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South-African Folk-Tales by James A. Honey

The Mother of the kraal said


then Hare gave her some milk; but her elder sister said, "Come and share it with me." The little Child then went to her sister with her bamboo (cup), and they both sucked the milk out of it. Whilst they were doing this, some milk was spilt on the little one's hand, and the elder sister licked it up with her tongue, the roughness of which drew blood; this, too, the Woman licked up.

The little Child complained to her Mother: "Mama, sister pricks holes in me and sucks the blood." The Mother said, "With what Lion's nature your sister went the way that I forbade her, and returned, I do not know."

Now the Cows arrived, and the elder sister cleansed the pails in order to milk them. But when she approached the Cows with a thong (in order to tie their fore-legs), they all refused to be milked by her.

Hare said, "Why do not you stand before the Cow?" She replied, "Hare, call your brother, and do you two stand before the Cow." Her husband said, "What has come over her that the Cows refuse her? These are the same Cows she always milks." The Mother (of the kraal) said, "What has happened this evening? These are Cows which she always milks without assistance. What can have affected her that she comes home as a woman with a Lion's nature?"

The elder daughter then said to her Mother, "I shall not milk the Cows." With these words she sat down. The Mother said

therefore to Hare, "Bring me the bamboos, that I may milk. I do not know what has come over the girl."

So the Mother herself milked the cows, and when she had done so, Hare brought the bamboos to the young wife's house, where her husband was, but she (the wife) did not give him (her husband) anything to eat. But when at night time she fell asleep, they saw some of the Lion's hair, which was hanging out where he had slipped on the Woman's skin, and they cried, "Verily! this is quite another being. It is for this reason that the Cows refused to be milked."

Then the people of the kraal began to break up the hut in which Lion lay asleep. When they took off the mats, they said (conjuring them), "If thou art favourably inclined to me, O Mat, give the sound 'sawa'" (meaning, making no noise).

To the poles (on which the hut rested) they said, "If thou art favourably inclined to me, O Pole, thou must give the sound 'gara.'"

They addressed also the bamboos and the bed-skins in a similar manner.

Thus gradually and noiselessly they removed the hut and all its contents. Then they took bunches of grass, put them over the Lion, and lighting them, said, "If thou art favourably inclined to me, O Fire, thou must flare up, 'boo boo,' before thou comest to the heart."

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