The King's Birthmark

Part Two 

The man never went back to the river. Reeds soon grew up and covered the hole. They grew big and strong.

One day, many years later, the king decided to give a big feast.

"I want music at the feast," he told his servants. "Call the musicians. I want them to play for me. My guests will come from far away. The musicians must play their best music."

The musicians were worried when they heard this.

"We need new flutes," they said. "Our old flutes don't make good music now. Let's go down to the river, and cut some reeds. We'll make new flutes from them."

They went down to the river and cut some reeds. They made beautiful new flutes from them.

The night of the feast came at last. The cooks made delicious food, and plenty of beer and tej. Everyone ate and drank well.

"Where are the musicians?" the king called out. "Let them play now!"

Two musicians, a singer and a flute player, came into the room.

"I have a new song for you, Your Majesty," the singer told the king. "Here are the words:

Our king is lion.

He is brave and strong.

He looks after his people

All day long."

"Good. Very good," said the king. "Begin your song."

The singer began to sing, and the flute player lifted the flute to his mouth. He began to blow. But the flute began to sing too. Its sound was loud, much louder than the singer's voice.

"The king has a birthmark on his head," it sang. "The king has a birthmark on his head!"

The king looked up. He was angry.

"Take this man away," he cried. "Take him to the gorge and cut off his head!"

His servants ran forward and caught the poor flute player. They took him to the gorge, and cut off his head.

The king sat down again.

"Where is the second flute player?" he asked. "Let him play."

The second flute player came and stood in front of the king.

"Start the song again," said the king to the singer.

"Our king is a lion,

He is brave and…." began the singer.

But the second flute player's flute began to sing too, and it sang louder than the singer.

"The king has a birthmark on his head," it sang. "The king has a birthmark on his head!"

The king was very, very angry. He jumped to his feet.

"This man is my enemy too," he shouted. "Take him to the gorge and cut off his head. Are all my people against me? Where are the elders of Wolayita? Send them to me!"