Kaffir Folk-Lore by Georg McCall Theal

Barking Black-Backed Jackal by Beverly Joubert

Kaffir Folk-Lore
by Georg McCall Theal


Introductory Chapter Regarding the Kaffirs

The Story of the Bird That Made Milk

The Story of Five Heads

The Story of Tangalimlibo

The Story of the Girl Who Disregarded the Custom of Ntonjane

The Story of Simbukumbukwana

The Story of Sikulume

The Story of Hlakanyana

The Story of Demane and Demazana

The Runaway Children; or, The Wonderful Feather

The Story of Ironside and His Sister

The Story of the Cannibal's Wonderful Bird

The Story of the Cannibal Mother and Her Children

The Story of the Girl and the Mbulu

The Story of Mbulukazi

The Story of Long Snake

The Story of Kenkebe

Another Story of Kenkebe

The Story of the Wonderful Horns

The Story of the Glutton

The Story of the Great Chief of the Animals

The Story of the Hare

The Story of Lion and Little Jackal

Proverbs and Figurative Expressions


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The Story of the Wonderful Horns

THERE was once a boy whose mother that bore him was dead, and he was ill-treated by his other mothers. On this account he determined to go away from his father's place. One morning he went, riding on an ox which was given to him by his father. As he was travelling, he came to a herd of cattle with a bull.

His ox said: "I will fight and overcome that bull."

The boy got off his ox's back. The fight took place, and the bull was defeated. The boy then mounted his ox again.

About midday, feeling hungry, he struck the right horn of his ox, and food came out. After satisfying his hunger, he struck the left horn, and the rest of the food went in again.

The boy saw another herd of dun-coloured cattle. His ox said: "I will fight and die there. You must break off my horns and take them with you. When you are hungry, speak to them, and they will supply you with food."

In the fight the ox was killed, as he had said. The boy took his horns, and went on walking till he came to a village where he found the people cooking a weed [called tyutu], having no other food to eat.

He entered one of the houses. He spoke to his horn, and food came out, enough to satisfy the owner of the house and himself. After they had eaten, they both fell asleep. The owner of the house got up and took away the horns. He concealed them, and put two others in their place.

The boy started next morning with the horns, thinking they were the right ones. When he felt hungry, he spoke to the horns, but nothing came out. He therefore went back to the place where he had slept the night before. As he drew near, he heard the owner of the place speaking to the horns, but without getting anything out of them.

The boy took his horns from the thief, and went on his way. He came to a house, and asked to be entertained. The owner refused, and sent him away, because his clothes were in tatters, and his body soiled with travel.

After that he came to a river and sat down on the bank. He spoke to his horns, and a new mantle and handsome ornaments came out. He dressed himself, and went on. He came to a house where there was a very beautiful girl. He was received by the girl's father, and stayed there. His horns provided food and clothing food for them all.

After a time he married the girl. He then returned home with his wife, and was welcomed by his father. He spoke to his horns, and a fine house came out, in which he lived with his wife.

The text came from:

Theal, Georg McCall. Kaffir Folk-Lore. London: S. Sonnenschein, Le Bas & Lowrey, 1886. Buy the book in paperback.

Available from

Kaffir Folk-Lore by Georg McCall Theal

The Orphan Girl and Other Stories: West African Folk Tales by Buchi Offodile

African Folktales (Pantheon Fairy Tale & Folklore) by Roger Abrahams

The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales by Joyce Cooper Arkhurst

Favorite African Folktales by Nelson Mandela

The Girl Who Married a Lion and Other Tales From Africa by Alex McCall Smith


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