Oral Literature. The pig, the hyena and the hare

Once upon a time, the pig and the hyena were very close friends. They were inseparable. They shared everything. They shared every secret. They did everything and anything together. Their close friendship became the envy of many other animals in the animal village. Some animals tried hard to break that friendship but failed.

They tried to set the pig up against the hyena. They failed. They tried to set the hyena up against the pig. They failed. They tried to talk ill of the pig to the hyena. They failed. They tried to talk ill of the hyena to the pig. They failed.

The hyena and the pig did not keep any secrets from each other. They told each other the truth immediately about anything and everything they heard about the other. If another animal said anything bad about the pig to the hyena, the hyena told the pig about it. If another animal said anything bad about the hyena to the pig, the pig told the hyena about it. That way, the hyena and the pig trusted each other completely.

Mutual trust was the basis of their close friendship. The hare heard about their strong, unbreakable friendship. He boasted openly that he could destroy that friendship within minutes. Nobody believed him. They had all failed. Then the hare boasted that he could even make the pig and the hyena become permanent enemies who would never, ever speak to each other again. No friendship is unbreakable, he boasted. Nobody believed him. They had all failed.

One day, the hare set off to prove himself right. He left his home village for the home village of the pig and the hyena. His plan was not only to destroy their friendship but also to make them permanent enemies who would hate each other forever.

Fortunately for the hare, the pig and the hyena were chatting together when he found them. He explained to the pig politely that he needed to have a word with the hyena in private. Then he took the hyena aside, a short distance away from the pig.

Once he was out of the earshot of the pig, he immediately made a big show of whispering something serious into the ear of the hyena. The pig could see everything but could not hear anything. All the hare kept whispering into the ear of the hyena was: “I am saying! I am saying! I am saying!”

“Eh? Eh? What are you saying?” the hyena kept asking, as he jerked up his head repeatedly. The hare answered by whispering the same words repeatedly: “I am saying! I am saying! I am saying!” The pig watched them with keen interest. He knew that his friend the hyena would tell him immediately all and anything the hare said. As far as the pig was concerned, the hare and the hyena were involved in a spirited conversation about a very important and serious matter.

Within a few minutes, the hare walked away from the hyena. At a short distance away, he shouted, loudly enough for the pig to hear him: “Hyena, remember! As I was saying! Good Bye! See you tomorrow!” With those words, the hare left the hyena and the pig alone. He went away, back to his home village.

The hyena walked back to where the pig was. He was utterly confused. He told the pig quickly that the hare had been saying nothing sensible. “All the hare had been saying repeatedly was ‘I am saying! I am saying!! am saying!’ without saying anything.”

The pig was shocked to hear what the hyena was telling him. He could not believe that his dearest friend of a long time, the hyena, was now capable of keeping secrets from him. “I saw you, with my own eyes, engaging in a spirited conversation with the hare! Now you tell me, unashamedly, that he said nothing at all, all that time?” the pig, incredulous, asked the hyena.

“I swear that is what the hare was saying,” the hyena replied, truthfully.

“If you keep telling me that lie then you have sworn secrecy to the hare against me. I heard the hare reminding you and telling you that he will see you tomorrow. Do you expect me to believe you?” the pig screamed in indignation.

The hyena lost his temper at being accused of telling lies. The pig lost his temper at being deceived. A vicious quarrel ensued. All the other animals rushed over to see the unlikely event of those two close friends exchanging harsh words. Soon after that quarrel, the pig left in a huff. He left the animal- village altogether. He feared for his life. He believed, very sincerely, that the hare and his own best friend, the hyena, had conspired to harm him and had sworn each other to secrecy about it.

He ran away from them in the bush. He preferred to live with people in villages. He felt safe and secure with people. That is why every time a hyena comes into a village at night he tries to catch and kill a pig to eat. The pig had called him a liar. The pig and the hyena had accused each other of treachery. They could not trust each other anymore. They became permanent enemies.

The hare had succeeded where other animals had failed. He had made the pig and the hyena permanent enemies. (Folktale from Malawi) – (Pixabay)

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