How Spider Cooked His Children and Found Them Bitter

Spider and Hare made some traps and set them in the woods to see what they could catch. Spider set his traps in the river, and Hare set his on land.

Spider was hungry before Hare was, and very early next morning he went to his traps. He had caught a few fish. Then he began wondering what Hare had caught, and went to sea, and in Hare’s traps he saw some things which he knew were much better to eat than fish; so he took what he found in Hare’s traps, and left his own fish there instead.

Later in the morning Hare went off to see if anything good to eat had been caught in his traps during the night. He went close to them and looked. He went even closer and looked more carefully. finally he looked very carefully; and after a lot of thought he finally came to the conclusion that there were fishes in his traps. He sat down and looked at the fish for a long time, and then said in a small voice:

“This is curious.”

He sat there for even longer time. He tried looking away at the trees, and the sky, and the flowers, and then suddenly looking at his traps again; but each time he did this the fish were still there. Finally he said, in a louder voice:

“This is very curious indeed. how did fish get into my traps?”

After sitting there for a long time indeed he said quite loudly:

“Spider has been at my traps!”

Then he collected the fish and went home. He cooked the fish, pounded them to a paste, and mixed them with dumboy and palm oil and honey. When he saw Spider coming he told his children to hide, and sat down to eat his meal. Spider came in and sniffed.

“That chop smells wonderful.” He tasted a little. “What is it, Hare?”

“Ho,” said Hare, “I was feeling hungry, so I cooked my children.”

“Well,” said Spider thoughtfully, “children are very nice to eat.” He ate half of Hare’s meal and went home. He killed his own children and cooked them, but the food he made was bitter, so he came back to Hare and said:

“I cooked my children too, but they aren’t as sweet as yours.”

Hare laughed and laughed.

“Here are my children, still alive,” he said, and pointed to them.

“Next time you go trapping be content with what you catch.”

Spider went home and cried all night, for he had killed and cooked all his children. It is never wise to steal from another person’s traps.