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South-African Folk-Tales by James A. Honey

TINK TINKJE The birds wanted a king


After Mr. and Mrs. Jackal and Mrs. Tiger had sat together for some time drinking coffee and talking over one thing and another, Jackal took Tiger's wife to a door and told her to look through it, out upon the back yard. There he would show her the children one by one, while they would not be able to see her. Everything was done exactly as Jackal had said, but the sixth little tiger he picked up twice, because the firstborn he had the day before prepared in pickle for their Sunday meal.

And so it happened every Saturday until the last little tiger--which was the youngest--had to be lifted up seven times in succession.

And when Mrs. Tiger came again the following week all was still as death and everything seemed to have a deserted appearance on the estate. She walked straight to the front door, and there she found a letter in the poll grass near the door, which read thus:

"We have gone for a picnic with the children. From there we will ride by Jackalsdance for New Year. This is necessary for the completion of their progressive education."

JACKAL.

Saturday after Saturday did Mrs. Tiger go and look, but every time Jackal's house seemed to look more deserted; and after a while there was a spider's web over the door and the trail of Snake showed that he, too, had taken up his abode there.

TINK-TINKJE

The birds wanted a king. Men have a king, so have animals, and why shouldn't they? All had assembled.

"The Ostrich, because he is the largest," one called out.

"No, he can't fly."

"Eagle, on account of his strength."

"Not he, he is too ugly."

"Vulture, because he can fly the highest."

"No, Vulture is too dirty, his odor is terrible."

"Peacock, he is so beautiful."

"His feet are too ugly, and also his voice."

"Owl, because he can see well."

"Not Owl, he is ashamed of the light."

And so they got no further. Then one shouted aloud, "He who can fly the highest will be king." "Yes, yes," they all screamed, and at a given signal they all ascended straight up into the sky.

Vulture flew for three whole days without stopping, straight toward the sun. Then he cried aloud, "I am the highest, I am king."

"T-sie, t-sie, t-sie," he heard above him. There Tink-tinkje was flying. He had held fast to one of the great wing feathers of Vulture, and had never been felt, he was so light. "T-sie, t-sie, t-sie, I am the highest, I am king," piped Tink-tinkje.

Vulture flew for another day still ascending. "I am highest, I am king."

"T-sie, t-sie, t-sie, I am the highest, I am king," Tink-tinkje mocked. There he was again, having crept out from under the wing of Vulture.

Vulture flew on the fifth day straight up in the air. "I am the highest, I am king," he called.

"T-sie, t-sie, t-sie," piped the little fellow above him. "I am the highest, I am king."

Vulture was tired and now flew direct to earth. The other birds were mad through and through. Tink-tinkje must die because he had taken advantage of Vulture's feathers and there hidden himself. All flew after him and he had to take refuge in a mouse hole. But how were they to get him out? Some one must stand guard to seize him the moment he put out his head.


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