Many years ago in a village in Bizana, there lived a girl called Luthando. This girl was living with her aunt after her parents passed away. Her aunt, Nomsa, was a person who loved money although she was not working. She got money by blackmailing people, and, the money Luthando got from home-affairs.
Luthando had large eyes; they were the most beautiful eyes in the village. Whenever one of the young men looked at her, as she passed through the market place, her gaze was almost more than he could bear.
When Luthando became of age, Nomsa told her that she would get married soon. She said that she had arranged everything and Luthando was so confused.
“How can you arrange marriage for me without my permission?” asked Luthando?
“I don’t need your permission. And if you won’t do what I say, I think you must pack all your cheap clothes and leave my house.” Nomsa threatened.
“It’s okay, Aunty, I will do what you say,” said Luthando. But Luthando was so upset and Nomsa was so happy.
Luthando was arranged to get married in summer. But from the day of the negotiations, the rain stopped falling. There was no more rain for months in the village. The crops died, the earth changed to dust and wells and rivers turned to mud-holes and the people in village grew hungry. And when a man’s mind can see nothing except his hunger, he cannot even think of marriage, not even to such a girl as the one with the large eyes.
So the wedding didn’t happen because of this situation of water. Luthando’s aunt, Nomsa, was so angry after she heard that the wedding will not continue, because there would be no money coming her way.
A week after the wedding day had passed, Nomsa told Luthando that it was now her duty to fetch water every morning from the river.
“But, Aunty, you know there’s no water in the river. How will I get water?” said Luthando.
“I don’t care how or where, I’m just telling you that every morning you must fetch water. Finish and klaar,” said Nomsa.
So the morning arrived and it was time for Luthando to go and find water for her family; that was not easy. She spent the morning going up and down the Ntlakwe river but could not find water.
It was now in the middle of summer and Luthando would still wake up in the morning to fetch water. The next day she returned to the Mdeni river.
In that river there were magic fish. Suddenly, a fish surfaced from the mud and spoke to Luthando.
“Give me your bucket and I will fill it with water,” Luthando was so shocked and surprised to hear and see the fish talk. She handed him the bucket and he filled it with cold, clear water.
On her way back home she was so happy. Luthando’s aunt saw her bucket on top of her head and was asking herself how she found water.
“How did you find this clear water?” Nomsa asked when Luthando entered the house.
Luthando just smiled with her large eyes and said nothing.
A week later, Luthando returned to the Mdeni river, and the fish filled her bucket with cold, clear water again. After a while of going to the river and chatting to the fish, she found herself becoming fond of the fish. His skin was smooth and reflected the colours of the rainbow. His voice was soft and gentle. She loved him and on a tenth day, she secretly became his wife.
Nomsa was quite happy to get water each day; she was a lazy lady. Each day when she asked Luthando where she got water from, Luthando just smiled and said it was her secret place and she didn’t want people to know it. But that answer was not enough for Nomsa; she wanted to know this secret place that Luthando got water from. So she decided to follow Luthando when she went to fetch water.
So the morning came, and Luthando woke up early in the morning to fetch water.
When she was of the gate her aunt woke up, and she followed her. Luthando reached her secret place, and Nomsa hid behind a big tree. She listened to Luthando and the fish and watched them embrace. Nomsa didn’t know what to think. And then she remembered what her grandmother told her when she was still young. She said that there was a girl who was in love with the fish in Mdeni River. And she knew that Luthando was that girl. Nomsa quickly went back home.
After a while Luthando came home with the clear, cold water. Her aunt asked her what took too long to find water.
“Yhoo aunt, it is not quite easy to find water.” Luthando said.
“Mmh really? What about the fish?”
Luthando was shocked. “What fish, aunty?”
“The one you are in love with? If the villagers hear of this thing of you and the fish… don’t get me involved.
Two weeks later people in the village found out about Luthando’s relationship with the magic fish. They ordered Nomsa and Luthando to leave the village. Nomsa was so ashamed and embarrassed and she didn’t want to leave.
So the villagers told Nomsa that if she took them to the secret place where the magic fish lived, she could stay in the village. Nomsa didn’t want to leave so she took them.
When they got there they called the fish, and when he came up, they killed him. They took him to the village to show the people and the people were happy. Luthando’s eyes were filled with tears. She quickly picked up the fish and ran as fast as she could. People were chasing her but they didn’t find her.
She found a spot to bury her husband. She saw a long cliff and down the cliff there was water.
She thought of her parents who had died, also her husband had died, and her aunt and the villagers wouldn’t take her back. So she decided to just kill herself to follow her family. So she threw her husband down the cliff and then she jumped. Luthando was PREGNANT with the magic fish’s children and as she died, she gave birth to many children. And those children still float in the river to this day as water lilies.
After Luthando gave birth, the rain fell and the villagers were happy. Some villagers said if the magic fish hadn’t died the rain would not be falling now.