Swallow That Excuse For Always Withholding A Helping Hand

When we were little, my dad used to tell I and my siblings stories to inspire us to be many things, like compassionate and more helpful to people, including strangers. I have a lot of such stories, tucked in my long-term memory department but one sticks out in particular. I’ve never been able to forget it for too long and today is one of such days and I’m going to share it with you, the exact way my mum used to tell it. Ha!

ย I can’t remember the main character’s name but let’s call her Edufwa. l’m not sure why I chose that name. It just sounded weird like the names in my parent’s stories that made us more captivated I guess. Here it goes,

Edufwa was a girl leaving with her step mother (don’t they all!). She’s 13 years old and her mother had died 10 years ago which made her father remarry because he did not know how to care for a baby.

 Edufwa is kind and compassionate, even when her step mother did bad things to her. She made Edufwa wash all the dishes, clean the house, go to the farm and gave her only the leftovers of the family meal. Her step mother had a daughter called Nneyo who was lazy. She would laugh whenever her mother beat Edufwa and sing mocking songs at her. (Don’t ask me where her father is, I always wondered the same.)

Her step mother was not still satisfied. She just did not want to see the beautiful Edufwa alive. She was wicked! So she made a plan.

One day, she went to the old witch who lived on the village hill where there was never daylight and lied to her about Edufwa, ”Old Witch, I heard you eat evil girls, I have one in my house. She’s lazy and disrespectful never does any work at all.”

The old witch was very angry and agreed to eat Edufwa the next day.

The wicked step mother agreed to send Edufwa to the hillside the next day so that the old witch would catch her and eat her.

The next day, Edufwa’s step mother made sure it was evening and then sent Edufwa to go get the palm fronds that the goat would eat from the hillside even though there was already enough palm fronds which Edufwa had cut in the day. Edufwa cried and begged her not to send her there because of the old witch that eats little girls but her step mother forced her out of the house after telling her never to return until she had fetched the palm fronds from the hillside and nowhere else.

(A song is supposed to come in at this point in their usual call and response format but since I can’t remember it, let’s agree to skip it…)

And so Edufwa prayed for protection because she believed God and bravely went to the hillside. She quickly gathered the palm fronds, tied them together, set them on her head and walked home.

When she was almost home, at the turning to her house, she saw an old woman, walking slowly with a heavy load on her head. Edufwa felt sorry for her and even though she was almost home, she quickly put down her palm fronds, hid them in the bush and ran after the old woman. She insisted until the woman gave her the load, then she continued the long and strenuous journey up the hill side. She followed the old woman and only agreed to drop the load when they reached her house.

The old woman was grateful. She gave Edufwa a cup of water which she refused because her father told her not to take anything from strangers.

The old woman smiled and said she’s a good and obedient girl. When she asked for her name, she was surprised to hear she was the same Edufwa the ”woman-visitor” had told her about and she became very angry that she had been lied to. You see, this old woman was the old witch! (He he…as if you did not already know)

Edufwa jogged back happily, picked up her palm fronds and went home. Her step mother was surprised to see her for she had thought the old witch would have eaten her already!

That night, the old witch flew to their house and after she saw how the step mother was evil to Edufwa, she flew down and ate her and her daughter.

From that time on, no one maltreated Edufwa and she took care of her father like the hardworking girl she was. When she was 18years old, the Prince of their village (*winks*) saw her, liked her and married her. They had two children, a boy and a girl.

Lol. You probably guessed the end of Edufwa’s story around the third line or maybe you were wondering how you used to find such stories interesting and I’m totally okay with that but Edufwa’s story is more than fantasy to me.

I remember this story whenever I see an older person struggling under the weight of a heavy load. Sometimes, I help out but for a long time now, I have not.

These days, many parents no longer tell children this kind of stories. They have them replaced with warnings about wicked friends, witchcraft, kidnappings and poisonings. We can all agree these are well founded reasoning when we take the increase of wickedness in the world, which we see every day on the news into account.

But I believe, that to lose compassion, is to lose sight of what humanity really means. I put it forward to us today that we should help people more, including strangers. Give that beggar the benefit of the doubt even if he looks like a 419er (fraudster). Let him eat that money. Its okay to tell children to help strangers too not just their friends. What you don’t start when you’re young, it’s more difficult to learn when you’re older.

A lot of people are in pain but we use our own struggles and bad experiences as a reason to withhold an helping hand. Permit yourself to leave your comfort zone. There is always something you can help with, always. Allow the compassion that stirs up in your heart, lead you more often. Stop squashing it!

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing, some have unwittingly entertained angels (Hebrews 13:2 NKJV).

Do not say to your neighbor, โ€œGo, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,โ€ When you have it with you (Proverbs 3:28 NKJV).

Thank you for reading. I still love hearing from you so do drop a comment.

Hi, I'm Chioma Jeremiah. I'm passionate about helping my community see the beautiful light that each day brings. My goal is to inspire you with everything that will make each read the best for you.


  • Uchechukwu Ihedi

    Excited, it’s good to hear a folktale once again.
    Well, my dad never forgets to tell us how bad the world is but it’s always about compassion and also the Holy Spirit leading you always.
    Thanks Chioma, it was worth the time

    • Chukwuemeka Okereke

      To lose compassion is to lose sight of what humanity really means (this very line caught my attention). And it goes a long way to tell you that no human lives in isolation. We were created to help each other. Just like the Bible’s analogy of the body parts as members of each other, what ever happens to one member of the body be it the eye, nose, hands or so affects the whole body system. But when they help each other and work together they produce better result. We ought to help each other in this world we live in no matter who it is, just help first and complain later. Nice write-up Chioma.

  • Victory

    I learnt a whole lot
    I enjoyed the reading too
    When I finished reading I was like…..has it finished. Oh no.
    It’s good that we help. Really good
    Thanks ma

  • AmazingIby

    It is funny how this was a usual storyline but I could not stop. My own folklore for helping old people was Apostle Joshua Selman’s message on honouring the elderly so that you may live long. It often rings in my head like a resounding siren.

    As for helping, I often say to myself, if they like they should be fraud, I will still be blessed because God looks at the heart.

    Thanks for the reminder ma!

  • Precious jay

    The African folktales , my dad is good at it. But still wondering, why did mum not tell me a single one, probably she did but can’t picture her doing it
    Thanks again chioma
    Keep dropping it

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