Weeping Willows

A Bushman Story

African Myths and legends

There were ten beautiful girls belonging to one family. One day, while they were playing together in the river, the weather being very hot, a strange old man came by. “Dip me up some water, pretty girls, “ her croaked. “I am very thirsty”.

“How ugly he is”, giggled the girls, “just like an old frog”. And they fell about laughing, all except one, who was ashamed of her sisters’ rudeness. Unfortunately for them, the old man was really a magician and in a twinkling had turned nine of the girls into tall slender trees, drooping along the riverbank. 

The polite daughter ran crying to her parents and told then what had happened.

The grief-stricken parents ran to the riverbank with a chopper and the father tried to chop the nearest tree down but was horrified when blood oozed from the splintered bark. 

Three times he tried, but each time the blood ran and he had to stop. Sorrowfully, the parents sent their only daughter to live in a faraway land for fear of the magician, but they themselves dwell in tears beneath the drooping trees forever.

Stories and pictures reproduced from the book ‘Myths and Legends of Southern Africa’ told by Penny Miller