How the Pigeon Became a Tame Bird
Once upon a time there was a father with three sons who had reached the age when they must go out into the world to earn their own living. When the time for parting came he gave to each of them a large melon with the advice that they open the melons only at a place where there was water nearby.
The three brothers set out from their father's house, each taking a different path. As soon as the eldest son was out of sight of the house he opened his melon. A beautiful maiden sprang out of the melon saying, "Give me water or give me milk." There was no water nearby and neither did the young man have any milk to give her. She fell down dead.
The second son left his father's house by a path which led over a steep hill. The large melon was heavy to carry and in a little while he became very tired and thirsty. He saw no water nearby and feared that there was no possibility of finding any soon, so he thought he would open the melon and use it to quench his thirst. Accordingly he opened his melon. To his great surprise, a beautiful maiden sprang forth saying, "Give me water or give me milk." Of course he had neither to give her and she fell down dead.
The third son also travelled by a path which led over a steep hill. He, too, became very tired and thirsty and he often thought how much he would like to open his melon. However, he remembered his father's advice to open it only where there was water nearby. So he travelled on and on hoping to find a spring of water on the hillside. He did not have the good fortune to pass near a spring either going up the hill or coming down on the opposite side. At the foot of the hill there was a town and in the centre of the town there was a fountain. The young man hurried straight to the fountain and took a long refreshing drink. Then he opened his melon. A beautiful maiden sprang forth saying, "Give me water or give me milk." The young man gave her a drink of water. Then he helped her to a hiding place among the thick branches of the tree which grew beside the fountain and went away in search of food.
Concerning the Fate of Essido and his Evil Companions
Category: Nigerian folktales
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