The Antelope Duiker and the Jackal

Here is a story:

There once was a hunter who employed traps to help him catch animals. When he went to see what he had caught, he found a Jackal in his trap. However, he did not kill the Jackal with a spear but left it untouched and let it go free. When the Duiker was then walking along it ran into the Jackal. The Duiker had four babies. The Jackal said to the mother Duiker: Give me one of your children so I can eat it. The Duiker gave one to him. When the Jackal finished the first child, he demanded a second and the Duiker gave him another. Soon all of the Duiker’s babies were gone.

Then the Jackal said: I am still hungry: give me your tail so I can eat it. The Duiker was shocked at this and began to flee in fear. The Jackal ran after her. Wherever they arrived, the Jackal said to the Duiker: Give your tail to the owner! The Duiker fled until both reached the home of the Hare. He asked them both to give an explanation and they explained everything. The Hare said to them: Let’s go and see where the Jackal was trapped. On their way there the Hare said to the Jackal: Why don’t you show me how you were trapped in the first place. The Jackal began to run as before. When he did so, he fell into the trap. The Hare said to the Duiker: Go and cut some twigs for a whip: we’ll show him. He went and cut some and started to beat the Jackal. They beat him very badly and he was very swollen. In the end, the Jackal died.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: a person can bring down misfortune upon himself by being ungrateful to a person who has pardoned him. One should not make somebody angry by ridiculing his good points. The other thing is: we should be well disposed towards our enemies and we may punish them if they are ungrateful.

The Mambwe proverbs say: In former times the leopard did not bite (attack) man: it was man who showed him how to do it (Nangu itali ya kuluma muntu, umuntu uwailanjilile); Ill will is what makes a person bite a louse (Icikalumisya inda, icilakali).

Subjects: Forgiveness – punishment – ungratefulness – misfortune


Written by Stanislaus Sinyangwe, 07th of September 1994.