How the Hyena Became Lame

© PM Photography

One day Jackal and Hyena were having a drink at the river near the kopjes. A thick white cloud floated down over the largest kopje and stopped on the grass near the baobab tree. Jackal climbed onto the cloud and sat down near the edge. He was hungry and nibbled on the edge. It was delicious.

“This is delightful,” he told Hyena, and proceeded to take big mouthfuls from the edge of the fluffy cloud.

“Jackal, I’m also hungry,” Hyena looked up at his friend who was now walking along the edge of the cloud, nibbling around the edge the way a caterpillar nibbles around a leaf.

“Please throw down a piece so I can try it.”

Jackal’s mouth was full of cloud, and when he spoke tiny pieces of cloud fell out of his mouth like breadcrumbs.

“It’s too delicious to just throw down! I’m almost finished. Please move a little closer so you can catch me when I jump off, and then I’ll help you up so you can taste some fresh cloud for yourself.”

Hyena moved into position, and Jackal jumped off the cloud. Unfortunately for Hyena his friend was so excited he landed badly, and knocked his friend into the dust.

hyena 2

“Ooops!” Jackal scrambled to his feet, apologising to his friend. Hyena was so hungry and desperate to taste the cloud, so he forgave his friend. Jackal helped Hyena up onto the cloud so he could begin feasting.

“Jackal my friend, you are right,” Hyena said, excitedly gobbling the cloud faster than Jackal had consumed the edges. “I think it tastes like white fat – it’s better than delicious.”

An hour later Hyena was full, and there was not much cloud left. He called Jackal to help him get off the cloud. Jackal got into position, and Hyena launched himself off the cloud.

Suddenly Jackal barked in distress: “Ouch! A bee has stung me! It hurts!”

Jackal leapt away and hopped around, favouring his afflicted leg. Hyena landed on the hard ground, and screamed in pain.

hyena 3
© Ray Sandwith

“I’ve hurt my back legs!” Hyena cried. “I think I’ve cracked them! Please help me, Jackal.”
Jackal hobbled over, favouring his front leg. Hyena couldn’t see any injury or swelling from the bee sting.

“I’m allergic to bees,” Jackal whispered. “I’m too sick to help you, Hyena. I need to get home so my wife can treat the sting or I may die. Try to get home, Hyena and I’ll come over tomorrow with some soup… if I survive the night.”

hyena 4
© Sarah Todd

Jackal limped away, favouring his leg. Hyena stared after his friend, hoping he’d feel better tomorrow because there was no way he would be able to reach his home – it was too far away! He managed to drag himself to an empty cave at the bottom of the kopje.

Once Jackal knew he was out of Hyena’s sight he put his “injured’ leg to the ground and ran home. There was no bee sting – Jackals are clever and cunning, and because Hyena had spent so long eating the cloud he needed an excuse to get home and eat dinner before his family finished the meal!

To this day Jackal is still cunning and clever, and Hyena walks as though he is lame. And they are no longer friends.

hyena 5
© Caracas Chronicles


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