How Mantis Gave the Bushman Fire


How Mantis Gave Bushman Fire

Wise Mantis Observing


An African Folktale of Mantis Giving Bushman Fire

Long, long ago somewhere in Africa… When the earth and all the people and animals were new…  There lived a people, amongst all the creatures.

The clever Mantis would go about and everywhere he went, he would watch, observing all he saw. He was very curious, ponderously pondering problems encountered by his fellow creatures for hours.

Bushman Tracking


Where Did Ostrich Get His Fire?

Now Mantis had, long ago, observed that Ostrich would go a little bit away off to eat his food. And Mantis had often wondered why the food that Ostrich ate would smell so different and delicious. So one day, as Ostrich went off alone with his food, Mantis followed close behind but out of sight.

Mantis Beckoning to Ostrich


Ostrich Loves Jackalberry Fruit

Mantis knew that Ostrich would not share his fire, so he concocted a plan.  He would have to resort to trickery if he was to get any fire for the people.

So it came to pass that one day Mantis went to visit Ostrich.

Proud Ostrich Hiding His Fire


Mantis Gets Some of the Fire

“Higher, higher!” urged Mantis. “The sweetest ones are at the top!”

Ostrich struggled and strained but he just wasn’t tall enough.

“Why not stand on that stone there?” said Mantis, pointing out a rock, next to the tree.

San Bushman Starting up Their Fire


Poor Ostrich

Ever since then, Ostrich, greatly embarrassed, has never flown. He keeps his wings pressed to his sides, to preserve the little fire he has left.

Unhappy Ostrich, Having Lost Some of His Fire


Eggs Now Keep the Mark

And as any Bushman will tell you, Ostrich and his wife have become a little absent minded and distracted since the theft of his fire. Even when she lays her beautiful, creamy eggs in a warm hollow in the sand, they place one egg out on the sand to remind them they are sitting on a clutch of eggs, lest they forget and wander off.


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Meet Our Authors: The Wildmoz team, Cari and Moz, have a lifelong passion for the Bushveld and share adventures and stories about Africa's good things. Wildmoz is Africa - the cradle of life! Travel writing about wildlife, African folklore, wildlife art, Kruger Park and wildlife safari info! Taste life as it is in Africa.
 Posted by on January 21, 2014