The Foolish Husband and the Clever Wife
Narrated by Ayelew Haile
Tocho tocho tanoret
Gahse butuna kela
(Let us laugh.
Let the new garment suit you.)
Once there lived a husband and wife in a certain village. The man was very foolish and the woman was clever (which is very usual in our society!). So every week, she would go to the market to buy everything they needed for the home, while the husband stayed at home looking after the children, the domestic animals and the garden.
One day she met a young, handsome man. They became lovers and met every week. She was very much in love with him and she wanted to meet him all the time and felt very passionate. She wanted to stay long with him. She made plans every day as to how she could meet him often.
One day she said to him, “I’m not happy with this, I miss you because I see you only once a week. I’m not satisfied. Why can’t we spend a night together?”
He says, “No, this is impossible. Of course I feel passionate about you too, but you are married and so we can’t do it.”
She said, “I can make a plan for that. You will shave off your beard, wear a woman’s dress and put a veil on your head and I will tell him I’ve met my sister whom I haven’t seen for twenty years. Then I will introduce you to my husband. You will sleep in the other room and I will tell him that I am going to sleep with my sister because I haven’t seen her for so long.”
Her lover agreed and he went with her, wearing a skirt and everything was accomplished as she had planned.
So they went home and she said to her husband, “Here is my sister who I haven’t seen since before I married you twenty years ago, and God knows how lucky it is I met her in the market so suddenly. So He is to be praised. And I brought her here to introduce her to you.”
So they kissed each other. After a while she told him that her sister was so shy she would stay in the other room until she became more familiar with the family.
The husband had bought a good sheep.
The woman said, “There is no one I love more than my sister, so let us slaughter it (in the culture it is very important for a woman to feed her lover)."
They slaughtered the sheep, tejTej is an alcoholic drink made from honey and tala is beer. and tala were brought and they ate and drank merrily.
She said to her husband, “I have missed my sister so much that I must sleep with her.”
He said, “No problem. Go ahead. I want you to be happy.”
So they enjoyed their love day after day for about a week.
After a week she went to the market as usual.
Then an idea came into the husband’s mind, “This wife of mine spent seven night with her sister, saying she missed her so much. Why can’t I try to sleep with her?”
He went into the room and talked to the lover. He tried to hug and kiss her. The lover, of course, tried to avoid the kiss, fearing he would be discovered. The husband persisted, trying to touch the lover’s body, and it dawned in his mind that the ‘sister’ had muscles like a man. He tried to catch him and the lover wanted to escape. They struggled with each other, wrestling. The lover saw that the husband realised he was a man, and being younger and stronger than the husband he pushed him down on the floor and escaped.
The husband says to himself, “Well, my wife has brought a man here saying it is her sister. Now I will not let her come into my house. I will beat her.”
He got a stick and waited to beat her.
Meanwhile the escaping lover met the wife returning from the market.
“Why are you here? What happened to you? Why did you come here?” she said in surprise.
“Well, your plan didn’t work. He knows I’m a man and I knocked him down and escaped. He’s waiting to beat you. You’d better not go home now. He will certainly beat you.”
She thought for a moment and said, “I can get in, never mind. I have another plan to trick him.”
“But he will kill you!”
“No, he will not kill me. And you, as usual, will meet me in the market as before, on market day.”
She called her husband as she approached the house, “Oh dear husband, oh dear husband, please come and rescue me.”
The husband was surprised and thought, “My wife is in trouble. What’s happened to her?”
“What’s happened to you?” he said.
“Well, just like a miracle, today something happened. There is something that changes men into women and women into men. So some men have been changed into women and some women have been transformed into men. I came home from the market running, because they were chasing me. So come and take me home so that they may not transform me and you will not be alone without a wife.”
“So is that why your sister was transformed into a man and ran away? I thought she was a man, but I was wrong,” he said.
“Yes, I am the only one who escaped from being transformed,” she says.
So he took her home peacefully and they remained husband and wife.
Listeners say: Tochuke, tochube, genebite
(Let God give keep you till old age
So that you may tell us more stories.)
Narrator says: Ito kasho genjabe
(And also you,
So that you may listen to more stories.)