Ayan, The Masked Drummer
Ayan was a poor orphan boy. He was, however, a gifted drummer, so whenever he was sad, he played the drums, the only things he inherited from his parents. He loved the melodious sounds of his drums, and playing them made him happy.
Unfortunately, a magician who wanted his son to be able to play as beautifully as Ayan got jealous of his talent. He tried to cast a spell on him so he would not play so beautifully. The magician wanted his son to become the best drummer in the country. Fortunately for Ayan, the spell did not work as well as the magician had hoped. The magic only left Ayan with some hideous scars on his face. If anything, Ayan played even better. Ayan went to the best healer to find a cure for his face, but the Sangoma told him that the spell could only be broken by a miracle. The scars on Ayan’s face were so ugly that he never let anyone see his face again. He wore a mask wherever he went. He soon became known as the masked drummer.
One day the King of the country invited all the important chiefs to a great conference, an indaba. Ayan, the masked drummer, was one of the drummers invited to perform at the indaba. Princess Zenani, who was in charge of organizing the entertainment, heard Ayan play and was so impressed with his drumming that she decided to organize a drumming competition to determine the master drummer in the realm. Thirty-six drummers from all over the domain, including Ayan and the wicked magician’s son, participated in the competition. There were five judges selected from the five regions of the land, and they all awarded Ayan the highest scores. The poor orphan boy emerged the master drummer of the realm!
Although Princess Zenani had never seen Ayan’s face, she had begun to fall in love with him. She did not only love his drumming, but she noticed how kind and gentle he was. He was also always respectful to everyone he met.
After observing him for a few months after he became the master drummer, Zenani went over to the place where she knew he practiced his drumming daily. She went there to tell him that she loved him. To her surprise, he confessed that he loved her too.
“Then, I’ll tell my father so our wedding can be arranged,” Princess Zenani said as she reached out to touch his masked face. Ayan held her hand before she could touch his mask.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Why is it not? Were you lying when you said you l…”
“Of course not. I love you. Have you never heard of the spell that …”
Ayan was upset that she doubted his love.
“I know about the scars on your face, but I am in love with who you are, not what you look like. The scars don’t matter.” Slowly, Ayan took off his mask, and Princess Zenani beamed. At first, Ayan did not know why she looked so pleased. Then he touched his face, and it felt smooth again. All the ugly scars were gone!
“You must be the miracle the Sangoma said would cure me!”
He was now a handsome young man again. He and Zenani were married a few days later, and they lived happily ever after.