Man and the Animals
Narrated by Mariam Mohammed
A man, a lion, a donkey, a puff adder and an eagle were all going to war so they had to travel many days. As they were travelling one day, it became dark and they wanted somewhere to sleep. So they looked around and saw a hut with smoke coming out. So, following the trail of smoke, they went to the person’s house. As was customary the travellers asked to spend the night.
But the husband and wife said, “We don’t have any food to feed our guests, so what shall we do?”
They had a cow, so they thought about slaughtering the cow, but if they killed that, they would have nothing else.
So they talked it over with their guests, and said, “We have a cow, but that’s all we have, and if we give it to you now, we expect to be repaid in the future. Tell us what you want to eat, and then tell us what you’d do for us in return.”
So the lion said, “Can I drink the blood and maybe eat some of the cow as well, and I promise one day I’ll repay you?”
And the dog said, “If I can have the bones, I will one day repay you.”
And man said, “I want the milk and I also promise that one day I’ll repay you.”
And the puff adder said, “I want the nice white fat and I’ll also repay you in a few years or so.”
And the donkey said, “It’s not actually the cow I want, but some nice grass from the thatched roof of your hut. So, if you give me some grass, I’ll repay you.”
And the eagle said, “Well, there’s going to be some scrapings of meat on the leather hide. I want to eat that and I’ll repay you too.”
So the man and his wife slaughtered the cow and gave the lion the blood; the dog the bones; the puff adder the white fat; the eagle the meat on the hide; and the donkey some grass from the thatched roof.
So they went on their way.
The lion had said, “One day you’ll hear me roar. And when you hear me roar come out of your hut, and you’ll see what I will give you.”
One day, early in the morning, the lion roared, and the man went out of his hut and found a huge ivory elephant tusk, and he was very happy and took it inside. Then he realised that there were no thieves around the whole area, and he discovered that the dog was guarding it, and he was very happy.
After seven years, the man’s young brother, who was a very bad man, became rich. So the puff adder bit his brother and he died. According to the custom of the country, the man inherited all his brother’s wealth, so he was happy.
Then the eagle one day saw that the elders were taking many valuable gifts to reconcile a husband and wife, who had quarrelled. So the eagle swept down and took away the valuable goods, and brought them to the man for him to use.
Only the donkey and the man were left.
Now, some people were using the donkey to transport silver that they laid on his back. As the donkey was going through the forest, he ran away suddenly and took the silver to the man.
But, surprisingly enough, the man never returned to keep his promise. He stayed away.
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