The Hyena’s Lips
Narrated by Magabi Enyew Gessesse
The hyena’s son was dead. The donkeys went as mourners.
Why did the donkeys go?
“Well, the hyenas have always been our enemies. Maybe if we go, he will be pleased and make us his friends."
However far away the hyena calls:
"You are always heard.
From whatever distance
You are heard everywhere.
However you defecate,
Your dung is always white.
What fate did your son meet?
From you, such a great creature,
How could your son be dead?”
Everyone cried and was in tears.
One hyena also answered in a poem:
“Oh, it is wonderful that you said this.
It is such a wonderful poem
You made for the death of our son.
But, however good your poem is,
Look, these mourners don’t have anything to eat.”
A donkey says:
“Let God give you comfort.
Now we must go.”
So they started to leave.
While they were about to leave, a hyena at the door said, “The mourners don’t have anything to eat. Just give them your upper lips.”
So they had to cut off their lips.
The same hyena went to his hyena friends and said, “You are letting them go peacefully, but they are laughing at the death of your son.”
So, taking that as a pretext, they ate them all.
The storyteller ends with this verse:
(I told you my story, give me one back.)
The listeners reply:
Afen be ch’aw abbesu.
(Give me something to eat (in my mind).
My mouth with salt touch.)
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