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Specimens of Bushman Folklore, by W.H.I. Bleek and L.C. Lloyd, [1911], at


The people had gone hunting: she was ill; and she perceived a man [2] who came up to her hut; he had been hunting around.

She asked the man to rub her neck a little with fat for her; for, it ached. The man rubbed it with fat for her. And she altogether held the man firmly with it.[3] The man's hands altogether decayed away in it. [4]

Again, she espied another man, who came hunting. And she also spoke, she said.: "Rub me with fat a little."

And the man whose hands had decayed away in

[1. Testudo pardalis.

2. The narrator explains that this misfortune happened to men of the Early Race.

3. By drawing in her neck.

4. The flesh decayed away and came off, as well as the skin and nails, leaving, the narrator says, merely the bones.]

her neck, he was hiding his hands,[1] so that the other man should not perceive them, namely, that they had decayed away in it. And he said: "Yes; O my mate! rub our elder sister a little with fat; for, the moon has been cut,[2] while our elder sister lies ill. Thou shalt also rub our elder sister with fat." He was hiding his hands, so that the other one should not perceive them.

The Leopard Tortoise said Rubbing with fat, put (thy hands) into my neck. And he, rubbing with fat, put in his hands upon the Leopard Tortoise's neck; and the Leopard Tortoise drew in her head upon her neck; while his hands were altogether in her neck; and he dashed the Leopard Tortoise upon the ground, on account of it; while he desired, he thought, that he should, by dashing (it) upon the ground, break the Leopard Tortoise. And the Leopard Tortoise held him fast.

The other one had taken out his bands (from behind his back); and he exclaimed: "Feel (thou) that which I did also feel!" and he showed the other one his hands; and the other one's hands were altogether inside the Leopard Tortoise's neck. And he arose, he returned home. And the other one was dashing the Leopard Tortoise upon the ground; while he returning went; and he said that the other, one also felt what he had felt. A pleasant thing

[1. He sat, putting his hands behind him, when the other man came, taking them out from the Leopard Tortise's neck.

2. The moon 'died', and another moon came, while she still lay ill, the narrator explains. "Whilst in the preceeding myths of the Mantis, the Moon, according to its origin, is only a piece of leather (a shoe of the Mantis),-in Bushman astrological mythology the Moon is looked upon as a man who incurrs the wrath of the Sun, and is consequently pierced by the knife (i.e rays) of the latter. This process is repeated until almost the whole of the Moon is cut away, and only one little piece left; which the Moon piteously implores the Sun to spare for his (the Moon's) children. (As mentioned above, the Moon is in Bushman mythology a male being.) From this little piece, the Moon gradually grows again until it becomes a full moon, when the Sun's stabbing and cutting processes recommence." ("A Brief Account of Bushman Folk-lore and other Texts." By W.H.I. Bleek, Ph.D. Cape Town, 1875. p. 9, §16.)]

(it) was not, in which he had been! He yonder returning went; (he) arrived at home.

The people exclaimed: "Where hast thou been? And he, answering, said that the Leopard Tortoise had been the one in whose neck his hands had been; that was why he had not returned home, The people said: "Art thou a fool? Did not (thy) parents instruct thee? The Leopard Tortoise always seems as if she would die; while she is deceiving us."

Next: The Children Are Sent To Throw The Sleeping Sun Into The Sky.