The unfaithiful Hyena: A story told by Jennifer Phiri (Zambia)

There was the Hare and Tortoise, they were good friends. The tortoise was living in a hole. These two used to visit each other. One day, the hare went to visit his friend. When he reached there, he found that there had been a fire outbreak and the hole where his friend was living was filled with ashes. „Tortoise! tortoise! are you there?“ shouted the hare, hoping to hear a responce from his friend . The tortoise did not respond. Therefore the hare started to remove the ashes that had filled the hole, only to find his friend had been burnt and died. The hare was very sad. At that time he had a kalimba (a lamellophone) in his hands and he started to sing a song in remembering his friend.

 Pyee pyee Tortoise,(X2)
yesterday i was with him
today I‘ve found him dead
now the hole is silen 
he has been burnt

When the hare was singing his sad song, the hyena was passing by. He heard the sweet melody of the kalimba. This drew him closer to the hare. „Oh hare, are you the one singing?“ asked the hyena. „yes!“ he replied. „I really like the way you are singing“, he complimented the hare while requesting him to sing again. The hare started to sing again.

 Pyee pyee Tortoise, (X2)
yesterday i was with him      
today I‘ve found him dead
now the hole is silent
he has been burnt

The hyena listened carefully to the hare when he was singing. „Can I also play your kalimba?“ the hyena requested. He was given the kalimba and indeed he started to sing the same song the hare was singing. „So what if I move a few metres away, from you , will you be able to hear me sing?“ asked the hyena. „You can try it,“ replied the hare. The hyena moved a hundred metres away from the hare and started to sing again. After realizing that the hare could still hear him sing, he asked again if he could move further to know if he could still hear him sing. The hyena was again allowed to do so. This time the hyena went a bit far from the hare. „My friend hare! I am gone with your kalimba, you will never see it again“ chanted the hyena. Immediately he ran away with the instrument. Surprisingly, the hare did not bother to chase the hyena, rather he went to the hyena‘s house.  „Knock knock knock! Who is there?“ the hare knocked at the door. The wife to hyena was at home. „Is your husband here“ he asked. „No! He is not yet back“she replied. „Good! I want you to do me a favor“ he requested. He asked her to kill him, peel off his skin, cut him into pieces and cook the meat.  „After cooking the meat, put it on a plate and go on the side of the road and leave the meat there,“ she was instructed. The wife to hyena did exactly what she was told.

When the hyena was heading home, he was all the way playing the kalimba. On the way, he found a plate that was covered. He stood there for a while  trying to figure out who had put the plate on the side of a road.  „Is there anyone here“ shouted the hyena. But no one replied. He thought of uncovering the plate to see what was inside the plate. „Haha it‘s meat!“ he immediately started eating until he finished it. Inside the stomach, the meat he had eaten turned into the hare again and started to bother the hyena. „Give me back my instrument!“  screamed the hare inside hyena’s stomach. Hyena was horrified and ran to his wife. He did not know how to remove the hare from the stomach. He later died and the hare came out of the stomach and got back his kalimba.


Recorded by the author in Kapata area, Zambia, 12.07.2017


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