the were-hyena, are they sneaky sly scavengers like hyenas?
The were-hyena is a shapeshifter which has a very bad, vicious reputation…not surprising considering hyenas themselves do not have particularly good reputations and as a whole are considered sneaky, sly, scavengers. As shapeshifters, their reputations are not much better, and they are often given even less respect than werewolves are given. The werehyena is of course a human that shapeshifts into a hyena, which, interestingly enough, is primarily a nocturnal animal….and yes, it is at night during which it is said they transform into their animal self.
Some very interesting themes in relation to the werehyena, is that many legends say that the preferred occupation of this creature is that of a blacksmith, or people that forge iron. Legends from Ethiopia claim that almost every – or any – blacksmith could be a werehyena. Legends from the Sudan also claim that during the daytime, the human form of the werehyena is that of a man with red eyes, nasal voice, and lots of hair…and, interestingly also, with the preferred occupation as that of a blacksmith.
In today’s modern world however, being a blacksmith is a dying art, and they are few and far between Those that once were, started shoeing horses as the need for their work practically disappeared in present times. Those today that seek work as “traditional” blacksmiths, work mainly as artist-blacksmiths. So, although legends state that typically werehyenas worked as blacksmiths, it is worth considering if perhaps horseshoers (also known as farriers) are another occupation in which a werehyena might be found.
Much of the bad reputation related to were-hyenas has to do with the legends and stories surrounding the creature – not all of which are good. In fact, some of which are very negative and have alot in common with the reputation that hyenas themselves are given. Perhaps, when in animal form, the instincts of the hyena take over and that is what causes the werehyena to behave the way he does(?)…it’s hard to say. At any rate, the legends are mostly negative.
For example, that same blacksmith legend from Sudan says that when in “hyena” form at night, the shifter is said to be an evil creature that causes havoc, destruction, and unwarranted attacks to villages…but, strangely enough, in human form, is considered quite a good person. Legends from Ethiopia are not much better, and tell tales of creatures that rob graves and consume what they find.