The Story of the Great Chief of the Animals
THERE was once a woman who had occasion to leave her home for a short time, and who left her children in charge of a hare. The place where they lived was close to a path, along which droves of wild animals were accustomed to pass.
Soon after the woman left, the animals appeared, and the hare at sight of them became frightened. So she ran awav to a distance, and stood to watch. Among the animals was one terrible monster, which called to the hare, and demanded to know what children those were. The hare told their names, upon which the animal swallowed them entire.
When the woman returned, the hare told her what had happencd. Then the woman gathered some dry wood, and sharpened two pieces of iron, which she took with her and went along the path.
Now this was the chief of the animals; therefore, when she came on a hill over against him, the woman began to call out that she was looking for her children. The animal replied: "Come nearer, I cannot hear you."
When she went, he swallowed her also. The woman found her children alive, and also many other people, and oxen, and dogs. The children were hungry, so the woman with her pieces of iron cut some pieces of flesh frorn the animal's ribs. She then made a fire and cooked the meat, and the children ate.
The other people said: "We also are hungry, give us to eat."
Then she cut and cooked for them also.
The animal felt uncomfortable under this treatment, and called his councillors together for advice, but they could suggest no remedy. He lay down and rolled in the mud, but that did not help him, and at last he went and put his head in thekraal fence, and died.
His councillors were standing at a distance, afraid to approach him, so they sent a monkey to see how he was. The monkey returned and said: "Those whose home is on the mountains must hasten to the mountains; those whose home is on the plains must hasten to the plains; as for me, I go to the rocks."
Then the animals all dispersed.
By this time the woman had succeeded in cutting a hole through the chief's side, and came forth, followed by her children.
Then an ox came out, and said: "Bo! bo! who helped me?"
Then a dogy who said: "Ho! ho! who helped me?
Then a man, who said: "Zo! zo! who helped me?"
Afterwards all the people and cattle came out. They agreed that the woman who helped them should be their chief.
When her children became men, they were out hunting one day, and saw a monstrous cannibal, who was sticking fast in a mud hole. They killed him, and then returned to tell the men of their tribe what they had done. The men went and skinned the cannibal, when a great number of people came out of him also. These joined their deliverers, and so that people became a great nation.
The text came from:
Theal, Georg McCall. Kaffir Folk-Lore. London: S. Sonnenschein, Le Bas & Lowrey, 1886.
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