124. The Farmer and the Rabbit

A farmer caught Rabbit stealing peanuts. He tied Rabbit to a tree and went to fetch his whip.
Hyena walked by. “What happened, Rabbit?”
“The farmer killed a goat,” said Rabbit, “and told me to eat it. I refused, so he tied me up. He’s going to come back with the goat and make me eat it.”
Hyena was hungry. “I could eat the goat for you!” she offered.
“Would you really?”
Hyena nodded.
“Then untie me, and I’ll tie you.”
Rabbit left Hyena tied up, and when the farmer came back, he whipped Hyena for letting Rabbit get away.

[a Mwanga story from Zambia] 


Inspired by: "The Rabbit and the Hyena" in Chinamwanga Stories by Emmeline H. Dewar, 1900.
Notes: You can read the original story online. This story has the Namwanga text also; the stories come from the Mwenzo mission in Zambia. In the original story, the man was going to make the rabbit eat eland flesh; I changed that to a goat. This "take my place" story is a very popular African folktale type, and also in the African American traditions.

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