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When father couldn’t afford meat for Christmas

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As days came close to Christmas Day, one man in the village of Warugwe decided to go to look for a sheep to slaughter for his family.

In the market in Rushebeya, he found all sheep sold and instead bought two rabbits. He put them in a used Kyapa Nyota soap box, tied it on the hind career of his Roadmaster bicycle and rode home.

On approaching a place called Kangoondo, the aroma of fresh Muramba hit his nose, and he decided to park his bike to first have a drink, known as ‘kuteeraho omusha’ in the language of the locals in that kingdom.

He rested the bicycle by a eucalyptus tree and entered a bar.

Young boys who were playing street football at Kangoondo heard some funny noises coming from the box on the bicycle. Curious, they came, opened it and lo and behold: there were two cute rabbits.

Cheeky as kids in this village were, they decided that they should hide the rabbits and teach this man a lesson: that when you are carrying food, you must first take it home without diverting to bars along the way.

They removed the rabbits and replaced them with two puppies/ young dogs/ ebibwana.

After several rounds of huge calabashes of muramba, the man staggered out of the bar talking to himself and asking the people if he had abused anyone.

Alcohol, especially, omuramba, has a way of making people bold and speak aloud.

“Nabajuma? Mbavumye? Have I abused anyone”, he asked.  Of course he was not addressing anyone in particular. He was simply doing what people in this area call ‘okuteera omurengye.”

Quickly, he grabbed his bicycle, hit the kagyere–the pedal, and rode on.

On another junction, he found another bar and said to himself:” I just need to have one more for the road.”

But before he could enter the bar, he checked the box, only to find two puppies staring at him.

Shocked, the booze evaporated. He rode back to Kangoondo asking anybody he found on the way if they had seen some rabbits.

At Kangoodo, he entered the same bar to ask if anyone had seen his rabbits. Everyone responded in the negative.

Meanwhile the naughty boys were watching him from a distance, laughing.  One of the boys suggested that they should forgive him and bring back the rabbits. They agreed. They came and removed the puppies and put back the rabbits.

In the meantime the man was throwing tantrums accusing the people of Kangoodo of being well known robbers.  “You stole my rabbits and replaced them with ebibwaana, ” he shouted at the top of his voice.

This attracted crowds.

The LC1 chairman of the village decided to enter into the matter. He asked the man to take the crowd to the bicycle so they could confirm his claims.  The man led them down to the bicycle.

He quickly opened the box, only to be met with the sight of rabbits!

The LC1 chairman looked at an embarrassed man who now was looking on in disbelief.

“But these are rabbits, not puppies,” the chair said.

The crowd got agitated and started shouting calling for his lynching saying he had falsely accused them of theft.  The man pleaded for forgiveness.  As a condition, the chairman outlawed the man from ever drinking from their place.  They told him to leave promptly.

He rode off.  When he reached a secure place, he stopped, opened the box and looking at the rabbits said: ” YOU RABBITS, IF YOU WANT TO BE RABBITS, BE RABBITS. IF YOU WANT TO BE DOGS, BE DOGS. YOU CAN’T BE BOTH AND KEEP ASHAMING ME BEFORE MEN.

” Waaba orenda kuba embwa obe embwa.  Waaba orenda kuba wakame, obe wakame, orekye kwebuzabuza.”

As told by Julius Mucunguzi

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