Friday, January 18, 2019

Review of "The Princess Who Lost Her Hair: An Akamba Legend," retold by Tololwa M. Mollel

Review of
The Princess Who Lost Her Hair: An Akamba Legend, retold by Tololwa M. Mollel ISBN 0816728151

Five out of five stars
 The Akamba people live in East Africa near the equator. They live on a plateau and their lives are very dependent on the seasonal rains that take place in March to June as well as in October to December. If the rain does not fall, then crops, livestock and people suffer the consequences. Like so many legends of people that live this lifestyle, this one is about the lack of rain.
 The setting is a kingdom where there was a princess with the loveliest hair in the world. It formed a long train that was held by her handmaidens as she walked the palace grounds. One day, a colorful bird asked her for a small amount of hair in order to make their nest. When the princess refused, the bird promised retribution and flew away.
 When bad weather arrived, it took up the princess’ hair and none of the palace wizards or wise men could find a way to end the drought. A young beggar boy dreamed of a solution, so he took some beans and a calabash of water and set out on a journey to solve the problem. When faced with creatures that needed food and water, he provided them from his meager stores. At this point, the bird regained his form, announced that he had passed the tests and as a consequence of his actions, rain returned to the kingdom.
 This story is similar to fairy tales of other lands, where a magical creature is first spurned, with dire consequences for the land. Only when a resident proves their worthiness is order restored and the land returns to normal. It is a good lesson of humility and sharing, even when there is little available. For you never know when a good deed will be returned many times over.

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