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Kiswahili for Foreigners Book 2


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Abunuasi and the judgement of a youth.

Long time ago in part of Africa, there lived a widow. A short time before her husband died, they were blessed with a baby boy whom the mother brought up single handed with a lot of difficulties and hardship. Despite these, the mother and her son had a wonderful relationship. There in their big village lived also a very rich man, who was very stingy and very evil. The poor young man went to the rich man to ask for a job. The rich man said in pride that he had a very good job for him and he would pay him very well.

The boy was excited and asked, “What kind of a job will you give me your excellence? Whatever the job is I will do it well that you would be happy too.

“If you sleep in a cold see for the whole night, I will give you one hundred thousand shillings.” It was a very cold season that the water at the see was almost at a freezing point and the rich man knew it. Oh! The boy had never thought of possessing such an amount of money in his life. The great wish to help his mother at her old age was bigger, so he agreed without thinking further of his life. When the mother heard about this, she almost fainted from fear and sorrow over the life of her only son.

“My son I do not want you to endanger your life because of money. God is with us and has never abandoned us even one day that we slept hungry. He will continue to bless us as he did before. If you die, whom will I be left with in this world my child? I am an old woman now and I cannot look after myself.” The mother said in a great sorrow and in tears. “Mama have no anxiety at all. I will be able to sleep in cold water the whole night and I will not die.” The mother continued to beg the boy to change his mind, but he would not hear of it. He was convinced that he would be able to do it and earn that big amount of money which would free them from all the money problems they were having.

From the sympathy and fear over her son, the mother went to sit near the sea where her son was deepened in the cold water. She could only see his head swimming above the water. She decided to make a big fire when it became dark in order to give light for her son to encourage him that his mother was still there watching over him. The whole night the mother did not sleep. She prayed the whole night begging God to sustain her son in that big trial he was going through, and help him go through it without losing his life since he did it for the love of his mother. Through the mercy of God and through the prayers of a mother, the boy survived the terrible cold all night through. He went to the rich man to receive his money but the rich man had other arguments.

“You will not get even a penny from me!” the rich man said. The boy was surprised and asked the rich man, ”Why not your excellence? You promised to give me 100,000 shillings, if I sleep in the cold see the whole night. The whole night I spend in almost freezing water of the sea, you may ask your own witnesses. Even my own mother spend the whole night at the seaside.”

“There you are! Indeed your mother made a big fire at the seaside to warm you up. Is this what we agreed on, that your mother would make fire to warm you up and then come and claim that you spent the night in the cold water all the night? Do you think I am that stupid? Go away I will not pay you anything.

The boy was so angry, and he told his old neighbour Abunuasi about his anger. If there were people whom this old man hated were the rich ones who liked to oppress the poor instead of helping them. Abunuasi told the boy that he should not be angry and that he would get his payments alright, that Abunuasi would help him. He advised him first to take the matters to the King of their land and hear what he would say. The boy followed the advice of Abunuasi and went to the King and told him the whole incident but when the king heard of the story, and from both sides, he decided that the boy should actually not get the money since that is not what they agreed upon. The boy went back to Abunuasi and told him what the king said. Abunuasi was really shocked to hear the decision of a King. He still advised the boy not to have any fear, he would help him still to get his money. The boy promised Abunuasi to give him 20,000 if he helps him.

Abunuasi made a big party and invited many people, including the king and the rich man. All were friends of Abunuasi. He slaughtered many goats, chicken and prepared other things like rice, vegetables were cut into pieces and all the things were put near a big fire but not in the fire to cook. Meat was cut also into pieces and put in big pots. The visitors came and all waited for the big party to eat and drink but were told to wait. They waited the whole day and not even the smell of food did they smell. Hunger started making them nervous. All Abunuasi told them was “I beg your pardon, but the food has been cooking all this time but it is still not ready. We have still to wait.” In the end they were all angry and wanted to see the food which was cooking, so they stormed all in the kitchen, only to see all the food prepared but uncooked and all the pots stood near a big fire. The king being one of the people who suffered hunger asked Abunuasi. “Abunuasi are you right in your head? You have been telling us all this time that the food was cooking and why is the fire put on the side of the food? The food cannot cook even in hundred years! You are a mad man as the people say. You made us hungry the whole day.”

“Do not be angry my King, the food will be ready very soon. Patience brings blessings your excellence” Abunuasi said.

“Stop your foolishness and stupidity. This food will not cook at all. The food does not even get warmth from the fire, even though it is big.

“Why would the food not cook your excellence? You made a decision of a case of a poor youth and this evil rich man, who made the boy to sleep in a cold see the whole night. Due to his poverty and hunger he agreed. His mother due to the love and fear of her son, went to watch over her son the whole night lighting a big fire at the seaside in order to see her son’s head the whole night to make sure that he was still alive. You decided that he should not get even a penny because of the fire the mother lighted. Therefore even this food will cook like how the fire heated the sea water and made the boy warm as you ruled.

The king was so ashamed by the statement made by Abunuasi in front of all those who were invited, and he ordered the evil rich man to pay the poor boy immediately what they had agreed. Abunuasi received a big present and honour from the king due to his wisdom. Afterwards the food was prepared and served and all were happy. They all thanked Abunuasi.


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