How the Spider Ate the Hyena-Cubs’ Food: A Hausa Folktale

Northern Nigeria (Hausa People)
General Location: Northern Nigeria (Hausa People)

This folktale of the Hausa people tells the story of the Spider, who managed to trick the Hyena and blamed the Dog. 

One day the Spider went to the Hyena’s house when he knew that she was out for a walk, and began talking to her Cubs. He asked one what his name was, and the Cub answered, “Mohammadu.” Then he said to another, “And what is your name?” and he replied, “Isa.” Then the Spider asked the third Cub his name and he said, “It is Na-taala.”

When he had asked them all, he said, “Now, look here, your Mother asked me to come here and live with you. So you must know my name, it is For-you-all.”

Now whenever the Hyena brought food she used to say, “It is for you all,” and so the Spider would at once exclaim, “It is all for me, you heard what our Mother has said.”

So the Spider would eat all the food.

This went on for about a month, and as the Spider had always taken all the food, the Cubs by this time had wasted away.

Then the Hyena said, “Come out of the den, and let me see you.”

When the cubs appeared, she saw that they had become very thin, and she said, “What has happened to you, to make you so thin?”

“You have brought us no food.”

“Nonsense! What about everything I have been bringing for you all?”

“For-you-all has eaten it, he is in there.”

“Let him come out and show himself.”

The Spider pushed forward his ears until they were sticking out of the hole, and said, “Catch hold of my boots, then I will come out and you can see me.”

The Hyena seized hold of the ears and angrily threw them behind her, and the Spider (for his whole body had been pulled out) got up, and ran away.

“Where is For-you-all?” the Hyena repeated.

“You just threw him over there,” her cubs replied.

The Spider ran to the house of the Dog and he sat down. Soon the Hyena approached, looking for the Spider.

“Whom was I chasing?” she asked.

The cunning Spider at once replied, “Look at the Dog’s mouth, he is panting tremendously; proof that he has been running away.”

Immediately the Hyena sprang toward the Dog, but the Dog got away in time, and the Spider also ran away, so both escapee from the Hyena.

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