The Lion and the Hare: does the Child of the Antelope Bushbuck have Ears?

Here is a story:

There once was a Lion and he enrolled a Hare to be his cook. The Lion killed many animals daily and the Hare cooked the animals for him. Then, one day, all the animals of the bush were gone and the Lion returned home empty handed. There was a termite hill with an antelope, Bushbuck with her child, living on one of its sides. The Bushbuck said to her child: Don’t you go down there! You stay up here on the termite hill because if you go down, you will die!

One day the Hare said to himself: I think I’ll go to fetch some firewood. So he went looking for firewood. While he was looking, he stumbled upon the termite hill and found the child of the Bushbuck. The Hare said to the child: Come, we can go and play together down there. The child of the Bushbuck said: No, my mother has forbidden it; she said: ‘If you go down there you will die’. Finally, however, he managed to get the child to come down the hill. When he went back to the Lion, he said to him: You have started coming back empty handed, but there are animals that are alive not far from here. The Lion disagreed with the Hare and told him: This is a lie! You will show me tomorrow.

At dawn the Hare took the Lion to the termite hill and told him: Hide yourself here so I can persuade this animal to come to you. The Hare called out to the Child of the Bushbuck to come down the hill. As the child came down the hill the Lion pounced and grabbed the child of the Bushbuck. The Lion praised the Hare and told him: Run back and cook it so I can eat it at noon.

When it was cooked, the Hare cut off the ears of the child of the Bushbuck and ate them. The Lion said: Give me its head, it is what I have to eat now. So the Hare cut off the head of the Bushbuck and gave it to the Lion. When the Lion received the head, he was surprised to find it had no ears and so he asked the Hare: Where are they? The Hare said: Oh, but it doesn’t have any ears. Then the Lion said: You are lying: it does have ears which are long like yours. If you ate them, I will cut off your ears and I will eat them. Then the Hare said: No, you accuse me unjustly, Lion. If you don’t believe me, let’s go and ask the Bushbuck’s mother if it has any ears.

So they went to the place where the mother was. The Hare started calling: Bushbuck! The Bushbuck replied very angrily: What? The Hare asked: Tell me truthfully, did your child have ears? The mother replied: Honestly, my child didn’t have any ears, if he did, he would have heard what I told him. Then the Hare said to the Lion: Do you hear that? Didn’t I tell you: ‘It has no ears, all you wanted is to accuse me unjustly!’ And thus the problem was finished and they returned home.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: when youngsters do not listen to elders, they are ridiculed and get into trouble. People must follow and be faithful to their elders. Adhering to rules protects our lives.

The Mambwe proverbs say: People, like fish, follow the water (Antu inswi, zikalondela manzi);He who pays no attention to the advice of elders grows a beard on his back (Cintuvwa vya yakulu, wamelili vilezu kwitundu).

Subjects: children – elders – obedience – parents rules – safety


Written by Kleto Kaputu, 30th August 1994. Cf. in second version (5) The Child of the Roan Antelope Who Has No Ears, written by Edward Mwimbe.