The Lion and The Hare is a folktale. It encourages people to develop and use wit when dealing with challenges.
The Lion and the Hare
Once upon a time, the Hare was very hungry. He roamed the forest looking for food. Finally, he found a very big calabash tree. There was a great hole in the upper part of the trunk inhabited by bees. Immediately, he went back to the village to get someone to help him with the bees to get the honey.
While walking, he passed by the Big Rat’s house, and the rat invited him inside. He went inside the house, sat down, and then told the Big Rat-
“My father is dead, and he left a big calabash tree with honey on its apex for me. I want you to come with me, so we can eat it together.”
“Of course,” the Big Rat said immediately, and they rushed off to the tree to get the honey.
When they got there, the Hare pointed at the bee hive and said, “go on; climb it.” So, taking some straws with them, they climbed up to the nest, lit the straws, smoked out the bees, put out the fire, and set to work, eating the honey.
While they were feasting, the Lion came around, and when he noticed that they were people on top of the calabash tree, he shouted, “who are you?”
Immediately the Hare heard this, he said to the Big Rat, “hold your tongue; that fellow is crazy.”
But after some time, the Lion roared out again. “I said, who are you?! Speak now; I command you!”
This frightened the Big Rat, and he blurted out. “It’s only us!”
After realizing his cover was blown, the Hare said to the Big Rat, “you just wrap me up in this straw, call to the Lion to keep out of the way, and then throw me down. Then you’ll see what will happen.”
So the Big Rat wrapped the Hare in a straw, and before he threw him down, he said, “Stand back, I am going to throw this straw down, and then I will come down myself.”
After a few minutes, the Big Rat threw Hare wrapped in straw down; the Lion didn’t know that the Hare was in there, so he paid no attention to it. He kept looking up at the tree, and unknown to him; the Hare ran away.
After a minute, the Lion shouted again. “Well, come down, I said!”
The Big Rat responded, “I’m coming; I’m coming.”
And then he jumped down. Immediately he got down, the Lion held him by the neck and asked, “who was up there with you?”
“Why?! It was the Hare. Did you not see him?!” The Big Rat responded.
“I did not see any Hare. But you will have to pay for eating my honey.” The Lion then ate the Big Rat and went around looking for the Hare, but the Hare was far gone.
After a few weeks, the Hare was hungry once again, and he went to his acquittance, Tortoise. He then said to Tortoise, “let’s go and eat some honey.”
“Who owns the honey?” Tortoise asked.
“The honey is mine. My father died and left it for me.”
“Alright, I’ll go with you.” And with that, they left to go and eat the honey. When they got to the tree, the Hare pointed at the very big calabash tree and said,
“go on; climb it.” So they climbed up with their straw, smoked out the bees, sat down, and began to eat.
Just as they were eating, the Lion came around; after looking up, he said, “who is up there?!”
The Hare immediately told Tortoise, “keep quiet. That fellow is pretty crazy.” But when the Lion repeated the question with an angry tone, Tortoise told the Hare: “I will speak. You told me this honey was yours; am I right in suspecting that it belongs to Simba?” Tortoise said this because he was suspicious.
So when the Lion asked again, “who are you?”
Tortoise replied, “It’s only us.”
“Come down this instant.” The Lion ordered.
“We’re coming,” Tortoise replied. The Lion was very happy because he knew that the Hare was up there with him, and since the day he caught the Big Rat, he had been hoping that he would catch Hare again.
The Hare looked down and saw the excitement in Lion’s eyes, he knew that he would die if he didn’t do something quickly. So, he said to Tortoise, “wrap me up in the straw; tell Simba to stand out of the way, and then throw me down. I’ll wait for you below. He can’t hurt you, you know.”
When Tortoise was halfway through wrapping him, he stopped and thought to himself –
“Why do I have this feeling that this honey doesn’t belong to the Hare but to Lion? I feel like this Hare is trying to run away and leave me in the hands of the Lion to suffer. Well, I’ll show him.”
When he bundled him up and threw him down, he shouted. “The Hare is coming.” He then dumped the Hare on the ground.
Immediately he did that, the Lion grabbed the straw, loosened the straw, and held Hare by the neck. “It’s no use for you to try to eat me; I’m awfully tough.” The Hare said.
“What would be the best thing to do with you, then?” asked the Lion.
“I think,” said the Hare. “You should take me by the tail, whirl me around, and knock me against the ground. Then you may be able to eat me.”
The Lion didn’t know that he was about to be deceived, so he took the Hare by the tail and whirled him around. When he was about to hit him on the ground, he was very dizzy from turning around, and the Hare slipped from his hand and ran away.
After a few minutes of rest. The Lion got angry and frustrated and then roared at the tree. “Now you, come down.” Tortoise came down from the tree, and the Lion caught hold of him. He held the Tortoise by the neck and asked. “You’re pretty hard; what can I do to make you eatable?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” Tortoise laughed, “just put me in the mud and rub my back with your paw until my shell comes off.”
As soon as he heard this, he carried Tortoise to the water, placed him in the mud, and began, as he supposed, to rub his back, but unknown to him, Tortoise slipped away, and Lion didn’t know. He continued rubbing on a piece of rock till his paws began to bleed. When he looked down and noticed that it was bleeding, he got very angry, and said, “well, Hare has once again outwitted me. But I will not give up. I will go around haunting for him.”
And so the Lion went around the forest haunting for the Hare. When he had no luck with that, he went to the point of asking everyone where the Hare lived, but no one knew. This was because the Hare had figured out that the Lion would come searching for him, and he told his wife in advance, “my dear, let us move from this place.”
His wife didn’t ask him any questions, and they left. Because of this, the folks in the neighbourhood had no idea about hiswhereabouts. However, the Lion didn’t give up; he continued asking till one of the folks in the village pointed to the mountains. “That is his house up there, on the top of the mountain.”
The Lion was very excited, so he didn’t waste time climbing to the top of the mountain. When he got there, he saw nobody, but he wasn’t troubled. He decided to wait. He said to himself, “I will wait till the Hare and his wife come back, and then I will eat them both.”
So he went to their backyard and hid there.
When the Hare came back with his wife, he immediately noticed the paw marks on the ground. He knew it belonged to the Lion, so he turned to his wife and said, “you go back, dear.
The Lion has passed this way, and I feel like he is waiting for me.”
“No, Hare’s wife responded. “I will go with you.”
Even though Hare was impressed with the affection that his wife showed to him, he still insisted she went back.
“No, my dear. You have friends. Go to them,” he ordered the woman, and she finally left. The Hare then took slow but steady steps toward his house.
When he got there, he wanted to know exactly where the Lion was hiding, so he spoke loudly. “How d’ye do, house? How d’ye do?”
Waiting a moment, he remarked loudly: “Well, this is very strange! Every day, as I pass this place, I say, ‘How d’ye do, house?’ and the house always answers, ‘How d’ye do?’ There must be someone inside today.”
Hearing this, the Lion replied. “How d’ye do?”
“Ah! Mr. Lion, is that where you are hiding?” The Lion, who realized he had been tricked, came out from the shadows.
“Tell me, Mr. Lion, where have you ever seen a talking house?”
This made the Lion very angry, and he told the Hare. “You just wait till I catch you, then I will make you pay.”
“I guess you will have to do the waiting,” the Hare replied and ran away. The Lion chased him but knew that there was no point because the Hare was too fast for the Lion, who was growing old.
The Lion gave up saying, “that rascal has beaten me; I don’t want to have anything more to do with him.” He returned to his home under the great calabash tree.
- You must always apply wisdom in whatever you do.
- Don’t be gullible.
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