One day a rabbit found a sweet palm kernel. It had dropped off a bunch of fruits and was vulnerably lying under the shade of the tree. Rabbit lay next to it and gingerly tested the kernel. Its tip tasted like sugar. Travelling down the dusky red trail of the body, the taste became predominantly salty. By the middle fleshy part of the kernel orb, it tasted like cheese. The rabbit couldn’t get enough of this kernel. ‘It doesn’t get better than this’ he muttered, as he savored the juice and flesh with leisurely anticipation of each strip he picked off the nut.
Then suddenly a strong wind blew. The kernel started to roll. Rabbit looked up in irritation. ‘Come here’, he said. I can’t let you go. You are too precious.’ By this time, he had intentionally allowed the red juice to embrace his teeth, trail a path over his lip and begin to dance down his chin. He intended to savor every moment of this ‘once in a lifetime delicacy’. It was a major storm brewing and the kernel started rolling faster and faster. Now rabbit realized that in order to finish the utterly delightful exercise, he had to run. Run he did.
By the time his paw secured the kernel, it was dusty, and covered with ants. Rabbit couldn’t eat it in that state. He looked around for a puddle. ‘Ah, you auspicious love’; he spoke to a glistening surface close by. He waddled, stood at the tip of the clear glaze and with a firm clasp on the palm fruit, he started to wash it. Soon, virtually each part of the fruit was clean.
And that’s when he felt it. A sharp bite beneath his paw announced the dark presence of the red ant that had travelled with the kernel. A second bite cut through his rump. This one had managed to climb up. Then rabbit began to shriek. The ants were in his anus! No amount of whipping, tickling, banging against the floor could disgorge them. As he jumped and danced his agony, the kernel was forgotten.
‘Ade a ɛyɛ dɛ na ekum ɔkwasia’ (it is the sweet thing that will kill the fool). (A Twi proverb)
*I made up this story as I remembered the story of Samson and Delilah. How many of us stop to think about the danger that travels with each of the pleasurable vanities we are presuming to chase?