The Elephant and the Hare

Once upon a time the hare and the elephant lived together.They were freinds.They each had a garden. One day the hare said to the elephant; “I want to plant rice in my garden but first someone must dig it .I am little and are big and strong .please,will you dig my garden for  I will plant some rice and when the rice is ready I will give you some because you helped me?” The elephant was always very kind to the hare so he dug all the garden. He works very hard. Then the hare said:”I have not any rice to plant and the shop is a very long way away. Who will give me some rice to plant? The elephant gave him some.Then the hare said;”I want to plant this rice but my hands are small. What shall I do? Elephant you have very big  you plant my rice for me? I will take care of the little plants” So the elephant worked hard and planted the rice. Soon the rice began to come up and the hare said;” Elephant I am ill. I have fever. Will you take care of the garden for me?”. So the elephant took care of the garden from early morning till late at night.The birds and monkeys were afraid of him because he was big and so they did not come to eat the rice plants.

                When the rice was ready the hare said; “ My legs hurt me very badly. Elephant  would you cut the rice and carry it to your house, I can not”`So the Elephant cut all the rice and carried it to the house. Then he sold it and got a lot of money. The hare  did all the work so the rice is yours and the money is yours, but please give me a small bag of rice? I will try to get some money also”. So the elephant gave him  a little rice which he put it in  bag, then went away along the road. When the hare was tired he sat down and put his bag of rice on the road by his side. A hen came along looked at the bag and ate up all the rice.


African Child Soldier  


In the beginning the leaders made it all seem like such fun. Guns and 10-man tents, going out in a group of fifty or more, into the African bush. Living with the earth, and its brown-red dirt, brown-red tents, and brown-red uniforms. Scout camp is what they called it, I think.

I was chosen with three others to be a radio operator using the latest radio backpacks. One of the others made a mess of his radio settings so he decided against being a radio operator. None of the others were brave enough to try that radio after its settings went wrong, so in the end, only three of us used the heavy backpacks with their modern radio technology.

I was the best radio operator. For weapons, the radio operators were given Uzi's, while the others had R1 rifles. The Uzi was black and neat and compact and a really mean looking machine-gun. It could kill hundreds in seconds. Us three with our backpack radios and uzi's were the coolest. We grinned from ear to ear. I was 14.

In African bush war, childhood is a long lost daydream. The biggest of the youth did something wrong. Nobody was really sure what, possibly sneaking out of the camp.



KILLING TIME (a short story)
by Nasibu Mwanukuzi
("Killing Time" has been published in a magazine in Norway)

It was after he had entered the cafe, paid for his glass of beer, looked for an empty table, that I spotted him. He had a glass full of beer in his right hand and grey gloves on the other. He moved briskly across the floor, passed people who were drinking, smoking and talking noisily, until he reached the empty table.

Hesitatingly, he pulled up a chair. Sat down and unzipped his brown coat. I heard him clear his throat. His eyes moved around and finally settled on the glass of beer that he had put on the table. He cleared his throat once again and took a long gulp. He wiped his mouth with the back of his left hand.

I could easily estimate that he was over fifty by the greyness of his hair, and the multitude of wrinkles running chaotically across his face; like gulleys. He did not look like he belonged where he was sitting. There was an air of turbulent temporarity around him. He seemed distant and drowned in a stream of thoughts. A little while later, when I started to think about him, I saw him confirming something that was crossing his mind. He nodded his head from time to time, and moved his hands, like he was discussing an important issue with someone that only he could see.

It could have been bills! I thought. An impending divorce, or a quarrel with his boss. It could have been anything, but it was quite obvious that something was eating his mind. He was being mercilessly devoured by the invisible teeth of life.

Then I caught my own reflection in the mirror that was on the wall in front of me. I saw myself sitting there, drinking herbal tea and letting my mind wander aimlessly; killing time.

Watching myself in the mirror, a sudden feeling creep ed through me, a sensation, that I too was being watched from my left. I turned around and saw a bearded man looking at me. He was partly hidden. I had seen him before, in town, but I could not remember where.Our eyes met like clashing searchlights. I wanted to give him a wink but immediately changed the idea. He had been looking at me as I spied on the Stranger. The room was filled with noise and smoke. In the middle of all this was the Stranger.

I could see the Stranger through the smoke that filled the room. I fixed my eyes on him without him noticing, and after a while I started to see all of him rising up. He was being reincarnated in the misty cloud of cigarette smoke that was wafting under the neon light. It was a spectacular scene. He was rising together with the chair that he was sitting on, pluss the table, as well as the glass of beer, which was now half empty. He was lifted up in the smoke like a master yogi meditating above mountain Kilimanjaro, and thus I fixed my eyes on him even more.

From the corner of my eye I saw that even the bearded guy sitting to my left was looking at the Stranger with a growing intensity. So now, we were in fact, two people sitting and spying on the Stranger, from two different angles.

Three jazz musicians were playing softly on the stage. Now and then, the waitress came and cleared the tables.

After a while, I straightened up to look at the Stranger, and he was gone. At the table, where he had been sitting was only an empty glass of beer, and an ashtray. And except for the transparent glass, the space around the table looked exactly as it was before I spotted the Stranger.


An African Tale by Nikita

The Lion and the Snake

The lion and the snake were fighting. The snake escaped the lion’s claws before the lion could kill it, and fled to the man’s house. The snake begged the man to hide it because the lion was pursuing it. The man hid the snake in his cupboard and the lion never found it, although he searched the house.When the lion had gone, the snake took his leave from the man, saying, “How are good deeds rewarded?” The man said, “Normally good deeds are rewarded with money, but since you have no money, you may give me an animal as soon as you have been successful at hunting.” The snake said, “But do you not know that snakes reward good with evil? I am going to devour you, man!” The man said, “No, no, that isn’t fair. We men always reward good with gratitude and useful goods. Let’s ask the bee first.” The bee said, “I never get any gratitude. Man just takes my honey after having smoked me out of my own house.” The man said, “Let’s ask the mango tree.” The mango tree said, “I never receive thanks. Man takes my fruits, and when I bear no more, he cuts me down and throws me into his fire.” The man said, “Let’s ask the coconut palm.” The coconut palm said, “It is true, good is rewarded with evil. Man takes my nuts, taps my sap, and to cap it all off, he cuts off my leaves for his roof.”The snake said to the man, “You see, now I will eat you.” The man said, “Wait until I have said goodbye to my wife.” The snake agreed and they went to the man’s house. The man said, “Dear wife, the snake is going to eat me, goodbye!” The wife said, “Surely, Mr. Snake, you would like some eggs as a hors d’ouevre?” She took a bag of eggs and held it open for the snake. The snake put in his head to take an egg. The woman pulled the string tight and so caught the snake with its head in the bag. Then she took a knife and cut its throat, saving her husband’s life. But the husband divorced her, for men reward the good women do them with evil.



The Getaway Driver by Bill MacKenzie

“He’s a moron.”
“I know, I know,” nodded Tom.
“There is more sense in a dead penguin,” Frank expanded. Tom just nodded this time.
Such exchanges were regular but they didn’t upset me - I knew that they were just kidding.
I had met Tom and Frank in the “Bull’s Head” just a few weeks before. The “Bull’s Head” wasn’t my regular drinking place but I popped in one night and got to playing pool with a couple of wasters who turned out to be Tom and Frank. Neither of them worked so they were quite pleased to find me - I usually have a few quid in my pocket.
“If you let him in on the job we’re snookered,” Frank said. “We may as well stroll down to the cop shop now and hand ourselves in.”
“He’s not that bad,” from Tom this was high praise. “We need someone.”
“Not him,” Frank snorted and cast me a disdainful glance.
“Get them in, Billy.” Tom turned to me and pushed their empty glasses towards me.
Nothing new there, I always got them in. They were so clever they only had the social to live on - Moron Billy made quite a good sum on the side.
When I got back to the table I walked into a heated discussion.
“He’ll balls it up,” Frank groaned.
“Who else have we got? Suggest someone - come on, give me a name.”
“I can’t come up with a name just off the top of my head,” Frank admitted. “But not Billy.”
“He can get us a car and he can drive. That’s all we need.” Frank turned to me. “You can get us a car, can’t you Billy?”
Considering that my full time occupation was “getting” cars to order for the MacGregor Brothers it was a damn silly question. The MacGregors only had to put in their order for a Merc or a Jag or a B.M.W. and Billy went out and got it for them. Considering the value of the cars I got for them the MacGregors paid me pee-nuts - but it was a damn sight more than Frank and Tom saw in a twelve month.
“Yeah, sure,” I said.
“He’ll get us a two door Mini,” Frank sneered.
“What can you get?” Tom ignored Frank and smiled his question to me.
“What ever you want,” I shrugged. “If you tell me what you want, I’ll get it no problem.”
“Big, powerful, four doors,” Tom said.
“Sure. When do you need it?”
“Sunday,” said Tom.
“Christ!” squealed Frank. “Don’t tell him anything else.”
“He’s got to know something,” said Tom.
I knew quite a lot about the great job they were planning. I could hardly have been in their company for the last few weeks without picking up plenty of bits and pieces.
“If you tell him he’ll blab,” Frank sighed.
“Why should he? If he’s involved he’s got as much to lose as us.”
I didn’t mention it but I actually had a lot more to lose if I went to jail - I would lose my MacGregor contract.
Frank held up his hands in surrender. “If he’s in I’m out.”
“Don’t be bloody daft,” Tom snapped. “Where are you going to get a chance like this again? You happy to live on a pittance for the rest of your life?”
Frank glowered at me, then at Tom and finally at his glass before raising sad eyes and sighing. “Okay but it’ll be a bloody disaster.”
Tom took this as an affirmative and turned to me.
“We’re going into Marshall’s on Sunday at closing time - plenty of cash in there at that time. We need you outside in a good, reliable big car when we come out. We’ll be in a hurry.”
I had known most of that. They had some pal on the inside at Marshall’s and for a big shop like Marshall’s Sunday was a busy day.
“What then?” I encouraged.
Frank groaned. “You drive us away, of course.”
“Yeah, but where?”
“He don’t need to know that,” Frank spoke to Tom.
“Of course he needs to know,” Tom sighed. “What do you suggest? That we jump into the car with the bags of money and then draw him a map?”
That shut Frank up.
“Marshall’s is in Carney Street,” Tom explained as if I really was a moron or had just landed from space, “At the bottom of Carney Street there is the slip road to the motor way.”
“We’re heading for London?” I suggested.
“No,” Tom said patiently. “We go to the next junction and off. Then we go round the roundabout back onto the motor way in the other direction.”
“Going to Birmingham?”
“Yeah but we’re only coming back to the Carney Street junction and off. Then along Shore Street and up a side street. We’ve got a lock-up there. Drive in and shut the door and Bob’s your uncle.”
“Why go on all this motor way jaunt?” I asked.
“There’ll be scores of witnesses watching us leave Marshall’s and we want them to think that we’re off down the motor way to London.”
“What if there’s a jam on the motor way?” It wasn’t me being negative but Frank.
“On a Sunday?” Tom snorted.
“Could be,” Frank smirked. “An accident or something like that.”
“Bloody hell!” Tom snapped. “If the worst came to the worst we could bale out and carry the bags over to Shore Street.”
“No one’ll notice that,” Frank hooted. “Three yobs loaded down with bags of cash running across the motor way - no, no one’ll notice that!”
“It’s not going to happen,” Tom sighed.
“But what if?” Frank insisted.
Tom just glowered so I said, “Carrier bags.”
They both looked at me as if I had grown an extra head.
“Three blokes running across carrying carrier bags wouldn’t be so noticeable,” I expanded.
“Great,” said Tom and turned to Frank. “See, he can come up with some good ideas.”
“Super,” Frank said but not with great enthusiasm.
“That can be another job for you Billy,” Tom said. “You can get a couple of carrier bags.”
“What kind do you want?”
“Here we go again,” Frank groaned and held his head.
“Big ones,” Tom said and picked up his pint as if the matter was closed.
“‘Farm Foods’ ones are good and strong,” I said.
“Great,” said Tom.
“Or ‘Argos’ have big ones. Or if you get something big ‘Woollies’ put it in real big ones.”
“Whatever,” said Tom.
“Super,” said Frank.
“I was planning on getting a new duvet,” I said. “If I went to ‘Woollies’ for that they...”
“Just get two bloody bags,” said Tom.
So I went to ‘Woollies’ and got two new duvets. Got two super big bags too.
Getting the car on Sunday was just as easy.
I went out to Broxton on the bus. Lots of big houses in Broxton and lots of flashy cars.
I’d hardly gone half way down the first road when I spotted what I wanted.
A spotty kid was washing Daddy’s big white Volvo. He had the car radio on so I knew that the keys were in. I’d hardly been in the hedge for five minutes when Mummy came out to call the spotty kid in for his drink and biccys. He left the radio on and trotted off into the house.
He’d hardly have got his first biccy dunked when I was out of the drive and heading for town in the white Volvo.
I had to hang around for a few hours. It hadn’t taken long to get the car and I didn’t have to be in position outside Marshall’s until just before six. Outside Marshall’s was a bit prominent to park a stolen car so I found a quiet alley-way in the town centre, amongst all the closed banks and offices. I tried a few of the guy’s D.V.D.s but they were gross so I ended up with the football on Five Live.
When I did get to Carney Street the place was crowded. Tom had told me to park at the front door of Marshall’s - Fat chance! The best I could get was a space on the opposite side of the road. I reckoned I could nip over if something moved - always assuming there was a break in the traffic to let me get across.
There was a big white van in the spot I wanted. Now, if it would go it would be perfect. I was eyeing the damn thing when I realised it was moving. Not, sadly, out of its space but moving on its springs - someone was inside.
It was nearly six when I spotted Tom coming along the pavement opposite. When I squinted in the rear view mirror I could see Frank strolling from the opposite direction.
Tom was looking at the rows of cars but even when I gave him a little wave he didn’t spot me - he seemed to be totally occupied with cars on his side of the road. Then my mobile went.
“Where the bloody hell are you?” It was Tom - he sounded anxious.
“Opposite, in the white Volvo,” I said and waved until his eyes passed over me.
“What the hell are you doing over there? Expect us to use the Zebra on the way out?” He sounded very peevish.
“Couldn’t get in over there,” I said and added hopefully, “I’ll get over as soon as something moves.”
“See that you bloody do,” Tom snarled and was gone.
I saw him meet Frank. Frank looked along the cars and over at me and clutched his head in despairing hands. Tom grabbed his arm and steered him into Marshall’s.
They had hardly gone when the back door of the white van opened. A guy jumped out and was about to close the door behind him when he seemed to realise that he was still wearing his policeman’s hat. He grabbed it off his head and thrust it into a hand which extended from within.
He got into the driver’s seat and started the motor. Having a van load of coppers on the scene was worrying but it could just be a coincidence and Hell! they were going away. I started the Volvo and looked hopefully for a chance to get over.
Before I could get out a car came down the other side of the road, flashed it’s lights at the white van and, when it pulled out, swung into the vacant space. Even though I could only see their heads and shoulders I knew they were coppers. Even more worrying, they were in a big white Volvo.
The white van went just a few yards and turned into the service road beside Marshall’s - in my view but out of sight from the shop front.
I rang Tom on the mobile. It was switched off. He probably reckoned he wouldn’t have time for a chat while they were doing the hold-up. I couldn’t help thinking that he was mistaken.
I didn’t have time to consider any other moves. Tom and Frank came scampering out of the entrance carrying big bags. They yanked open the Volvo’s back door, threw in the bags and dived in behind them.
They must have been terribly surprised. The coppers in the front seat looked a bit shocked too. While the car started to bounce with the melee which had developed within the back doors of the white van flew open and a covey of baton wielding coppers converged on the Volvo.
I thought I had better make a move. I took a few seconds to wipe the gear lever, the key and the steering wheel and shoved the door open. I was nearly out when I spotted the ‘Woollies’ bags and leaned back in to grab them. I shut the door, gave the handle a wipe and casually strolled off along the street. Most folk were heading the other way to view the entertainment but I repressed the urge to join them and kept steadily on.
I dumped my bags in a bin but only took a few steps before I turned and went back to retrieve one of them. I still had my receipt for the duvets and with the carrier bag I could take one of them back and get my money back.
What did I need with two duvets? I walked on humming a cheerful tune, happy that the job hadn’t been a complete dead loss.




By Peter Adotey Addo

One of the few animals that was able to outsmart Kweku Ananse, Kweku being his first name because he was born on a Wednesday was Adun, the plain's Baboon.

And although this happened a very long long time ago, Baboon and Ananse are still enemies and it is said that one of the reasons Baboon scratches a lot is that he often feels Kweku Ananse crawling all over his skin and in the hairs on his back. He just cannot stand Kweku Ananse.

Well, as I said, it happened so long ago that most of the details have been forgotten and except the old people, few really remember what exactly happened between Kweku Ananse and Adun the Baboon.

A very, very long time ago as the story goes, Kweku Ananse and Adun, the Baboon were the best of friends and went everywhere together. Most of the time Ananse wanted to just hang on the hairs of Baboon and Baboon treated Ananse with a great deal of respect and love. It is said that they were closer than brothers.

All the animals admired them because they were happy and protected each other. They ate together and played together each day among the trees and at night. Baboon would find a large tree to make a bed with some leaves while Ananse just hung from the largest branch on the tree away from all predators.

Some folks said it was a symbiotic existence, a sort of mutual admiration society that benefits each other.

One very fine day as they were foraging for food they came upon a marsh and across the marsh was a banana tree.

Now, everyone knows how much Baboon likes to feed on ripe bananas. And so they crossed the marsh by stepping over the rocks where the Frog and the Turtle rest to soak the sunlight each day.

"Who goes there?" croaked Frog.

"No one but me," answered Baboon.

"And, who is this with you?" replied Frog

"Well," said Baboon. "This is Kweku Ananse. He is my best friend."

"And what are you two doing here?" asked Frog.

"Yes," added Turtle. "Why are you disturbing us here? We need our rest in the sun, you know."

"Sorry, Frog and sorry, Turtle. We don't mean to disturb the two of you." They replied.

"Then," shouted Frog, "then why are you crossing the marsh?"

"We have seen a banana tree with its ripe bananas on the other side. We all know that Baboon just loves bananas. And we hope to get some for ourselves," they said.

Frog and Turtle said, "OK you may cross over. For all we care you can take the whole tree away."

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," said Baboon. "And, thank you, again, on behalf of my friend Kweku Ananse. We are going to share the bananas. This is because bananas are not part of Frog's and Turtle's diet.

And so the two old friends took the bananas back presumably to share. Well, that is there the trouble started. Seeing that the bananas were all yellow and ripe Kweku Ananse wanted them all for himself.

Kweku Ananse did not want the share the bananas and after heated arguments about how to share Ananse came up with the idea of keeping the ripened bananas while Baboon kept the stump of the plant. Kweku Ananse picked his and kept the ripe bananas because he wanted to eat those delicious bananas right away without sharing it with his friend Adun. Ananse made a big mistake, which he did not know because he was thinking how smart he was. He did not know that Baboon knew all about how banana plants grew. So Baboon took his stump home, planted it, and waited patiently.

Time went by and one day when Ananse visited Adun he saw a very healthy banana tree growing in Baboon's yard. It was laden with ripe and juicy bananas. When he asked where it came from Baboon explained that unknown to Ananse, banana trees are peculiar and special in that without seed they just grow new shoots from the roots called rhizomes, Adzanka as the Ga people call it. And that was the secret to the banana tree that Kweku Ananse did not know and had to learn the hard way.

Now Baboon had all the bananas he could eat each time the fruit matured. So Baboon refused to share the fruits of the banana tree with Ananse. And up to now all we can say is that it cured Kweku Ananse from eating bananas. He learned a lesson.


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The Elephant and the Hare


Killing time


The Lion and  the snake


The getaway driver



Miss Anyadwe(2008) at Ajulu.
Anyadwe project in Uganda.
Music classes at Anyadwe.
Luo languages and phrases at Anyadwe.
Short stories at Anyadwe.
Books at Anyadwe.

The African Child Soldier