The Hare’s Survival

Here is a story:

The animals said: Let’s go and build a well because the water in the river has dried up. They all went off to build the well except for the Hare who said: Am I going to walk in the mud? I’ll just wait for them to build it so that I can gather water from it.

When the well was ready, they said: Let us leave one person each day to watch the well so that we can see where the Hare plans on getting his water. They choose a Lion as the first one to stay there. The Hare went and collected some honey. After collecting it he went to the door of the Lion and called out: Is there anyone in there? The Lion replied: You can come in. The Hare said: Allow me to give you some honey. The Lion said: Give it to me quickly. He gave it to him and the Lion ate and then said: I want more. The Hare said: First, you must let me tie you up. The Hare tied up the Lion and hung him from a tree. He then took some small sticks of the muntalembe tree and started to beat the Lion very severely. He was as swollen as cows when they are killed.

Every day after that, the animals left someone behind to watch the well. The Hare did the same thing to all of the other animals as he did with the Lion.

Finally, one day, the Tortoise was left behind to watch the well. When the Hare came, he said: I’m in luck because they also left me a stool. Under the stool, the Tortoise stayed hidden and the Hare had no idea the Tortoise was under him. When the Hare heard the other animals coming, the Tortoise caught him by his tail. He was jumping, attached to the stool. When the animals came they took him with the intention of killing him. Some of the animals said: Let us crush him on the stone. The Hare said: Crushed on the stone, I will survive it. So the animals hit him across the sand (and he survived). He quickly got up and ran away.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: if you help somebody who is in need you will be helped when need arises. We should love each other remembering that mutual assistance and co-operation is essential overcoming difficulties. Therefore, one good turn deserves another, but on the other hand bad deeds, especially deceiving or cheating others, will be punished sooner or later. One should remember that God loves honest and helpful people, but the bad doer will not be saved.

The Mambwe proverbs say: Ikalyata, muno yalyasile; A small arm follows its companion (Akakasa kakakonka, akauze); A small dried gourd rind follows its companion (Akatowa kakakonka, akauze).

Subjects: cheating – punishment – inevitability – co-operation – helping each other – God – honesty – revenge – bad deeds

Written by Justin Sicinsambwe, 29th of September 1994.