“Bring me a melon,” a mother told her daughter.
On the way, the girl’s admirers flattered her; she gave them the melon.
“You accursed green-eyed girl!” her mother shouted.
Then the girl sang:
My mother curses me, oh!
She curses my eyes, crocodile-green.
Then her mother beat her to death, grinding her body to dust.
The wind blew the dust into the water where Crocodile lived.
Crocodile shaped the dust into a beautiful underwater woman.
She rose up from the water, singing to her sister:
Our mother killed me, ground me to dust.
Crocodile saved me, Sister! Here I am!”
[a Sotho story from southern Africa]
Inspired by: "The Metamorphosis of a Maiden" in The Basutos; or, twenty-three years in South Africa by Eugene Arnaud Casalis, 1861.
Notes: You can read the original story online. You can see the tunes here, continued here, and also here and continued here.