HERE was a great drought in the land; and Lion called together a number of animals so that they might devise a plan for retaining water when the rains fell.
The animals which attended at Lion’s summons were Baboon, Leopard, Hyena, Jackal, Hare, and Mountain Tortoise. It was agreed that they should scratch a large hole in some suitable place to hold water; and the next day they all began to work, with the exception of Jackal, who continually hovered about in that locality, and was overheard to mutter that he was not going to scratch his nails off in making water holes.
When the dam was finished the rains fell, and it was soon filled with water, to the great delight of those who had worked so bard at it. The first one, however, to come and drink there, was Jackal, who not only drank, but filled his clay pot with water, and then proceeded to swim in the rest of the water, making it as muddy and dirty as he could. This was brought to the knowledge of Lion, who was very angry and ordered Baboon to guard the water the next day, armed with a huge knobkerrie. Baboon was concealed in a bush close to the water; but Jackal soon became aware of his presence there, and guessed its cause. Knowing the fondness of baboons for honey, Jackal at once hit upon a plan, and marching to and fro, every now and then dipped his fingers into his clay pot, and licked them with an expression of intense relish, saying, in a low voice to himself, “I don’t want any of their dirty water when I have a pot full of delicious honey.” This was too much for poor Baboon, whose mouth began to water. He soon began to beg Jackal to give him a little honey, as he had been watching for several hours, and was very hungry and tired. After taking no notice of Baboon at first, Jackal looked round, and said, in a patronizing manner, that he pitied such an unfortunate creature, and would give him some honey on certain conditions, viz., that Baboon should give up his knobkerrie and allow himself to be bound by Jackal. He foolishly agreed; and was soon tied in such a manner that he could not move hand or foot. Continue reading “The Story of a Dam”