Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

Here’s a bit of background on the artwork I have on the work-in-progress board:

This will be the next installment in a series of hidden picture fairy tale art I have been doing. For the Art Helping Mountain Gorillas auction, what better tale to tell than one from Africa?

“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is a lovely fairy tale from Zimbabwe. It’s been called a Cinderella story, but a more accurate comparison would be to “Beauty and the Beast.”

In the tale, Mufaro is the father of two beautiful daughters: Manyara, who is attractive in appearance, but self-centered and unkind; and Nyasha, whose gentle beauty matches her compassionate heart. Mufaro’s daughters receive a summons to appear before the King, who has decided to take one of them to be his wife.

Eager to be queen, Manyara sneaks out in the night so that she may reach the King ahead of her sister. Along the way, a hungry little boy asks her for food; but she ignores him, thinking only of herself.

The following morning, her sister Nyasha accompanies the wedding party in its procession to meet the King. The same hungry boy makes his plea to the group, and kind-hearted Nyasha stops the procession so that she may give him food. When Nyasha is brought to the King’s chambers, she is suddenly surprised to see her sister run from the room in a panic. “There is a horrible monster inside!” Manyara cries.

Courageously, Nyasha steps into the room to see what her sister was so afraid of. Yet what she discovers is not a terrible monster–only a small garden snake that she recognizes as her companion from back home. Before her very eyes, her little friend transforms into the figure of a man—the King himself.

The King knew of Nyasha’s gentleness from her friendship toward a wild creature; and he knew, also, of her kindness toward the hungry boy. She was the beautiful woman—in face and spirit—that he wanted to have for his bride.

I feel that this story illustrates the purpose of the upcoming charity auction so well. Like Nyasha, so many beautiful souls are showing kindness and compassion toward their fellow human beings and toward the creatures of the planet, both through their artwork and their efforts to help. As we work together, let’s hope for a “Happily Ever After”!


~Christine Taylor


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