Ngap and Nyakwiy
But Ngap and Nyakwiy had an older sister. She was married to an ogre and he lived far away in the forest. One day, a messenger came to the house.
"Your oldest daughter sends her greetings," the messenger said to the girls' father. "She wants one of her sisters to visit her."
"I don't want to walk for miles through the forest," said Ngap. "I don't want to go to that ugly ogre's house."
"Of course you can't go, my love," said her mother. "There are leopards in the forest, and snakes, too. It's not safe. Nyakwiy can go. We don't want her here, at home."
So the next morning, Nyakwiy left her home and began her journey. She took a little water and a small bag of food.
"I can't give you any more," her mother said. "Your sister will feed you. Now go."
It was a long way to her sister's house. Nyakwiy walked quickly. Once, she heard a leopard in the trees. Once she saw a snake on the path. But she walked on and on.
Evening came. Nyakwiy was tired and hungry. Then, at last, she smelled the smoke of a fire. She followed the smell to her sister's hut.
Everyone was pleased to see her. Her sister's children kissed her. They wanted her to play with them. They were good and sweet. Nyakwiy loved them at once.
Soon, Nyakwiy's brother-in-law, the ogre, came home. Nyakwiy helped her sister to cook his food. The ogre's teeth were long and he had big red eyes, but he smiled at Nyakwiy.
"You are welcome in my house," he said.
Nyakwiy worked hard at her sister's house. She brought the water from the river. She cooked the food. She told stories to the children. The weeks went past quickly. Nyakwiy was very happy. Her sister's family loved her and she loved them too.
But one morning, her sister said to her, "Nyakwiy, my dear, you must go home now. You have been with us for many months. You must go back to our parents."
Everyone was sad. The children asked for one last story. Nyakwiy's sister gave her a delicious breakfast and plenty of food for the journey.
"You must eat," she said. "It's a long way to our parents' house. I don't want you to be hungry."
"Where's my brother-in-law?" said Nyakwiy. "I must say goodbye to him."
"Oh, he's gone hunting," her sister said. "Now goodbye, little sister. Goodbye."
Nyakwiy began to walk down the path. She was sad. She didn't want to leave her dear sister's house.
Suddenly, she heard a noise in the trees above. A white bird was sitting there. It watched Nyakwiy go past. Then it flew away. But it wasn't a bird at all. It was Nyakwiy's brother-in-law, the ogre.
Nyakwiy walked on. Then she heard a noise on the path in front. A little bushbuck was running away through the trees. But it wasn't a bushbuck at all. It was Nyakwiy's brother-in-law, the ogre. He watched Nyakwiy walk on down the path. Then he ran away.
Suddenly, Nyakwiy stopped. On the path in front of her was a beautiful tree. Red fruits were on its branches. Its leaves were made of gold. A lovely smell came from it.
"Nyakwiy! Nyakwiy!" said the tree. "Come here and eat my fruit!"
Nyakwiy put out her hand and nearly took a fruit. Then she remembered her sister.
"Thank you," she said, "but my kind sister gave me a delicious breakfast and plenty of food for my journey. I'm sad because I've left her, and her good husband and children. I don't want anything to eat. I'm not hungry."
She walked slowly past the tree. She didn't want to break its beautiful branches. Then she walked on down the path. The tree changed into the ogre again. He smiled.
The journey was long. Nyakwiy was tired. Suddenly, she saw a beautiful plate on the path. A delicious dinner of fish and butter was on it, and a lovely spoon lay beside it.
"Nyakwiy! Nyakwiy!" said the plate. "Come and eat my dinner."
Nyakwiy wanted to eat the dinner, but then she remembered her sister.
"Oh no," she said. "Thank you very much, but I'm not hungry. This morning I left my dear sister and her good husband and children. They gave me plenty of food to eat. I don't want any more."
She went on down the path. The plate changed into the ogre again. He smiled. Then he turned into a leopard and ran back to his home.
The evening came. It was nearly dark. At last, Nyakwiy arrived at her parents' house. Her parents were happy to see her.
"You always went to get the water," her mother said, "but your sister never helps me. I'm glad you've come home again."
"You always carried my fish back from the river," her father said, "but your sister never helps me. I'm glad you're back at home."
"Oh, there you are," said Ngap. "Come here, and comb my hair."
Nyakwiy was surprised. It was better at home now. She worked hard, but her parents were kind to her.
"You're a good girl, Nyakwiy," they said.
That evening, Nyakwiy's family asked her about the ogre and his wife. Nyakwiy told them everything.
"They were very kind to me," she said. "Perhaps my brother-in-law is an ogre, but he is a good man. The children are very sweet. My sister is happy."