Don’t be Greedy
Narrated by Yisihak Aldade
Once there were seven hyenas. They did everything together, loved each other, took care of each other, shared everything. And they roamed the fields and ate everything together and they were great friends. Six were male and the seventh was female. The female was weak. She couldn’t compete with the others. And they were strong and masculine and fierce and they used to run ahead and kill the prey and eat everything before she reached them. She couldn’t compete or keep up with the males.
One day, they were racing across a field and she was running behind them. They reached a deep pit, and at the bottom of the pit was a dead donkey.
The six male hyenas jumped in at once without thinking, but the female was afraid because she thought, “If I jump in, I mightn’t be able to get out.”
So the greedy males began to tear up the carcass and gobble it up, very fast and very greedily.
Then the poor female looked down into the pit and said, “Please, please, throw me something. A bit of kidney, or the heart, or the backbone, or something.”
They looked up and said, “You cowardly hyena, why don’t you jump in with us? We’re too hungry to help you.”
So she just had to sit salivating at the top of the pit while they ate every single thing.
But then, the night went past and it was dawn, and all the hyenas have to go home at dawn. So she got up and went. But since the males had eaten a lot and their stomachs were full, they couldn’t jump out of the pit. They jumped and jumped, but they couldn’t get out. Before she went into her den, the female caught a few beetles and ate them because she had nothing to eat.
On the second day she came out and caught a few lizards and went to see how her brothers had spent the day. She looked down and they were all in the pit.
She said, “Hi there, how are you doing?”
They said, “Oh, we’re fine, how are you?”
“I’m OK. Why don’t you jump out of there?”
“We tried to escape, but we don’t have enough strength.”
She said, “Look at you, why don’t you have enough strength? You ate a whole donkey all by yourselves. I begged you to give me a small piece but you wouldn’t. Use all your energy and jump out.”
They said, “We’ve tried and tried but we just can’t. Why don’t you bring us a ladder, or a pole, something to pull us out?”
She said, “Do you really expect me to help you? Don’t you remember, I asked you for a piece of kidney, or a piece of heart and you refused to give me a single titbit?”
She left them and went.
On the third day she came to see them and they’d become much hungrier because they hadn’t eaten the previous day.
“How are you?” she said.
“Starving. We’re famished. Just catch a lizard or two.”
She said, “You must be joking. You wouldn’t throw anything to me when you were eating the donkey. So how do you expect me to catch lizards and throw them down to you?”
So she continued for a few days.
Every day she came and every day they said, “Look, we’re famished, dying of hunger, please help us.”
But every day she left them and went.
One day she said, “I’ve found a solution.”
They looked up and said, “What is it?”
She said, “All six of you should fight and wrestle, and whoever is weakest, his destiny is settled by God, so you should eat him.”
So they fought till one fell and they ate him up.
And this continued and every day there was a vicious fight, and she’s sitting up on the pit looking down and one would die, and another would die, until at the end there were only two.
And they said, “Please, please, we’ll die of hunger, help us.”
And she said, “But there are two of you. You should wrestle and whoever falls should be eaten.”
And they were two huge hyenas, very strong, the strongest of the pack. So they fought and fought and pushed against each other and bit each other and then, since someone must win, one of them fell down and the other ate him up. So he was satisfied for a few days, but then she came when he was hungry.
He said, “Look, I’m desperate, I’m dying of hunger. What do you think I should do?”
She said, “Well, we hyenas always limp because one of our legs is useless. So tear off your useless hind leg.”
So he tore off his hind leg and it was so painful, but he ate it and was satisfied and fell asleep.
The next time she came, she said, “How are you feeling?”
“The wound hurts so much and I’m so hungry. What shall I do?”
She said, “Come on, both your hind legs are useless. Eat the other one.”
So he tore off his second hind leg, withstood the pain and ate it up. But his wound got infected and he got gangrene and died.
So all the six greedy hyenas who had jumped into the pit, only thinking of their appetites, died in a terrible fashion, whereas the female hyena, who thought beyond her stomach, survived and lived happily ever after.
So we shouldn’t jump into things led by momentary appetite, but weigh things up and see what is good and bad for us.
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