Phama and the mealie pip | Nal'ibali
Home | Written stories | Multilingual stories | Phama and the mealie pip

Written stories

Phama and the mealie pip


Written by Margot Bertelsmann


Illustrated by Chantelle and Burgen Thorne

Listen to the story here

Phama planted his pip and it grew and grew. It grew so high, it disappeared into the clouds.

“I’m going to climb all the way to the top,” Phama said. Baba sneered. 

A huge voice boomed. “Sniff-splutter-snort-fart! I smell the blood of a young upstart!”

It was the nasty giant. “Catch me if you can,” teased Phama. Phama saw a magic bag.

Inside was all the gold the nation ever mined. Phama saw a magic singer.

He knew all the songs the nation ever sung. Phama saw a magic goose. She laid enough golden eggs for everyone.

“I will come back with treasure for you,” Phama shouted down to Gogo on the ground.

Gogo sighed. Phama picked a ripe mealie off the stalk. He roasted it over a fire.

He melted butter over the golden pips and wafted the smell up into the giant’s nostrils.

“Bring me my giant toothpick,” the giant shouted. But Phama was gone.

And so was the bag. And the singer. And the goose. Even the mealie stalk was gone. Phama had chopped it down, you see.


Nal’ibali fun

Ideas to talk about

Is it right for Phama to take the giant’s treasure without asking? Why/why not? What do you think Phama is going to do with the giant’s treasure bag and the singer? What would you have done differently if you were Phama?


Draw your own picture of Phama and the nasty giant that shows how big the giant is.


Be a word detective! Look closely at the story. Can you find the things that Phama or the nasty giant smelled, saw or tasted?


Imagine that Phama is writing in his diary entry for the day on which he climbed to the top of the mealie stalk. You could start like this: Dear Diary, You will never guess what happened today …


Save the mealie cobs of mealies you have eaten. Put different coloured paints into small containers. Dip the mealie cobs into the paint, then use them to print different patterns and shapes on paper.


Imagine that you are the nasty giant. Move around like you think he would while you say “Sniff-splutter-snort-fart! I smell the blood of a young upstart!” in a huge, booming voice.