A retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale with an African twist inspired by the people of Zimbabwe. It tells of two sisters, one jealous of the other, and one royal invitation from the King to all the girls in the kingdom. Yet this romance from the African culture offers much more because it contains important life lessons: “Pride goes before a fall” and “Treat others the way you would want to be treated” (The Golden Rule). Your Kindness is Your Weakness
Long ago there lived a man named Mufaro (moo-FAR-oh), meaning “happy man”, who had two beautiful daughters. One daughter, Manyara (mahn-YAR-ah), meaning “ashamed”, was beautiful on the outside, but inside she was mean and selfish (like the stepsisters in Cinderella). Manyara often teased her sister when her father wasn’t around, telling her that one day she would be queen and her sister would have to be her servant. Her sister, Nyasha (nee-AH-sha), which means “mercy”, was kind and generous to all creatures (like Cinderella was) - even to a little green snake she found in her garden. Treat Others As You Would Like to be Treated
One day a message arrived from the Great King. He was seeking “The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land” to come to before him so that he could chose a queen. Mean Manyara, so desperate to be queen, sneaks away during the night to get to the king before her sister. Along the way she meets a hungry boy who asks for food. She rudely passes him by, keeping her food all to herself. Then she runs into an old woman who tries to give her wise advice. Manyara treats her unkindly, too, and hurries on to the king. The Most Worthy
The next day kind Nyasha travels the same path to see the king. She sees the same hungry boy and gives him a yam to eat. The same old woman stops her to give her advice, and Nyasha listens. When Nyasha finally reaches the city, her sister runs out of the king’s chamber, screaming about a 5-headed snake she had seen inside. But when Nyasha enters, she finds only a little snake - the same one that she had met in her garden! The snake magically transforms into the king, who tells her it was he who had been disguised as the boy and the old woman. Because the king had seen such kindness and generosity in Nyasha, he asks her to be his queen. About the Author / Illustrator
John Steptoe (1951 – 1989) was inspired by the ruins of an ancient trade city of Zimbabwe when he created the dramatic illustrations for this book. The flora, fauna, and architecture shown in the pictures are native to that region of Africa.
For more fairy tales with a bit of a twist, read the book reviews for Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale
and Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Tale from China
posted on this website (click on links below).
Se habla espanol? Read the Spanish translation of this book review (click on link below).