The Hyena and the Donkey
Narrated by Hussein Tusi
Once upon a time, the hyena’s cub died, and there was a big mourning ceremony and everybody sat around mourning so, as it was the custom of the country, the donkeys also decided to go and pay their respects to the dead.
So they went to the place, and they began crying in the customary mode, singing songs and dirges.
And they said, “What has killed your great cub? Who killed it? What has brought such sad things upon you?”
As they cried, the hyenas said, “Well, that’s over now. Now it’s gone. But what have you brought for us to eat?”
So the donkeys said, “Well, according to tradition, we will have to discuss what we are going to give you.”
So all the donkeys got up, and they left the mourning place, and they went and they sat outside.
And they said, “Usually people contribute and give things for the bereaved to eat. But I’m sure the hyenas want to eat us. So what shall we do?”
They said, “All of us must escape, but to fool them we’ll have to send back one of the donkeys and say, 'This is what we’ve brought you to eat.' And then we’ll have to whisper to the donkey how she should escape.”
So when they went away, they sent back one donkey, and she went in, and the hyenas saw her and said, “Let’s eat her later.”
And she said, “Okay, I am the gift.”
And after some time she said, “Please let me get up and walk around.”
And the hyenas said, “Okay, but please don’t go too far. And when we want you, how shall we call you?”
And the donkey said, “Oh, that’s no problem, just call out and say, 'The previous one, the previous one!' And I will come running back.”
So the hyenas agreed, and she went out.
After some time, the hyenas became hungry and they called out, “The previous one, the previous one! Where have you gone? Come back!”
And she called out from far away, “The previous one has gone and she’s smelling the railings in her stable.”
Now the hyenas became really cross, and they said, “If we get you again we’ll eat you up.”
But the donkey laughed and said, “I’ll never stay out late again.”
And now it is believed that this is why from all the cattle and sheep the donkeys are always the first to return to the stable.
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