Zanzibar Tales – The Kites and the Crows
One fine day, Mway’way, the emperor of kites received a short note from Koongoo’roo, the crow’s emperor demanding that he and his subjects to join his army.
Upon receiving the note, Mway’way without hesitation jotted down a reply: “my answer is no.’’
As expected, the emperor of the crows was not happy and therefore devising to use dangerous means, sent Mway’way yet another note, “Should you and your people disapprove my order, I’ll declare war upon you.’’
In response he said ‘’That suits us, we shall go to war. But the challenge is should you overpower us, we will comply with your demand, but should we come out victorious you will remain to be our minions.’’
At this point, both empires rallied up their troops and begun fighting, by the end it was evident that the kites had completely overpowered the crows.
Looking that the situation at hand, Jeeoosee, an elderly crow advised that they should take off before they are all killed in battle.
As soon as the other crows heard this, they heeded his advice and quickly fled deserting everything they had and went ahead and settled in a new city. The kites later went into the previous Crow town and settled in.
After a while, as the clan came together for a meeting, Koongoo’roo made his way to the front with a strange request. He said: ‘’Should you do everything as per my direction, then I promise you that in the end victory will be ours. Pull out a bit of my wings and dump me in the enemy’s camp; thereafter stay put until I contact you.’’
Since the crows wanted their life back they did not dispute their emperors demand and thus did as per his request. As Koongoo’roo weakly laid by the side of the road, it did not take long before the kites met him and grievously wanted to find out what he was doing in their city.
Amidst painful groan he murmured, “I have been beaten, shamed and thrown out of my city by my fellow clansmen for suggesting that we bow down to your emperor for I have accepted defeat with humility and I have nowhere else to go.’’
Immediately after he said that it caught their attention, therefore they hurried to share the news to the emperor and explained how they came across the crow on the sidelines and that he had attributed to his involuntary habitation in their city and of which they thought would be of interest to him.
The much-wounded crow was then forced to echo his story to which he complied and word for word while putting emphasis on that, despite his adversity and many afflictions endured, he still insisted that Mway’way was the deserved emperor.
This in turn created quite a favorable impact on his counterpart causing him to even praise him, ‘‘Of all your tribesmen, even put together you are the most intelligent of them all and for this reason, you are welcome to stay.’’
Conveying his indebtedness, Koongoo’roo settled in with his alleged new found family and friends.
“Between the crows and the kites, who has the best religion?’’ asked one of his new friends as they walked back to their neighborhood from church.
To which the crafty old crow acknowledged with adoration, ‘‘Of course the kites takes the jackpot.’’
This answer really made happy the unsuspecting kites and they looked upon him as an authoritative figure with unique judgement.
A week later, Koongoo’roo snuck into the dark night, straight to his kingdom and assembled his people.
‘‘Tomorrow,’’ he announced, ‘the kites will mark the yearly festival, therefore, the entire population will assemble in church at dawn. I want you to gather some firewood and hide close to their town till you hear from me and quickly set the church ablaze.
He then headed back to Mway’way’s city.
That particular night the crows did not sleep they were busy doing as their emperor had instructed and by the crack of dawn everything needed at hand was ready. They therefore stayed closeby awaiting the next step.
At the crack of dawn, the celebrations begun and all the kites were in attendance apart from crafty Koongoo’roo.
‘‘Are you going to miss the festival today?’’ asked his friends in disbelief when they found him on the ground and not prepared for the great celebrations.
‘‘How I was yearning to be in attendance, although my belly pangs terribly I can hardly sit up!’’ cried the crow.
‘‘Our miserable friend! ’said the friends; ‘‘feel better’’ and they headed to church leaving him alone to rest.
The moment everyone was inside the church, he slithered through to his army and called out, ‘‘Come on, they are all in one place!’’
At that time, the crows crept in quickly but noiselessly approached the house of prayer meanwhile some were pilling wood by the entrance and the rest applied fire.
It was until the house of worship was filled with smoke and sparks from the flames that the kites became aware of the danger that they were facing. The wood had become a sea of flames burning fiercely. The kites’ efforts to breakout through any openings failed. A large number of them were drained from the fumes and heat, or, had their wings set ablaze and thus did not manage to escape and therefore were torched. In the midst of the dead was the kites’ emperor, Mway’way.
In the end, the crows happily got their residence and livelihood back.
Since that incidence to this day, the kites always evade crows.
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