Myths about hyenas
At first, hyenas are often discribed as ugly, stupid and not very nice creatures. That's the case in my collection of storys with hyenas. Some are nicer than others, and not everyone is nasty, but, you kow, hyenas don't have the best image :-(
The Nine Lion Cubs
This story reminds a bit of TLK
Father and mother Lion
had ten children. They had to go hunting everyday to have enough
food. Because they couln't leave the cubs alone, they searched
for a baby-sitter. A rabbit asked for the job and got employed.
One day the two lions went off for a hunt again. The hyenas knew, that the rabbit was the baby-sitter of the lions, they heard from it a long time ago. When the lion parents had gone, they came to the rabbit and said:"Listen, Rabbit. We're very hungry, and if you don't give us one of the young, juicy lion cubs to eat, we will eat you." The rabbit gave them cowardly one of the cubs. The hyenas ate it up and ran away.
In the noon the adult lions returned and brought a rich meal with them. The rabbit greeted them very politely and acted like an obedient baby-sitter. The lions had the habit, to sit outside their cave, in front of the entry, and let the rabbit fetch the cubs, one after another, to let them drink. The rabbit fetched the first cub, took it back when it was full and fetched the next. When the nineth cub was fed, he just fetched the first cub again, so the lions didn't notice that one cub was missing.
The next day the lions went off to go hunting again. Just when they had disappeared, the hyenas arrived. "You know what we wanna have, don't you?" they asked. The rabbit nodded, and gave them the second lion baby. In the afternoon the lions returned with their prey. As usual they wanted to feed their cubs. And again the rabbit carried the little lions out to let them drink. But cause the nineth and tenth cub were eaten by the hyenas, the rabbit betrayed the lions once more and brought the first an second baby twice.
Day after day the lion parents went off hunting, and day after day the hyenas came to the rabbit and required a lion cub. When only three babys were left, the lion mother complained: "I don't understand, Rabbit, why some of my children don't want to be fed." The rabbit answered quickly:"Oh, in the last time you bring so much meat from the hunting. I suppose the cubs like the meat better, than the milk. This way the grow faster, too."
The next day the lions went hunting again. Not a moment later, the hyenas were there. The rabbit begged:"Oh please, dear hyenas! There are only two cubs left. Do you want, that the lions kill me? Please, if you're so hungry, I'll give you enough to eat from the prey!" But the hyenas didn't want that. "We don't care what's happening to YOU, stupid rabbit." one of them said. "We just want the delicious soft lion cub meat. But we wouldn't mind to consume you as well." the second hyena added. "So decide quickly!" The rabbit obeyed once again, and now there was only one cub left.
When the adult lions returned from hunting, the had collected very much meat, and asked for their children. When the tenth and last cub was fed, the rabbit took it back into the cave and fetched it a second, third and fourth time. But the cub refused to be fed so often. The mother wondered:"Why do you bring me always the same cub? I recognize it, it has this spot on the nose. Let me see, I want to watch my cub myself!" When she entered the cave she noticed with horror, that there was olny one of their cubs left. With tears in her eyes she ran to her husband and told him about it. The parents were very sad and dispaired, and they asked for an explination. Quivered with fear, the rabbit told them about the three hyenas, to whom he had given the cubs. The lions decided to kill the rabbit as punnishment. The rabbit asked for a last wish. "If you wanna eat me, please cook my meat with a special wood, allow me to collect it for you." The lions didn't agree. "You only say that to run off, no no, you stay here!" "If you believe I would run off, tie me with a long rope. When I've collected enough wood, I'll pull the rope and you can fetch me back. When you tie me, I cannot escape!" The lions agreed and tied a long rope around the rabbit's neck. The rabbit went off into the bush. Soon he had enough wood, but he waited a while, cause he hoped to meet the hyenas. And right: "What do you do there, stupid rabbit?" asked the first hyena. "You made the lions very sad. When they noticed that nine of their cubs were dead, they didn't want to stay in the cave any longer. They moved and leaved all the delicious, juicy, bloody meat. Now I'm collecting wood to cook the meat." The mouth of the hyenas watered when they thought of this oportunity. "It's right that the lions moved and left you all the meat?" asked the greedy hyena. "If you don't belief me, just take the wood and have a look yourself." replied the rabbit. The hungry hyenas agreed immediatly. "One thing, you could get lost when you try to find the cave. It's better you tie yourself with this rope, so you get to the cave savely. But you've got to free me at first." The hyenas didn't think about it. They bit through the rope with their strong teeth and tied themselves. The rabbit pulled on the rope. When the lions saw the three hyenas, they killed them immediatly. "We should have known that." the second hyena said, before she died "I've never seen a rabbit before, that ate meat!" So the cowardly rabbit saved his life.
Why The Hyena Smells
A myth from Botswana, thanks to Liam
There was a time when Hyena and Hare were friends. They would play together in the veld and then have a meal. One evening, when they were searching for something to eat, Hare said, "I've seen some juicy corn cobs. You wait here and I will fetch them." Hyena was looking forward to a nice, filling meal, but when he saw what Hare had brought back, his heart sank. There was hardly enough to feed one animal, let alone two! And then he had an idea. "I'll just go and fetch some water," he said to Hare. "Wait here." Hare watched him with great suspicion. Normally, Hyena was too lazy to move. "I think I'd better go and see what he's up to," he said to himself, and started going down towards the river. As he did so, a huge monster loomed out of the darkness and made a terrible screeching sound. Hare fled and found shelter nearby under a bushy tree. There, also lying under the tree, was Hyena's skin! "Ah!" The creature that frightened me wasn't wearing a skin," Hare thought to himself. "It must have been Hyena. He tricked me so that he could eat all the food." Hare was not pleased. He racked his brain to find some way he could get his revenge. And suddenly it came to him! With a grin from ear to ear, he picked up the skin and two large pats of dung made by a buffalo on his way to the river. The dung was fresh and moist. Hare began to rub it all over the inside of Hyena's skin and it struck in lumps in various places. Then Hare put the skin back where he found it. He made his way back to the corn cobs, calling, "Come on Lion, the monster is here. Kill him for me, please!" Hyena began to tremble. "It's only me, Hyena!" he shouted. "Nonsense!" replied Hare. "This monster had no skin-he can't be my friend Hyena. Come on Lion!" Hyena quickly crept to the tree and put on his skin. By now the dung had dried and it scratched Hyena, making him feel very uncomfortable. He rolled in the grass, then rubbed himself against the tree, but nothing could give him relief. "Hare," he cried out, "Hare, come and help. Please scratch me behind the ears. This itch is driving me mad." Hare came past, looked at him, then sniffed the air. "There's a terrible smell round here," he said, "and I think it comes from you. Please go away - you are putting me off my dinner." So saying, Hare picked up the corn cobs and bounded off. Hyena never managed to find out what was wrong with his skin so he never got rid of the smell. To this day, his children and their children have a rough, knobby skin and smell like stale dung.
A Witch Doctor For The Hyenas
thanks to Liam S-Z
The chief hyenas held a meeting. They were important creatures and had to make decisions for the rest of the clan. "I've been thinking," the oldest hyena said, "and I believe that what we need in the clan is a witch doctor. Someone to cure us when we're ill, someone to do a little magic, to forecast the future..." "And someone to tell us where the best food is!" interrupted a hyena and everyone cheered. All the hyenas thought a witch doctor is a good idea - but whom should they choose? After much discussion they decided upon Ground Hornbill, because he was a large bird with a huge sense of self-importance. Hornbill was much flattered and, of course, said "Yes". But he didn't know how to do any of the things expected of him. "What I will have to do," he said to himself, "is pretend." He cleared his throat and while the hyenas listened carefully, he said, "I've performed a little magic for you. To make it easier to find food, I've got rid of daylight. From now on, it will always be night and you can hunt to your heart's content" "Hurray!" shouted the hyenas, not one of them pausing to doubt his word. They agreed that having a witch doctor was an extremely good idea. Meanwhile, Hornbill went back to his hunting grounds and concentrated on catching insects. That night the hyenas planned a hunting raid on a nearby village. They killed off most of the goats and hens and settled themselves down for a long, satisfying meal. "No need to hurry," they said to each other. "We have all the time in the world to enjoy our food now, thanks to our witch doctor." Before long, however, the sun began to rise. The hyenas screamed with panic, scattering in all directions. The villagers came out of their huts, chased them and killed several of them. It was quite a while before the surviving chief hyenas met again. By then, Hornbill had disappeared. The hyenas elected a new witch doctor and this time chose the bird Francolin. Francolin was not as impressive as Hornbill. He was smaller and did not have a large imposing beak to lend him authority. Nontheless, the hyenas' second choice was a better one. Although Francolin could not turn day into night (who can?), he found a practical way of helping the hyenas to hunt. Just as darkness fell, he made a series of soft whistles calling the hyenas out from their resting places to hunt. Then, early in the morning, his calls would herald the arrival of dawn. All francolins after him took their work seriously. To this day you can hear the francolin calling the hyenas to hunt at dusk and then telling them to go home again before the sun begins to rise.
The House That Built Itself
thanks to Liam A-Z
Hyena was tired of her house and wanted to build herself a new one in a different place. So she looked around the bush and finally found a nice spot. It was shaded by a thorn tree and a large rock gave it some privacy. "This is the place for me!" said Hyena. "I'm a bit tired now, so I'll go home, but tomorrow I will start to clear grass." Now it just so happened that Serval the bush cat was also looking for a place to build a new house. And it just so happened that she came across the same spot as Hyena and liked it. So she got down to work straight away and cleared a patch of grass. When Hyena came the next day, she found a large patch of earth. "This place is even than I thought," she said. "The grass has cleared itself. Now I can level the ground and make it ready for building." And so she did. When she had gone, Serval arrived. "My goodness!" she gasped. "The ground has levelled itself. I'll go and fetch some timber." So she collected several fallen tree trunks, put them in a pile near the cleared ground and left. After her rest, Hyena returned. "These trees must have fallen in a pile - funny, I never noticed them before," she said. Then she fixed the posts close together in the ground so that they formed the walls for the new house. The next day, Serval found the posts in the ground. "It's amazing how these posts have fixed themselves!" she said. She cut down some bamboo, then fastened them to the posts to make the roof. Her work done, she left for the day. Hyena returned to carry on with her building and was surprised to see the bamboo struts for the roof. "I'll gather some grass and thatch the roof," she said. And so she did. When Serval came back, she saw that the house was complete - except for one thing. "I must divide the house in two so that half is for me and my husband and the other half is for the children," she said. "Then I'll come back in two days and we will move in." Hyena had separately decided to do the same thing. On the chosen day, each arrived at the house without seeing the other and started unpacking in a room. Then they both dropped something at the same time, making a dreadful clatter. Not knowing what the noise was or who was making it, each took fright and ran away. Eventually, they came to rest at the same place - and at last they met. "You'll never believe what just happened to me," said Hyena. "I found this lovely queit spot and began to build a house - but then the house started to build itself. Then when I started moving in there was the most dreadful scary noise. I don't know what it was, but it frightened me and I had to leave." "Well, that is very strange," said Serval, "because the same thing happened to me." And as she said the words, it suddenly dawned on both of them what had happened. They immediately fled in opposite directions - and have never been able to face each other since!
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