THE TIGER, THE RAM, AND
South African Folk Tale
by James A. Honey
Tiger (leopard) was returning home
from hunting on one occasion, when he
lighted on the kraal of Ram. Now,
Tiger had never seen Ram before, and accordingly,
approaching submissively, he said, "Good
day, friend! What may your name be?"
The other in his gruff voice, and striking his
breast with his forefoot, said, "I am Ram. Who
"Tiger," answered the other, more dead than
alive, and then, taking leave of Ram, he ran
home as fast as he could.
Jackal lived at the same place as Tiger did,
and the latter going to him, said, "Friend
Jackal, I am quite out of breath, and am half
dead with fright, for I have just seen a terrible
looking fellow, with a large and thick head, and
on my asking him what his name was, he answered,
'I am Ram.'"
"What a foolish fellow you are," cried
Jackal, "to let such a nice piece of flesh stand!
Why did you do so? But we shall go to-morrow
and eat it together."
Next day the two set off for the kraal of
Ram, and as they appeared over a hill, Ram,
who had turned out to look about him, and was
calculating where he should that day crop a
tender salad, saw them, and he immediately went
to his wife and said, "I fear this is our last day,
for Jackal and Tiger are both coming against
us. What shall we do?"
"Don't be afraid," said the wife, "but take
up the child in your arms, go out with it, and
pinch it to make it cry as if it were hungry."
Ram did so as the confederates came on.
No sooner did Tiger cast his eyes on Ram
than fear again took possession of him, and he
wished to turn back. Jackal had provided
against this, and made Tiger fast to himself
with a leathern thong, and said, "Come on,"
when Ram cried in a loud voice, and pinching
his child at the same time, "You have done
well, Friend Jackal, to have brought us Tiger
to eat, for you hear how my child is crying for
On these dreadful words Tiger, notwithstanding
the entreaties of Jackal to let him go, to
let him loose, set off in the greatest alarm,
dragged Jackal after him over hill and valley,
through bushes and over rocks, and never
stopped to look behind him till he brought back
himself and half-dead Jackal to his place again.
And so Ram escaped.