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Fable about Water  

The Man-Eating Monsters and the Well

The man-eating monsters, with help from the tortoise, had dug a well. The wildcat had not helped with the digging but came to the well anyway and said, “May I draw water?” The monsters said, “Nobody is to be refused water. Draw as much as you want.” So he drew water. Then he said, “I'm going to bathe, too.” One of the monsters said, “Watch what you're doing there!” But he bathed all the same. When he finished bathing, one monster decided he was going to eat the cat. But the wildcat took boiling water and threw it in the monster's face. The monster, his face scalded, cried out. His companions ran up and said, “You are very stupid.” 

The wildcat came again and said, “With your permission.” And he began again to draw water from the well. Then he said, “I'm going to bathe, too.” The monster said, “Don't bathe in that water, or else…!” Then the monster grabbed the wildcat and called out to the others, “Come here quickly! I've caught the wildcat!” The wildcat shouted very loudly and said, “I'm going to throw hot water, and while you are drying it off, I'll run far away.” And so the wildcat escaped again. The other monsters came and said, “You are very stupid, too!”

The tortoise had been standing nearby and had watched all that had happened. Once again the cat came up to the well and again he drew water. Again he said, “I'm going to bathe, too.” But the tortoise took hold of him then and called the monsters, “Come quickly. I have caught the cat.” The cat said to himself, “I will throw hot water, and while he is drying himself off I will get to safety.” When he began to throw water on the tortoise's head, the tortoise pulled his head into his shell until the hot water was finished, and when the monsters arrived they ate the wildcat.

Source: Translation of an Angolan Fable in Estermann 1979 (The Ethnography of Southwestern Angola - The Nyaneka-Nkumbi Ethnic Group)

 

 



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