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Aug 04, 2018

African Folk Tale : Jackal And Hyena

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One day Jackal and Hyena were out walking together when a white cloud came up from behind and floated close to them. It was a nice thick cloud, just like white fat. Jackal climbed on to it and sat looking down over the edge.He then bit pieces out of it, and ate them.‘Arre, but this white fat is nice,’ he said. ‘N-yum, n-yum, n-yum,’ and he chewed round the cloud like a caterpillar chews a leaf.

Hyena licked her lips and looked up at him. ‘Throw me down some, please,’ she said.‘Ach! My Brown Sister, wait till I get down, and then I’ll help you up to eat for yourself. But come a little nearer so that you can catch me when I jump.’ So Hyena stood ready, and Jackal jumped in such a way that he knocked her into the sand. He fell soft, because he was on top, but poor Hyena had all the breath knocked out of her and she was covered with dust.‘Ach! I am so clumsy,’ said Jackal,‘but never mind, now I’ll help you.’

So when she had got up and dusted herself, he helped her to climb on to the cloud.There she sat, biting pieces off and eating them,‘N-yum, n-yum, n-yum, it’s just great!’After a time she called out,‘Grey Brother, I’ve had enough. I want to come down. Please catch me when I jump.’ ‘Ach, certainly Sister, come on. Just see how nicely I’ll catch you. So-oo.’ He held out his arms, but just as Hyena jumped, he sprang to one side, calling out,‘Ola! Ola! a thorn has pricked me.What shall I do?’ and he hopped about holding one leg up.Woops! Down fell Sister, and broke her left leg.

Jackal came along very slowly — jump, jump on three legs. Surely the thorn that wasn’t there, was hurting him very much. ‘Oo! oo!’ cried Hyena,‘help me up, Grey Brother. My leg is broken.’ ‘And mine has a thorn in it. My poor sister! How can the sick help the sick? Let us get home in the best way we can. Good-bye, and I will visit you tomorrow to see if you are all right.’And off he went — jump, jump, on three legs — very slowly; but as soon as old sister could not see him, he put down the other one and ran home.And poor sister lay in the sand crying over her sore limbs, and her left hind foot is smaller than the right one. From that day onward, the hyena appears to walk with a limp.

Sanni Metelerkamp, South African Folk-Lore Tales, 1914

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