The Clever Trickster
Narrated by Captain Dejene Washaka
Once there lived a man called Murchine. He was so clever and he tricked everyone. The villagers didn’t know what to do with him.
He tricked everyone and they were fed up with him, and they said, “What do you want us to do so that you will live far away from us, not to give us trouble? We’ll do anything to get rid of you.”
He answered, “I have a cow. Slaughter it and give me the hide.”
So they killed the cow and gave him the hide. He dried it and went to a far away country and made the cattle stampede by beating the dried skin. So he brought many cows and oxen to the village.
So his fellow men were very surprised and they asked, “Where did you get these cows from?”
He said, “There’s a man who exchanges cattle for a dried hide.”
So these men killed all their cows and went to sell the hides.
The people said to him, “Why did you lie? You told us a man was selling cows for dry hides.”
“It was true,” the man said. “But you went to the wrong place.”
They couldn’t get rid of him and said, “How can we get rid of you?”
He said, “I have a hut. Burn it and give me the ashes.”
They did so.
He filled three sacks with the ashes and went. When he reached a hut, he put the ashes in front of it and went off to drink coffee. After drinking it, he shouted and the villagers came out.
They said, “What’s the matter?”
He said, “I had three sacks of tefA grain grown in the highlands of Ethiopia., but they have taken the tef, and substituted ashes. How come? Well, believe me, I had tef, but they put ashes instead. This must be a land of thieves.”
The people were afraid that their names would be spoiled. So he went to his village with three sacks of tef.
“How did you do that?” they asked him.
“Well, there’s a place where they exchange ashes for tef.”
“Can we do that?”
So those fools took ashes but couldn’t get tef.
“Put me in water and I may drown.”
And they did, but he swam away, saying, “I am not dead.”