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South-African Folk-Tales by James A. Honey

Thinking that at the kraal something was wrong


Lion, it is said, used once to fly, and at that time nothing could live before him. As he was unwilling that the bones of what he caught should be broken into pieces, he made a pair of White Crows watch the bones, leaving them behind at the kraal whilst he went a-hunting. But one day Great Frog came there, broke the bones in pieces, and said, "Why can men and animals live no longer?" And he added these words, "When he comes, tell him that I live at yonder pool; if he wishes to see me, he must come there."

Lion, lying in wait (for game), wanted to fly up, but found he could not fly. Then he got angry, thinking that at the kraal something was wrong, and returned home. When he arrived he asked, "What have you done that I cannot fly?" Then they answered and said, "Some one came here, broke the bones into pieces, and said, 'If he want me, he may look for me at yonder pool!'" Lion went, and arrived while Frog was sitting at the water's edge, and he tried to creep stealthily upon him. When he was about to get hold of him, Frog said, "Ho!" and, diving, went to the other side of the pool, and sat there. Lion pursued him; but as he could not catch him he returned home.

From that day, it is said, Lion walked on his feet, and also began to creep upon (his game); and the White Crows became entirely dumb since the day that they said, "Nothing can be said of that matter."

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It is said that when Lion and Gurikhoisip (the Only man), together with Baboon, Buffalo, and other friends, were playing one day at a certain game, there was a thunderstorm and rain at Aroxaams. Lion and Gurikhoisip began to quarrel. "I shall run to the rain-field," said Lion. Gurikhoisip said also, "I shall run to the rain-field." As neither would concede this to the other, they separated (angrily). After they had parted, Lion went to tell his Mother those things which they had both said.

His Mother said to him, "My son! that Man whose head is in a line with his shoulders and breast, who has pinching weapons, who keeps white dogs, who goes about wearing the tuft of a tiger's tail, beware of him!" Lion, however, said, "Why need I be on my guard against those whom I know?" Lioness answered, "My Son, take care of him who has pinching weapons!" But Lion would not follow his Mother's advice, and the same morning, when it was still pitch dark, he went to Aroxaams, and laid himself in ambush. Gurikhoisip went also that morning to the same place. When he had arrived he let his dogs drink, and then bathe. After they had finished they wallowed. Then also Man drank; and, when he had done drinking, Lion came out of the bush. Dogs surrounded him as his Mother had foretold, and he was speared by Gurikhoisip. Just as he became aware that he was speared, the Dogs drew him down again. In this manner he grew faint. While he was in this state, Gurikhoisip said to the Dogs, "Let him alone now, that he may go and be taught by his Mother." So the Dogs let him go. They left him, and went home as he lay there. The same night he walked towards home, but whilst he was on the way his strength failed him, and he lamented:

"Mother! take me up! Grandmother! take me up! Oh me! Alas!"

At the dawn of day his Mother heard his wailing, and said--

"My Son, this is the thing which I have told thee:

"'Beware of the one who has pinching weapons, Who wears a tuft of tiger's tail, Of him who has white dogs! Alas! thou son of her who is short-eared, Thou, my short-eared child! Son of her who eats raw flesh, Thou flesh-devourer; Son of her whose nostrils are red from the prey, Thou with blood-stained nostrils! Son of her who drinks pit-water, Thou water-drinker!'"

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