The Poor Man and the Gold Ring
Narrated by Captain Dejene Washaka
Once there was a poor boy, who worked and earned a little money.
Once he saw a dog being beaten and he asked, “Why did you beat him?”
They answered, “Because he stole our meat.”
“Please give me the dog,” he said to them, and giving them a little money, he took him home.
On another day he saw a man beating a cat. The poor boy asked him why he did that.
“Because she ate my chicken,” he answered.
“Please give me the cat,” he said, and he took her home.
One day he met a beautiful woman crying.
“Please save me. The hyena is following me to eat me.”
(A devil can enter a person and the hyena is the one who knows – and is symbol for the buda, who can ride the hyena.)
So he saved her.
She was the daughter of a devil disguised as a woman. So she wanted to reward the poor boy, and she asked him to go with her to her home.
While they were walking she threw him into the sea and they sank down deep into the sea.
On the way to meet her father under the sea she said, “When my father says, ‘How are you?’ don’t say, ‘Thanks to God, I am fine,’ since he doesn’t like the name of God. Just say ‘Yes,’ and you will be rewarded.”
So when he was greeting her father he did as she told him and said, “Yes, yes,” and didn’t mention the name of God. She told her father how he had saved her from the hyena (who eats devil people).
“Please give him a gold ring – Atli (name of ring).”
So he gave him a gold ring. Atli is magical, and when addressed, can do anything. The girl told him this.
“Always keep it with you,” she advised.
“Right then,” he said, “Atli, take me home,” and he was at home.
“Atli, give me food,” and he brought various types of food.
One day, he told his mother he wanted to marry the king’s daughter.
“How can you do that?” she wondered.
“Never mind. You’ll see.”
As was the custom, the mother went to the entrance of the palace and shouted, “Your daughter for my son, your majesty, your daughter for my son.”
“What are you saying?”
“My son wants to marry your daughter. Please give her hand in marriage to him.”
“Can he fulfil what I ask him to do? Can you bring gold to my palace, and make it into golden clothes?”
The mother went to her son and told him the king’s orders.
“I can do that,” he vowed.
“Atli,” he said, “Take a golden dress for the princess,” and Atli did so.
So he married the king’s daughter.
One day a beggar came to the poor man’s house and begged for food.
“In the name of God, give me food,” he pleaded.
The beggar saw the ring on the finger of the princess. Her husband had given it to the princess and told her to keep it, but the beggar stole it from her and took it away, and right there he said, “Take me home,” and the ring took him to the bottom of the river and the poor man became poor again.
Biya waret bahe kerach
Good sleep for me and fleas for you.
(This means, may all the fleas jump on you instead of me.)
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