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Main > Zimbabwe folktales > Fairy tale "Chief Five Heads"

Chief Five Heads


They gave her millet to grind. She ground it very coarsely, and the bread she made was hard and dry.

In the evening, she heard the sound of a great wind. The wind was the coming of the Chief. The Chief took the form of an enormous snake with five heads and eyes as large as plates. This is why he was called Chief Five Heads. The elder daughter was very much frightened when she saw him. He sat down before the door and told her to bring his dinner. She brought him the bread which she had made. Chief Five Heads was not satisfied with the bread. He said, "You shall not be my wife." He ordered her immediately to return to her home village.

After the elder sister returned home, the younger sister said, "Father, may I also present myself to be the wife of the Chief?"

The father replied, "Very well, daughter. It is right that you, too, should wish to be a bride." He called all of his friends, and a great bridal party was prepared to accompany her.

Along the way she met a mouse. The mouse said, "Shall I show you the road?"

The girl replied, "If you would show me the road, I would be grateful."

Then the mouse pointed out the way to the road. She came into a valley, where she saw an old woman standing by a tree.

The old woman said to her, "You will come to a place where two paths branch off. You must take the little path, because if you take the big one things will not go well for you."

The younger daughter replied, "Very well, I will take the little path, my mother." She offered the old woman some food, and went on. Soon she met a rabbit.

The rabbit said, "The village of the chief is not far from here. You will meet a girl by the river. You must speak nicely to her. They will give you millet to grind. You must grind it well. When you see your husband, you must not be afraid."

She said, "I will do as you suggest, rabbit. Thank you."

At the river she met the chief's sister carrying water.

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