A Franco-African Fable: The Lion and the Hedgehog

Deep Freeze Fête’s cultural fables

Provided by: Alain Bertrand. Arts on the Ave has allowed RCP to post this fable online.

That year, in the land of animals, not a single drop of rain fell. To make matters worse, locusts had come to devour the vegetation that had grown. The lion, their king, summoned them and gave them this speech: 

“Dear subjects, there has not been a single drop of rain in our country. There is no food. Therefore, as your king, I decree the following: 

One: Let no one come to me asking for food, as I have nothing. 

Two: Let everyone get by the best they can.

Three: Disperse!”

The animals dispersed, each going his own way. Before heading out, the horse said, “I am going to join the humans in the village. These two-legged beings are intelligent and ingenious. In exchange for my services, they will give me food and drink.” He galloped to the village and became a domesticated animal. 

The hyena, after careful consideration, concurred that though it was true that the humans were intelligent and inventive, they also possessed something called fire! The hyena decided she would wait a while and fend for herself in the bush. The lion agreed, as did the giraffe and the elephant. Even the little hedgehog thought the hyena was right because caution is mother of safety. All the animals still wild today proved the hyena right, preferring to risk starvation rather than risk roasting in a large saucepan. 

The little hedgehog saw a samba tree covered in fruit, ripe and delicious. He climbed the tree and began to eat. Came the lion who saw him on the tree. The lion asked him to send him some fruit. It was true that he, the king of all animals, had forced everyone to fend for themselves; but it had been three days since he had had anything to eat. The hedgehog threw down the first fruit. The lion ate it. “Yum!” It was delicious. The hedgehog threw down a second fruit. The lion ate it as well. The hedgehog threw down a third fruit, which struck the lion on his royal snout!

“Ouch! You hit my royal snout! Woe to you! Great misfortune will happen to you if you come down!” shouted the lion.

The little hedgehog remained in the tree, crying. Later, the hyena came by and saw the little hedgehog crying profusely.”Little hedgehog, what happened to you? Your tree is full of fruit. You should be eating instead of crying.”

The little hedgehog responded, “Earlier, the lion said that everyone had to manage as well as they could. However, he came asking me for fruit. The fruit fell on his snout, and he said, ‘Woe to you. Great misfortune to you little hedgehog!’”

The hyena had not seen the lion. When she did see him, the lion threatened her with his furious gaze. The hyena ran away, saying, “Well, woe to you! Great misfortune to you little hedgehog!”

The giraffe also passed by and asked the hedgehog why he was crying. However, when she saw the lion at the foot of the tree, she ran away shouting, “Well, woe to you! Great misfortune to you little hedgehog!”

The water buffalo also passed and said the same thing. As did the big elephant. Everybody passed by and said the same thing. Everybody? No. The little hare galloped by while singing, “Truth, nothing but the truth, always the truth!”

The little hare saw the little hedgehog in the tree crying. The little hare stopped and asked, “What’s wrong little hedgehog?” The little hedgehog explained what happened. The little hare had not seen the lion at the foot of the tree. When he did spot the lion, he screamed, “Go away! You told everyone that they had to fend for themselves. You have no right to threaten the little hedgehog!”

The lion bounced towards the little hare. The little hare galloped away and ran towards the human village with the lion in hot pursuit. At the entrance to the village stood a human with a burning stick. When the lion saw the human, he quickly ran back to the forest. The little hare entered the village and became a rabbit. 

Update: Although the sculptures were destroyed, they are now re-created on site.

Feature Image: Enjoy this Franco-African fable. | Rebecca Lippiatt


The Lion & The Hedgehog
Eastwood Community League
11803 – 86 St

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