This is the story of Ngede, the Honeyguide, and a greedy young
man named Gingile.
One day while Gingile was out hunting he heard the call of Ngede.
Gingile's mouth began to water at the thought of honey. He
stopped and listened carefully, searching until he saw the bird in
the branches above his head.
"Chitik-chitik-chitik," the little bird rattled, as he flew to the next
tree, and the next.
"Chitik, chitik, chitik," he called, stopping from time to time to be
sure that Gingile followed.
After half an hour, they reached a
huge wild fig tree.
Ngede hopped about madly among
the branches. He then settled on
one branch and cocked his head at
Gingile as if to say, "Here it is!
Come now! What is taking you so
Gingile couldn't see any bees from
under the tree, but he trusted
So Gingile put down his hunting
spear under the tree, gathered
some dry twigs and made a small
When the fire was burning well, he
put a long dry stick into the heart of
the fire. This wood was especially
known to make lots of smoke while
He began climbing, holding the cool
end of the smoking stick in his
Soon he could hear the loud
buzzing of the busy bees. They
were coming in and out of a hollow
in the tree trunk – their hive.
When Gingile reached the hive he
pushed the smoking end of the stick
into the hollow.
The bees came rushing out, angry
and mean. They flew away because
they didn't like the smoke – but not
before they had given Gingile some
When the bees were out, Gingile
pushed his hands into the nest. He
took out handfuls of the heavy
comb, dripping with rich honey and
full of fat, white grubs.
He put the comb carefully in the
pouch he carried on his shoulder,
and started to climb down the tree.
Ngede eagerly watched everything
that Gingile was doing. He was
waiting for him to leave a fat piece
of honeycomb as a thank-you
offering to the Honeyguide.
Ngede flittered from branch to
branch, closer and closer to the
ground. Finally Gingile reached the
bottom of the tree.
Ngede perched on a rock near the
boy and waited for his reward.
But, Gingile put out the fire, picked up his spear and started
walking home, ignoring the bird.
Ngede called out angrily, "VIC-torr! VIC-torrr!"
Gingile stopped, stared at the little bird and laughed aloud. "You
want some honey, do you, my friend? Ha! But I did all the work,
and got all the stings. Why should I share any of this lovely honey
with you?" Then he walked off.
Ngede was furious! This was no way to treat him! But he would get
One day several weeks later Gingile again heard the honey call of Ngede. He remembered the delicious honey, and eagerly
followed the bird once again.
After leading Gingile along the edge of the forest, Ngede stopped
to rest in a great umbrella thorn. "Ahh," thought Gingile.
"The hive must be in this tree." He quickly made his small fire and
began to climb, the smoking branch in his teeth. Ngede sat and
Gingile climbed, wondering why he didn't hear the usual buzzing.
"Perhaps the hive is deep in the tree," he thought to himself.
He pulled himself up another branch. But instead of the hive, he
was staring into the face of a leopard!
Leopard was very angry at having her sleep so rudely interrupted.
She narrowed her eyes, opened her mouth to reveal her very large
and very sharp teeth.
Before Leopard could take a swipe at Gingile, he rushed down the
In his hurry he missed a branch, and landed with a heavy thud on
the ground twisting his ankle. He hobbled off as fast as he could.
Luckily for him, Leopard was still too sleepy to chase him.
Ngede, the Honeyguide, had his revenge.
And Gingile learned his lesson.