Achok and his Mother
Narrated by Chame Kwer
There were two cousins (their mothers were sisters). They lived together. One, called Achok, was cunning and tricky. The other, Lerro, was foolish.
Achok took his mother to live in another place and he fooled his cousin and said, “I have killed my mother. Let us kill yours.”
When Lerro’s mother was killed they were poor because they have no mother to feed them, but Achok went secretly to eat where his mother was hiding. When it was meal time he used to slip away and come back later.
And Lerro said, “Where have you been, cousin?”
And he said, “I have been for a walk.”
Then when they started to eat, he would get up because he wasn’t hungry. So Lerro realised that his cousin was going to his mother, so Lerro decided to find out where Achok was eating.
Accidentally, Lerro found Achok’s mother.
She said, “Aren’t you Lerro?”
“Yes, my aunt. I am Lerro.”
“Where are you when your cousin comes to visit me?” she wondered.
“Oh, he leaves me behind.”
She said, “Your cousin always comes to me and says that Lerro had died.”
“But no,” said Lerro, “I am still alive.”
Then the aunt gets Lerro some food and he eats. When he finished eating he realised that Achok had fooled him and hidden his mother when he made him kill his.
Then he killed Achok’s mother for revenge.
After killing her, he laid her on the bed in a very nice way, pretending she was sleeping and putting pieces of dry porridge (genfo), one in the left hand and one in the right.
When Achok arrived he spoke to his mother and when she didn’t reply he said, “Are you tricking me?” and took the two pieces of food and ate them. Then he saw she was already dead and planned another trick.
He wrapped her in a cow skin (the usual burial custom). He tied her in a skin and took her to the river bank and leaned her against the tree, pretending she was still alive.
Then he went and called Lerro and said, “Today we are going to throw our mothers into the river.”
When they went to tie them, Achok tied a sponge instead of his mother and Lerro tied his real mother.
Lerro said, “Let’s throw yours in first.”
Achok said, “The one whose mother floats is innocent but the one whose sinks is buda (evil eye).”
(Achok didn’t know Lerro had killed her).
Lerro said, “Wait. Let us not throw them in.”
While they were arguing about who to throw in first, two girls came past. One of them had one blind eye, and the other had two good eyes.
Achok called, “Please, come here and fetch water from the river and give it to the old woman to drink.”
So they went to the river and brought the water to the corpse and the sponge.
When they gave water they said, “Please, here is water.”
But the old woman didn’t reply.
Achok said, “She’s deaf. Push her.”
She pushed her and the corpse fell down.
Achok said, “Look! You’ve killed my mother! Aiee! So you are responsible and must compensate.”
The two girls were given to Achok as compensation.
When they were given to him, he said to Lerro, “Since we don’t have wives, let us take one each.”
So he took the pretty one, and gave the half blind one to Lerro – and the sharing was done on the river bank and they went home.
When they got home, they started living together as two wives and two husbands, but Achok’s wife refused to work, but Lerro’s pounded meal and made food every day. So Achok wanted to exchange wives. So they exchanged, but the same problem arose.
Lerro’s ex-wife refused to work for Achok and Achok’s ex-wife worked hard for Lerro because the girls and Lerro understood his trick.
When Achok found his new wife wasn’t working he said to Lerro, “She’s not good for me. Take them both.”
After this he became a pariah and wandered about as an outcast since everyone was fed up with his tricks.
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