Why the Hyena Smells
Why the Hyena Smells 1
Publication Information

The Lion King: A Nature Fun and Learn Series




Rafiki Remembers


1995 – 1997



Story Guide

The Ostriches' Chicks


The Greedy Buffalo

If you trick your friends, you'll lose them. And they might want to pay you back – so watch out!

Why the Hyena Smells is a story from the Rafiki Remembers magazine collection. It was published in the 1990s as part of The Lion King: A Nature Fun and Learn Series.


The hyena's coat is rough and smells of stale dung, but it used to be clean and smooth. Long ago, Hyena and Hare were friends and would play with one another in the veld. One evening, while searching for something to eat, Hare told Hyena that he would bring them back some corn cobs. However, when he returned, there was hardly enough food for one animal, let alone two.

Hyena came up with an idea, and he told Hare that he would fetch them some water. Suspicious of Hyena, who was usually lazy, Hare decided to follow him and see what he was up to. On his way to follow Hyena, Hare was spooked by an enormous creature, and he hid beneath a bushy tree, where he found Hyena's skin hidden among the roots. Hare then realized that Hyena had shed his skin in the hopes of frightening Hare so that he could have all the food to himself.

In order to get his revenge, Hare rubbed dung into Hyena's coat and called for a lion to come conquer the "beast." Frightened, Hyena called out for Hare, but Hare insisted that his friend would be wearing his skin. Hearing this, Hyena crept back to the tree and put on his skin, which rubbed uncomfortably against him. Try as he might, Hyena could not rid himself of the coarseness or stench of the skin, and he begged for Hare to help him. Hare, however, simply complained of the stench and departed with all the corn cobs.

Hyena never learned what had been done to his skin. To this day, hyenas have rough coats that smell of stale dung.