The Hare, the Jackal and the Lumberjack

Here is a story:

There once was a great village where many people resided. When it was time to cut down the trees, all of the men in the village went to do the work. Everybody went to lop trees for the garden. When the men returned to the village, the Hare and the Jackal went to the bush together. When they arrived at the place where somebody had cut down the trees, they came to an understanding, saying: Let’s straighten back the trees. The two of them began to sing:

When the tree moves, take it along,
also the tree called mpasa, take it along;
When the tree moves, take it along,
also the tree called mpasa, take it along;
the miombo, take it along, the miombo, take it along.

The trees were lifted up from the ground and they stood as before. This continued on for three more days, and the men always found the same. Then the men did this: they took a great tree and carved it into a beautiful girl, then took some very sticky birdlime and covered the whole “girl” in it.

In the evening, the Hare and the Jackal went back to the forest and discovered what the men had done. The Hare said: Hello girl. The girl gave no reply, so the Hare said: You’re stupid! So the Hare grabbed one of the girl’s breasts and his hand got stuck to her. He kicked her and his foot also got stuck. So the Hare called his companion saying: Look at this beautiful thing. The Jackal said: Let me touch it, he got stuck. The Hare then said to the Jackal: When the man comes to kill us, we must pretend we are already dead. The man arrived and began to beat both of them, but the Hare did not die. The man said to his son: Watch them. After a while, he came back and said to his child: Take the Hare to the village so they can cook him. The Jackal was thrown on the ground because he had died.

On the way to the village, the Hare woke up and began to threaten the boy by asking him: What did your father tell you? The boy told him: He said: Take this animal so that when I am back I will find it already cooked. The Hare said: You heard wrong, your father told you: ‘Take your grandfather and you should kill the red rooster for him’. And the boy told this to his mother. So they killed the red rooster for the Hare. The Hare ate and then put a mat out on the floor of the meeting house where he went to sleep.

When the man returned home from felling trees for the garden, he said to himself: I can wait to eat the liver. Soon, he found out that the Hare had eaten the red rooster’s liver. When they told him what had happened, he asked: Where is the Hare now? They told him: He was at the meeting house. Meanwhile, the Hare had escaped from the meeting house and had run into the bushes. Where he had gone to sleep, in the meeting house, he had left a rock under the covers. The man, full of rage, took his axe and went to the meeting house, saying to himself: I’m going to kill him. When the man got to the meeting house, he only hit a rock with his axe. The Hare ran away. The man chased the Hare until the Hare ran into his hole. The man got a shovel and began to dig up the hole. The Hare ran out of another hole and went up to the man and said: What are you doing? The man replied: I’m trying to dig out an animal that looks a lot like you. The Hare said: You have to dig with your hands. So, the man got on his hands and knees and began digging. The Hare then picked up the shovel and hit the man across the head, killing him.

And that is the end of our story.


Written by Justin Sicinsambwe, 29th of September 1994. It is a second version of a folk-tale (second version 19) The Hare and the Jackal that Eat Groundnuts, written by an unknown author and a folk-tale (18) How the Hare and the Jackal Stole from the Field told by Bernard Kungula (recorded).