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Main > South African folktales > Fairy tale "When the Birds would choose a King which tells also why the white owl only flies by night"

When the Birds would choose a King which tells also why the white owl only flies by night

“Ses all de birds outside—‘If you don’t come out an’ let us get at you, we’ll yust about dance on you’ chest’.

“Ses Ole Owl inside, ses he—not a word! not a sound!

“Well, dey wait all day, an’ dey wait all afternoon, but Ole Owl ain’t a-comin’ out, an’ dey ain’t a-goin’ in. Den it drop sundown, an’ de birds dey ha’ to fly som’eres to sleep. Dey look at one anoder. ‘Yust wait till to-morrow, dat’s all!’ ses dey, an’ off dey fly to deir sleepin’ places.

“When dey’s gone Ole Owl comes out. ‘I reckon I’ll hatto get as much to eat as I can to-night,’ ses he, ‘an’ den hide some place to-morrow, so dey won’t see me.’

“An’ dat’s yust what he done, an’ yust what he’s hatto do ever since—hunt all night an’ hide all day, for fear de rest o’ de birds see him an’ ketch him, if he move about in de daylight.

“So now you knows how it come dat de Ole White Owl can on’y fly at night,” ended Old Hendrik.

“Oh!” said little Annie.

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