Death of the Mambo

Once upon a time there was a Makombe king who was more powerful and stronger than all other Mambos who lived before him or after him. This Makombe subjugated all peoples. He was the only king. All other kings served him. He was king of Zimbabwe too.

The Makombe became ill. The day arrived on whim he was to be killed. All great kings must be killed. The four Morongo (regents of the four cardinal points) went to the Makombe and said: Mambo! Choose the man who shall be Makombe after you. The Mambo said: My eldest son shall be king after me. The day on which the Makombe was to be killed approached. The Makombe asked: Has there ever been a Mambo who was not killed? The four Morongo went to a Nganga and said: Has there ever been a Mambo who was not killed?. The Nganga cast the Hakata (dice). The Nganga cast the Hakata three times. The Nganga said: There has never been a king who was not killed; but a king can return if his own sister takes his illness upon herself.

The king was killed. The king was wrapped in cloths. After three days, the people came to squeeze the corpse dry .The dead Makombe had a wife who was his sister. The wife said to the people: Leave it to me; it is my business. The woman squeezed the Makombe's corpse. She did it every day for twelve months. She would not let anyone help her. After twelve monrhs, the king's corpse had dried out completely. The grave diggers carried the corpse of the king to the cave in which the corpses of the kings were laid.

When the corpse of the king was laid in the cave, the sister said: Leave the cave. Close the cave. I shall stay with the Makombe. The sister lay down next to the corpse of the king. The grave diggers placed rocks in front of the cave and left. The sister of the Makombe remained lying next to the corpse. Her hair dropped out. Her fingernails and toe nails dropped off. Her teeth dropped out. All her flesh dropped off.

The day after, the guardians came to the cave. They took the rocks away from the entrance and entered. They looked for the corpse of the king; they looked for the sister of the king. The corpse of the king and the body of his sister had crumbled to dust. The guardians were frightened; they ran to the Morongo and said: The corpse of the Makombe and his sister have crumbled to dust. The Morongo went to a Nganga. They said to the Nganga: The corpse of the Makombe and his sister have crumbled into dust. What does this signify? The Nganga cast the Hakata. He cast the Hakata three times. The Nganga said: Wait four days. Then you will see what happens. The Morongo left.

The Morongo waited four days. Four days passed. When it got dark on the fourth day, the Morongo for the first time saw the new Mwuetsi (moon) rise and saw the Marinda (evening star) follow it.