An old wives tale

Written by: Robin Tinavo Mashingaidze


Once upon a time when I was just but a little a boy
My grandmother of illustrious memory – told me many a story
A lot of them funny but some scary 
But her favourite tale which I am about to retell
Its effect on me, i suppose should not tell
The one about the young man who refused to marry
Preferring to become an ascetic to the displeasure of his family
For they were inclined to believe – that all those who breathe in air 
Surely must leave an heir!
His refusal to marry – pained them all
And many a plan were hatched to sway his mind – but to no avail
Confounded they approached the village sage to explain this mystery
Who cautioned the young man would soon have a case of dysentery
Serious enough to require hospitalization – but one that won’t send him to the cemetery
And as soon as the illness is past, he would surely marry
With this wisdom the family went home rejoicing and merry
Voices high and throaty marveling at this new found posterity
By and by the young man was struck down with dysentery
And no sooner had he recovered he married the village beauty
Much to the amusement of his family who knew all that had happened to the boy
This story my grandmother would recite
Countless times to us little boys long into the night
Toss and turn, turn and toss all night long but our little minds could not fathom
What the young man’s decision to marry had to do with dysentery!
And when I told my fellows at school this story
Don’t know am sure, whether it was under the mulberry or at the refectory
They all agreed that my grandmothers wisdom
Which she had tossed to me sitting at her mahogany was nothing but baloney
When I recounted this to her, she smiled complacently
 Aware this curios case of beauty and dysentery I would cherish for eternity.