How the Friendship Between the Honeybadger and the Sea Eagle was Destroyed

Here is a story:

There once were a Honeybadger and a Sea Eagle who became friends. The Sea Eagle had a wife and children and the Honeybadger also had a wife and children. The Honeybadger had his own good ways to strengthen their friendship. He would gather honey. The Sea Eagle also thought of good ways to strengthen their friendship. He would catch fish.

One day, the Sea Eagle was carrying some fish which he intended to give to his friend, the Honeybadger. This made the Honeybadger very happy and he said: My friend, don’t ever stop. Then the Honeybadger gave him what he had prepared for him. The Sea Eagle ate it and went home. The Honeybadger said: Friendship cannot be one way. One day, he too went and tore apart a wild beehive. He tore it apart in many places. Then he carried the honey and held some of it with his mouth and went to the Sea Eagle. The Sea Eagle saw his friend and said to his wife: Go and take the gifts he is bringing. This is a sign of a true friendship which should be longed for. The Sea Eagle received the gifts. They ate, they ate well.

Then all the people from the village said: The Sea Eagle always brings the Honeybadger fish, but he gives us nothing. The Honey Badger always brings the Sea Eagle honey, but he never give us any! This is wrong.

One day, when the Honeybadger said: Tomorrow I am going to give the Sea Eagle some honey. A certain villager went ahead of him as he knew the way the Honeybadger used to take and he asked: You Honeybadger, where are you going? He replied: You man! I am going to see my friend, the Sea Eagle as I have not seen him for a long time. The villager said: Ho ho ho! You are taking it to the Sea Eagle? Didn’t you hear how the Sea Eagle is cursing you every day and says: Is he going to bring me some plasters with honey so my children choke on it? If they choke, I will give him a terrible thrashing. The Honeybadger said: Really? He replied: Yes. The Honeybadger decided not to take the honey to his friend. Instead, he returned to the village and sat down in thought for a very long time.

His friend, the Sea Eagle, knew nothing of this. He took some fish in a big basket and said: Let me take some to the Honeybadger so he can enjoy eating it. And again the same villager knew that this was the very day when the Sea Eagle would bring fish to the Honeybadger. He went and stood in the middle of the road and met the Sea Eagle carrying huge baskets on a pole. The villager asked: Where are you carrying these loads? The Sea Eagle said: After many days, I am taking it to my friend, the Honeybadger, whom I haven’t seen for a long time. The villager said: Are you taking it to the Honeybadger? Yesterday he was insulting you terribly. If you had heard it for yourself, you would not go there: Then he added: ‘If my children choke on a fishbone, I do not know what I would do to him.’ The Sea Eagle said: How come? We have been friends a long time. Could he really say this? The man say: This is the truth! At that moment, the baskets felt much heavier. The Sea Eagle said: Take this fish. He was not able to see his friend.

One day, the Honeybadger said: Today, I have to see my friend. His friend, the Sea Eagle made some plans and said: Today, I have to see my friend. As he was on his way, the other one did the same thing. When the one, who set them against each other, saw that one of them was on his way, he went in front and soon he saw the Sea Eagle was coming from the river. When the Sea Eagle said: Let us greet each other, the Honeybadger came and they met. The man who turned them against each other ran away. The Sea Eagle said: You man! Is this the way we love each other? Could I really cause your children to die? Is it not that your children are also my children. Could I possibly want your children to die choked with a fishbone? Why did you then say: ‘If my children choke on a fishbone, I do not know what I would do to him. The Honeybadger asked: Who told you that? At this time, the man went aside and hid himself. The Sea Eagle said: The one who was just here. Didn’t you see him? So the both of them said: if we could catch him, we will do to him what we think is right.

Then the Honeybadger said: It could happen that my children will die by choking on fishbones, and maybe your children will die by choking on honey. So, my friend, let us visit each other without giving each other anything. Really it can happen that we can kill each other. So they went, each his own way: the Honeybadger went to the upper place where he was busy with his job, while the Sea Eagle stayed in the river doing what he was supposed to do.

The people’s jealousy set the Sea Eagle and the Honeybadger at variance.

And that is the end of our story.


Told by Bernard Kungula from Kapufi village (recorded). It is a second version of a folk-tale (34) How the Wagtail divided the Honeybadger and the Sea Eagle, written by un unknown author.