It was the coldest day of winter. Throughout the day, the sun remained hidden behind a thick layer of fog. Icy-cold winter breeze whistled through the leaves of the trees. Most of the birds and animals had not come out of their homes.
Kalulu, the rabbit, lay inside his burrow, enjoying its warmth.
Suddenly, his ears stood erect.
“Kalulu! Kalulu,” a squeaky voice was calling out to him.
He came outside and saw Moro Goro, the squirrel.
“Kalulu,” said Moro Goro, “Wild Goat is dying. She wants to see you right away.”
At once, Kalulu hopped off towards the overhanging ledge. Wild Goat lived underneath the ledge.
Wild Goat was groaning. She was suffering. Her entire body was covered with deep cuts and gashes. Blood was oozing out of them. Her week-old kid was standing beside her.
Seeing the rabbit she tried to get up. She said, “Kalulu, I am hurt because of Fisi, the hyena. He wanted to grab my kid. After a big fight, I was able to drive him away at the cost of my life. Please save my kid from the hyena’s cruel…”
She died before completing her sentence. The kid was very small. He could not understand what was happening around him
Kalulu was worried. He always shared everyone’s troubles and tried to solve them. He looked at the unfortunate kid who was blinking at him with innocent eyes. As he was hungry, the little one began to search for his dead mother’s teats with his mouth.
Kalulu thought, “Something has to be done at the earliest. The kid was sure to die of hunger if it did not get its milk. With the hyena around, its life would never be free from danger.” Suddenly, he remembered Mother Bear. She lived in a Dark Cave on the mountain-slope. The other day, when Kalulu was passing by, he had stopped when he had heard a sound. It was Mother Bear, sobbing.
After stepping into the cave he had asked, “Why are you so sad?”
The mother bear had replied, “O Kalulu,” my heart is broken. This morning, when I had gone to the stream to drink water, hunters took away my two-day-old baby. I feel like killing myself. What’s there to live for?”
Kalulu had murmured a few words of sympathy and left.
Remembering this incident, he told the kid, “Follow me.” They proceeded towards Dark Cave.
As he stood by the mouth of the cave, he called out, “Mother Bear, I’ve brought something for you to live for. In this jungle, a mother has lost her baby and a baby has lost its mother. One mother is dead but another is alive.”
Mother Bear shook her huge body and stood on her hind legs. Swinging her forelimbs, she walked towards the mouth of the cave.
Kalulu stood aside. Mother Bear and the kid were face to face. She bent down and picked up the kid with her forelimbs. She hugged it. The kid lost no time in finding her teat and pressed it between its mouth.
Kalulu saw tears of joy in her eyes.
“Now I’m going to take care of the hyena,” said Kalulu.
He hopped away, leaving the mother and her kid to themselves.
Fisi was walking along a narrow path. He knew that he had badly wounded Wild Goat who was going to be his supper. Her kid would be the extra ‘sweet dish’ or dessert.
“You seem to be in a hurry.”
As he heard these words, the hyena stopped.
The voice had come from a nearby burrow. It was a familiar voice…Kalulu’s!
“At the moment, I am in no hurry to sharpen my teeth on you,” said the hyena with a cruel grin. “I’m going to enjoy a different supper.”
“Your supper has already moved from beneath the ledge,” said Kalulu. “Both, the mother goat and the kid, have taken shelter in Dark Cave. Yes, the mother is seriously wounded, yet she can still be dangerous. You’ve had the taste of her horns, I believe?”
“I’m so disappointed,” murmured the hyena.
“You don’t have to be,” said the rabbit. “I can give you a clever plan. It would help you to get your ‘supper’ without any difficulty.”
Fisi, in disbelief, questioned, “Aren’t you my old enemy? Haven’t I suffered at your hands several times? How can you be helpful?”
“Your problem is that you haven’t learnt to trust those who are your true friends,” said Kalulu. “I agree. We’ve been enemies in the past. Let’s forget the past and be friends forever. My plan, which I’m going to share with you, will be a proof of my friendship.”
“What’s it?” questioned the hyena.
The rabbit said, “My dear friend, listen to my words carefully. The main trouble with you is that your presence can be felt from a distance. You look ugly and are smelly. You need to use a bit of cunning to confuse your supper.”
“I don’t understand you?” growled Fisi, grinding his teeth.
“I have no doubt that you’re an idiot who can’t understand simple matters,” said Kalulu. “Your awful face alerts everyone. Why not use a trick? When you enter the cave, move backwards, with your tail facing the cave and your face in the opposite direction. By the time the mother goat and the kid recognise you, it would be too late for them…ha…ha…”
“What a wonderful trick!” exclaimed Fisi. “Kalulu, I’m so pleased with you that I’ll eat you last…ha…ha. It will be your reward for being helpful to me. This is how we hyenas return goodness.”
Meanwhile at the cave, Mother Bear hugged the kid. After a satisfying meal, the little one was fast asleep.
Some movement at the mouth of the cave startled her. She turned her face towards it.
“What is this? A hyena, with the tail in front!” She thought.
The next moment, the hyena howled in great pain.
“What a horrid monster is this? It is boring holes into my skin.”
He helplessly wriggled and kicked. However, he could not free himself from the horrible monster. Little did he know that in this world there are only a few things that are tighter than a bear-hug?
A few minutes later, the hyena lay outside the cave, half dead after tasting his ‘bear-hug’ supper.