Thursday, August 4, 2011

A South-African tale: Lion´s illness

Lion and jackal. Picture from

I´ve found this nice book on line containing South-African tales, some of them reproduced from English collections previous to 1880, others translated from the Dutch and a few from the author´s childhood remembrance. This collection was began by James A. Honey in 1900, in order to preserve the tribes´ traditions that would be swept away or altered by ¨progress of civilization¨. 
"South-African folklore is," the South-African Folklore Journal says, "in its very nature plain, and primitive in its simplicity; not adorned with the wealth of palaces and precious stones to be met with in the folklore of more civilized nations, but descriptive in great measure of the events of everyday life, among those in a low state of civilization; and with the exception of evidences of moral qualities, and of such imagery as is connected with the phenomena of nature, very little that is grand or magnificent must be looked for in it." (Paragraph from Honey´s introduction).
I´ve selected this one for the jackal´s cleverness.

Jackal and hyena. From

LION, it is said, was ill, and they all went to see him in his suffering. But Jackal did not go, because the traces of the people who went to see him did not turn back. Thereupon, he was accused by Hyena, who said, "Though I go to look, yet Jackal does not want to come and look at the man's sufferings."
Then Lion let Hyena go, in order that she might catch Jackal; and she did so, and brought him.
Lion asked Jackal: "Why did you not come here to see me?"
Jackal said, "Oh, no! when I heard that my uncle was so very ill, I went to the witch (doctor) to consult him, whether and what medicine would be good for my uncle against the pain. The doctor said to me, 'Go and tell your uncle to take hold of Hyena and draw off her skin, and put it on while it is still warm. Then he will recover.' Hyena is one who does not care for my uncle's sufferings."
Lion followed his advice, got hold of Hyena, drew the skin over her ears, whilst she howled with all her might, and put it on.
South African Folk-tales. By James A. Honey. EEUU.1910

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