How the Night Lemurs (Bush Babies): Mutende and Mundetelele, Died

Here is a story:

There were once two Lemurs: one was named Mutende and the other one was named Mundetelele. Mutende and Mundetelele lived together in one tree hallow, and they lived and worked together very happily. When it was time to eat, they always ate together. They promised each other to follow the regulations concerning life in their hollow.

One day, since the tree hollow was close to the road, Mundetelele overheard the noise of some people who were on their way to work from the nearby village, and he stuck his head out to watch them. A short while later, a child that was at the end of the line of people who were walking noticed Mundetelele looking out of the tree hollow. When he saw it, he yelled out to an elder: There are animals in that tree hollow! When Mutende heard this, he said to Mundetelele: Didn’t I always tell you that people are bad, so brace yourself (for what may follow).

The people of the village began to cut down the tree with their axes: hit, hit, hit and it went down on its side with a great noise. When Mutende saw this happen, he got out of the hollow and began to run away for safety, but the child who had noticed them in the tree hollow hit Mutende with the blunt side of his axe with such force that the Lemurs eyes bulged out. And he died immediately. Mundetelele stayed in the tree hollow, so one of the older people picked up a stick and began to probe around the inside of the tree in an attempt to get the Lemur out. Mundetelele tried to avoid the stick, but the man then took a spear and stabbed the Lemur through its back, killing Mundetelele.

After Mundetelele’s death, the people of the village continued on their way to work carrying the Lemurs and saying: Frightful how their eyes bulge out like that! And that is how the Lemurs died.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: (1) certain rules must be kept to protect our lives. Curiosity paves the way to hell; (2 a man who trusts in God and obeys him, even if he dies, will have eternal life.

The Mambwe proverbs say: (1) The mole of a hill goes on burying itself (Tunko wa myamba, akapita akuifundicila); (2) The day when God is going to give you a meal is unknown (Wanda uno Leza akukwimula, usimanyikwa); God is a blacksmith, he does not forge for just one person (Leza umusuzi, asisulila wenga); God does not forget any living being (that stands)(Leza, asyailila icimilile).

Subjects: curiosity – dangers – rules – keeping


Written by Edward Mwimbe, 07th of September 1994. Cf. in second version 5 (How the Lemurs bulged their Eyes) written by Sande Sicinsambwe.