LION'S DEFEAT

South African Folk Tale

by James A. Honey

The wild animals, it is said, were once assembled at Lion's. When Lion was asleep, Jackal persuaded Little Fox to twist a rope of ostrich sinews, in order to play Lion a trick. They took ostrich sinews, twisted them, and fastened the rope to Lion's tail, and the other end of the rope they tied to a shrub. When Lion awoke, and saw that he was tied up, he became angry, and called the animals together. When they had assembled, Lion said (using this form of conjuration)—

"What child of his mother and father's love,
Whose mother and father's love has tied me?"

Then answered the animal to whom the question was first put—

"I, child of my mother and father's love,
I, mother and father's love, I have not done it."

All answered the same; but when he asked Little Fox, Little Fox said—

"I, child of my mother and father's love,
I, mother and father's love, have tied thee!"

Then Lion tore the rope made of sinews, and ran after Little Fox. But Jackal said:

"My boy, thou son of lean Mrs. Fox, thou wilt never be caught."

Truly Lion was thus beaten in running by Little Fox.