The Monkey and the Hare

Here is a story:

There once were a Monkey and a Hare and they were very good friends who always did everything together. One day the Hare went to the village to meet some people. The Hare saw that the people were very clever and he wanted to be as clever as they were. So he said to them: If you’re all so clever, then tell me, what do I have to do to find trouble? The people replied: Trouble is a very bad thing, trouble is death and sickness.

The Monkey saw the Hare returning and noticed he was cleverer than before: What have you learned? The Hare told him: I have just learned what trouble is. The Monkey replied: I want to find out about trouble too. The Hare said: My friend, living in peace is good. The Monkey kept insisting more and more. Finally, the Hare said: Very well, wait here for a while and I will explain to you but you go and look for a meadow or swamp without any trees.

The Hare went back to the village where the people were and bought ten big dogs which he put in sacks. Then the Hare went to see the Monkey and asked: I have just prepared the trouble you were asking for. Are you still interested in finding trouble? The Monkey agreed and was very amused by the idea.

So the Hare said: Let’s go and take the trouble with us. They went off together, carrying the sacks with the dogs that the Hare had brought. They took them to a meadow where there weren’t any trees. They took the sacks to the middle of the meadow and left them there. Then the Hare said to the Monkey: You mustn’t untie the bags until I get to the top of the anthill: when I’m ready I will yell to you. The Hare had tied the sacks with one piece of bark.

When the Hare was at the top of the anthill, the Monkey untied the sack. The dogs, all ten of them, burst out of the sacks. When the Monkey saw them, he ran away and the dogs chased after him, biting him repeatedly. When the Monkey got tired of running, the Hare said: You have seen for yourself what trouble is. Afterwards, the Hare said to the Monkey: Peace is the best thing of all.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: a friend in need is a friend indeed. Playing bad tricks on one’s friends destroys their trust and friendship. People should love each other.

The Mambwe proverbs say: Show yam to a monkey, then show him melon (Kolwe umulangu mungu, ngu wiz’umulangu lutanga); Give yam to a monkey, then give him melon (Upele kolwe umungu, apa cisila umupelu lutanga); If you give a pumpkin to a monkey, can you give it a melon tomorrow? (Ndi wapela kolwe umungu, uzye mutondo ungamupel’ulutanga alye?).

Subjects: curiosity – misfortune – friendship – playing tricks – peace – prudence


Written by Joseph Kafunda, 07th of September 1994.