[Notes by LKG]
This story is part of the Congo unit. Story source: Notes on the Folklore of the Fjort by Richard Edward Dennett (1898).
The Gazelle And The Leopard
"Well," said the leopard, "I cannot go today, but you may as well go."
And the gazelle went, and all that day he cut the bush and cleared the ground for planting. And the next day he went also alone.
On the third day the leopard called on the gazelle and asked him to go to the plantation with him. But the gazelle said he was sick and could not go, so the leopard went by himself.
The next day the leopard again called for the gazelle, but he was not in.
"Where has he gone?" enquired the leopard.
"Oh, he has gone to another part."
And each day the leopard called upon the gazelle, he was either sick or out of town, so that the leopard had nearly all the bard work to himself. When the women had planted, and the harvest was ripe, however, the gazelle went to look at the plantation. He was greatly pleased to find so much planted and thought how pleased his friends would be if he invited them to a feast, so he called in all the antelopes and other beasts of the field, and they had a splendid feast.
By and by the leopard thought he would go and see how his plantation was getting on, and no sooner had he arrived there than he exclaimed: "Hullo, who has been feeding on my plantation and eaten up my corn? Surely I will set a trap for them and catch the thieves."
The next day the animals, led by the little gazelle, came again, and he warned them, saying: "Be careful, for the leopard will surely set a trap for us."
But the antelope became careless and finally fell into the leopard's trap. "There," says the gazelle, "I told you to be careful. What shall we do? They have all run away and left us, and I am not strong enough to release you."
Then the leopard came and rejoiced greatly at having caught a thief. He took the antelope to his town. "Please, Sir, the gazelle told me to go," cried the antelope; "don't kill me, don't kill me."
"How am I to catch the gazelle?" the leopard replied. "No, I must kill you." And so he killed the antelope and ate him.
When the gazelle heard what the leopard had done, he was greatly annoyed and declared that as the leopard was their chief, they were quite right in eating the food he had provided for them. Was it not the duty of the father to provide for his children?
"Well, well, never mind, he will pay us for this." Then the gazelle made a drum and beat it until all the animals came as if to a dance. When they were assembled, he told them that they must be revenged upon the leopard.
The leopard heard the drum, and said to his wife: "Let us go to the dance." But his wife said she would rather stay at home, and did not go. The leopard went, but no sooner had he arrived than they all set upon him and killed him. And when the dance was over, the leopard's wife wondered why he did not return. The gazelle sent her the head of her husband skinned as her part of the feast and, not knowing that it was her husband's head, she ate it.
"Oh, for shame," said the gazelle, "you have eaten your husband's head."
"Nay, Sir, the shame rests with you, for you gave it to me to eat, after having murdered him." And she wept and cursed the gazelle.
Next: The Fetish Sunga