THE LIONESS AND THE OSTRICH (South-African Folk-Tales, 1910) by James A. Honey

It is said, once a lioness roared, and the ostrich also roared. The lioness went toward the place where the ostrich was. They met. The lioness said to the ostrich, “Please to roar.” The ostrich roared. Then the lioness roared. The voices were equal. The lioness said to the ostrich, “You are my match.”

Then the lioness said to the ostrich, “Let us hunt game together.” They saw eland and made toward it. The lioness caught only one; the ostrich killed a great many by striking them with the claw which was on his leg; but the lioness killed only one. When they had met after the hunting they went to the game, and the lioness saw that the ostrich had killed a great deal.

Now, the lioness also had young cubs. They went to the shade to rest themselves. The lioness said to the ostrich, “Get up and rip open; let us eat.” Said the ostrich, “Go and rip open; I shall eat the blood.” The lioness stood up and ripped open, and ate with the cubs. And when she had eaten, the ostrich got up and ate the blood. They went to sleep.

The cubs played about. While they were playing, they went to the ostrich, who was asleep. When he went to sleep he also opened his mouth. The young lions saw that the ostrich had no teeth. They went to their mother and said, “This fellow, who says he is your equal, has no teeth; he is insulting you.” Then the lioness went to wake the ostrich, and said, “Get up, let us fight”; and they fought. And the ostrich said, “Go to that side of the ant-hill, and I will go to this side of it.” The ostrich struck the ant-hill, and sent it toward the lioness. But the second time he struck the lioness in a vulnerable spot, near the liver, and killed her.

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