The Clever Woman
There were two friends. One was so brilliant, the other ignorant. Both were married. The brilliant one married an ignorant woman and the other the opposite.
The intelligent one said to his friend, “Your wife doesn’t match you. Give her to me and I’ll give you mine, because your wife is so clever and I’m clever too.”
The ignorant man says, “What you know, I also know. I am as clever as you. Why say it?”
The clever one says, “If you know what I know in front of the judge, your wife will be your own. Otherwise we will exchange.”
They agree and go to the judge.
He says, “OK. Ask me.”
He asked him, “How many stars are there? Where is the navel of the earth?”
The ignorant friend is puzzled and the judge says, “Take your time, some days, even.”
They went home.
The ignorant man stands on the roof of his house and tries to count the stars. And spends a lot of time.
“Come down,” says his wife. “What are you doing? What’s the matter?”
He told her.
She says, “I’ll give you the answer. Come down.”
So when the day comes to return to the judge the man says, “What shall I say?”
The woman says, “Take a small basket of tefA grain grown in the highlands of Ethiopia. and a stick with a spear head and when he asks you, say there are as many stars as the grains of tef. If he doesn’t believe you, tell him to count them himself. When he asks where is the navel of the world is, plunge the stick into the ground and say, 'This is the navel.' If they don’t believe you, tell them to dig.”
So he did.
The judge said, “Who gave you these answers?”
He said, “My wife.”
The judge says, “This woman doesn’t match you. She is so clever. She must go.”
The poor man was panicked.
His wife says, “What’s the matter?”
He said, “I won, but still they want to take you.”
The wife says, “Don’t worry. Let’s wait.”
The day comes to return.
The judge comes to the house with his people and the wife prepares bread, very black, badly cooked and a doro watA thick chicken stew, served on injera (Ethiopian flat bread). with feathers on it. She puts the bread on a golden platter and brings down doro wat with a golden lid and the judge was so happy.
He says, “This woman is not only clever, but good at cooking."
He orders his men to open the pots and eat. When they see the wat the feathers are on and the bread is black.
The judge says, “Oh, this woman is not as clever as we thought. Let her stay.”
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