Umuveli and the Bird

Umuveli Ngqange had created the earth and all on it and he was resting after his labours.  Well, he was trying to rest, but he was disturbed by a continuous, irritating sound… “Peep! Peep Peep!!”

He looked down to see an angry little red bird.

“Why do you insist on disturbing my rest? What is the matter? Do you not like to paradise I have created here for you?” asked Umuveli.

“No!” cried the little bird, “For the woman’s cat comes to torture me every day! It wants me for its diner and I am so small and so afraid!”

“Well then, you can be a cat instead. Now be content and allow me some rest,” said Umuveli as the bird transformed into the most handsome cat you could ever wish to see.

At that moment a  dog rushed, barking and spitting, and chased the cat up a tree.

“Oh no!” cried the cat, “No no no! This is awful! Look how this dog chases me now. I’d rather be a strong dog instead of a weak cat.”

And, with a heavy sigh, Umuveli waved his hand turning the cat into a fine dog. And with that he settled back to his rest that he so dearly needed.

A short while later the dog returned.

“A-wooooo,” he howled, “It’s no good being a dog. I was welcomed into the village, I was fed by men, but at night they locked me out of the hut. Oh! The shadows and the noises! I’m certain a hungry lion is after me. Why was I not made into a lion? I wish I was a lion! Lord, make me a lion! A-wooooo!”

“Good heavens! What have I done to deserve yet another disturbance?! Fine, see how you prefer this.” and with another whip of his hand Umuveli, transformed the dog into a beautiful lion

The lion roared with delight, but the sound awoke a nearby man and who hurld his spear at teh lion when he saw him.

“Ow ow ow!” cried the lion, “This isn't what I wanted at all! I wanted to be fearsome and respected and… And I want to be a warrior!”

Again Umuveli flicked his hand. Before him stood a warrior with feather plumes, shield and separ. And, oh!, he was so handsome. All of the woman in the village smiled at the new warrior and, for  a time he was very happy with his new life. It was everything he had ever wanted.

But there came a day when the warrior was summoned by the king to bring gifts and pay homage.

“Why?” asked the warrior, “I’m twice as handsome as the king and just as nobel. Why should I not be king?”

Umuveli, on hearing this and guessing the next request from the warrior, transformed him into the king. Surrounded by wives and councillors he cut a mighty figure upon the royal stool. The king enjoyed his life. For a time.

One day a one of the counselors came to the kings hut, bowed before him and said, “Great Elephant, it is once again time to make a sacrifice to the Creator, Umuveli, in thanks for all of the gifts he has bestowed upon your people.”

“And what about me?” the king grumbled. “Do I not deserve gifts and sacrifices? Am I not as wonderful and powerful as Umuveli? The world should make these offerings to me!”

No sooner had these words left the kings mouth than the earth rumbled and a loud thunder rolled through the sky. It sounded like roaring laughter. A mighty clap of lightening struck the village and a howling wind blew through the hut. Wives and counselors were blown from their stools and the hut was turned to chaos. When the wind died down and the people picked themselves up off the ground the king had vanished. He was never seen again.

Outside, swinging from a blade of grass, was a little red angry bird crying “Peep! Peep Peep!!