A long time ago, a young woman lived at the outskirts of a small village on the
Our story begins when this young woman was twelve full moons away from her marital age. She lived with her parents and helped with household chores such as water fetching, cooking and cleaning.
This young woman was exceptional in many regards. What set her apart was that she could bring “clear and clay free” water home. There lived the mystery! The only existing spring near the village was always muddy and cloudy. Not only did the water look nebulous, but also it tasted wretched. Fused to every particle of the village spring water was the color and taste of white clay. It did not matter if the water was gathered in the morning or at night, or even if was left undisturbed for a day and a year, it always looked grimy and tasted dreadful!
One day this young woman went to the spring to fetch water, by accident her gold ring fell into the water. The accident saddens because the water was too nebulous to fish out the ring. She sat by the spring bank comtemplating the best possible was to get her ring back. Then the unthinkable happen for a quick second the water became clear and she was able to get the ring back.
One person, however, was able to bring clean water home to her family. When our young lady fetched water from the village spring, somehow she always made it home with cool, crisp and delicious water with no hint of clay. How did she do it? Did she use magic? No one seemed to know.
Her mother was curious about the phenomenon and asked her how she was able to bring clean water home while no one else could. Not wanting to lie, the young lady stayed mum. She kept the truth buried deep her heart. She never confided in anyone. As a result, the clean water story remained a mystery.
The mother was so annoyed; she could never get an answer out her daughter. She was determined to find out the truth. She even bribed one of her sons to spy on his sister. She asked the boy to follow his sister’s every move. The son did as instructed; he followed the sister to the kitchen, the backyard, and to the spring.
His efforts paid off that very night. Just after dusk, once she finishing cooking the young lady went to the spring fetching water for washing dishes. The crickets had just began their nightly concert, and the fireflies drifted along village paths. The young lady walked slowly, humming a lovely song that was unknown to the brother‘s ears. She acted spontaneously, as she did not know she was under surveillance. When she came to the spring, she knelt by the shallow end of the pool and began to sing.
“Tezin nan dlo bon zami mwen Tezin nan dlo
Tezin nan dlo bon zami mwen Tezin nan dlo
Tezin nan dlo traisan mwen Tezin no dlo”
“Tezin who lives under water, my good friend
Tezin who lives under water, my good friend
Tezin my beloved traitor; Tezin who lives under water”
As soon as she finished singing a big fish surfaced; and with his emergence the water became clear. The young woman filled her calabash gourd with clean water, spoke briefly to the fish, and then left for home. When the fish submerged, the water went back to its original murky state.
The discovery dumbfounded the brother, and he ran home to recount his discovery to his mother. Upon arriving home out of breath and with his heart pounding, he placed his hands on his knees and panted “Mama! Papa! Sister has a boyfriend… and he’s a fish! … a big giant fish. He lives under the spring banks! …Hum gulp… everything seemed normal when I got the spring, until sister started to sing. Can you believe it, she sang to a fish? Anyway when she started singing the fish surfaced and the water became clear like a sunny summer day.”
The parents looked at each other flabbergasted. They could not believe when they just heard. They set up a plan to protect their daughter. But when the young lady returned home that evening, they did not let on that they knew. They let her go on thinking that her secret was safe.
The next morning the young woman went to the spring. Just like every morning, she began to sing "Tezin nan dlo.” The fish surfaced, but something was different about Tezin… she could feel it.
“Are you okay?”
“I am going to die,” Tezin replied. "Your parents and your brother know about us. They plan to kill me today. They will send you to the open market to buy groceries. When you’re gone the will come for me. You will know that I am gone around noon when you see three drops of blood on the left side of your breast.”
Later that morning, as predicted, the young woman was sent to the market. In frenzy, she checked off the items on her list, eager to be home before noon. Alas, it was half past noon when she checked off the last item on her list. Suddenly she remembered, and slowly looked down her chest. She checked her left breast, and there she spotted tree speckles of dried bloods. “Tezin is no more!” she said to herself. Inconsolable, she lamented all the way back home.
Her mother fixed super that night. She cooked fish with yams and served a plate to the daughter. The daughter’s eye bulged out as if she had seen a zombie. She ran to her room, taking with her a wide-tooth comb and a low wicker chair. She sat on the chair and began combing her hair. Every time she combed her hair, she descended slightly down into the ground - as if something was pulling her into the earth. She went further in further until only small pieces of her hair remained. Her worried brother went to the backyard to check on her. What he saw filled him with stupor, he yelled for his parents to come. By the time they got to the backyard, the only thing left of their child was a strand of hair sticking out of the ground.
The daughter did not die. Tezin protected her. Descending into the ground was the route that the she took to rejoin her beloved husband, Tezin. It turns out the parents could not kill Tezin, for he was magical. In addition, the parent did not know Thezin was a handsome young man one who is curse by a Mambo whom turned him into a fish. The Mambo did not take an account that Thezin could, even in his fish form fell in love…with a human. The young woman now lives under the spring banks with Tezin; the villagers can now see two fish instead of one!