The Boy Who Danced: Liberian Cinderella Story
There lived a little orphan boy who had two older sisters; he was a gentle and good-natured lad, but his sisters were cruel and unkind to him. He was only given scraps of food to eat, and his sisters beat him every day and made him to do their work. They were ashamed of him because he had so many yaws and ugly sores.
The two girls excelled at dancing, and whenever there was a feast in any nearby town they were invited; the little boy could always beg to go with them but they would only beat him and give hem extra work to do. On such occasions he would take of his yaws and sores, hide them in a spot, and slip away to dance disguised as a handsome youth. Before the feast was over he would hurry home, and when his sisters came they would be surprised to find their ragged brother knew of everything which had happened at the dance.
“How do you know these things?” they would ask.
“I dreamed while you were gone, “ he would reply. They would beat him for dreaming, and send him about his work.
One day a poor old lady came to the house; the two sisters drove her from their door, but the boy saw she was hungry, and gave her the poor food he had. On this day a great feast was being held in a neighboring town; the little boy begged to go, but his sisters went without him. After they had gone he took off all his sores and yaws and put them in the spot, and slipped away. The old woman had secretly been watching him and after he had gone she burned the yaws and sores and threw the ashes in the river.
At the feast the two girls saw a handsome youth who danced better than anyone else, and after a little while they went to him and begged that he would marry them.
“Be patient,” he said. “Wait until the end of the feast.”
He knew he would not be there at the end of the feast. He danced so well that people brought him gifts such as a sheep, and a goat, an cow, and rice, palm wine and oil and other things; and when he left he took them home. He went to the old woman saying:
“I have brought you things which you may keep; for you are poor, and old, and thus my mother might have been. But you must go away, lest my sisters steal your things and beat you.”
He went to find his yaws and sores, but they were gone.
“I took your things,” the woman said, “those ugly things you wore upon your skin. I burned them, and threw the ashes in the river; for now you have no need of them. Know that I am the spirit of your mother, Son, and through you will be blessed a hundred times for your kindness and pure heart; your cruel and wicked sisters shall never find their way back to this house.”
Before the boy could answer her, his mother had disappeared.
He found his single sheep had become a hundred sheep, his goat a hundred fine fat cows. He went into the night and called his sisters, but they never found their way back to their home and no many could say where they had gone.