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Main > Tanzanian folktales > Fairy tale "Mkaaah Jeechonee, the Boy Hunter"

Mkaaah Jeechonee, the Boy Hunter

So complaints continued to pour in, until at last Sultan Maajnoon gave orders that if any one came to make accusations against the cat, he was to be informed that the master could not be seen.

When things got so that people neither let their animals out nor went out themselves, the cat went farther into the country, killing and eating cattle, and fowls, and everything that came its way.

One day the sultan said to six of his sons, “I’m going to look at the country to-day; come along with me.”

The seventh son was considered too young to go around anywhere, and was always left at home with the women folk, being called by his brothers Mkaa′ah Jeecho′nee, which means Mr. Sit-in-the-kitchen.

Well, they went, and presently came to a thicket. The father was in front and the six sons following him, when the cat jumped out and killed three of the latter.

The attendants shouted, “The cat! the cat!” and the soldiers asked permission to search for and kill it, which the sultan readily granted, saying: “This is not a cat, it is a noon′dah. It has taken from me my own sons.”

Now, nobody had ever seen a noondah, but they all knew it was a terrible beast that could kill and eat all other living things.

When the sultan began to bemoan the loss of his sons, some of those who heard him said: “Ah, master, this noondah does not select his prey. He doesn’t say: ‘This is my master’s son, I’ll leave him alone,’ or, ‘This is my master’s wife, I won’t eat her.’ When we told you what the cat had done, you always said it was your cat, and what it ate was yours, and now it has killed your sons, and we don’t believe it would hesitate to eat even you.”

And he said, “I fear you are right.”

As for the soldiers who tried to get the cat, some were killed and the remainder ran away, and the sultan and his living sons took the dead bodies home and buried them.

Now when Mkaaah Jeechonee, the seventh son, heard that his brothers had been killed by the noondah, he said to his mother, “I, too, will go, that it may kill me as well as my brothers, or I will kill it.

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