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Main > South African folktales > Fairy tale "Who was King?"

Who was King?

Then he and Leeuw lay down in the shade of some trees and went to sleep.

“The cubs played about, rolling and tumbling over each other. As they played they came to the place where Volstruis lay.

“‘Aha!’ said one, ‘he sleeps with his mouth open.’

“He peeped into Volstruis’s mouth. ‘Aha!’ he said again, ‘I see something.’

“Another cub came and peeped.

“‘Alle kracht!’ he said, ‘I see something too. Let us go and tell our father.’

“So they ran off in great excitement and woke Leeuw. ‘Come, come quickly,’ they said. ‘Volstruis insults you by saying he is your equal. He lies sleeping under the trees with his mouth wide open, and we have peeped into it, and behold, he has no teeth! Come and see for yourself.’

“Leeuw bounded off quick-quick with the cubs at his tail.

“‘Nier-r-r-r,’ he growled, waking Volstruis, ‘nier-r-r-r. What is the meaning of this? You pretend you are my equal, and you haven’t even got teeth.’

“‘Teeth or no teeth,’ said Volstruis, standing up wide awake, ‘I killed more bucks than you did to-day. Teeth or no teeth, I’ll fight you to show who’s baas.’

“‘Come on,’ said Leeuw. ‘Who’s afraid? I’m just ready for you. Come on!’

“‘No, wait a little,’ said Volstruis. ‘I’ve got a plan. You see that ant-heap over there? Well, you stand on one side of it, and I’ll stand on the other side, and we’ll see who can push it over first. After that we’ll come out into the open and fight.’

“‘That seems an all-right plan,’ said Leeuw; and he thought to himself, ‘I’m heavier and stronger; I can easily send the ant-heap flying on to old Three Sticks, and then spring over and kill him.’

“But wait a bit! It was not as easy as he thought. Every time he sprang at the ant-heap he clung to it as he was accustomed to cling to his prey. He had no other way of doing things. And then Volstruis would take the opportunity of kicking high into the air, sending the sand and stones into Leeuw’s face, and making him howl and splutter with rage.

“Sometimes he would stand still and roar, and Volstruis would send a roar back from the other side.

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