Narrated by Hannatu Gamba
Do you ever wonder what it is that the pig is searching in the mud?
Legend had it that, once upon a time the animals spoke the same language and none hunted the other. All the animals were vegetarians then and had to grow their own food. The lion was the king of the jungle, he would give each animal a parcel of farmland in return they will give few days of labour on his own farm.
In those good days, the tortoise and the pig were very good friends. Their farms were next to each other, their children played and gathered wild berries together and their wives often went to the market together.
The tortoise soon got bored with his way of life. Everything was so predictable and nothing exciting ever happened in their world. He decided to become a trader and travelled far and wide to gather his wares. That sounded more exciting. The only problem was that he did not have the money to start this business. The tortoise went to his friend the pig to borrow some money to start this business of his. The pig gave the tortoise the money but asked his friend to pay him back after ten moons have passed. The tortoise thanked his friend and left. He travelled and bought a lot of merchandise.
He came back to the village; sold all the things he bought. He went again to the city and bought more things and sold them as before. The business was doing very well and ten moons have passed but the tortoise was not making any effort to pay the Pig his money.
The pig decided to go tortoise house to ask for his money. While the pig was there the tortoise would make sure the pig was well fed and well looked after. With this kind of hospitality, the pig found it difficult to ask the tortoise for his money.
The tortoise continued to play this game and refused to pay the pig. The pig on his part was determined to get his money back. The tortoise knew the pig was watching his coming and going, he asked his children to spy for him and tell him when the pig was coming to his house. Whenever the pig came to the house tortoise wife would tell the pig that tortoise was not in. He had travelled or gone out. The story was the same every time he came to collect his money. The pig was getting desperate because it will soon be the festive season. He needed the money to buy gifts for his family. The worst thing was that he knew the tortoise had not travelled. He was only hiding from the pig.
After some thinking, the pig decided to take a different route to tortoise’s house where the children were not aware of his coming. They could not alert their father.
The pig came to the house and said, “Salama Alaikum”, which means peace be with you, as he reached the door.
It was too late for the tortoise to run out of the house to hide as usual. He thought very quickly of what to do. He quickly turned himself upside down, that is on his back, tucked his head and feet inside his shell and asked his wife to get the grinding stone and grind away on his chest as if he was a grinding slap.
The tortoise wife answered, “Alaikum Salam”.
The pig walked in. He found tortoise wife grinding away furiously.
The pig asked, ” Where is your husband?” She ignored him
“Am I not talking to you?”
“I asked, where is your husband?”
“Today he must pay me my money. I am tired of this nonsense.”
Mrs tortoise continued to grind without answering the pig. The pig was very angry and he snatched the grinding slap from Mrs tortoise and threw it out of the window. He continued to shout. “Is it not enough that your husband has refused to pay me the money he owes me; that you ignore me when I am talking to you”.
“You see”, said Mrs tortoise, ” now you have created more work for yourself.” “Actually my husband gave me your money. I hid it under the slap and now you have thrown away the grinding slap with your money in into the mud.”
“Go out and look for it, bring back the grinding slap and I will give you your money”.
By the time the pig got outside, the tortoise had turned back onto his feet and walked away. The pig searched and searched in vain for the “grinding slap”. About half an hour later, the tortoise returned from his “journey” and asked to know why the pig was wallowing in the mud in their garden. His wife explained that the pig had thrown out the grinding slab in which she had hidden his money and he had to retrieve it in order to get his money back. ” Carry on searching and good luck”, said heartlessly the tortoise to the pig. In the meantime, I am very tired and must go in and get some sleep”, he added, yawning. He went indoors and left poor pig (and eventually his descendants) still searching for the grinding slab in the mud.
Well, I do hope one of them finds it one of these days. Don’t you? Perhaps with the help of today’s technology they just might. Who knows?