|Bukusu Folktales (Kenya Literature Bureau, 1986, 134 p.)|
Once upon a time Hare and Leopard, lived together as good neighbours. One day Hare said to Leopard, Why can't we start cooking and eating together? And Leopard said, Yes, why not? So, the two friends began to help each other in all household chores.
One day, Leopard said, My friend Hare, the planting season has come. Let us go to the fields and plant groundnuts. Hare said, No, I am ill. My friend, you go alone. I will stay at home and take care of the cooking.
So, Leopard went to the fields alone. He did this every day until planting was over. When the weeding season came he said, My friend Hare, let us go and cultivate the fields. Hare said, No, my friend Leopard, you go alone. I am going to look for some chicken. We certainly cannot go on eating sifuluko as if we are too poor to change to something better. Leopard said, Well, that sounds good, brother Hare. You may in this case stay at home then.
When Leopard returned home after work, he found hare having prepared a very delicious chicken stew. Leopard washed his hands and sat down to have a bite. Just as he picked up a piece of chicken, he heard footsteps outside.
My friend, Hare, he said, please go and find out who may be hanging around the barns. It sounds like footsteps of a thief who might be tiptoeing towards the groundnut barn. Please make haste.
No, said Hare, those are just the hallucinations of a hungry man. No wonder they say that: Extreme hunger sharpens one's ear and sense of feeling. However, Leopard insisted that there were strange noises outside which he could hear very clearly.
I tell you, he said, those are not just figments of my imagination.
Within a moment, before Leopard finished speaking, Tortoise appeared at the door, carrying with him feathers of a hen. My friend, he said to Leopard, I can see you holding a piece of chicken. You seem to be the thief who has finished my chickens.
No, no, no said Leopard, I am not a thief. And besides I do not cook, so you better speak to....
Aaah! said Tortoise, but you are eating chicken just now! Here are the feathers of the chicken you are enjoying. Today is today, my friend, I will call King Lion to come and settle this matter. Leopard got so embarrassed and perplexed that the piece of chicken he was holding dropped...
On seeing that things were getting hot, Hare sneaked away in panic and hid himself in the bedroom. This aroused suspicion in Tortoise, who exchanged telling glances with Leopard, and hastily added; In this case, Hare must be able to explain.
So, Leopard and Tortoise seized Hare, saying Now we are going to slaughter you like the hen you have been eating. Hare yelled and pleaded with them: Please, please, please, don't kill me! If you kill me, I will not cook well in the pot. I will taste very bitter. That is one peculiarity of us Harefolk that I think you are not aware of. Since you are my friends, I don't see why I should not be honest with you even when you mean to kill me. For best results, you'd better put me in a big pot containing sifuluko and then cook me slowly on dying ambers.
Thus, Leopard and Tortoise agreed to cook Hare in the manner he had chosen, believing that whichever way he was cooked, they would still chew him with their teeth. Leopard prepared ugali, and when it was ready he emptied the contents, of the pot onto a plate. No sooner was Hare dished out than he leapt out of the house and fled. His whole body was completely covered with sifuluko. Leopard and Tortoise chased after him shouting: Heeeey....heeey....heee! Stop so that we may also lick that nice relish! Heeeey.....heeeey.....heee, stop! But Hare screamed back taunts: If I do this, and turn this way and that way, I can lick myself can't I? You clumsy fellows go back, I don't want your company.....and he licked the sifuluko that covered his body as he said this.......