Compere Lapin did not like gossip. He was always annoyed with his friends whenever he found them discussing other people’s affairs; matters that were none of his friends’ business.
One day he talked to God: “Mr. God, all these animals always be talking about one another’s business. I would like to ask you a favour in helping me teach them a lesson. Every time they does talk about someone else, let them fall unconscious for one hour.”
God agreed and the next day Compere Lapin set out to instruct the others in the wrongs of gossiping. He filled a basket with yams, lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, dasheen, plants and seeds. He set out for a rocky piece of land and began digging into the ground, pretending to start a garden. Minutes later Compere Tigre passed by and, just as Lapin had planned, Tigre was astonished to find the rabbit planting a garden in such a rocky place. He enquired, “Compere Lapin, what are you doing here?
“Lapin blithely answered, “Well Compere, I low on food so I planting me a garden.”
Tigre began his response: “You mean you think you go get food out of this rock? Compere must be going ma-a-a . . .”
Before he could finish, he fell to the ground unconscious. Compere Lapin pulled Tigre’s body into the full sun and sat down to relax for an hour. When Compere Tigre awoke, he was sore all over due to the intense sun; his fur was even singed.
He sat up and demanded: “Compere Lapin, what happened to me?”
“Well Compere, let that be a lesson on minding your own business and, if you tell anybody else, then the same going to happen to you again.”
Compere Tigre agreed and slowly sulked towards his home.
Every day Compere Lapin continued his game with all the animals. He did not notice Compere Pigeon high in the trees, watching all along. Finally Pigeon decided that Lapin had carried his evilness far enough. He put a towel on his back and passed near to Compere Lapin. His only words were, “Good morning, Compere.”
This puzzled Lapin and he prompted Pigeon: “Morning Compere Pigeon. You see I planting a garden here so I can get me some food.”
“Work away, Compere Lapin. I going to get me a bath and a trim,” Pigeon nonchalantly babbled as he strolled off.
Compere Lapin, amazed that Compere Pigeon had taken no further notice of him, sourly muttered to himself, “Ah, ah, Pigeon really fresh, you know. What hair he have to trim anyway? His head be looking like . . .”
Before he could finish, Compere Lapin fell to the ground unconscious. Compere Pigeon looked back over his shoulder and chuckled, “You, Compere, must learn to do unto others as you want them be doing to you.”
Jacintha Lee’s beautifully illustrated book is available from Amazon or locally at Saint Lucia Books located in the Valmont Building on Laborie Street in Castries.