Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: E. A. Ruskin - 1921

Translated into English
  by E. A. Ruskin - 1921

Original title (Mongo):
Boseka oki lilenge la lokamba

Country of origin: Democratic Republic of Congo


English - aligned

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The Friendship of the Thorn and the Mud-Fish

E. A. Ruskin

The Thorn grew on a bush on land far away from the river ; and the Mud-fish lived in the soft marsh along the edge of the river. But one day a man came and cut a lot of Thorns, and took them home with him, and prepared them for fishing.

A number of Thorns were placed at intervals on long strips of strong plantain fibre. Next morning, the man took the Thorns he had prepared to the river-bank and having dug up a lot of worms from the marsh, he proceeded to hide every Thorn in a worm for bait. This finished, the strings of Thorns were placed under the water of the marsh, the ends being safely fastened to a stick to prevent them from floating away.

One of the Thorns felt lonely being taken away from his home; but by and by a nice long Mud-fish came swimming along, and the Thorn which was quite safely hidden in a worm, said to the fish, "O Mud-fish, I am far from home and do not know this place ; come, let us be friends."

The foolish Mud-fish saw only a fine worm which she thought would make a meal, so she said, "Very well; let us be friends."

She swam nearer, opened her mouth, and swallowed the worm at a gulp— and the Thorn ! The Thorn stuck in her throat, and caused her death: and so ended their short-lived friendship.

If you have a friend, do not treat him as the Thorn treated the Mud-fish.