This story was told me by Donald “Babu” Zakayo, of Wamba, Kenya in the late 1990s along with several other stories, a few of which I offer here. The edited transcription is mine.
THE OLD MAN was very very old. He had two sons. Only. He was not rich. He was poor.
Yes, he was very poor.
That old man told his two sons, “Now I am about to die. What do you think I owe you now?”
One boy said, “Me, I don’t want you to owe me anything. I don’t want you to owe me anything now, but when I am about fifty, sixty, I want you to bless me to get a lot of wealth.”
The other boy said, “Me, I won’t wait. I want them right now.”
The father ask, “What’s that you want right now?”
He said, “Wealthy.”
Then the father say to that boy, “When I die, when you go to bury me, my finger look upward.”
And the other one was told, “I bless you. When you be old you’ll get money.”
Now, when the old man died they went and buried him. They did that. After a few days they went to see their father’s grave. They saw a lot of tall trees! Oh, it was wonderful!
The boy who said I want wealth right now said, “These are my wealth that father tell me, ‘When I die you bury me my finger look upward.’”
So, he took the trees. He started cutting, making some for the firewood, some for timber. And he sold! The man became rich. The other one never became. He went poor and poor and poor.
The boy who said, “I want mine first, he was real rich, but he could not keep the money he was given because he was too young. He started drinking beer, making loving with ladies, misusing the money. Oh! When he was fifty the wealth is finished! He has spent everything!
Now, the first brother, his wealth is started. But before this wealth is started he tried selling firewood. Nobody would buy from him. He tried to sell the stone. Nobody wanted anything. Everything he tried in his life was impossible, so, one day he went to rest, like right now, where we are resting. It was, I think, two o’clock when he came to rest. When he was asleep he heard some queer voices coming up the tree.
He said, “Oh! What’s that?” When he look up he saw an eagle with a chicken, a small chicken. The eagle wanted to pick the chicken’s head. The eagle dropped down the chicken. When it was almost to take it again the old man went and fetched the little chicken.
The eagle was really angry.
He said, “What can I do with this chicken? This little chicken? Should I kill it?”
He said, “No! I’ll take it home.”
In this world he was left with one little chicken.
He took the little chicken home. He gave it posho to eat. He stayed with the chicken. The chicken became bigger, bigger! When it was ready it went around eating the small worms, and one day, when the old man came in his house, he found an egg.
“Chicken’s egg!” he said, “Oh, wonderful! What is this egg for? Oh, it is from my chicken!”
Tomorrow he came again, and he found two eggs! After one month there were thirty eggs!
When he came out next there were thirty chickens, plus the one he had. There were thirty-one! Oh! The old man was happy!
“Oh! Oh! Oh! I’m really lucky! Why did I get this wealth from?”
The old man kept on looking after his chickens. Now he was very much wealth.
Now all those chickens laid eggs. There were about sixty! Oh! After that they came many many, but it was impossible to look after them. The old man try and sell them but it was impossible because there were too many.
He said, “These chickens are too much. They are even disturbing my house! I don’t have room to sleep because everywhere there are chickens!”
Now, what he did, he went to exchange every ten chickens, one goat. Every ten chickens one goat. He exchanged, but the chickens were still more and more! He came home with goats and still chicks. He looked after the goats, because he had five. And then when they give birth, every one gives two so there were about, how many? There were five, now there were fifteen! Next time there were over forty! The old man was very rich. It was wonderful! But how is this old man getting money from these goats? Cow! Lets take cow!
He exchange with man. Says the man, “You just give us two goats and we give you a cow.”
The cow was weak. Too weak.
The old man thinks, thinks, said, “Yes, yes, I like!” He give two, he add one cow. He give two, he add one cow. “Have more lucky goats! Give me the cows!”
Too many! He couldn’t look after them! So he had to look for a wife. He got one wife. One wife was not enough. Who would take care of the goats? Who would take care of the chickens?
So, he say, “I must have a second wife!”
The brother came to the brother and said, “What’s wrong? Now I am poor and you are rich?”
“Why, you see, when our dad died he asked us, “What do you want?” and you said, ‘I want my money before,” but I said, “Later, when I grow up, let me be wealthy.’”
So, now, the old man came many many rich. Even he couldn’t know his children! He had sixty children and he divided the wealthy, but there was still a lot a lot a lot; even what he wanted.