– adapted (with kind permission) from Brilliant Star, children’s magazine Nov/Dec 1989
There were once two brothers who loved each other dearly and were always together. The tall one was called Left Hand Bull and his short brother was called Little. They learned how to fish in the streams, to hunt the buffalo and the deer and to ride horses. Left Hand Bull became a very good hunter, and Little became very clever and could sing all the Indian songs and knew all the history of their people. When the troubles with the white people became worse the two brothers went in different directions taking all their families with them. This was a terrible time when there was no food to eat except for berries and the birds that they were able to shoot with their arrows. Many Indians became sick and many died as they wandered about in the wilderness trying to find a place of safety. Eventually most of the Indians gave up and went to the special places that they were shown by the government. Then many years after the brothers parted a scout came riding up to Little and said, "We have seen Left Hand Bull. He is alive! He is near by!" Straight away Little jumped on his horse and rode off to find Left Hand Bull. At the same time Left Hand Bull was riding to meet him. The two brothers met and jumped off their horses and hugged each other. Tears of happiness rolled down their cheeks. Now the two families were together again after so many years. They made a big fire and had a wonderful feast. Then when everyone had eaten Little stood up to make a speech. "Oh my Brother! We have mourned you for so many years. We thought you were dead. Now that the Great Spirit (God) has brought you back to us we are very happy. We are so happy to see you, but we are sad to see that things have not gone well with you. Your clothes are torn and your tents and blankets torn or lost. We have decided to give you all our things because we are so happy to see you alive." Left Hand Bull’s heart was very happy, but what could he give his brother? They had nothing. "Oh Brother!" he said. "I am so glad to see you, but I have nothing, absolutely nothing to give. But what I will give you is my name! I was so proud of this name. From now on you will be Left Hand Bull and I will be Little," and so it was. The big tall man was called Little from then on and his very short brother was called Left Hand Bull.
11. VUSI AND TEMBO WATCH VIDEO
When we are courteous we are showing respect for another person. This makes everyone happy.
Vusi and Tembo were boys who lived on the same street. They often walked back from school together. One day as they were walking home they met Mrs. Manda who also lived on that street. They greeted each other. Then Mrs Manda said, "We have just got a very interesting video about football. Would you boys like to come and see it?" Vusi didn’t say anything and just kicked the dust with his foot. Tembo said, "Thank you. I would love to watch it, but I cannot come today as I promised my mother that as soon as I got back from school, I would go to the shop for her to buy some things she needed." Shortly after Mrs. Manda arrived home she heard a voice outside. "Hey!" and when she went to the door she found Vusi standing there. "I want to see the video," he said. Mrs Manda was surprised by his bad manners, that he did not even greet her, but she invited him in. She switched on the TV. Vusi sat watching, wriggling on his chair. When the video was finished, Mrs Manda brought in some juice and some biscuits. Vusi drank the juice and ate a few biscuits. Then he took a handful of biscuits and stuffed them in his pocket! "I must go," he said and he opened the door and disappeared down the road. The next day Mr. and Mrs Manda heard a knock at the door. Mr Manda opened the door. There was Tembo standing outside. "Good afternoon," he said shaking hands with Mr. Manda. "Can I now see the video that Mrs Manda was talking about or would it be better if I came another time?" "It would be fine if you come now. We have just finished working in the vegetable garden and have come in to have a cup of tea. Take a seat," he said, pointing to one of the chairs while he switched on the TV and put in a video. Tembo sat quietly watching until the end of the programme. Then he stood up. "Thank you for letting me watch the programme. I enjoyed it very much." "We are glad you enjoyed it," said Mrs. Manda. "Would you like some juice?" "Yes, please," said Tembo, "but I can’t stay long as my mother expects me at home." After enjoying the juice and biscuits he rose to go. "Thank you very much," he said. "Here are some biscuits to take home for your little sister," said Mrs. Manda. Mr. Manda said, "We were so happy to have you here." "We are getting another video on one of the other games next week, and we will be happy if you visit us again and watch it." With that Mr. Manda opened the door. "Thank you again" said Tembo as he walked out the door and he looked forward to another football video soon.
12. THE MOUSE AND THE TRAP
(adapted from a traditional story)
This story reminds us that sometimes we are selfish and think only of ourselves, but we are all connected by wonderful connections and everything we do affects someone else.
A mouse lived in the ceiling of a farmhouse. He made a little hole in the ceiling through which he could watch and hear what was going on in the room below. One day the farmer had gone to town and when he came home he unpacked and showed his wife all the things he had bought. The mouse watched, thinking of all the good things there were to eat. Suddenly a mousetrap fell out of the bag onto the floor. How shocked the mouse was! Here was a mousetrap that would
be set to catch him! He was so shocked and frightened that he ran next door to tell his friend the hen. "What a terrible thing has happened at my house," said the mouse. "The farmer has bought a mousetrap!" The hen was not worried about the mousetrap. "What has a mousetrap to do with me?" she said. "Have you ever seen a hen caught in a mousetrap?" she asked the mouse. The mouse was too upset to stay so he went to visit his friend the pig. "What a terrible thing has happened at my house" said the mouse. "The farmer has bought a mousetrap!" "What has a mousetrap to do with me?" asked the pig. "Have you ever seen a pig caught in a mousetrap?" The mouse was too upset to stay and he went to visit his friend the cow. The cow was not worried about the mousetrap. "What has a mousetrap to do with me!" she asked. "Have you ever seen a cow caught in a mousetrap?" The mouse was very discouraged that none of his friends realized his danger, and went sadly home. The next day the mouse watched the farmer take a piece of cheese and set the mousetrap ready to catch a mouse, and place the trap on the floor in the kitchen. During the night there was a loud "Snap" in the kitchen as the mousetrap snapped shut. "A mouse! A mouse!" thought the farmer’s wife and she hurried to the kitchen to see the mouse she had caught. Now it was dark in the kitchen and she couldn’t see what she had caught. She had in fact caught a snake by its tail. As she came into the kitchen the snake rose up and bit her on the leg. She screamed for her husband who came running with a light to see what had happened. There he saw his wife bitten on the leg and in great pain and the snake quickly disappearing under the door. He helped his wife up and hurried to the doctor. The doctor gave her an injection and said that she must stay in bed until she felt better. At home the husband decided to kill the hen to make some good chicken soup, to help his wife get better. After a few days she was not getting better, and many friends came to see her and to pray for her recovery. Some friends came from far away, so the farmer killed the pig to feed them all. After a few more days the farmer’s wife died. How sad everyone was! Then there was a big funeral and the farmer’s wife was buried. Many, many people came to the funeral so the farmer killed the cow, to feed all these people.
All of them were affected because the farmer bought the mousetrap. We have to care about what happens to our friends and neighbours. What happens to them affects us too.
It is important to listen to our parents, especially in times of danger.
Bob and Roxie lived in California. Their mother was a nurse and their father was a fireman. They lived in a town where they often had earth tremors. Their parents had taught the children that when there was a warning they must always listen and do as they were told. She told them that if they didn’t listen their lives could be in danger. In the town there was a hooter that sounded the alarm when people must leave their houses. The children knew that it was not safe to stay in the house as the roof or walls could fall in on them and this could cause them to break an arm or a leg or even be killed. Now one night the children’s parents shook them awake. "Wake up! Wake up! The hooter is sounding! There is an earthquake. Quickly put on this warm jacket and hurry up and leave the house." The children were half asleep and tried to hurry as their parents said. Outside the house they found their friends and neighbours on the street too. Every now and then there was a frightening feeling that the earth was moving. Telephones were ringing. People were shouting. Children were crying. Mr and Mrs Wilson called to Mrs Hind next door "Please look after the children as we have been called to help in the town where lots of buildings have fallen down. Bob and Roxie, please listen to Auntie Hind and help her as much as you can." That said, their parents rushed off. Auntie Hind said to the children. "You know that you two are the bigger children and you must listen to what I tell you. My husband has had to go and help at the hospital. I need you to help me with my three children. As the hooter is still sounding we will have to walk to the school playing field close by. You know that that is where we have to go if there is an earthquake. In the field we will all be safe. Bob -- you take Peter’s hand. Roxie -- you take Emily and I will carry the baby." All the children listened, did what Auntie Hind said and walked to the school field. There were lots and lots of children there with some of the mothers and fathers. Somebody started praying, "Oh God! We are Thy children. Please help us." Then everyone started singing hymns. After what seemed like a very long time it started getting light and the sun came up. The ground had stopped shaking and everyone began to feel better. Every now and then cell-phones would ring, "Are you OK? I’m so glad. Here in town it is terrible. The big hotel has collapsed and many people are injured and some have even been killed. We will be working here all day to help them. Helicopters are bringing people in from the capital city to help. Just stay where you are until the helpers with the blue jackets come to tell you what to do next. As your area was not badly affected, I’m sure you will soon be able to go home. Don’t forget to thank God for keeping you safe. I’ve been saying "Thank You" to God again and again.
In a forest far away two trees grew side by side. One was a huge Yellowwood tree and the other was a small Keurboom. The Yellowwood was very, very tall. It had a great thick trunk and very thick branches. The small Keurboom had lots of thin branches and it was not even half the height of the Yellowwood tree. The Yellowwood had plenty of self-love. "I am the biggest tree in the forest, and the most important," he used to say. "No tree is as big or important as I am.. You are so little and weak," he said to the Keurboom. "Why don’t you grow up and become a proper tree like I am?" What could the little Keurboom say? He just stood there and felt sad. Then one day some birds came flying by. "Watch out! Watch out! A huge wind is coming! It is a hurricane! Run, run, hide away!" But trees cannot run away and hide. "Oh, I don’t worry about those silly little birds and what they say," said the Yellowwood. "I am so big and strong that nothing can harm me!" Then the wind began to blow harder and harder. The trees began to wave their branches and wave in the wind. "Ha! Ha!" laughed the big Yellowwood. "There is just a little wind and you are waving and bending about. Look at me. I just stand firm and laugh at the wind." The wind got stronger and stronger and the Keurboom waved about and bent over. "You weakling – so weak! Why don’t you stand tall and strong like I do?" Just then suddenly, the wind blew even harder and there was a terrible cracking noise and the big Yellowwood began to break. Some of the branches broke right off and then with a terrible crash the main trunk broke in half and crashed to the ground. The little Keurboom just bent and waved in the strong wind but it did not break.
It is better to be quiet about ourselves than to show off.