Children's Fiction

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Nandwa, Rebecca

Chura Mcheza Ngoma

Frog, the Drum Dancer


Illustrated by Oliver Karenga. Nairobi, Kenya: Phoenix Publishers, 2002. 30 p. ISBN 9966-47-226-6. Ages 10-12.


Language: Kiswahili


Publisher: Phoenix Publishers Ltd.


Summary
When Frog and Hare were friends a long time ago, Frog used to baby-sit Hare’s children, a job she enjoyed. She fed the children, washed their clothes, and sang and played with them. Hare, a successful mixed farmer, gave Frog daily some milk and eggs in appreciation for the good job. As Hare’s livestock multiplied, Frog grew jealous and vowed not to work diligently anymore, lest Hare thinks she is not clever. Frog began to beat and overwork the children, all the while pretending to be faithful with her domestic work.

When the children got tired of the mistreatment, they told their mother that they were hungry. The youngest child cried and refused to remain at home with the frog. When Frog reported on duty the following day, Hare confronted her with the children’s accusations and dismissed her. As Frog left, she warned Hare that she would make her life very hard. Hence, Hare began taking her children to work, except the youngest one. There was peace at home for a short time, but soon Hare found that the livestock was very tired, which affected their production of milk or eggs. In addition, the compound was dirty and dusty. After investigating the matter, Hare discovered that in her absence Frog would come and play the drum and sing in order to make the livestock dance until they were tired. Hare and the children chased the frog until she escaped and jumped into a pond. The livestock resumed their efficient production, and Frog lived in fear of the hare, crying “Ng’roo, Ng’roo.”

Commentary
This tale teaches the virtue of trust between friends. Children will also learn that whatever job they undertake must be done well and with honesty. The ending emphasises that threats cannot stop the truth from being revealed at some point and that jealousy leads to personal destruction.

 

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