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South-African Folk-Tales by James A. Honey

Answered Jackal enthusiastically


Tiger

answered that it was not exactly necessary either. In spite of their attachment to the little ones, they saw that it would probably be to their benefit to place them for a while in a stranger's house.

Jackal then told of his own bringing up by Wolf. He remembered well how small he was when his father sent him away to study with Wolf. Naturally, since then, he had passed through many schools, Wolf was only his first teacher. And only in his later days did he realize how much good it had done him.

"A man must bend the sapling while it is still young," said he. "There is no time that the child is so open to impressions as when he is plastic, about the age that most of your children are at present, and I was just thinking you would be doing a wise thing to send them away for quite a while."

He had, fortunately, just then a room in his house that would be suited for a schoolroom, and his wife could easily make some arrangement for their lodging, even if they had to enlarge their dwelling somewhat.

It was then and there agreed upon. Tiger's wife was then consulted about one thing and another, and the following day the children were to leave.

"I have just thought of one more thing," remarked Jackal, "seven children, besides my little lot, will be quite a care on our hands, so you will have to send over each week

a fat lamb, and in order not to disturb their progress, the children will have to relinquish the idea of a vacation spent with you for some time. When I think they have become used to the bit, I will inform you, and then you can come and take them to make you a short visit, but not until then.

"It is also better," continued he, "that they do not see you for the first while, but your wife can come and see them every Saturday and I will see to all else."

On the following day there was an unearthly howling and wailing when the children were to leave. But Tiger and their mother showed them that it was best and that some day they would see that it was all for their good, and that their parents were doing it out of kindness. Eventually they were gone.

The first Saturday dawned, and early that morning Mrs. Tiger was on her way to Jackal's dwelling, because she could not defer the time any longer.

She was still a long way off when Jackal caught sight of her. He always observed neighborly customs, and so stepped out to meet her.

After they had greeted each other, Mrs. Tiger's first question was: "Well, Cousin Jackal, how goes everything with the small team? Are they still all well and happy, and do they not trouble you, Cousin Jackal, too much?"

"Oh, my goodness, no, Mrs. Tiger," answered Jackal enthusiastically, "but don't let us talk so loud, because if they heard you, it certainly would cause them many heartfelt tears and they might also want to go back with you and then all our trouble would have been for nothing."

"But I would like to see them, Cousin Jackal," said Mrs. Tiger a little disturbed.

"Why certainly, Mrs. Tiger," was his answer, "but I do not think it is wise for them to see you. I will lift them up to the window one by one, and then you can put your mind at rest concerning their health and progress."


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