They met at dusk. She with her rooibos skin. Him with his pitch black hair. Their eyes met and her heart melted.

They married at dawn. They were far from his home and wanted to be on their way as early as possible. The entire village showed up to see them off. The priest performed a simple ceremony to seal the agreement of love between the young pair.

They reached a quiet pond.
“Let’s rest and eat the food my mother had prepared for us,” she suggested.

Taken aback by his abrupt response, vastly different from the tone he had courted her with, she followed behind him, tired and hungry.

They reached a cool glade.
“Let’s rest and eat the food my mother had prepared for us,” she suggested.
He turned around in surprise. “Are you defying me?” he asked.
“Yes. I’m tired. My mother had prepared this food for our journey. I’m hungry.”
She sat down and opened the bundle. She looked up to offer her husband a slice of cheese. But in stead of her handsome husband there stood a wild dog, ears as black as her husband’s hair. The wild dog grabbed the food parcel and ran off.
“Hey,” she shouted after him, quick on her feet, her hunger fuelling her pursuit.

They ran.
They ran until dusk. The wild dog curled up underneath a rock. The young wife sat down in the road and tried to sleep. At sunrise the wild dog took the bundle and ran off. She followed him, slowed by fatigue and her screaming belly.

Before long they reached a cottage. The wild dog entered. The girl followed. Her husband greeted her.
“Now we can eat,” he said. She collapsed into his arms.

The pair lived happily in the cottage in the woods and soon she was with child. When the time for birth was near she set out to her mother’s village.

“You shouldn’t go,” her husband said.
“You cannot help me in this time, and there are no midwifes in this forest. My mother will take good care of me and our child and we will return as soon as we are able.”

In her heavy condition the going was slow. She reached the glade where she had wanted to rest when she was just married.
“I’ll spend a few hours gathering my strength here,” she decided. She spread out her blanket and took out some food she had prepared for herself. A frog hopped closer.
“You look hungry, little friend,” she said. She broke off a piece of cheese and fed it to the frog.
“Croak,” the frog said as it hopped away.

When she was rested she set off again. She reached the pond where she had wanted to rest when she was just married.
“I’ll spend a few hours gathering my strength here.” She spread out her blanket and took out the rest of her food. A bullfrog as big as her belly reared its head from below the pond’s surface.
“Oh my,” she said, taken aback.
“You have been kind to my kin,” the bullfrog said, “so I will offer you this advice in return: Drown yourself and the child you carry, for no good can come from an alliance with the Wild Dog.”
She took to her feet as quick as she was able.
“I beg your pardon,” she said, “how dare you…” A roar from the woods behind her, and the next thing she saw was a wild dog pouncing on the bullfrog. They wrestled in the water, the frog defending itself from the dog’s claws and teeth with brute strength. They were evenly matched and after the longest time, both ceased to breathe and sank down under the water. As she watched their bodies disappear, she noticed a glint of gold drifting to the surface. She waded in and with a stick drew it closer.

It was her husband’s wedding ring.
She stood there in the water, holding the ring. The sun set. The moon rose.

Rather than risk the consequences, she decided to heed the bullfrog’s advice.

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