the rabbit was one day watching the children of Soko
the monkey playing in the trees, and saw one monkey
reach out his tail and catch his brother round the
neck, holding him a helpless prisoner in mid-air.
thought that this was splendid, and though he had no
long tail, he could twist forest creepers into a
noose. During the next few days numbers of animals
were caught in this way and held fast in the forest
thickets, only escaping with difficulty. They thought
that it was only an accident, but had they known, it
was Kalulu who was experimenting with his noose.
Polo the elephant decided to make a new village, and,
being king of the animals, he called every living
thing in the forest to come and help him build it.
with the exception of Kalulu. He had caught a whiff
from the delicious beans which Polo's wives were
cooking for his dinner, and when the beans were cold
Kalulu came out of the bushes and ate them up.
furious when he reached home and found that his beans
had been stolen. Whoever could have taken his dinner?
he told the lion to lie in wait nearby, and to pounce
upon the thief if one appeared. Now Kalulu was hiding
in the bushes and heard the plan, so he spent that
night in twisting a big noose, which he set in a side
path close to the cooking pots.
morning, when the animals had gone to work on the new
village, Kalulu strolled out into the open and began
to eat Polo's beans, with one eye on the place where
he knew that the lion was hiding. Having finished his
meal Kalulu ran off, when, as he expected, Ntambo the
lion leapt out in pursuit. Kalulu bolted through the
noose that he had set, and when Ntambo followed he
was caught and swung into mid-air, where he wriggled
and squirmed till evening, when the animals returned
to the village and set him loose. Ntambo was too
ashamed to say that he had been fooled by a little
rabbit, so simply said that some unknown animal had
Mbo the buffalo was set to watch the beans of his
chief, but Kalulu had set a great noose between two
palm trees. When Kalulu had finished his meal of the
chief's beans and was strolling away, the buffalo
burst out at him, but the rabbit ran between the two
palm trees, and when the buffalo followed he was
caught by the noose and swung into mid-air, where he
wriggled and squirmed till evening, when the animals
returned to set him loose.
buffalo was so ashamed that he would not say how he
had been outwitted, merely remarking that there must
be some misdoer dwelling among them.
leopard, the lynx, the wart-hog and the hunting dog
were all fooled in the same way, and still Kalulu
stole Polo's daily bowl of beans.
Nkuvu the tortoise, wiser than the rest, went
privately to King Polo the elephant and said,
"If your wives will smear me with salt and put
me into your dinner of beans tomorrow, I will catch
Nkuvu was secretly smeared with salt and hidden in
the beans. The worthless rabbit again determined to
get his dinner without working for it, and having set
his noose, he sauntered up to the cooking pots when
all the animals were out at work and began to eat. He
thought that the beans were even nicer than usual.
They were so deliciously salty. But before Kalulu
could finish, Nkuvu had bitten tightly on to his
rabbit screamed, he pleaded, he threatened and
offered bribes, but all to no purpose. Nkuvu said
nothing, but simply held on to Kalulu's foot, and
when the animals returned from the building of the
new village Kalulu was still a prisoner.
the animals saw who the thief really was, and they
determined to pay him back exactly as he had treated
them. For six days he had to do without any dinner,
and every day they went off to work leaving Kalulu
tied by a noose to a tree. By the time that this
punishment was finished the rabbit was so thin that
the animals took pity on him and let him go, warning
him that it was better to work for his food than to
steal it, and that though a thief may escape for a
time, he will at last surely be caught.