It Takes A Village to Heal Mental Illness

Staying with the theme of healing mental illness, I’d like to share the story of “The Girl Who Crunched Bones,” a folktale from Zambia that can be found in Five Minute Tales, by Margaret Read MacDonald.

There was this girl. Every day she went into the bush. Every evening she returned. Her mother called her. “Here, come and eat. Here is good food for you.”

The girl replied, “No, I am not hungry.”

Each day it was this way. The mother worried. “How can my daughter refuse to eat? How can she live like this?”

The mother went to a village elder for aid. The elder said, “Here is a magic herb. Put this in your mouth. When you call,  your daughter must answer. This way you can discover where she is and what she is doing. During the day she does something. You must find out what she does.”

The next day the girl left her home. The mother waited. Then she put the herb in her mouth. She walked into the bush and began to call.

“Kambilocho! Kambilocho! Tuuu!”

The daughter answered from over there.

“Kukutu…kukutu…kukutu…I am crunching people’s bones.”

The mother ran home in terror. The people of the village said, “What happened? What happened?”

The mother told them, My daughter, she made sounds like crunching bones! Her voice came from that place, that place where graves are made.”

The people of the village said, “We will go with you.” They all walked to that place.

What will they find? Find out next time!

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