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The Princess's Wedding

The Princess's Wedding
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The Princess's Wedding

An Akan Story by Farida Salifu


There was joy in the air as the villagers of the Asante tribe in Kumasi gathered for the three day celebration of the Crown Princess's wedding. Princess Yaa was set to marry a Prince from a neighbouring village and she was very excited.

The Prince and Princess had grown up together and had been acquainted during many local and national ceremonies. They had even stolen some precious time alone during their many months of courtship. All her life the Princess had been waiting for such a day to arrive: a grand wedding in which she would be the absolute centre of attention.

To prepare for the first night's celebrations, the maids adorned their Princess with beautiful gold jewellery, beads, and delicate ink drawings on her skin.

'Princess,' implored one of the maids, 'please tell us how you feel about your future husband.'

The Princess replied in a very matter of fact voice. 'He is a nice man, predictable but loyal. He will be a good husband. If it were my choice I would marry someone more adventurous, more dangerous; somebody with more wealth and better looks. But who knows,' said the Princess with a wicked smile, 'I may end up in love with my poor husband someday. Right now I am happy to settle for him because he will take care of me. It is only a pity that he will not be able to satisfy all of my worldly desires because his family is not nearly as rich as mine.'

The youngest maid asked, 'Princess, what will you do without your gold, your beads and your precious stones?'

The Princess giggled and replied, 'I will find a rich admirer from the city. After all, there is only so much of a boring life a beautiful girl like me can take.'

All the maids began to laugh because they knew that their Princess was indeed very naughty and would surely do as she had said behind her poor husband's back.   

And so the morning of the wedding finally arrived. The Princess was still a little upset by a conversation she had had with her parent's the previous night. The Princess had asked that her father support her new husband financially so that the young man might be able to buy the Princess more jewellery and worldly things. Her father had refused, assuring his only daughter that riches were not the most important thing in the world.

The princess thought that her father was being very stupid and mean. 'After all,' she reasoned, 'it is okay for him, he is rich already. What about me?'

The Princess looked in the mirror at her beautiful body adorned with the finest jewels. Then she looked around at her luxury room with fine silks and expensive furnishings. It finally dawned on her that she would have to leave all of this luxury behind. Her future husband was not poor, but he was not overly rich and could not afford to keep her in the luxury to which she had become accustomed. 'If only a rich man would come and save me from the boring life that awaits me,' thought the greedy princess.

The villagers began to gather in order to see their beloved Princess wed. Some villagers were happy because they knew that the King and Queen were making sure the Princess married for good reason and not just for riches. Others were not so happy because they thought that the Princess should marry an important and wealthy man who would help put their village on the map and have them recognised internationally.

There was silence and anticipation among the crowd as the beautiful Princess began to walk up the aisle towards her future husband. Then the silence was broken by the sound of approaching horses. The entire village looked towards the horses as they came to a halt before the wedding ceremony. On the lead horse there sat a handsome young man. He wore shiny jewels and was adorned in the finest fabrics. His shoes were made of pure silk, and his jacket was made of rich velvet encrusted with precious diamonds and rubies.

The handsome stranger walked up to the crowd and introduced himself as the Prince of a faraway village. 'I have come to ask the Princess for her hand in marriage,' declared the handsome stranger. 'I have travelled for two days and two nights just to get here before she is given to another.'

The King stepped forward and examined the stranger closely. 'I am sure you are who you say you are, young man, but I cannot give my daughter's hand to a complete stranger. She is promised to another and is to be wed this day.'

choosing a husbandUpon seeing the handsome stranger dressed in all his finery, the Princess immediately asked if she might speak with her parents in private. The villagers were left to think abount what might happen.  Nobody knew how this would end. Finally the Princess and the King and Queen returned. The King reluctantly announced that the Princess intended to marry the handsome stranger instead of the husband chosen for her.The village elders immediately protested against such an act. The King also voiced his own concerns and insisted that his daughter's choice would have consequences. 'If my daughter changes her mind and agrees to marry the man we have chosen for her,' declared the King, 'then she will do so with the blessing of myself and the entire village. But if she is stubborn, and chooses to marry this stranger whom we know nothing about, then she will be banished from our kingdom and forced to make her own fortune.'

The Queen was very distressed and implored her daughter to marry the man they had chosen for her. But the Princess had made up her mind and was determined to marry the handsome stranger, believing that he was indeed a rich Prince from a faraway land.

And so it was that the priest married the Princess and the handsome stranger. But it was a sad ceremony without the blessing of the King and the village elders.

When the ceremony was over, the King commanded that his estranged daughter and her new husband be escorted to the edge of the kingdom accompanied only by her loyal maids. It was during this sombre journey from the village that the Princess's maids began to sing in a chorus of soft voices...

A long way for marriage I won't go
A long way for marriage I won't go
But we wish you all the best,
leaving your home and family for a life far away
with a stranger no one knows
A long way for marriage I won't go
A long way for marriage I won't go

As the procession neared the edge of the kingdom, the Princess waved goodbye to her maids. Then she and her new husband, accompanied by his many servants, crossed the river on horseback and began their journey in earnest.

After they had been travelling for many hours, the Princess grew tired and hungry. 'My love, can we please rest so that your servants might bring me some water?'

'What servants?' replied the Prince in a gruff voice.

The Princess looked all about her and realised that the servants had disappeared. It was just the two of them now, riding alone.

'Do not worry,' said the Prince, 'we are nearly home.'

The Princess was tired and hungry and not used to travelling without servants, but she continued on the journey with her new husband and soon found herself riding into a forest of tall trees. The forest was cold, dark and ominous, and allowed little sunlight through the thick canopy above. 

'Look there!' exclaimed the Prince. 'We are home at last.'

But there was nothing but trees all around and the Princess was very confused. 'I cannot see anything, my love.'

As her new husband stepped down from his horse, he smiled a wicked smile. 'It is funny how you never even asked me my name, yet you agreed to marry me. Who marries a man whom they know nothing about?'

The Princess tried to remain calm even though she was growing more and more nervous by the minute. 'My love, I knew that you were the man for me from the very moment I saw you.'

'I think you only wanted to marry me because of my outer appearance, my looks and my riches. You married for superficial reasons, not love!'

The Princess was speechless as her new husband continued to sneer at her and lecture her. 'I am not the man you think I am, Princess. In fact, I am not really a man at all. My name is Wolf, and when the full moon rises I will turn back into a wolf and you will turn with me. Together we shall live in this forest, poor scavengers both. You see, dear Princess, all that glitters is not gold. You would have been wiser to listen to your parents, and to the elders of the village who have more experience than you. Your eyes are always looking for something better, never satisfied with what you know or what you have. That is what has brought you here to me. This is your fate.

The Princess cried all night long. She was cursed to live as a poor scavenger in this forest, cursed to become a wolf at the rise of every full moon, never to see her kingdom or her family again; and all of this she brought upon herself because of her disobedience and her greedy nature. 

The Princess's Wedding
Find out more
about the contributors

The Princess's Wedding

An Akan Story by Farida Salifu


Nna enigye aba papaapa wɔ bere a Asante kurowmba bi reka abɔ mu edi hembabaa ne ayefor. Nna biribiara da yie sɛ hembabaa Yaa bɛware ɔhen ba barima bi a ofiri kurow bi mu wɔ mpɔtamu hɔ ara nti na n'enyi agye papaapa.

Hen ba barima ne hembabaa no nyinii bɔɔ mu na wohyia wɔn ho wɔ ehyiadi pii nti nna wɔnim wɔn no yie. Wɔ wia mber wɔ abosome bebree a nna wɔ de rehunu wɔn ho wɔn ho. Ne bra nyinara mu no, nna hembabaa no rehwehwɛ sɛ dɛm da te sɛ yi beduru: ayefor tɛtɛɛtɛr a obiara bɛtwa n'enyi ahwɛ no nko ara.

Hebabaa ne asomfo no de egudi, mbiid ne nsano-mfonin wɔ honam eni so de siesiee hembabaa no papaapa de tweɔɔn anadwopɔn osebɔ no enim.

Asomfo no mu baako kaa sɛ, 'Hembabaa, yɛsrɛ wo ka nea wo akoma mu ka kyerɛ wo fa wo daakye kunu ne ho.'

Hembabaa no pae mu kaa sɛ, 'Ɔyɛ barima papa, me tumi kyerɛ nea ɔbɛka anaaso ɔbɛyɛ na ɔnnsi m'ekyiri so. Ɔbɛyɛ kunu papa. Sɛ ɛka me nko ara a, nka me bɛware obi a ɔnnsuro hwee, ne ho yɛ hu kakra; obi a ɔwɔ sika kakra kyɛn no na ne ho so yɛ fɛw kyɛn no. Naaso woana nim,' hembabaa no na ɔrekasa yi wɔ bere a ɔ resere kakra, 'Ɛbɛtumi aba no sɛ me bɛdɔ me kunu no papapaa dabi dabi. Seisei ara de m'enyi gye sɛ me ne no bɛtena, efiri sɛ ɔbɛhwɛ me yie. Asɛm kakra a ɛwɔ hɔ ara ne sɛ ɔrenntumi mma me nea me akoma rehwehwɛ wɔ wiase mu nyinara efiri sɛ ne ebusua nnhyɛ daa nni sika te sɛ me de.'

Somfo ketewa koraa a ɔwɔ mu no bisaa sɛ, 'Hembabaa, sɛ wo sika, mbiid ne egudi mboba nni hɔ a, dɛn na wo bɛyɛ?'

Hembabaa no serewee na ɔyii ano kaa sɛ, 'Me bɛhwehwɛ sikani a ɔpɛ me efiri kurow kɛse mu. Ɔbaa fɛɛfɛɛfɛw te sɛ me de, ɛnny brɛ biara na me bɛtumi afa mu.'

Hembabaa ne asomfo no nyinara hyɛɛ ase sɛ wɔreserew efiri sɛ nna wɔnim sɛ wɔn hembabaa no ho ahometew paa nti nea wɔaka no nyinara no ɔbɛyɛ wɔ abere a ne kunu no nnim ho hwee.   

Ayefor bere no soe anapa bi. Nna hembabaa no eni nngye nkɔmbɔ a ɔde ne awofo bɔe ewimbir a abɛtwa mu no. Hembabaa no bisaa ne egya sɛ ɔmboa ne kunu foforo no wɔ sikasɛm mu ama barima no ɛtumi atɔ egudi ne wiase ndeɛma ama hemaa no. Ne egya anngye annto mu, na ɔka kyerɛɛ ne ba baa baako pɛ no sɛ ɛnnyɛ sika na ho hia paa wɔ wiase mu.

Nna hembabaa no dwen sɛ wɔ dɛm asɛm yi mu no, ne egya nnim nyansa na ne tiri mu yɛ den. 'Annyɛ biara no,' ɔ dwenee, 'ne de yɛ, ɔwɔ sika bebree dadaw. Ne me so ɛ?'

Hembabaa no hwɛɛ ne ho wɔ ahwehwɛ mu a wɔde egudi papa paa ahyehyɛ no. Na ɔhwɛɛ ne pono so mu a wɔde nkongua apapa ne tam a bo yɛ den de asiesie hɔ. Ɛtɔɔ ne so sɛ ɛbɛba no sɛ ɛwɔ sɛ ɔgya wiase ndɛma apapa yi nyinara hɔ. Nna barima a ɔ rekɔ ware no wɔ bi, naaso nna ɔnni sika bebree nti nna barima no renntumi nnhwɛ no te sɛ nea hemaa no nim dadaw no. 'Sɛ barima sikani bi bɛba abɛgye me efiri daakye bra a enigye biara nnim a,' asɛm a nna hembabaa no redwen ni.

Kurowmu mba no hyɛɛ ase sɛ wɔreka abɔ mu ehu wɔn hembabaa a wɔdɔ no yie n'aware. Nna kurowmu mba no bi eni agye papaapa efiri sɛ nna wɔnim sɛ ɔhen ne hembaa no de siantiri papa bi nti na wɔrepia wɔn ba no akɔ aware mu nna nnyɛ sika nko ara nti. Nna ɛnnhyɛ daa nnyɛ bi nom so dɛ ɛfiri sɛ nna wɔn yamu anka hembabaa no bɛware nipa pɔn ne barima sikani bi a ɔbɛboa ma amanaman afoforo ɛbu wɔn kurow no ara yie.

Nna amanfo a wɔehyia mu no nyinara ataa dii wɔ bere a hembabaa ahoɔfɛwfo no hyɛɛ ase sɛ ɔrenantew wɔ kwan a ɛda amanfo no wɔn mfinimfin akɔ ne daakye kunu hɔ. Mpɔnkɔ a wɔ di mirika firi ekyiri reba de dede yii kɔɔn no firi hɔ. Kurow no nyinara hwɛɛ mpɔnkɔ no wɔ bere a wɔgyinae wɔ ayefor ne ase. Nna barima ahoɔfɛwfo bi te pɔnkɔ a odi kan no so. Nna wɔde agudi ahyehyɛ no a wɔesiesie ne ho yie ara yie. Wɔde selk ahoma na wɔde ayɛ ne mpabwa, na ne jakɛt wɔde vɛlvɛt papa bi na sikabo daemɔnd ne nrubi a wɔsom bo ara yie gugu so.

Hɔho ahoɔfɛwfo yi nanteew kɔɔ amanfo no wɔn mu na ɔdaa ne ho edi sɛ ɔyɛ hembabarima firi kurow bi a ɛwɔ ekyiri ekyiri. 'Me aba sɛ me reba aba bisa hembabaa no sɛ ɔnware me,' hɔho ahoɔfɛwfo na ɔrekasa yi. 'Me etu kwan nda ebien ne anadwo beenu sɛnea me bɛdu ha ansaana wɔde no ama obi foforo.'

Ɔhen no sɔree baa n'enim bɛhwɛɛ hɔho ne ho yie. 'Me gye wo di sɛ wo yɛ nipaban a wo se wo yɛ, naaso me renntumi mmfa me ba baa no mma wo sɛ wo a wo yɛ hɔho koraa sɛ wo nware no. Wɔahyɛ obi foforo bɔ sɛ ɔbɛware no ndɛ.'

                        Ɔ hunuu sɛ hɔho ahoɔfɛwfo no ahyehyɛ ne ho paa no, hembabaa no bisaa sɛ ɔde n'awofo bɛkasa kokoa mu. Nna kurowmu mba no rekeka nsɛm na nna obiara nnim asɛm a ɛbɛsan ɛsi. choosing a husband

Ekyiri koraa no, hembabaa, ɔhen ne hembaa no baa kurow mba no enim bio. Wɔ bere a emmfiri ne yamu, ɔhen no bɔɔ obiara amande sɛ hembabaa no ayɛ n'adwen sɛ ɔ bɛware hɔho ahoɔfɛwfo no na obegya kunu a wɔhwehwɛɛ maa no no esi sɔ.

Hɔ ne hɔ ara, kurow no mu mpaninfo anngye asɛm no annto mu. Ɔhen ne so kyerɛɛ n'adwen na ɔkaa sɛ ne ba baa apɛde de nsɛm bɛba. 'Sɛ me ba baa sesa n'adwen na ɔgye to mu sɛ ɔbɛware barima a yɛafa ama no a,' ɔhen no na ɔrekasa yi, 'me ne kurow mu mba nyinara de yɛn nhyira bɛtae no ekyiri. Naaso sɛ ɔde asoɔden kɔso pɛ sɛ ɔbɛware hɔho yi a yɛnnim ne ho hwee a, nna ɛno de yɛbɛbɔ no esu efiri yɛn man yi mu na yɛbɛhyɛ no sɛ ɔno ara nkɔbɔ ne bra nhwehwɛ ne egyapade.'

Nna hembaa no ayɛ basaa na ɔkaa kyerɛɛ ne ba no sɛ ɔnware barima a wɔapaw ama no no. Naaso nna hembabaa no ayɛ n'adwen dadaw na nna n'eni abere sɛ ɔbɛware hɔho ahoɔfɛwfo no efiri sɛ nna wɔagye no edi koraa sɛ ɔyɛ hemba barima wɔ kurow foforo bi so.

Nti kɔmfo no waar hemba baa ne hɔho ahoɔfɛwfo no kaa wɔn bɔɔ mu. Naaso nna enigye biara nni dwumadi no mu efiri sɛ ɔhen na ne mpaninfo no ennhyira aware no so.

Dwumadi no kɔɔ ne ewiei no, ɔhen no bɔɔ ne ba baa no esu na ɔhyɛɛ sɛ wɔmfa no na ne kunu foforo no nkɔ ahenman n'ano a hembabaa n'asomfo pɛ ka wɔn ho. Ɛyɛ dɛm bere a wɔretu awerɛhow kwan yi na hembabaa n'asomfo hyɛɛ ase sɛ wɔretow ndwom sɛ ...

Aware wɔ ekyiri ekyiri saa de me rennkɔ
Aware wɔ ekyiri ekyiri saa de me rennkɔ
Naaso yɛma wo tiri nkwa,
wo re fi wo fi akɔ bɔ bra wɔ ekyiri ekyiri
a wo rekɔ ware hɔho a obiara nnim no
Aware wɔ ekyiri ekyiri saa de me rennkɔ
Aware wɔ ekyiri ekyiri saa de me rennkɔ

Ahɔho ne akwantufo no dur ahenman no ano no, hembaa no yɛɛ n'asomfo no bae-bae. Na ɔno na ne kunu foforo no de pɔnkɔ traa esuten no na wɔhyɛɛ wɔn akwantu ase gidigidi.

Wɔtuu kwan dɔnhwere bebree ekyiri no, hembabaa no brɛe naa kɔm so dee no. 'Me dɔ, me srɛ wo yɛbɛtumi agye yɛn ahome kakra ama wo asomfo no abrɛ me nsu kakra?'

'Dɛn asomfo?' hemba barima ne nde a mu piw bisaa no.

Hembabaa no twaa ne ho hwɛɛ hɔ nyinara hunuu sɛ asomfo no nyinara ayera. Nna aka wɔn beenu pɛ a wɔretwiw mpɔnkɔ no kɔ.

'Ka wo akoma to wo yamu,' hemba barima na ɔ rekasa yi, 'yɛedu fie ara no no.'

Nna hembabaa no abrɛ a kɔm so de no, na nna ɔnnim sɛnea wɔtu kwan a wɔmmfa asomfo nnkɔ, naaso ɔtoaa so sɛ ɔde ne kunu no retu kwan na annkyɛr biara ɔhunuu sɛ wɔreka pɔnkɔ no wɔ FOREST a ndua atenten wɔ mu. Nna FOREST no mu yɛ win na ɔyɛ sum ne ayamuhyehye so a ewia nntumi mmbɔ mba mu. 

'Hwɛ hɔ!' hemba barima no tiaa mu. 'Afei yɛedu fie.'

Naaso nna biribiara nni hɔ gye sɛ ndua nko ara na ɛtwa wɔn ho ɛhyia nti nna hembabaa no ho abow no papaapa. 'Me nntumi nnhu biribiara, me dɔ.'

Ne kunu foforo no sianee firi ne pɔnkɔ no so, na ɔserewee kwan bɔne so. 'Ɛyɛ sere sɛ wo emmbisa me din mpo, naaso wo gyee too mu sɛ wo bɛware me. Woana na ɔware barima a onnim ne ho biribiara?'

Nna hembabaa no pɛ sɛ ɔhyɛ ne ho so na ɔka n'akoma to yamu naaso nna ne yamu rehyehye no sema biara a ɛbɛtwa mu. 'Me dɔ, nna me nim sɛ wo ne me barima aber a me hunuu wo ara pɛ.'

'Me dwen sɛ nna wo pɛ sɛ wo ware me efiri sɛnea meahyehyɛ me ho na sika a me wɔ nti. Wo waree me efiri enisoade siantiri na nnyɛ dɔ bi!'

Nna hembabaa no nntumi nnka biribiara wɔ bere ne kunu toaa so kekaa n'adwen kyerɛɛ no. 'Me nnyɛ barima a wo dwen sɛ me yɛ, hembabaa. Nokwasɛm, me nnnyɛ barima koraa mpo. Yɛfrɛ me Sakraman, na sɛ bosome no pue a, me bɛdan sakraman na wo so bɛdan bi. Me ne wo bɛtena kwa yi mu edi mboa wɔn fun. Wo ehu henebabaa, ɛnnyɛ biribiara a ɛhyerɛn na ɛyɛ sika. Sɛ wo tiee wo awofo ne kurowmu mpaninfo a wonim kyɛn wo a, anka nyansa wɔ mu. Bere biara wo eni bere ade na wo hwehwɛ biribi papa a ɛkyɛn nea wo wɔ, wo eni nnsɔ ade a wo nim anaaso wo wɔ dadaw. Ɛno na ɛde wo abrɛ me wɔ ha. Wo nkrabea ni.

Hembabaa no sui anadwo no nyinara. Nna wɔadom no sɛ ɔbɛwe mboa wɔn fun wɔ kwa yi mu, na bio bosome biara a bosome kɛse paa bɛsɔre no, ɔbɛdan sakraman, na ɔrennhu ne ebusuafo anaaso ne ahenman bio; yi nyinara noara na ɔde baa ne ho so efiri sɛ n'aso yɛ den na n'eni bere ade.

 

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