The Sins of the Father
Narrated by Ahmed Mohammed Abeba
Once upon a time a group of men were walking together and they had a sack of wheat and other cereals with them.
And one man said, “I don’t want to go with you. Just give me one small grain of corn and I’ll leave you and go.”
The others said, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t we do the journey together? We can share the corn and cook our food together and share it. But if you take one grain of corn you’re not going to do anything with it.”
He said, “That’s none of your business. All I want is one grain of corn.”
So the young men discussed among themselves.
“One grain of corn is nothing to us. Let us give it to him.”
So they gave him one grain of corn and he went to a small village and a lady was making some corn meal and he threw his grain into the pot and said, “I’ll be back for dinner.”
She looked up at the stranger with surprise but said nothing.
That evening he waited until dinner time was passed and he came to the house.
All the men had finished eating and they said, “How unfortunate that you came after our meal. Otherwise you could have shared it with us.”
He said yes, he had brought one grain of corn, but when she was grinding the corn it had disappeared somehow and she didn’t know where it was.
The man got very hard and angry and he said, “Either give me my meal or else I want the cooking pot.”
They wondered what a crazy person he was and they said, “Well, you can’t have a meal because we don’t have anything left.”
So they conferred and said, “Well, one cooking pot is nothing for us,” and they gave him the cooking pot.
So he walked away with his clay cooking pot and went to the river and he filled it with water and put it by the roadside. He saw a flock of goats coming and put the pot in their way so obviously they started drinking and as they pushed their heads into the pot they broke it.
So he called the owner of the goats and said, “Look, they’ve broken my pot. Either I want my pot back, or I’ll take one of your goats.”
The man said, “Don’t worry. I’ll give you another pot.”
“No, I want my original pot.”
The man couldn’t do anything because he couldn’t repair the pot, so reluctantly he gave him a goat.
Now the man took the goat and when he saw a herd of camels coming after lunch when camels get a bit excited, he tied the goat on the road so when the herd of camels went by they trampled the goat.
So he stopped the camel driver and said, “Look, you’ve killed my goat. I want you to bring the goat back to life or else you’ve got to give me a camel.”
The man said, “That’s impossible. How can I make a goat come back to life? Let me go and find a goat and give it to you.”
He said, “No. Either my own goat or a camel.”
So, since the goat was dead, the man was forced to give him a camel.
So the man went along with his camel and on the way he met the funeral of his friend.
“Wait a moment,” he said. “I want this man’s body. Exchange it for a camel.”
The people got together and decided that the body was useless, but the camel was valuable, so they exchanged the camel for the body.
It was near evening, so he walked into a small village where people were sitting down and eating and he said, “Hello, we’re travellers and it’s got dark so let my friend spend the night here and I’ll spend the night in the next hut.”
He threw the body into a chair and the people didn’t realise he was dead. As he was walking out again he stabbed the body with a spear and went to the neighbour’s house. And in the Afar culture anyone who comes to eat is invited as a guest. And they gave him dinner.
As he was eating he said, “I heard a cry from the next hut. I left my friend there. Let’s go and see.”
When they went rushing the people next door had just found the body with a spear.
And he started screaming, saying, “They’ve killed my friend.”
So there was a big hue and cry and they decided that the neighbours had killed his friend. He had to be compensated. And the compensation for one man is 100 camels or 400 cattle. So he took half the payment in camels and half in cattle and he became a very rich man.
And he married two wives. From the first wife he had four children and from the second wife he just had one son. Then he lived happily for many years.
Then the man died. And when he died he made a request that his body be taken to the burial ground on the back of a camel. Now as they were taking the camel it suddenly ran away and they didn’t know what to do. He was a very rich and famous man and everybody was waiting for his body to arrive and moreover, if his body wasn’t buried they might have some problems with the inheritance.
So the four children from the first wife said, “Why don’t we kill our brother? We’ll have a body to bury and we’ll also have no problem with the inheritance because we’ll get everything.”
So they killed their brother and they took his body to the burial ground and just as they were burying him the other camel came back with the other body. The body was completely torn to bits and only the head remained on the camel’s back. So the people stopped the camel and when they looked at the head it was of the man they assumed they were burying.
So they said, “Why, this is that man! Who are we burying?”
And when they undid the body they saw it was his son. So now all the family of one of the wives was at war with all the family of the second wife. And the two families wiped each other out.
This shows that when someone does bad things to other people, even though he might succeed, his sins will be carried on to his children.
|< Prev||Next >|