The old woman’s soup

2019-06-06 06:00
ILLUSTRATIONS: Natalie and Tamsin Hinrichsen

ILLUSTRATIONS: Natalie and Tamsin Hinrichsen

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Once upon a time, there was an old woman who sold the best soup at the village market. It was delicious, hot chicken soup. Nobody in the village knew the old woman’s name. Nobody knew where she lived. And nobody knew why her soup was so tasty nor why it was so hot. They did not even think about these things. They just bought the soup and ate it. Each morning, the old woman would come to the market. She always carried the big black pot filled with chicken soup on her head and then sat down with it under a tree in the shade. Before long, she would have sold all the soup. Then she would carefully fold her money in a cloth, put it in her pocket, put the empty pot back on her head and leave.

There was a boy called Fezile who lived in the village not far from the market. He liked the chicken soup very much. Actually, he loved it and could not get enough. He wanted to find out where the old woman who made such delicious soup came from. One day when the old woman put her empty pot on her head and left the market, Fezile followed her. He was careful to stay in the shadows, and behind the trees and bushes, so that she did not see him. He followed her a long, long way down a path that led away from the village and then up a steep hill. He was still climbing up, up, up when evening came. Fezile was afraid, but he kept on walking.

At last, the woman came to a little house on the steep hill. She put the pot down in front of the house. Fezile waited until the woman had gone inside the house and closed the door. Then he crept closer to look inside the pot. Suddenly, Fezile heard the door opening. Quickly he hid in a place where he could see the old woman easily. She walked up to the pot and began to sing:

“Magic pot, magic pot,

Make soup for me, so hot, hot, hot.

Make soup with chicken. Make chicken soup.

Make soup for me to sell and for people to buy.

Oh magic pot, oh magic pot!”

Very soon the pot was filled with chicken soup! Steam came out of the big black pot and the smell was so good that it made Fezile hungry. Once the old woman had gone back inside the house, Fezile crept up to the big pot. He looked under it. Although the pot was filled to the brim with hot chicken soup, there was no fire burning under it. “I must have some of this soup,” Fezile said to himself. “I am so hungry!” He stretched forward and put his hand into the pot to take a piece of chicken. Suddenly the old woman came out of her house and saw Fezile with his hand in the pot. “OH! Oh! Oh!” she cried. “NO! NO! NO!” Fezile turned and ran as fast as he could. The old woman ran after him, shouting, but she couldn’t catch him.

Fezile ran and ran until, at last, he was safely home. He told his mother and father all about the old woman and her magic pot. They all went outside and looked up at the hill, and there they saw steam rising into the sky. “Yes,” said Fezile’s parents, “look at that. We can see the steam from the magic pot.” The old woman never returned to the market and no one went up that steep hill to visit her. They were all too afraid. But from then on, when anyone in the village sees clouds around the top of the hill, they say, “Look! Look up there! It is the steam from the old woman’s magic pot.”

Kudala-dala kwakukho ixhegokazi elalithengisa eyona suphu ibalaseleyo emarikeni yaselalini. Yisuphu emnandi, eshushu yenkukhu. Akukho mntu owayelazi igama leli xhegokazi. Akukho mntu wayelazi ukuba lalihlala phi. Akukho nomntu owayesazi ukuba kwakutheni yayinencasa kangako isuphu yakhe nokuthi kwakutheni yayiba shushu kangako. Babengazicingi nokuzicinga ezi zinto. Babethenga isuphu batye kuphela. Qho kusasa, eli ixhegokazi lalisiya emarikeni. Lalisoloko lithwala imbiza enkulu emnyama ezele yisuphu yenkukhu entloko lize lihlale nayo phantsi komthi emthunzini. Kungekudala lilapho, beliza kuba seliyithengise yaphela isuphu. Emva koko beliqhinela imali yalo elaphini, liyifake epokothweni, lithwale imbiza yalo engenanto entloko, landule ukuhamba.

Kwakukho inkwenkwe eyayibizwa ngokuba nguFezile eyayihlala elalini kufuphi nemarike. Yayithanda le suphu yenkukhu kakhulu. Enyanisweni, yayiyithanda kangangokuba yayingeneli yiyo. Yafuna ukwazi ukuba ingaba eli xhegokazi elalisenza isuphu emnandi kangaka lalivela phi. Ngenye imini ixhegokazi lathwala imbiza yalo entloko laze lemka emarikeni, uFezile walilandela. Wayehamba ngokuqaphela emana ezifihla ngezithunzi, emva kwemithi namatyholo, ukuze lingamboni. Walilandela umgama omde, omde ohla ngendlela ephumayo elalini iphinde inyuke iqhina. Wayesaqabela phezulu, phezulu, phezulu xa ilanga litshona. Wayesoyika uFezile kodwa waqhuba ngokuhamba.

Ekugqibeleni ixhegokazi lafika endlwini encinane phezulu endulini eseqhineni. Labeka imbiza phantsi phambi kwendlu. UFezile walinda ukuba ixhegokazi lide lingene endlwini lize livale umnyango. Wachwechwa wasondela ukuze akrobe phakathi embizeni. Ngephanyazo, uFezile weva sekuvuleka umnyango. Wakhawuleza wazifihla apho wayeza kulibona lula ixhegokazi. Lahamba laya embizeni laqala lacula:

“Mbiza emangalisayo, mbiza emangalisayo

Ndenzele isuphu, ibe shushu, shushu, shushu.

Yenza isuphu yenkukhu. Yenza isuphu yenkukhu.

Yenza isuphu ukuze ndithengise nokuthi abantu bathenge.

Owu mbiza emangalisayo, owu mbiza emangalisayo!”

Kwangoko imbiza yazala yisuphu yenkukhu! Kwakuphuma umphunga embizeni enkulu emnyama kanti nevumba layo lalimnandi kakhulu wade waziva elambile uFezile. Lakuba libuyele endlwini ixhegokazi, uFezile wachwechwela embizeni enkulu. Wakroba ngaphantsi kwayo. Nangona imbiza yayizele ntli yisuphu eshushu yenkuku, kwakungekho mlilo uvutha phantsi kwayo. “Kufuneka ndifumane intwana yale suphu,” wathetha yedwa uFezile. “Ndilambe kakhulu!” Wolula isandla sakhe waze wasifaka embizeni ukuze athathe iqhekeza lenkukhu. Ngephanyazo laphuma endlwini ixhegokazi laza lambhaqa uFezile esasifake embizeni isandla sakhe. “OWU! Owu! Owu!” lakhala. “HAYI! HAYI! HAYI!” Wajika uFezile wabaleka ngamendu kangangoko wayenakho. Ixhegokazi lamleqa, lingxola, kodwa zange likwazi ukumbamba.

UFezile wabaleka, wabaleka wade ekugqibeleni, wafika ekhuselekile ekhaya. Waxelela umama notata wakhe ngako konke malunga nexhegokazi nangembiza yalo emangalisayo. Bonke baphuma phandle baphakamisela amehlo abo endulini, baze bawubona umphunga owawunyuka usiya phezulu esibhakabhakeni. “Ewe,” batsho abazali bakaFezile, “jongani phaya. Siyawubona umphunga ophuma embizeni emangalisayo.” Zange liphinde libuyele emarikeni ixhegokazi futhi akukho mntu owakhe waya endulini eseqhineni ukuya kulityelela. Wonke umntu wayesoyika kakhulu. Kodwa ukususela ngoko, xa kukho umntu waselalini obona amafu ajikeleze najinga phezu kwenduli, kwakusithiwa, “Jongani! Jongani phaya phezulu! Ngumphunga ophuma embizeni emangalisayo yexhegokazi.” – Translated by Kholisa Podile

This story was provided courtesy of the Nal’ibali national reading-for-enjoyment campaign which works with schools, partners, and community members to nurture a love for reading among children in the Western Cape and across the country. To read the story in another South African language, or for literacy activities, reading tips and more stories to enjoy with your children, visit www.nalibali.org or nalibali.mobi. You can also find Nal’ibali on Facebook and Twitter: @nalibaliSA.

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