Deya Ali, the Cheating Fox
Narrated by Aisha Awadem
Once Deya Ali, the cheating fox, was in the village and she saw people crying.
She said, “What happened to you?”
They said, “A man is very seriously ill and going to die. That’s why we are crying.”
Deya Ali said, “I will try to cure him. Will you follow my suggestion?”
“Of course,” they said.
So Deya Ali said, “Please take your camels and cattle and cut off the meat and bring it into the room. Nobody else must be there. Just me and him, and I know I can cure him.”
So they said, “OK,” and they did bring much meat to the room and waited outside while the fox (Deya Ali) cured this friend. But at once the man died.
The people kept asking, “How is he?”
And she said, “Oh, he’s getting better. Bring more meat. More! More!”
So they did and she closed the room and she collected flies in a big jar and all night she kept it covered. Early in the morning she took off the cover and the flies flew out buzzing loudly.
“What’s happening?” said the watchers outside.
“Oh, the patient is trying to do ‘adhan’ (to pray at the mosque).”
“Oh! Very good!” they say.
So the fox makes the flies come out and whenever she does it, the people think the man is praying. So the fox goes on until she has eaten all the meat.
When she finished the meat she covered the body and said to everyone, “He’s asleep, don’t touch him for a while. He’ll wake up and feel better. Goodbye.”
And away she went.
After a while, when they took off the cloth, they saw that he was a dead body, and the fox had been telling a lie.
“Ah,” they said, “We have to find her.”
So they took horses and chased after the fox and caught her and tied her by a rope to a tree.
Then they said, “We’ll boil some water and put her in it to kill her.”
So they went back to the village and put the water on to boil. While they were away the hyena came and said, “Fox, what happened to you?”
“Oh! My uncle says he will invite me, and bring a lot of meat for me to eat. He said, ‘Don’t run away. Don’t move. So that we know where you are we have to tie you to this tree, then we’ll come and bring you lots of meat.’”
“Can you change with me?” said the hyena, “I want to eat the meat.”
“OK,” said the fox. "If you want to eat the meat, untie me and I will tie you up.”
“OK,” he said, so they did.
The fox hid near the tree, and the men came with the big pot of boiling water.
The hyena was very happy saying, “Oh, they’re bringing me meat.”
But when the men were near, they didn’t look at the hyena, just put him in the boiling water.
“Oh fox! Help me!” the hyena cried.
“I can’t help you. Sway like a camel and maybe you will become better.”
So he swayed and his skin became very red.
And that is all the history.
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