Tumi and the three wishes | Nal'ibali
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Tumi and the three wishes


Written by Mabel Mnensa


Ilustrated by Julie Smith-Belton

Listen to the story here

Ntate says goodbye to Tumi. “Be good today. No matter what you do, don’t go into my room. Don’t talk to Phathu the Parrot.”

“Hello,” says Tumi. Phathu the Parrot doesn’t say a word.  What’s that in Phathu’s cage? A dusty whistle!

Tumi wipes it clean and blows it. Phathu the Parrot speaks, “Hello, mighty one. Your three wishes are my command.”

Tumi’s tummy hurts. He has had too many sweets.  “Tumi! I cannot get in, the door won’t open.” Ntate is home.

“Did you talk to Phathu the Parrot, Tumi?” Tumi is scared. POOF! POOF! “I wish ... all these sweets would go away.”

“I wish ... I had all the sweets in the world.”  “I wish ... “Tumi!” Ntate looks out of the window. All he sees is the ocean.

“What did you do?” Phathu the Parrot laughs. “Tumi wished you had millions of rands so that you could have a mansion and he

could have his own bedroom.” “He just never said where ...” Ntate is not pleased.

“You don’t listen. You are naughty just like him.

There is always a trick with this parrot.”  POOF! Lying in his bed that night, Tumi thinks, “My last wish had better be good.


Nal’ibali fun

Ideas to talk about

What three wishes would you have made? What lesson do you think Tumi might have learnt after his third wish? What are wishes? How do we create or make wishes? What or who grants our wishes? 


Draw a picture of three wishes that you would ask Phathu for.


Look carefully at the picture on the first two pages of the story.  How many cows and dragons can you see at the table? What food is available for them to eat? What do you think they are drinking?  Can you find Dumisani, Belinda and her mom?


Draw a picture of Tumi and Phathu with a thought bubble for each of them. In Tumi’s thought bubble write down his third wish, starting with these words: I wish ... In Phatu’s thought bubble, write down what he gave Tumi, starting with these words: I think I will give Tumi …


Use a cardboard toilet roll or paper-towel roll together with paint, kokis, glue, feathers, coloured tissue or crépe paper to make your own magical parrot. Give your parrot a name.


Retell the story with yourself as the main character. Also, replace Tumi’s wishes with three wishes of your own.