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Main > South African folktales > Fairy tale "When Ou' Wolf built his House"

When Ou' Wolf built his House

It was a day or two afterwards before the children caught Old Hendrik in the mood again. But sweet dumplings to dinner, with cinnamon sauce, had mellowed him this day, and they were quick to see it.

“But how did Ou’ Wolf an’ Ou’ Jackalse first fall out, Ou’ Ta’?” demanded the eldest boy.

“Dere never was no first fall out,” answered the old Hottentot with a sly grin, shifting his seat under the old mimosa to get the best of its shade before beginning. “Dere didn’t need to be no first: it yust come natural. Ou’ jackalse yust couldn’t he’p hisse’f. Dar was Ou’ Wolf; all de time so quiet, an’ all de time a-workin’ an’ a-doin’ sometin’ for hisse’f. An’ den dere was Ou’ Jackalse; all de time so slim, an’ all de time never a-workin’ nor a-doin’ anytin’ ’cept to get out o’ workin’ an’ doin’ sometin’ for hisse’f. Ou’ Wolf he’d go a-huntin’ for what he had to get; an’ Ou’ Jackalse he’d sit an’ bake in de sun an’ plan skellum for what he want to get. Natchally dey was al’ays fall out f’m de beginnin’: dere wahnt no oder way to it.

“Look now, dat time when Ou’ Wolf build his house—look what happen den. Dar was Ou’ Wolf all jump-an’-ginger to get Missus Wolf married to him. But he cahnt get married till he build his house to put her in. So dere he was a-workin’ away at darie house, yust so set to finis’ it ’fore de time’s up dat he don’t har’ly gi’e hisse’f time to hunt enough to eat. He don’t take but mighty little to breakfas’, an’ ahter breakfas’ he yust slap de rest o’ de meat an’ de bones into de pot to be cookin’, ready agen dinner-time, while he’s a-workin’ away like crazy.

“Well, he gets to t’atchin’ away, an’ along comes Ou’ Jackalse, an’ he smell darie stew in de pot, an’ ’fore you can wink he’s on to it an’ a-holdin’ up dat lid. ‘Allah man!’ ses he, ‘dat do smell good.’

“Ou’ Wolf up on de roof-poles hears darie lid a-liftin’, an’ he look round yust in time. You should a-hear him shout, ‘Ho, yeh! What for yeh lookin’ in darie pot?’ ses he, an’ he grabs his two hands on de beam, an’ sets one foot on it, as if he was yust a-comin’ down in one yump, flop on Ou’ Jackalse chest.

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