Nkanyezi lived with her family in a little house out in the village. She was a very neat little girl who would always clean her room because her grandmother used to say that cleanliness is close to godliness. She liked the sound of that very much and missed her grandmother terribly. Nkanyezi would sometimes sit on the stoep of the big mud-house veranda for hours, looking at her grandmother’s grave in a corner of their garden.

One afternoon after school, Nkanyezi saw a grasshopper on her bedroom window. She knew that killing it was not a good idea because it had done nothing wrong, so she asked her brother to take the grasshopper outside. That night she dreamed that the grasshopper had returned and it brought her news, but before it could say what the news was, Nkanyezi woke up from the dream. When she got back from school the next day she was still thinking of the dream and wondering what the grasshopper wanted to tell her.

That night there was a full moon outside and she spoke to the moon asking if the moon knew what the grasshopper wanted to tell her in the dream, but the moon did not know because it had not been out the night before. Nkanyezi went to sleep even sadder that night.

But the next morning, when she was making up her bed, there was a grasshopper again going up the wall. “Lundi! Lundi! Come help quickly!” Nkanyezi called out to her brother.

Lundi took a marker pen and marked the grasshopper on its left wing, just to be sure if it was the same one returning to the house. Nkanyezi thought that was a brilliant idea. Lundi took the grasshopper outside and set it free again.

Two days later, when Nkanyezi went to the window to open the curtain, she found the grasshopper waiting at the window. There was a mark on its wing. Nkanyezi was very surprised and found that she was not afraid of the grasshopper any more.

“So, Miss Grasshopper, are you back to tell me something?” Nkanyezi asked, opening her bedroom window, hoping the grasshopper would let itself out, but instead it sat there looking at her until she had to leave for school.

That night Nkanyezi heard a squeaky little voice under her pillow say, “Don’t squeeze the life out of me, please. I have a message for you.”

When Nkanyezi lifted her pillow, there stood the same grasshopper looking up at her. Nkanyezi rubbed her eyes just to be sure she was not dreaming but the grasshopper was still there when she removed her fingers from her eyes.

“You must follow me tomorrow, I have something to show you outside,” said the grasshopper.

“Wait a minute, you can talk?” Nkanyezi asked, very, very surprised.

“Oh yes, but only when I have been sent to deliver a message to the children,” the squeaky voice continued.

“Oh wow! This is amazing! So, what is the message?” Nkanyezi clapped her hands excitedly.

“Sorry, you have to wait until tomorrow for that. I’m sleepy now.” The grasshopper yawned and began walking away
“No no no no no, you can’t leave now. Sleep anywhere in the room. Just don’t leave! Please,” Nkanyezi pleaded with the grasshopper

“OK then. I’ll just find a spot to sleep. Good night.”

“Night night,” Nkanyezi managed to say, as she fell into a deep sleep.

In the morning, Nkanyezi let the grasshopper out of the window and followed as the grasshopper made its way to the flower garden next to the fence. There Nkanyezi found one beautiful yellow rose, its bloom opening up as the sun began to rise from the east.

“Nkanyezi, do you remember what your grandmother used to say to you when she gave you a rose like that?” Squeaky asked.

“I love you to the moon and back and then some,” Nkanyezi spoke the words that filled he heart with joy.
“Your grandmother wanted you to remember her words and not be sad. She said you loved yellow roses, that’s why she planted this one for you, because you are special and she loves you forever.”

Nkanyezi touched the petals of the rose that felt silky to her little hands and said, “Thanks, Grandma. I’ll love you forever too.”

Miss Grasshopper waved goodbye and was on her way to deliver a message to the next child. “My work here is done!” she said, in that squeaky voice of hers.

Tell us: What would you do if you saw a talking grasshopper?