Sashe put his arrows into his quiver, took up the bow and spears and set off
towards the plains. The sky was getting brighter. He wanted to call his
brother-in-law to come along but decided against it because he had not hunted
alone for some time.
Sashe travelled for a distance till finally, he saw an
antelope. With his arrow aimed at the target, he took in a deep breath and
released the arrow. The arrow, with its tip laced with a potent substance,
buried itself in the belly of the antelope. It fell heavily to the ground. Sashe
just had to wait for a minute before death took over. By now, Sashe was bursting
with pride. He was still skilful despite his recent recovery from a bout of
It was almost midday when Sashe returned home. He walked to the fireplace in
front of his hut and sat quietly. Toma noticed that his son-in-law had returned
from hunting. He went up to him to ask about his hunting trip.
"So did you kill anything this morning, Sashe?" Sashe was startled by his
father-in-law's sudden appearance but he was secretly pleased that he asked. It
was a great achievement and one that deserved attention. Sashe knew how he must
answer, so in traditional fashion, he said, "No, not at all.... Maybe I did
something ... a tiny one."
"A small one, eh? We'll get some of the men to take a look at it later this
afternoon," Toma said with a smile. In his heart, he knew that Sashe had killed
a big one.
Later that afternoon, a group of five men left the village to carry the
antelope back to the village. The five men soon heaved the heavy animal home.
Toma saw the huge animal but reacted indifferently.
There was great excitement in the village. Everyone was impressed. Karu's
brother, Gumi, stepped up to Sashe and said, "Look at this antelope! It's hardly
enough to feed all our families."
Sashe was not surprised to receive the insult from him. In fact, he was
expecting it. Not that Gumi was a mean person, but he was doing it out of
tradition. Every hunter who brought home meat was subjected to the same
treatment. His forefathers were all fine hunters who had received similar
insults. He was a part of this heritage.
The animal brought home had to be ridiculed. They called it 'insulting the
meat'. It helped to curb the growth of the successful hunter's pride. Their way
of living did not tolerate feelings of superiority. It was also a tradition to
maintain equality. The meat must be distributed to all the families in the
village. Selfishness was another intolerable trait.
Sashe's train of thoughts was broken when he was called away to help carve
the animal. He took up his machete and joined the rest of the men.