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My Grandmother’s Tales

I grew up in Johannesburg, but spent some time in the Eastern Cape.  My mum and used to tell me lots of stories, but I didn’t read them much. My grandmother would tell me stories to make me sleep, it was nice to fall asleep listening to her talking.  Sometimes she wouldn’t finish the story and we would have to wait for the next night! We were told these stories in isiXhosa and so I can’t really remember the names of the stories in English. There was one I particularly enjoyed about a wolf and a jackal that everyone seems to know and I still use it in my reading clubs:

My favourite story was about a lady who walked to another village and was told not to pick anything up on her way.  When she was crossing the river, she heard a baby crying so she went to find it.  She took the baby home to care for it.  However, at night the baby would stretch to become and adult and go and eat all the food and by morning it would go back to being a baby again.  I found that story really funny! I guess this story was meant to give us instruction and to teach us that when someone old tells you not to do something, it is a warning because they know the danger of the situation. Children always want to explore so adults have to set some boundaries and I think this story taught us the lesson if you don’t listen to your elders you may get in trouble.