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close this bookBukusu Folktales (Kenya Literature Bureau, 1986, 134 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe Boy Who ate the Elephants' Rumps
View the documentThe Hare and the Leopard
View the documentMwambu and Sella
View the documentThe Story of Apelu
View the documentHare Steals a Hen
View the documentSimbi and Namakanda
View the documentKhole
View the documentWanakhatandi
View the documentA Father and His Son
View the documentAn Old Woman and Her Deformed Son
View the documentThe Dog and the Leopard's Children
View the documentNasio and her Brother
View the documentHare, Hyena and Lizard
View the documentKasawa and his Forbidden Pumpkins
View the documentA Woman and Her Daughter of Clay
View the documentHare leads Leopard to a Hive
View the documentHyena and Baboon
View the documentHare and Elephant Pay a Visit
View the documentLemata and Katamba
View the documentThree Men meet a Strange Old Woman
View the documentA Hyena Ate His Protector
View the documentThe Secret of a Murder
View the documentA Bull Newt Who Refused to heed his wife's advice
View the documentA Dying Old Woman earns Bridewealth for her Sons
View the documentFortuity is like Dew Drops
View the documentA Basket Maker Declares Himself Free from the Burden of Debts
View the documentThe Thirsty Intruder
View the documentBack Cover

Hare, Hyena and Lizard

One day, Hare said to Hyena, “Brother Hyena, you know I like you very much. I would hate to see you in trouble at any time at all whilst we are great friends like this. All I ask of you is that you try to heed other people's advice. I personally have had a lot of experience in life and I feel that whenever and wherever we go out together you should always listen to what I tell you. All right?”

The two friends continued talking as they moved towards a mountain cave. On coming close to the cave Hare said, “Brother Hyena, let us examine this cave to see whether it can provide one with shelter in time of attack by an enemy.”

Hyena agreed and followed Hare into the cave. Whilst they were still looking around Hare started screaming and shaking as if he were retreating from imminent danger. “Eey, eeey! Brother Hyena we are in for trouble. This stone is going to crash on our heads. Please watch out! Ooooh....help....heeeelp, Please he--elp!”

Seeing that Hare was putting in an effort to hold the stone back into position Hyena came over to help him, stretching his hind limb to a breaking point. “This is right, Brother Hyena,” said Hare as he pretended to be gasping for breath. “Keep on holding there without losing your grip, while I go to summon more help.”

Hare ran out of the cave crying and shouting aimlessly, “Help, help....he..e..elp!” until he disappeared from sight and went home. Poor Hyena continued holding the rock day and night without relaxing a muscle at all. He was so hungry that his desire for food stretched to a point where he was almost ready to eat anything that would come his way. On the fifth day a lizard who passed by everyday saw Hyena still transfixed in the same position as he had seen him previously. “Brother Hyena,” he shouted, “how are you getting on over there? Each day I pass here I see you supporting that rock. What is wrong with you are you in trouble or something?”

Hyena said, “I am in trouble, Brother. This rock is threatening to fall on me! I sent Hare out the other day to go and seek for more help but the fellow has not shown up as yet. It is really a long time since he left here. Please give me a helping hand Brother Lizard.”

Lizard said, “Don't be a fool, Brother! I cannot imagine that you are that stupid. I have never seen such a stupid person. Don't you always see me walking on the same rock leisurely? When has it ever shaken? Leave it alone and go home. Come on, leave that rock and go your way!”

As Hyena stepped back from holding the rock he stumbled and fell down. He was weak and completely emaciated having stayed without food and drink for so long. One could almost count his ribs which were showing out very clearly. “Thank you very much Brother Lizard,” he said as he struggled to stand up. “Now give me your hand so that I can give you a big thank you. Please come nearer!” As Lizard stretched out his hand Hyena grabbed it hungrily and said, “I feel so hungry that you will have to excuse me if I count you as my first meal today.”

“No, no, no!” cried Lizard. “That would be very unkind of you.... I have helped you out of trouble and you now want to show me such ingratitude. Leave me alone....please leave me alone.”

But Hyena did not loosen his grip on Lizard's hand. He ate him up.