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Home :  African Legends :  The two friends

The two friends

Bura Folktales Legend (Nigeria)

There were two mice and they were true friends. One of the mice was a bush mouse whose name was Yizum. The other was a house mouse whose name was Nkinki. They were sweet friends.

One day the two mice met. Yizum said to Nkinki, "Friend, I want you to come and spend the day with me. Then they went to the bush and entered the house of Yizum which he had dug under a rock. Yizum showed his bed and his rest room to Nkinki and then hurried out to get food for his guest. He brought beans in the hull, the seeds of a tree, peanuts and many kinds of good food. He then sat down and said to Nkinki, Let us eat the food which I have brought." Nkinki gave a sigh of agreement and tasted the food, but it was not sweet to him like the food which he had at home. However, he was brave and ate, even though it was difficult, because if he refused to eat, his friend might say that it was just his mean-ness. When they had finished eating, Nkinki said to Yizum, "Friend, I am surprised (swallowed) how you live such a hard life in the bush like this. You have to eat common seeds of trees which are really not food at all. If I should have such a hard life as you have, better had my mother never given birth to me." He made fun of Yizum about his food. When it came time for Nkinki to go home, Yizum decided to go with him to see how he lived and to see the inside of his house. Nkinki said, "I will have to go home." Then Yizum said, "I want to go with you and see the inside of your house."

As they went along the road they talked. When they came into the village they went by a compound and saw a lot of good food just poured out on the ground. They saw mush and meat and bones and dry sprouted corn which it seemed people had thrown away. Because on that day a mourning had been completed for someone. They began to eat, and the food tasted very good to Yizum. He decided in his heart that if he could find a sweet place to live like Nkinki had he would like it, for there was no trouble about food. After a little, while they were eating, they heard a slight sound like something coming, and behold! a cat was creeping up behind them. Before they could turn, the cat was already onto them and about to catch them. They ran with all their might so that the cat would not catch them, but even then the cat almost caught them. Just in time, they saw a hole in the wall of a house and they put themselves in it. Both of them were trembling, because they were very much afraid. The cat had almost caught them. If they had not made their legs go so fast, the cat would have caught them easily.

As soon as Yizum could get his breath, he said, "Yah! Friend Nkinki, if your life is like this in the village, if your insides are like this every day, this place would not be sweet to me, not even for a little. I would rather live in the bush and eat the seeds of the trees. For me, I will go back and live in the bush and be happy." And he went out and ran off into the bush.


© 2005 Kiki AMEDJA, All rights reserved