Another attempt by me to write an African myth based on some of my images from recent trips.
I hope that you, dear reader, are having as much fun reading them as I am constructing them.
Once upon a time, when the world was still new and the sun kissed the earth every day, the plains animals all lived in harmony. But peace was disrupted when a fearsome pack of hyenas began to prowl the land, causing mayhem and terror wherever they went. They were led by the cunning and ruthless Hyena Queen, who had an insatiable appetite for mischief.
The young warthogs, like any youngsters in the animal kingdom, were not exempt from the mischief that the hyenas loved to stir up. The hyenas would play pranks on the warthog cubs, scaring them with their spine-chilling laughter and sending them running for their lives. This troubled the warthog parents deeply, as they feared for their little ones’ safety.
One evening as the young warthogs gathered for their storytelling session, a wise and ancient tortoise named Tata stepped forward. He was known far and wide for his wisdom and his shell was engraved with countless tales from past generations.
“Young warthogs,” Tata said in a slow, thoughtful tone, “I have a solution for your predicament. Fear not, for nature has a way of protecting her children.
Look at the majestic elephants with their mighty tusks…
And the rhinoceros with their sturdy horns.
These formidable features are not just for show; they serve as weapons against the enemies that threaten them. Perhaps, if you were to grow tusks of your own, the hyenas would think twice before bothering you.”
The warthogs, intrigued and hopeful, gathered around the wise tortoise, eager to hear more. Tata continued, “You see, my friends, there is a way to convince nature to grant you tusks. But it requires a task that is not for the faint of heart. You must embark on a journey to find the Golden Acacia Tree, as its golden leaves possess the magic to transform your ordinary snouts into fearsome tusks.”
Filled with excitement and determination, the young warthogs set out on their quest the very next day. Along their journey, they faced many challenges – from mischievous monkeys who threw Marula berries at them to almost getting stuck muddy river beds. But they persevered, fueled by the thought of having tusks that could keep the hyenas at bay.
After many days of adventure and misadventures, they finally stumbled upon the fabled Golden Acacia Tree. Its shimmering leaves danced in the breeze, inviting the warthogs to partake in the magic that it held. Each young warthog took turns rubbing their snouts against the golden leaves, and as they did, something extraordinary happened.
Tusks, long and sharp, sprouted from their snouts. But there was a catch – the young warthogs’ new tusks had an uncanny resemblance to their former hair. They looked almost comical, with hairy tusks protruding from their faces, but the warthogs didn’t mind. In fact, they found it rather amusing themselves.
And that is why, dear reader, to this very day, young warthogs have light-coloured hair that sprouts from their faces that mimics where the tusks will eventually grow when they reach adulthood.
With newfound confidence, the young warthogs returned to their family, proudly displaying their peculiar ‘tusks’. When the hyenas caught sight of the transformed warthogs, they were taken aback. The sight of those hairy ‘tusks’ made the hyenas burst out laughing, however, they soon came to realize that warthogs were not to be trifled with. The warthogs had achieved their goal – the hyenas now saw them as quirky, unpredictable creatures not to be trifled with.
And so, the warthogs’ tusks became a symbol of their courage and wit. As for the warts that dotted their snouts, well, legend has it that they were bestowed upon the warthogs by the spirit of humour herself. For even in the face of danger, the warthogs could never resist a good laugh, and the spirit of humour found great joy in adorning them with little warts that made them look even more amusing.
The next time you see a warthog with its hairy ‘tusks’ and warty snout, remember this tale of their daring quest and the power of humour to keep predators at bay.
And if you ever find yourself in need of courage, just look to the warthog, for even in the face of danger, it knows how to find a reason to smile.
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