Once upon a time, there was a young girl called Zihlezonke. She was very beautiful and intelligent, and she worked very hard at her school work. Most teachers liked her, everyone wanted to be her friend and some boys even asked to go on a date with her, but she had no time for dating and having fun.

She spent most of her time alone with a book in her hands, she loved reading so much. Everyone thought she was from a rich family.
One day it happened that she became very sick and the teachers took her to her home. They found her drunken father lying on the ground singing. Zihlezonke’s mother had died when she was young, about seven-years-old. They were living in a one-room shack, she felt so embarrassed that her teachers had to see her father in that condition and also that they had found out about her background.
Her teacher, Ms Zonke, asked Zihlezonke if is this was her real home.

“No,” Zihlezonke answered, “It’s my uncles place.”

The teacher asked again, “Where are your parents?”

“They are dead, I’m left with only my uncle,” Zihlezonke replied pointing at her father who was there singing and not realising that he had company.

“Oh my God!” Ms Zonke exclaimed, feeling sorry for her.
Zihlezonke was ashamed.

“Zihle, I feel bad to leave you here with your drunken uncle, what if he does something bad to you? Mmmm,” Ms Zonke said shaking her head. “I’ll not.” She then placed her hand on top of Zihlezonkes father to get his attention.

“What now?” Zihlezonkes father said harshly.

The teacher stepped back and kept quiet for a while, then she said, “Zihle go take all your belongings, you are coming with me.”

Zihlezonkes didn’t want do it, but the teacher left her with no choice. She took her books and clothes. Thereafter she went slowly to her father to say goodbye. “I’m leaving, dad,” she said, her eyes filled with tears. “Goodbye.” Zihlezonke’s father didn’t want her to leave but she insisted. She said to her father, “I’m doing this for you, let me go. I’ll not forget about you father.” Then she whispered, “I love you.”

Her father cried for he knew he would not see his daughter again, he felt like he was dying. Zihlezonke left with Ms Zonke.

The day after, Zihlezonke went to school. She asked Ms Zonke if she could go and see her father. Ms Zonke denied her request and told her to focus on her studies.

Ten years later

Zihlezonke was a well-known doctor. She went back home to check on her father like she had promised him that she would never forget about him.

When she arrived at her old home, she found a sleeping human skeleton wearing garments overgrown with thorns. She screamed and cried.
(Later, she found out that her father had died just after she had left with Ms Zonke.)

She looked around and found a whiskey bottle which lay next to his father corpse. She held it and embraced it. She then saw a letter and a small key inside the bottle. She took the bottle’s contents out and opened the letter.

The letter read like this:

My Dear Princess,

I love you and always will that is why I’ve chosen to save all my inheritance for your future. I knew I would die; I had been suffering from brain cancer. I didn’t tell you this because I didn’t want to worry you. I know you were ashamed about our situation, but I had to do what I thought was best for you. Go and dig next to the Amarula tree where there’s a red rose, you’ll find your belongings there.

Your dad

After she read the letter, tears rolled down her cheek. She cried, regretting leaving her father alone. She couldn’t stop blaming herself for his death.

She stood up and obeyed the letter.

She went to the Amarula tree and there she saw a red rose. Talking to herself, she said, “How could it be alive? After so many years it’s still as beautiful as it was when Ieft.” She took it out and began to dig. She found a trunk and used the key she found in the bottle of whiskey to open it.

She was amazed when she saw a lot of money and a piece of gold inside the trunk. She kept on looking and there was a picture of her as a child with both her parents. She looked at the picture and cried out loud but there was no one to wipe her tears. She was rich yet alone.


Tell us: Why do you think Ms Zonke denied Zihlezonke permission to see her father after she was taken away from him?