The Coward and his Wife
Narrated by Worku Woldemariam
A husband and wife lived together. He was a coward and she was tricky. She had a lover. She wanted her lover to come to her house and she had a plan.
“Bandits have come to our village,” she said to her husband. “They are killing people around here.”
As she said this, the lover comes and bangs on the door, shouting, “Open the door!”
“So one is coming as I feared! Hide yourself!” she tells him.
The man hides in the next room (guarda – side room in hut).
The lover enters the house and says, “This house smells of men. Are there men here?"
“There is no man. I am all alone,” she says.
She brings food and they eat together.
“Water for my feet! Wash them.”
She does what he orders.
“Get me a bed. Come, let’s sleep.”
And they sleep.
She is pretending to take orders in fear.
At midnight the husband makes a rustling noise in his hiding place.
“Are you trying to get me killed here? Is there a man in the house?”
“Oh no sir. I’m all alone in this cottage. It’s only a calf in the guarda.”
So the husband says, “Moo! Moo!” like a calf.
The lover was happy to make a fool of the husband. In the morning he got up and had a good breakfast with butter, as is typical of lovers and he went out.
“Why did you make that noise?” she says to her husband when the bandit goes. “He would have killed us for the noise you made.”
“Oh, I, your husband, I simply pretended to be a calf and what’s the matter with that? I did the right thing for your sake.” (He knows the truth but pretends.)
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