How the Hare and Cendela Befriended Each Other

Here is a story:

There was a Hare that befriended Cendela. They lived together on the basis that the Hare stole flour from people and Cendela stole chickens. They were doing this everyday. One day the Hare thought of something clever and said: I cannot eat with Cendela every day. So this is what he did. He found himself a skin that looked like a man’s. When he found Cendela already cooking chicken and preparing the mush, he said: My friend, my stomach hurts and I have to go outside. Cendela said to him: Get well quickly and hurry back.

When the Hare went to the bush, he put on the human skin. He came back to scare Cendela by saying: So you are the one who has been stealing our chickens and the flour? So, this is where you eat it? When Cendela saw the Hare dressed up as a human, he ran away. The Hare then ate all the food by himself. After eating, he returned to the bush quickly and took off the skin. Afterwards, Cendela told him: The people we were stealing from came here! The Hare said: You are lying, but let’s go and see if there is anyone around. They looked around their home and found no one. The Hare said to Cendela: It was you who ate all of the food! The Hare tricked Cendela like this every day.

One day, when the Hare was about to do what he always did, Cendela refused to run away. He realised the Hare was just fooling him. They began to argue and they fought. Cendela broke the Hare’s hand and the Hare became very mad at Cendela and went to the King to tell him what had happened. When they went to the trial, everyone laughed at the Hare and said: It is your fault, you started it! An old Mambwe proverb says: On the one hand it is clever, on the other it is stupid.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: a man should not pretend to be cleverer than others if he does not want to be despised by them. Also one should not try to cheat one’s companions, or they may turn against him and there will be nobody to help him; a person cannot cheat twice in the same way.

The Mambwe proverbs say: Anyone who wants to be cleverer than his companion is stupid (Ukucenjela kumwi icili cimwi nu kutumpa); You who cheated the hunter, what are you going to eat tomorrow? (Kakonda muzazi, nga mutondo ulalya cani?)

Subjects: cheating – companion – friendship – over-wise – trickery – punishment


Written by Emmanuel Mwasama, Cikunta 4th of April 1984.