Marrying a Hyena_: A story told by Linly Mpotalinga (Malawi)

There was a beautiful girl who was not married. Many men came to ask her for marriage but she refused them.

Then came the hyena looking nice in very expensive clothes, to ask her for marriage. The girl immediately fell in love with him. “You are the man i have been waiting for.” Said the girl. They soon got married and started living together.

The first night they spent together, hyena immediately told his wife that he only sleeps when he has his clothes on. He also said that he only takes a bath at the river. Every day hyena went to the river to take a bath. His wife never saw him naked, neither did she realize that her husband was hyena.

One day, as hyena was taking a bath, while the brother to his wife was crossing the river. He saw hyena’s clothes hanging on a tree. He soon saw the hyena taking a bath. He slowly walked towards him, until he reached the point where he was. “Brother-in-law is this you?” He screamed. Uiiii! Uiiii! Hyena ran away into the bush and never went back to his wife again. The brother to hyena’s wife went to the village and explained to his sister that the man she had married was a hyena.

. . . .

This is one common story in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. As in many cultures hyenas are regarded as greedy, jealous and lazy, in this story hyena represents a man with bad characters. The story teller gave a lesson to girls that they should know well someone, before accepting marriage.

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