Columnists Features

Pig in the trap: Why you should fight on

Spider’s Web
CHEELA CHILALA
ONE of my favourite folk tales is about the wild pig which got caught in a hunter’s trap. With the trap’s rope tight around its neck, the wild pig struggled to free itself. The animal struggled in silence as the trap was not far from the village. It struggled into the wee hours of the morning, repeatedly pulling at the rope to cause it to snap.
At some point, though, the wild pig became tired and frustrated and could no longer keep silent: it squealed loud enough to be heard by the people in the village. The hunter, too, heard the noise and, spear in hand, rushed to the trap where, sure enough, he found the trapped wild pig. He struck it with the spear till it was no more, then triumphantly took it home, sharing the meat with the other villagers.
When the hunter had found the pig, however, he discovered that the rope around its neck was very close to snapping. The pig had needed only one more pull – one more effort – and it would have broken free. It gave up just when it was about to free itself. Had it kept quiet one more minute, and pulled one more time, it would have been free. But it gave up at the last minute, after struggling to free itself the entire night.
Sad story, you’ll agree, especially that the poor pig paid such a high price when the prize of freedom was almost in its hands. But then this story cannot be sadder than that of the many people who give up fights they are meant to win, or are about to win. There are some lessons to be learnt from the story of the wild pig.
One, the pig started off well, but ended poorly. It started off with a goal: to set itself free, but ended up in the village cooking pot. It started off with high levels of energy, but faded away into surrender. There are many of us who have a vision or dream. When we first set off on the path to achieve our dream or vision we do so with zeal and determination. We bathe ourselves in the sweat of toil, never minding the difficulties we encounter. But then we get frustrated when we do not see the results at the time we expect them. We want quick results so we quit once the battle drags on. Yet it might just be that victory is near. It does not matter how you start – it is said – but how you end.
Two, the pig did not know it had made progress and was about to triumph. It concentrated on the uncomfortable feel of the rope around its neck but did not realise the rope was about to snap. Oftentimes our efforts appear to be fruitless; our toil seems to be in vain. What we ought to know is that no effort is in vain as long as it is done within the parameters of our destiny and vision. We just have to keep at it until we see the results. Sometimes we only see the effect of our efforts when we take stock of our work; when we count our blessings.
The road to success or achievement of our dream is never a smooth one; it is full of potholes, trap holes, thorns, and obstacles. But we need to keep pulling at that rope that seeks to keep us in the pit of failure and lack of achievement. When you feel like giving up, that is when you should say, “Let me give it one more pull; one more effort; one more try.” You never know when the next effort will be the last effort that cut the rope.
cheelafkc@yahoo.co.uk

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