READ: It started with a puppy... (in English, isiXhosa, Sesotho and 3 more official languages)
One night, not too long ago, a puppy was wandering around sniffing at each dustbin he came across. He was hungry and he was lost. He didn’t know where he was going, but he did know that his tummy was empty and he needed food! Read on...
"The best dog in the world.” (Nal’ibali)
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This story is brought to you by Nal'ibali, which means Here's the story in isiXhosa. Nal'ibali is a storytelling initiative that aims to establish a culture of reading for enjoyment in children.

This story was created by Wendy Hartmann (Author), and Rico (Illustrator). 

Scroll down to download the PDF story in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Afrikaans, Sesotho. 

Read the story in English here:

It started with a puppy...

“Story, story, please Gogo, tell us a story,” begged Neo. Bella smiled and nodded.

“Yes, please,” said Afrika who was sitting on Gogo’s lap.

Gogo laughed. “Okay,” she said, “let me tell you the story of how you became friends. Did you know that it all started with a puppy?”

Neo nodded. Bella smiled and said, “Tell us, tell us.” And so Gogo began to tell the story.

One night, not too long ago, a puppy was wandering around sniffing at each dustbin he came across. He was hungry and he was lost. He didn’t know where he was going, but he did know that his tummy was empty and he needed food!

Illustration of sad dog in alley

Noodle bin lo-res

“Poor puppy,” said Afrika.

But there was no food near the dustbins. The puppy whined softly. He needed to eat and find a warm place to sleep. He walked down the street. There were many houses but some of them had big dogs that barked at him and showed their teeth. He was very scared.

Then, near the end of the street, he saw a little house that had no big dogs in the garden. The lights were on inside and it looked warm and friendly, so the puppy walked towards it.

As he got closer a wonderful smell reached his nose. The front door was open and he could see inside. He saw a little girl reading a book. She laughed to herself as she looked at the pictures.

“Supper time,” the puppy heard a soft, friendly voice call. He watched as the girl’s mother put a plate of noodles on the table. “I’ll fetch my plate and the sauce. Wash your hands quickly,” the woman said as she walked back towards the kitchen. The little girl rushed to the bathroom.

That was the moment the puppy had been waiting for. He dashed inside, jumped on the chair, buried his face in the plate of warm, yummy noodles and ate every single one of them. Then, just as quickly, he ran out the open door to hide outside.

Illustration of dog eating at a table

“But Mom,” called the little girl as she sat down at the table, “there’s no food on my plate.”

“WHAT?” Her mother rushed back into the room. “But I just dished some up.” She turned to look at the open door. “Oh no,” she said, “something or someone has come in and stolen your food.” She shut the front door and locked it.

Meanwhile the puppy had run round into the back garden. He found the kitchen door open and crept inside. The whole room was filled with the wonderful smell of food. There on the kitchen table was a big pot and another plate of noodles. The puppy again jumped onto a chair and once again put his face into the plate and started to eat.

Just then the little girl and her mother came into the kitchen.

“What’s going on?” said the girl’s mother loudly.

The puppy was so scared; he crept into a corner and whined.

“What are we going to do with you? You are VERY dirty,” said the woman.

“Ooo,” said the little girl, “and your mouth is still full of noodles!”

“Close the door,” said her mother. “We’ll eat first and then we’ll wash him.” And that’s what they did.

“Now,” said Gogo, “who can guess what they named the puppy?”

“NOODLE!” shouted Bella and Neo.

“Yes,” said Gogo. “And do you know who the people in the story were?”

“Bella and her mom,” shouted Afrika.

Illustration of mom and daughter walking down the

“MEEEE!” shouted Bella. Neo laughed.

“But that’s not the end of the story,” said Gogo. “Bella had to find out if the puppy belonged to anyone. Only if she could not find the owner, could she keep the puppy. So, the next day Bella and her mom went from door to door asking everyone if the puppy was theirs. But no one had seen it before. On her way Bella met Mme wa Afrika and …”

girl carrying noodle lo-res

“MEEEE!” shouted Afrika.

“Yes,” said Gogo, “and so you all met Noodle. And that is how you all became friends and Noodle became Bella’s dog, because nobody owned him.”

“And he’s the best dog in the world,” said Bella.

“And we’re the best friends in the world,” said Neo.

Download the English PDF here. 

To read the story in another language, download a PDF below:

Download the Afrikaans PDF here

Download the isiZulu PDF here

Download the Sepedi PDF here

Konke kwaqala ngenjana (isiXhosa)

Translated by Nobuntu Stengile

“Ibali, ibali, khawuncede kaloku Gogo usibalisele ibali,” wacenga watsho uNeo. UBella wancuma waza wanqwala naye.

“Ewe, siyakucela wethu,” watsho uAfrika owayefunqulwe nguGogo.

UGogo wahleka. “Kulungile ke,” watsho, “makhe ndinibalisele ibali lokuba naba ngabahlobo njani na. Ingaba benisazi ukuba konke kwaqala ngenjana?”

UNeo wanqwala. UBella wancuma waze wathi, “Sibalisele, sibalisele,” Ngoko ke, noGogo waqalisa ukubalisa ibali.

Ngobunye ubusuku, kutsha nje, injana yayihamba ijoja kuyo yonke imigqomo yenkunkuma eyayidibana nayo. Yayilambile kwaye yayilahlekile. Yayingazazi nalapho yayisiya khona kodwa yayisazi ukuba isisu sayo asinanto kwaye ifuna ukutya!

Illustration of sad dog in alley

“Usizana lwenjana,” watsho u-Afrika.

Kodwa kwakungekho kutya kufutshane nemigqomo yenkunkuma. Injana yayikhalela phantsi, incwina. Yayifuna ukutya kunye nendawo efudumeleyo yokulala. Yahamba ithoba isitalato. Kwakukho izindlu ezininzi kodwa ezinye zazo zazinezinja ezinkulu ezaziyikhonkotha ziyigragramele ngamazinyo azo amakhulu. Yayisoyika kakhulu.

Kwathi ekugqibeleni, ekupheleni kwesitalato, yabona indlu encincane eyayingenazo izinja ezinkulu eyadini. Kwakukhanyisiwe ngaphakathi kuyo kwaye yayikhangeleka ishushu inombizane nobubele, ngoko ke injana yasondela kule ndlwana.

Yathi xa isiya isondela yahlangatyezwa livumba elimnandi. Ucango lwangaphambili lwaluvulekile, ngoko ke yayikwazi ukubona okungaphakathi. Yabona intombazana encinane ifunda incwadi. Yayizihlekela, ibuka imifanekiso.

“Lixesha lesidlo sangokuhlwa,” injana yeva ilizwi lithethela phantsi nangobubele lisitsho. Yabukela lo gama umama wentombazanana ebeka ipleyiti ezele iinoodles phezu kwetafile. “Ndiza kuya kulanda eyam ipleyiti nesauce. Hlamba izandla zakho msinyane,” watsho umama wayo njengokuba wayebuyela ekhitshini. Intombazanana yakhawuleza yaya kungena kwigumbi lokuhlambela.

Lowo yayingumzuzu injana eyayilinde wona. Yakhawuleza yangena endlwini yatsibela esitulweni, yayifaka yatshona intloko yayo epleyitini eshushu nemnandi yeenoodles, yazibetha entloko ezo noodles. Ngokukhawuleza, yathi letshe yabaleka yaphuma phandle kwakhona, yazimela.

Illustration of dog eating at a table

“Hayi bo Mama,” yakhwaza yatsho intombazanana ihlala etafileni, “akukho kutya kule pleyiti yam.”

“INTONI?” Umama wakhe wakhawuleza wabuyela kwelo gumbi. “Kodwa bendisandul’ ukukuphakela ngoku.” Wajika wajonga umnyango owawuvuliwe. “O ndiyabona” watsho, “makube kukho into okanye umntu ongenileyo wakuba ukutya kwakho.” Waluvala ucango lwangaphambili waza walutshixa.

Ngelo xesha injana yayibaleke yajikela eyadini ngasemva. Yafumana ucango lwasekhitshini luvuliwe yaza yangena ngaphakathi. Eli gumbi lalizele livumba elimnandi lokutya. Apho phezu kwetafile yasekhitshini kwakukho imbiza enkulu kunye nenye ipleyiti yenoodles. Injana yatsibela esitulweni kwakhona yazingcwaba kuloo pleyiti, yaqalisa ukutya.

Kanye ngaloo mzuzu intombazanana kunye nomama wayo bangena ekhitshini.

“Kuqhubeka ntoni na apha?” watsho umama wale ntombazanana ekhwaza.

Injana yayisoyika; yanwayiza yaya ngasekoneni, incwina.

“Sikuthini? Umdaka KAKHULU,” watsho umama.

“Ooo,”yatsho intombazana, “kwaye nomlomo wakho usazele iinoodles!”

“Vala ucango, ” watsho umama wentombazana. “Siza kuqala sitye size emva koko siyihlambe.” Emva kokutya benza njalo.

“Ngoku ke,” watsho uGogo, “ngubani onokuqashela ukuba bayithiya igama elithini loo njana?”

“NGUNOODLE!” wakhwaza uBella kunye noNeo.

“Ewe,” watsho uGogo. “Niyabazi ukuba ngoobani aba bantu basebalini?”

“NguBella kunye noMama,” wakhwaza uAfrika.

“YAYINDIM!” watsho uBella. UNeo wahleka.

“Kodwa esi ayisosiphelo sebali eso,” watsho uGogo. UBella kwafuneka ukuba afumanise ukuba leyo yayiyinjana kabani na. Wayenokukwazi ukuyigcina kuphela xa engamfumani umniniyo. Ngoko ke, ngosuku olulandelayo uBella nomama wakhe bangena kuzo zonke izindlu ezisebumelwaneni bebuzisa ngale njana. Kwakungekho mntu wakhe wayibona ngaphambili. Endlelni uBella wadibana noMme wa Afrika kunye no….”

Illustration of mom and daughter walking down the

“NAM!” wakhwaza uAfrika.

“Ewe,” watsho uGogo, “kwaba njalo ke ukuhlangana kwenu noNoodle. Leyo ke yindlela enathi naba ngabahlobo ngayo waza noNoodle waba yinja kaBella, kuba kwakungekho mntu owathi yinja yakhe.”

“Kwaye yeyona nja ilungileyo kulo lonke ihlabathi,” watsho uBella.

“Kwaye nathi singabona bahlobo bakhulu ehlabathini,” watsho uNeo.

Download the isiXhosa PDF here. 

E qadile ka mootlwana (Sesotho) 

Translated by Hilda Mohale

“Pale, pale hle Gogo, re phetele pale,” ho kopa Neo. Bella a bososela a ba a oma ka hlooho.

“E, ka kopo hle, Ehlile,” ho rialo Afrika ya neng a dutse hodima Gogo.

Gogo a tsheha. “Ho lokile,” a araba, “e reng ke le phetele pale ya hore na ho tlile jwang hore le be metswalle. Na le a tseba hore tsohle di qadile ka lebaka la mootlwana?”

Neo a oma ka hlooho. Bella a bososela mme a re, “Re phetele, re phetele.” Yaba he Gogo o qala ho pheta pale.

Bosiung bo bong, e seng kgale haholo, ho ne ho e na le mootlwana o neng o ntse o solla o tsamaya o fofonela moqomo o mong le o mong wa matlakala oo o kopanang le ona. O ne o lapile ebile o lahlehile. O ne o sa tsebe moo o yang teng, empa o ne o tseba hore lephako la wona le a uba mme o ne o hloka dijo ka potlako!

Illustration of sad dog in alley

“Ao mootlwana wa batho,” ha rialo Afrika.

Empa ho ne ho se dijo haufi le meqomo ya matlakala. Mootlwana wa tsetselela fatshe. O ne o batla ho ja le ho fumana sebaka se mofuthu sa ho robala. Wa theosa ka seterata. Ho ne ho e na le matlo a mangata empa a mang a ona a ne a e na le dintja tse kgolo tse neng di o bohola di bile di senaka meno. O ne o tshohile haholo.

Yaba hang, ho ella qetello ya seterata, wa bona ntlo e nyane e neng e se na dintja tse kgolo ka jareteng. E ne e kgantshitswe mabone ka hare mme e shebahala e le mofuthu ebile e tletse setswalle, kahoo mootlwana wa leba ho yona.

Eitse ha o atamela wa utlwa monko o monate o fihla nkong ya wona. Lemati la ka pele le ne le butswe mme o ne o kgona ho bona ka hare. O ile wa bona ngwanana e monyane a bala buka. O ne a ntse a itshehela a le mong ha a ntse a shebile ditshwantsho.

“Ke nako ya selallo,” mootlwana wa utlwa lentswe le bonolo, le mosa le hoeletsa. Wa shebella ha mme wa ngwananyana eo a bea poleiti ya di-noodle tafoleng. “Ke sa ilo lata poleiti ya ka le moro. Hatlela kapele,” mosadi eo a rialo ha a kgutlela ka kitjhineng. Ngwananyana a potlakela ka phaposing ya ho itlhatswetsa.

Oo e ne e le motsotso oo mootlwana oo o neng o o emetse. Wa kena ka tlung ka potlako, wa hlwella hodima setulo, wa diketsa sefahleho sa wona ka hara poleiti ya di-noodle mme wa di ja kaofela. Yaba, ka lona lepotlapotla leo, o mathela ka ntle ho ya ipata.

Illustration of dog eating at a table

“Empa Mme,” ha hoeletsa ngwananyana eo ha a dula tafoleng, “ha ho dijo poleiting ya ka.”

“ENG?” Mmae a potlakela ka phaposing eo. “Empa ke sa tswa o ngwathela dijo.” Yaba o a hetla ho sheba lemating le bulehileng. “Tjhe bo,” a rialo, “ho na le ntho e nngwe kapa motho ya keneng mona a utswa dijo tsa hao.” A kwala lemati la ka pele a ba a le notlela.

Ka nako eo mootlwana o ne o mathetse serapeng se ka mora ntlo. Wa fumana lemati la kitjhine le butswe mme wa nanara wa kena ka hare. Phaposi yohle e ne e tletse monko o monate wa dijo. Hodima tafole ya kitjhine ho ne ho e na le pitsa e kgolo le poleiti e nngwe ya di-noodle. Mootlwana oo wa boela wa hlwella setulong mme wa kenya sefahleho sa wona ka hara poleiti mme wa qala ho ja.

Ka nako yona eo, ngwananyana le mmae ba kena ka kitjhineng.

“Ho etsahalang?” ha hoeletsa mme wa ngwananyana eo.

Mootlwana o ne o tshohile haholo; wa itshunya hukung mme wa tsetsela.

“Re tla etsa eng ka wena? Ako bone hore o ditshila JWANG,” ho rialo mosadi.

“Aoo,” ho rialo ngwananyana, “le molomo wa hao o ntse o kgenathetse di-noodle!”

“Kwala monyako,” ha rialo mmae. “Re tla ja pele ebe re a o hlatswa.” Yaba ba etsa jwalo.

“Jwale,” Gogo a botsa, “Ke mang ya ka lepang hore ba ile ba reha mootlwana oo lebitso lefe?”

“KE NOODLE!” ha hoeletsa Bella le Neo.

“Ehlile,” ho rialo Gogo. “Na le a tseba hore batho ba paleng ee e ne e le bomang?”

“Bella le mme wa hae,” ho hoeletsa Afrika.

“KE NNAAAA!” ha hoeletsa Bella. Neo a tsheha.

“Empa eo ha se pheletso ya pale,” ha rialo Gogo. “Bella o ile a tlameha ho ya batlisisa hore na ebe mootlwana oo o ne o e na le monga wona kapa tjhe. Ke ha a ne a ka se fumane monga wona feela moo a neng a ka inkela wona. Yaba ka letsatsi le hlahlamang Bella le mmae ba tsamaya ba kena ntlo le ntlo ba botsa batho bohle hore na ebe mootlwana oo ha se wa bona. Empa ho ne ho se motho ya kileng a o bona pele ho moo. Yaba Bella o kopana le Mme wa Afrika le … tseleng”

Illustration of mom and daughter walking down the


“LE NNAAAA!” ha hoeletsa Afrika.

“Ehlile,” ha rialo Gogo, “yaba bohle le kopana le Noodle. Ke kamoo lona bohle le bileng metswalle mme Noodle e bileng ntja ya Bella, hobane o ne o se na monga wona.”

“Athe ke ntja e ntle e lokileng ka ho fetisisa lefatsheng,” ho rialo Bella.

“Mme re metswalle ya hlooho ya kgomo lefatsheng lohle,” ha rialo Neo.

Download the Sesotho PDF here. 

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