The Mouse (Katondo) and the Duiker (Mpombo) Played Hide and Seek

Here is a story:

There was once a small Mouse with a long snout and an Antelope Duiker who were very good friends. One day, in the morning, the Mouse went to visit the Duiker and said to him: Let’s play hide and seek. The Duiker agreed. The Duiker was the first one to go and hide himself. When he went to hide himself, the Mouse found him immediately. The same was true when the Mouse went to hide himself. The Duiker also found him immediately. And it was like this again when the Duiker hid: the Mouse found him right away. It continued on like this until the Mouse went and hid himself in a hole leaving nothing exposed except his smiling face and his shiny teeth. When the Duiker went looking for him, often passing close by where he exposed his teeth, he never noticed the Mouse and said: He is not there. The Duiker kept looking earnestly for the Mouse, but to no avail. Finally, the Duiker started to sing:

Tondo, Tondo you Tondo,
Tondo, come and see an animal which shows its teeth,
here half way, you Tondo.

The Duiker wanted to find the Mouse, but still he could not even though he walked right past the place where he was showing his teeth. And he sang again:

Tondo, Tondo you Tondo,
Tondo, come and see an animal which shows its teeth,
here half way, you Tondo.

In the end, the Mouse (Tondo) showed itself and the two animals went off together.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: the story reminds us that not only elders or the rich could be wise. It is a gift from God. It teaches that elders can also learn or benefit from the sayings of children (out of the mouths of babes and sucklings).

The Mambwe proverbs say: Intelligence makes a fool of itself (Amano, yakatumfya); Brains (intelligence) came out of a small anthill (nacisoswa) and entered a large anthill (cilenga)(Amano yakafumu muli nacisoswa, yaya umu cilenga; Amano yakafumu mwisoswa, yayu mu cilenga; Ilango likafuma mwisoswa, liyu mu cilenga).

Subjects: elders – learn from children – wisdom – gift from God


Written by Pascal Ntenga, 07th of September 1994.