The Sex Change
Narrated by Alo Yayo Barule
In Afar culture a man is very respectful and, in fact, is afraid of his mother-in-law.
Once upon a time a husband and wife lived together but the wife had a lover. And she decided to bring the lover over to her house, so she told her husband that her mother would be coming and all the preparations were made for a week of feasts. She warned her lover to come in the evening so her husband wouldn’t see him and she told him about the ornaments her mother would be wearing, the jewelry, the type of clothes, the shoes, and the lover came, dressed as the woman’s mother. So the respectful son-in-law bowed from a distance and slept outside the hut. This went on for quite a long time and the respectful son-in-law would always stay outside the hut.
Now one day the son-in-law had gone out of his hut and his wife had also gone to gather firewood. Now the man saw a big tree and he wanted to cut it down so he had to go back to the hut for an axe.
Now he called out from afar but nobody answered because his wife was out and her lover was fast asleep. So he decided to go into the hut and take out the axe which was under the bed. The window of the hut was rolled up so he could see that his mother-in-law was asleep. Then he went into the hut and as he pulled out the axe he looked up and he saw something strange. That under the mother-in-law’s skirt there was something erect. So he took out his dagger and he pulled up the mother-in-law’s dress and he grabbed it and cut it off as the culture demands. Then he went with it dangling in his left hand and his bloody dagger in his right hand to find his wife and cut off her head.
She saw her husband approaching with her lover’s genitals in his left hand and his dagger in his right hand and she started screaming and saying, “This is a curse! It’s a curse!”
Now the husband was surprised and he ran after her, and he said, “What’s wrong? Why are you screaming?”
And she said, “You wouldn’t believe it, but my mother’s family have had a big fight with this known sorcerer and he’s changed all the females into males and all the males into females. The worst thing that could happen.”
And her husband said, “You’re right. Your mother was also changed into a man. Now don’t worry. As long as you haven’t been changed, it’s OK.”
So they went back to their hut and lived happily together.
This shows that a wise woman can handle her husband in any way she wants.
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