Thursday, January 27, 2011

African Folklore: The Day Jackal Fooled the King of Beasts

(A Zulu folk Tale)  One day long ago, Jackal was trotting through a narrow and rocky pass when he came face to face with Lion, who was coming in the opposite direction. Realizing that he was too near to escape, Jackal was afraid, for he had played many tricks on Lion in the past, and now Lion might take this opportunity to get his revenge.

In a flash, he thought of a plan.  He cowered down on the cliff path, looked above him and cried, "Help!"  Lion stopped short in surprise.  He indeed been just about to leap upon Jackal and give him the beating of his life.
"Help!" cried Jackal again. "The rocks are about to fall on us! We shall both be crushed! Do something, O mighty Lion!"

Lion looked up too, most alarmed, but before he had time to think, Jackal was begging him to use his great strength to hold up an overhanging rock.
"Hold on!" cried Jackal, "I'll run and fetch that log over there to prop under the rock, then we'll both be saved!"

Lion put his great shoulder to the rock and heaved.  While sneering, Jackal made his escape. Lion was left all alone to struggle under the weight of the unmoving rock.

How long he remained there before he realized that it had all been yet another trick, we will never know. But one thing is perfectly clear: Jackal had to twice as wary of Lion from that day forward.(Adapted from: When the Hippo was Hairy: And other tales from Africa.  By Nick Greaves, Rod Clement)

No comments: