Ram, Leopard, and Jackal
Long, long ago somewhere in Africa… When the earth and all the people and animals were new… Leopard was coming home from hunting once, when he came upon the kraal* of Ram*. Now, because Leopard had never seen such a powerful antelope as Ram before, he approached submissively and said, “Good day, friend! What may your name be?”
The other in his deep gruff voice, and beating his breast with his forefoot, as was his custom said, “I am Ram. Who are you?”
“Leopard,” answered the other, (more dead than alive from fright) and taking leave of Ram, he ran home as fast as his legs could go.
Leopard Consults With Jackal
Jackal lived at the same place as Leopard, and going straight to him, said, “Friend Jackal, I am quite out of breath, and am half dead with fright. I have just seen a fearful looking fellow, with a large and thick body with long straight sharp horns on his head, and when I politely asked him what his name was, he said in a shuddering voice, ‘I am Ram,’ beating his breast with his forefoot.
“What a foolish fellow you are,” cried Jackal, “to let such a nice piece of meat alone! Why did you do so? But we shall go tomorrow and eat it together.” Was Jackals cunning plan.
Ram’s Wise Wife
Next day the two set off for the kraal* of Ram, and as they appeared over the hill, Ram, who was calculating where he could gather some succulent provisions, saw Leopard coming with Jackal. He immediately went to his wife and said, “I fear this is our last day, for Jackal and Leopard are coming to get us. What shall we do?”
“Don’t be afraid,” said his wife, “take up the child in your arms, go out with it, and pinch it to make it cry as if it were hungry.” With this, Ram’s wife laid out the plan Ram was to use. Ram picked up his child, then waited for the accomplices to approach.
No sooner did Leopard see Ram* than fear again overtook him, and he tried to turn back. But Jackal had anticipated this, strapping Leopard fast to himself with a leather thong, and said, “Come on.” It was then that Ram shouted in a loud booming voice, while pinching his child at the same time. “You have done well, Friend Jackal, to have brought us Leopard to eat, for you hear how my child is crying for food.”
Leopard Could Wait no More
On hearing these dreadful, terrible words, Leopard, in spite of the Jackals’ pleading to let him go, set off in utmost terror! He dragged Jackal after him over hill and valley, through bushes, over rocks, never stopping to look behind him, till he brought back himself and half-dead Jackal to his place again. And in this way Ram escaped…
Moral of the story? Don’t be fooled by bullies and big mouths.
*Ram, a male Gemsbok (Oryx), which is a tough antelope with long straight horns, from the indigenous arid regions of Southern Africa and well known for taking care of itself in defense, lions included.
*Kraal, is a generic African word to describe a pen for livestock, or an enclosure made especially for defensive purposes, or even as a homestead layout.