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Lion's Share

Source: South-african Folk-tales

Lion and Jackal went together a-hunting. They shot with arrows. Lion
shot first, but his arrow fell short of its aim; but Jackal hit the
game, and joyfully cried out, "It has hit."

Lion looked at him with his two large eyes; Jackal, however, did not
lose his countenance, but said, "No, uncle, I mean to say that you have
hit." Then they followed the game, and Jackal passed the arrow of Lion
without drawing the latter's attention to it. When they arrived at a
crossway, Jackal said: "Dear uncle, you are old and tired; stay here."
Jackal went then on a wrong track, beat his nose, and, in returning, let
the blood drop from it like traces of game. "I could not find anything,"
he said, "but I met with traces of blood. You had better go yourself to
look for it. In the meantime I shall go this other way."

Jackal soon found the killed animal, crept inside of it, and devoured
the best portion; but his tail remained outside, and when Lion arrived,
he got hold of it, pulled Jackal out, and threw him on the ground with
these words: "You rascal!"

Jackal rose quickly again, complained of the rough handling, and asked,
"What have I now done, dear uncle? I was busy cutting out the best

"Now let us go and fetch our wives," said Lion, but Jackal entreated his
dear uncle to remain at the place because he was old. Jackal then went
away, taking with him two portions of the flesh, one for his own wife,
but the best part for the wife of Lion. When Jackal arrived with the
flesh, the children of Lion, seeing him, began to jump, and clapping
their hands, cried out: "There comes cousin with flesh!" Jackal threw,
grumbling, the worst portion to them, and said, "There, you brood of the
big-eyed one!" Then he went to his own house and told his wife
immediately to break up the house, and to go where the killed game was.
Lioness wished to do the same, but he forbade her, and said that Lion
would himself come to fetch her.

When Jackal, with his wife and children, arrived in the neighborhood of
the killed animal, he ran into a thorn bush, scratched his face so that
it bled, and thus made his appearance before Lion, to whom he said, "Ah!
what a wife you have got. Look here, how she scratched my face when I
told her that she should come with us. You must fetch her yourself; I
cannot bring her." Lion went home very angry. Then Jackal said, "Quick,
let us build a tower." They heaped stone upon stone, stone upon stone,
stone upon stone; and when it was high enough, everything was carried to
the top of it. When Jackal saw Lion approaching with his wife and
children, he cried out to him:

"Uncle, whilst you were away we have built a tower, in order to be
better able to see game."

"All right," said Lion; "but let me come up to you."

"Certainly, dear uncle; but how will you manage to come up? We must let
down a thong for you."

Lion tied the thong around his body and Jackal began drawing him up, but
when nearly to the top Jackal cried to Lion, "My, uncle, how heavy you
are!" Then, unseen by Lion, he cut the thong. Lion fell to the ground,
while Jackal began loudly and angrily to scold his wife, and then said,
"Go, wife, fetch me a new thong"--"an old one," he said aside to her.

Lion again tied himself to the thong, and, just as he was near the top,
Jackal cut the thong as before; Lion fell heavily to the bottom,
groaning aloud, as he had been seriously hurt.

"No," said Jackal, "that will never do: you must, however, manage to
come up high enough so that you may get a mouthful at least." Then aloud
he ordered his wife to prepare a good piece, but aside he told her to
make a stone hot, and to cover it with fat. Then he drew Lion up once
more, and complaining how heavy he was to hold, told him to open his
mouth, and thereupon threw the hot stone down his throat. Lion fell to
the ground and lay there pleading for water, while Jackal climbed down
and made his escape.

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