Be careful who you trust

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2 years ago

My friends, betrayals are perhaps one of the deepest and most painful cuts a human can endure. Betrayals hurt because it usually unveils the people closest to us, those who have held seats of honor in our inner circle.

In life, we have all encountered betrayal of some sort. Even the Bible speaks of betrayal when Jesus Christ confronts his disciple, Judas Iscariot who later betrays his confidence for 30 pieces of silver.

In the Caribbean where, prior to the advent of social media, oral storytelling was deeply embedded in our culture, many tales are told of betrayal. It was our practice to use anthropomorphism in storytelling, a practice inherited from our West African ancestors.

Anthropomorphism is a literary device where the writer ascribes human traits, ambitions, and emotions to animals. It's similar to personification in that personification also gives human characteristics to animals and objects for imagery, though anthropomorphism goes a step further to make the animals and objects behave like humans.

And so, rather than identify any particular individual and run the risk of controversy, our fore parents cloaked their messages in animal stories. One such story, my friends, is the story of the dog and the agouti and the end of their friendship. This is a common tale passed down through generations. Today, I share my version of the story with you.

How The Agouti Lost Its Tail

Once upon a time, Mr. Dog and Mr. Agouti were best friends. They were not just regular best friends, they were bosom buddy, riding partner, Bim and Bam, ring and finger friends.

They lived close to each other, they worked together, they shared everything with each other. 

They were so close that if Mr. Dog started a thought in his home, Mr. Agouti would finish  the thought in his. Everyone admired their friendship. And then one day, everything changed.

The agouti. Image source: Pixabay

It all began with Mr. Goat’s birthday announcement. Mr. Goat was celebrating his 12th birthday, which is pretty old in goat years. His horns had grown thick and heavy, curled to an almost perfect circle around his ears, and he would lift his head high and strut with pride when out among the others in the field.

Because of his age and his horns, Mr. Goat felt pretty important, and he decided to celebrate with a grand party for his friends on a cruise out at sea

When he announced his plans, all the animals were excited about it. After all, the GOAT had the best parties. 

Mr. Dog and Mr. Agouti were besides themselves with joy. They planned and planned and planned… and then the birthday party invitations went out, and their plans fell flat. On the birthday party invitations there was one cardinal rule, ONLY HORNED ANIMALS WERE ALLOWED.

Mr. Dog and Mr. Agouti were dejected. After all, they had no horns.

“He could have said animals with fur,” barked Mr. Dog to Mr. Agouti. “Imagine he turned us down for a bunch of cows and sheep!” 

Mr. Agouti concurred sourly. He flicked his tail. “What a baaaring party,” he sneered. 

Dog spun around in a circle, trying to catch his own tail. After several futile attempts, he lay down, still growling.

“He could have said animals with tails,” he snapped. “Now there would be no one to squirrel away the food and no fun to be had because someone decided to play the monkey. What kind of party could that possibly be?”

“A stupid party,” Mr. Agouti replied. 

Together, Mr. Dog and Mr. Agouti resolved not to think about Mr. Goat’s party anymore. But they couldn’t help it. As the day drew closer, it was all the horned animals could talk about. And Mr. Dog’s mood grew darker and darker and his temper became shorter and shorter. Pretty soon he was snapping and growling and barking at his own best friend.

Image Source: Pixabay

Things had grown pretty tense between the two when Mr. Agouti, in an attempt to sweeten things with his friend, offered Mr. Dog the end of a cane stalk he had discovered in the street.

It appeared as though the cane had been uprooted, the fibrous roots still clinging to one end while the other end had been cut clean through with a knife. Nibbling on the cut end, Mr. Agouti called to his friend, “Sweet things here for you, my friend. Come, let’s share a snack.”

 Mr. Dog looked at the cane stalk straight and solid in his friends paw, and he had a brilliant thought. He immediately began wagging his tail.

“Mr. Agouti, my friend!” he cried. “You are a genius!”

And because Mr. Agouti could usually finish his friend’s thoughts, he knew that Mr. Dog was thinking of making horns with the cane stalk, and he smiled timidly though his heart was heavy.

“Why can’t we just forget about Mr. Goat’s party and enjoy each other’s company like we did before?” he pleaded with Mr. Dog. Mr. Dog ignored him. By this time, he was hopping up and down and wagging his tail so vigorously, the hind parts of his body appeared ready to fall off. 

“This is perfect! This is perfect!” he howled. “We can make a pair of horns, and I can go to Mr. Goat’s party. This is genius!”

Mr. Agouti set the cane stalk down and regarded his friend gravely.

“How would the horns stay in place?” he asked. 

“Tree sap, of course,” Mr. Dog said.

Image Source: Pixabay

“There is a breadfruit tree not far from here. We just need to get some sap, put it in the roots of the sugar cane stalk, and then press the stalk against my fur. My fur would hide the roots, or maybe it could pass for my own matted hair, but the roots would certainly hold the stalk in place. It would be just like a real horn. Genius!”

Mr. Agouti nodded reluctantly. He couldn’t help but notice that his friend, in all his grand plans, hardly spared a thought for the fact that he, the agouti, could not don fake horns to pretend to be anyone other than himself. Mr. Agouti was very sad. Still, Mr. Dog was his very best friend and so he resolved to help him. 

Covering his sadness with a smile, he returned to the field and gathered some more stalks. Then, together with Mr. Dog, he went to the breadfruit tree, collected the sap, and began to put their plan into action. 

The next few days, Mr. Dog remained hidden out of sight. The other animals, spying Mr. Agouti mulling around sullenly by himself, called out to him.

“Mr. Agouti, where is your friend?” called Mrs. Cow, pausing near his home one evening and chewing loudly on her cud. “Has he moooooved?”

Mr. Agouti bared his teeth into a grimace.

“He’s gone for a holiday,” he said through his teeth and turned away. 

On the morning of Mr. Goat’s party, Mr. Dog resurfaced, his coat well groomed, his nails all clipped, but this time, he wore tall straight horns standing like columns atop his head. He was so excited about the party, he hardly noticed his sullen friend who accompanied him to the shore before falling back as Mr. Dog joined the line of horned animals boarding the boat to Mr. Goat’s cruise party. 

Mr. Goat, with his impressive horns, stood on deck greeting all of his friends. Mr. Dog, with his new horns, boarded easily and was soon mingling with the crowds. He never once looked back at Mr. Agouti standing alone on shore.

Soon there was a loud noise. The ship’s horn was blaring. The animals on board raised a loud cheer. The party was about to begin.

On shore, Mr. Agouti began thinking about all the times he had been a great friend to Mr. Dog when Mr. Dog had selfishly used him, and he grew quite angry. As the anchor was being lifted, he raced to the shore and jumped up and down just beyond the waves lapping against the shore and cried, “IMPOSTER ON BOARD! IMPOSTER ON BOARD!”

Everyone was stunned. What was the wild agouti talking about? How could there be an imposter on board?

“CHECK THE HORNS!” yelled Mr. Agouti. He made such a commotion that Mr. Goat, resolving to put all doubts to rest, ordered the animals on board to form a line so that he could inspect their horns personally. And it was so that Mr. Dog was discovered, cowering near the back of the line, two cane stalks planted atop his head, the roots bound to his fur by tree sap.

Mr. Goat was furious! He pawed the ship and butt Mr. Dog so hard he knocked the stalks off his head. Mr. Dog himself flew high into the air, straight off the ship, and fell into the sea. As he came up for air, drenched in brine, the animals on board the ship pointed at him and laughed.

“Baa! Baa!” teased Mr Ram and Mrs. Sheep. “There are your horns.”

And sure enough, there were the cane stalks, cresting the waves next to Mr. Dog. 

Mr. Dog, of course, deserved to be kicked off board for pretending to be someone he was not, but he wasn’t feeling very remorseful when he swam to shore. Instead, he directed all his rage against Mr. Agouti who he resolved would pay for revealing his secret. 

Mr. Agouti, however, was not waiting around to welcome Mr. Dog. From the moment his friend flew overboard, he had taken off at full speed, running to the safety of his home. He ran as fast as his feet could carry him, but he still could not outrun Mr. Dog who, fueled by rage, was soon snapping at his heels. 

“Take that!” Mr. Dog growled and Mr. Agouti zigged.

“Take that!” he snapped, and Mr. Agouti zagged.

Mr. Agouti knew he could hardly run for much longer before Mr. Dog was upon him. He saw a hole in the ground and raced to it. The hole was just large enough for his body and with one last desperate spurt, he leaped inside. But just as he leaped, so too did Mr. Dog and he caught Mr. Agouti’s tail between his teeth.

“Ouch!” Mr. Agouti squealed and he pulled.

“Take that!” Mr. Dog snapped and he pulled.

Mr. Agouti felt a searing pain as Mr. Dog pulled his tail from his body, but he didn’t stop to look back. He continued deep into the hole where Mr. Dog couldn’t reach him. Mr. Dog barked and scraped and barked and scraped around the hole, but he couldn’t get to Mr. Agouti, and he eventually had to leave and return to his home, vowing to get his revenge whenever he saw Mr. Agouti above ground. 

And that is how Mr. Agouti came to lose his tail, his home above ground, and his best friend all at once. Now, if he ever ventures above ground and spies Mr. Dog, he quickly scurries below ground again, and Mr. Dog, if he spies him, would chase him, stopping only to bark vile curses at the entrance of his home. 

And so, my friends, there you have it: the tale of a friendship destroyed because of envy and betrayal. Thanks again for your time and patience.

Images are mine unless otherwise stated above.


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2 years ago


Your absoluetly right and this happened to me recently and you should trust others people's because everyone is not bad person but we need to be careful and not trust to any unknown person

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2 years ago

Betrayal is crucial, it breaks a person's soul and leave a deep scar that cannot be remedied.

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2 years ago

It most definitely does, my friend, and so as friends we must strive to be as discerning as we can in terms of who we invite into our circle, and we must also strive to be good and trustworthy friends to others in return.

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2 years ago

Was glued to the story haha. I am not sure who betrayed who, I would say that they both have their fault in it definitely.

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2 years ago

Yes, they do! Mr. Dog was absolutely selfish and self absorbed and inconsiderate, wasn't he? He truly was not a friend worth having, and Mr. Agouti, well, he couldn't control his jealousy and so he betrayed his friend. Thanks for reading through to the end, I know it was rather long. lol! I'm super happy you liked it.

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2 years ago

Wow what an awesome lore Trifecta. I remember being told these sort of stories bu grandma when she was alive. Although the theme is about betrayal, there's alot of mixed actions and emotions therein. I think they all have faults, both Mr Agouti, Mr Dog and Mr goat. It's sad they never mended their friendships.

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2 years ago

Thank you, DocLayla, I am truly pleased you enjoyed the story. :) Our grandparents told us these stories as well. Grandparents were definitely the best storytellers, weren't they? And yes, my friend, there are a number of traits shown here including pride, deceit, envy, and of course, betrayal. It's true, it's a shame the friendship didn't mend, which perhaps begs the question, is there a line we can cross in our relationships from which there is no return. Food for thought, I guess.

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2 years ago