The Art of Friendship
A Traditional Rabbit Tale from the Luo People of Kenya

    Early in the long past, the white bellied termite and the rabbit were very good friends.  One day, Termite invited Rabbit over to her house for dinner.  Termite had gathered a mouth-watering array of foods for the feast, and she displayed them proudly on her kitchen table before cooking.  The only ingredient she seemed to be lacking was butter, and Rabbit haughtily pointed this out,  "Your spread," he said, "certainly looks luscious, my friend, but I hardly think it will taste so without some spread to cook it in.  Where's the butter?!"  He chuckled at his cleverness and at his friend's apparent embarrassment.

      Termite ignored her guest's distasteful manners and proceeded to cook.  She took out a large frying pan and placed it over the fire.  Then, when the frying pan was hot, she performed a remarkable feat never before witnessed by Rabbit.  She lifted herself over the hot pan and sat down right in the middle of it.  Amazingly, a liquid substance, much like butter, began to drip out of Termite's belly.  When the bottom of the pan was covered, she lifted herself out and began to fry the food for dinner. 

      Now, termite was able to perform this feat because her white belly naturally contained a butter-like substance.  Rabbit, however, was unaware of her nature and was stunned by the performance.  But, Rabbit was very proud.  He thought he was the most wonderful animal alive, and he refused to believe that any other animal could do something that he couldn't.  So, instead of complimenting Termite on her incredible accomplishment, he simply said, "Oh, umm, yes.  I see.  That's what I usually do.  I didn't know you could do it too." 

      So the friends ate their meal and said no more - for Rabbit was sulking.



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