How Spider Robbed a Goblin and Cheated Death

During Hungry Season Hare discovered a Goblin’s home in a secret place beyond the forest, and in Goblin’s house were many boxes full of rice. When Goblin was away cunning Hare crept into the house, opened a box, and filled a bag with rice. As he was about to leave a bat flew down from under the roof and said:

“Hare, you are stealing Goblin’s rice!”

“So I am, said Hare. “Would you like some to?”

Bat was the guardian of Goblin’s rice. He never stole any rice himself because he could not open the boxes, and now, because he was hungry, he replied:

“Yes, I would like some. Fill this bowl for me.”

hare filled the bowl and went away, and Bat did not tell Goblin. Hare was a generous animal, and gave some of his rice to Spider. Spider ate greedily, and then inquired:

“Clever Hare, where did you get this rice?”

“In a Goblin’s house,” said Hare.

“Let us go and get some more!”

“Tomorrow. We will leave when the first cock crows.”

Spider did not sleep that night, and spent all his time counting the kinjahs of rice he would steal. Every time he counted up to nine he would have to begin all over again, for Spiders can only count to nine. His greed made him so anxious that at midnight he climbed to the top of Hare’s house and sang the rooster’s song. Then he went down and knocked on Hare’s door.

“Oh Hare, let us go now. The first cock has crowed.”

“Go away, Spider, and sleep,” said Hare. “I know it was you who crowed. We will leave when the women get up to carry water.”

Spider went away and began counting up to nine again. After a while he got two buckets and loudly banged them together, and said in a woman’s voice:

“Oh well, I suppose we had better go and fetch water now.”

Then he knocked on Hare’s door again and said:

“Oh Hare, let us go now. The women are going to fetch water.”

Hare was angry and said something rude. But he could not sleep any more, so he got up and went off with spider through the forest to Goblin’s house. They had to wait for an hour before Goblin went off to his fields; then they crept inside his house and opened a box of rice. Spider had brought an enormous kinjah, and now he rammed and crammed as much rice into it as he could and stuffed his stomach as tightly as he could. Hare could not take so much.

Bat flew down and said to Spider:

‘Let me have a little rice.”

“I’ll let you have nothing,” said greedy Spider. “Go away.”

“I only want small-small,” pleaded the little animal.

“Even bats must eat.”

“Spiders must eat too. Go away!”

Hare filled Bat’s bowl with rice. But as Spider and Hare were leaving Bat flew to Spider’s big kinjah and quietly climbed inside; and he began to eat Spider’s rice. Spider’s kinjah was so heavy that he took all day to reach his home, and all the time Bat was eating, eating, eating. He began at the bottom and ate his way upwards, leaving behind him a pile of bung, and when Spider reached his house very little rice was left.

He staggered wearily into his house and set the kinjah down.

“Wife,” he cried. “Children! Come and see what you clever father brings.”

Spider was feeling very proud, but he was also tired and ravenous with hunger. His wife and children came. He opened the kinjah and gave them a little rice, deciding he would eat the rest himself. but when he put his hand inside the kinjah to get rice for himself he found only a great quantity of bung; and Bat flew out laughing and squeaking.

Spider stared in amazement. He emptied the kinjah on the floor, but only bung was left inside. He seized the biggest knife he had and hunted Bat all around the room. Bat settled on the stomach of Spider’s wife. Spider was crazy with anger. He savagely struck at Bat, but Bat flew off and Spider cut his wife in two.

Spider was arrested by the Chief for wife-killing, which was not allowed, and a council was held to decide whether Spider would be drowned in the river or burned alive.

“Please burn me!” Spider begged. “Drowning in deep water is a terrible affair. In fire I’ll turn to smoke and float up in the air.”

Of course, when they heard these words the Council immediately decided that Spider should be drowned; they took him to the river bank and there they threw him in. Spider landed lightly on the water and ran to the other side.

“Silly fools!” he cried. “Fire would surely cause my end, but water is a Spider’s friend!”

Ever since that day men have hunted Spider with sticks pulled from the fire.

Proverb: ‘Ashes fall on those who throw them.’