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29 12 The Hare and the Hyena O ne day, the hare’s child became ill. The hare went to consult a diviner. After the visit the diviner advised him to make a sacrifice to the mountain. The hare collected the offerings: honey, fried dough, kola nuts. He went to talk to the mountain and gave him these things. His child was cured. Once the child was better he still had to sacrifice a hyena to the mountain in order to show his gratitude. But how was one to get a hyena? The hare went back to the diviner. The latter again asked for a sacrifice which the hare made. He also needed millet beer for the sacrifice. The hare asked his wife to prepare some. Late that night, as the hare and his wife chatted while watching the fire under the pot of beer, the hyena passed by. She heard talking and saw the fire. She decided to take a look. Coming up the walk she asked the hare: ‘‘Mba-Soâmba, why aren’t you in bed so late at night? And this big fire here..…’’ ‘‘I have to make a sacrifice for tomorrow and this is why I am preparing some millet beer,’’ replied the hare. ‘‘Do you see those chickens and that goat grouped together over there? All of that is for the sacrifice.’’ ‘‘If it’s all right, may I come with you?’’ asked the hyena. 1. Literally: ‘‘squatting like a scatterbrain,’’ nickname given to the hyena by the hare. 30 Alain-Joseph Sissao (Translated from the French by Nina Tanti) ‘‘Of course, but we must leave as soon as the cock crows. Come back then, and we’ll leave together,’’ said the hare. The hyena went back home, but she was so impatient she couldn’t get to sleep. She went and found a stick which she used to force the roosters to sing. She went to see the hare and told him that the cocks had already crowed. The hare replied that it wasn’t even daylight yet. He told her to go home and come back whenthesunwasup. When she returned home, the hyena hung a clay pot up in a tree and lit a fire inside. She went back to the hare’s place and said that the sun was beginning to rise. The hare replied that it was still too early. He told her to return home and wait for daylight. She returned home. Still impatient, she lit the bush on fire and ran to the hare’s house to tell him that it was daytime. The hare told her to go home and come back a little later. The hyena went to wait for sunrise behind the hare’s compound. The hare filled his jug with millet beer, put his goats on a lead, and swung the chickens onto his shoulder. The hyena took the jug of millet beer and dragged the goat up the mountain. Once he arrived on the mountain, the hare said: ‘‘Mountain, I came to beg you to cure my son and told you that if he got better, I would offer you a goat, some chickens, some millet beer as well as a roãb-yiurgã1 . Today I have brought everything. But, Mountain, help me so that she won’t refuse to do what I’m going to say.’’ The hyena was sitting down, and she didn’t know that she was the one whom the hare had nicknamed roãb-yiurgã ! The hare began cutting the chickens’ throats and said to the hyena: 31 Folktales from the Moose of Burkina Faso ‘‘Isn’t it wasteful to spill the chickens’ blood on the ground?’’ The hyena agreed. He went on: ‘‘I’m going to slit the goat’s throat. Since she has more blood than a chicken, why don’t you lie down and open your mouth to drink it up?’’ So she lay down and opened her mouth. ‘‘Don’t worry if you feel something warm,’’ the hare told her, ‘‘it’s just the heat from the knife, that’s all.’’ The hare lay the goat down next to the hyena, telling the latter to shut her eyes so that the goat’s blood wouldn’t get into them. She closed them. The hare didn’t touch the goat, but cut the hyena’s throat instead. Before she even realized it, the hare had cut her throat! She struggled in vain, and died...


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