Narrated by Magabi Enyew Gessesse
A husband and wife had seven foolish children.
The mother prayed, “O God, why did you send me seven foolish children? Please send me one wise one.” (It was a “syllet” – ie a vow.)
So at last a child was born. His name was Sinziro – Handspan – because he was very small. He was a dwarf, so they called him with the feminine pronoun – anchi, not ante. She was desperate for this child not to be foolish so she called him “anchi” to deceive the bad spirit. He was so clever that his brothers didn’t like him. They thought he would embarrass them.
One day they went to steal cattle – cows and goats and sheep, but they couldn’t do it.
“Oh, if Sinzero had been with us, he would have told us how to do it.”
Sinzero overheard and said, “Here I am. I will help you.”
So they said to Sinzero, “By all means go into the “beret” – fold – corral – however you can, and get us two big fat bulls to be eaten.”
“OK. No problem.”
He got them the two bulls by sneaking into the beret through a narrow way and opening the door.
When they were taking those bulls, Sinzero was behind them. The owners came out.
Sinzero called out, pretending to be one of the owners and it was dark, “We have found our two bulls – they are back. We are coming back with them.”
While hearing this, the owners, who had gone out to herd the bulls, went back to their house. So they kept on going with the bulls and came to a flooded river. The seven foolish brothers didn’t know how to cross the river.
“Oh, if Sinzero had been here, he would have known what to do.”
So Sinzero had a rope. He swam over and crossed the river. He tied one end to the tree and the other end to a tree on the other side, so they crossed safely by holding on to the rope, because they didn’t know how to swim.
So they reached somewhere and slaughtered one of the bulls. When they shared the meat among themselves, Sinzero asked for his share. They wouldn’t give him.
“You are so small! You don’t need any meat.”
Sinzero said, “If you don’t give me a slice of meat, at least give me the bladder.”
They gave it to him.
He blew it up and went up a tree and beat it with a whip-like stick. It sounded like a whip.
He shouted, “Oh, it’s not me who took the whip! It was my brothers who did that.”
So the foolish brothers ran away thinking the owners had come. So he took all the meat and put it on a donkey and went home.
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