Another Fox Story
Narrated by Aisha Awadem
The cheating fox was the lion’s niece. The lion, the fox, the humu-humu bird (vulture), the forked stick, the axe, the husk of the coffee bean, the butter, the corn chaff and the hyena all lived together. And they had a lot of cattle which they herded and used. The fox was included, and she was the cheater, and the lion was their king. And the lion sent his niece, the fox, and the hyena to herd the cattle. So they took the cattle to the field to graze.
When the sun was setting, the fox said, “Please, we are hungry. We don’t want to eat our own cattle or the lion will beat us. Let’s try and catch a cow belonging to someone else.”
“OK,” said the hyena, and he tried to kill a cow belonging to some herdsmen, but they saw him and shot him dead.
When the sun set, the fox brought all the cattle back to the village on her own and she said to the lion, “Oh, my uncle lion, I have been herding all the cattle all the day alone. That fool the hyena went to kill and eat a cow belonging to other people and they killed her. I was alone all day.”
“Oh!” said the lion. “Who do you want to go with you tomorrow?”
“The humu-humu bird,” said the fox.
“OK,” said the lion.
So the fox and the humu-humu bird went off in the morning to herd the cattle.
Early in the morning the fox said, “Please, humu-humu bird, can you find us something to eat? If you don’t, I will.”
The humu-humu bird didn’t want to go so the fox said she would and she ran about all day finding snacks to eat. At the end of the day when the sun was setting and the fox had to go back to the village, she said, “You, humu-humu, I only found a stone and some syrup. Try to swallow it.”
So the humu-humu bird opened her mouth and tried to swallow the stone and it stuck in her throat.
All the humu-humu bird could say was, "Humu, humu."
They went back to the village.
The fox said, “Look, this stupid humu-humu bird went off early in the morning and spent the whole day looking for food for herself. Now she’s come back and her voice has gone, because she’s full up, and her throat has stuck. And I was alone all day, herding and herding the cattle.”
So the lion said, “Why did you do this?”
“Humu, humu,” said the humu-humu bird.
The lion was angry.
“You are stupid,” he said, and he killed her and she died.
“Now, fox, who do you want to go with you tomorrow morning?”
“Forked stick I want to go with me.”
So next morning the fox and the forked stick went to the field.
When they had been herding all day, the fox said to the forked stick, “Please, you, forked stick, these people have been cutting thorny branches all day to make a cattle fence. Look, they are your uncles. You should go and help them.”
“Yes, OK,” said the forked stick and he went off to help the men.
They picked him up at once, and they liked him, and while they were using him, the forked stick broke and died.
So the fox went back to the village with all the cattle and said to the lion, “That stupid forked stick ran to some of his relatives who were making a fence for their cattle. He said, ‘Please use me if you need my help.' So they did use him and he broke and I have been herding, herding the cattle the whole day.”
“So who do you want to go with you tomorrow morning?”
“The coffee husk.”
So they went to herd.
But in the afternoon, the fox pointed to some people and said, “Look at those poor people, how hot and thirsty they are! They need a drink. But a husk would be as good as coffee for them. Can you help them?”
“OK,” said the coffee husk, and he went up to the people.
“Oh, we’re lucky, we have a coffee husk,” said the people, “So let’s boil some water and use it.”
They put the husk on to roast and then they ground him and made him into coffee and drank it.
So the fox went home and said to the lion, “Oh, that stupid husk, he went to some of his relatives and they drank him.”
“So who do you want to go with you tomorrow morning?” said the lion.
“The butter can go with me.”
So the butter and the fox went to the field, and the fox said to the butter, “Sit on that big stone. I’ll do the work.”
The big stone had been sitting full in the sun and it was very hot. And as soon as the butter sat on it, it melted away to nothing.
When the fox went home she said to the lion, “I’ve been herding and herding all day on my own because that stupid butter sat down on the hot stone and melted.”
“Oh,” said the lion. “Who do you want to herd with you tomorrow morning?”
So the chaff went with the fox. When it was time to go home, the fox said, “We’re all hot and dirty. Let’s go to the river and take a swim.”
“OK,” said the chaff.
And the chaff tried to swim, but he became distributed (that is, dissolved) in the water and there was no more of him.
So the fox went back and said to the lion, “The stupid chaff tried to swim in the river and melted away.”
“So who remains to herd with you tomorrow?” said the lion.
“There’s no-one else,” said the fox. “You must come with me yourself.”
“OK,” said the lion.
Then the fox made a big hole and put a fire inside, and covered the hole, and then she said, “Uncle Lion, you sit here and I’ll do the herding.”
Then when the lion sat down he fell into the hole and died. So all had finished, and the fox alone remains for all the cattle.
People saw that all the cattle belonged to the fox.
“Let’s rob her,” they said. “She’s alone, she has no one to help.”
So they came to rob her.
“Is there someone?” they said.
“No,” said the fox. “Who are you?”
She ran round and round, trying to sound like many people.
Then the fox sang a song saying, “Deya Ali, the fox, the people see me coming and they run away.”
The second time the people came again and they didn’t see any lion, any hyena, or anything except the fox.
“Why are we afraid? There’s only the fox,” they all said. “Let’s go and steal all the cattle.”
So they came from here and from here and here and robbed all the cattle and ran away. The fox saw that they had stolen all the cattle and she thought for a while and took many things to make a noise and tied them on her body. Then she ran, and as she ran the things went chellalum, chellalam, chellalum, chellalam like a horse. Collalum, callalum chum, collalim, callalum, chum. [The narrator makes sound effects like the horse's hooves.]
“You Ali! You Omer! Your horse is too near to me. Move away! Your horse has become too close and there is no room where it can put its feet. Turn there and there and there!” she’s shouting and the noise goes collalum callalum pssht, collalum callalum pssht.
But the people looked and saw that the fox was alone and again they came and this time they took all her property.
So this story shows that you can’t survive alone, and if you take everything for yourself and kill your brothers and sisters you will be alone.
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