Narrated by Worku Debele
Once upon a time, there was a rooster. And he said that he would go to the Adda region and raid some cattle.
Everybody laughed at him and said, “A rooster is weak. You can’t raid cattle.”
But he smiled and said, “I might be weak, but I’m intelligent.”
So the rooster took some animals with him. He took the lion, he took the big bird called ‘urkuin’, he took a snake, and he took a mouse. Then he went all the way down to the lowlands, to the Adda region. There they went up to a place where many cows were tied.
“Mouse,” said the rooster. “This is your task. Go and chew up all of the ropes that tie the cows. And then we can drive them away.”
So the mouse nibbled and nibbled and freed all the cows.
Then it was the lion’s turn. He began roaring and the cows stampeded from where they were tied.
The people got up and began chasing their cows, but the clever rooster had already set a trap before them. He made the snake lie down on the road and the snake bit all the rescuers.
So they took all the cattle and began returning to their home town.
As they were walking back the rooster went up to the snake and said, “Listen. When we get back none of us will get any praise. All the praise will go to the lion. Because he’s so strong, people will think that he’s solely responsible for raiding the cattle.”
“So what shall I do?” said the snake.
“Well, if you stung him on the nose, we would be all right without him. After all he’s served his purpose,” said the rooster.
So the snake went and killed the lion.
Then after some time the rooster went to the big bird and said, “Listen. If the snake killed the big lion, then tomorrow he’ll kill you and me and all of us as well. Therefore why don’t you swallow the snake?”
So the big bird went and swallowed the snake.
Then the rooster went to the mouse and said, “Listen. If the eagle can kill the powerful snake then definitely he can kill us.”
“So what shall we do?” said the frightened mouse.
“Well, when the bird is sleeping you can chew up his wings. And he won’t be able to fly after us,” the rooster advised.
So the mouse went and chewed up the bird’s wings.
So then the mouse and the rooster took all the cattle and continued on their journey.
After some time the rooster said, “Why don’t we slaughter one of the cows?”
So they slaughtered one of the cows.
And the rooster said, “To show how rich we are and how many cows we have, I’ll wear the tripe of the cow that we’ ve slaughtered so that I can walk around wearing a tripe coat to show that I have many cows. And you should also take some of the fat and put it on your shoulders.”
So the mouse took some of the fat and put it on his shoulders.
“Now,” said the rooster, “why don’t you go out and sit on a mountain so that everyone can see you.”
So the mouse went up on to a mountain. At that moment an eagle saw the mouse with meat on his shoulders and the eagle swooped down and took away the mouse, and the rooster went back to his village, the proud owner of many cattle.
The theme of this story is that we should learn from the mistakes of others because once one person is attacked everyone will be attacked.
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