Short Stories

The Ostrich Egg Girl

Seetetelane was a poor boy. There was no land, no cow, no woman. He lived alone in the savannah. I hunted muggles to eat. From the little skins I made the clothes.

One day he was hunting for mongoose when he found an ostrich egg, the largest he had ever seen.

– What a luck! Exclaimed Seetetelane. “At last luck reaches someone as poor as me!” I’ll take the egg to my hut. It will stay there until the rainy season comes.

He dragged the egg to his hut, and along the way he was asking that luck would not abandon him and make him happy.

“I hope so,” he exclaimed. “I hope luck stays with me!”

He tucked the egg under the thatched roof and went back to hunting for muggles.

When he returned very late, he saw to his surprise that the hut was tidy. On the table was a freshly baked bread and a jug of fresh beer beside it.

– How is it possible? Exclaimed Seetetelane. – Looks like a woman passed through here! As in my most beautiful dreams!

But as he was hungry, he didn’t think about that anymore. He ate, drank, and was pleased.

On the second and third day, the same thing happened: when Seetetelane returned at night, it looked as if a woman had arranged everything with love. On the fourth day, when going hunting, Seetetelane forgot the pipe in the hut. He went back and noticed that someone was inside his hut.

He approached slowly and stalked. An unknown, beautiful girl was cleaning the house, filling the jug of beer and putting fresh bread in the basket. When everything was in order, the girl would go into the ostrich egg.

– Not! Shouted Seetetelane and took her hand. – Stay here! Stay with me!

The girl answered him:

“You had so much hope and so much desire that luck came to you. I am willing. But you can never blame me for being a simple girl from an ostrich egg!

Seetetelane promised.

They lived happily with each other.

One day Seetetelane said:

– It’s good to be with you. But I miss being with other people I can talk to, eat, party with.

The girl took a mallet, left the house and began knocking on a pile of grass at the door of the hut. From the tuft of grass people began to emerge, old and young, cows mooing, dogs barking.

Seetetelane, hearing that noise, ran out of the hut.

“Now you have no reason to be lonely,” the girl told her.

People out of the tuft of grass surrounded Seetetelane.

– Prosperity and health, boss! They exclaimed. The dogs wagged their tails.

Seetetelane was now the chief of the tribe. He no longer wore clothes made of mongoose skin but of soft jackal hair, and slept on a beautiful mat. He had enough to eat and drink, and there were people who worked for him. He was very pleased with life.

One night Seetetelane had just emptied the beer jug. He got up to call the girl but did not see her. Then he got angry and shouted:

– Where did you get in, ostrich egg girl?

The girl appeared and looked sadly at Setetelane.

“Have you forgotten what you promised, Seetetelane?”

“Why,” he answered. He emptied the mug and fell asleep.

The next day, when he woke up, he couldn’t believe what his eyes saw: he was lying on his old mat, in his old mousyhair clothes. The jug with beer, the beautiful glasses, the bread, the delicacies were all gone.

The girl had also disappeared, and with her the ostrich egg she had come from. The wind was blowing in the grass in front of the hut. All the people, the cows, and the dogs the girl had offered her, were gone.

Seetetelane rose sadly and went to find the ostrich egg. But as much as he searched, he never found him again. Wilhelm Meissel Lene Mayer-Skumanz (Org.) Hoffentlich bald Wien, Herder Verlag, 1986

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