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Why Leopard & Baboon
"Long ago, Leopard and Baboon
shared the land in peace. They met here and there, politely
nodding to one another as they passed. Early one morning, before
the sun had crept far above the horizon, Leopard began chasing
Dassie, the rock hyrax, who scuttled along like a large guinea
pig. As Leopard chased her, Dassie darted toward a huge anthill
and disappeared down its hole. Leopard reached her paw down
the hole, but it was too deep, and she could not reach Dassie.
For a long time, Leopard scratched at the anthill, but she still
could not reach Dassie. As the sun rose higher in the sky, Leopard
began to feel hot.
Just then, Baboon passed by. "You
look very hot", Baboon said to Leopard. "You should
go to the river and take a swim and have a drink of water."
"I do not want to leave",
Leopard said. "I am very hungry and must wait for Dassie
to emerge from this hole."
"I will stand guard", Baboon
said. "You go to the river, and when Dassie emerges, I
will grab her and hold her for you."
"Thank you, friend," Leopard
said as she ran down the hill toward the river. Baboon settled
down against the anthill, happy to sun himself on the warm sand.
Soon, he fell asleep and began snoring. Dassie, hearing Baboon's
snoring, crept out of the hole. Leopard returned to the anthill
just in time to see Dassie disappear into the tall grass. Leopard
angrily pounced on Baboon and slapped him awake. "You worthless
ape!" she roared, insulting him greatly by calling him
an ape, for baboons are not apes. "My breakfast just ran
down the hill!"
Leopard's anger frightened Baboon,
and he started to back away from her. But Leopard leaped forward
and grabbed Baboon by the throat. "You let that tasty,
fat Dassie escape," Leopard scolded. "Perhaps I should
eat you instead!" And she opened her mouth to take a bite.
"Wait!" squealed Baboon.
"Let me pay you for my mistake!"
"How?" Leopard snarled.
"By revealing a secret to you,"
said Baboon. "This is not the way to kill a baboon. You
must drop a baboon from a great height so that it shatters into
many bite-sized pieces. We are much tastier that way."
Leopard was astounded.
"Throw me up into the air by
this tree," chattered Baboon, "and I will fall and
break into a hundred tender little pieces."
Leopard was very hungry, but she
couldn't resist the idea of eating Baboon as tender morsels,
so she tossed Baboon high into the air. In a flash, Baboon reached
out and grabbed a tree branch. Then he screamed that she was
ugly before swinging through the highest tree branches until
he was far out of sight. Leopard never forgot the embarrassment
of being so foolish, and she never forgave Baboon for calling
her ugly. To this day, leopards kill and eat baboons whenever
they can catch one. And baboons scream insults at leopardsfrom
a safe distance."
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