The Hare that Tricked the Elephant

Here is a story:

There once was a grand village where many animals lived together. One day an Elephant and a Hare both went to find themselves wives. The Elephant got engaged to the same girl the Hare had fallen in love with. The Hare, seeing the girl he wanted was engaged to the Elephant, said to himself: I’m through, I will never marry now.

The Elephant and the Hare returned to their homes. After a week the Hare quietly left the village to see the girl and tempt her. He said: The Elephant is my slave, he carries me on his back. I have hired him to work for me. The parents returned the wedding gifts to the Elephant. When this happened, the Elephant wanted to know why he was no longer allowed to marry the girl. They told him it’s because of the Hare. So the Elephant said: I will come with the Hare and he will have to explain it.

When the Hare heard what they were planning to do he pretended he was sick. When the Elephant came to take the Hare along, the Hare said: I am very sick. I cannot go. The Elephant said: I’ll carry you there so you can explain yourself. The Elephant picked him up and put him on his back. The Hare was holding a fly-switch which he received from his wife in order to chase flies. As they were going and the Hare was swinging the fly-switch, the Elephant said to himself: I’m carrying a sick man, but that was far from the truth. And thus they arrived at the village. When everyone at the village saw the Hare on the Elephant’s back, they said: The Hare was telling the truth, the Elephant has been employed. When they got there the Hare said: Didn’t I tell you?

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: nobody should interfere in the marriage of young or poor people and it should be consider as a big injustice when elders break such a marriage in order to marry somebody’s wife. Secondly, do not judge by appearances, because honesty, wisdom or goodness cannot be recognised by somebody’s appearance, age or sex.

The Mambwe proverbs say: The little person you despised is the one who marries your mother (Kano usuzile, akakatwala nyoko); Important people haven’t got big feet (Amalumba, yasikula ngazo).

Subjects: appearances – judging – wisdom – honesty – goodness – injustice – breaking up a marriage – marriage – interfere

Written by Joseph Sicivula, 07th of September 1994.