Read: The three wishes (in English, Zulu, Xhosa and 3 more official languages)

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The three wishes (English)

There was once a woman who lived with her husband next to the Hlimbitwa River. Every day the woman left their home and went to the forest to chop wood. Every day her husband would give her a bottle of water and some food so that she had something to drink and eat while she was deep in the forest. 

One day she went out and chose a big tree to chop down. 

“This one will be good,” she said. “It is very big and I will get a lot of wood out of it.” 

She took her axe in her hands and swung it up ready to start chopping. Just as she was about to chop she heard a voice pleading with her to stop.

The three wishes

“Who said that?” she asked. 

“Look down here,” said the voice, “and whatever you do, please, please do not chop down this tree.” 

The woman was shocked at what she heard, but when she saw where the voice was coming from, she did not know what to say! Down on the ground near the roots of the tree, was the tiniest man the woman had ever seen. Her mouth dropped open and she could not believe what she was seeing. Eventually, she got over her shock. 

“I beg you, please don’t hurt this tree,” said the tiny man. 

“Well … well of course,” she said. “I can do what you ask. I can search for another tree if this one is so important to you.” 

“Thank you. You have done something that has made me very happy,” said the tiny man. “You have a kind heart and because of this I will grant you three wishes, no matter what they are.” And then, the little man disappeared. No matter where the woman searched in the forest, he was nowhere to be found. 

Eventually, she gave up searching and headed for home. All the way home she shook her head and mumbled to herself still surprised by what had happened. 

When she reached home she sat down outside to rest, still wondering if someone had played a trick on her. 

All that thinking made her hungry. “Is our supper ready yet?” she asked her husband who had come to sit next to her. 

“Oh, no,” he answered, “not yet. It will only be ready in a few hours.” 

The woman groaned. “I’m so hungry, I wish I had a piece of meat to eat.” 

No sooner were the words out of her mouth when – swisssh – a piece of meat appeared on the empty plate on the ground next to her. She stared at it and so did her husband. 

“What is this?” he asked surprised by what had happened. 

The woman told him everything that had happened in the forest that morning. Her husband stared at her and she could see that he was becoming angry. 

When she stopped talking he shouted at her, “WHATTT? You should have thought before you said that you wished for some meat. You are so silly that I wish that piece of meat was stuck to your nose.” 

Before the woman could say hayibo! the piece of meat was stuck to her nose. She grabbed it and pulled, but it wouldn’t come off. Her husband tried pulling. They both pulled and pulled, but it was no good. The piece of meat was stuck to the end of her nose.

The three wishes

“Oh, no,” said the woman. “Now what?” 

“I don’t know, but it has to come off,” said the man. 

Then the woman realised that she had better do something in a hurry before her husband said another word. 

“I wish this meat was off my nose!” she shouted. 

And in a second the meat lay on the plate again. And there they sat, the woman and her husband, staring at each other. There would be no wishes for money, or clothes, or a bigger house, or happiness. There would be no wishes at all, but … at least they had a good piece of meat for their dinner! 

To read the story in another language, download a pdf below:

Download the English pdf here

Download the isiZulu pdf here

Download the isiXhosa pdf here

Download the Sesotho pdf here

Download the Sepedi pdf here

Download the Afrikaans pdf here

Izifiso ezintathu (isiZulu)

Kwake kwakhona umame owayehlala nomyeni wakhe eduze noMfula iHlimbithwa. Nsuku z onke umame wayesuka ekhaya labo aye ehlathini ayogawula izinkuni. Nsuku zonke umyeni wakhe wayemnika ibhodlela lamanzi nokudla ukuze abe nokuthile akudlayo nakuphuzayo ng esikhathi esekujuleni kwehlathi.

Ngolunye usuku waphuma wayeseqoka isihlahla esikhulu ayezosigawula.

“Lesi sizolunga kakhulu,” kusho yena.

“Sikhulu ngempela kanti futhi ngizothola izinkuni eziningi kuso.”

Wathatha imbazo yakhe wathi ukuyivivisela phezulu eselungele ukuqala ukugawula. Ngenka thi esezoqala agawule wezwa izwi elalimcela ukuthi ame angaqhubeki nokugawula.

The three wishes

“Ubani osho lokho?” kubuza yena.

“Bheka lapha phansi,” kwasho izwi,

“noma yini oyenzayo, ngicela ungasigawuli lesi sihlahla.”

Umame wayethukile ngayekuzwile, kodwa wathi uma ebona lapho kwakuqhamuka khona iz wi, akazanga ukuthi athini! Phansi enhlabathini eduze kwezimpande zesihlahla, kwakukhona indoda encane kakhulu umami ayengakaze ayibone selokhu kwathi nhlo. Wamane wakhexa u mlomo akaze akholwa akubonayo. Ekugcineni kwedlula ukwethuka.

“Ngiyakucela, ungasilimazi lesi sihlahla,” kusho indoda encane.

“Yebo … kunjengoba usho,” kusho yena.

“Ngingakwenza okucelayo. Ngingafuna esinye isihlahla uma ngabe lesi sibaluleke kangako kuwena.”

“Ngiyabonga. Wenze into engithokozise kakhulu,” kwasho indoda encane. “Unenhliziyo emn ene kanti ngenxa yalokho nje ngizokwenzela izifiso ezintathu, noma ngabe yiziphi.” Emva k walokho, indoda encane yabe isiyanyamalala.

Noma ngabe umame wayeyicinga kuphi nehlathi, le ndoda yayingasabonwa nangokhalo.

Ekugcineni walahla izandla ngendaba yokucinga wayesebhekisa amabombo ekhaya. Yonke i ndlela ebheke ekhaya wayenikina ikhanda futhi edamame ehhomuzela ubala esalokhu emang ele ngokwenzekile. Wathi uma efika ekhaya wahlala phansi phandle ukuze aphumule, ezibuz a eziphendula ukuthi kungabe kunomuntu othile yini omluthe ngemilingo na.

Yonke leyo micabango yamenza ukuthi alambe.

“Ngabe isidlo sethu sakusihlwa sesilungile?” ebuza umyeni wakhe owayesefike wahlala eduz e kwakhe.

“Hhayi, lutho,” ephendula, “asikalungi. Sizolunga emahoreni ambalwa ezayo.”

Umame wakhononda.

“Ngilambe kabi, ngifisa sengathi ngingathola iqatha lenyama engingazidlela lona.”

Akuphelanga sikhathi ewakhiphile lawo mazwi ngomlomo wakhe – zwiii – kwase kukhona i qatha lenyama epuletini elingenalutho phansi eceleni nje kwakhe. Walibuka leli puleti, nomy eni wakhe wenza njalo.

“Yini lena?” kubuza umyeni wakhe emangazwa okwenzekile.

Umkakhe wamtshela konke okwakwenzekile ehlathini ekuseni ngalelo langa. Umyeni wakhe wambuka, kanti wayebonakala eseqala ukuthukuthela.

Wathi uma eqeda ukukhuluma, umyeni wakhe wamthethisa ethi, “UTHINII- I? Bekufanele ucabange ngaphambi kokuba uthi ufisa kube nenyama. Awuhlakan iphile ngangokuthi ngifisa sengathi ngabe lelo qatha lenyama linanyathiselwa ekhaleni lakho.”

Ngaphambi kokuthi umame lona athi hhayi bo! Iqatha lenyama lase linamathele ekhaleni lak he. Walibamba walidonsa kodwa alifunanga ukusuka. Umyeni wakhe wazama ukulidonsa. B obabili balidonsa, balidonsa, kodwa akwenzekanga lutho. Iqatha lenyama lalinamathele echo sheni lekhala lakhe.

The three wishes

“Hhayi bo!” kusho umame. “Yini manje?”

“Angazi, kodwa kumele lisuke,” kusho indoda.

Emva kwalokho umame wabona ukuthi kufanele enze okuthile ngokushesha ngaphambi koku thi umyeni wakhe akhiphe elinye igama. “Ngifisa sengathi le nyama ingasuka ekhaleni lami!” kuthetha lo mame.

Kwathi ngemuva komzuzwana inyama yabe isihleli epuletini futhi. Base behlalake, owesifazane nomyeni wakhe, babukana. Ngeke kube bikho zifiso zokuba ne mali, noma izingubo, noma indlu enkudlwana noma injabulo. Ngeke kube khona zifiso nhlob o, kodwa … akunanike bandla, babeneqatha elihle lenyama elalizoba yisidlo sabo sakusihlwa!

Iminqwebo emithathu (isiXhosa)

Libaliswa ngokutsha nguWendy Hartmann Imifanekiso izotywe nguHeidel Dedekind Kwaye kukho inkosikazi eyayihlala nomyeni wayo kufuphi noMlambo iHlimbitwa. Yonke i mihla le nkosikazi yayilishiya ikhaya labo, ihambe iye ehlathini ukuya kutheza iinkuni. Yonk e imihla umyeni wayo wayeyinika ibhotile yamanzi nokutya ukuze ibe nento yokusela neyok utya xa ingene phakathi ehlathini.

Ngenye imini yayiphumile le nkosikazi, iye kutheza yaze yakhetha umthi omkhulu ukuba iw ugawule uwe.

“Lo uya kukulungela kakuhle kakhulu ukugawulwa,” yatsho. “Mkhulu kakhulu kwaye ndiya kufumana iinkuni ezininzi kuwo.”

Yakhupha izembe layo, yalibamba ngazo zozibini izandla zayo, yalijiwuzisela phezulu sele il ungele ukuqalisa ukugawula. Ithe xa kanye iza kugawula yeva ilizwi liyicenga ukuba iyeke.

The three wishes

“Ngubani lowo utshoyo?” yabuza njalo.

“Jonga phantsi apha,” latsho eli lizwi,

“kwaye nantoni na oyenzayo, uze uncede, nceda ungawugawuli, uwuwise phantsi loo mthi.”

Le nkosikazi yothuswa kakhulu koko ikuvileyo, kodwa yathi xa ibona apho lalivela khona eli lizwi, ayakwazi nokuba mayithini! Phantsi emhlabeni, ecaleni kweengcambu zomthi, kwaku kho eyona ndoda incinane eyakhe yabonwa yile nkosikazi. Yasuka yathi nkebe umlomo ikha misile, ingakukholelwa eyayikubona. Ekugqibeleni kwaphela ukothuka.

“Ndiyakubongoza torho, nceda ungawutshabalalisi lo mthi,” yatsho le ndoda encinane.

“Ee … ndiyavuma xa usitsho,” watsho.

“Ndiyasamkela isicelo sakho. Ndingazingela omnye umthi xa lo ubaluleke kangaka kuwe.”

“Ndiyabulela. Wenze eyona nto indivuyisa kakhulu,” yatsho indoda encinane. “Unentliziyo e ntle kakhulu kwaye ngenxa yesi senzo sihle kangaka usenzileyo, ndiza kuphumeza iminqwen o yakho emithathu, nokuba iyintoni na.” Emva koko, yanyamalala indoda encinane. Le nkosikazi yaba ngayizingela kuzo zonke iindawo ehlathini, zange iyifumane le ndoda inga qhelekanga.

Ekugqibeleni yakuncama le nkosikazi ukuzingela le ndoda, yagoduka. Kuyo yonke loo ndlela igodukayo yayihlunguzela intloko, imbombozela imane ikhuza yodwa ngenxa yokumangalis wa kokwenzekileyo. Yakuba ifikile ekhaya yahlala phantsi ecaleni kwendlu ukuze iphumle, i sazibuza ukuba ingaba kukho umntu obedlala ngayo kusini na. Zonke ezo ngcinga zayilambisa nangakumbi.

“Ingaba sesilungile isidlo sethu sangokuhlwa?” yabuza umyeni wayo owayesuke waza kuhlal a ecaleni kwayo.

“Owu, hayi,” waphendula umyeni,

“asikalungi. Kusasele nje iiyure ezimbalwa phambi kokuba silunge.”

Le nkosikazi yancwina. “Andilambe ngako, akwaba bekukho nokuba liqathana nje lenyama endinokulitya.”

Kungekudala ewathethile loo mazwi – thaxa – inyama epleyitini eyayithe tshitshilili apha kan ye phambi kwakhe. Wakhupha amehlo aziingqanda kwanomyeni wakhe ngokunjalo.

“Yintoni le?” wabuza umyeni emangaliswe yiloo nto yayisenzeka.

Le nkosikazi yamxelela yonke into eyayenzeke ehlathini kuloo ntsasa. Umyeni wayo wayija mela yaze nayo le nkosikazi yabona ukuba umyeni uthe fixi ngumsindo.

Yathi yakugqiba ukuthetha le nkosikazi, umyeni wayo wangxola ngelizwi elingqwabalala wa thi, “INTONIII? Kaloku ubufanele ukuba uye wacinga phambi kokuba uxele ukuba unqwenela u kufumana inyama. Ugeza kakhulu, akwaba loo nyama ibinokuncamathela kuloo mpumlo yak ho.”

Le nkosikazi yathi ingekatsho nokuthi hayibo! labe iqatha lenyama selincamathele empumlweni yayo. Yalibamba ilitsala, kodwa alasuk a tu elo qatha lenyama. Umyeni naye wazama ukuyisusa. Bobabini bancedisana, batsala, bats ala, kodwa zange baphumelele ukulisusa. Inyama yayincamathele nca elungqamekweni lwem pumlo yale nkosikazi.

The three wishes

“Owu, hayi,” yatsho le nkosikazi.“Kuza kuthiwani ngoku?”

“Andazi, kodwa ifanele ukusuka,” yatsho indoda.

Le nkosikazi yaqonda ukuba kufanele ukuba nento eyenzayo kwamsinyane phambi kokuba u myeni wayo akhuphe elinye ilizwi.

“Ndinqwenela ukuba le nyama isuke empumlweni yam!” yakhwaza ngelo le nkosikazi. Ngomzuzwana nje inyama yaphinda yaba sepleyitini kwakhona. Bahlala apho, le nkosikazi n omyeni wayo, bejamelene. Kwakungekho minqweno yimbi abanokuyisebenzisa ukuze bafum ane imali, okanye iimpahla, okanye indlu enkulu, okanye ulonwabo. Kwakungasayi kuphinda kubekho minqweno yanto kwaphela, kodwa … okungenani babenenyama emnandi yesidlo sangokuhlwa!

The story was retold by Wendy Huntman and Heidel Dedekind (illustrator).

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