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Home :  African Legends :  How the Jackal got his Black Back

How the Jackal got his Black Back

Like the Bushmen, the Hottentots were fond of telling tales of the animals around them. A good example is the story of how the jackal got his black back.
One day, the jackal saw a little girl sitting up in a tree.

'Why are you sitting up there, pretty child?' he asked.

'I am tired, I must rest,' she replied.

'Come down, and I will carry you home on my back,' said the jackal.

'I am a sun child. I ride on no jackal's back,' was the haughty reply.

But the jackal coaxed and cajoled with such a sweet tongue that at last she relented and climbed down to seat herself on his back, and away they went. Now, although she was small and light, the jackal began to feel uncomfortable. This was due to the remarkable heat of the sun child.

'Jump down,' he said, 'I see a pretty bird that I will shoot for you with my bow and arrow.' But she refused. 'Jump down, jump down,' pleaded the jackal, pretending no more, for his fur was starting to singe. Still she refused. He grew frightened and started to use threats. 'I will jump into the water with you; I will sting you with my secret sting!' She just laughed and held tight. The jackal could stand no more, and with a howl leaped into a dense Bush and the little sun child was swept from his back. Then, singed and sorry, the jackal ran away into the veld, carrying with him forever the mark of the sun child.


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