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South-African Folk-Tales by James A. Honey

The Teco remonstrated with them about their behavior


gives a story related by a Kaffir which shows "the distribution of animals after the creation." This story could not become typically Kaffir until after the Kaffir came in contact with the European in the last two or three hundred years. However, the story will serve to illustrate the people whose stories appear in this volume and to close the Introduction.

Teco, in Kaffir, is the Supreme Being. Teco had every description of stock and property.

There were three nations created, viz., the Whites, the Amakosa, or Kaffirs, and the Amalouw, or Hottentots. A day was appointed for them to appear before the Teco to receive whatever he might apportion to each tribe. While they were assembling, a honey bird, or honey guide, came fluttering by, and all the Hottentots ran after it, whistling and making the peculiar noise they generally do while following this wonderful little bird. The Teco remonstrated with them about their behavior, but to no purpose. He thereupon denounced them as a vagrant race that would have to exist on wild roots and honey beer, and possess no stock whatever.

When the fine herds of cattle were brought, the Kaffirs became very much excited--the one exclaiming, "That black and white cow is mine!" and another, "That red cow and black bull are mine!" and so on, till at last the Teco, whose patience had been severely taxed by their shouts and unruly behavior, denounced

them as a restless people, who would only possess cattle.

The Whites patiently waited until they received cattle, horses, sheep, and all sorts of property. Hence, the old Kaffir observed, "You Whites have got everything. We Kaffirs have only cattle, while the Amalouw, or Hottentots, have nothing."

James A. Honey.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., June, 1910.


In the beginning there were two. One was blind, the other was always hunting. This hunter found at last a hole in the earth from which game proceeded and killed the young. The blind man, feeling and smelling them, said, "They are not game, but cattle."

The blind man afterwards recovered his sight, and going with the hunter to this hole, saw that they were cows with their calves. He then quickly built a kraal (fence made of thorns) round them, and anointed himself, just as Hottentots (in their native state) are still wont to do.

When the other, who now with great trouble had to seek his game, came and saw this, he wanted to anoint himself also. "Look here!" said the other, "you must throw the ointment into the fire, and afterwards use it." He followed this advice, and the flames flaring up into his face, burnt him most miserably; so that he was glad to make his escape. The other, however, called to him: "Here, take the kirri (a knobstick), and run to the hills to hunt there for honey."

Hence sprung the race of Bushmen.


The ant has had from time immemorial many enemies, and because he is small and destructive, there have been a great many slaughters among them. Not only were most of the birds their enemies, but Anteater lived almost wholly from them, and Centipede beset them every time and at all places when he had the chance.

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