How African folk tales were born
What the African people say :
The mouse goes everywhere into rich people's houses and into the
poorest people's houses, too. In the old days the mouse made stories
from all that she saw. Stories were her children. Each story-child had
its dress - white, blue, red, green and black. The stories lived in her
house and did everything for her.
One day a sheep ran against the door of the house where the mouse
lived. The door was old and it broke and all the stories ran out. And
now they run up and down over all the earth.
Why does the chameleon shake his head?
Long, long ago the Chameleon and the Dog were friends. But sometimes
the Dog walked with the Man.
One day the Chameleon asked the Dog, "Why do you sometimes go with
the Man?" "The Man and I are friends," answered the Dog.
"The Man is a hunter and we go hunting together. I help him to hunt.
We have meat when we come back. Then we eat it."
Once, the Man and the Dog went hunting.
They killed an antelope and carried it to the hunter's house. The
Chameleon saw them and followed them. The hunter made dinner from the
meat and began to eat it. The Dog came up to the Man and wanted to have
some meat too. Then the Hunter took a big stick and hit the Dog on the
head! The poor Dog cried and ran away.
The Chameleon saw everything and he ran away too. He ran into the
forest, stopped there and began to shake his head.
"Yangu, yangu, yangu," he cried. "That's too bad! Why, the Dog says
he is the hunter's friend.
He helps him to hunt and brings much meat. And the hunter hits the
poor Dog on the head with a stick! The Man is not good. I will not live
near the Man.
I will live in the forest!" That's why the Chameleon lives in the
forest far from the home of man.
When he thinks of the Man and his big stick, he shakes his head and
says, "Yangu, yangu, yangu!" too bad, too bad, too bad!
Why the hare has no tail:
Long, long ago animals had no tails or they had very small ones. One
day the lion asked all the animals to come to him to get good tails. It
was cold that day and it was raining. The hare had only a short little
tail. But he did not like to go out and said to the other animals,
"Please, bring me a tail. I can't go anywhere when it rains." "What tail
do you want to have?" the animals asked him. "Oh, any tail will be good
for me. But it must not be too long or too short." Some time later the
animals came back and each animal had a beautiful tail.
But nobody brought a tail for the hare. I think that some of them
forgot about the hare. Some had no time. Some could not find a good tail
for the hare. But I know this. If you must do something, don't ask
others to do it for you. Don't forget about the hare with his short