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The Little Bull-Calf

it's not the same world nowadays. The world is turned topsy-turvy since then, like as if you'd turn it over with a spade!)

Of course, he did all the little bull-calf told him. He climbed up the tree, and the monkeys climbed up the tree after him. But he held the cheese crud in his hand, and said: "I'll squeeze your heart like the flint-stone." So the monkey cocked his eye as much as to say: "If you can squeeze a flint-stone to make the juice come out of it, you can squeeze me." But he didn't say anything, for a monkey's cunning, but down he went. And all the while the little bull-calf was fighting all the wild beasts on the ground, and the little lad was clapping his hands up the tree, and calling out: "Go in, my little bull-calf! Well fought, little bull-calf!" And he mastered everything except the fiery dragon, but the fiery dragon killed the little bull-calf.

But the lad waited and waited till he saw the dragon go away, then he came down and skinned the little bull-calf, and took out its bladder and went after the dragon. And as he went on, what should he see but a king's daughter, staked down by the hair of her head, for she had been put there for the dragon to destroy her.

So he went up and untied her hair, but she said: "My time has come for the dragon to destroy me; go away, you can do no good." But he said: "No! I can master it, and I won't go"; and for all her begging and praying he would stop.

And soon he heard it coming, roaring and raging from afar off, and at last it came near, spitting fire, and with a tongue like a great spear, and you could hear it roaring for miles, and it was making for the place where the king's daughter was staked down. But when it came up to them, the lad just hit it on the head with the bladder and the dragon fell down dead, but before it died, it bit off the little boy's forefinger.

Then the lad cut out the dragon's tongue and said to the king's daughter: "I've done all I can, I must leave you." And sorry she was he had to go, and before he went she tied a diamond ring in his hair, and said good-bye to him.

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Category: Nigerian folktales
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