There was once a Zulu girl whose mother had died, and whose stepmother was very cruel to her.

One day, when she was crying at her mother's grave, she saw that the earth of the grave have parted and a stalk start to grow out, which grew into a sapling and soon into a tree.

The wind rustled its leaves and the tree whispered to the girl, telling her that her mother was near and that she should eat the fruits of the tree. The girl did and the fruits were very tasty and made her feel much better.

This happened every day from then on, but as soon as the cruel step-mother discovered what was happening, she went to her husband, the girl's father, and insisted that he had the tree cut down.

The tree lay withering and the girl wept on its maimed trunk for a long time, until she heard a whisper and saw a lump growing up from the trunk. It grew and grew until it was a pumpkin.

There was a hole in it, from which leaked a trickle of juice. The girl licked up a few drops and found them very nourishing, but again her stepmother soon found out and, one dark night, cut the pumpkin off and threw it on the dung heap.

The next day, the girl wept and wept until she heard a trickling sound and saw a little stream, which whispered, 'Drink me, drink me!' She did, and felt much refreshed, but now the step-mother made the girl's father throw sand in the stream and bury it.

The girl went back to the grave where she cried and cried.

She had been sitting there a long time when a man appeared from the bush.

He saw the dead tree and decided it was just what he needed to make a bow and arrows, for he was a hunter.

He talked to the girl, who told him that the tree had once grown on her mother's grave.

He liked her and decided to go to her father and ask for her hand in marriage.

The father consented on condition that the hunter killed a dozen buffalo for the wedding feast.

The hunter had never killed more than one buffalo at a time - that was difficult enough.

But this time, taking his new bow and arrows, he had not been in the bush long when he saw a herd of a dozen buffalo resting in the shade.

Setting one of his new arrows to his bow, he let fly. The first buffalo sank down dead. And the second, and the third. An hour later the hunter came back to tell the father to send men to bring the meat to the village.

There was a big feast, when the hunter married the poor girl who had lost her mother.

For it is said: It does not matter how hard the day, or dark the time. It all will pass, if you belief in the spirit in the tree.