The Murderer’s Wife
Narrated by Mesfin Habte-mariam
Once upon a time there was a wealthy man who had many cattle and sheep and goats and huts and servants. He was married. He had two children. There was a woman living in a nearby village with her husband. A beautiful woman. This woman’s husband killed a man and he ran to the forest so as not to be punished, so she was alone (no children).
This wealthy man was attracted to her, and he wanted to marry her as a second wife. So he sent three elders and told her that this wealthy man wanted to marry her.
She said, ”No. I know my husband is away, but he will come back to me one day and if he doesn’t come, I will be a nun.”
So she refused. He was very troubled, and he consulted his relatives.
They said, “There is a way to make her say yes.”
“What kind of way? I will do anything!”
There was a certain wizard in that village and so his relatives told the wealthy man, “You can do it! Listen. We will go to her relatives and will give them some money and cattle. Ask them to use any means to bring her to the wizard, and we’ll tell the wizard about the case and he will know what to do.”
So she was told, “Why don’t you consult the wizard for your health, because crying alone won’t do anything for your health?”
So finally she comes to the wizard, participates in two or three ceremonies, until finally the wizard says from behind the curtain, calling her name, “You, a beautiful young woman, I can assure you he will never come back to you. But you are becoming sick and very lonely. You must marry to be healthy. Otherwise the bad spirits will kill your father, mother, sisters and brothers.”
So she agrees. She didn’t want to bring calamity to her family.
“The best husband you will get is a man dressed in white and wearing a white hat, riding a white horse with a spear in his hand, going from north to south, on Sunday, in the morning, and you will see him.”
So the rich man was told. So he got his white clothes, hat, horse and so on and passed her door and he sent the elders and they were married, and he built for her a corrugated iron house, gave her sheep, goats and so forth and they had good times.
But one day, the first husband of this beautiful woman came to the village, having paid his dues. So the rich man lost his second wife and all the things he had lavished on her and she went back to her first husband.
This rich man said, “When I had all wealth and a wife I wanted a woman who belonged to another and I lost everything.”
One who keeps on trapping a fish gets a snake instead.
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