The Man and the Little Animal

Here is a story:

There once was a man who got friendly with a little Animal. One day, some people came with their dogs to hunt in the bush. They were coming near to the home of the man who lived with the little Animal. The little Animal was also there. When the dogs caught the tracks of the little Animal, it forced the little Animal to be on the run. The Animal ran so fast that the dogs had no chance of catching it. The little Animal ran back home to the man and said: Today I will die one way or another, but you can save me because you are a man. So the man replied: Then hide in my mouth and when the dogs come they will not find you. The dogs tracked the Animal to the man’s home where the Animal’s tracks ended. After some time, the hunters made their way there and asked the man: Have you seen a little Animal, the one our dogs were tracking? The man just shook his head in response to the question.

When they left, the man said to the little Animal:They’re gone, you can come out now and let’s go! The Animal responded by refusing: No, I’m going to stay here inside of you because you have saved me.

Eventually, the man died with the Animal still inside because the little Animal fed off of the man’s insides until there was nothing left to eat.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: always show mercy to others. Give back good for good. A person can bring down misfortune upon himself by being ungrateful to a person who has pardoned him. One should not make somebody angry by ridiculing his good points.

The Mambwe proverbs say: In former times the leopard did not bite (attack) man: it was man who showed him how to do it (Nangu itali ya kuluma muntu, umuntu uwailanjilile); He who hates the crowd, hates himself (Uwapata winji, waipata); Whoever hates his brother hates himself (Wapata umwina, waipata).

Subjects: ingratitude – misfortune – mercy – imperative – ridiculing – good deeds


Written by Pascal Ntenga, 07th of September 1994.