Long ago there lived the mischievous hyena. Other animals of the Great Plain dreaded his presence due to his mean spirited tricks.
One day the hyena spotted the vain vulture admiring the golden plumes on top of his head with help of reflecting water. The vain vulture proclaimed, "Surely there is no other animal who has a headdress that is more beautiful than mine!"
The hyena quickly retorted, "Ha! My neighbor the honey badger has a fur coat much more golden and more beautiful than your plain yellow headdress." The vulture desperately inquired the hyena, "Tell me hyena my friend. How did the honey badger get his coat more golden then my headdress?"
The hyena replied, "The honey badger colors his coat with honey he steal from the busy bees." The hyena added, "Surely if you color your yellow headdress with honey, it will be more magnificent than the Sun itself!"
Realizing that their precious honey was stolen, the bees swarmed the vulture and stung his honey covered head. The vulture squawked in pain and cried out, "Hyena my friend! My eyes are being stung out of my head! Please help me!"
At this time the cleaver hyena was clutching his belly and cackling in amusement. The hyena laughed out loud, "Silly vulture, you must cover your head! Quick! Hide your head in the large burrow in the ground!"
In desperation the vulture followed the hyena's advice. Unfortunately for the poor vain vulture the burrow belonged to the honey badger.
The honey badger was fast asleep in his burrow at the time, and when the sharp beak of the vulture jabbed the honey badger he became furious. The badger demanded, "Who dares to disturb the badger's sleep! A-Ha! It is the silly vulture!" The badger continued, "I must teach you a lessen you silly vulture! What is this! You are covered with my favorite food, the honey!" With delight the honey badger plucked all of the vulture's beautiful golden plume and deliciously devoured them.
The vulture pleaded and begged the honey badger to stop, but the badger did not listen to the vulture's plea.
When the vulture removed his head out of the cranky honey badger's burrow, it was too late. His beautiful golden headdress was but a memory. Now he was completely bald!
The vain vulture cried out, "Woes is me! My beautiful headdress is no more!" The vulture was ashamed of his bald head and quickly retreated to the sky.
The hyena was delighted by the trick he played on the vain vulture. He cackled and laughed till he spotted his next unfortunate victim.
At this time the elegant giraffe crossed the cleaver hyena's path. The giraffe asked, "Tell me hyena my friend, why are you laughing so heartily?"
The clever hyena replied with laughter, "I laugh at your silly appearance my dear friend giraffe." The elegant giraffe was confused, he always thought himself as the most elegant of the animals. "What ever do you mean hyena my friend? The Great Being of the plain created me to be the most elegant among all the animals," the giraffe replied back in anger, "I am perfect!"
With a yawn the hyena responded, "Sure you are ALMOST perfect, BUT the Great Being of the plain forgot to give you elegant horns like the impala."
"I do have horns," the giraffe replied back, "ELEGANT horns!"
The hyena peaked closer and said, "Oh. My mistake giraffe, your horns are so small I did not notice them. On the other hand, if your horn were large as the water buffalo then you will truly be elegant."
The giraffe asked hyena, "Tell me my friend, how can I make my horns bigger so I can be the most elegant animal around?"
"Simple," the hyena replied with a wicked smile, "you must ask you friend the baboon to grab your horns and ask you neighbor the elephant to grab your tail and pull to stretch your horns."
"Thank you my friend hyena. I will follow you advice and once more be the most elegant of animal!" The giraffe quickly gathered the elephant and the baboon.
The baboon grabbed the giraffe's horn with his tail and the elephant grabbed the giraffe's tail with this nose.
"Now pull!" The hyena commanded.
The baboon pulled and pulled with all his might. The elephant pulled and pulled with all his strength. "Yes! Yes! You are almost there! Just a little more!" The hyena urged the foolish animals on. Slowly the giraffe started to stretch. In fact, all three animals stretched! The three animals collapsed with exhaustion. Suddenly they heard the hyena cackle from a distance. "Ha! You silly fools! Look at you! You are all hideous!"
It was true. They were hideous. The elegant neck the giraffe once had now stretched as long as the tree! The dignified short tail the baboon sported was now long as the desert snake! The regal nose of the elephant now resembled a river crocodile!
The three animals called out to the hyena, "Curse you hyena! You are a malicious trickster and you are not a friend!"
The animals of the plain never forgave the hyena for his mischievous tricks and they continue to avoid him till this day. The hyena must now live a lonely life of solitude, but you can still hear him cackle at his former friends whenever he is near.
By John Kim