Nyengebule Is Punished for Murder

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(Xhosa/South Africa)

Nyengebule's two wives went to the forest to gather firewood. They found a bees' nest. The younger ate her share; the elder took some home to her husband. Nyengebule thanked the first wife for her thoughtfulness, and when his younger wife, Nqandamate, his favorite, told him that she had brought him no honey, he beat her, killing her. As he killed her, some feathers that she was wearing on her head fell down. He buried her, then went to her parents to demand that the dowry be returned. The feathers that had fallen from his wife's head now transformed into a bird, which flew after him. Along the way, he saw the bird. It identified him as his wife's killer. He killed the bird, but it came back to life and again pursued him. He killed it again, and it returned. Again, he killed it, and put it into a bag. When he arrived at his in-laws' place, they asked him for snuff, and he opened the bag. The bird flew out and again accused him of killing his wife. They seized him, and executed him.

Subjects: Religion.

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