mapapata: remains – scattered bones, generally of an animal.
The hyena might be so cowardly, but how often do you see scattered hyena skeletal remains?
Inspiration for proverb
Hyenas are stereotyped as cowardly. They are known to be scared of many species in their ecosystem, and will retreat from almost any threat if they don’t see the opportunity for a meal. Given this, it is assumed the animal is seldom attacked by predators. So you will rarely see hyena skeletal remains as these would suggest attack by predators.
Sometimes it is better to retreat and seem cowardly, than walk right into the face of danger.
3. Kutya kukotama; gunguo rakatya, mapapata aro mashoma.