LION WHO THOUGHT HIMSELF
WISER THAN HIS
South African Folk Tale
by James A. Honey
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
"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
"'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,
Son of her whose nostrils are red from the prey,
Thou with blood-stained nostrils!
Son of her who drinks pit-water,