Author: John Steptoe
Plot Summary: A beautifully illustrated telling of an African tale, this story is about two sisters, Nyasha and Manyara, who learn that the king of their land is looking for a wife and calling all eligible women to come before him so that he may choose one. Manyara and Nyasha are urged by their father to make the journey to town to meet the king in hopes that he will choose one of them to marry. Manyara leaves town early so as to get a head start to the palace and give herself an advantage, while Nyasha waits to travel with the others as they had previously agreed upon. Along their journeys, each of the girls encounters various obstacles and handles them differently. Manyara, being greedy and competitive, often reacts in selfishness and haste, where as Nyasha, being gentle and loving, tends to respond to the obstacles with compassion and patience. When they reach the palace, the King meets each of them in a different form and reveals that he was present at each of the obstacles along the way, disguised to learn the true nature of each girl's identity. Because of her kindness and generosity, the King chooses Nyasha to be his wife.
Posted In: Ethics

Discussion Questions
  • When did the story take place?
  • Why was Manyara so mean?
  • How did the king shape shift?
  • How did Nyoka get back to the castle so quickly?
  • Why do the sisters have opposite behavior?
  • How old was the girl who got married?
  • Is the story saying that you should never have anger?
  • Did Nyasha get an elephant when she became queen?
  • Why does the King disguise himself?
  • Are the King’s disguises deceitful?
  • What do the priorities of the sisters say about their personalities and vice versa?
  • What does the title of the story suggest?
  • What is true beauty?
  • Are the traits that Nyasha displays always favorable over the ones that Manyara displays?
  • What does this story tell us about the community it belongs to?
  • How do we feel about the King choosing a wife?
  • How might this story look if it were set in present day in our community?

Contributed by Gobe Hirata