Trial 16-22



The Greedy Hyena and the Stump

Long, long ago, there was a bee keeper who went to check on his bee-hive in the forest. It was late in the evening when he arrived at the tree where his bee-hive was hanging. He lit some fire and climbed on top of the tree to collect the honey from the bee-hive. After collecting enough honey, he descended the tree. As he stood on the ground, he heard some queer noise in a bush close by but he could not see the bush clearly.

After trying a bunch of pieces of wood and lighting it so as to use it as a torch, he started on his journey homewards. Hardly had he gone a short distance when he heard the same noise he had heard before. This time, the noise was annoying him. He stopped to see what it was that made the noise. Behind him was a huge hyena. When he stopped, it also stopped and when he moved, it also moved towards him. He went on and when he was near his home, he stopped. He thought and thought. How could he stop the hyena from following him. He saw the stump of a tree in front. He decided to cover the remaining distance in the darkness.

He placed the torch of pieces of wood beside the stump. Meanwhile, the hyena had receded out of his sight and did not see him go. It thought the man had placed the fire on the ground and slept. What a feast I’ll have! The hyena thought. It waited in an adjacent bush till the flames of the fire went off. It came towards the dim burning charcoal and mistook the stump beside the fire for the man’s head. It went stealthily towards the stump. Its teeth sunk deep into the stump and got stuck. The hyena tried to pull its teeth out but it was all in vain. The teeth remained stuck to the stump. It struggled and struggled; It tugged and tugged but all in vain.

The hyena stayed in that condition the whole night. Very early the following morning, a young girl who was going to fetch water from the river saw it struggling. She went back and reported what she had seen. Her father sent an alarm for the village warriors to take up their weapons and kill the hyena. After a short while, the men were gathered near the hyena ready to kill it. The man who had been followed by the hyena the previous night was there. When he saw the hyena’s long teeth stuck in the stump, he told the men that he would have been the victim had he not placed the fire beside the stump. The hyena was killed.

(Chesaina, C. 1991. Oral literature of the Kalenjin, Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers Ltd)


a) Classify this narrative.                                                                   (2 marks)
b) Identify and illustrate one character trait of                                   i) The bee-keeper  ii) The hyena  (4 marks)
c) Give one economic activity of the community in this story.          (2 marks)
d) Comment on any two features of style present in the story.           (6 marks)
e) What is ironical about hyena’s thought ‘What a feast I’ll have!’  (3 marks)
f) What moral lesson do we learn from this story?                             (2 marks)
g) Give the meaning of the word queer as used in the story.              (1 mark)


Read the song below and answer the questions that follow (20mks)

The hoe goes up whaaaa                 Eeeeh! And lands strongly, ndu!    Eeeeh!

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It opens the earth    Eeeeh! The earth to receive seed Eeeeh! The sky, let forth the waters Eeeeh!

The seed, come back with many more,Eeeeh!

        Many granaries grown under your weight    Eeeeh!

This harvest, who gives us? Eeeeh! Only He, the owner of the sky!       Eeeeh! The owner of the land!       Eeeeh! The maker of our people!      Eeeeh!

        Only He!                                          Eeeeh!

The man who works, let his words be hearkened to!

The mother who works; let her happily cook!

The young man who works; may he in battle win!

The young woman who works; may suitors see her!

The hand that works; let its mouth eat!

The hand that is slack; shall its mouth yawn?

This harvest, who will eat it?

The fathers, may they be wise!

The mothers, may they birth nations!

The young man, may they be strong!

The young woman, may they be beautiful! The people,let them work1 The children, let them play!


  1. Classify this song                                                              2marks
  2. Using illustrations from the text identify four values of the community which this song comes from        (4mks) c) Identify four oral features that make the song an oral piece   (4mks)
  • What are the gender roles of men and women in this community?                  (3mks)
  • Identify one social and one economic activity of the community that owns this song


  • What religious beliefs do the members of the community have?                    (4mks) g) Explain the meaning of the line

              The hand that is slack; shall its mouth yawn?                                                       (1mk)


Read the oral song below and then answer the questions that follow: 

                 After a brief struggle I got myself a job; 

 My food was meat and banana flour 

 A hundred cents a month and soon I had some money. 

Soon afterwards I bought myself 

          a beautiful girl 

My heart was telling me this            was a fortune, 

So, heart you were deceiving me and I  believed you. 

On a Saturday morning as I was leaving work;  I was thinking I was being awaited at home  But on arrival, I couldn’t find my bride. 

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           Nor was she in her parent’s home  I ran fast to a river valley; 

What I saw gave me a shock – There was my wife conversing  with her lovers 

I sat and silently wept;  People are not trustworthy and  will never be  Girls are not trustworthy and will never be! 


  1. Place this song in its appropriate genre.                                                                      (2mks) 
  2. Who is the probable singer of this song?                                                            (1mk) 
  3. What evidence is there to show that this is an oral song? Give two well illustrated features.


  • What do we learn about the economic setting of the community depicted in this song?  


  • Briefly explain what the following lines mean.                                                        (1mrk) 

 “Soon afterwards I bought myself a beautiful girl.” 

b) Read the proverb below and answer the questions that follow. 

Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.  

  1. Explain the meaning of this proverb.                                                                (2mks)
  2. Describe a situation to which this proverb could apply.                                    (2mks)  ii) What is the role of the proverb in the situation you have described in (i) above.  (2mrks)  iv) Explain the imagery used in this proverb.                                                     (2mks)  

v) What does this proverb reveal about the values of the community from which it originates?                    (2mks) 



Read the following oral poem and answer the questions that follow (20 marks)   

        Oh! It has dawned

         You ask for a loincloth to take where?

          iiii It has dawned

         You ask for a loincloth to take where?

         Uncircumcised man of Ngiro

         It has dawned

         What do you need a loincloth for?

         Now only your mother can help you          Uncircumcised man of Ngiro          What do you need a loincloth for?

         Won’t you call your mother to plead with you?

          Oh! It has dawned

          What do you need a loin cloth for?


  1. Classify the above oral poem                                                                   (2 marks)
  2. Identify four performance features that stands out in the above oral poem ( 8 marks)
  3. Discuss dominant tone of the above oral poem                                                  ( 3 marks)
  4. Oh! It has dawned (add a question tag)                                                   (1 mark)
  5. What are the roles of the above song?                                                      (2 marks)
  6. Who is the singer?                                                                                   (2marks)
  7. Explain one vice that is discouraged in the oral poem                             (2 marks)


Read the Oral Narrative below and answer the question that follow.

One day, elephant came across Squirrel on the path to the river.  The proud and lordly


Elphant swept Squirrel off the path with his trunk, rumbling, “Out of my way, you of no importance and tiny size,” Squirrel was most offended, as he had very right to be.  Stamping his little feet in a rage, he decided that he was going to try and teach Elephant some manners.

“Ho!” shouted Squirrel indignantly, “  You may be very proud and I be you think you’re the greatest animal on earth, but you are much mistaken!”

Elephant looked around in surprise.  “ I am mistaken.  Squirrel,” he rumbled.  “ I am the greatest and everyone knows it.”

Let me tell you something Elephant, “ said Squirrel, angrily and flicking his tail, “ I may be small, but I can eat ten times as much as you!  I challenge you to an eating contest and I bet you that I, Squirrel can eat more palm nuts and for a longer time than you, high and mighty Elephat!”

Elephant roared with laughter.  He was so amused, in fact  he accepted the creature’s challenge.  Beside he was rather fond of palm nuts.

So both animls collected a huge pile of palm nuts and agreed to start the contest the very next morning at the first light.  Elephant could hardly wait.  He even skipped his evening meals  of acacia pods so as to be truly empty for morning.  He intended to put Squirrel firmly in his place, once and for all.

The next day dawned fine and sunny, as it ofen does in Africa, and the two contestants started to eat.  Elephant munched steadily through his pile, with fine appetite.  Squirrel nibbling away furiously, was soon full to bursting.  Quetly, he slipped away, sending a cousin who was hiding nearby to take his place.  Elephant was so absorbed in his greedy task that he didn’t even notice.  Brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, one hungry Squirrel after another took a turn at the pile of palm nuts.

Eventually, at midday, Elephant looked up, “Well, Squirrel, haven’t you had enough yet?’  he asked, surprised to see his small adversary still busy eating.  Not only was he still eating, but his pile of palm nuts were disappearing almost as fast as Elephant’s own.

“Not yet:, rambled Squirrel his mouth full’ “ and you?” “ Never” replied Elephant scornfully.  And he started to eat a little faster.  By the time the sun was setting, elephant was so full. He could hardly stand.  He looked over to where Squirrel ( the original Squirrel, who had come back after a day of sleeping in a nearby tree) was still eating more palm nuts.  Elephant groaned.

Truly you are amazing, Squirrel” he said, “ I cannot go on, and I’m forced to admit that you have won the contest.”  And he lifted his trunk in salute.  Squirrel hopping with delight, thanked Elephant and told him not to be so proud in future, and from that day to this,  Elephant has always shown greast respect for Squirrel.


i) Classify the above narrative giving evidence.    (2mks) ii) Identify any five features that show that this is an oral narrative.   (5mks) iiii) Explain the effectiveness of any two features of style found in the narrative above.

            (4mks) iv) With reasons, identify the appropriate audience for the above oral narrative. 

            (2mks) v) Contrast the character traits of Squrrel to the Elephant.   (4mks) vi) Identify any one social and economic activity evident in the above oral narrative.

             (2mks) vii) What moral lesson do you learn from this story?    (1mk)


Trial 16-22

Trial 1-5

Trial 1-15

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