go. You will have another child tomorrow," said Xameb.
The two daughters and Son-Eib came down to the Earth and the Wolf immediately began to devise plans on how to get the boy out of the way. Son-Eib was worried. When the Wolf and his sisters weren't looking, he quickly captured a small red bird and hid it under his belt.. "I am on my way to visit my sister who has never seen me... Do you know where she lives?" he asked some people.
"I know where she lives, said the Wolf quickly, "I will take you to her."
Wolf, the two sisters and Son-Eib walked for many steps and travelled long roads, but eventually they came to a kraal where both good and bad people lived. A very beautiful woman came out to meet them and she looked Son-Eib up and down and said.. "How is it this man's eyebrows resemble my mothers so much?"
Wolf became angry. "He is just a thing... He is just a thing... We do not even feed him food," he shouted. Son-Eib became very angry, but he did not say a word and when food was brought to the guests, he did not eat. The woman watched Son-Eib and again she shook her head and said.. "This man has my mother's eyebrows, he must come and sleep in my hut."
"Why do you persist with this story? Haven't I told you that he is just a thing? He must sleep in a separate hut."
The bad people listened to the Wolf and tied Son-Eib up and cast him into a lonely hut and fastened the door from the outside. When the woman and all the good people went back to their huts to sleep, Wolf and the bad people burned down the hut.
Son-Eib died in the flames but the little red bird flew out from the fire, high above the clouds, and all the people shouted.. "Hau..... out of that fire flew a tiny red bird!"
The bird flew and flew until it came to the house of Rain. He sat on a branch in a tree and called...
"Son -Eib has died in the fire... Son-Eib has died in the fire.. His sister did not recognise him... Son-Eib has died in the fire."
The youngest child heard and ran to where the mother was resting. "Mother... Mother.. listen to the bird."
"Go away," groaned Rain, " leave me in peace.. let me sleep."
"Mother, Mother, listen... Listen to what the red bird is saying," pleaded the child.
Rain listened and then called to Xameb to come and hear.
"What shall we do?"
Rain became angry. "You are a man, your name is Fire, mine is Rain.. Why do you ask me?"
Xameb and Xanis walked away from each other.
Over the kraal where both the good and bad people lived came a small cloud floating upon the wind. It had a circle of Rainbow around it that grew bigger and bigger. The cloud with the rainbow stopped over the kraal. All the people cried.. "There comes a Fire, the Cloud must put out the Fire."
Everybody became very afraid as the Rainbow grew bigger and bigger and they ran towards their huts. Fire flashed down from the Rainbow, but it was a very special fire as it killed only Wolf and all the bad people. Then a Rainbow stretched over the earth and the people heard a mighty voice...
"Do not kill the Children of the King!"
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