4. The Bird who Loved His Wife

"Dear husband," said the robin, "I am all out of camwood powder!"
"You look beautiful just the way you are," replied her husband, "but I will go buy some for you right away."
The bird flew all the way to the market and there he finally found a cosmetics merchant with camwood powder for sale.
The bird then carried the tiny lump of powder in his throat, but by the time he got back home it had melted all around his throat and chest, and that is why the robin now has a red breast, but his wife does not.
[a Bakongo story from the Congo]

Inspired by: "Why the Congo robin has a red breast" in Congo Life and Jungle Stories by John Weeks, 1921.
Notes: You can read the original story online. The author notes: "Kinsidikiti is a small bird with red round its mouth and red spots on its breast. The female has no red spots on the breast, and the following is the legend accounting for the difference." You can read more about the African forest robin at Wikipedia.

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