Why the Dog Barks

Why the Dog Barks tells of friendship, betrayal, diligence, and kingship.

Dog - Why the Dog Barks

 

Why the Dog Barks

A long time ago, in the animal kingdom, all the animals were farmers. The most known farmers were Dog and Tortoise. Dog was known for having amazing produce from his farm, and Tortoise was known for having nothing to show from his farm.

Surprisingly, the two were very good friends, yet no one in the community understood why Dog, who was very hardworking, would stay with Tortoise, who was very lazy.

Everyone in the village knew him. While everyone else was busy farming and planting their crops, Tortoise would go around bragging that his farm produce would be the biggest in the years to come.

“Keep quiet,” some of the animals would say. “You don’t even plant anything. All you do is go around disturbing everyone.”

“You don’t know anything about me,” Tortoise would brag. “I have bigger farms in more sophisticated locations. So believe me when I tell you I will have one of the biggest farm produce during the next festive season.” He continued with his lies, and no one could say anything to stop him. 

Instead, they would go to Dog and ask. “Why do you still stay with Tortoise?” 

“Because he is my friend, and even when he has his bad days, Tortoise is a very good person.” Dog would continually tell them.

Soon, it was time for the yearly harvest, and Tortoise had nothing to show for his farm. Out of the blue, the King sent out his town crier to announce to the people that any farmer with the biggest yam produce would be rewarded handsomely. Every animal knew who was going to win the prize. They knew that it would be Dog. Tortoise also knew this, so he started thinking of a way to ruin this for Dog.

Nevertheless, when it was time for the yearly harvest, everyone harvested their produce, and Tortoise had nothing to show for it. So in the middle of the night, he went to the King’s in-law’s farm and stole some tubers of yam. He made sure that he took the very big ones and then he went to meet his friend, Dog.

“My dear friend Dog. Come out. I have some things to give you!” Tortoise shouted at top of his voice and didn’t stop until Dog came out.

“Why are you disturbing my peace?” Dog asked him plainly, and his next sentence died in his mouth when he saw the big tubers of yam that Tortoise carried.

“Gracious Lord! Tortoise, what is this?” He asked in disbelief.

“These are some tubers of yam from my farm. I want you to have a taste and tell me what you think.” Tortoise said, beaming.

“Are you serious?!” Dog asked.

“Yes, I am,” Tortoise replied and left the yam in the custody of Dog. Immediately he left Dog’s compound, he went straight to the King with a sober look on his face.

“What is the problem?” The king asked him.

“My King, it is my friend Dog. He stole some tubers of yam from your in-law’s farm. He confessed it to me, and as I speak with you, those tubers of yam are in his custody.”

The King didn’t want to believe anything that Tortoise said, but he knew it would be foolish of him not to investigate for himself. So he went to check on Dog, and he found the tubers of yam in his house. The King got so angry and had Dog thrown into prison, awaiting the day of his case trial.

Tortoise went to see Dog in prison.

“Dog, my dear friend! How are you?” He pretended to care.

“I am not fine. I am not fine at all. Tortoise, you are a bit close to the King. Please plead with him and tell him to get me out of here. I didn’t steal any of those tubers of yam. You brought them to me, don’t you remember?”

“I remember. Listen, I explained all these to the king, and he said that before he can believe that you are telling the truth, you need to bark at everything he asks you on the day of your case hearing,” Tortoise said.

“Are you serious?” Dog asked.

“Yes, that is what he said,” Tortoise insisted.

“Okay. I will do just that,” Dog assured Tortoise, and Tortoise left immediately.

On the day of his case hearing, Dog was called to stand in front of the king.

“Dog, where did you get the yam that you and your entire family were seen eating?” The King asked him. In response, Dog barked. He kept doing this till the King got so angry and said,

“Send this Dog to jail, and from now henceforth, he is forbidden from speaking amid people.” 

So, Dog was reduced to barking only, and Tortoise took over his farmland and farm produce.

Soon afterward, at the palm wine stand, Tortoise jokingly told the palm wine seller what he did to Dog. The king heard about this, but couldn’t revoke his words because as a King, whatever he said is what the earth would respect forever. So even after Dog was released from jail, he kept barking. Tortoise was then thrown into jail in Dog’s place.

 

Moral Lesson

  • Don’t be friends with people that tell lies. 
  • What you sow is what you reap.
  • Do not be lazy.

 

More folktales, folklores, and fables.

 

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