Selekana and the River God
A tale from Botswana
Once there was a girl. Her name was Selekana. She lived in Botswana. She was beautiful. She was so beautiful, the other girls were jealous. The other girls were beautiful, but Selekana was the most beautiful girl in Botswana.
Selekana was also generous. Selekana gave to people in need. She gave her food to hungry people. She gave clothes to people who had no clothes. The people all said Selekana was the most beautiful person, inside and out.
One day, Selekana was at the river. She saw an old woman. The old woman needed help getting water. “That is too heavy. I will help!” said Selekana. She helped the old woman with the water.
The old woman said, “You are so kind, and so beautiful.” Then, the old woman took off her necklace. She gave the necklace to Selekana. She said, “I want to give you this. It is a very precious necklace. It has jewels from the River God.”
Selekana looked at the necklace. It was blue, like the river. It was covered in jewels. Selekana said, “Thank you! It is beautiful!” It was the most beautiful necklace Selekana had ever seen!
When the other girls went at the river, they saw the necklace. Immediately, they were jealous. It was the most beautiful necklace in Botswana. The girls were furious. They decided to trick Selekana.
The girls said, “The River God appeared. The River God wants a sacrifice: jewels. We all gave up our necklaces. Now, give up your necklace.”
Selekana was generous, so she was happy to give up all her necklaces. She said, “Generous River God, thank you for your water. Here is my sacrifice.” She gave up all her necklaces. The beautiful necklace disappeared into the river. She was sad to see the beautiful blue necklace go. It was so beautiful.
Then, the girls cried, “HA HA! Stupid girl! There is no sacrifice! Now you have no necklaces!” Then Selekana saw the girls’ necklaces. The girls did not give the River God their necklaces. They had tricked Selekana.
“You’re not so beautiful now!” they said. All the girls left. Selekana was alone.
Selekana sat by the river and cried. Then, the River God appeared. The River God was a beautiful woman. She wore beautiful blue clothes. She also wore the blue necklace.
Selekana saw the beautiful River God. She was amazed! The River God said, “Do not cry, follow me!” She disappeared into the river.
Selekana followed the River God. Selekana and the River God went into the river. Under the water, there was a cave. Inside the cave there was a beautiful palace. Selekana entered the River God’s palace and she was amazed! It was so beautiful.
In the palace, there was a beautiful box. It was covered in jewels. The River God gave the box to Selekana. She said, “You gave me your necklace. You have a pure, generous heart. Now, I give you this box.” In the box, there were hundreds of jewels and necklaces.
Selekana was amazed. She said, “Thank you! It is so beautiful! You are so generous!” Selekana left the palace with the box. It had so many precious jewels.
Then, the River God gave Selekana beautiful clothes. They had beautiful colors and designs. The clothes were fit for a princess – or a god.
Selekana left the river. She wore the beautiful clothes and the beautiful jewels.
The next day, the girls saw Selekana. They were amazed! They said, “Selekana, you disappeared into the river! Now, you have beautiful jewels!”
They saw Selekana had on the most beautiful necklaces. Selekana told her story about the River God and the cave. They were not jealous, only amazed.
If you visit Botswana, you will see some of Selekana’s necklaces today.