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´╗┐Title: Old Hendrik's Tales
Author: Vaughan, Arthur Owen
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Old Hendrik's Tales" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Old Hendrik's Tales, by Captain Arthur Owen Vaughan.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
OLD HENDRIK'S TALES, BY CAPTAIN ARTHUR OWEN VAUGHAN.



CHAPTER ONE.

WHY OLD BABOON HAS THAT KINK IN HIS TAIL.

The day was hot, and the koppies simmered blue and brown along the Vaal
River.  Noon had come, dinner was done.  "Allah Mattie!" said the grey
old kitchen boy to himself, as he stretched to sleep in the shade of the
mimosa behind the house.  "Allah Mattie! but it near break my back in
dem tobacco lands dis mawnin'.  I sleep now."

He stretched himself with a slow groan of pleasure, settling his face
upon his hands as he lay, soaking in comfort.  In three minutes he was
asleep.

But round the corner of the house came the three children, the eldest a
ten-year-old, the youngest six.  With a whoop and a dash the eldest
flung himself astride the old Hottentot's back, the youngest rode the
legs behind, while the girl, the eight-year-old with the yellow hair and
the blue eyes, darted to the old man's head and caught him fast with
both hands.  "Ou' Ta'!  Ou' Ta'!" she cried.  "Now you're Ou' Jackalse
and we're Ou' Wolf, and we've got you this time at last."  She wanted to
dance in the triumph of it, could she have done it without letting go.

Old Hendrik woke between a grunt and a groan, but the merry clamour of
the little girl would have none of that.  "Now we've got you, Ou'
Jackalse," cried she again.

The old man's yellow face looked up in a sly grin.  "Ah, Anniekye," said
he unctuously; "but Ou' Wolf never did ketch Ou' Jackalse.  He ain't
never bin slim enough yet.  He make a big ole try dat time when he got
Oom Baviyaan to help him; but all dey got was dat kink in Ou' Baviyaan's
tail--you can see it yet."

"But how _did_ old Bobbyjohn get that kink in his tail?  You never told
us that, Ou' Ta'," protested Annie.

The old Hottentot smiled to the little girl, and then straightway sighed
to himself.  "If you little folks only knowed de Taal," said he
plaintively.  "It don't soun' de same in you' Englis' somehow."  He
shook his head sadly over English as the language for a Hottentot story
handed down in the Boer tongue.  He had been long enough in the service
of this "English" family (an American father and Australian mother) to
know enough of the language for bald use; though, being a Hottentot, he
had never mastered the "th," as a Basuto or other Bantu might have done,
and was otherwise uncertain also--the pronunciation of a word often
depending upon that of the words next before and after it.  But English
was not fond enough, nor had diminutives enough, for a kitchen tale as a
house Kaffir loves to tell it.

None the less, his eyes brightened till the smile danced in his face as
his words began.  "Ou' Wolf--well, Ou' Wolf, he'd a seen a lot less
trouble if he ha'n't had sich a wife, for Ou' Missis Wolf she yust had a
temper like a meer-cat.  Folks use' to won'er how Ou' Wolf manage' wid
her, an' Ou' Jackalse use' to say to him, `Allah man! if she was on'y my
wife for about five minutes she'd fin' out enough to tink on as long's
she keep a-livin'.'  An' den Ou' Jackalse, he'd hit 'is hat back on to
de back of his head an' he'd step slouchin' an' fair snort agen
a-grinnin'.

"But Ou' Wolf ud look behind to see if his missis was hearin', an' den
he'd shake his head, an' stick his hands in his pockets an' walk off an
tink.  He'd see some mighty tall tinkin' yust up over his head, but he
couldn' somehow seem to get a-hold of it.

"Well, one mawnin' Missis Wolf she get up, an' she look on de hooks an'
dere ain't no meat, an' she look in de pot an' dere ain't no mealies.
`Allah Crachty!' says she, `but dat Ou' Wolf is about de laziest skellum
ever any woman wore herse'f out wid.  I'll ketch my deat' of him afore
I's done.'

"Den she look outside, an' dere she seen Ou' Wolf a-settin' on de stoop
in de sun.  He was yust a-waitin', sort o' quiet an' patient, for his
breakfas', never dreamin' nothin' about bein' banged about de yead wid a
mealie ladle, when out flops Missis Wolf, an' fair bangs him a biff on
one side his head wid de long spoon.  `You lazy skellum!' ses she, an'
bash she lams him on his t'other year.  `Where's darie [that there] meat
for de breakfas' I don' know?' ses she, an' whack she smack him right on
top his head.  `Off you go an' fetch some dis ver' minute,' ses she, an'
Ou' Wolf he don' say no moh, but he yust offs, an' he offs wid a yump
too, I can tell you.

"Ou' Wolf as he go he won'er how he's goin' to get dat meat quick
enough.  `I tink I'll get Ou' Jackalse to come along a-huntin' too,' ses
he.  `He's mighty slim when he ain't no need to be, an' p'raps if he'd
be slim a-huntin' dis mawnin' we'd ketch somet'in' quicker.'  An' Ou'
Wolf rub his head in two-t'ree places as he tink of it.

"Now Ou' Jackalse, he was a-sittin' in de sun agen de wall of his house,
a-won'erin' where he's gun' to get breakfas', 'cause he feel dat hungry
an' yet he feel dat lazy dat he wish de grass was sheep so he could lie
down to it.  But grass ain't sheep till it's inside one, an' so Missis
Jackalse, inside a-spankin' little Ainkye, was a-won'erin' where she's
gun' to get some breakfas' to stop it a-squallin'.  `I yust wish you'
daddy 'ud tink a bit oftener where I's gun' to get bones for you,' ses
she.

"Little Ainkye, she stop an' listen to dat, an' den she tink awhile, but
she fin' she don't get no fatter on on'y talk about bones, an' fus'
t'ing her mammy know she puts her two han's up to her eyes an' fair
dives into squallin' agen.

"Missis Jackalse she ketches hold o' Ainkye an' gives her such a shakin'
till her eyes fly wide open.  `I's yust about tired o' hearin' all dat
row,' ses she.  An' while Ainkye's quiet considerin' dat, Missis
Jackalse she hear Ou' Wolf come along outside, axin' her Ou' Baas ain't
he comin' huntin' dis mawnin'?  Den she hear Ou' Jackalse answer back,
sort o' tired like.  `But I cahnt come.  I's sick.'

"Den Ainkye lets out a squall fit to split, an' her mammy she biffs her
a bash dat s'prise her quite quiet, before she stick her head out o de
doh an' say, mighty tremblin' like--`I don't tink we got no meat fo'
breakfas' at all, Ou' Man'.

"But Ou' Jackalse he ain't a troublin' hisse'f about no women's talk.
He don't turn his 'ead nor not'in'.  He yust hutch hisse'f closer to de
wall to bake hisse'f some more, an' he say agen--`I tell you I's sick,
an' I cahnt go huntin' dis mawnin', nohow'.

"Missis Jackalse she pop her head inside agen mighty quick at dat, an'
Ou' Wolf he sling off down de spruit wid his back up.  Ou' Jackalse he
yust sit still in de sun an' watch him go, an' he ses to hisse'f ses he:
`Now dat's big ole luck fo' me.  If he ha'n't a come along like dat I
don' know but I'd a had to go an' ketch somet'in' myse'f, I'm dat
'ongry.  But now it'll be all right when he come back wid some sort o'
buck.'

"Den he turn his head to de doh.  `_Frowickie_,' ses he to his missis
inside, soft an' chucklin', `tell Ainkye to stop dat squallin' an'
bawlin'.  Ou' Wolf's gone huntin', an' yust as sure as he come back
we'll have all de breakfas' we want.  Tell 'er if she don't stop anyhow
I'll come inside to her.'

"Missis Jackalse she frown at Ainkye.  `You hear dat now,' ses she, `an'
you better be quiet now 'less you want to have you' daddy come in to
you.'  An' Ainkye she say, `Well, will you le' me play wid your tail
den?'  An' her mammy she say, `All right,' an' dey 'gun a-laughin' an'
a-goin' on in whispers.  But Ou' Jackalse he yust sit an' keep on bakin'
hisse'f in de sun by de wall.

"By'n'by here comes Ou' Wolf back agen, an' a big fat Eland on his back,
an' de sweat yust a-drippin' off him.  An' when he comes past de house
he look up an' dere he see Ou' Jackalse yust a-settin' an' a-bakin', an'
a-makin' slow marks in de dust wid his toes now an' agen, an' lookin'
might comfy.  An' Ou' Wolf he feel darie big fat Eland more bigger an
heavier dan ever on his back, an he feel dat savage at Ou' Jackalse dat
he had to look toder way, for fear he'd let out all his bad words
_Kerblob_ in one big splosh on darie Ou' Jackalse head.  But Ou'
Jackalse he say nawt'in'; he yust sit an' bake.  But he tink inside
hisse'f, an' his eye kind o' 'gun to shine behind in his head as he
watch darie meat go past an' go on, an' he feel his mouf run all water.

"But he ha'n't watched dat breakfas' out o' sight, an' he ha'n't quite
settle hisse'f yust how he's goin' to get his share, when up hops Klein
Hahsie--what you call Little Hare.

"`Mawnin', Klein Hahsie,' ses Ou' Jackalse, but yust so high an'
mighty's he know how, 'cause little Hahsie he's de runner for Big Baas
King Lion, an Ou' Jackalse he tink he'll show him dat oder folks ain't
no chicken feed, too.

"`Mawnin', Ou' Jackalse,' ses Little Hahsie, kind o' considerin' him
slow out of his big shiny eyes.  Den he make a grab at one of his own
long years as if it tickle him, an' when he turn his face to look at de
tip o' darie year he sorto' wunk at it, kind o' slow and solemn.  `Darie
ou' year o' mine!' ses he to Ou' Jackalse.

"Den he sort o' remember what he come for, an' he speak out mighty
quick.  `You yust better get a wiggle on you mighty sudden,' ses he.
`Ou' King Lion he's a roarin' for darie Ou' Jackalse fit to tear up de
bushes.  "Where's darie Ou' Jackalse?  If he don't get here mighty quick
he'll know all about it," roars he.  "What's de use o' me makin' him my
doctor if he ain't here when he's wanted?  Dis claw I neah tore out
killin' a Koodoo yeste'day--he'd better be yust lively now a-gittin'
here to doctor dat.  Fetch him!" roars he, an' here I am, an' I tell you
you yust better git a move on you,' ses Hahsie.

"Ou' Jackalse he tink, but he don't let on nawthin' but what he's yust
so sick as to split.  `I's dat bad I cahnt har'ly crawl,' ses he--`but
you go 'long an' tell King Lion I's a-comin' as soon's ever I get some
medicine mix'.'

"`Well, I tol' you--you better be quicker'n blue lightnin' all de same,'
ses Hahsie, an' off he flicks, as if he's sort o' considerin' what's de
matter wid Ou' Jackalse.

"Well, Ou' Jackalse he tink, an' he tink, an' he know he'd better be
gettin' along to King Lion, but yet he ain't a-goin' to give in about
darie breakfas'.  He ain't a-movin' mighty fast about it, but he goes
into de woods an' he gets some leaves off o' one bush, an' some roots
off'n anoder, an' yust when he tink dat's about all he want, who should
he see but Ou' Wolf, kind o' saunterin' along an' lookin' yust good an'
full o' breakfas', an' chock full o' feelin' fine all inside him.

"Dat stir Ou' Jackalse where he's so empty in his tummy, an' dat make it
strike him what to do.  He comes along to Ou' Wolf lookin' like he's in
a desprit rush an' yust in de worst kind of a tight place.  `Here, Ou'
Wolf,' ses he in a hustle, `you's yust him I was tinkin' on.  Hyer's
King Lion about half crazy wid a pain, an' he's roarin' for me, an' I
set off wid a yump, an' I got all de stuff for de medicine, but all de
time I clean forgot de book to mix it by.  Now you yust do me a good
turn, like a good chap, an' you rush off to King Lion wid dis hyer
medicine, while I streaks back for de book.  You does dis foh me an' I
ain't a-goin' to fo'get what I owe you for it.'

"Ou' Wolf he's quite took off his feet an' out o' breaf on it all.
`Why, o' course,' ses he.  `You gi' me darie medicine an' I offs right
away.  A good yob I had breakfas' a'ready,' an' he fair seizes darie
medicine an' he offs.

"Ou' Jackalse lie right down where he's standin' an' he fair roll an'
kick hisse'f wid laughin'.  `A good yob I _ar'n't_ had my breakfas','
ses he.  `I'd a lost a deal more'n meat if I had a done,' ses he agen,
an' den he ups an' he offs back to Ou' Wolf's house.

"All de way back he kep' on a-smilin' to hisse'f, an' every once in a
while he'd give a skip an' a dance to tink what a high ole time he was
a-havin'.  Den by'n'by he picks up a piece o' paper.  `Yust de t'ing I's
wantin',' ses he.

"Well, he come to Ou' Wolf's house an dere was Missis Wolf a-sittin' out
on de stoop an' a pullin' down de flaps of her cappie to keep de flies
off'n her nose.  `Mawnin', Cousin,' ses Ou' Jackalse; fair as polite as
honey wouldn't run down his t'roat if you let him hold it in his mouf.

"`Mawnin',' ses she, an' she ain't a-singin' it out like a Halleloolya
needer, an' she don't stir from where she's a-settin', an' she don't say
how-dy-do.  She yust look at him like she's seen him befo'e, an' like
she ain't a breakin' her neck if she don't never see him agen.

"But Ou' Jackalse he ain't a-seein' nawtin' but what she's yust as glad
to see him as if he was a predicant.  `I's got a bit of a note here from
your man,' ses he.  `P'r'aps you don't mind readin' it an' den you'll
know,' ses he.

"Missis Wolf she cock her nose down at dat note, an' den Missis Wolf she
slant her eye up at Ou' Jackalse.  But Ou' Jackalse he yust kep' on
between a sort o' smilin' to see her keepin' so well, and a sort o' dat
tired feelin' dat life's sich a one-hawse business anyhow, till at last
she up an' took darie paper.

"She turn dis piece o' paper dis way an' turn it dat way, an'
upside-down an' t'oder-side-to, an' at last she ses, ses she, `I don't
never could read pen-writin' so well's I could book letters, an' darie
Ou' Wolf he write sich a terr'ble fist anyhow.  I al'ays said he ought
to be sent to school agen.  You better to read it fo' me,' ses she.

"Ou' Jackalse he took de paper as if it ain't nawtin' anyhow, an' he
looks as if livin' ain't no more'n a team o' donkeys an' a ole rope
harness to a buck waggon nohow.  Den he reads it off to hisse'f, sort o'
mutterin' it over fus' to see what it's all about, an' den he ups an'
talks it off about as happy as if it give him a hoe an' sent him into de
to'acco lan's.

"`Oh,' he ses.  `Your man he yust ses for you to gi' me dem hin'quarters
o' darie Eland I yust bargained for wid him.  But, _Siss_! it 'pears he
want me to car' it home myse'f, an' all de time he bargain to do dat fo'
me.  Ne'er mind dough; now I's here I met as well take it anyhow.  But
I'll have a few remarks wid Ou' Wolf when I sees him agen.'

"Missis Wolf she look at Ou' Jackalse, an' Ou' Jackalse he smile as if
it's all right an' quite nice dere in de sun.  Den Missis Wolf she look
at darie paper an' she shake her head yust once.  `Yes,' ses she, `I
s'pose you will ha' to take it if you bargained for it atween you, but--
you le' me have darie paper an' den I's'll have a few remarks too wid
Ou' Wolf when I see him agen,' an' she look at Ou' Jackalse as if dat
was gun' to be a bit of all right.

"Ou' Jackalse he han' over darie piece o' paper as polite as sugar cane,
an' he take over de hin'quarters of Eland wid a look on his face like
dat meat was a hoe on a hot day.  An' he grunt an' he grumble all de way
he go till he's out o' sight an' hearin'.

"Den,--well, if you wantto know yust what sort o' good ole time he had
over darie breakfas', you should ha' seen him comin' out in de sun agen
ahter it, his hair all shinin' wid fat an' his tail a-hangin' down
straight 'cause he's too full to cock it.

"Well, ahter all, he's got to be gittin' away an' seein' to King Lion
pretty quick if he ain't a-goin' to get into moh trouble dan he can comb
out of his hair in a twel'-mont', but he do feel so good an' comfy all
inside him dat he ain't in any _baiya_ hurry even yet.  `I s'pose I
better take a book wid me,' ses he to hisse'f.  `Wife,' ses he over his
shoulder, back t'rough de do', `gi' me some sort o' book; any sort:
darie ole almanac Ainkye was a-screevin' picters in'll do me yust a
treat.  Ou' King Lion he ain't a-gun' to look inside it.'

"So he gets dis almanac an' off he sets, an' if he don't skip and flick
dis time, it's only because his wais'coat's too tight.  But he pick 'is
teef wid a long stem o' grass, an' he biff his hat back over one year,
an' one time he's a-winkin' to hisse'f an' t'oder time he wave one arm
an' sing `De Kimberleysa trainsa,' like a location Kaffir wid two
tickies in his pocket.

"Well, by'n'by he come to de place, an' he hear King Lion a-roarin' fit
to shake de wind, till yust at first Ou' Jackalse he miss a step or two,
tinkin' what nex'.  Den he tink again, an' it wahnt a minute till he
wink at hisse'f, an' he touch up darie ol' almanac under his arm to make
it look like it's mighty important.  Den he set his hat on mighty
straight an' pull down his coat, an' in he go.

"`Vah vas yeh all dis time?' roar Ou' King Lion, makin' all de place
tremble.

"`Please, sir,' ses Ou' Jackalse, terr'ble busy to look at, `my fool
missis she len' de medicine book to darie ou' gossippin' Missis Duck,
an' I had yust a terror of a yob to spoor her out where she was a
quackin' an' a scan'alin' till I got it back.  But I sent de medicine on
by Ou' Wolf here an' tole him what to do till I come.'

"`Did you?' roars King Lion, fair a-lashin' his tail in such a wax; `an'
here he's bin standin' like a clay man all dis time, yust a-holdin'
leaves an' roots, an' a-sayin' nawtin', an' my claw gettin' moh and
wohse pain every minute!'

"Ou' Wolf he look at de King an' he begin to shake a bit.  Den he look
at Ou' Jackalse an' he won'er how in de worl' he come to forget what he
ses he tell him.  But Ou' Jackalse he look at Ou' Wolf yust as if he was
fair disgusted wid such forgettin', an' den he look at de King's claw
an' he shake his head.  `It's gone pretty bad, but dere is yust one
t'ing might cure it--it might.'

"`What's dat?' roars King Lion, an' Ou' Wolf he begin to feel de air
shake in de roots of his hair.

"`Well, sir,' ses Ou' Jackalse, `if Ou' Wolf 'ud bring his uncle or his
cousin I don't know.  But,'--an' he shake his head, an' tap de ole
almanac under his arm, an' look solemn all over--`dis book ses de same
an' I agrees wid it, 'cause I's found it so; dere's nawtin' else for it
but you take de skin of a live wolf an' wrop it roun' you' paw till it
get well.  Ou' Wolf's uncle now,' ses he.

"`Ou' Wolf hisse'f!' roars King Lion, an'--_clip_!--he make a dive to
gash a-hold of Ou' Wolf.  But Ou' Wolf he'd bin a-feelin' somet'in'
comin', feelin' it in his bones, an' Ou' Jackalse hadn't more'n said
`Wolf!' dan Ou' Wolf wasn't dere--he was yust a-streakin' out o' dat
till you couldn't see him for heel dust.

"`Well, sir,' says Ou' Jackalse, an' he heaves a whackin' big sigh
'cause he's tinkin' what Ou' Wolfs gun' to do to him now when he see him
agen--`I'm a gall darn sorry, you' Majesty, but now you's let Ou' Wolf
get away I can't do nawtin', on'y yust put some medicine on you' claw
till you ketch him agen.'  An' wid dat he ups an' he doctor darie ou'
claw an' comes away.  An' he ain't a skippin' an' he ain't a singin'
nawtin' about de `Kimberleysa trainsa' dis time nudder, 'cause he's
tinkin' a deal about what Ou' Wolf's a-gun' to do.

"Ahter dat Ou' Jackalse keep his eye skin' pretty clear all de time, an'
Ou' Wolf keep his eyes yust a-yinglin' till he hear King Lion's got well
again.  Den he say to hisse'f, `Now I's gun' to get square wi' darie Ou'
Jackalse--you watch me if I don't,' an' off he go to see Ou' Baviyaan in
de koppies.

"`Mawnin', Nief,' ses he.

"`Mawnin', Oom,' ses Baviyaan.

"`Very dry,' ses Ou' Wolf; `d'ye t'ink we'l get rain pretty soon?' ses
he.

"Ou' Baviyaan, he scratch his back, an' he look roun', an' he chew de
bark off'n a piece o' stick.  `P'raps it rain by'n'by,' ses he.  `Dese
yer koppies pretty hot dis mawnin'.'

"`Well,' ses Ou' Wolf, now he'd cleared de groun' polite like dat, `you
'members darie skellum, Ou' Jackalse, dat never pay you yet for all dat
lamb meat an' dat kid meat you let him have, don't you?'

"`Don't I,' ses Baviyaan, puckerin' his eyebrows down an' makin' sharp
eyes, an' grabbin' a fresh twig an' strippin' de bark off it--_rip_!--
wid one snatch of his teef.  `I yust does.'

"`Well now, look a-hyere, Nief,' ses Ou' Wolf.  `I cahnt stan' him no
longer nohow.  I's yust a-gun' to get even wid him.  He done one t'ing
an' he done anoder t'ing, an' he don't pay me for de hin'quarters o' de
finest Eland you ever seen, an' so I votes we yust stops all dese little
die-does of his.  Wat you say now if we go an' give him such a
shambokkin' till he don't stir out till dis time nex' year?'

"Ou' Baviyaan look at de little bird in de tree, an' Ou' Baviyaan look
at de little shiny lizard on de rock.  An' he looks at Ou' Wolf an' he
looks round agen, an' he yumps an' he biffs a scorpion what he sees him
wriggle his tail out from under a stone.  Den he say, ses he, `Yeh, but
how's I know you ain't a-gun' to streak it out o' dat as soon's Ou'
Jackalse prance out for us?  Den where'd I be, huh?'

"`But who's a-gun' to run away?' ses Ou' Wolf, swellin' hisse'f out
mighty big.  `D'ye mean to say _I's_ a-gun' to run away f'm a skellum
like dat?  Me scared o' him?  Huh!'

"Ou' Baviyaan, he scratch hisse'f on de hip, an' he eat what you cahnt
see out'n his finger an' t'umb.  `Den what you want me to help you foh?'
ses he, kind o' pucker in' his eyes an' glintin' here an' dere in Ou'
Wolf's face.

"`Oh, dat's all right,' ses Ou' Wolf, an' he try to t'ink so quick dat
de inside his head tumble all over itself like rags in a basket upside
down.  `On'y if I go an' do it my lone se'f, den people t'ink it's yust
fightin', an' dey say, "Poor Ou' Jackalse".  But if we go an' do it, all
two of us, den dey say, "What's darie ou' skellum bin up to dis time?"
Dat's why I come for you, Nief.'

"Ou' Baviyaan, he screw hisse'f roun' on his part what he sits on, an'
Ou' Baviyaan, he screw hisse'f back, an' he look at a fly dat wants to
light on Ou' Wolf's nose.  `Look a-hyer, Oom Wolf,' ses he; `you show me
some way to make sure dat you don't run off an' leave me on my own if
Ou' Jackalse do somet'in', den I'll listen to you.  You can run yust as
fast as he can, but dere ain't no trees for me to yump for where Ou'
Jackalse live.'

"Ou' Wolf he scratch his ear wid his back foot, but Ou' Baviyaan he
scratch his tummy wid his front han'.  `Now you do dis, Oom Wolf,' ses
he; `you le' me tie our tails togedder good'n fast so I know dey won't
come undone, den I'll know you cahnt up an' dust it out o' dat an' leave
me when de time comes.  You say yes to dat, an' I'll come.'

"Ou' Wolf yust laugh right out.  If he'd axed for it hisse'f he cou'dn't
a done better.  Dat way he's sure hisse'f dat Ou' Baviyaan can't skip
out an' leave _him_ needer, an' he know Ou' Baviyaan he's pretty full o'
prickles to meddle wid in a tight corner.  `Dere's my tail,' ses Ou'
Wolf; `you tie it fas', an' you yust keep on a-tyin' till you's
satisfied.'

"So off dey starts.

"Well, I tole you Ou' Jackalse he yust keep his eye a-rollin' all dese
days, an' dis mawnin' he was out in front of his house a-choppin' out
yokeskeys, an' you believe me darie axe in his han' was yust so sharp
an' yust so bright in de sun dat it flashed like streaks o' hot
lightnin' when he chop an' chip, an' keep on chip-a-choppin'.  An' all
de time his eye was yust a-smokin' an' a-burnin', till a long an' a long
way off he sees Ou' Wolf an Ou' Baviyaan a-comin' a-wobblin', terr'ble
close alongside each oder, an' mighty awk'ard.

"`Well, dat's about de funniest commando I ever did see,' ses he to
hisse'f, wid his ear a-cockin' out, an' his nose a-cockin' up.  An' den
his tail begun to wilt a bit while he tink what he's goin' to do now.

"Den he scratch his ear, an' his tail begin to stick out agen, an' he
wink one eye to his nose end.  `Ou' Frow!' ses he, back over his
shoul'er to Missis Jackalse in de house.

"`Ya, daddy!' ses Missis Jackalse, stickin' her nose half an inch out o'
de door.

"`Now you be careful an' do yust what I tells you,' ses he.  `When I
stop choppin' den you pinch Ainkye, an' you pinch her till she fair
bawls agen.  An' when I shouts out for you to stop her a-squallin', den
you answer up on you' top note an' say--"It's all you' own fault.  You
would bring you' baby up on nawtin' but wolf meat, an' now you shouts
'cause it cry fo' mo'."  You hear me now, don't you forget,' ses Ou'
Jackalse.

"`Dat's all right,' ses his ole missis.

"Well, along come Ou' Wolf an' his commando--one Baviyaan--an' Ou' Wolf
he say, `What's dat flashin' like lightnin' in Ou' Jackalse han'?
Hyere; I don't know what's a-gun' to happen,' ses he, an' he ain't a
comin' on so fast as he has bin.

"But Ou' Baviyaan he answer pretty scornful like, `Dat's yust a axe he's
a-choppin' out yokeskeys wid.  You ain't a-gun' to turn afeard, huh?'

"`Who's afeard?' ses Ou' Wolf, in yust such a bi-ig voice.  `But it do
look like a terr'ble sharp axe,' ses he.  `Why don't he use a rusty ole,
gappy ole axe, like anyb'dy else a-choppin' out yokeskeys, I wantto
know?'  An' Ou' Wolf he 'gun a-movin' slower an' slower.  `I tink dat's
mo'en yust a axe,' ses he.

"`No backin' out now,' ses Ou' Baviyaan, kind o' rough.

"`Ain't my tail tied fast enough?' savages Ou' Wolf.  `Di'n't you tie it
yourse'f?' ses he, trying to stop still an' argue de point.

"Ou' Baviyaan he give a yank.  `Come on now,' ses he.

"`Ain't I?' ses Ou' Wolf, an' he come yust half a step--to easy de pull
on his tail.  An' while dey start to quar'lin', Ou' Jackalse he stop
choppin' an' he lift up, an' right den his Ou' Missis she pincht Ainkye
so she fair opens out a-bawlin' till her eyes shut tight.  You could
hear it a mile off.

"Den Ou' Jackalse he shout out, `If you don't stop dat Ainkye
a-squallin' like dat den I'll come inside dere, an' she'll get somet'in'
to squall for,' ses he.

"`It's all you' own fault,' screams Ou' Missis (an' don't she yust like
to say it!  It makes her feel good an' good to talk back to her Ou' Baas
once, i'stead of on'y tinkin' back).  `You goes an' brings up you' chile
on nawtin' but wolf meat, an' den you 'gins to shout when she's yust so
hungry fo' mo' dat she cahnt hold quiet.'

"`Dat's all right,' ses Ou' Jackalse, (`an' don' you get too high, Ou'
Missis,' he puts in on de quiet, 'cause he hears what's in her mind).
`I send Ou' Baviyaan out t'ree days back to bring some wolf meat, an'
here he comes now wid yust an ole scrag of a one.  It look a bit flyblow
a'ready, but it'll do better'n nawtin' I s'pose,' ses he, an' he pick up
his axe, an' he gin it a swing up an' roun' as if he's a-openin' his
chest to slaughter lots.

"Ou' Wolf he hear dat an' he yust make one yump an' land right roun' wid
his head where his tail was.  He tinks it's nawtin' else but Ou'
Baviyaan is drawed him on an' in to it, as Ou' Jackalse ses.  `Dat's why
you wanted my tail tied so fast, is it?' ses he.  `Dat's it, is it?' an'
he ramp an' he yerk, an' car' on.

"`It ain't, fathead! big fathead!' ses Ou' Baviyaan, rearin' an' yankin'
to pull Ou' Wolf roun' again to face it.  `Dat's yust Ou' Jackalse's
lies to scare you.'

"But Ou' Wolf he see Ou' Jackalse comin', a-skippin' an' a-runnin', wid
de axe a-frolicin' in his han', an' he yust gi'es one yank an' lan's Ou'
Baviyaan a yard back.  Baviyaan he try to hold him, but about dat time
Ou' Jackalse gets dere, an' he 'gins to yump an' dodge roun', an' all de
time he's shoutin' out, `Stan' over a bit, Nief Baviyaan; stan' wide a
bit till I gets a cle'r biff at him.  Yust shift you' head de oder side
till I gaps him one wi' dis yere axe.'

"Den dere was de fuss.  De more Ou' Baviyaan try to hol' back de more
Ou' Wolf yerks him away, an' de wusser Ou' Jackalse sings out, till at
last Ou' Wolf he get dat ter'fied he fair yanks Ou' Baviyaan right into
de air an' over an' over, an' den streaks out straight for de koppies,
wid him on de end of him like a dog an' a kettle.

"`I tink dat's about de finish to dat little lot,' ses Ou' Jackalse,
watchin' de dust an' de hair fly."

Old Hendrik paused, looked the little girl very seriously in the eye;
and then concluded, using his most impressive tones: "An' if you don'
b'lieve me, den you yust look at Ou' Baviyaan's tail nex' time he comes
stealin' in de garden--you'll see de kink yet where it ain't never
straighten out f'm dat day to this."



CHAPTER TWO.

OLD JACKAL AND YOUNG BABOON.

"Ou' Ta'," said the eldest boy the next evening, as they waited at the
kraal for the coming of the cows to the milking, "you never told us what
Old Bobbyjohn said to Old Wolf that time when he stopped running away
from Old Jackalse at last."

"No," replied Old Hendrik, with a droll, droll leer; "an' I'd hatto be a
mighty sight smarter dan I ever 'members bein' if I was to tell you dat.
For when Ou' Wolf stopped at last, den Ou' Baviyaan yust looked at him;
yust stopped an' looked an' untied his tail an' crawled off.  As you'
daddy ses--`not a word, not a sound; not a whisper of a noise said he'.
Ou' Baviyaan yust saved it all up so he can tink it all over every time
he see Ou' Wolf agen.  It'll last him longer dat way."

"So then he went home an' put poultices on his tail, I suppose,"
suggested Annie, impatient for every detail of the tale that must lie in
the curing of that tail.

"Well, I dunno about no poultices on no tails," returned Hendrik; "but a
day or two ahter dat, Ou' Jackalse was a-slinkin' an' a-slopin' along de
koppies, an' yust as he come under a mispyl tree an' tink he's gun' to
have a rest an' a look round, he gets a smack in de ribses wid one
stone, biff! an' anoder smack on de roots o' de tail wid anoder, bash!
An', kleinkies, you should yust a-seen him streak it out o' range o' dat
ole mispyl tree.

"Den he stop an' he look back, an' dar he see Leelikie Baviyaan, Ou'
Baviyaan's younges' son, a-showin' his head an' shoul'ers out o' de
leaves o' de mispyl, an' a-yarkin' an' a-barkin' at him.  `Mighty smart
you tinks you is, don't you?' snarls Leelikie.  `But I'll teach you to
try tricks on de baviyaans,' ses he.

"When Ou' Jackalse see it's dat young squirt, he gets dat mad he feel
like bitin' a chunk out o' de biggest stone he can reach.  But he knows
he ain't a-gun' to get even wid young Leelikie, 'less'n he sof' soap him
down.  So he yust grins like he is mighty astonish', an' rubs his ribses
like dey's sore as billy-o.  `Well,' ses he, `what tricks is I ever
played on you?'

"`None,' ses Leelikie; `you bet you didn't I's too smart for no sich a
fathead as you to play tricks on me.  But you played one on my ole
daddy, an' I dropped in for it a lot worse troo him.'

"`How's dat?' ax Ou' Jackalse, yust a-squirmin' like he cahnt keep still
for his ribs a-hurtin him.

"`Why, you rakes Ou' Wolf till he cahnt stand no more o' you, an' den he
gets my daddy to he'p him.  An' my ole daddy comes back wid his tail dat
busted dat he cahnt on'y yust sit an' nurse it an' growl.  An' when he
feel bad he alwiz wants gum, an' he send me an' my broder up de trees to
get it.  Den if I eats a bit myse'f, de ole daddy he shambok me till I
has to fair yell enough to make him tink he's killin' me 'fore he'll
stop.  Dat's how.'

"`So all's de matter wid you is you has to give up de gum dat you picks,
is it?' ses Ou' Jackalse.

"`Dat's it, an' de shambokkin's for eatin' de leetle teenty bits I puts
in my mouf,' ses Leelikie.

"`Well, you is a nice 'un,' ses Ou' Jackalse, a-sneerin' like.  `Why, if
dat was me, I'd eat all de gum I picked an' still give de ole daddy all
he wanted as well.  I heerd you say you was mighty smart, but ahter
dat,--well, I'd be ashamed o' myse'f if I wasn't smarter dan dat.'

"De way Ou' Jackalse stick his nose up fair rile Leelikie.  `Yis,' ses
he.  `I hear you talk a lot, but I bet you cahnt show me how dat's
done.'

"`An' I bet I cahnt needer--not as soft as dat,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `You
don't get me as cheap as dat.  But I'll tell you what I'll do.  You come
here to-morrow an' you bring me some gum, nice clear gum, an' den I'll
tell you how to do, so's you'll have all de gum you wants for yourse'f,
an' leave all de shambokkins to your broder.'

"`Shambokkins to my broder!' sings out Leelikie.  `Oh, dat's de right-o
tip.  You come, an' I'll be here wid de gum, don't forget.'

"`I won't,' ses Jackalse, an' off he go, a-winkin' to every bush as he
pass it.

"Well, come next day, dere was young Leelikie up in de mispyl tree, an'
dere was Ou' Jackalse at de foot of it lookin' up.  `Now, what's dis
game you's goin' to tell me?' ses Leelikie.

"`Where's de gum first?' ses Ou' Jackalse.

"`Here's it,' ses Leelikie, showin' it.  `Let's hear de plan now.'

"`Ho! you gi'e me de gum first so's I'll know it's good gum,' ses
Jackalse.

"`Oh, I'll soon show you dat,' ses Leelikie.  `See me!' an' he bite off
a big piece o' de gum, an' he smack, smacks wid his mouf like an ox team
pullin' its feets out o' deep mud.

"Dat rile Ou' Jackalse terr'ble.  `Ho! yeh!' shout he.  `What's you
a-eatin' up my gum for?'

"`'Cause you ses it ain't good; I's yust a-showin' you how good it is,'
ses Leelikie, rollin' his eyes at de rest of it.  `'Sides, it ain't you'
gum till you tells me dis plan you bargain to, yestiday.'

"`Ain't I likely to tell you 'fore I gets de gum!' ses Ou' Jackalse,
like he'd like to ketch hisse'f doin' any sich a fool trick.

"`An' ain't I likely to let you have dis gum 'fore you's told me de
trick!' ses Leelikie leerin'.

"`Ho, dat's de game, is it?  Den I tink I'd better go 'long an' find
you' broder--he won't want to cheat me,' ses Ou' Jackalse, an' he make
as if he's a-gun' to slope right off out o' dat.  He tinks dat's gun' to
fetch young Leelikie to time.

"But--`Oh, dat's all right,' ses Leelikie.  `I can knock de pips off him
any day, an make him tell me too.  You go on, an' den I'll have dis gum
to myse'f.  Dat's so much ahead anyhow.'

"Ou' Jackalse stops, an' his eye look sort o' longin'.  `Den you ain't
a-gun' to trust me?' ses he, as if dat's de last word he's gun' to say.

"`Look a-hyer, Oom Jackalse,' ses Leelikie.  `I has dis gum a'ready.  I
can see it, an' I knows it's good.  But I hasn't got what you wants to
give fo' it, an' I can't see it, an' I don't know if it's good.  So I
tink I'll make sure o' what I has,' ses he, openin' his mouf wide an'
lettin' his tongue flop up an' down, while he holds de gum a little way
off his eye wid de one hand and rub his tummy wid de oder.  `Yum, yum,
yum,' ses he.

"`Well,' ses Ou' Jackalse, as if he yust couldn' he'p it.  `You is a
bright sort, you is, by de jimminy!'

"Young Leelikie he grin back like he tinks a lot o' dat `Allah Crachty!'
ses he, `won't my ole mammy be pleased to hear dat.'

"Ou' Jackalse sees he's on de wrong side de fence dis time.  `Well, I
s'pose we'll ha' to do sometin',' ses he.  `Now, you put de gum dere on
dat stone at de tree root an' I'll stand off here an' tell you.'

"`Right-o,' ses Leelikie.  `Here's de gum,' an' he swings down an'
plants it on de stone--but he don't leave it.

"`By jimminy!' ses Ou' Jackalse at dat.  But he sees he's on de spike a'
right, an' he'll hatto be honest if he's a-gun' to get dat gum.  So he
up an' tell young Leelikie how he done wid Ou' Wolf an' de bessie
berries when de Mensefreiter had 'em.  `All you has to do den,' ses he,
`when you goes up into de tree wid you' broder, is to eat all de gum you
picks you'se'f an' den swop you' calabas' fo' his when he ain't lookin'.
Den you'll be all right, an' he'll get de shambokkin, when you takes de
calabashes down to you' daddy.'

"`Dat do sound mighty smart,' ses Leelikie, like he's admirin' it
immense.  `But'--an' yust as Ou' Jackalse is makin' one fair ole dive
for him an' de gum, he grabs it up an' skips right up into de tree agen.

"Ou' Jackalse look up at him, an he look down at Ou' Jackalse.  `T'ank
you, Oom,' ses he.  `Here I t'ought I'd ha' to pay dis gum for you
tellin' me sometin', but now--well, now, I'll scoff it myse'f.'

"Ou' Jackalse yust had his mouf open to shout like mad when he see de
gum go up de tree, but dat last words o' young Leelikie 'stonish him dat
much he stop right short.  `What's dat little lot fo'?' ses he.

"`What fo'?  Oh, for instance,' ses young Leelikie, bitin' at de gum
till de clear part run all down his chin.

"Ou' Jackalse down below fair ramp on his hind legs agen at dat.
`Didn't I tell you what I said I'd tell you, you skellum?'

"`Did you, billy-o!' ses Leelikie, bitin' some more gum.  `You said
you'd tell me how to get me all de gum an' my broder all de shambokkins.
But my broder ain't no fool, Ou' Wolf: dere ain't no time when he ain't
a-lookin', so dere ain't no changin' calabashes wid him.  He's yust as
smart as rock aloes, an' he'd about knock all de hair off me de first
time I tried it.  So here eats de gum I's got an' chance it fo more.'

"`Didn' you say you could knock de pips off him any day?' shouts Ou'
Jackalse.

"`Yes; but didn' you notice dat he wahnt anywhere in hearin' when I said
it?' ses Leelikie.

"`Well, I's got you, anyway,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `You'll ha' to come
down out o' dat tree sometime, an' here I'll be ready.'

"`Dat's yust all right,' ses Leelikie.  `My daddy an' de rest o' de
baviyaans is comin' dis way in a bit.  Den p'r'aps you'll stop some more
dan you want to.'

"Ou' Jackalse skip roun' to look, an' dere he ketch a glimp' o' de ruffy
ole, snappy ole scout dat leads de baviyaans when dey's feedin.  An'
didn' Ou' Jackalse get out o' dat, dat's all.

"Well, he slink off over de rise an' sit him down to tink how he's
a-gun' to get even wid young Leelikie.  But young Leelikie he yust
swings down out o' de mispyl tree an' slants off to de rest o' de
baviyaans, an' 'gins to turn over de stones fo' scorpions an' tarantulas
an' all de rest o' de tit-bits de baviyaans likes.

"By'n'by dey comes to a place where dere's some big ole Doorn trees,
fair sticky wid de gum runnin' out o' 'em.  Young Leelikie he looks up
at de gum an' he looks at his daddy, an' he tinks here's yust a good ole
chance fo' gum if he can work it.  Den he tink an' he study an' he
won'er, till at last he smack hisse'f in de ribses--he's got it.

"`Daddy,' ses he to Ou' Baviyaan, `you'd like to get a chance at darie
Ou' Jackalse, wouldn' you?'

"`Wouldn' I yust,' ses his daddy, his eyes fair shinin' red.

"`Well, daddy,' ses young Leelikie, an' he look as slim as nex' week,
`here's you' chance.  You sees all dis gum; now if you gets it all an'
smears it all over me, yards t'ick, an' den gi'es me a big ole lump of
it in my hand an' sets me on a stone in de sun, while all de rest o' you
feed away till you gets over de rise; well, I'll soon get Ou' Jackalse
for you.'

"`How'll you do dat?' ax de ole daddy, sort o' tryin' to guess where de
young fella's tryin' to sell him.

"`You'll see a' right enough, if you watches,' ses Leelikie.  `An'
you'll ha' to watch like t'ieves, an' come a-scootin' an' a-boundin'
when I shouts.  Dere won't be no time to catch tings out o' you' tail on
de way.'

"Well, Ou' Baviyaan he look at young Baviyaan, an' he weigh it all up
an' he won'er, an' while he's a-doin' dat young Leelikie sort o' knock
up against dat sore tail of his daddy's.  Dat settle it.  Ou' Baviyaan
he wants Ou' Jackalse, an he wants him very bad, an if de young fella
tinks he knows of a plan--why, he's about as smart a young baviyaan as
dere is in de koppies, so he'll let him try anyway.

"So dey gets all dis gum, sticky ole gum, an' dey rubs it into young
Leelikie's hair, an' dey daubs an' dey plasters an' dey piles it on till
at last he's yust dat tick wid de gum he cahnt stir.  Den dey sits him
nice an' comfy on a nice big stone, an' dey puts a whackin' ole chunk o'
half baked gum in his hand in front of his mouth, an' dere dey leaves
him.

"Now dis is de time young Leelikie 'xpected to get in his work on de
gum.  He reckoned he'd be yust wolfin' down dat gum, first de big chunk
in his hand an' nex' to scrape hisse'f clean o' what's on him.  But ole
sun had a say in dis f'm above, an' de hot stone had a say in it f'm
below, till 'fore de rest o' de baviyaans had got out o' sight, de gum
was dat sticky dat he couldn' stir hand or leg; not so much as wiggle
his head.  An' dar's Ou' Jackalse a-creepin' an' a-peepin' an'
a-watchin' him.

"For Ou' Jackalse he'd bin yust dat mad he'd follo'd on ahter de
baviyaans, yust as young Leelikie made de rest tink he would.  But
Leelikie ha'n't reckoned he was a-gun' to be stuck like dis.  He'd
reckoned he'd be finis' eatin' de gum while Ou' Jackalse 'ud be waitin'
for de rest to get far enough off, an' dat 'ud give him yust de right
time to be skippin' back out o dat.  Whereas--here he wuz.

"An' here was Ou' Jackalse too, yust a-dancin' an a-prancin'.  `I's got
you dis time!' ses he.  `I's got you at last, gum an' all!  Won't I yust
teach you!'

"Young Leelikie nearly busted a-tryin' to loose hisse'f, an' when Ou'
Jackalse seen how fast he was, he yust sit down an' open his mouf an'
lick his chops.  `Look at my teef,' ses he.  `Now I has you!'

"Young Leelikie tried to let a yell out o' him for his daddy to come an'
he'p him, but his yaws was yust dat bunged up wid gum dere wahnt no
openin' dem needer.  `Oh, ain't you nice an' fat,' ses Ou' Jackalse,
watchin' him an' grinnin'.  `Yust feel here where I's gun' to take de
first bite,' ses he, an' he digs young Leelikie in de ribs wid his right
han'.

"But yust about dat time he cahnt pull dat hand away to dig young
Leelikie somewhere else.  `You make los' my hand,' ses he, mighty
snappy; `make it los', or I'll biff de pips off you,' ses he, an' he
smacks his toder hand agen Leelikie's ribses to give him a stand to get
de oder away.  An' right dere dat's fast too.

"Ou' Jackalse's years begin to stick up.  `Allah Crachty!' ses he, `if
you don't make los' my fisties I'll yust knock seven kinds o' chicken
feed out o' you.  Make los', you skellum!'

"But young Leelikie on'y wished he could make los', or do anytin' else
but yust sit an' say nawtin', an' wish his daddy was comin'.  Den Ou'
Jackalse's eyes begin to stick out wid 'fraid o' dis baviyaankie dat
holds him an' ses nawtin'.  He tinks if he don't get his hands loose
sometin's a-gun' to happen, `By de jimminy!' ses he, grindin' his teef,
`if you don't lemme los' dis minute, I'll bite you' bally head off!'

"Wid dat he makes a reg'lar dive, teef first, to scoff young Leelikie's
head off, but he's in such a sweat he grabs de chunk o' gum in de hand
instead, an dere he is, bofe hands fast an' his head fast, an' here's
Ou' Baviyaan and Leelikie's broder yust a flyin' dis way now dey's got
Ou' Jackalse fast.

"Ou' Jackalse sees 'em comin' an' he hears 'em car-rackin' an'
bar-rackin', an' he yust puts every hair o' him into one mighty ole
wrench or else he's done for.  Sometin' had to come--sometin' did--de
seat o' young Leelikie's hide.  For Ou' Jackalse gi'en such a terr'ble
ole yank, an' de stone set back wid such a terr'ble ole stick fast, dat
young Leelikie flew one way wid Ou' Jackalse, an' de seat of his hide
stayed de oder way wid de gum on de stone; tore off wid a rip like a
yard o' calico.

"De stone yust sot tight an' shined like he's smilin', but Ou' Jackalse
he whirraloo round dere like a fireworks.  An' about dat time Ou'
Baviyaan an' de oder young baviyaankie made deir dive for him.

"Well, you never did see no sich a mix up.  For Ou' Jackalse he see dat
dive yust in time, an' he yanks tings round so dey dives not into him
but into young Leelikie, an' dere dey is, yust as fast as he is, an' all
pullin' de roots out to get loose agen in different d'rections.

"But it he'p Ou' Jackalse all de same.  Two o' dem pullin' dat way an'
him pullin' dis, de two o' dem was boun' to be strongest, an' dey gi'es
one Allah Crachty of a yank till dey fair tears--not demselves, but
young Leelikie, loose from Ou' Jackalse.  An' you can see to dis day how
all de long hair was tore off his paws an' his yaws so bad it never grow
long any more," ended Old Hendrik solemnly.

"Oh, but," protested Annie, "what happened then when Ou' Jackalse got
loose?"

"Why dere wahnt nawtin' to happen," returned Old Hendrik in a little
astonishment.  "Ou' Jackalse was loose, dat was what he was ahter, so he
went home an' sit down.  But Ou' Baviyaan he was yust dat proud o' young
Leelikie bein' so smart as to ketch Ou' Jackalse dat way, dat it set de
fashion to leave de seat o' you' hide on a gummy stone, an' dat's how it
comes dat all de baviyaans has a cobbler's patch to sit down on
nowadays.  It ain't for pretty but for proud dey wears it.

"So now you knows why," ended Old Hendrik solemnly.



CHAPTER THREE.

WHY OLD JACKAL DANCED THE WAR-DANCE.

A solid burst of rain; the hissing, thrashing deluge of the high veldt
had driven the hoe-wielders from the tobacco "lands," and the old
Hottentot had retired thankfully to the barn to work on a lambskin
kaross he was making for the mistress.  There the children found him,
though for the moment they were quiet as their father stepped in to ask
Old Hendrik, in his strong American accent, if this rain was likely to
flush the Vaal too deep for crossing at the drift below.

"Well, baas," answered he, "dis hyer rain won't do it, p'r'aps, but I
seen it pretty black up de river all dis mawnin', an' I reckon de
drift's a-gun' to be too strong for goin' a-visitin'."

"Then I guess I ain't a-tryin' it," decided the baas, withdrawing to the
house.

The children took up the subject.  "Is it goin' to be just _so_ big
wide, Ou' Ta'?" asked little Annie.

"Well, Ainkye," answered Old Hendrik, "p'r'aps it ain't a-goin' to be
yust so wide's it was when Ou' Jackalse danced de war-dance, and Ou'
Mensefreiter hit hisse'f on a rock into no bigger'n a water-millon; but
it's a-goin' to be too full fo' your daddy to go yust sa'nterin' troo
it."

"Oh, Ou' Ta', you never told us about that Mensefreiter at all," cried
the little girl reproachfully.

"Didn't I now?" cried Old Hendrik.  "Well, I'd ought to anyhow, 'cause
it was mighty tough times for Ou' Jackalse an' Ou' Wolf dem days.
Besides, dis is de same drift right hyer below.

"You see," he went on, squaring himself on the sack of mealies which
served him for a seat, "times was hard wid all sorts of folk dat year.
De rinderpest come along, an' it just clean out all de game an' de buck,
till Ou' Jackalse an' Ou' Wolf dey may hunt all day an' dey may hunt all
week an' Sunday, an' den dey won't get de shadda of a buck.  Dey ha' to
keep on a-drinkin' water to keep deir tummies from growin' front an'
back togeder."

"An what did Missis Jackalse an' little Ainkye Jackalse do for sometin'
to eat, then?" asked Annie anxiously.

"Oh, dere was no Missis Jackalse den," answered the old Hottentot
cheerily.  "Dis was long 'fore that Dis was when Ou' Jackalse an' Ou'
Wolf was young fellas, an' don't only go roun' upsittin' wid de nices'
young misses dey can hear of.  An' it stand 'em in han' to be young
fellas an' to had no fam'lies; 'cause de young fellas can scratch all
day if dey like an' den dere ain't nawtin' to eat.

"Well, you knows Ou' Jackalse is mighty slim a-gettin' scoff if dere's
anybody else has some, but it wahnt no use waitin' to steal what oder
folk ain't polished off, 'cause dere ain't nawtin' for oder folk to
begin on, let alone to leave for him to sneak it.  He yust ha' to hump
hisse'f an' rustle roun' if he's a-gun' to get anytin'.  An' dis is
where Ou' Jackalse's bein' so smart come in handy.  Ou' Wolf he keeps
a-gauntin' an' a-wobblin' on ahter de buck he tink he _might_ see over
de nex' rise, but Ou' Jackalse he yust keep his eye skinned to size up
_what's_ on de yonder side de ridge.

"Well, by'n'by he sees a farm where dere's a patch o' to'acco wanted
'tendin' to mighty bad, an' de farmer he's a-leanin' on de gate an'
first a-lookin' at de row an' den a-lookin' at de hoe, as if fo' one
ting he can't make up his mind where he's a-gun' to begin, an' as if for
anoder ting he can't yust settle if he's goin' to start at all dis
mawnin' nohow.

"Ou' Jackalse he look, an' he sit down, an' he 'gun to brush de grass
behin' him wid his tail, sort o' slow an' like he's tinkin' pretty deep.
He can't _eat_ tobacco; he know dat, but de man what work in de to'acco
he can eat sometin', an' sometin' a long shot better'n to'acco--he eat
scoff.  So Ou' Jackalse he make up his mind an' down he go to de farmer.

"`Mawnin', baas!' ses he.  `Darie to'acco 'gin to look as if some of
it's goin' to run wild an' some of it goin' to choke 'fore long,' ses
he.

"`Oh! 'tain't nawtin' to shout about yet,' ses de farmer.  `A good man
an' a good hoe soon set dat a'right agen.'

"`Well, what you reckon you's goin' to give de good man fo' usin' de
good hoe an' doin' it?' ses Ou' Jackalse straight out.

"`Oh, I give him his scoff, an' a twist o' to'acco,' ses de farmer, lazy
like.

"`Hu!' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `Ain't you feared you'll send him to drink an'
to end up in de tronk wid all de money he'll have fo' spendin'?'  An'
Ou' Jackalse he fair sniff a bit.

"De man turn roun'.  `You please yourse'f,' ses he.  `I tink scoff's a
lot in dese times, when de rinderpest is kill off not on'y all de meat
but all de oxen too, so we cahnt fetch nawtin' from nowhere.'

"`Well, good scoff?' axes Ou' Jackalse, like he want to make de best of
it.

"`Dere ain't on'y one sort o' scoff at my place,' ses de man.  `Same
sort o' scoff I get myse'f.'

"`Well, you leave de hoe here an' I see about it,' ses Ou' Jackalse, an'
de man he yust drop dat hoe like it was hot, an' offs home to sit in de
cool an' drink coffee.

"So Ou' Jackalse he'd made a start anyhow; he'd got a yob at least.  But
if you tink he's goin' to balance hisse'f on de end o' dat hoe, well,
you's got hold o' de wrong ox dis time.  He yust come along to Ou' Wolf.
`At last,' ses he.  `At last I's got a sight to get some scoff anyhow,'
an' he fetch a big ole breaf like as if a sack o' Kaffir corn flop off
his back.

"`How's dat?' ses Ou' Wolf, a-sittin' down an' proppin' hisse'f up wid
his front foots, an' his tongue hangin' out like a sheepskin.

"`Dere's a farmer de yonder side de ridge, an' he want some'dy to do a
bit in his to'acco, an' he'll give us a share of his scoff same as
hisse'f,' ses Ou' Jackalse; an' he look at Ou' Wolf as if he ought to
drop two tickies in de bag next time he goes to church, like an ole
dopper farmer when de rain save de crop.

"But Ou' Wolf he look at Ou' Jackalse sort o' s'picious.  `Do a bit in
de to'acco?' ses he.  `Dat's _work_, ain't it?' ses he.

"`An' mighty glad to get it,' ses Ou' Jackalse, out big an' loud, makin'
as if he was just wishin' dere was a hoe dere dis minute, so he could
lick right in.

"`But--work,' ses Ou' Wolf, an' he droop his head an' he shake it slow
an' swingin'.

"`Well,' ses Ou' Jackalse, sort o' like he's ponderin' it.  `Darie baas
he reckon de man on de hoe is a-gun' to be workin', but de man on de hoe
he might reckon he don't know so much about dat.  He might reckon he'll
knock it off in his own time.  He might s'pose it's him ha' to do it;
an' he might 'member dat de longer dat yob last de longer his scoff
last.  See? fathead!' ses he.

"`Well, I wants de scoff,' ses Ou' Wolf; `dere ain't no shadda 'bout
dat.  But, de work; I don't know,' ses he.

"`Now you look-a'-me,' ses Ou' Jackalse, 's if he was fair tired o' fool
argyin'.  `You knows me.  Is _I_ likely to make de grass fly much
a-workin'? or is _I_ de sort o' one to work at all if dere was any oder
snift of a chance o' scoff?' ses he.

"Ou' Wolf tink he know Ou' Jackalse pretty well by dis time.  `No,' ses
he, kind o' considerin'.  `I don't tink you'd _work_ if dere was any
oder chance,' ses he.

"`Come along o' me, den,' ses Ou' Jackalse, an' away dey pops.

"Ou' Jackalse he bring Ou' Wolf along to de gate an' he give him darie
hoe.  `Dis is you' patch,' ses he, `mine's furder along on de yonder
side de house.  I'll bring de scoff at dinner time, an' in de meantime
you yust get a sort o' wiggle on you, like's if you could work if you
had to,' an' off he stalk till he get out o' sight.  Den he flop down
an' bake hisse'f in de sun.

"Well, Ou' Wolf he gets a sort o' stroke on him like a bywoner dat tinks
it's a-pretty near time he shifted to some farm where dey don't raise no
crops nohow, and den about an hour before noon along comes Ou' Jackalse
agen, an' he looks at what Ou' Wolf's done, an' he slant his eye at what
he ain't done, an' he tinks dere's a fair ole little lot o' dat yet.

"`Look-a'-me, Ou' Wolf,' ses he.  `It's a-comin' along to dinner time
soon, but _you_; you yust about ain't if dat's all you's done yet.  De
baas he'll tink what I done, an' he'll see what you ain't done, an' den,
why, dere you is!  You ought to be sorry fo' you'se'f, when you looks at
what you done.'

"`I yust is,' ses Ou' Wolf, an' he ain't a-considerin' 'fore he ses it
needer.  `I yust is,' an' he sort o' squint up at de sun to see how soon
it's a-gun' to be noon, an' he sort o' guess at de row to see how soon
it ain't likely to be done.

"`Well, it ain't my look out if de baas don't gi'e you no scoff fo' dat
bit,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `I got you de work, but you cahnt look fo' me
to do it fo' you too, as well's my own.  I cahnt only 'pologise fo' you.
You better get a bit wigglier wiggle on you if you wants some dinner,
anyhow,' ses he, an' off he pops.

"Well, Ou' Wolf he tinks p'r'aps he had better hump hisse'f along a bit
an' make a kind of a shine anyhow.  `I ain't a-gun' to let no sich a
skellum ha' to 'pologise fo' me,' ses he, an' he yust lit into dat row
like he wants to get de baas to let him opset wid his daughter.

"Den it come along to noon, an' de farmer he come out to see what about
de hoein'.  Ou' Jackalse he pop up out o' de long grass an' meet him.
`I was yust a-comin' fo' de scoff,' ses he.

"`Scoff fo' dat much?' ses de farmer; `an' two o' you too!' ses he.

"`Well,' ses Ou' Jackalse, `we's a bit gone in fo' want o' scoff, dese
last days since de rinderpest, so p'r'aps we ain't a-quite got into de
stroke yet.  But if we has a good dinner to-day, why den to-morro'--
well, to-morro',' ses he, an' he t'row out his ban's like to-morro'
dey'll yust scoff darie hoein'!

"`Well, we'll see,' ses de farmer.  `You can come along now an' get de
scoff,' an' so dey goes.

"Well, dis yere scoff turn out to be all bisceyt, Boer bisceyt, an' de
baas he give Ou' Jackalse enough fo' bofe o' dem, an' Ou' Jackalse he
start back.

"Now on de way he see a bushy little bush, an' he t'row one bisceyt in
dere to hide it.  An' on de way he seen anoder little bush, an' he t'row
anoder bisceyt into dat bush too, an' he do like a-dat till he ha'n't
on'y one bisceyt left.  An' den he up an' show Ou' Wolf dat _leetle_ one
bisceyt.  `Dat's all de man had,' ses he.  `One f'r hisse'f, one f'r his
wife an' childer, an' one f'r us.  But he's a-gun' to have mo'
to-morro', he ses.'

"`I reckon he yust is,' ses Ou' Wolf, letting de hoe drop like he never
had hold of it yet.  `If he's a-gun' to get any more o' dis yere lan's
hoed den he yust is.  How's I a-gun' to hoe to'acco on half a bisceyt?'
ses he.  `An' dis is de sort o' yob you was so sa'cy dat you'd got it to
keep us f'm starvin', is it?' ses he.  `A whole one half o' one
bisceyt!' snorts he, 's if he wants to see some'dy yust step on his
shadda, dat's all.

"`Well, half o' one bisceyt--dat's a deal better'n de whole o' one day
widout no scoff at all,' sniffs Ou' Jackalse, mighty insulted.  `But
den, never mind.  _I is a_ bit stronger'n you, anyhow; so you yust eat
my half o' dat bisceyt as well's your own, an' I'll slip back an' eat
some o' de corn I seen dropped by de barn.  Dere's two-t'ree grains dere
yet if de birds ain't pick 'em up 'fore dis,' an' off he flops, lookin'
yust as full o' pious as a location predicant [Parson] when he's got a
good collection on a Sunday.

"Ou' Wolf he feel a mighty sneak to let Ou' Jackalse lose his half de
bisceyt like dat, but he don't can he'p it nohow, an' he's yust so
'ongry dat while he bite off his own half o' de bisceyt he mess de
yonder half de same time, an' den he might yust as well eat dat half
too, 'cause he cahnt offer it to Ou' Jackalse now when it's all mussed.
An'--well; de fus' ting Ou' Wolf know, gop! he scoff dat half too.  But
he feel dat mean dat he work dat hoe like steam to easy his mind a bit.

"All dis time Ou' Jackalse he's a-pickin' up dem bisceyt he hid in de
bushes, an' yust a-blowin' hisse'f out, till he cahnt on'y wink an'
har'ly stir his tail where he lie an' bake alongside a stone.

"Well, it go on like dis for one day after anoder, till one day along
comes Ou' Mensefreiter, an' he see Ou' Wolf a-hoein' in de to'acco, an'
he see Ou' Jackalse a-snuggin' an' a-bakin' atween a bush an' a stone.
`Wotto!' ses Ou' Mensefreiter.  `Here's two,' an' he fair seizes 'em,
an' he offs."

"But Ou' Ta'," interjected the little girl.  "What was that Mensefreiter
like?"

"Oh, he was one o' dese yere bo'-constructors yo' daddy tells you about.
An' yet he don't was yust a constructor needer.  He was one o' dese
puff-adders what spring t'ree yards high an' t'ree yards far at you,
quicker'n you' eye can flash to watch 'em; only he was de grandaddy of
'em all, an' so he was bigger'n a bo'-constructor, an' de same way he
could strike forty yard high, an' forty yard far, an' forty times
quicker'n de biggest puff-adder dat ever make you yump an' run in de
veldt.  An' he yust grab dese two and offs wid 'em to where he live--an'
dat's de yonder side de drift down here.

"Well, de Mensefreiter he took de two out an' look 'em up an down, top
an' bottom, as soon as he gets to his kraal.  He feel Ou' Wolf's bones
an' he shake his head.  `You _is_ pretty fine drawed,' ses he.  `It 'ud
take two o' you to make a shadda.  You'll want some fattin' 'fore you's
good enough for a bile, let alone a roast.'

"Den he feel Ou' Jackalse, an' he sort o' smile all de way down his
back.  `Well, you bin have a high ole time, ain't you, wid all dat fat
on you?  A week's feedin on de berries here'll give you yust a nice
flavour,' ses he.

"So nex' day he gi'en 'em baskets; a sort o' baskets like a bottle, so's
you cahnt open it, an' so's you cahnt get your hand in.  You yust drops
de berries in, an' den Ou' Mensefreiter he unlock de lid an' see how
much you fetch home.  An' off dese two flops to pick berries.

"`Now look-a'-me,' ses Ou' Wolf to Ou' Jackalse.  `You better don't eat
too much now, else you'll get scoffed 'fore you know it.  You better to
get t'in like me an' den you'll live longer.  I's yust a-gun' to pick
berries till de sweat run, den Ou' Mensefreiter ain't a-gun' to was'e
time eatin' me, I'll keep dat t'in.'

"`A' right I'll tink on,' ses Ou' Jackalse, but he ain't no more'n see
de berries in de sun dan he wink to his nose end.  `I's fat,' ses he to
hisse'f.  `I's fat, an' I's a-goin' to keep fat Ou' Mensefreiter ain't
a-eat me yet, and he ha'n't better hold his breat' till he does, needer,
else he's likely to get black in de face 'fore he finis'.'

"Next he tas'e one berry, an' ahter dat he yust about put one berry in
his basket and forty-one in his mout', till the yuice run all down his
chest, an' he feel dat good he yust cahnt he'p it but he fair stan' on
his head wid fun like a wildebeeste.

"Well, it come along to time to get back to de kraal, an' yust when Ou'
Wolf was fair a-workin' an' a-snatchin' at de berries to fill his
basket, Ou' Jackalse he sort o' sa'nter past de basket behind him an'
swop his own for it, yust so slim an' so quick dat Ou' Wolf never dream
on it.  On'y when dey start fo' de kraal, he say.  `Dese yere berries is
mighty light, considerin' what a lot I picked an' all,' an' he mop his
fore'ead as if he's glad dat yob's done.

"Dis went on de same every day; Ou' Wolf bringin' yust a han'ful home,
an' Ou' Jackalse a fat basket, till one day Ou' Mensefreiter he wink at
Ou' Jackalse.  `You is a bit slim, ain't you, bringin' all your berries
home an' eatin' none, so's you won't get no fatter, huh?  But dis is
where _I_ comes in.  I yust drops you inside dis hock,' ses he, droppin'
him in an empty place like a pigsty, `an' I fat you up wid seven days'
feed o' pun'kin like a little pig.  Den we'll see if you don't make de
finest kind o' dinner,' ses he.  `An' you, Ou' Wolf,' ses he, `you's de
all right sort.  Yust you keep on in de berries, eatin plenty like you
bin a doin', an' den one o' dese days you'll be nice an' fat too.'

"Ou' Wolf he take his basket at dat an' off out to de bessie berries
agen, an' he won'er a bit; an' Ou' Jackalse he stop in de hock an' he
kind o' begin to won'er too.  Dere's two or t'ree pun'kins, de finest
kind o' pampoene, in de hock wid him--dat's his scoff fo' de day, an' if
he don't eat 'em all up 'fore night, den he's yust agun' to ketch it.

"Well, Ou' Jackalse he look at dem pampoene an' he kind o' feel he ain't
yust a-yearnin' fo' dinner nohow.  He look over de top o' de wall o' de
hock, but he know it ain't no manner o' use to try an' run for it,
'cause Ou' Mensefreiter 'll snap him back 'fore he get into his stride
har'ly.  It ain't yust sich a fat time, bein' fat, ahter all, tinks he,
an' he sort o' wish he had Ou' Wolf dere wid him somehow.  He look dis
way an' he look dat way, but dere ain't nawtin', on'y de little pat'
a-runnin' down to de drift, and de drift a-risin' an' a-risin' wid it
keepin' on a-rainin' an' a-rainin' up de river.  It look mighty like Ou'
Jackalse's name's goin' to be `mud' dis time, an' his tail yust drop
flop.

"Den he feel a sort o' quiet little twitch at his tail.  He look roun'
sharp, an' dere he see little Kleinkie Mousie.  `What you bite me fo'?'
ses Ou' Jackalse, kind o' big, 'cause it kind o' give him a start wid
makin' him tink it was Ou' Mensefreiter had him.

"`You's got all dese pampoene, ain't you?  An' I want to talk to you
about de seeds for my dinner,' ses Kleinkie, his eyes a-shinin' black
an' his paws yust ready to off 'fore you can swip you' tail.

"Ou' Jackalse he know he can't eat de seeds hisse'f, an' besides he
ain't yust dead gone on dem pun'kins nohow.  He tink he might's well be
a fine fella an' get his name up wid Kleinkie.  `A'right,' ses he, `if
you want a dinner, why, dere you is,' ses he, an' he sweep his hand up
like di'monds is dust an' he's yust scatterin' dust down de wind.  Den
he lean up agen de corner o' de hock an' watch Kleinkie fair gnawin' dem
seeds, like it quite do him good to watch it.

"Well, dis went on till de sevent' day, an' to-morro' mawnin' Ou'
Jackalse is goin' to be shove in de pot an' roas'.  He 'gin to look down
his nose some, 'specially when he look at de pun'kin Ou' Mensefreiter
drop in fo' him to eat dis day.  It was yust one pun'kin, only one; but
it was de biggest old pun'kin you ever did see.  `If I did get myse'f
wrop round de outside o' dat pampoene I'd be sort o' fat-lookin'
anyhow,' ses he, an' he smile kind o' mournful.

"Den up pops little Kleinkie.  `What's de matter?' ses he.  `You looks
like a location Kaffir when he bin had a night on Kaffir beer an' den
ha' to work next mawnin',' ses he.

"`Well,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `I never did work yet 'cept to get out o'
work.  But if I don't find some way o' gettin' out o' dis 'fore night,
widout Ou' Mensefreiter seein' me, den it's mighty likely I'd be glad to
ha' de chance to go to work to-morro' mawnin'.'

"`A bit rough dat,' ses Kleinkie.  `If dere was any way I could he'p
now?'

"Dat set Ou' Jackalse to studyin', an' it ain't a minute or two 'fore de
twinkle 'gin to shine in his eye, and his tail begin to rise itse'f.
`Look-a'-me now, Kleinkie,' ses he; `dere is one way, if you an' de rest
o' you' people like to he'p a bit.'

"`How's dat?' axes Kleinkie.

"`Dis way,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `I cuts a hole in darie pampoene, an' den
you an' de rest turn to an' gnaw an' scrape out de inside till dere
ain't on'y yust de shell left.'

"`An' den?' axes Kleinkie.

"`Oh, den you'll see,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `You yust get darie pampoene
scrape' out first,' ses he.

"`Well,' ses Kleinkie.  `You gin us dem seeds a'right, you did, so now
we'll see what about dis yob;' an' off he pop an' fetch all de rest o'
de mouses, an' it ain't har'ly no time 'fore dey has dat pun'kin scrape
as clean inside as de mealie pap pot in a bywoner's fam'ly.

"`See me now,' ses Ou' Jackalse, an' he lift darie pun'kin an' he drop
it _qu-i_-etly over de wall onto de groun' outside, on dat side away
from where Ou' Mensefreiter's lyin' sunnin' hisse'f.  `See de drift down
dere?' ses he; `an see how high it is wid de flood?  Well, once I get to
de yonder side dat drift den Ou' Mensefreiter cahnt folio' me.  Floods
is dat much good anyhow.  Now watch,' ses he.

"Wid dat he wriggle hisse'f out ahter de pun'kin, yust as flat as a new
skun sheepskin, an' 'fore you could look twice he wiggle hisse'f right
into de inside o' dat pun'kin, till you couldn't see hide nor hair of
him.

"Den Kleinkie hear him begin to sing, _ve-ery_ soft an' low:--

  "Pampoenekie; Pampoenekie,
  Roll down de pat'ickie;
  Pampoenekie pat'ickie,
  Pampoene roll!

"An' darie pun'kin begun an' ro-o-oll.

"Den Kleinkie keep on a-watchin', an' darie pun'kin find de pat' dat run
down to de drift.  Kleinkie watch yet, an' darie pun'kin keep on
a-rollin' an' a-swiftin' till, bounce! it splosh an' hit de water in de
drift Kleinkie watch, an' darie pun'kin went so fast it yust swish right
across to de yonder side de drift, an' Ou' Jackalse he step out an'
snatch up a willow stick in one hand, an' a big leaf in de oder, like a
assegai an' a shield, an' swip! he begin to do a war-dance, yust
a-leapin' high an' a-chantin.

"Ou' Mensefreiter he lift his head when de pun'kin 'gun to roll Ou'
Mensefreiter he kink his back when de pun'kin hit de drift.  But Ou'
Mensefreiter, when he see Ou' Jackalse doin' darie war-dance--swip! he
whip hisse'f t'rough de air, an' de first place he light was down by de
edge o' de drift.

"Dat drift was mighty wider'n he ever tried it afore, but he see Ou'
Jackalse a-springin' an' a-clinkin' his heels togeder on de yonder side,
an' Ou' Mensefreiter he hump hisse'f agen, an'--swip!--he strike for it
to get dat Jackalse anyhow.

"Forty yards was his everyday jump, an' sixty yards at Nachtmaal.  But
dis day he bested dat mor'n double, an' yet he don't do enough.  Dere
was a big rock a-stickin' out o' de water, a long way short o' bein'
across, an' Ou' Mensefreiter come into it wid his nose, whack! smack!
sich a bash an' a biff dat it yust drove his tail right on up into de
inside of his head, an' dere he was, all in a ball no bigger'n a
water-millon, an' he roll off into de water an' down he go wid de
stream; a-rubble an' a-bubble, an' a-over an' a-pover, till he drownded.
An dat's what happen to darie Mensefreiter," finished Old Hendrik.

"An' what did Ou' Wolf do?" demanded the little girl.

"Oh, Ou' Jackalse he shout for Ou' Wolf to come along.  But Ou' Wolf he
look at de drift an' he look at Ou' Jackalse.  `Ain't you a-comin'?'
shouts Ou' Jackalse.

"`What do I want to come for?' ses Ou' Wolf.  `All de berries I pick now
I'll get a chance to eat 'em myse'f.  An' what do I want to come for?
Eatin' berries is better'n hoein' to'acco for half a bisceyt a day.  You
go an' hoe; I keep's here wid de bessie berries.  Besides--dere's
pun'kin.'"

"And what did Old Jackalse have to do then?" demanded the youngest boy.

"Well, I wouldn' yust like to say what Ou' Jackalse ha' to do," answered
Old Hendrik.  "But you can bet on what he didn' do--he didn' hoe."



CHAPTER FOUR.

HOW OLD JACKAL GOT THE PIGS.

The pigs had been very troublesome all the morning, almost destroying
the gate of the garden in their efforts to get at the tempting show
within.  It was in reward for the help of the children in driving the
marauders away that Old Hendrik yielded at last to a question of Annie's
and told them another tale.

"But you never told us, Ou' Ta'," said the little girl, "what Old Jackal
did for something to eat in the rinderpest time, after he crossed the
drift in the pumpkin.  What did he do?"

"Well," replied the old Hottentot, scratching his head, "I tole you what
he didn't do--he didn't hoe.  An' I'll tell you now dat, whatever he is
do, it's a-gun' to be sometin' skellum.  O' course, he hatto do sometin'
to eat, now de game's all dead o' de rinderpest, an' he hatto do it
quick an' lively too.  So he go raungin' round, an' he trot dis way an'
he trot dat way, an' de on'y chance he can see at all is at a farm where
dere's some pigs.

"Dese yere pigs was all de time a-sneakin' into de lands, an' a-rootin'
up de crops, an' de farmer he'd chase 'em out wid a long ox-whip till he
nearly bu'st, an' den he'd stand an' mop his face an' swear what he's
a-gun' to do wid dem pigs if he don't get some'dy to look ahter 'em
soon.  O' course, if Ou' Jackalse had a-bin Ou' Wolf he'd a-gone right
up an' ax for de yob hisse'f, straight out, an' de ting 'ud be done an'
no more about it.  But he wahnt: he was yust Ou' Jackalse, an' he done
Jackalse--he plan'.

"De nex' time de man chase de pigs, Ou' Jackalse wait till dey gets into
a leetle grass-pan, an' den he try to drive 'em off furder.  But de man
he'd seen him a-stalkin', an' he run along wid his whip an' fetch a cut
so near his tail dat Ou' Jackalse near yump out troo his eyeholes, an'
he fair light out f'm dere into some sugar cane an' hide.

"Well, dar he sit an' dar he tink an' study till he's added it all up,
an' den he ses it out in once.  `I'll hatto get Ou' Wolf here,' ses he,
breakin' off a piece o' sugar cane an' bitin' on it.  `I reckon dat's
what I'll hatto do; den I'll get dem pigs a' right.'

"Well, off he go, an' he come to de river side an' shout for Ou' Wolf.
By'n'by Ou' Wolf come an' stand on de oder bank, and Ou' Jackalse make
like he yust is s'prise' to see de look on him.  `Why, what's de matter
wid you?' ses he.  `You does look mighty bad.'

"`I don't,' ses Ou' Wolf out straight.  `I feel yust dat good an' fat I
wish dere was buck to hunt, even if I didn't ketch none.'

"`Don't you b'lieve it,' ses Ou' Jackalse, mighty concerned.  `You yust
looks good'n' bad.  You take an' look at you' eyes; dey're all red an'
yalla, like you's in a terr'ble state.  An' look at de skin under your
yaws, an den at de hair on de top o' you' head, an' you'll see straight
off how bad you is.'

"Well, Ou' Jackalse speak dat se'ious dat Ou' Wolf try to look where Ou'
Jackalse tell him.  But he didn' had no lookin'-glass, an' he try to
look widout one.  An' he look dat cross-eyed, tryin' to see wid his one
eye into his toder eye, dat he fair loose all de skin along bofe sides
his ribses an' stiffen his tail right flop up wid de pull in tryin'.
An' when he see dat his eyes cahnt see into one anoder, he 'gin to tink
if he ain't a bit bad ahter all.

"Den he try to see de skin under his yaws, and he twist an' he snake
till he fair stan' on his head an' scratch de air--an' yet he cahnt get
a look at it.  Dat make him feel he ain't a-feelin' well at all.  But
when he try to 'xamine de hair on de top of his head, he get dat desprit
he fair t'row a double back somerset an' land hisse'f clean into de
muddy river, an' when he's crawled onto a rock an' stood a bit he makes
up his min' dat dere ain't no two ways about it--he's feelin' bad.

"`What'll I ha' to do for it?' ses he to Ou' Jackalse, 'cause Ou'
Jackalse is King Lion's doctor.

"`Well,' ses Ou' Jackalse, `you see what it is.  It comes o' you' eatin'
on'y dese yere bessie berries an' pun'kin; an' pun'kins is mighty bad
widout some meat wid 'em.  You'll hatto yust eat meat for a while, dat's
what you'll hatto do; an' I's sorry for dat, 'cause I's yust found out
where dere is some, an' dere ain't har'ly mo' dan enough for me.  But,
bein' as it is, an' bein' as it's you, I s'pose I'll hatto share wid you
now, you an' me bein' such ole chummies.  A' right den; if I has to do
it I has to, so come on across an' we'll get it done,' ses he.

"Ou' Wolf he tink by jimminy Ou' Jackalse is yust about de decentis'
chap he's seen for a long time.  `It's mighty good o' you to do it,' ses
he; `an' I ain't a-gun' to forget it needer.'  Den he plunk into de
drift an' come out on de bank.  `Where's dis yere meat at?' ses he.

"`Well,' ses Ou' Jackalse, lookin' kind o' far away over his shoulder,
`it's a dis way.  Over on de yonder side dat spruit dere's a farm where
dey has some pigs, an' dese yere pigs is makin' a terr'ble trouble,
rootin' up de mealie lands, an' de sugar cane, an' de water-millons; an
de baas he says he want some'dy to look ahter 'em.  You should hear him
swear to dat Well now, you go an' take de yob o' mindin' 'em.  Den you
drive 'em down to de spruit to look ahter 'em, an' I'll be dere, an'
we'll see what we do nex.'

"`Right-o!' ses Ou' Wolf, an' off he go.

"Well, he gets de yob.  `Mind now an' keep you' eye open for a Jackalse
dere is som'eres about,' ses de man.  `I seen him a'ready havin' a try
for 'em.'

"`Oh, I'll be a-lookin' out for darie Jackalse,' ses Ou' Wolf.  `I's
seen him myse'f a'ready, an' he ain't a-gun' to get de best o' me,' ses
he.

"So Ou' Wolf he drives de pigses down to de spruit, an' dar's Ou'
Jackalse a-waitin' him.  `What we gotto do nex'?' ses he.

"Ou' Jackalse he stop chewin' on de piece o' sugar cane an' he laugh
right out.  `I'll show you,' ses he.  `Now we'll yust drive de pigs into
de donga here, an' we'll ketch 'em an' cut off all deir tailses; every
last one o' dem.'

"Well, dey done it, an' mighty hard work on sich a hot day too; an' Ou'
Wolf notice every now an' agen dat he's doin' most o' de work an' Ou'
Jackalse doin' mighty little but de bossin'.  But he don't say nawtin'
yet, 'cause he feel he'll yust hatto get cured.  `An' what do we do wid
dese yere tails now?' ses he when dey finis'.

"`See dat mud hole?' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `Well, you stick de tails all
about in de mud, wid deir little curls a-curlin' in de air.  Do dat
now.'

"Ou' Wolf he done it.  `An' what's de nex' ting?' ses he.

"`Well, de nex' ting is one ting, but dere's anoder ting afore dat,' ses
Ou' Jackalse.  `De nex' ting is for you to go an' tell de man dat de
_wilde-honde_ come an' chase de pigs till dey run 'em plunk-clunk right
into de mud hole, an' dar dey all is, head down an' dead down, smodered,
wid on'y deir little curly tailses a-stickin' out.  Dat's de nex' ting,
but de ting afore dat is dis way.  De man he'll say--"Why didn' you pull
'em out?"  An' you'll say you tried to an' come mighty near bein' smoder
yourse'f.  Den he'll say--"Where's de mud on you?"  An'--well, dere you
is, where is dat mud?' ses Ou' Jackalse, an' he look mighty business
like.

"`Den I hatto daub myself wid mud?' ses Ou' Wolf, like he's tinkin'
weder he will or not.

"`Daub yourse'f?' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `Daub ain't no sort o' word for it.
You's fair got to roll in it, an' squirm in it, till you look like you
come so near bein' smodered dat dere wahnt no fun in it at all.  But
I'll he'p you,' ses he.  `Here you is now, an' over you goes,' an' 'fore
Ou' Wolf knows what's a-happenin', Ou' Jackalse lands in his ribses,
biff! head first an' wollop he go, smack into de mud.

"Wid Ou' Wolf bein' tuk so s'prise' like dat he had his mouf open an'
shoutin' when he hit de mud, an' his years an' his eyes open, an' he
squash 'em all so full o' mud, inside an' out, dat he tink he surely is
a goner.  An' Ou' Jackalse he yust lie down on de bank an' flop wid
laughin', an' he feel dat good he 'gin to lam more mud at Ou' Wolf where
he's a-diggin' hisse'f out.

"Den Ou' Wolf, gets out at last, an' he stand an' try to scrape de mud
outen his eyes till he can look at Ou' Jackalse.  But Ou' Jackalse he
look at him like it was a hawse he was a-buyin'.  `Dat's about it,' ses
he.  `You's yust about right now.  De man'll see right off dat you done
all you could to save dem pigs, an' he'll gi'e you sometin' for it.
You's about de mise'blest looking ting in de veldt yust now, but you's
about de usefullest chummy ever was.'

"`Oh, I is, is I?' ses Ou' Wolf, an' he don't know weder he's a-gun' to
fight or on'y use some words.  But de mud in his tummy make him feel dat
sick he don't do one nor toder.  He on'y ses--`An' what's you goin' to
do all dis time?'

"`Oh, while you's gone I takes de pigses an' I lights out for de kraal
at you' house.  Den when you comes an' finds me dere well have meat; all
de meat we want.  An' dat's what'll cure you; you tink o' dat now,' ses
he.

"Ou' Wolf he tunk.  `Well, a'right dis time,' ses he, an' off he snake
hisse'f, for he was dat t'ick an heavy wid de mud he cahnt trot at all.

"Well, he comes to de man, an' he tell him how de pigs is smodered, an'
de man comes back wid him to have a look.  He looks at de mud hole, an'
at all de little curly tails a-stickin' up, an' den he look at Ou' Wolf.
`You's sure de pigs is smoder' in dere?' ses he.

"`Dere's deir little curly tails a-stickin' out,' ses Ou' Wolf.  `Dey's
all down under dere, head firs'.'

"`Well,' ses de man, `dat's mighty funny now; 'cause yestiday I rode
troo dat mud hole an' it wahnt knee deep.'  An' den he make a grab for a
tail, an' dar it is in his han', clean cut off.

"Ou' Wolf he tink it's about time to be slantin' out o' dat, but he
ha'n't made de second stride afore de man had him.  `Deir little curly
tails is a-stickin' out, is dey?' ses he, an bash he biffs him in de
ribses.  `De _wilde-honde_ chase 'em into de mud, did dey?' an' he yust
mash de wind outen him.  `Dey's smoder', is dey?' ses he, an' he grabs
Ou' Wolf up in de air an' lam him down on de ground, an' den he fair
wipe up de scenery wid him.  Den he left what was left an' went off back
to de house.

"Well, ahter a while Ou' Wolf he scrape up what dere is of him, an' he
slant out for home, mighty slow an' mighty sorry, on'y he tink, well,
he's a-gun' to get dat meat now to cure hisse'f wid, as soon as he gets
to de kraal an' de pigs.

"But he gets to de kraal an' he don't get to de pigs, 'cause de pigs
ain't dere, an' dere ain't no sign of Ou' Jackalse needer.  `Dat's
funny,' ses he.  Den he sit down to wait, an' he wait till it drop dark,
an' still dere ain't no Jackalse an' no pigses.  `If he don't come 'fore
long,' ses Ou' Wolf, an he grines his teef.

"But long or short Ou' Jackalse didn't come--dat night nor de next
mawnin'.  An' what's mo'," ended Old Hendrik, "he ain't never come dere
yet.  But f'm dat day to dis he's al'ays had plenty lard in his house to
keep his nose well greased.  I don't say how he has it, but he has it--
dat's all."



CHAPTER FIVE.

WHEN OU' WOLF BUILT HIS HOUSE.

It was a day or two afterwards before the children caught Old Hendrik in
the mood again.  But sweet dumplings to dinner, with cinnamon sauce, had
mellowed him this day, and they were quick to see it.

"But how did Ou' Wolf an' Ou' Jackalse first fall out, Ou' Ta'?"
demanded the eldest boy.

"Dere never was no first fall out," answered the old Hottentot with a
sly grin, shifting his seat under the old mimosa to get the best of its
shade before beginning.  "Dere didn't need to be no first: it yust come
natural.  Ou' jackalse yust couldn't he'p hisse'f.  Dar was Ou' Wolf;
all de time so quiet, an' all de time a-workin' an' a-doin' sometin' for
hisse'f.  An' den dere was Ou' Jackalse; all de time so slim, an' all de
time never a-workin' nor a-doin' anytin' 'cept to get out o' workin' an'
doin' sometin' for hisse'f.  Ou' Wolf he'd go a-huntin' for what he _had
to_ get; an' Ou' Jackalse he'd sit an' bake in de sun an' plan skellum
for what he _want_ to get.  Natchally dey was al'ays fall out f'm de
beginnin': dere wahnt no oder way to it.

"Look now, dat time when Ou' Wolf build his house--look what happen den.
Dar was Ou' Wolf all jump-an'-ginger to get Missus Wolf married to him.
But he cahnt get married till he build his house to put her in.  So
dere he was a-workin' away at darie house, yust so set to finis' it
'fore de time's up dat he don't har'ly gi'e hisse'f time to hunt enough
to eat.  He don't take but mighty little to breakfas', an' ahter
breakfas' he yust slap de rest o' de meat an' de bones into de pot to be
cookin', ready agen dinner-time, while he's a-workin' away like crazy.

"Well, he gets to t'atchin' away, an' along comes Ou' Jackalse, an' he
smell darie stew in de pot, an' 'fore you can wink he's on to it an'
a-holdin' up dat lid.  `Allah man!' ses he, `dat do smell good.'

"Ou' Wolf up on de roof-poles hears darie lid a-liftin', an' he look
round yust in time.  You should a-hear him shout, `Ho, yeh!  What for
yeh lookin' in darie pot?' ses he, an' he grabs his two hands on de
beam, an' sets one foot on it, as if he was yust a-comin' down in one
yump, flop on Ou' Jackalse chest.

"`Mawnin'!  Oom Wolf,' ses Ou' Jackalse, yust as s'prise' an' cheerful
as sun-up.  `Glad it's you.  I been a-wantin' some breakfas' yust so bad
dat my tummy tinks my troat's cut.'

"`Ho! you wants some breakfas', does you?' ses Ou' Wolf, mighty snifty.
`Well, you yust keep on a-wantin'.  Dere ain't no breakfas' here for
nob'dy.  Dere's yust one dinner an' dat's for me.  Darie meat in darie
pot's it.  I hain't no time to go a-huntin' for oder folks eatin': I got
sometin' else to do,' ses he.

"Ou' Jackalse he put dat lid back mighty slow an' mighty sorry (like a
little boy I knows when his mammy makes him put down de sugar pot at
breakfas'), an' all de time he's watchin' Ou' Wolf out o' de corner of
his eye to see if he's reg'lar raungin' mad about it or not.  But Ou'
Wolf reg'lar is.

"Ou' Jackalse he 'gun to tink p'r'aps he ain't a-gun' to get darie
breakfas' so much ahter all.  Den he sniff de smell agen, an' it ain't
no manner o' use--four men an' a dog couldn't a-druv him away f'm dat
smell; he yust ha' to have dat breakfas'.

"`So yeh's got sometin' else to do, has yeh?' ses he den, a sort o' slow
an' hurt like.  `You mustto, I should say; an' it must be sometin'
mighty busy to make you so snarley like dat when an ole friend like me
t'ought you'd like him to take a bite o' breakfas' wid you.'

"Ou' Wolf he feel mighty mean, but den he tink on Missus Wolf, an' it
ain't no use; he yust ha' to get dat house finis'.  `I cahnt he'p it,'
ses he, stiff an' hairy.  `Dis yere house gotto be finis'.  I hain't no
time to be a-huntin' my dinner when dinner-time come.  'Sides, I'll be
too 'ungry.'

"`Well,' ses Ou' Jackalse, shakin' his head as if he wouldn' ha'
b'lieved it of Ou' Wolf if he ha'n't a-seen it.  `Well, if you feel like
dat it must be sometin' pretty bad.  What's you in such a Allah Crachty
hurry to finis' dis house for anyhow?' ses he.  `Ou' Wolf he don't like
to let it out, but he ha' to say sometin' to 'scuse hisse'f.'  He outs
wid it.  `Goin' to get married,' ses he, sharp an' spiky.  `Dat's what.'

"`Oh, dat's it, is it?' ses Ou' Jackalse sort o' brightenin' up an half
a-laughin' all at once.  `Well, dat is sometin' to be a bit hairy about.
If dat's it, why I ain't got nawtin' more to say about it, but on'y
yust to turn to an' he'p you straightaway.  If you's goin' to be
married, den we's yust gotto get dis house finis',' ses he, an' he brace
up an' look as if he's gettin' a mighty fine speech off'n his chest.

"But Ou' Wolf he 'members Ou' Jackalse, an' he don't b'lieve in no sich
a fine offer.  `'Tain't no good,' ses he.  `Dat's my dinner, an' it
ain't a-gun' to be nob'dy's breakfas'.'

"But you cahnt insult Ou' Jackalse nohow while he's a-smellin' dat
smell.  `It ain't a-gun' to be my breakfas' nohow,' ses he, mighty brisk
and pleasant like.  `I yust wouldn' have it--now I knows what's de
matter--not if you wanted me to.  You'll want you' dinner pretty bad
when de time comes--a lot mo' dan I shall' (an' here Ou' Jackalse sort
o' skip his back leg out an' wink at it), `so I'm yust a-gun' to lend
you a hand to get finis',' an' he offs wid his coat an' chucks it down.
`Look out for me,' ses he.  `I's a-comin' up to dat t'atchin'.'

"Well, Ou' Wolf he don't know what to say.  He feel dat mean he wish Ou'
Jackalse 'ud slip an' break his neck comin' up.  But Ou' Jackalse he
ain't a slippin' while he ain't had dat meat yet outen darie pot, an' he
comes up yust as chirpy as a finch in a peach tree.  `Why, we'll ha' dis
yob finis' in no time,' ses he, an' he smack Ou' Wolf on his back atween
de shoulders dat hearty he jarred de frown right off'n his face.

"`You's too slow to shift you' own shadda.  See me now.  I'll lay de
t'atch on dis lower row an' you work on up to de top f'm dat,' ses Ou'
Jackalse, as he slam one bundle o' reeds at Ou' Wolf an' hitch anoder
under his own leg on de rafter where he's a-straddlin'.  `You's worse
dan Ou' Miss Kuraan for stan'in' an' yaw, yaw, yawin',' ses he.

"Well, Ou' Wolf he cahnt yust feel like he's a-likin' it at all; he's
knowed Ou' Jackalse too long for dat; but yet he cahnt yust see his way
outen it needer.  De longer dey work, de harder he get to studyin' yust
what Ou' Jackalse is a-meanin'; an' he tink so much an' he tink so deep
dat he clean forgot to watch yust what Ou' Jackalse is a-doin'.

"An' what _was_ Ou' Jackalse a-doin' all de time, ses you?  Why now,
what would darie ou' skellum be a-doin' but doin' skellum.  First string
o' t'atch he lay along de rafters he's mighty cheerful an' mighty busy.
Second string he lay along an' you can see all de cheerful drop outen
his face an' see de grin begin to run an' flicker where de cheerful was
before.  De t'ird string he lay an' de fun begun to sheet in his eyes
like de dry lightnin' on a summer night, an' he yust couldn't hold in no
longer.  He ketch hold o' de roots of his tail an' he fair whizz it
round and round till he almos' make it hum, he feel dat full o' laughin'
inside him.  An' all dis time Ou' Wolf yust had his back to him,
a-studyin' an' a-won'erin' what mischief make Ou' Jackalse want to he'p
him.  But he don't like to look round to watch somehow.

"Den de fourt' string Ou' Jackalse lay he work as quiet an' as slim as
if he's a-stealin' it; an' de ting dat it's in his mind to do, dat's de
time he's doin' it?  Ou' Wolf he's still a-studyin' an' he keep on still
a-studyin', till in about one jiff he hear darie pot lid a-liftin' agen,
an de smell comes up dat good an' t'ick he can taste it.

"He swip his head round, an' dere was Ou' Jackalse wid de lid up an' his
nose a-workin' an' a-sniffin' in de steam Didn' Ou' Wolf shout den.
`Ho, yeh!  How com' yeh at darie dinner again?'

"Ou' Jackalse he cock one year up to hear, an' he cock one eye up to
see.  `Oh, dat's all right,' ses he, quite comfy.  `Dis ain't dat pot at
all.  Dis ain't no dinner; dis is yust a breakfas'.  You ain't got no
shout in dis at all.'

"Ou' Wolf he don't say not a word, but he yust make one flyin' yump to
land right fair on Ou' Jackalse neck.

"But he don't land.  'Stead o' dat he tink he's yumped right troo
hisse'f an turned hisse'f inside out.  Anyway, he knows he finds hisse'f
hangin' down, head first, between de rafters, a-scratchin' an'
a-fratchin' in de air.  When Ou' Jackalse t'atch dat fourt' string he
t'atch Ou' Wolf's tail fast in wid it, an' dere's Ou' Wolf now a-hangin'
by dat tail, head down an' fightin', an' he cahnt get back nohow.

"An' don't he shout!  `Le' me down out o' dis,' ses he.  `You hear me
now!  Le' me down or I'll bang de stuffin' out o' you!'

"Ou' Jackalse he smile quite s'prise' like.  `What you want down out o'
dat for anyhow?' ses he, spearin' out a piece o' meat f'm de pot--an'
ho! but you ought to seen him lick his lips.  `Dis cahnt be nawtin' to
do wi' you nohow.  Yours is a dinner, ses you, an' dis is a breakfas',
you can see dat you'se'f, 'cause I's a-eatin' it an' it's breakfas'
time.'  An' he gullups down de meat off'n half a dozen bones.

"`Le' me down now!' yells Ou' Wolf, gettin' black in de face.  `I'll
yust show you weder dat's a breakfas' or a dinner.  I'll teach you weder
it's mine or not!'

"`Now you look-a'-me, Oom Wolf,' ses Ou' Jackalse, his eyes a-twinklin'
fresh as he swipe down de last meat off'n de first rib.  `I'll tell you
what I'll do; I'll divide wid yeh--dat's fair enough.  So here you is
for your share,' an' he lams de clean bone at Ou' Wolf an' catches him a
hummer on de jaw.

"Ou' Wolf he fair lets out at dat; big words; words what make you' years
stand on end.  An' all de time Ou' Jackalse keep on a-dippin' an'
a-spearin' in de pot, an' a-tellin' Ou' Wolf what a clinkin' fine piece
o' meat he's pullin' out, an' how nice it taste, an' how he hope Ou'
Wolf 'll fin' his dinner yust as nice when de time come--`'Cause you
said yust now you has your dinner in a pot som'eres round here, didn'
yeh?' ses he, an' he lams him wid anoder bone, biff!

"Den de last meat was eat an' de last bone t'rown, an' Ou' Jackalse he
come wid a long reed an' he gun' to tickle Ou' Wolf on de end of his
nose where he's a-hangin'.  But Ou' Wolf he's in dat rage he yust snap
an' yap at darie reed till all de frame o' de house begin to shake, an'
Ou' Jackalse he tink it's about time to get f'm under.  An' dere ain't
no more to stop for anyhow--he might as well keep on a-movin'.  So he
did.

"Well, Ou' Wolf he's yust dat mad he won't shout Ou' Jackalse back to
let him down an' dey'll say no more about it.  Not him; he'll yust hang
an' rattle an' see him blowed first.  But young Missus Wolf--well, you
'members dey wahnt married yet till de house 'ud be finis', an' I s'pose
somehow she couldn't he'p herse'f, but she yust hatto sa'nter past in de
trees, an' sort o' peep an' see how de house is a-gettin' on.  An' dere
she seen Ou' Wolf a-hangin', head down, an' black in de face.

"Sich a scrick she got, an' sich a scream she let out! an' in about two
ticks she was inside darie house frame to hold him up.  She cahnt reach
his head de fust time, but de second time she yump so high she ketch him
by de years, an' dere she is, a-hangin' down f'm him--to hold him up!
An' Ou' Wolf he's dat much gone on her he don't like to say nawtin'
about it--but he feel his tail like comin' out by de roots.

"At last ses he--`You'd better go up on de roof an' make loose my tail.
I'll p'r'aps get down quicker dat way,' ses he.

"As soon as she hear him speak--`Oh, he ain't dead yet, he's alive yet,'
ses she.  An' she's yust dat glad she fair hangs an' swings agen, till
Ou' Wolf hatto say sometin'.  `But my tail ain't a-gun' to last much
more,' ses he.

"Dat sort o' cut into her sense a bit, an' she stop an' look.  `Oh,
dat's it, is it?' ses she, an' she looks as if dat ain't no great shakes
to be de matter wid him.  `If you'd yust go up an' make it loose?' ses
he.

"`Hump!' ses she, but she cahnt say no more yust yet, an' so up she go.
But when she get up on de roof an' see how fast his tail is t'atched in
wid de rest, it kind o' strike her to won'er how de jimminy his tail
come like dat, an' she hadn't more'n begun to un-t'atch it 'fore she
begin to ax him how come it so.

"Ou' Wolf he ain't in no Allah Crachty hurry to tell her all about it,
but he ain't no good at tellin' you-know-whats.  So what he hatto do he
yust up an' did, an' he told her de hull tale plump.

"Now p'r'aps she tinks a lot of Ou' Wolf, an' agen p'r'aps she tinks
more about bein' goin' to get married an' have a house o' her own to
boss in.  But anyhow she tinks a lot de most o' herse'f, an' she gets
dat mad wid him for bein' had so silly dat she cahnt stand it nohow.
She yust stop unt'atchin', an' she fair slam herse'f half way down troo
de rafters to reach him an' biff him a one-two in de ribses.  `Take
dat!' ses she, `an' dat! for bein' sich a fathead!'

"`Ouk!  Ouk!'  Ou' Wolf he yell, an' he make sich a kick an' sich a
fluster to get out o' reach, dat fust ting you know de t'atch won't hold
no longer an' it come loose an' let him down _wollop_! fair on his head.
But Missus Wolf she's yust dat mad-an'-ginger dat she try to grab him
an' hold him up f'm droppin' till she can biff him agen; an' she grab
yust too far an' miss her reach, an' down she come as well, head fust
too, biff into his tummy, an' knock de wind clean outen him.

"Atween his head an' his tummy Ou' Wolf he tink he's fair about dyin',
but in yust two ticks Missus Wolf was up an' a-lammin' into him.  Den he
knowed yust how dead he ain't, for he yumps up wid a howl an' a howler,
an' he fair streak it out o' dat into de vach-a-bikkie bushes till he
could lost her.  He sit down dere, but he cahnt tink for feelin', an' he
cahnt rub his head for tinkin' on his tummy, nor rub his tummy for
tinkin' on his head.

"But he lay it all up to Ou' Jackalse.  `Yust wait till I get a fair ole
chance,' ses he, `den see if I don't get so even wid him it'll stick out
de oder side.  Dat's all.'

"Well, it went on like dis till one day Ou' Wolf was a-raungin' along,
an' who should he see alongside de road but Ou' Jackalse, a-sittin' an'
a-polishin' off de last piece o' biltong outen a bag; nice, fat,
buck-biltong.

"`Now I's got him!  See me if I don't do sometin' now,' ses Ou' Wolf,
an' he sits him down for a minute to see what's de best way to do it.

"But Ou' Jackalse had seen him long ago a'ready, an' he don't hatto sit
down an' study how he's goin' to do.  He knows it an' he does it.  He
don't wait to be yumped.  He yust gets straight up and skips over to Ou'
Wolf, like as if he ain't seen him for he don't know how long, an' he
never was so glad.  `Here you is,' ses he `Yust de very one an' yust in
time.  Here, taste dat,' ses he an' he offers him de last little piece
o' de biltong.  `I owes you a good breakfas', an' now I's a-gun' to pay
you half a dozen for it.'

"Ou' Wolf he don't know.  He's mighty s'picious of Ou' Jackalse any time
you like, an' worse when he's a-offerin' good turns.  He draws back a
bit.  But dat biltong it look so red an' sweet in de middle, where it's
cut across, an' Ou' Jackalse is a-lickin' his lips wid such a smacks,
dat Ou' Wolf he take dat little piece an' he wolf it down.

"Dat piece taste yust so good he cahnt he'p it--he's gotto ha' some
more.  `Where's dere more o' dat?' ses he.  `Tell me quick till I gets
at it.'

"Ou' Jackalse smile.  `Well,' ses he, `I've a-eat dat much dat I cahnt
run fast enough myse'f.  If I hadn't a-done I'd a-gone wid you.  But it
don't matter anyhow--it's yust too easy for troublin' about.'

"`Ne'er min' dat.  Where's it?' ses Ou' Wolf, short an' sharp.

"`On de road dere,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `On dat road you sees de spoor of
a waggon dat's went along not so long since.  All you has to do is to
run a bit wide an' get ahead o' dat waggon.  Den you lie down in de road
an' make like you's dead--too dead for skinnin' in a hurry.  De
waggon'll come along an' de baas he'll see you, an' he'll say--"Hello!
here's a dead wolf.  His skin'll make a fine mat for my wife.  I'll take
him home an' skin him."

"`Den he'll pick you up an chuck you on de waggon, an' dere's where all
de biltong is--sacks an' sacks of it.  All you has to do is to wait a
bit till de man ain't a-lookin', an' den, flip!--you drops a sack o' de
nicest biltong out an' slips off ahter it you'se'f.  I on'y wish I had
room for mo',' ses he, an' he rubs his tummy like he's fair a-longin'.

"Ou' Wolf he look at Ou' Jackalse an' he tink what he was intendin' o'
doin'.  But de taste o' dat biltong yust make his mouf run, an' he cahnt
wait.  `Is dat de way you got yours?' ses he, sharp an' hairy.

"`Dat's de hull way,' ses Ou' Jackalse; `an' I's a laughin' yet to tink
on it--it's so easy.'

"Ou' Wolf he don't want to seem like he's too soft a-b'lievin', but de
biltong make him fair yammer for more.  `Well,' ses he, `we'll see,' an'
off he sets to come round darie waggon.

"By'n'by he gets ahead, an' den he cuts into de road an' lies down, an'
makes yust de same as if he's dead.

"De waggon comes along, an' de man he see Ou' Wolf a-lyin' like dead in
de road.  `Hello!' ses he, fair a-bristlin', `here's anoder on 'em, is
dere?  On'y toder one was a yackalse.  An' dis 'un's goin' to get
chucked into de waggon too, is he, an' steal anoder sack o' biltong as
well?  But we'll yust see about dat, we will.  Here's you!' ses he, an'
he fair yump right square on Ou' Wolf's ribses--wallop!

"`Wou-uk!' yells Ou' Wolf, an' he try to up an' run for it.

"`So, you're anoder, is you?' shouts de man, an' wallop he yumps on him
agen.

"`I didn't.  Le' me go,' yells Ou' Wolf at dat.

"`Steal anoder sack, will you!' shouts de man, an'--wop!--he yumps on
him some more.

"But Ou' Wolf's yust about had enough.  If he don't get out o' dat
immeejitly, if not sooner, den he's goin' to be deader dan he shammed a
minute since.  'Fore you can say knife! he yust scratched up an' away
an' light out for de oder side o' de sky line, wid de man a-peltin' him
wid a stone for every stride.  `P'r'aps you'll come agen,' ses de man.

"When Ou' Wolf manage to crawl to de ridge he look back, an' he sees de
man a-whackin' de whip into his team an' shoutin' like he feels right
good an' sa'cy.  `Allah Crachty! look-a'-dat now,' ses Ou' Wolf to
hisse'f, but he don't rub no spot 'cause he cahnt make up his mind which
is de sorest.

"Den he look along de ridge an' dere he see Ou' Jackalse, yust a-hoppin'
an' a-rollin' wid laughin'.  Ou' Wolf he look an' Ou' Wolf he tink.  But
Ou' Wolf he's still a-feelin' too, an he fair flop down an' say nothin'.
Dere wahnt anytin' else to say.  But he shake his head: I tell you he
shake his head," ended Old Hendrik, shaking his own head with the word.



CHAPTER SIX.

OU' WOLF LAYS A TRAP.

The little girl was in a great way for a day or two at the immunity of
the rascal Jackal in his dealings with Old Wolf.  "But, Ou' Ta',"
demanded she at last, "did Ou' Wolf _never_ pay off Ou' Jackalse for his
skellum tricks?"

"Well," answered Old Hendrik, taking a fresh piece of sugar cane from
under his arm and biting a good two inches off it as he began, sitting
by the barn end, "dere was one time when he come so near it he would
a-got square if it hadn't a-bin Ou' Jackalse.  It look one time like Ou'
Jackalse was a-goner, but bein' it was him, why o' cou'se--

"It come like dis.  Ahter Ou' Wolf was new married, his missus she kep'
on a-yawin' about how he'd let Ou' Jackalse t'atch his tail fast, an'
steal his dinner, an' biff him wid bones, an' let him in for a bashin'
f'm de man wid de biltong waggon, till Ou' Wolf he 'gin to be mighty
glad he hadn't tol' her about all de rest o' de times Ou' Jackalse done
him down.  But all de same it seem like he ain't save' much by not
tellin' her, for de ting she did know seem like it's quite enough to
keep her goin' all day an' every day, an double span on Sunday.  If
she'd a-knowed more she couldn't ha' yawed more, 'cause dere ain't but
sev'n days in de week to yaw in when you've done your best.  Ou' Wolf
couldn't stan' no more.  He yust sneaked out an' off.

"Well, he see it stickin' out pretty plain dat he'll hatto get square
wid darie Ou' Jackalse or he'll hatto leave home--one or toder.  But for
de life o' him he cahnt yust make up his mind what's de best way to do
it, an' he tink dat hard as he go along, and he tink dat close as he
stride along, dat fust ting he know he find hisse'f walkin' plump onto
Ou' Jackalse's house.  He yust wake up in time to sit down sudden behin'
a bush till he see weder Ou' Jackalse is at home or not.

"Pretty soon he's pretty sure Ou' Jackalse ain't at home.  In de fust
place dere ain't no smoke, an' nex' place de door's shut fas' an' de
window hole is bung up tight wid a vach-a-bikkie bush.  `Dis is yust my
chance at las',' ses Ou' Wolf to hisse'f.  `Dis is de time I's a-gun' to
get even wid darie ou' skellum.  I'll yust go inside dere an' get behind
de door till he comes in.  Den--well den--won't I bash him I'll feel
good, I will, when I biffs him.  He won't; dere won't be no more'n a big
mess left of him: yust a grease spot to swear by.'

"Well, Ou' Wolf he shamber over an' sneak into de house an' hide hisse'f
behind de door, an' he hadn't more'n fit hisse'f into de cohner dan here
comes Ou' Jackalse home agen.

"But Ou' Jackalse he ain't de sort to walk into no place foolish unless
dere's sometin' extray on.  'Stead o' goin' straight up an' steppin'
right in, he circle roun' outside de house to see if it's all serene
fust an same's he left it.  He hadn't gone half way roun' 'fore he plump
right on de spoor of Ou' Wolf an' dere he stop.  `Dat ain't my spoor,'
ses he, cockin' his years all roun'.  `Dat's Ou' Wolf ben here.  P'r'aps
he's inside my house, hey?'

"Well, he study an' he won'er an' den at last he stroke his nose.  `I
know what I'll do,' ses he.  `I'll ax my house if dere's anybody
inside.'

"Den he call out, slow an' cunnin': `My ole house!  My ole house!'  An'
he waits an' dere ain't no answer.

"He call agen: `My ole house!  My ole house!' an' agen dere ain't no
answer.

"Dis time he winks an' he change de call.  `My ole house!  I know Ou'
Wolf's inside you, else you'd say, "Come in," like you al'ays does.'
Den he laugh till you could hear him right troo de trees.

"Ou' Wolf behind de door he hear every word, an' he hear dat laugh
besides.  `Now,' ses he to hisse'f, `if I calls out "Come in," he'll
tink it's his ole house a-callin' an' he'll step right in Ou' Jackalse
ain't so smart as he reckon dis time, else he wouldn't ha' tol' de words
for de house to say.'  Den he try to make his voice soft an' wheedlin',
while he call out high an' cunnin', `Co-o-me in!'

"Ou' Jackalse he let out a great big laugh fit to split, an' he lam
stones at de door till it rattle agen.  `Come out o' dat, ole fathead!
Tink I cahnt tell your voice?  'Sides, dere's you' tail, wid de hairs
a-stickin' out troo de cracks.'

"Ou' Wolf he's dat mad at bein' had agen so cheap an' nasty he yust
swang de door open, an' at fust he tinks he'll chase Ou' Jackalse till
he plum runs him down.  But Ou' Jackalse he go two licks for his one,
an' every once in a while he kick out his back foot to rile him up mo'.
Ou' Wolf yust hatto go home an' tink it all over agen.

"Well, dis sort o' ting go on an' on till at last Ou' Wolf he feel dat
desprit he'll hatto do sometin' or bu'st.  So off he sets for where de
white owl lives, 'cause he 'members why de white owl on'y fly at night
time, an' he's pretty sure Ole Owl's a-gun' to he'p him.

"De white owl listen to what Ou' Wolf tell him, an' he look so straight
at Ou' Wolf dat you'd tink his eyes was fas' to him.  `Well,' ses he at
last, `Ou' Jackalse is mighty slim, but Tink Tinkey was slimmer when de
birds was choosin' a king.  An' Young Tinkey's de littlest bird in de
veldt.  I's a deal bigger'n Tinkey, an' we'll see if I cahnt beat Ou'
Jackalse worse dan him.  So here's what you do.

"`You know where de leopard live, in de kloof on de yonder side de berg?
Now she's yust got four little cubses, an' she fin's it mighty hard
scratchin' to get scoff enough Well, tomorrow you comes home past Ou'
Jackalse's house, as if you was comin' from dat kloof, an' you have some
honey a-runnin' down your yaws an' a-drippin' on your paws, an' you pass
Ou' Jackalse where he's a-sittin' in de sun' at his house end.  But you
don't say good mawnin' nor nawtin'--you yust goes on home.

"`Nex' day you does de same agen, an' dat time he's mighty sure to say
good mawnin', 'cause he'll a-bin tinkin' an' studyin' about dat honey
ever since yestiday.  But you don't say not a word agen--you yust goes
on home.

"`Den de nex' day once mo', an' dat day you ses good mawnin' when he ses
it, an' dat'll be enough.  Ahter dat he's mighty sure to open out an'
wheedle an' coax to get it out o' you where you got dat honey.  But you
don't tell him at fust; you yust gives him a leetle teenty piece o'
honey-comb, what you's got wropped up in a green leaf.  Dat'll make him
fair wild to get mo', an' den's your chance.

"`Ses you to him, p'r'aps you'll take him to it if he promise to keep it
quiet, an' he'll be dat stirred he'll promise afo'e you's done axin'.
Den you take him along to de kloof, an' in de kloof you take him along
to de great big rock at de fur end, an' under de rock you show him de
leopard's house.  "Dere," ses you, "in dere's de honey;" an' in he'll
pop.  Den you rolls a big stone in de door an' leaves him dere--de
leopard 'll do all de rest as soon as it come home.'

"Well, Ou' Wolf feel sure dat's a-gun' to be all right.  It soun' so
slim he tink it's about all done a'ready except de laughin'.  An he do
most o' dat, too, as he go off to start de business.

"Well, de fust day when Ou' Wolf come past his house Ou' Jackalse was
a-sittin' by de prickly pear in front an' he don't say a word.  He yust
looks over his shoulder to see if de door's open so he can pop inside
an' bang it shut if Ou' Wolf make a dive for him.  Den he notice de
honey a-drippin' on Ou' Wolfs mouf an' his paws an' he beat his tail
once on de groun' considerin'.  But Ou' Wolf take no mo' notice dan if
he was his own shadda on de wall.

"Nex' day when Ou' Jackalse see him a-comin' he 'gun to won'er.
`Watto!' ses he.  `Here's Ou' Wolf agen, an' de honey drippin' off'n him
worse'n yestiday.  Dat's a bit funny.'

"'Stead o' lookin' at de door dis time he speak out.  `Mawnin', Oom
Wolf,' ses he.

"Ou' Wolf he don't turn his head no mo' 'n if it was meer-cats.  He keep
straight on an' he lick his lips, smack! smack! till Ou' Jackalse he
fair hump his back wid wantin' some o' dat honey.

"De day ahter dat, when Ou' Wolf come past, Ou' Jackalse was a-waitin'
ready, an' as soon as he see de honey a-drippin' he sort o' sa'nter over
close.  `Mawnin', Oom Wolf,' ses he, `fine rains we bin a-havin'.
Dere's a Koodoo wid a calf de yonder side de spruit.  Don't you think we
might get de calf if we all two goes togeder?'

"Ou' Wolf stop at dat as if he's sort o' considerin'.  `No,' ses he; `I
ain't so dead gone on Koodoo meat dese days nohow.  I's dat full o'
honey I ain't a-itchin' for anytin' else.'

"Ou' Jackalse tongue begin to run.  `Do you tink dat honey mightn't be
bad?' ses he.  `It look mighty dark.'

"`Oh, it's de dark sort,' ses Ou' Wolf, an' he lick his chops till Ou'
Jackalse cahnt stan' it.  He yust come right up an' ketch a drop as it
drip down.

"Dat set him a-twitchin' for mo'.  `Oom Wolf,' ses he, `ain't you goin'
to gi'e me yust a leetle teenty bittie honey now?  Ole chummies like us
two, you know.'

"Ou' Wolf he sort o' consider dat.  `Well,' ses he, `I wouldn't mind
doin' it, but I's on'y got one piece lef; a piece I's a-takin' home to
my missus.'

"`Your missus!' ses Ou' Jackalse, sort o' pityin' like.  `Well, if you
does dat sort o' ting, why'--an' he shake his head like he's pretty
sorry for a man dat's come down to dat.  `But anyhow,' ses he, `your
wife don't know you got dis honey, so it won't matter if you does gi'e
it me.  What she don't know about she cahnt trouble about.  You can gi'e
me it an' she won't never know.'

"`Oh, but she knows I went to get some,' ses Ou' Wolf, as if he'd like
to do it but darsn't.

"`Tell her some'dy else is been dere afo' you an' scrape' it all away,'
ses Ou' Jackalse.  `She won't know but what it's true.'

"`Well,' ses Ou' Wolf, `I might do dat--dough I 'spects I'll be sorry
for it.  Here it is den,' an' he unwrops de leetle piece o' honeycomb.

"In yust one bite Ou' Jackalse take it in, an' den dat set him on
prickles to get a reg'lar feed of it.  `Allah man!' ses he, `dat's good.
Whar you get it?'

"`Oh! long way off,' ses Ou' Wolf.  `Too fur to carry it home; so I goes
an' has a feed as much as I can hol' every day.  Dere's such lots of
it.'

"`Lots of it',' ses Ou' Jackalse ahter him, fair squirmin'.  `Couldn't
we yust go back dere now, an' I'd take a calabas an' fetch a calabasful
back for you to take to your missus?  Dat'd do all right den.'

"Ou' Wolf he shake his head an' draw back a bit.

"`Well,' ses Ou' Jackalse, `you'd a-better do it now.  Your missus'll
see where it's dripped on you, an' she'll smell it anyhow, an' den she
ain't a-gun' to b'lieve you nohow--you knows dat.  You'd better come now
an' le' me carry a calabasful back for her.'

"Ou' Wolf seem like dat strike him new.  `Well,' ses he, `p'r'aps I'd
better.  But no shenanigin now.  If I takes you to dis yere place you'll
hatto carry two calabasies back, not one.'

"`Is dere all dat honey den?' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `Allah Crachty! yust
hol' on an' I'll get de two calabasies dis minute an' show you,' an' off
he darts into his house an' out agen wid two o' de biggest sort o' nice
new calabasies.  `Here's 'um, come on,' ses he.  But he wink to hisse'f,
an' he ses to hisse'f, `If I carry dat honey back I know who'll eat it
too.'

"Ou' Wolf he make like he's mighty onwillin', an' he on'y go 'cause he's
feared of his missus.  An' all de way Ou' Jackalse is a-tellin' him
where dey'll hunt togeder nex' day, an' nex' week; an' where dere's
a-gun' to be some fine water-millons 'fore long.  An' all de way Ou'
Wolf's a-takin' it all in an' sayin' he shouldn' won'er if dere was.

"Well, dey come to de kloof an' dey come to de rock, an' dere was de
house where de leopard live.  `De honey's in dere,' ses Ou' Wolf.
`Right inside, an' you turn up de bed an' dere it is.  An' don't forget
dem two calabasful for my missus.'

"Ou' Jackalse he laugh, an' he dive right inside.  He'll see about dem
two calabasies, he will.  But he hadn't mo'en got inside 'fore Ou' Wolf
spring about an' roll a great big stone plump into de doorway.  `Ho yeh,
smarty!' ses he.  `Dis is de time you wahnt smart enough.  You'll be a'
right when de leopard comes home an' finds you wid her cubses.  You'd
carry me two calabasies full o' honey, hey?  Lots o' honey I'd trust you
wid, wouldn't I?'

"Ou' Jackalse hear de stone a-rollin' in an' he make a dive to get out
agen, but he on'y bang his head--bang stars outen it.  Den he hear what
Ou' Wolf say, an' he sniff an' sniff high.  `I'll bet you b'lieved I was
a-gun' to carry dat honey for you!' ses he.

"`An' I'll bet you tink I should ha' trusted you if dere'd bin honey
here!' ses Ou' Wolf.

"`An' I know you tink all de time I b'lieved dere _was_ honey here!'
sniffs Ou' Jackalse.  `I know dere'd be no honey, or you wouldn't ha'
showed me.  But I knowed dere'd be sometin'--an' dere is.  Dere's better
eatin' still; dere's cubses.'

"`An' dere's mo',' ses Ou' Wolf; `dere's deir mammy.  Dere's de leopard.
An'--Allah Crachty, here she come!'

"You should ha' seen Ou' Wolf get out o' dat.

"De leopard come an' look, an' de leopard put its paw on de stone.
`What's dis doin' here?' ses it, an' it growl till it give Ou' Jackalse
wits a scrick.

"He hatto do sometin' an' be sharp about it too.  He speak up quick an'
lively.  `I put dat stone dere.  You better not to shift it.  I see Ou'
Wolf a-smackin' his lips, tinkin' what a nice dinner he was goin' to
make off 'n your cubses.  So I yust got inside an' pull dis stone agin
de door to keep him out an' save your little cubickies.  If you look
you'll see his spoor.'

"De leopard look, an' sure enough dere's Ou' Wolfs spoor.  `Allah man!'
ses it.  `An' so dat Ou' Wolf want to get my cubses while I's out
a-huntin', hey?'

"`He is dat,' ses Ou' Jackalse inside.  `An' he reckon if he cahnt get
'em to-day he'll do it anoder day.  So you better to leave de stone dere
an' le' me hand out your cubses troo de winda to be suckle' an' put
back.  Den I'll watch 'em while you go huntin' agen, an' I'll keep on
like dat till dey's big enough to see an' go wid you a-huntin'.'

"`Dere's sense in dat,' ses de leopard.  `I'll yust do dat.  Hand me out
de cubses.'

"So Ou' Jackalse he hand out one cub, an' when it's had enough he take
it back an' hand out anoder; an' he do dat way till all four bin out an'
feed.  `Now you look ahter 'em agen till I come back,' ses de leopard,
an' off it go agen.

"Ou' Jackalse he sit down and look roun'.  `Well,' ses he, `dere never
was no honey here, but dis dat's here is near as sweet an' a big lot
better--dese's cubses; fat cubses; yuicy cubses.  Ou' Leopard would
hatto pay me for nursin' 'em when I finis' anyhow, but I reckon it's
better I draw my pay fust, den if you don't like de work you nee'nt to
do it.  Here's me has one o' dem cubses anyhow.'

"Well, he eat one cub, an' it eat dat sweet he tink by jimminy it'll
take more dan one leopard to drive him out o' dat while dere's any
cubses left.  So dere he set an' he sing a song about de honey dat had
hair on.  Den de leopard come back an' ax, `Hello! how's my cubickies?'

"`Yust fine,' ses Ou' Jackalse--`for eatin'.'

"`What's dat?' ses de leopard, tail a-wavin'.

"`Well, deir eatin's drinkin',' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `An' here's de
first,' ses he, handin' out one.

"Well, dey hands 'em out an' dey hands 'em in, an' dat's t'ree cubses.
De leopard's a-waitin' for de fourt', an' dat's de one Ou' Jackalse
cahnt hand out 'cause it's inside him.  But he don't turn a hair; he
yust wink to hisse'f an' hand out de first agen.  `Extra dose for you,'
ses he when he take it in agen.  `Extra yuice for me.'

"So when de leopard's gone a-huntin' agen Ou' Jackalse eat de cub what
had de two drinks, an' when de leopard come back he hands out de cubses,
one, two, an' den number one agen for number t'ree, and number two for
number four.  An' he feel dat tickled wid hisse'f he stan' on his head
inside dere.  Den de leopard go huntin' agen, an' Ou' Jackalse eat
anoder cub, an' when de leopard come back dere's on'y one lef.  `How's
de cubickies?' ses de leopard.

"`Fine,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `Dey yust is fine!' an' he wink to hisse'f.
`On'y dere's one make like he ain't so well.  But it'll be a' right
ahter it's had a drink.'

"Den he pass out de one last cub, an' it take it's milk, an' de leopard
hand it back.  Den he pass it out agen an' it have anoder feed.  Same
way de nex' time, an' den de last time it's yust so full it cahnt drink
no more, an' its little tummy's all swell out.  `Dat's de one what ain't
so well,' ses Ou' Jackalse.

"`It do look like it's a bit sickie,' ses de leopard.  `I wonder what's
de matter wid it?'

"`I tink dis stone stop up all de air,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `You might
yust pull it a little way back; not de hool way out, else Ou' Wolf might
try to get in agen.'

"So de leopard pull out de stone a bit; not too far, but yust far enough
for Ou' Jackalse to squeeze out if he want to.  `Look ahter dat sick
'un,' ses de leopard, an' off she go.

"Den Ou' Jackalse scoff de last cub.  `Allah man!' ses he, `ain't it a
pity dey's all done.  An' now I'll ha' to slant for home 'fore de
leopard come an' want to feed her cubses agen.'

"Den he squeeze hisse'f outside ready to go, an' he hadn't strid de fust
stride 'fore he sees de leopard comin' back.  Dere he was, an' dere's de
leopard comin' for her cubses; but darie ou' skellum he ain't done yet.
He let a yell outen him, an' run an put his shoulder to de rock.  `Make
hurry! make haste,' he shout `De rock's a-fallin' on your house.  Come
an' he'p me hol' it up! make hurry!'

"De leopard don't stop to look, an' de leopard don't stop to tink.  It
hear Ou' Jackalse yellin', an' it see him plank his shoulder to de rock,
an' strain an' puff till his eyes stick out to hol' up dat rock; an' in
yust about one tick dat leopard was dere too, wid his shoulder to de
rock, scratchin' an' yammin' to hol' it up too.

"`Hol' it now till I run an' get a prop,' shouts Ou' Jackalse, an' de
leopard he yust double hol's while Ou' Jackalse dive into de trees to
look for de prop.

"But," concluded the old Hottentot, with an impressive pause, "he ain't
got back wid dat prop yet."



CHAPTER SEVEN.

OU' JACKALSE TAKES OU' WOLF A-SHEEP STEALING.

The children had been privately discussing for several days the state of
things as between Ou' Jackalse and Ou' Wolf, and the verdict came out on
this hot mid-day as they sat beside Old Hendrik under the big mimosa.

"Ou' Wolf was always such a big fool," protested the eldest boy, with
the wondrous contempt of his years; "such a fool to let that Ou' Jackal
best him every time, like he did."

"Well," admitted Old Hendrik with a grin, "Ou' Wolf he might ha' look
out a bit mo' p'r'aps, when he come near Ou' Jackalse.  But den, I tell
you, darie Ou' Jackalse is yust dat slim dere ain't no slimmer.  If you
want to keep ahead o' him you'd ha' to get up so early dere ain't no
time to go to bed, an' den you'd on'y see his heel dust away yonder.
Look dat time when Ou' Jackalse got Ou' Wolf into goin' a-sheep stealin'
wid him.  What 'ud you want mo' fairer dan dat look at de start?  An'
den what about de finis' of it?

"Times is been a lot better many a time dan dey was den.  De rinderpest
was gone a' right enough, but de game was mighty sca'se yet, an' if Ou'
Jackalse want to live on meat he hatto go mostly stalkin' roun' farmers'
kraals for sheep.  But him bein' doin' it on his lonesome he ain't had
so much luck as he tink he'd like to have.  One kraal specially he yust
would like to get into, an' dere he tink he'd have de biggest feed of
his life.  It's a' right to get into it some night an' fill hisse'f up
to de eyes wid meat, but dere's de mawnin' after--dat's de trouble.  De
mawnin' after de man's a-goin' to find out what's happen', an' he'll get
his dogs an' hunt for de one dat did it.  An' Ou' Jackalse he's a-goin'
to be too full o' feed to be hunted dat nex' mawnin'.  Huntin' ain't
a-goin' to agree wid him at all dat nex' day.

"But he wants dat feed, an' he don't want to get ketched--dat's two
tings; an' he tink, an' he tink, an' study, but it all come back to de
one ting; he'll yust hatto rope Ou' Wolf into de game if he's a-goin' to
do it at all.

"Well, he raunge about, an' he dodge about till at last he see Ou' Wolf
a-comin'.  Den he turn his back to him an' make like he's a-slinkin' an'
a-stalkin' ahter sometin'.  Dat set Ou' Wolf a-wonderin', an' he sit
down an' watch Ou' Jackalse a-stealin' an' a-feelin' troo de bushes till
he's most out o' sight.  `Tell you what,' ses Ou' Wolf to hisse'f,
`darie Ou' Jackalse is ahter sometin' good, I know.  I's better watch
him an' see if dere ain't sometin' in it for me too.'

"So up he get an' stalk on ahter Ou' Jackalse; an' Ou' Jackalse he don't
let on but yust keeps on a-walkin' an' a-baulkin' till he comes to where
he can see dat kraal he's a-wantin' at.  Dere he get behind a big stone
where Ou' Wolf ain't a-gun' to see him till he step out right alongside
him.

"Ou' Wolf he keep on a-stalk an' a-stalkin', till all in a eye-open he
find hisse'f rubbin' ribses wid Ou' Jackalse, an' he's dat 'stonish dat
he ketch his breaf, an' he don't know de fust word to say.

"But Ou' Jackalse open on him wid de biggest wide-open smile.  `Oh!' ses
he, `so dat's you, is it?  An' you stalks me like dat, does you?  By de
jimminy, I al'ays did say you was about de slimmes' ole _takhaar_ on de
veldt.  Well, dat's good, dat is, to ketch me like dat; an' now you's
foun' me out I s'pose I'll ha' to own up.  Dat _is_ de kraal I's a-gun'
to get de big feed outo'.  But I don't mind anyhow; dere's enough for de
two of us, an' forty times over if dat's all.  An' to-night's a-gun' to
be yust de right night as well.'

"Ou' Wolf he's dat shamed at bein' ketched like dat, an' dat glad o'
gettin' off so good, dat he sit right down an' talk growly to save his
feelin's.  `Ho! you ses dere's enough for de two on us, does you.  Dat's
how many?'

"`You count 'em when you sees 'em by'n'by,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `You wait
here till it 'gins to get night an' den you'll see de sheep yust make
darie kraal white.  An' fat!--dey's yust so fat dey waddles.'

"`Is dey?'  Ou' Wolf fair feel his back begin to rise.  `An' you tinks
we'll get 'em a' right?' ses he.

"`Get 'em?' ses Ou' Jackalse, like dat is a ting to say.  `You yust wait
an' see.'

"Well, dere dey wait an' dere dey watch, an' dere when de sun drop dey
see de sheep draw into de kraal, an' see de farmer come out an' look 'em
over, an' ahter dat him an' de boy go off to supper an' sleep.  Den it
drop dark an' come midnight.  `Now we go down,' ses Ou' Jackalse.

"So down dey goes, an' dey comes to de kraal, movin' as quiet as shaddas
an' as soft as de dark, an' dey's yust dat light an' empty dey yumps on
to de kraal wall like birds a-lightin'.  Den dey drops down, an' dere
dey begins to eat.

"Dey eats one sheep an' dey eats two sheep, an' den Ou' Jackalse he draw
off dat quiet dat Ou' Wolf don't hear, an' he crawl to de water-let hole
at de bottom o' de kraal wall, an' tries if he's still not swell' too
much to slip out troo dat hole, 'cause he knows right well dey's bofe
too full to yump back over de kraal wall.  But he finds dat's a' right;
he can get out easy yet, so he go back an' he has mo' feed.  An dat way
he keep on an' on, eatin' fust an' den tryin if his tummy ain't too big
yet to slip troo', till at last he cahnt on'y yust scrape troo wid
scratchin' till he's black in de face.  `Pity I ain't shav' all my
sideses,' ses he, `den I could slip troo yust one time mo'.  Dem sheep
dey is so fat.'

"Well, dere's de man an' de dogs to tink on now, an' dis is de time he
want Ou' Wolf for.  He knows Ou' Wolf's gone on eat an' eat an eatin',
till he fair couldn't har'ly get out o' de gate if it was open, let
alone troo de waterlet hole, not if de dogs had hol' of his tail.  An'
dat's yust what Ou' Jackalse bin a' figurin' on, so now he slink away
into de bushes close by, an' den he change his voice an' begin to call
out: `Baas! baas!  Wolf in de kraal.  Baas! baas!  Wolf's in de kraal!'

"`Dere!' ses he to hisse'f, `I'm a right now.  De man an' his dogs 'll
find Ou' Wolf in de kraal, an' dey'll know all about who done it, so dey
won't be lookin' for anyb'dy else.  Dere won't be no huntin' ahter me--
dat's what I couldn't stan' yust now; it's mo' dan I ought to hatto do
is to walk, let alone run, out o' dis,' ses he.

"But he hatto walk some anyhow, 'cause de man he's heerd de shouts, an'
he wake up, an his dogs an his Koranna boys, an dey all rush out for de
kraal.  Ou' Wolf he hear 'em comin' an' he make a slope for de waterlet
hole, an' he dive head fust into dat.

"De head part's a' right; dere ain't no trouble about dat part goin' in.
But his body!--Allah Crachty, man! but dat body ain't a-gun' to begin
a-goin' into, let alone troo, dat hole.  An' fust ting he know de man
has him f'm behind.

"Well, I's tole you mo' dan once o' de lammins an' de bashins Ou' Wolf's
had afore dat, an' he's been knock pretty sick in his time.  But all de
biffinest bashins what he ever had was yust pettin' an' strokin'
alongside o' what he get dis time, till at last, when de dogs tink dey's
worried de last life outen him, an' de man tinks he's kill' all der is
in him, den de Koranna boys pick up de carcase an' chuck it over de wall
on to de veldt outside, an' dere it lie, lookin' de deadest ting dat
ever was alive, while de man an' de boys an' de dogs go back to sleep.

"Ou' Jackalse he's been a-watchin' all dat, an' along about de break o'
day he see Ou' Wolf stir a leg.  Den come sun-up an' Ou' Wolf stir his
tail, an ahter dat it ain't but a little while 'fore he pulls de pieces
of hisse'f togeder an' 'gins to crawl off somehow, 'cause he know if de
man find him lyin' dere when he get up he'll skin him for a kaross.

"`Ou' Wolf's off for home now,' ses Ou' Jackalse to hisse'f.  `So's I--
but I ain't a-walkin'; dat 'ud be too bad, I's dat full.  Watch me now,'
an' he wink to hisse'f dat same ole wink.

"Well, Ou' Wolf he drag hisse'f along, an' he hump hisse'f along, an' he
wish hisse'f along, an' den of a sudden he come plump right onto Ou'
Jackalse, lyin' lookin' like he's quite de nex' skyline toder side o'
dead.  `By de jimminy!' ses Ou' Wolf, `dead or ain't dead, I's yust
a-gun' to bite his year off for shoutin' out de farmer an' de dogs on to
me.  I will dat.'

"But he hadn't no sooner come closer to worry him dan Ou' Jackalse open
his eyes.  `Ho!' ses he.  `So dat's how you pay me for lettin' you come
along o' me, an' givin' you a fair ole gorge, is it?  Fust you gets all
you can stuff, an' den you shouts to de farmer dat Ou' Jackalse is in de
kraal! an' out he comes an' de dogs, an' dey's most killed me de deadest
Jackalse ever was.  Allah Crachty!  I's know better dan trust you anoder
time if ever I gets over dis,' ses he, an' he kick out one leg wid a
yerk as if he's goin' a deader.

"Ou' Wolf he's fair knock' back on his tail wid de 'stonishment.  `Well,
I be jimminied!' ses he.  `When I hear you wid my own years shoutin'
"Wolf in de kraal!" an' now you try to come over me dat I shout de
farmer out to you!  Dat's a good 'un, dat is.'

"`Does you mean dat I didn't hear you a-shoutin' de farmer dat I was in
de kraal?' snarl' Ou' Jackalse, like he want to know what next.

"`An' does you mean to say I didn't hear you a-shoutin' de farmer dat I
was in de kraal?' growl' Ou' Wolf.

"Ou' Jackalse make like dey'll be tellin' him dem ain't his own years
nex'.  `Look-a'-me, Ou' Wolf,' ses he.  `Dis yere's mighty funny.
Some'dy must ha' shouted some'dy's in de kraal, else how come de man out
an' bash me like I is.  Who could ha' done it if it wasn't you? 'nless,
'nless--by jimminy!' ses he, `'nless'n it's darie Ou' Baviyaan!  I seen
him chained up dere by de house, an' he look mighty sour at me 'cause
I's loose.  But I didn't tink he'd a done it on us--did you now?'

"Well, Ou' Wolf he 'gun to go back in his mind on all de tings what Ou'
Baviyaan's done in time past, an' he 'gin to tink he ain't so su'e but
what it's yust de sort o' ting Ou' Baviyaan would do if he got de off
chance.  `If I'd on'y a-seen darie Ou' Baviyaan,' ses he, `I bet I'd
a-done sometin'.'

"`Yes.  But now dere's de gettin' home,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `You's a'
right, you can travel; but me--I don't know what I's a-gun' to do, as
bad as I is.'

"Ou' Wolf he tink it over.  He's yust about so bad hisse'f he couldn't
feel no badder.  But Ou' Jackalse had let him in to a share o' dat big
ole feed, an' he's had dat feed anyhow.  He ain't a-gun' to leave no ole
chummie like dat.  `Well,' ses he, `I's pretty rocky myse'f, but if you
manage to get onto my back, I tink I'll get you home some ways.'

"`You looks mighty bad,' ses Ou' Jackalse, an' he screw his face up like
he wantto groan, but dat's to hide de chuckle.  `An' yet I'll hatto get
carried somehow!'

"`Up you come den, an' say no more about it,' ses Ou' Wolf.

"Well, dey got him up on his back ahter a terr'ble struggle, an' Ou'
Wolf he stuck to it an' 'gin to knock off de len'ths to'ards home.  But
Ou' Jackalse he's yust dat tickle wid hisse'f he cahnt keep it in, he
ha' to sing it out:--

  "Dis de funniest ever you foun',
  For de sick he carry de soun'--
  Work's on'y a fool to a trick,
  For de soun' he ride de sick.

"`What's dat?' ses Ou' Wolf, stoppin' like he's ready to t'row him down.

"`Oh,' ses Ou' Jackalse, `I only sing sometin':'

  "`It's good when de one dat's soun'
  Don't mind to carry de sick.'

"`A' right,' ses Ou' Wolf.  `But I t'ought it soun' like sometin' else.'
Den he go on agen.

"Well, he go on an' on, carryin' Ou' Jackalse, till dey comes nigh home,
an' Ou' Jackalse he cahnt hold in no longer for fear de laugh in his
inside'll bu'st him tryin' to get out.  He yust ha' to get down an'
dance, an' he gi'es one high ole kick an' a yump, an' over go Ou' Wolf
on his head, an' den darie skellum he's a-prancin' an' a-dancin' all
roun' him, wid de same ole song a-goin':--

  "It's de funniest ever you foun'.
  When de sick he carry de soun',
  It never was done before
  Dat de well he ride de sore.

"Ou' Wolf he wantto get up an' yust fight an' bite, but what wid de
bashin' he had in de kraal, an' de fashin' he had carryin' darie Ou'
Jackalse, he's too fair gone in to get up agen.  `But on'y wait till I
get hold o' you agen,' ses he, `dat's all!'

"`Yes, yust wait,' ses Ou' Jackalse a-chucklin'.

"An'," ended the old Hottentot, "as fur as I can make out he's bin
a-waitin' ever since.  Leastaways, I don't hear yet as he's ever done
it.  An' de bettin's all de oder way till now."



CHAPTER EIGHT.

WHEN THE BIRDS WOULD CHOOSE A KING WHICH TELLS ALSO WHY THE WHITE OWL
ONLY FLIES BY NIGHT.

The three children were lounging with the dogs under the tall blue-gums
by the house corner, when the old Hottentot stepped out of the kitchen
to find a shady spot for his afternoon nap.  Before he could settle
anywhere, however, the eldest boy lifted his face and caught sight of a
mere speck, far up in the still hot sky, where a vulture hung motionless
in the blue.

"Oh, look!" cried he at once.  "There's Old Baldy, the Aasvo'el, almost
out of sight.  Ain't he just high!  I bet there ain't any other bird can
fly as high as he can."

The old Hottentot turned, first to look at the vulture and then at the
little boy.  "Well," said he, "dere was one time, dough, when it took a
whole big indaba of all de birds to say which flew de highest--him or
Young Tink Tinky."

"Young Tink Tinky!" echoed the eldest boy scornfully.  "Why! he's the
very littlest, teeniest bird in the veldt!"

"Yes, dat's yust de way Ou' Jackalse talked," answered Old Hendrik
gleefully.  "But he find out 'fore he finis' dat it ain't de size but de
sense dat counts."

"Well, I bet I could soon settle which flew the highest," returned the
boy.

"Mebbe," said Hendrik.  "But anyhow, it took de birds a deal o' time to
settle it.  An' trouble--dere was trouble, too, 'fore dey finis', an' de
White Owl he ain't never fly about in de daytime from dat day to dis.
He's mighty big, an' he's a mighty ole beak an' clawses, but he darsent
on'y fly about o' nights since den."

"Oh, now, you _must_ tell us all about it, Ou' Ta'," commanded little
Annie.  "You'll see how soon we'll settle it."

"Will I, Ainkye?" answered the old fellow, with his deepest smile.
"Well, here's de tale an' you can try anyhow.  You see, it was all along
o' dese yere birds dat on'y come in de summer an' don't stay for de hard
times in de winter.  De Af'icander birds dat live here all de time dey
got to studyin' about dese outlander birds what yust comes to skim de
cream o' de year; an' nawtin' 'ud do 'em but dey's goin' to make a King.
Dey reckon de King he'll tell dese outlander birds he's had yust about
enough o' deir hanky panky, an' dey'll ha' to stop here all de year
roun' or stop som'ere's else; but dey cahnt do bofe.  Dat's what Kings
is for.

"Well, de birds dey talks to one anoder, an' de birds dey gets togeder
for a big indaba; but when one ses do dis way, anoder ses do dat way,
till dey all dunno what's it all a-gun' to end in, an' at last dey all
agrees to ax a outsider to set some way o' choosin' dis yere King.  An'
what outsider?  Why, who but Ou' Jackalse, o' course.

"But dey'll ha' to wait a day or two 'fore dey gets him.  De Aard-Vark
is invite' Ou' Jackalse to a big _dwala_ drink, an' it ain't no use to
talk till dat's over.

"Well, dis yust suit Ole Baldy Aasvo'el.  He don't say a word, but he
sail off, an' by'n'by he's a-hangin' yust over de Aard-Vark's kraal,
where de Aard-Vark's frien's is drinkin' dwala, an' he hang dere till he
sees Ou' Jackalse a-lookin' up at him.  Den he drops down behind de rise
a little way off, an' dere he waits.  He knows Ou' Jackalse 'll come
sniffin' out, tinkin' dere's meat dere.

"Tain't more'n a minute 'fore here comes Ou' Jackalse a' right.  `Hello!
Baldy,' ses he, `where's de meat?'

"`Well,' ses Baldy, `dere ain't no meat here yust now.  But dere can be
lots an' lots of it for you 'fore long if you an' me is frien's dese
nex' few days.'

"Ou' Jackalse is pretty full of dwala, an' de dwala make him pretty full
o' feelin' yust a' right, so he on'y laugh an' sit down.  `How come
dat?' ses he.

"`Dis way,' ses Baldy.  `All us birds is a-gun' to make us a King, an'
we've agree' to call you in to gi'e us sometin' to go by to settle de
one it's to be.  You's to set sometin' for de birds to do, an' de one
dat does it he's to be de King.  So I's come to see you about it
beforehand.'

"`You is, hey?' ses Ou' Jackalse, de dwala warmin' him up good an'
happy.  `An' how is you come now?  Is you a depitation, or is you come
on your own?  Is you here for all de birds or yust for one--yust for Ole
Baldy?'

"Ole Baldy fair scowl to hear Ou' Jackalse bring it out full an' ugly
like dat.  But he reckon it's de dwala doin' it, an' so he'll try a bit
longer.  `Well,' ses he, an' he gi'en hisse'f a look up an' down.
`Don't you tink I'd be a bit a' right in de Kingin' line myse'f?  I
tinks I'd be full price an' some change over myself.'

"`You does?  Ho! you does, hey?' ses Ou' Jackalse, an' he drop his nose
atween his paws an' fair root it in de groun' wid laughin'.

"You should ha' seen Ole Baldy's feders stand up.  `Yes, I does,' ses
he.  `An' how come not, I'd like to know?' ses he.  `Anyhow, it's a-gun'
to pay you a lot better to stand in wid me an' get me King dan wid any
o' de oders.  It'll pay you a lot de best,' ses he.

"Ou' Jackalse ain't got so much dwala in him but what he ketch on to dat
word `pay' a' right.  `How's it gun' to pay me?' ses he.

"`Easy,' ses Baldy.  `If you gets me King, den every bird dat eats
meat'll ha' to leave you de one half of it.  What price me now?' ses he.
`Is dere any oder bird can offer better?'

"`Well, dat ain't bad,' ses Jackalse.  `But s'posin' I bargains wid you,
den what's de plan?  I s'pose you's made some sort o' plan for me to
work on?'

"`Dis,' ses Baldy.  `When all de birds at de indaba axes you what dey's
to go by, den you answers an' tells 'em dat de birds is got wings yust
to lift 'em in de air.  Well, an' since de birds is on'y birds so's dey
can rise in de air instead o' walkin' on de ground, den de bird dat can
do bird's work best is de best one, an' it stand to reason de best
should be King.  So let 'em all fly up, an' de one dat flies de highest
is de King--dat's fair enough, ain't it?' ses he.

"`It do soun' a' right,' ses Jackalse.  `An' you can ax de oder birds
weder it's fair or not if you like.  Anyhow, it's a bargain so far--an'
now I's off back to de dwala,' and off he pop.

"Ole Baldy yust stop long enough to watch him out o' sight.  `I's fix'
dat skellum dis time a' right,' ses he.  `King o' de birds, eh!  See me
when I's doin' de Kingin'.  I bet I'll make 'em all fly round a bit.'
Den off he pop too.

"In de meantime Ou' Jackalse is a-headin' back for de dwala, but he
hadn't got half way 'fore up yumps little Tink Tinky.  `Mawnin', Oom
Jackalse,' ses he, yust as smart as a new ticky.

"`Go 'way, you spot o' shadda!' ses Ou' Jackalse, in a hurry to get back
to de dwala.  `Go 'way, or I'll blow you away wid de wind of a wink o'
my eye.'

"`Oh, dat's it, is it?' ses young Tink.  `Well, I was comin' to see you
about dis King o' de bird business.  But if dat's de sort you is, why I
reckon I'll do it on my own, an' den I shan't owe nawtin' to no such a
fathead as you.'

"`King o' de birds,' ses Ou' Jackalse, an' he squot on his haunches an'
laugh till he fair wobble.  `You!' ses he, an' he laugh agen till he
fall on his side an' beat de ground wid his tail.  `Oh, do go an' be
King o' de rest o' de birds.  Be King over Ole Baldy an' de big White
Owl an' all dat lot.'

"`All dat lot o' big fatheads, like you,' ses young Tinky, an' he yust
flick down an' tweak a beakful o' hair out of Ou' Jackalse tail.  `What
price dat?' ses he, as he fly up out o' reach.

"Ou' Jackalse yump up like lightnin' struck him.  `You young squirt!'
yell' he.  `I'll gi'e you King o' de birds if I gets hold o you.'

"`An' I'll show you all about King o' de birds 'fore I's done wid you,'
ses Tinky.  `You tinks you's yust too smart for common everyday.  But
I'll show you yust how smart you ain't.  You wait an' see.'  An' off he
flick for where he seen Ole Baldy fly up.  He knows Ou' Jackalse come
f'm dere too.

"Now when Ou' Jackalse an' Ole Baldy was a-talkin' togeder, dey ain't
needer on 'em seen de Hokhi-Khee (dat's de ladybird) a-sittin' under a
grass blade close by.  An' de Hokhi-Khee she on'y want to keep out o'
sight till dey's gone, 'cause all de brown lace of her wings is all
ruffle down her back, an' it won't lie nice an' straight under dat yella
cloak o' hers wid de black spots.  `Goodness gracious o' me,' ses she to
herse'f, `I yust ain't fit to be seen!  I hope dese two ole buffers 'll
get away soon.'

"So she kept dat close out o' sight dey never seen her, an' as soon as
dey's gone she hop down an' start to get dat lace straighten' out an'
tucked away nice an' neat under her cloak, an' she's all in a shake an'
a fluster, when down pops young Tink Tinky.

"`Well, I yust do declare!' ses she.  `What do you drop down on a body
like dat for?  You's got as much imperence as if you was de biggest
bird, instead o' de smallest.'

"`All right,' ses young Tinky.  `I may be de littlest bird, an' Ole
Baldy may be de biggest, an' he may a-bin here talkin' soft to you.  But
I can yust dust him down any day,' an' you should a-seen dat young Tinky
stretch-in' out first one little wing an' den de oder, like he's
sayin'--`Look at dat now'.

"But de ladybird ain't a-listenin' to none o' his foolishness.  `Yes,'
ses she, `you ses dat now.  But you wait a bit till de Aasvo'el's King
of all you birds, den you'll ha' to sing small enough, Mr Tink Tinky.'

"`Ho!' ses Tinky.  `So Ole Baldy's bin tellin' you he's gun' to be King
o' de birds, is he?  But we'll see about dat.  Some'dy else may ha'
sometin' to say about dat.'

"`Well, I never,' ses de ladybird.  `If dat ain't yust like your
imperence!  P'r'aps you 'magines you's gun' to be King yourse'f?'

"`Why not?' ses he.  `I's as good a man as Ole Baldy any day.'

"`You ses you is, an' you has cheek enough to tink you is,' ses de
ladybird.  `But wait till you comes to try.  De one dat flies highest is
gun' to be King.  I yust heard him settle dat wid Ou' Jackalse.  An' now
where's you?  But p'r'aps you tink you can fly higher dan de Aasvo'el--
you has imperence enough.'

"`An' I has gumption enough too,' ses young Tinky.  `You yust wait an'
see if I ain't.'

"`I don't care what you has if you'll only go away out o' dis now,' ses
de ladybird.  `An' don't you come roun' me any mo' till you's beat Ole
Baldy flyin' high.'

"`Den I'll be King,' ses Tinky.  `Don't you wish I'd come if I was
King?'

"`No, I don't,' ses she.

"`Den I won't,' ses he, an' off he pops.

"Well, de day comes for choosin' dis yere King, an' all de birds dey
brings Ou' Jackalse into de indaba, an' dey ax him what dey's got to do
to find de right one.  An' Ole Baldy look so hard at Jackalse dat he
wrinkle all his head an' half his neck, an' Ou' Jackalse he smile back
'fore he speak.  `Dere's on'y one way o' gettin' at it,' ses Ou'
Jackalse.  `Birds was made wid wings so dey could get up off de earth.
So if dat's what a bird's for, an' if dat's de one ting dat make him a
bird, den it stand to reason de one dat can do bird work best is de best
bird.  If you is to have a King den, why, de best bird should be de best
King, or de best King should be de best bird, whichever way you likes
it.  So now de one dat flies de highest--dat's de one to be King.'

"Dere's a lot o' dem birds 'ud like to say a lot o' bad words yust den.
But de way Ou' Jackalse lay de business down dey cahnt see yust where to
tackle what he said.  Dey all has to say, `A' right!' an' dey all ses
it, but they don't all tink it.  So dere ain't no more said, an' dey all
lines up in a row.  An dere ain't nob'dy noticin' dat nob'dy's seen
Young Tinky yet.  But dere ain't nob'dy troublin much about nob'dy else
nohow.

"`Is you ready?' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `Yes,' ses dey.  `Den go!' ses he.

"Up dey goes, an' up, an' up, an' up.  An' fust de partridge drops, an'
den de long-tail fink; and de Kurhaan she tink she never did hear no
such foolishness nohow, so down she drop too.  An' dat way dey go on,
fust one an' den anoder droppin' out, till last of all dere ain't but
one left--Ole Baldy.

"Ole Baldy he go up, an' on, an' on, an' up, till at last he cahnt get
higher; but by jimminy, he is up dere.  `How's dis for high?' ses he.

"All de birds look up, an' none of 'em cahnt say one word.  `You's got
it,' ses Ou' Jackalse, `you's de highest.'

"`Is he?' squeaks a chinky little voice.  `Is he?' an' dere, where
dey're all lookin', up pops little Tinky off'n Ole Baldy's back, where
he's bin hid in de feders widout Ole Baldy knowin'.  `What price me
now?' ses he, an' up he go, yards up!  `How's dis for higher?' ses he.

"Ole Baldy he turn his head an' look up.  `Hello, you speck!' ses he,
`what you doin' up dere?'

"`Flyin' higher'n you,' ses Tinky.  `Dat makes me de King.'

"`King!' ses Baldy.  `If I could yust get up dere I'd King you.  Come
down now!'

"`Oh, oh!' ses Tinky.  `So you gi'es in you can't get up to me!  Dat's
done den.  I's King a' right,' an' he comes down yust as cheeky as
billy-o, wid his tink, tink, tink, tinky, till he gets to de ground.
Den he chucks a leg.  `King Tinky!' ses he.  `Dat's me.'

"Well, de birds dey all drop down an' dey wait for someb'dy to say
somefin'.  But young Tinky he hop in front of Ou' Jackalse an' he stick
his coat tails out.  `Well, Oom Jackalse,' ses he, `who's de smart 'un
to-day?'

"`I wish I was one o' de birds you's bin foolin',' ses Ou' Jackalse;
`I'd show you which was smart.'

"Just den Ole Baldy bounce down in front of 'em.  `Who's King?' ses he.

"`De one dat went highest,' ses Ou' Modher Reyer, de Blue Crane.

"`An' dat's me,' ses Baldy.

"`An' dat's me,' ses Tinky, stickin' his little wings out an' bouncin'
hisse'f like he was mockin' Ole Baldy.

"`Look-a'-here,' ses Baldy, `if you ses anoder word I'll scoff you.'

"`Will you?' ses Young Tinky, settin' hisse'f in front of Ole Baldy like
a bantam.  `You will, hey?  Well--anoder word--dere, I's said it.'

"Ole Baldy yust look one look at Tinky, an' den he make one dive to
scoff him, straight.  But he's dat slow an' heavy on de ground he might
as well try to catch a flea on a blanket; an' dere's him a-divin' an'
a-floppin', an' dere's Young Tink a-flickin' an' a hoppin', till Ole
Baldy fair boil over an' stand still.  `Birds!' ses he, `is we gun' to
stand dis an' have dis little squirt say he's King over us?'

"`You bet we ain't,' ses de White Owl.  `Is I de King den?' ses Baldy
nex', lookin' at 'em all roun'.

"But dey all want to say sometin' to dat, 'cause if dey cahnt be King
deirselves dey don't want anyb'dy else to be it.  `No,' ses dey.  `It
was to be de one went highest, an' we all hear you say to Tinky what
you'd do if on'y you could get up at him.'

"`Den what's a-gun' to be done?' ses Baldy, as mad's a scorpion.

"`Well, we'll ha' to study dat out,' ses dey.  `We'll ha' to hold a
indaba an' see what we'll do about it.'

"Well, dey ketches Young Tinky an' dey takes him over and puts him into
a big Aard-Vark hole.  `Who'll we put to watch him now?' ses dey.

"`Put de White Owl,' ses Ou' Jackalse; `he's got de biggest eyes an' de
widest open.'

"So dey put de White Owl to guard de hole, an' dey all goes back to hold
a indaba.

"`Why, dis is yust a fine place, it's so reg'lar nice an' shady,' ses
Young Tinky to de White Owl.  `I's gun' to have a look for a place to be
comfy in.'

"`Do,' ses de White Owl.  `Den you won't bodder me.'

"But what Tinky's a lookin' for is a place to get out at, an' he look,
an' he look, but dere ain't no sich a place.  `I 'specs I'll ha' to do
sometin' pretty soon if I's gun' to keep dis side o' trouble,' ses he to
hisse'f.

"Well, dere's on'y one way out o' de hole, an' dat's de way he come in
at, an' dere's de White Owl standin' at it wid his tail dis way, an'
a-starin' out across de veldt to where de indaba's goin' on.  Den it
strike Tinky what he'll do.  `Allah Crachty!  I knows what.  Wait now,'
ses he to hisse'f.

"So he goes to work, an' he take some dirt, an' he wet it an' he work
till he's made a mud mouse.  You should ha' seen darie mouse.  If any
mouse 'ad a-seen it he'd a-tink it was his grandaddy, it look such a
whoppin' ole mouse.  It fair tickle young Tinky so much when he'd finis'
it dat he hatto yust stop an' laugh.

"Den he go to de hole an' he stick dat mouse out slow on one side o' de
White Owl till it yust come into de tail of his left eye, an' afore you
can ketch your breaf Ole Owl make a lightnin' of a strike at it--biff!

"Well, he ain't made sich a mighty ole strike since he was a young
fella, an' he strike dat hard an' he strike dat true, dat he biff his
beak right troo de mouse, so dat de mud bung up his two eyes an' chock
up his froat, an' you fair never did see no sich a splosh an' sich a
splutter in your time.  `Mak' los'!' screech he, an' it sound like a
bushman on de mad.  `Mak' los'!'  But de mud mouse ain't a-sayin' a
word, not a word; an' Young Tink Tinky's yust a-gettin' out o' dat at de
rate of half-a-mile in a hunder' yards--on'y de White Owl ain't knowin'
nawtin' about dat.

"Well, Ole Owl he hadn't more'n got de mud outen his eyes 'fore de
indaba's finis', an' here comes all de birds.  `Where's dat Tink Tinky?'
ses dey.  `Fetch him out!'

"`He's in dere a' right,' ses de Owl.  `What's you all decided on?'

"`Well,' ses dey, `by de law we cahnt yust say.  Ole Baldy ain't King,
'cause he said he couldn't get up to Tinky.  An' as to Tinky, he ain't
King 'cause he ain't big enough nohow.  But we's a-goin' to hang' him,
so dere won't be no mistake about him not bein' King.  Trot him out
den.'

"`You better trot him out yourse'f,' ses Ole Owl.  `My eyes is yust dat
full o' dirt I cahnt see.'

"Well, de Sec'etary Bird he cock his eye into darie hole, like a ole
crow squintin' down a marrow bone.  `Come out o' dat an' be hanged,' ses
he.  `Make hurry now!  We ain't a-gun' to wait all day for a speck like
you.'

"But dere ain't no Tinky come out.  `Dat's funny he don't come out when
I shout,' ses Ole Sec.

"Well, de birds dey ses dey ain't got no more time to fool about.  `Come
on, Ole Owl,' ses dey.  `You's lookin' after him anyhow.  In you pops,
den, an' outs him.'

"`A' right.'  In pops Ole Owl, an' out don't pop no Tinky.  `By gum!'
ses all de birds.

"Ole Owl in de hole he look an' he crook, an' he glint, an' he squint,
but he don't find no Tinky.  `Dat's mighty funny,' ses he, comin' out.
`I seen you all shove him in here, an' I ain't seen him come out; but he
ain't dere now.  He must ha' spooked!'

"`Oh, he's spooked, is he?' ses all de birds, tearin' mad.  `Well, we'll
yust make spook o' you,' ses dey, an' dey make a dive for him like one
man.

"Ole Owl he yust glint one glance at de lot, an' den he turn an' he fair
make a head fust for it into dat hole agen, an' dat's de one ting saved
him.  De birds dey cahnt get at him in dere on'y one at a time, an' dere
ain't any one o' 'em feel like facin' dat ole hook of a beak on his
lonesome.  So dere dey sits outside de hole, waitin' for him to come
out.  An' dere he sits inside de hole, waitin' for dem to come in; an'
so dere ain't needer in nor out, but dey bofe sits an' waits.

"Ses all de birds outside--`If you don't come out an' let us get at you,
we'll yust about dance on you' chest'.

"Ses Ole Owl inside, ses he--not a word! not a sound!

"Well, dey wait all day, an' dey wait all afternoon, but Ole Owl ain't
a-comin' out, an' dey ain't a-goin' in.  Den it drop sundown, an' de
birds dey ha' to fly som'eres to sleep.  Dey look at one anoder.  `Yust
wait till to-morrow, dat's all!' ses dey, an' off dey fly to deir
sleepin' places.

"When dey's gone Ole Owl comes out.  `I reckon I'll hatto get as much to
eat as I can to-night,' ses he, `an' den hide some place to-morrow, so
dey won't see me.'

"An' dat's yust what he done, an' yust what he's hatto do ever since--
hunt all night an' hide all day, for fear de rest o' de birds see him
an' ketch him, if he move about in de daylight.

"So now you knows how it come dat de Ole White Owl can on'y fly at
night," ended Old Hendrik.

"Oh!" said little Annie.



CHAPTER NINE.

WHY OLD JACKAL SLINKS HIS TAIL.

The little girl was full of excitement.  Driving home with her mother
from the "dorp," she had seen Ou' Jackalse himself--Mynheer Jackal--
slinking across the veldt, and all the tales Old Hendrik had told her
about him crowded her mind as she watched him.  She could hardly contain
herself now, as she stood before the old Hottentot pouring forth the
story.  There was only one regret in it--"He must have been in some
trouble, Ou' Ta'," said she; "'cause all the time I watched him his tail
was right down.  I watched and I watched to see if it wouldn't stick up,
'cause then I'd know he was thinking of a plan; but it never did."

Old Hendrik smiled.  "So his tail was a-hangin' an' a-slinkin' ahter
him, was it?  An' didn't he look back at you over his shoulder as he
went?"

"Yes, he did," answered Annie, still more eager at finding how well Old
Hendrik knew the ways and doings of Ou' Jackalse.  "I kept hoping he was
thinking of fetching Ou' Wolf to work for us, then I could tell Ou' Wolf
not to trust him any more, no matter what he said."

Old Hendrik's delight bubbled into a jeering shake of the head and a
half laugh of derision over the subject as he repeated the name--"Ou'
Jackalse, hey!  Ou' Jackalse!"

"But you needn't to be feared he's a-gun' to get Ou' Wolf into much more
trouble nowadays, Ainkye," went on the old Hottentot.  "He ain't a-gun'
to get de best o' so many more folks, not since he went to get even wid
Young Tink Tinky, de littlest bird on de veldt.  Little Missis Tinky got
Ou' Mammy Reyer, de Crane, to he'p her, an' dat made all de difference.
You seen how he slunk his tail along behind him?--well, dat's why.  He's
a-tinkin' o' what happened den, an' he looked at you over his shoulder,
wonderin' all de time weder you'd heerd de tale or not.  It happened dis
while or two back, an' since den he ain't bin near so sa'cy as he used
to was."

"Oh, poor Old Jackalse!" cried the little girl, "what did happen?  Do
tell me, Ou' Ta'."

"Well," began Old Hendrik, "if ever you sees Ou' Jackalse tryin' to fool
Ou' Wolf into trouble agen, you don't ha' to say on'y yust one ting.
You's on'y got to ask him how he likes eggs, an' den see if he don't
turn round an fair slink off wid his tail draggin'.  Dat's where de
trouble come in, he would go ahter eggs.

"You 'members me tellin' you how Young Tink Tinky bested Ou' Jackalse
when de birds wantto choose a King for demselves?  Well, Ou' Jackalse he
never forgot dat, an' he was al'ays a-studyin' how he's a-gun' to get
even, but he couldn't find de way nohow till at last he sees Missis
Tinky a-sittin' on de nest, an' he knows by dat dere's eggs dere.
`Dat's me,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `Eggs is de ting I does like--an' here's
some.  Watch me teach dat Young Tinky dis time.'

"Now dere was a t'orn-tree like dis,"--here Old Hendrik indicated the
mimosa under which he sat,--"an' dis t'orn-tree was a-growin close
beside de river, an' a willow-tree dat was bigger yet was a-hangin' over
de t'orn.  In dat t'orn-tree Young Tinky build his nest, an ahter de
eggs is all laid, an' his missis is well an' comfy settled into sittin'
on 'em, Young Tink he offs to look for scoff for hisse'f an' de missis.
Den's de time when Ou' Jackalse is a-watchin' him, an' as soon as he's
gone, here comes Jackalse to de bottom o' de t'orn-tree an' begins to
scratch on de bark--scratch! scratch! scratch!

"Little Missis Tinky she look down out o de nest.  `Who's dere?' ses
she.

"`Me,' ses Ou' Jackalse.

"`What you want?' ses Missis Tinky, all in a tremble.

"`Want dem eggs you got,' ses Ou' Jackalse, wid his hair up.  `You
better be sharp about it too.'

"`Well, you ain't a-gun' to get 'em,' flutter Missis Tinky; but she's
yust dat frighten' she cahnt har'ly speak.

"`Please yourse'f,' ses Ou' Jackalse; `but if you don't drop me down a
egg dis minute, den I's a-comin' _up_, an' if I once does come up dere,
den I's a-gun' to eat you first as well as de eggs.  Make a hurry now--
drop one!'

"Little missis she get sich a scrik when Ou' Jackalse ses he's a-comin'
up dat she yust go all a-flitty flutty, an' dere ain't no two ways about
it, she hatto drop him one egg to save de rest.  So out she pull it an
down she drop it, right into Ou' Jackalse mouf, where he stand on his
back legs wid his front feets agen de tree.  An' as soon as he feel it
in his mouf he yust gullup it down, an' off he go for dat day.  `I'll
make dis ting last a bit,' ses he to hisse'f.

"Well, little Missis Tinky she's in dat terr'ble way she cahnt har'ly
sit still till Young Tinky comes home, an' as soon's ever she sees him
she burst out a-cryin' an' a-tellin' him what happened.

"`What!  An' you b'lieve sich a fool tale as dat about him climbin' de
tree,' ses Young Tinky, fair fightin' mad at de way he lose dat egg.
`He cahnt climb dis tree, not if he break his neck a-tryin'.'

"But Young Tinky he sees it ain't no use; it ain't a-gun' to he'p his
missis for him to shout an' talk about it.  `Never you mind dis time,
little missis,' ses he.  `To-morrow you can go an' look for de scoff,
an' I stay at home an' wait for Ou' Jackalse.  I'll show him what's what
dis time, too,' ses he.  An' his missis she stop cryin', dough she cahnt
stop lookin' where dat one egg ought to be.

"Well, de nex' day Young Tinky he stop at home an' sit on de nest while
his missis went for scoff, an' it ain't but a while or two 'fore along
comes Ou' Jackalse to de foot o' de tree-scratch! scratch! scratch!

"Young Tinky he ain't a-lettin' Ou' Jackalse see who's at home to-day;
he yust on'y slant half o' one eye down at him.  `Who's dere?' ses he.

"`Me,' ses Ou' Jackalse.

"`An' what you want scratchin' dere?' ses Tinky.

"`Anoder egg, an' you best be sharp about it,' ses Ou' Jackalse.

"`Well, you's yust about got all de eggs you's a-gun' to get here,' ses
Tinky, stickin' all his head an' shoulders out for Jackalse to have a
good look at him.

"`Oh, it's you, is it?' ses Ou' Jackalse, showin' his teef.  `Well, if
you won't drop darie egg down in one minute, den I's a-comin' up an' eat
you all up--bones, beak an' feders!'

"`Come up den,' ses Young Tinky, hoppin' out onto a branch.  `Yust you
come up here if you darse, you hairy skellum you,' squeak Tinky, hoppin'
up an' down an' flickin' his wings like he's fair a-gun' to peck de eyes
out o' de hull fam'ly o' de Jackalses.  `You try it on, Mister Ou'
Jackalse, an' see what I's do to you!' an' Tinky swells hisse'f into a
reg'lar ole rage as he tink o' dat egg yestiday an' his little missis
frighten' to deaf nearly.

"Dat make Ou' Jackalse in sich a wax dat he spurt out de word he didn't
mean to.  `I on'y wish I could yust come up dis tree to you.  I'd scoff
you down in yust one gullup an' your eggses ahter you,' ses he,
a-rampin' an' a-tearin'.

"`You ses dat,' squeak young Tinky, `but I knows better.  It's not you
cahnt--it's you dahnt.  But I'll teach you to frighten poor little
mammickies into givin' you deir eggses, you skellum! skellum! skellum!'

"Ou' Jackalse he get dat mad, a-snappin' an' a-snarlin' while he listen,
dat he fair turn away an' slant out o' dat, an' Young Tinky is yust dat
conceited of hisse'f he cahnt har'ly wait till his missis comes home
'fore he begin a-tellin' her dat's de way she ought to done yestiday.
An' Missis Tink she listen an' she tink she'll do de same herse'f now,
if ever Ou' Jackalse trouble her agen.

"So de nex' day Young Tinky he go ahter de scoff, an' his missis she sit
on de eggs, tinkin' it's all right now.  But Ou' Jackalse he'd bin
a-watchin', an' he know's who's a-gone an who's a-stop at home, an in
about no time he's at de foot o' darie t'orn-tree agen, an' de same ole
scratch! scratch! scratch! at it.

"Little Missis Tink she stick her head out an' she start to tell him to
get out o' dat, in de biggest voice she's got.  But she hadn't more dan
got out de first two words dan she see his teef where he bare 'em all
round, white an' yammerin', an' he look dat savage an' murderin' dat de
rest o' de words stuck fast in her froat, an' she fair chattered wid
fright.

"`Down wi' darie egg, else I'll come an' tear you into smitchies,' ses
Ou' Jackalse.

"Missis Tinky nearly drop out o' de nest wid de scrik she got; but she
tink o' what Tink Tinky say, an' she squeak it out.  `You cahnt come up
dis tree if you try,' ses she.

"`Cahnt I?' ses he, all hair an' spiky.  `Yust see me half try!' an' he
gives de biggest yump he ever make in his life, an' it scrape him a
couple o' yards up de tree stem.

"Little missis she fair gi'en one big squawk an' tink she's all gone--
eggs, nest, an' all.  `Is you a-gun' to drop me dat egg?' shouts Ou'
Jackalse.

"`Yes, yes.  Here it is!  Take it, take it!' squeak de little missis,
an' she drop out de one egg to him.

"Ou' Jackalse he ketch dat egg an' he gulp it down an' off he go agen.
`Nex' time I come you better drop one quicker.  I ain't a-gun' to ax
twice no more,' ses he.

"Well, as soon as he go, little Missis Tinky she cry like her heart
break, an' she cahnt sit dere on de dest at all.  Anyhow she's feared to
wait till Young Tinky comes home, 'cause she don't know what he'll say
when he finds anoder egg gone, an' she's in dat misery dat she don't
know what to do.  Den she tink of her Aunt, Ou' Reyer, de Blue Crane,
an' she fly off to her where she's a-fis'in' in de reeds, an' she yust
up an' tell her de hull tale of it.

"`So darie Ou' Jackalse's up to his tricks agen, is he?' ses Ou' Reyer.
`Well, he's meddle wid de birds before, an' dis time we'll teach him to
don't do it no more.  Now you yust go home an' sit on de nest agen, an'
I'll come in a minute or two--den well be ready for him.'

"Little missis she go back, an' in a minute or two Ou' Reyer follows,
an' she hide herse'f in de top o' de willow-tree over de nest.  `Now for
Ou' Jackalse,' ses she.

"Well, it ain't but a little while rill here come Ou' Jackalse agen, wid
de same ole scratch! scratch! scratch! an' de same ole terr'fyin'
words--`Drop me down anoder egg or I'll come up an' eat you,' ses he.

"`Make like you's a-gun' to drop him one,' whispers Ou' Reyer; an'
little Missis Tinky she make like she's a-doin' it.

"Ou' Jackalse he rise up on his hine legs, an' he put his paws agen de
tree, an' he open his mouf an' shut his eyes, an' he fair feel de taste
o' dat egg a'ready.  An' den, yust den, Ou' Reyer she lean out over
Missis Tinky an' she open her big long beak, an', swock! she drop a
great big bull-frog right into Ou' Jackalse's froat.

"Wow! but dere was a chokin' an' a squeal-in' den.  Ou' Jackalse he yump
an' he roll, an' he fling hisse'f along de ground a-tryin' to cough up
darie fat bull-frog, an' darie ou' bull-frog he puff an' he wiggle an'
he slip down an' down till dere he is in Ou' Jackalse's tummy, a-hoppin'
an' a-floppin' an' a-croakin' an' a-gloakin' till Ou' Jackalse is yust
dat scared dat he light out f'm dere plump across de scenery.  An' he go
dat fast he yust hit de high places as he went an' never touch' de low.
I tell you Ou' Jackalse was scared.

"He don't stop nudder till he's yust dat puffed out dat he roll over an'
over like a shot hare, an' he's so long a-gettin' over it dat he forget
what day it happen in.  Ever since den, too, de birds all click deir
beakses at him, an' chatter at him, an' ax him how he likes Tinky eggs;
an' dat's what make him so shamed he ain't never cocked up his tail no
more--he yust cahnt do it."

"And serve him right," cried all the children in chorus.

Old Hendrik only shook his head.



CHAPTER TEN.

WHY LITTLE HARE HAS SUCH A SHORT TAIL.

Old Hendrik was standing by the corner of the house, milking pail in
hand, watching the slow procession of the cows homeward from the veldt.
The calves in the kraal clamoured insistently to hasten their mammies
home; those mammies answered now and then with a patient bellow of
assurance as they continued their placid pace, and Old Hendrik seemed to
be as vacant of thought or stir as they.  But when little Annie came
strolling out to enjoy the never-staling delight of seeing the headlong
rush of each calf in turn to its mammy, the old Hottentot looked down at
her and begun without further warning.  "Ole King Lion had five cows,
an' t'ree o' dem was wild an' wand'ry."

"Oh!" cried Annie, "I never heard of that.  And what did he do with
them, Ou' Ta'?"

"Why, milk 'em, o' course," returned Old Hendrik.  "What else?  An' some
o' de milk his ole missis an' de kleinkies drink, an' some he drink
hisse'f.  De rest he make de butter wid to grease all deir ole noses."

"Oh, how funny!" cried Annie in huge delight.  "And did he mind them
himself?"

"Course not!" retorted Hendrik, a little scornfully.  "Ain't he a king?
Kings don't mind cows.  Not him.  He yust make all de animals try deir
turn at it, but dese t'ree wand'ry ones dey'd keep gettin' away, an' den
de animal dat come home wid dem t'ree missin'--well, he'd be a-missin'
too, an' Ole King Lion he'd be dat much fatter.

"Well, it come Little Hahsie's turn at last--Klein Hahsie, dat you call
Little Hare, dat skellum Little Hare--but he yust prance out behind dem
cows in de mawnin' wid a high ole hop an a skip.  He'd show 'em about
mindin' five bally ole cows, he would, ses he.  He sticks a green twig
in his mouf, an' he biffs his ole hat down over his eyes, an' he gets
dem cows down in a hook o' de river an' squots down on a little
koppiekie to watch 'em, all nice an' all right.  `Mind five ole cows,'
ses he; `by de jimminy, gi'e me sometin' easier--if dere is any.'

"Well, it did look all serene-o, wid him dis side of 'em an' de river
bent all round 'em on de oder sides, an' plenty o' grass an' water an'
nice trees about.  `Sho,' ses he, `dem cows stray off?  Dey's got mo'
sense,' ses he.

"It was yust sich a easy yob dat in a while his eye 'gun a-wanderin'
round to see what else dere is dere besides de cows an' de rest of it.
An' fust he sees a little bushiekie, wid green leaves like he swears he
ain't seen afore, or leastways he ain't 'xamined much; so o' course he
hops over to dat an' pretends to tas'e it, an feel it, an' turn it over
gen'ally.

"Den he sees de blesbuck wanderin' past, wid de teenty little buckies
whimperin' an' nosin' ahter deir mammies, an' fust he squot an' watch
'em, an' den he get to feelin' cussed, an' he fair hop round 'em to
scare 'em an' make 'em flurry, till deir mammies turn round an' chase
him out o' dat.  Next he slant his eye at de spruit an' tinks he'll yust
sa'nter down an' frow stones at Ou' Sculpat, de Tortoise, an' ax him
what's his latest time for a mile wid a flyin' start.  Den he can hear
Ou' Sculpat use some rocky ole words.

"But when he gets down to de spruit Ou' Sculpat ain't dere at all, an'
dat make him hoppin' mad.  He's yust dat mad he chucks stones into de
water an' savages de reeds for anoder five minutes on end.  Den he looks
up an' dere he sees de honey-bird a-whickerin' about.  `Whatto!' ses
Hahsie.  `Dere's honey somewheres.  Here's on to it like one man.'

"Well, he hops on ahter de honey-bird, an' he hops on an' on, tinkin'
every mile he's gun' to get to dat honey soon.  An' den here comes a man
ridin' along, an' he sees de honey-bird too, an' he 'gins to folio' as
well.  Hahsie looks at him once, an' he sizes his face up.  `Dat lets me
out,' ses he to hisse'f.  `Dat face ain't a-gun' to stand me gettin' any
o' dat honey.  I'd about better turn back.'

"So he turns back, but de day's got dat hot an' de shade under de little
bushiekies is dat cool, he tinks he'll rest him a little while an' den
go on agen.  Wid dat he finds a nice bush an' squots him down.  An' you
know what's bound to happen den--he pop off to sleep.

"Along in de afternoon, when de day gets a bit cooler, he wake up an'
open his eyes.  `Hello!' ses he, `where's dem cows by dis time?'  Den he
rub his eyes an' he grin.  `One ting anyhow,' ses he, `if Ole King Lion
don't eat again till he eat me for dis, den he's mighty liable to die o'
starvation.'

"But when he gets back to de hook o' de river, dere's de two quiet ole
cows all right, but de t'ree wand'ry ones--well, dey's wandered.  He
look round an' round, an' he hop dis way an' dat, but he don't find hide
nor hair o' dem t'ree, till at last it's about time to be startin' for
de kraal wid dese two.  He takes one more long ole look round, but it
ain't no use, it don't find dem cows, an' so he starts dese two for
home.

"He ain't a-goin' far wid 'em dough.  He yust folio's on till de two can
see de kraal, an' den he pops back to de place where de oders was lost.
Now dere was a long ole, rocky ole, bushy ole island in de river dere,
wid rocks stickin' up all de way across de water to it, so Little Hahsie
can cross wid some tall hoppin'.  An' he crossed, you bet he crossed
mighty smart--an' he find him a snug little place all in a patch o' big
boulders an' bushes an' trees.  `Here's me,' ses he, `till I sees what's
a-goin' to happen.'

"Well, he ain't dere very long 'fore here comes Ole King Lion, yust
a-gur-r-rowlin' an' a-pur-rowlin an' a-singin' out, `Where's dat Klein
Hahsie dat went out so high an' smarty dis mawnin'?  Lemme yust find
him, dat's all!'  You bet Little Hahsie lie low den, an' wish dere was
big wings to him as well as long legs an' short 'uns.

"But Ole King Lion couldn't find him.  He ramp an' he stamp, an' he
squot down like he's goin' to be sick an' brings up a whackin' ole roar
dat fair shakes de island, but he don't start Little Hahsie, 'cause
Little Hahsie's too tremblin' to shift a foot, an' by'n'by King Lion he
go off to roar up some oder spot.  `Dat's a bit more like what I likes,'
ses Hahsie den.

"So at last it come dark, an' de lion was far enough off, an' Little
Hahsie hop out to stretch his legs an' tink a bit.  `But I wonder how
I'll do now when I goes back home to-morro',' ses he.

"Well, to-morro' come, an' Hahsie he tink dis way an' dat way, but he
make so little out of it dat he stop anoder night on de island, an' he
'gin to feel mighty longin' for home, I tell you.  An' nex' day it on'y
got worse, till it got dat bad about sundown he yust couldn't stand it
no longer.  `Here's off home,' ses he, `an' chance de chips.  I'll bet
I'll manage somehow.'

"In a while he gets home to King Lion's place, an' it's as dark as
billy-o, an' he squots down by de end o' de barn to see what's
happenin'.  By'n'by out comes his ole missis f'm de kitchen where she's
a-washin' up ahter supper.  `Sh--shee!' ses he, as low as he could for
her to hear him.

"She tink she know dat sound, an' she come up to him to see who it was,
an' she yust open her mouf to let out one big squeal, but he nabs her by
de ear in time.  `If you don't stop dat row, ole missis,' ses he, `I'll
bite your long fool ears off,' ses he.

"`But we all tink you was dead,' ses she.

"`Hmp!' ses he; `an' I s'pose you's a'ready got anoder ole man in your
eye?' ses he.

"`I hain't,' ses she.  `One's enough if he's bin like you.  But when Ole
King Lion found de t'ree cows yestiday, an' you wasn't wid 'em, he made
sure you was dead.'

"`An' was he sorry?' axes Hahsie.

"`Yes; he said it was sich a waste o' meat, him not gettin' you to eat,'
ses she.

"`Him he blowed!' ses Hahsie.  `You go an' bring me out sometin' nice to
eat, an' den I'll see about him.  He may be big an' ugly, but he ain't
so smart as some folk I knows.'

"Well, his missis she bring him out a mealie pap pot wid lots in it yet,
an' some milk, an' he tucks a fair ole little lot inside him.  `Dat's
all right,' ses he when he finis'.  `Now, you yust fetch me de rake, an'
den skip back an' leave de kitchen door open.'

"She fetches de rake an' hands it to him.  `But what's you goin' to do
wid dat?' ses she.

"`Get out o' dis an' shut up, or I'll do it to you instead!' ses he,
makin' a comb at her wid de rake, till she fair flew back to de kitchen.

"Well, he looks at de lights in de winda, an' he tinks o' de good ole
times he's had dere, an' den he fair lands into hisse'f wid dat rake.
He tears all his clo'es an' he tears all his hair, an' he gashes big
streaks in his face an' his hands an' his ribses, till he looks like
he's yust fell into a big ole mimosa an' bin drag' out by de heels.  Den
he stagger into de kitchen an' drop on de floor all of a heap.  `Where's
Ou' Doctor Jackalse?' ses he--`bring Ou' Jackalse, for I's yust about
gone up.'

"His wife yust gi'en one big ole squeal an' all de house was upside
down.  Here dey all comes a runnin' an' a yappin', an' here's King Lion
troo 'em all.  `Hello, you skellum,' ses he, `where come yeh from now?'

"Little Hahsie opens one eye an' looks at him.  `From where dem t'ree
cows horn me nea'ly to deaf, 'cause I stopped 'em wanderin',' ses he.
`I yust got here to-night to see my ole missis agen 'fore I pegs out.'

"`Allah Crachty now!' ses King Lion, `ain't dat funny!  But where's
darie Ou' Jackalse?  Let's have dis Hahsie doctored in less'n two shakes
of a lamb's tail.'

"So dey puts Little Hahsie to bed, an' Ou' Jackalse turn everybody out
o' de room while he can 'xamine him.  He look him over, an' he turn him
over, an' he feel him over, an' den--well den, Ou' Jackalse he wink at
Ole Hahsie, slow an' solemn, an' Ole Hahsie he wink at Ou' Jackalse half
a-grinnin'.

"`I tink you' back's pretty bad,' ses Ou' Jackalse.  `I 'specs you'll
ha' to stop in bed dese nex' days or two, an' nice bits o' scoff to
tempt your appetite.'

"`Yes,' ses Hahsie.  `A bit o' sugar cane or a water-millon now 'ud do
me pretty fine.'

"So Little Hahsie has to stop in bed for a week, an' all de time his
wife's a-grumblin' at him 'cause she has to wait on him, an tellin' him
she'll tell King Lion.  An' Hahsie tells her she'd yust better do it,
dat's all.  But all dis time he's s'posed to a-ketched sich a fair ole
cold dat he cahnt har'ly whisper, an' his back's dat bad he cahnt har'ly
bend it.

"Well, come de end o' de week an' King Lion 'gun to smell a rat.
`To-day you can go an' work in de to'acco lands,' ses he.

"Little Hahsie don't like dat, but he has to go an' git hold.  He lifts
dat hoe, an' he look at dat row, an' he squint out on de grass alongside
an' see a nice round Aard-Vark hole.  But he don't look de oder way,
else he'd a-seen King Lion hidin' hisse'f to watch him.  `To'acco
hoein's worse'n watchin' cows,' ses Hahsie, as he bent his back an' put
his hoe to work.

"Now de day was yust de sort o' day for makin' you feel good, an' Hahsie
hadn't hoed ten yards 'fore he forgot all about everytin' but wishin' he
was out on de veldt.  An' all de time King Lion in his hidin' place was
watchin' an' watchin' till at last he stick his head up an' shout
out--`Hahsie!  Klein Hahsie!'

"`Here I is!' ses Hahsie, clear out an' yumpin' up, forgettin' dat cold
an' dat sore back he's s'posed to be sick wid.

"King Lion he ses yust one word--`Ho!' ses he, an' he make a forty mile
spring to ketch Ole Hahsie.

"An' Hahsie he ses on'y one word too--`Oh!' ses he, an' he make a fifty
mile dive for darie Aard-Vark hole, an' he drops down it out o' sight
yust as Ole King Lion claws de tail off him, all but de stump.

"`By jimminy! dat skellum!' ses King Lion outside.

"`Allah Crachty! dat close shave!' ses Hahsie inside.

"Well, King Lion he waited an' he waited, but it wahnt no use at all,
for Klein Hahsie he didn't wait two shakes, but he sets to work an' digs
out at anoder place, a long way off in de mealies, an' pops off over de
sky line dat way.  But he's mighty careful to keep out of Ole King
Lion's way since den, for he got sich a scare dat time dat he hain't
never manage to grow a long tail agen, like he used to have afore.

"An' if you want's to know yust what a hairy ole scare he got,"
continued Old Hendrik, "you notice him nex' time you sees him.  You'll
see a white patch on his tail--dat's gone white wid de fright he got
when de great big claws was a-grabbin' de rest o' de tail off.  But
here's de cows, an' I's got to get to de milkin'," broke off the old
story-teller, swinging his pail and starting for the kraal.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

THE BARGAIN FOR THE LITTLE SILVER FISHES.

The youngest of the three children had brought in a tortoise from the
spruit behind the house, and was half-indignant and half-amused at the
stolid refusal of Mr Tortoise to put out his head in response to any
stroking of his shell, or to any shaking or bumping on the ground.
"He's just that cunning, Ou' Ta', I never did see anything like him,"
cried the little boy to Old Hendrik.

"Well, he is tink hisse'f mighty cunnin' sometimes," answered the old
Hottentot genially.  "But dere was once now, when Klein Hahsie want him
to ketch him de little silver fis'es."

"Oh, but that Klein Hahsie--that Little Hare--he is just such a
skellum!" broke in Annie.

"Well," hesitated Old Hendrik, "Little Hahsie he is a bit smart, but den
he don't get nob'dy's bones broke anyhow.  An' besides, Ou' Sculpat
dere--de Tortoise--he was yust too lazy for ornament, let alone use.

"It was a' dis way.  Little Hahsie he was a-hoppin' an' a-floppin' along
down de spruit one day, an' he come to where de water was a-runnin'
clear an' fine, an' what should he see in de big water-hole but all de
little silver fis'es yust a-glintin' an' a-twinklin'.  Allah Crachty! he
fair squot right down an' watch 'em, dey look dat good an' fine.

"But Little Hahsie ain't yust like a otter in de water, dough dere ain't
no otter of 'em all could beat him at wantin' dem fis'es.  So he squot,
an' he study, an' he tink till at last he see Ou' Sculpat a-danderin'
down, an' makin' no mo' to do but fair flop right in to de water, an'
sort o' hang in dere wid his nose yust out, like a bird might be
a-hangin' in de air wid his beak catchin' on to a cloud.

"Little Hahsie fair cock his one year at dat to see Ou' Sculpat do it so
easy, an' so twenty-shillin's-in-de-pound comfy like.  `By jimminy,
Sculpat, you looks at home all right,' ses he.

"`I is,' ses Sculpat, an' he don't take so much trouble as to turn his
head when he speak to Little Hahsie behind him, much less to turn his
body.  He sort o' shift one eye half-way round, an' dat's quite enough
too, tink he.

"`An' what does you do when you is at home?' ax Hahsie.

"`Dis,' ses Sculpat, an' he don't take de trouble to keep dat one eye
half-way round, but let it swing back like a swivel.

"Little Hahsie he flick his years like he tink someb'dy ought to yust
kick de stuffin' out o' Sculpat.  `But,' ses he, `you has to eat What
you do den?'

"`Eat,' ses Sculpat--yust de one word.

"`Oh,' ses Hahsie, like he'd like to do dat kickin' hisse'f.  `Den you
does ha' to shift yourse'f a bit sometimes.'

"`But I don't,' ses Sculpat.  `I's in my dinner now--dese water-weeds!'

"`Oh, you is, is you?' ses Little Hahsie, an' he's yust dat hairy over
it dat he biffs de ground wid his back leg an' he yump over his own
shadda.  `You's fair dat lazy you'd rader eat weeds, when all de time
dem pretty little silver fis'es is a-twinklin' an' a-slantin' roun' you!
Allah Crachty!'

"`What's I want wid twinkly little fis'es?' ses Sculpat.  `Weeds is nice
now, but fis'es--'

"`You can keep all de weeds if you gi'es me de fis'es!' ses Hahsie, like
he never did hear no such a fathead notion.

"`An' how if I keeps all de weeds anyhow, an' lets you do de same wid de
twinkly little fis'es, hey?' ses Sculpat, an' his face kind o' shine
like he'd be a-grinnin' if it wahnt too much trouble.

"Little Hahsie squot down agen at dat What Ou' Sculpat ses is yust so
right flat an' square dat Hahsie he feel right flat too.  But he see de
little silver fis'es a-flashin' agen an' he fair cahnt give up yet.
`Dat's a' right,' ses he; `but I's got my good clo'es on, an' dey won't
do to get wet.  What say you now if you was to ketch me out a little
string of 'em, hey?'

"`What ses I?' ses Sculpat.  `Rats!'

"Little Hahsie he's yust dat mad he pick up one foot to go, but he's
yust dat gone on dem fis'es dat he put anoder foot down to stop.
`Look-a'-here,' ses he.  `If you ketch me out some o' dem fis', den I'll
fetch you lots o' de nicest garden stuff from de farm yonder.'

"`Garden stuff!' ses Sculpat.  `Huh!--here's weeds!'

"`An' what if I eats up dem weeds?--what den?' ses Hahsie.

"`Dere's mo' weeds in de nex' water-hole,' ses Sculpat.

"`But I'll eat dem too,' ses Little Hahsie.

"Ou' Sculpat he yust lift his head clear o' de water, an' he stick it
straight up, and he laugh as quiet an as ghosty as if dat's de richest
ting he's ever hear.  `Oh! you yust go on an' eat 'em,' ses he.  `Do go
on an' eat 'em--an' by dat time your little tummy 'll be swell' an'
swell' till you's all blowed up like a poisoned pup.  Ho, yis! you start
in an' eat 'em, do!' an Ou' Sculpat he laugh like he's never a-gun' to
stop.

"Dat make Little Hahsie dat huffy he fair snift agen.  `You might laugh
some mo',' ses he.  `Why don't you go on an' laugh some mo'?  You' moufs
big enough, an' you's ugly enough.'

"`But I ain't half as ugly as you'd be if you eat all de water-weeds, or
dropped in an' tried to ketch de little twinkly fis'es,' ses Sculpat;
an' he laugh agen worser an' ghostier dan ever.

"Dat stir up Little Hahsie till he's fair clawin' mad, but yust when you
tink he's 'gun to begin to ploppin' out bad words, right den he seem to
wilt down into quiet, an' his face straighten out all de wrinkles like a
boy when you gi'es him sixpence for sweets.  He tinks dere's anoder way,
an' all he ses is--`All right, Sculpat.  Good mawnin',' and he offs, an'
he don't turn round needer, nor let on at all when he hear Ou' Sculpat
laughin' some mo' behind him.  He on'y grin an' grin.

"But 'stead o' goin' home he goes off to see Ou' Waxa, de Honey-bird.
`I wants some honey,' ses he.

"`So does I,' ses Waxa; `an' wouldn't I like to get some too!'

"`But ain't you got none?' ses Little Hahsie, wid his bofe years cocked
straight up wid s'prise.  `Ain't you got yust a leetle teenty bit?  Yust
a scrape o' honey'll do me.'

"`Dere's de place where de honey was,' ses Waxa, showin' him de hole in
de tree.  `I 'specs dere's all de scrape you wants--but I don't know
about de honey.'

"`De drippin's 'll do.  What you's dropped 'll do me,' ses Hahsie.  `Ou'
Sculpat he ain't never taste honey yet, so he won't know de diffrence of
a bit o' dirt or two.  De calabas' I'll put it in'll look big all de
same, weder dere's lots o' honey inside it or on'y one drop,'--an' wid
dat he pulls out a big calabasie wid a long bottle neck, an' 'gins to
scrape up de drippin's what Ou' Waxa drop when she pull de bits o' de
comb out o de tree.

"Well, it come de nex' day, an' Ou' Sculpat was dere in de water-hole,
feelin' de weeds agen his mouf an' not takin' de trouble to make up his
mind weder he'll eat or not, when here comes Klein Hahsie, yust
a-hoppin' an' a-skippin', wid a calabas' in his one hand, an' a-beatin'
it wid his toder like a drum.  An' all de time he's a-keepin' time wid
singin':--

  "Hahsie, Hahsie;
  Calabasie;
  Dum!  Dum!  Dam!

"Ou' Sculpat open his eyes at dat.  He turn his head, an' on dat Little
Hahsie gives a extry kick an' a stride.  `Here you is, Sculpat!' ses he.
`Taste dis!' an' he sticks a long feder into de calabas' an' pulls it
out wid a flouris' an' holds it up.  `Open your mouf, an' shut you'
eyes, an' see what comes dat's spiffin' nice,' ses he.

"Ou' Sculpat he wave hisse'f to de side o' de pool like he dunno weder
it's wort while or not; but he comes out an' he stick his head up an'
open his mouf an' shut his eyes--an' dat's why he don't see de grin come
in Little Hahsie's face, nor' de double extry flouris' he give de feder.
Den Hahsie draw de feder troo Ou' Sculpat's mouf an' out agen.

"As soon as he taste dat honey Ou' Sculpat's eyes flew wide open an' his
mouf begun a-workin' all ways at once.  `Allah Crachty! but dat's fair
fine-o,' ses he.  `Yust gi'e me a little teenty bit more o' dat, won't
you?'

"`Ah, now,' ses Hahsie.  `Yestiday when I ax you for some little fis'es
you was mighty snifty.  To-day I gi'es you some o' my nice stuff an' you
ses--"Mo."  An' I ses--"What for?"'

"`Well, I'll gi'e you a fis' if you gi'es me some more o' dat,' ses
Sculpat.

"`Hoho!' ses Hahsie.  `Yestiday I offer' to fetch you garden stuff an'
you ses you's got weeds.  S'pose I says now--"What do I want wid
fis'es--I's got honey?"--eh?'

"Ou' Sculpat he try to tink dat over, an' dis time it's Little Hahsie is
a-grinnin'.  `Yestiday you laugh' at me,' ses Hahsie.  `What price you
laugh at yourse'f to-day?  You wouldn't gi'e me what you had, but you
want me to gi'e you what I got.  What's de difference, Sculpat?'

"`Honey,' ses Sculpat; `an' you's got it.  How many silver fis'es you
want for dat calabas' o' honey?'

"`Ten,' ses Hahsie.

"`Right,' ses Sculpat.  `You be here in half an hour an' I'll have de
ten ready.'

"Well, Little Hahsie he hop off wid de same ole drummin' on de calabas',
an' de same ole song, `Hahsie, Hahsie, Calabasie!  Dum!  Dum!  Dum!'
Ou' Sculpat he sets to work to ketch dem fis'es."

"But, Ou' Ta'," interrupted the eldest boy, "how does Ou' Sculpat catch
fish?"

"Ah!" answered the old Hottentot slyly; "dat's yust what Ou' Sculpat
ain't never let anyb'dy see yet.  Dat's why he sent Klein Hahsie away
till he done it.  But anyhow, he ketched dese yere ten, an' laid 'em out
on de green o' de grass, all white an' shinin' silver in de sun; dey
looked mighty fine an' tasty, I can tell you.  An' den along comes
Little Hahsie agen wid de calabas'.

"`Here's de fis'; where's de honey?' ses Ou' Sculpat.

"`Here's de honey: count de fis',' ses Hahsie.

"Dey counted out de fis an' dere was de ten a' right, an' one little one
beside for bargain.  `Dat's de style,' ses Hahsie.  `Now open your mouf
an' shut your eyes an' see if dis stuff ain't rippin' nice.'

"Ou' Sculpat he shut his eyes an' he open his mouf, an' Little Hahsie he
flouris' de feder out o' de calabas' wid a mighty ole twirl, an' den he
draw it troo Ou' Sculpat's mouf slow an' slower till it come out across.
Den he yabs it half-way down his froat an' draw it back.  `Dere!' ses
he.  `Ain't dat nice?'

"Ou' Sculpat he don't say a word.  He yust smack his lips an' work his
mouf an' den plank it wide open for more.

"Little Hahsie he sort o' consider dat open mouf, an' he grin into it,
an' he slant his eye into it like he's lookin' down it to see what
Sculpat had for breakfas', an' he pat it under de chin, an' den, while
he's a-considerin' it some mo', Ou' Sculpat open his eyes an' ketch ole
Hahsie a-squintin' down his gumses.  `Well,' ses he, `what about de rest
of it?'

"`Dat's exac'ly what I wants to know,' ses Hahsie.  `Dat's why I's
a-lookin' down your froat--to see where de rest is went to.  Here's me
tipped up de calabas', an' den I rub a taste nicely in your mouf, an'
den I drop in all de rest, so you'd have a nice ten minutes suckin' on
it.  It drop in a' right, but, Allah Crachty! where's it go to?  Tell me
dat, Sculpat, for dere ain't no sign of it where I looked.'

"Ou' Sculpat stretch his eyes wide open at dat.  `It must ha' gone
somewhere,' ses Hahsie.  `Hyer's de calabas' quite empty for you to
see.'

"Ou' Sculpat cock his eye into de calabas', but he cahnt see nawtin'
dere, an' he look at Little Hahsie, an' Little Hahsie look back like dis
is de funniest merrikle ever was.  Den Sculpat dive into de inside o'
his shell to see if p'r'aps de honey might ha' got dere, but it ain't;
an' at last he ses--`What's you goin' to do about it?--you's got de
fis'es.'

"`An' you's got de honey,' ses Little Hahsie.

"`Where's it den?' ses Sculpat.

"`I put it into dis end o' you,' ses Hahsie.  `You's de one to know
what's happen' to it after dat.'

"Ou' Sculpat he consider a bit.  `Well, I did feel sometin' ticklin'
half-way down my froat,' ses he, `but I didn't feel it no furder.'

"`P'r'aps dat's de way you's made inside,' ses Hahsie; `half-way down
an' den a drop.'

"Ou' Sculpat he didn't say nawtin' to dat; he stick to business.
`When's I to have some mo'?' ses he.

"`When I wants more fis',' ses Hahsie, his big eyes fair a-shinin' wid
wonderin' about dat honey still.

"`An' when's dat?' ses Sculpat.

"`When I feels like I'd like some,' ses Hahsie, an' he don't grin a bit.

"`To-morro'?' axes Sculpat.

"`A' right,' ses Hahsie.  `You have de fis'es ready an' I'll see about
gettin' some mo' honey.  So long, den,'--an' Mr Hahsie he picks up de
ten fis'es an' de little one, an' he offs.

"Ou' Sculpat watch him go a minute.  `Dat stuff is taste rippin',' ses
he.  Den he flop into de water agen, but he don't eat any weeds.

"Well, de nex' day dere's Ou' Sculpat ready wid de ten fis'es but dere
ain't no little one extry dis time, an' hyer comes Hahsie wid de same
ole drummin' an' singin'--`Hahsie, Hahsie, Calabasie!  Dum!  Dum!  Dum!'

"But dis time when Ou' Sculpat open his mouf an' shut his eyes he don't
shut 'em; not quite; he keep one eye half-open.  Dat's de way he seen de
gay old flouris' Little Hahsie give de feder, an' de little little drop
o' honey dere is on it too.  Dat's de way also he seen de grin on Little
Hahsie's face, when Hahsie's a-lookin' into his mouf, where he's
touchin' spots here an' dere wid de feder, an' he get dat s'picious dat
his one eye spring wide open--an' dat's de way Little Hahsie seen yust
in time dat he's a-lookin'.

"But Little Hahsie he's a gamey ole bird, an' he don't turn a hair nor
let on in any sort o' way.  He yust holds de feder up like he's waitin',
an' he ain't a bit astonish' when Ou' Sculpat lets de oder eye spring
open too.  `How's de taste o' dat, Sculpat?' ses he.

"`It's a-gun' to taste better when dere's more on top of it,' ses
Sculpat.  `Come on wid de rest.'

"`Well,' ses Hahsie, `you ain't no picaninny.  You don't want me to
stick a bib under your chin an' feed you wid a feder.  Here you is--take
de calabas' an' eat de lot, an' I'll take de fis.'

"Sculpat he take de calabas', an' Hahsie he pick up de fis'; but he
ain't got two skips away before Ou' Sculpat sings out: `Hey yeh!
Where's-dis honey?'

"`Where you's got it, in de calabas',' ses Hahsie.

"`Dat's yust where I ain't got it,' ses Sculpat.  `Dere's de calabas'
an' dere ain't de honey; you look for yourse'f.'

"Little Hahsie look dat astonish'--you never seen no sich astonishment.
`Why,' ses he, `I went to Ou' Waxa, de Honey-bird, myse'f wid dat
calabas', so's to be sure an' get it full.  An' now I yust turns my back
an' you ses dere ain't none in it!'

"`An' dere was yestiday, too,' ses Sculpat.

"`Yes,' ses Hahsie, comin' one step back.  `Dere was yestiday; an' I
'specs dat's what's de matter to-day, same as 'yestiday.  You's gulluped
de lot down in one, an' now you wants to bluff me out dat you ain't had
none.'

"`Dat sort o' talk won't do,' ses Sculpat `Hyer's de calabas' an' hyer
ain't no honey.  You can look for yourse'f.'

"Hahsie looks, an' he cahnt see no mo' inside dat calabas' dan' anyb'dy
else can see de inside of any other bottle-neck calabas'.  But he make
like he's fair astonish', all de same.  `By jimminy! it do look like
it's empty,' ses he.  `But I'll tell you what, you let me have dat
calabas' agen, an' I'll take it back to Ou' Waxa an' ax her how it is
dere ain't no honey in it.  An' to-morro' when you has de fis'es ready
I'll bring two lots o' honey, one for to-day as well as to-morro'.  I'll
ha' to go quick, dough, if I's gun' to ketch Ou' Waxa 'fore she go.  So
long, den,' an' he offs wid de calabas' an de fis' 'fore you can say
rats!

"Ou' Sculpat ses on'y one ting: `To-morro' I has de honey fust'.  Den he
ins to de water-hole an' tinks.

"Well, to-morro' comes, an' de ten fis'es dis time is all laid out in a
wheel, wid deir little tails togeder an' deir heads out, so dey look
mighty fine in de sun.  But dis time here come Little Hahsie widout no
calabas' at all.  `Hello!' ses Sculpat, `where's de honey?'

"`Dat's yust what Ou' Waxa said when I took her de calabas',' ses
Hahsie.  `An' dis time she ain't a-trustin' me wid de honey.  You's got
to bring de fis'es an' come wi' me an' get de honey from her yourse'f.'

"`Well,' ses Sculpat, `I's gun' to see dis ting troo dis time.  I's
comin'.  Show de way, den,' an' he slings de fis'es two by two on his
back an' off dey pop.

"Off dey pops an' dey gets five yards on de road an' Hahsie finds
hisse'f a hundred yards ahead, so he squots an' waits for Sculpat to
come up.  `You better to shift yourse'f a bit mo' livelier,' ses he.

"Dey gets twenty yards furder, an' Little Hahsie finds hisse'f hoppin'
along on his lonesome near out o' sight ahead.  `Allah Crachty!' ses he,
`I might do a sleep while I's waitin' like dis,' an' as soon as Ou'
Sculpat comes up--`Is you goin' to get dere to-day, or is it to-morro'?'
ses he.

"But Ou' Sculpat he ain't got time for talkin'.  He yust keep on
flip-a-flipperin' along de road, an' Hahsie he starts wid him agen.

"Well, dis time Hahsie gets clean out o' sight over de rise, till after
a while he comes tearin' back, head fust, an' his front legs havin all
dey can do to keep out o' de way o' de hind 'uns.  `Look-a'-hyer, I's
been over de rise, an' dere'll be no honey left by de time we get dere
at dis rate.'

"`Ain't I a-comin'?' ses Sculpat.

"`Yes,' snort Hahsie, `an' so's good times--but when?  We's a-gun' to
lose dat honey if we don't do sometin'.  Here,' ses he, an' he hops
alongside Ou' Sculpat.  `Gi'e me de fis'es an' I'll go on an' get de
honey till you come,' an' 'fore Ou' Sculpat can consider dat, Little
Hahsie snatches de fis'es off his back.  `You keep comin' along till you
gets dere,' ses he, an' off he scoot wid his legs goin' yards long.

"`I'll come along in time,' ses Sculpat as Hahsie go over de rise.
`I'll keep on.  I wants dat honey.'

"Well, he did keep on," concluded Old Hendrik.  "He kep' on an' he kep'
on, over de rise an' over de veldt.  An' he look about an he ax about,
but--he ain't never come along to dat honey yet.  An' he never will."



CHAPTER TWELVE.

WHY THE TORTOISE HAS NO HAIR ON.

"But," demanded Annie of the old Hottentot, a couple of days later,
"after that horrid Little Hare cheated Old Tortoise over the little
twinkly fishes, what did Old Tortoise say next time he met him?"

"What did Ou' Sculpat say to Little Hahsie?" repeated Old Hendrik, with
a sudden wide open laugh.  "Well, Ainkye, he said a lot; you may bet he
said a lot.  He yust hatto say a lot 'cause what he ha' to say wahnt
true; an' when you hain't got de trufe to tell, den you has to use a
mighty lot o' words to make it stick."

"But surely Old Tortoise didn't believe that Little Hare after what he'd
done!" protested Annie.

"Oh, but you hain't never hear dat Little Hahsie talk when he's a mind
to butter some'dy down," rejoined Old Hendrik.  "Ou' Sculpat's one o'
dese people what wants to know 'fore dey b'lieves anytin', an' he was
raungin' round for blood an' t'under lookin' for Little Hahsie.  Well,
an' he meet him, an' de nex' ting you knows dey's yust ole chummies
a-plantin' peach-trees togeder.  Dat's fine, ain't it?  But den, de
finis' of it!--an' de finis' of it is, Ou' Sculpat hain't got no hair on
him any mo'."

"Why! did tortoises ever have hair on?" demanded little Annie in blank
astonishment.

"O' course dey had hair on," retorted Old Hendrik, protesting at such
astonishment in his hearer.  "Ain't his big broder, de otter, got hair
on him yet?  But Sculpat would get mix' up wid Little Hahsie, an' dere
you is; he hain't got no hair on him no more."

"Oh, how was that?  Do tell us," begged Annie.

"Why, it was dis a-way," went on Hendrik.  "When dey did meet, an' when
Ou' Sculpat finis' talkin' big, an' Little Hahsie finis' talkin' butter,
den Hahsie feel dat good an' harum-scarum inside him dat he hop, an' he
skip, an' he monkey off across de veldt till he come to a farm, an' dere
was de peach garden right in his way, wid de farm house a bit way off
f'm it.

"Well, Little Hahsie he squot an' he sniff, an' he tink about de dogs
an' de little boys dat frow stones; but he tink o' de peaches too, an'
he feel yust dat cussed dat he's a-gun' to have a try at dem peaches if
he lose his tail for it.  He can see de fence is all aloes an'
prickly-pear, growin' dat close dere ain't room even for Ou' Ringhals,
de snake, to get troo, let alone a Hahsie; but dat ain't a-gun' to send
him off widout peaches.

"So he looks about, an' dere's a round stony koppie yust back o' de
house an' garden, an' he hop round an' up de back side o' dat koppie,
an' peep over to have a reglar look at tings.  An' under a tree at de
foot o' de koppie he sees two fat dogs a-sleepin', an' comin' f'm de
garden dere's a little boy wid his daddy's ole hat full o' peaches; dese
big, fine, girl's-cheek peaches.  An' de boy goes an' sets down under de
tree.

"Little Hahsie he look at de boy, an' he look at de dogs.  Den he look
at de big stones, an' de little bushes all down de side o' de koppie, an
his big eyes 'gin a-shinin'.  `I knows how I'll get dem peaches,' ses
he.

"Well, he creep down de koppie troo de bushes an' de stones till he's
right at de bottom an' on'y about forty yards away from de little boy,
an' den he pop out right in front o' him.  He gi'es one hop an' he gi'es
two hop, an' den all of a sudden he squot flat, like he's yust seen de
little boy an' tinks de boy ain't seen him.  But dere's one fair ole
yell an' one mighty ole yump f'm darie boy, an' den he's yust a-sikkin'
de dogs on to ketch dis hare.

"Dat's all Little Hahsie want.  While de boy's a-yellin' an' a-yumpin',
an' while de dogs is a-wakin' an' a-lookin' out to see what's it all
about all dat time Klein Hahsie's yust a-makin' a brown streak round dat
koppie.

"But he ain't.  He on'y make ten yards of it an' den he's out o' sight
round de corner.  Dat's far enough, an' he yust gi'es one fair ole yump
to one side, up de koppie, an' squots down flat behind a stone till de
dogs is rush past wid de little boy runnin' all he know ahter 'em.  Den
Hahsie yust hop back to darie ole hatful o' peaches under de tree, an'
pick it up an' skip out o' dat eatin peaches all de way."

"And what did the little boy do when he got back and found his peaches
gone?" broke in Annie's younger brother.

"Well," answered Hendrik, "I on'y heard about what Klein Hahsie done.
Dey don't say nawtin' about what de boy done.  But I 'specs he yust went
back an' got some mo' peaches.

"But about Klein Hahsie," resumed he.  "Dese yere peaches taste yust dat
good dat all de while he's a-eatin' 'em he's tinkin' how nice it 'ud be
if he had his own tree to pick at widout no dogs to chase him.  An' de
mo' he eat de mo' he study, till at last it strike him what to do.  Den
he saves de last two o' de peaches, an' he biff dat ole hat into shape
wid a one-two, an' swack it down on one ear an' de back of his head, an'
off he set down de spruit to de water-hole where he'll find Ou' Sculpat.

"Ou' Sculpat was dere, wid his chin on top de water, lookin' yust as
leary as ever, an' he don't so much as wink his eye till Little Hahsie
shout him out.  `Hello!  Sculpat!' ses he.  `I's struck luck since I lef
you.  I's got peaches; an' I reckoned now we's frens I'd better gi'e you
one an' me de oder.  Here you is den, choose which one you'll have.'

"Well, Ou' Sculpat he tinks he'll tink it over, but he look at dem two
peach in Little Hahsie's han's, an' fust ting he knows he's flipped his
way out o' de water an' he's comin' to Hahsie, where he's a-sittin' wid
one leg crossed over toder, makin' hisse'f all nice an' comfy.  `Here
you is,' ses Hahsie, givin' him de biggest an' de ripest o' de two.
`You squot now, an' we'll fair enjoy dese ole peaches.'

"So Ou' Sculpat he squot, an' dey rolls dem peaches in deir han's, an'
dey suck 'em wid deir lips, an' dey squeeze deir teef in yust a leetle
bit an' taste de yuice o' dat.  An' dat's so nice dey cahnt hold off no
longer, but dey fair yum-yums into dem peaches an' scoffs 'em down an'
suck de stones clean.  `What you tink o' peaches now?' ses Hahsie.

"`I tinks I'd like to know where dere's some mo',' ses Sculpat.  `I'd
yust fair live on peaches if I had 'em.'

"`So'd I,' ses Hahsie; `an' I'll tell you what, Sculpat, I's bin
a-studyin'.  What you say now if we plant dese two stones an' grow two
trees for us ownselfs, an' yust sit under de branches an' watch de
peaches ripen?  Wouldn't dat be fine?'

"`Wouldn't it yust,' ses Sculpat.  `Wouldn't it yust.'

"`Right-o den,' ses Hahsie.  `Here we is now.  You pick a place an'
we'll plant dese two stones, one for me an' one for you.  We'll soon
have peaches ahter dat--tons an' tons,' ses he.

"`Right you is,' ses Sculpat.  `Yonder's de place.  We'll soon plant
'em.'

"So dey plants dese two stones, an' de trees spring up, an' den comes de
time to be waterin' 'em every day.  An' every day Ou' Sculpat's at it,
carryin' de water in his mouf to his tree; an' a-carryin' all de day
'cause he cahnt on'y hold a mighty little water in his mouf at one time.
So his tree kep' on a-growin' an' a-branchin'.

"But Little Hahsie he ain't a-waterin' no trees.  If darie ole tree o'
his want water, den it 'ad a-better sa'nter over to de water-hole an'
get it; or if it want to die, well, it can yust die an' be blowed to it,
ses he.  Den he'd go off an' squot down an' watch Ou' Sculpat carryin'
water, an' he'd laugh an' laugh; but he don't let nob'dy ketch him at
dat.

"Well, dis went on an' on, till Little Hahsie's tree's dead wid de want
o' water, while Ou' Sculpat's is big an' bushy wid de plenty of it, an'
in a while it's fair hangin' full an' bendin' down wid peaches--nice,
big, yuicy, girl's-cheek peaches.

"Ses Ou' Sculpat to Hahsie: `If you'd on'y a-watered your tree you'd
a-had peaches too now.  Don't you wis' you had?'

"`Well, dem peaches is look nice,' ses Hahsie.  `But dey'd be a lot
nicer for you if you could get at 'em to eat 'em.  How's you gun' to do
dat, Sculpat?'

"Ou' Sculpat swivel his eye to look at Hahsie.  Hahsie don't wink a
word.  Ses he: `It's all right, ain't it?  Dere's your peaches an'
dere's you, but dere ain't de eatin'--an' de eadn's de ting, ain't it?
How about dat part, Sculpat?'

"Ou' Sculpat yust drop right flat at dat; he hain't never tink o' dat.
He look at dat tree an' he look at dem peaches, such nice big peaches;
an' den he look at Little Hahsie.  `What'll I ha' to do?' ses he.

"`Well,' ses Hahsie, `I reckon dere ain't on'y one way.  You'll ha' to
get some'dy to climb up in de tree an' drop 'em down to you.'

"`An' you's de on'y one I knows dat can do it,' ses Sculpat.  `How if
you was to go up in de tree den?'

"`A' right,' ses Hahsie, like he's doin' de bigges' kind of a favour.
`I'll have a try, anyhow,' ses he, like he ain't so sure he can do it.
But he gi'es a hop, a skip, an' a yump, an' you can hear him laugh as he
land up in dem lower branches like a bird.  Den he climb an' he climb
till he's right up where de nicest peaches is.  An' den--why, den he
'gins to eat 'em.

"You should a-hear Ou' Sculpat shout at dat.  `Ho yeh!' ses he, `what
for you eat dem peaches up dere?'

"`'Cause dey's nice, what else?' ses Hahsie.  `Dey's about de nicest
peaches I ever tasted.  Here you is; dis stone now,' ses he, an' he drop
a peach stone fair on Ou' Sculpat's nose.  `You plant darie stone, an'
by'n'by you'll have a tree o' your own to eat off, an' den you won't
need to dance an' prance round dis one while you's watchin' me eat
peaches.'

"Sculpat he fair whistle, he's dat mad.  `By gum!  You flop right down
out o' dat or I'll knock de by-gum stuffin' out o' you,' ses he, an' he
yust paw de air.  `Dem's my peaches,' ses he.

"`Is dey?' ses Hahsie.  `Den if dey is I'd advise you to shake yourse'f
a bit an' come up an' get a few while dere's some left,' an' Hahsie sort
o' smile down at him.

"Ou' Sculpat he reg'lar stretch his neck down dere on de ground.  `You's
smart,' ses he, `almighty smart; but I know what I'll do.  You yust stop
up dere an' see if I don't fix you.  You wait a bit, dat's all,' an' he
turns an' he offs back to de spruit, wid Little Hahsie singin' a song to
him as far as he can hear him, about how nice it is to eat peaches in de
tree.

"But it ain't no time at all 'fore here comes Ou' Sculpat back agen, an'
de hool gang o' de sculpats wid him.  An' dey make no mo' to do, but dey
marches right up to de tree an' 'gins to bite it round to cut it down.
`Now we's got you,' ses Sculpat.  `We'll see how you like it when we get
hold o you.'

"`When you get hold o' me,' ses Hahsie.  `Fire away den,' an' he yust
keep on a-eatin' peaches like dat's what he was born doin'.

"By'n'by de tree's mighty near cut troo, an' by dat time dere ain't one
peach left.  Little Hahsie's eat de last one.  `Dat's a' right,' ses
Sculpat.  `But I's yust a-gun' to knock dem peaches out o' you agen now,
wid all de rest o' de by-gum stuffin'.'

"Den _car-r-rack_! goes de tree, an' it 'gin to swing dis way an' dat
way, an' all de sculpats stand ready to ketch Little Hahsie.  Den
_cur-rack-rack_ sounds de tree an' down it come; but, yust as it's
a-fallin', dere's Little Hahsie, _dar soh_! away out yonder.  For he
gi'en one fair ole winger of a yump, an' he land far out de yonder side
de ring o' sculpats, an' dere he goes now a-streakin' over de rise an'
out o' sight.  `Who's a-knockin' de stuffin' out o' who now?' ses he, as
he send de heel dust a-flyin' behind him.

"But de sculpats dey ain't done yet.  Dey's too mad to gi'e up so easy
as dat.  `I know what he'll do,' ses Ou' Sculpat.  `He's yust so full o'
peaches he'll squot right down dere over de rise an' go to sleep.  So
we'll do dis; we'll get round him in a great big ring a mile wide, an'
den when he 'gins to run agen we'll keep a-poppin' up an' a-poppin' up
everywhere he stops, till he'll yust run on till he drops.  Den we has
him.'

"`Dat's yust what we'll do,' ses all de sculpats.  An' right dere dey
start to do it.

"Well, Little Hahsie was a-sleepin' on de yonder side de ridge, where
he'd squotted down, when up pops Ou' Sculpat, yust dat close dat dere
ain't no time for foolin' or anytin' but gettin' away.  But Hahsie flick
up his heels an' laugh as he go.  `Why don't you ketch me?' ses he.

"Ou' Sculpat grin, but he don't say nawtin'.  He yust flop down in de
grass agen an' wait.

"In a while Klein Hahsie rinks he's run fur enough, but he hadn't more'n
stop 'fore up pops anoder sculpat a-comin' at him.

"`Hello!' ses Hahsie.  `Here a'ready, is you?  Allah Crachty! how you
manage dat?'  But de sculpat keep a-comin' on, an' Hahsie has to off
agen, an' dis time he don't flick his heels.

"Well, de same ring happen once an' de same ring happen twice, an' it
went on like dat till Little Hahsie was dat near done for dat de
sculpats 'gin to close in on him.  `Now we's got you,' ses dey.

"`Has you?' ses Hahsie, an' he look round, an' dere he sees a dead
elephant lyin' in de grass.  `Dat's de ting,' ses he, an' he makes a
dive an' he pops right inside dat elephant, troo his mouf.

"Now dat elephant was all swelled up wid bein' two days dead, an' when
Little Hahsie dives inside it, head fust it set up such a morion an'
commotion dat it look like de elephant's a-gun' to roll over an' get up
on to his four big legs.  De trunk lift up, an' de top ear wag, an' de
sculpats all rink, by jimminy, darie elephant's de liv'est elephant
dey's seen dis many a day.

"`Run now!' shouts de sculpats.  `Darie elephant's Klein Hahsie's daddy,
an' he's a-gun' to get up an' tromp us to smash!  Get away now!' ses
dey.

"Little Hahsie, inside, he hear all dat, an' he fair 'gun to ramp about
in dat elephant, an' he shout outen his trunk like billy-o, an' it made
dat big a row, an' dat big a wiggle, dat you hain't never seen no
sculpats ever doin' no sich a gettin' away as dey did.  'Fore dat time
dey used to have hair on 'em like a otter, but dey went dat far an' dey
went dat fas'--for sculpats--troo de bush an' de stones an' de grass,
dat dey wear all de hair off n 'em, till dey get's quite smoove an'
polish like you sees 'em now.

"An' dat's why de sculpats is got no hair on 'em," concluded the old
Hottentot, with all the dignity of a learned professor to his class.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

WHY THE RATEL IS SO KEEN ON HONEY.

The children were accompanying Old Hendrik from the tobacco lands to the
mealie lands farther out, and on the way, in crossing the broken,
bush-grown spruit between, the eldest boy marked a fresh earth of the
Ratel or honey-badger.  "Dat's bad to see if we don't do sometin'," said
Old Hendrik.  "Dere'll be mighty little honey on dis place 'fore long if
we don't drop on to Mr Ratel."

"But, Ou' Ta'," demanded Annie, "why is the Ratel always after the
honey?"

"Well, Ainkye," answered Old Hendrik gravely, "it's 'cause it's in de
blood.  Some folk ses it's dis way an' some ses it's dat way but as soon
as Ou' Ratel sees 'em comin' to ax, he fair dives into diggin', an' he's
half-way down to Dublin, as your mammy ses, 'fore dey comes to where he
started f'm.  It ain't dat dese hyer Ratels ain't proud o' de reason,
'cause dey tinks it was mighty smart o' deir grandaddy.  It's yust dey
rinks nobody knows, an' so dey won't tell.

"But I knows, 'cause my ole grandaddy tole me, an' it happen in his
grandaddy's time.  You see it was de grandaddy of all dese yere Ratels,
an it was when he was a young _kerel_ in his daddy's house.  Dere ain't
no doubt he was slim, _baiah_ slim, an' he was yust dat gone on honey
dat he even played tricks on his ole daddy, till at last he tried on dat
about de sack o' honey an' de honey-gum tree.  Den--well, you listen.

"Dis young Seeunkie Ratel was de sort dat his mammy was al'ays a-fallin'
out wid his daddy over him, reckonin' his daddy was al'ays a-tinkin' he
was up to some skellumness or other.  An I reckon myse'f dat de ole man
know'd.  However, de ole man had a big goatskin chock full o' de finest
honey, an' he kep' it under de bed in de sleepin' chamber, so it 'ud be
nice an handy--an' safe.  In a mawnin' dey'd all get up, an de ole daddy
he'd go out an' have a look round, an' de ole mammy she'd be busy
a-gettin' de breakfas' ready, while little missy Wilhelmina Ratel she'd
play about, inside or outside or underfoot, yust like little girls does
when deir mammies is busy.  An' all dis time young Seeunkie Ratel he'd
be--well--dat's when de honey 'ud be doin' de dis-appearin'.

"What he used to do was to wait till de rest was outside or in de eatin'
room, an' den he'd sneak back into de sleepin' chamber, pull out his
knife, snick a chunk o' dis sugary honey out o' de bag, slip it into his
pocket an' off out to have a look round too, 'fore breakfas'.  Dat's
when he'd scoff dis chunk o' honey.

"Well, de ole daddy he sees his honey lookin' less an' less every day,
an' he scratch his head an' he say to his wife: `Mammy,' ses he, `dat's
mighty funny about dat honey.  It's a-goin' somewheres.'

"`Well,' ses she, `what you expect?  You let dat good-for-nuffin'
Wilhelmina play about yust as she likes an' do what she likes, an' yet
you won't never b'lieve nawtin' I tells you about her.  I know'd she'd
be in some mischief soon,' ses she, for Ole Missis Ratel was one o' dese
women what's all for deir skellum of a boy, an' so de daddy has to be
good to de little girl hisse'f.

"Well, ole daddy he sit down an' he tink an' tink, an' old mammy she go
out an' ketch hold o' little Wilhelmina an' spank an' spank, but young
Seeunkie he stays out on de veldt an smack an' smack his lips on de
honey, an' keep de tail o' one eye over his shoulder to watch if his
daddy's comin'.

"Tings went on a-dis way den, till one mawnin' at breakfas' dey had a
pretty good ole breakfas', an' by de time dey'd finis' de ole daddy was
a-feelin' yust right an' comfy, an' he lean back in his chair an' pulls
out half a yard o' yuicy ole to'acco.  `Len' your ole daddy your knife
for a minute, Seeunkie,' ses he.

"Young Seeunkie tink no mo' about it, but dives down in his pocket an'
haul out his knife an' lifts it over.  But he hadn't no mo' dan stretch
it out 'fore he feels de honey sticky on it, yust as de ole daddy grips
his fingers on it.  De yoke's on his neck now, tinks Seeunkie, as he
looks at his daddy, but he never lets on yust yet.

"Oom Ratel gets de knife open 'fore de sticky feelin' strikes him.  Den
he looks down at de blade an' de joints of it an' den he looks up at
young Seeunkie an' de cheeks of him, an'--well, he gets up an' grabs dat
young burgher by de scruff.  `So it's you bin steal all dat honey, is
it?' ses he.  `Yust what I t'ought a'ready.'

"`Dere you is agen,' shouts de ole fool mammy.  `Blamin' him 'fore you
knows if it's true or not.  You ain't ask him what he's got to say.'

"`Dere ain't no need for any say in it,' ses ole daddy.  `Dere's de
honey on his knife to do all de sayin'.'

"`But dat ain't honey at all;' ses Seeunkie, bold as brass now his
mammy's up.  `Dat's yust sweet honey-gum.  I found a tree o' sweet gum
yestiday down by de spruit.'

"`Sweet gum!' ses Oom Ratel.  `I's lived a bit longer an' seen a bit mo'
dan you, Seeunkie, but I ain't never seen any sweet gum tree nor heerd
o' one yet.'

"`Well, you's seen an' heerd o' sweet gum now,' snaps dat ole fool
mammy; `an' dat on'y shows how much smarter he is dan you.  You let him
go, an' he'll show you de tree a' right enough.'

"`Yes, I will,' ses Seeunkie, as sa'cy as a new ticky.

"`Right den,' ses de ole daddy.  `I's yust a-goin' round de koppie now,
an' as soon as I'm back you'll ha' to show me dis sweet gum tree, or
else I'll knock some gum out o' you.'

"So off goes Oom Ratel round de koppie, an' den young Seeunkie looks at
his mammy, an' his mammy looks at him.  `What'll you do now, Seeunkie?'
ses she.

"`Go an' show him de tree,' ses Seeunkie.  `You lend me anoder knife
now, an' you'll see.'

"Well, she lend him dis knife, an' off he pops an' down to de spruit.
Dere he pick out a nice young t'orn tree standin' by itself, one dat
hain't got many gum cracks on it, an' he set to work like billy-o to
scrape off every bit o' dat gum an' leave de spots bare.  An' when he
couldn't see not de glisten o' one speck left, den he goes back home an'
waits for de ole daddy.

"Well, an' here comes in Oom Ratel.  `Ready to show me dat tree now?'
ses he.

"`I is,' ses Seeunkie.  `Come dis way an' I'll show you.'

"So off dey pops an' comes to de tree.  `Dat's de tree, daddy,' ses
Seeunkie.  `See how clean I scraped it till dere ain't none left, it was
dat good.'

"Oom Ratel he look at de tree an' he see de bare spots, an' he try to
scrape de cracks wid his nails to taste it.  But young Seeunkie's
scraped too clean for dat, an' so de ole daddy has to turn round an'
look at him.  `An' when's dis tree goin' to ha' some more honey on it?'
ses he.

"`Well, it's of a mawnin' de honey's out,' ses Seeunkie.  `Dere has to
be de sun on it all day, an' den at night de stuff runs.  To-morro'
mawnin's de time den.'

"`A' right,' ses ole daddy.  `To-morro' mawnin' you leave dis tree alone
till I comes.  Don't you dah to touch it 'fore I sees it.  Den we'll
see,' ses he.

"Well, p'r'aps you tink dat 'ud set young Seeunkie to studyin' hard.
But not him; he yust stalks back wid his ole daddy, hands in pockets an'
mouf in a whistle, like a location Kaffir wid new yalla boots on.  It
ain't no sort o' trouble to him to plan skellum; it yust come nat'ral to
him.

"When dey gets home young Seeunkie grins at his mammy, but Oom Ratel he
goes out agen on business.  An dis time he takes de honey sack wid him,
for he's got a plan an' he's yust a-startin' to work it.  But he hain't
got nawtin sure yet to say to his missis one way or anoder as he goes
out.  She has.  She ses it too.  `Didn't I tole you!' ses she.

"Next mawnin' Oom Ratel gets all his goin's out done 'fore breakfas', so
as he'll be ready for dis honey tree first ting ahter it.  But young
Seeunkie he goes out too on his own account, on'y he first cuts anoder
chunk o' honey out of his ole daddy's goatskin under de bed, an' takes
dat wid him, an' as soon as he gets to de young mimosa he scrapes de gum
spots clean agen an' daubs 'em all fresh wid honey.  Den he sneaks home
an' smiles to hisse'f all troo breakfas' time.

"Well, ahter breakfas' Oom Ratel he ses.  `Come on,' an' de young
Seeunkie he ses, `A' right,' an' off dey pops down to de honey-gum tree.
Sure enough, dere's de honey an' dere's de ole daddy a-tastin' it an'
a-sayin' what mighty good stuff it is.

"`Well,' ses de young fella, `I tole you all de time, but you wouldn't
b'lieve me.  An' now what?' ses he.

"`Oh, now everytin's all right,' ses de ole daddy grinnin'.  `An' here
you is, Seeunkie, I's brought dis,' ses he, pullin' out a big new
goatskin sack.  `You scrape off all dat honey-gum now onto a big leaf
for your ole daddy to eat an' den you can stop here wid dis sack an'
keep on scrapin' every mawnin' till you gets it full.'

"`Oh, but,' ses young Seeunkie, `it'll take so long to fill dat!'

"`Oh, dat's all right,' ses his ole daddy, all a-smilin'.  `In de
daytime you can dig yourse'f a little house, an' your sister Wilhelmina
can bring you some scoff every mawnin', an' you'll yust have a fine ole
time wid no ole daddy to boss you.'

"Well, wasn't young Seeunkie s'prise, an' didn't he sniff an' he snivel.
But it ain't no use, he ha' to stop.  An' when it come ahternoon too,
an' he go up home an' he howl an he prowl, it still ain't no manner o'
use eeder, for de ole man just pops out ahter him an' shambok him away
agen.

"`Now, what's all dat for?' scream ole Missis Ratel.  `Didn't he show
you de tree, an hain't you eat de sweet gum yourse'f?'

"`I did,' ses ole Ratel.  `Dat's yust it.  If I hadn't a-eat it I
mightn't a-know'd.  But I put rock aloes yuice on de honey dat was in de
bag under de bed last night, an' dis sweet gum f'm de t'orn tree was
yust a-stingin' wid aloes yuice dis mawnin'.  If young Seeunkie's smart
enough to steal his daddy's honey, an' try to fool him, den he's big
enough an' smart enough to look out for hisse'f f'm now on.  Dere's lots
o' country out o' doors for him to dig in.'

"Well, ole Missis Ratel she rage an' she ramp, but it ain't no manner o'
use.  De ole man stick to what he say, an' young Seeunkie hatto go, all
'cause he couldn't leave any honey alone, not even his ole daddy's.

"So," concluded the old Hottentot, "now you knows why de Ratel is yust
so dead gone on honey--it's in de blood, an' you cahnt get dat out
nohow.  An' ahter dat, don't you Kleinkies ever go stealin' your ole
daddy's honey, else you'll be gettin' de same way."  With which
debatable threat Old Hendrik resumed his course to the mealie lands
beyond.





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