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Notes on the Folklore of the Fjort, by Richard Edward Dennett, [1898], at


I CLOSED the autobiography of a Fjort in "Seven Years among the Fjort" thus: "We were obliged to hurry back to town, however, as notice was brought to us that some one had killed a leopard. The custom is that when a leopard is killed, the people of the different towns in that district can loot each other's towns to their hearts' content, and on the day fixed for the delivery of the leopard to the king, the destroyer of the leopard can take it through any of the towns he chooses, having the right to appropriate any article he may meet in his road that is not inside a shimbec or other dwelling."

I can now tell you more of this custom. The slayer, it seems, is himself tied up, and the head of the leopard is carefully wrapped up in cloth. Both are then taken to the king, who addresses the slayer thus:

"My son, why have you slain this man?"

"Father," answers the slayer, "he is a very dangerous man and has taken the life of many. of your people's sheep and fowls."

"Thou hast done well, my son. Count now the hairs of his whiskers. As thou knowest, there should be three times nine hairs, and for every one that is missing must thou pay me two pieces of cloth."

"Father, they are all there."

"Then pull them out carefully; take also his teeth, his claws, and his skin, and prepare them for my use."

This the hunter does and presents them to the king.

Then the king again addresses him:

"My son, thou art a great hunter and must need someone to cook thy food for thee when thou goest out hunting. Take therefore this young girl as thy slave, or concubine."

"But father, look! I am not in a fit state to receive such a gift; my clothes are worn and tattered."

"Thou sayest but what is the truth, my son. Take therefore these clothes and dress thyself."

"Yea, father, thou art too good to me; but I have no one to cut wood for such a beautiful creature."

"There, there, take this small boy to cut wood for her, and this man to carry thy gun."

"I clap my hands to thee, father, and thank thee."

Then the king has to give a grand feast in honour of the event.

Next: XIX. The Gazelle And The Leopard.