The Hare and the Jackal

Here is a story:

There once was a Hare and a Jackal. These animals became friends and went everywhere together but their eating habits were very much different, each one of them eating his own food out of the bush.

One day, when they returned from eating, the Hare said to the Jackal: Friend, I have an idea, what if we both throw up what we ate and see which one of us ate better. The Jackal replied: Very well, my friend, since I only eat good things let me begin. The Jackal threw up with: Waa. He threw up the fruits of a mucinka tree. The Hare looked at the food and said: That’s disgusting. Quickly, lick it all up or I am going to throw up! Sothe Jackal licked up all of the food he had thrown up. Then he said to the Hare: Now it’s your turn to thrown up so I can see what you eat. The Hare threw up all of his food with a Waa. The Jackal said: My friend, you certainly eat good things, can I lick up the rest of the food? The Hare replied: Lick it up quickly. The Jackal licked up the rest of what the Hare had thrown up.

The next day the Jackal said to the Hare: My friend, please take me with you because I would like to eat the same things you eat. The Hare ate only meat. He was going to the Lion’s house to eat what he would steal there. The Hare was a little upset and said to the Jackal: My friend, you are an idiot. Because of you they are going to catch us. The Jackal begged the Hare to take him along and the Hare replied: Very well (my friend), tomorrow we will go together.

When the sun came up the next day, the Hare said to the Jackal: Today, as the day is beginning, let us go. The Jackal was so happy he almost leapt into the air. When they got to the Lion’s house, the Hare said the words he always said to get in: Funguwamwango, funguwamwango, which means: Open up, quickly, and the door opened. The Hare and the Jackal began to eat the meat. As the two were eating, the owner of the house, the Lion and his wife, came back. When the Jackal and Hare noticed that the Lions were back, the Jackal said the right words to close the door: Fungamwango, fungamwango, fungamwango (it means: close, close, close). The door was closed.

When the Lion saw that the door wasn’t closed completely, he said to his wife: There is someone inside our home that is eating our food; today we will catch him. The Hare concealed himself by burying himself under the meat which lay nearby. The Jackal did the same but left his tail exposed. When the Lion came in he started looking around (his dwelling for the intruder). When he saw the Jackal’s tail, he pulled it and watched the Jackal stand up. The Lion killed the Jackal instantly and then ate him. The Hare remained undiscovered until he was able to sneak out and go home.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: a thief will be caught and punished sooner or later; only the person who is caught in the act can be convicted of robbery, however many may be stealing.

The Mambwe proverbs say: The thief is the one who is caught (Impupu, iyalemwa); The thief is the one who is caught red-handed (Mupupu, apikasa).

Subjects: Evidence – red-handed thieving – punishment


Written by Joseph Kafunda, 07th of September 1994.