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93 34 Other People’s Faults A Peul lived in the bush with his wife, his son, and his livestock. They had no neighbors. One day the man and his wife went out. Only the child was left at home. An old man came and found the child and asked him where his parents were. He answered that they had both gone out. A bull, a cow, and a calf were tied up in the yard. The old man asked the child: ‘‘If your bull dies, what will you do?’’ ‘‘My mother and I will take it to my father who will cut it up,’’ the child answered him. ‘‘And if the cow dies, what will you do?’’ the old man asked again. ‘‘My mother and I will take it to my father who will cut it up,’’ answered the child. He asked again: ‘‘And if the calf dies, what will you do?’’ ‘‘My mother and I will take it to my father to cut it up,’’ answered the child. The old man laughed and said to the child: ‘‘If your father returns, tell him that an old man came by but it wasn’t for a quarrel.’’ 94 That evening the father came home and the child gave him the message. The father told his son that in fact it wasn’t a quarrel, but a piece of advice: ‘‘Here is what the questions mean: We are alone here. If I die, what will you do? I am the bull. If I die, who will dig the grave? And if your mother dies, what will we do? Your mother is the cow. And you, if you die, what will we do? You are the calf. In conclusion, the old man is giving us a piece of advice. He advises us to join the other members of the village.’’ Thus, the Peul went to live near a group of three dwellings. When he had finished moving in, he realized that the inhabitants of the three dwellings each had a serious fault. One was a rapist, the other a thief, and the third a slanderer1 . One day while the Peul was sitting down, he saw the old man coming. He told him: ‘‘I followed your advice and I moved, but I still have problems. I would still like to go somewhere else.’’ The old man told him not to move again, for what he thought were problems, were really not. He was convinced and he stayed. Meanwhile the thief grew old and stopped stealing. The rapist grew old and stopped raping. The slanderer also grew old. He was bedridden and could no longer go out but his fault did not stop. This is to tell us that some faults disappear with age, but not slander. If people who got along well end up hating one another, keep in mind that someone has turned them against each other. The world moves like a tree. All the troubles found in it are caused by slanderers. 1. Munafika. This is a man who stirs up bad feelings between people. The slanderer is hated by the Moose. ...


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MARC Record
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