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Main > South African folktales > Fairy tale "The Bargain for the Little Silver Fishes"

The Bargain for the Little Silver Fishes

You’s gulluped de lot down in one, an’ now you wants to bluff me out dat you ain’t had none.’

“‘Dat sort o’ talk won’t do,’ ses Sculpat ‘Hyer’s de calabas’ an’ hyer ain’t no honey. You can look for yourse’f.’

“Hahsie looks, an’ he cahnt see no mo’ inside dat calabas’ dan’ anyb’dy else can see de inside of any other bottle-neck calabas’. But he make like he’s fair astonish’, all de same. ‘By jimminy! it do look like it’s empty,’ ses he. ‘But I’ll tell you what, you let me have dat calabas’ agen, an’ I’ll take it back to Ou’ Waxa an’ ax her how it is dere ain’t no honey in it. An’ to-morro’ when you has de fis’es ready I’ll bring two lots o’ honey, one for to-day as well as to-morro’. I’ll ha’ to go quick, dough, if I’s gun’ to ketch Ou’ Waxa ’fore she go. So long, den,’ an’ he offs wid de calabas’ an de fis’ ’fore you can say rats!

“Ou’ Sculpat ses on’y one ting: ‘To-morro’ I has de honey fust’. Den he ins to de water-hole an’ tinks.

“Well, to-morro’ comes, an’ de ten fis’es dis time is all laid out in a wheel, wid deir little tails togeder an’ deir heads out, so dey look mighty fine in de sun. But dis time here come Little Hahsie widout no calabas’ at all. ‘Hello!’ ses Sculpat, ‘where’s de honey?’

“‘Dat’s yust what Ou’ Waxa said when I took her de calabas’,’ ses Hahsie. ‘An’ dis time she ain’t a-trustin’ me wid de honey. You’s got to bring de fis’es an’ come wi’ me an’ get de honey from her yourse’f.’

“‘Well,’ ses Sculpat, ‘I’s gun’ to see dis ting troo dis time. I’s comin’. Show de way, den,’ an’ he slings de fis’es two by two on his back an’ off dey pop.

“Off dey pops an’ dey gets five yards on de road an’ Hahsie finds hisse’f a hundred yards ahead, so he squots an’ waits for Sculpat to come up. ‘You better to shift yourse’f a bit mo’ livelier,’ ses he.

“Dey gets twenty yards furder, an’ Little Hahsie finds hisse’f hoppin’ along on his lonesome near out o’ sight ahead. ‘Allah Crachty!’ ses he, ‘I might do a sleep while I’s waitin’ like dis,’ an’ as soon as Ou’ Sculpat comes up—‘Is you goin’ to get dere to-day, or is it to-morro’?

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