The Clever Mother and her Clever Daughter
There were two men who did not know each other. They met on the road. They started going together.
One of the men said, “Oh, you, either you carry me on my your back, or I’ll carry you.”
The other man was puzzled. How can a heavy man carry a heavy man? So he ignored him.
Again, the other one said, “Give me your little finger, I will give you my thumb, or let me give my little finger and you give me your thumb.” (This means, let me give you my daughter to marry your son, or the other way round.)
The other said to himself, “What kind of man is this?” (He didn’t understand.)
Finally, when they were parting, he said, “You must give me answers to my questions and we’ll meet at such and such a place.”
So the other man thought, “What kind of a man is this?” and said nothing, but went home and told his family.
He told them that he had met a very odd person who had asked him questions and told him to bring the answers to the questions.
His family told him that the first question means either you tell me stories, or I’ll tell you stories. The second question means let’s marry our children.
His wife said to him, “When you go, say, ‘I will give you my little finger.’”
The man said, “OK”, and he went and told him, “I’ll give you my little finger.”
They agreed. The marriage was performed. The family of the bridegroom came to take the bride and the father of the bridegroom said to the bride’s family, “Listen. If we are to take the bride today, she must give birth to a boy, otherwise we will not take her.”
The bride’s father said to himself, “What type of a man is this? Is he mad?”
He went to his daughter and told her this request.
The girl said, “Tell him ‘OK’.”
The father said, “OK”, and they agreed.
They took the bride and when she goes to the bridegroom’s house she had a cloth round her waist to pull in her skirt so that she won’t feel hungry.
And they told her, “Take it off and eat injera.Injera is a flat, round bread usually made from tef, a grain cultivated in the highlands of Ethiopia.”
The father of the bridegroom said, “Why don’t you?”
She replied, “I am being married today. If I am to give birth to a son I will eat a cereal which was planted today, grown today and harvested today. Otherwise I will not eat.”
The father was silenced.
So he said, “This is a clever girl. Let’s cancel all the conditions.”
And they lived happily.
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