Early one morning, a little African girl woke on her sleeping mat. She stretched and yawned when she heard her big sister, Deda, pounding maize into meal and singing. Zua wished she was big enough to pound maize. It sounded great fun.
But when Zua stood in the doorway of the round African house, she didn’t look at her sister. No, she stared at Mboni, her mother, with unblinking round eyes, wondering whatever she could be making with so small a lump of clay.
“What do you make, Mama?” she asked curiously. Mboni looked up.
“What do you think it is, my Brightness?”
Zua looked at the small lump of red clay in her mother’s hands, wondering and wondering. Then she shook her curly head.
“It can’t be a cooking-pot. It’s far too small.”
“It’s not a cooking-pot,” agreed Mboni, pressing her fist deep into the centre of the clay. Then she moulded the red clay into the shape of a jar with a narrow rim, turning and smoothing it with her strong, clay-stained.
“And it can’t be a water-pot. It’s far too small for that either,” said Zua.
“But it is a water-pot, Zua. A little water-pot for a little woman.”
“She must be a very little woman if she can only carry a water-pot that size.” Zua
sounded puzzled. “I’ve never seen a woman as small as that, never.”
Deda laughed merrily.
“Ho! Ho! Just hark at Zua. She’s never seen a little woman.”
Zua hated to be laughed at.
“Well, have you, Deda?”
“Oh, many, many times,” answered Deda, chuckling to herself as she gave the maize a final bang.
“Will you show me this little woman, Mama?” pleaded Zua, feeling very curious.