The New Sang Kancil Tales
A Dog's Life
June 7th, 1999
The Dog once upon a time decided to leave town for a while to visit his good friend Sang Kancil in the forest. Sang Kancil was overjoyed to see his friend and made him heartily welcome. They stayed in the little clearing under a tree which Sang Kancil called home. And every day, the Dog feasted on fish Sang Kancil caught in the river, or the fruits of the jungle he had collected, or sweet potatoes he had dug up. It was all Sang kancil had to offer, but he offered them freely.
The Dog turned up his long nose at this jungle fare. "My good friend, I cannot understand how you can put up with such poor food as this. Of course, I know you live wild and free and one cannot expect anything better in the forest. But at home, my master gives me the most deliciously-cooked meats - fish, beef, lamb. I have a warm kennel that shelters me from rain and sun. Come with me and I'll show you how I live. When you have been in town for just a week, you will forget all about this silly freedom and wonder how you could have ever stood living in the forest all this time!"
So the two of them set off for town, and they arrived at the Dog's home late at night. "You will want some refreshment after such a long journey," said the Dog and he took his friend to the kennel. There, in a large bowl, they found the remains of a dinner - fish, steak bones, lamb chops - and soon the two of them were heartily eating up their meal.
"I regularly eat food like this," the Dog said. But Sang Kancil noticed that the hair on a certain part of the Dog was very much worn away, so he asked him how that had come about.
"Oh, its nothing," said the Dog. "That is only the place where the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up. It hurts a little but one soon gets used to it."
"Well, better to be thin and free than to be a fat slave," Sang Kancil remarked.
Suddenly, they heard loud shouting and cursing. "What is that?!" Sang Kancil cried out. "It is only my Master," the Dog said. "He must be angry that I was away from the house for so long and left it unguarded." And indeed it was the Master of the house, and he ran to the dog and whipped him mercilessly. "You stupid ungrateful dog! Where the hell have you been?! Have you forgotten everything I have given you? Have you forgotten that you live in comfort? Must I always remind you who you owe all that too?!" he shouted as blow upon blow came down on the poor hound.
"Goodbye, good friend," said Sang Kancil, as he scampered away. "What, going so soon?" the Dog said, as though oblivious to the beating he was getting.
"Yes, my friend," Sang Kancil said as he disappeared into the darkness. "Better raw fish and potatoes in peace than cooked beef and lamb in fear."
As it is for us humans. Better to live simply, but free - than to live in luxury and comfort, but forever remain slaves to fear and injustice.
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