A handsome stranger once came into a certain village and strolled about among the people in mysterious silence. All the maidens admired him and wished that he would choose one of them for his bride. But he said nothing, and at last walked away into the forest and disappeared from sight.
A month later the stranger came again, and this time one of the maidens fell so much in love with him that she resolved to follow him into the forest, as she could not bear to be separated from him.
When the stranger looked back and saw her coming behind him, he stopped, and begged her to return home; but she would not, and exclaimed: I will never leave you, and wherever you go, I will follow.
Beautiful maiden, you will regret it, replied the stranger sadly, as he hurried on.
After a while he stopped again, and once more begged her to retrace her steps; but she made the same reply, and again the handsome stranger said in sorrowful tones: You will regret it, beautiful maiden!
They went far into the depths of the forest, and at length reached a tree at the foot of which there lay a leopard-skin. Standing under the tree, the stranger began to sing a melancholy song, in which he told her that though he was allowed once a month to wander about in villages and towns like a man, he was in reality a savage leopard and would rend her in pieces as soon as he regained his natural form.
With these words he flung himself upon the ground, and immediately became a snarling leopard and began to pursue the terrified girl.
But fear gave such speed to her feet that he could not overtake her. As he pursued her he sang that he would tear her in small pieces, and she in another song replied that he would never overtake her.
For a great distance they ran, and then the maiden suddenly came to a deep but narrow river, which she could not cross. It seemed as if the leopard would catch her after all. But a tree, which stood on the river-bank, took pity on her and fell across the river, so that she was able to cross.
At last, nearly exhausted, she came to the edge of the forest and reached the village in safety. The leopard, disappointed of its prey, slunk back into the forest, and the handsome stranger was never seen again.
TORTOISE and a Cloud once made the following agreement: Whenever Tortoise very much desired fine weather, he was to stand outside his house and call: Pass! Pass! and then the Cloud would roll away and allow the sun to shine. And when Tortoise desired rain, he was to cry: Fall! Fall! and the rain would pour down. In payment for this service, Tortoise was to place on the ground each time a certain number of cowries.
Tortoise was delighted with this arrangement, and at first he duly placed the sum of money on the ground every time he asked the Cloud for fine or wet weather.
One day, the occasion of a Chiefâ€™s wedding, the sky was very cloudy, and it seemed likely to rain. Tortoise heard the Chief complaining: â€œWe have promised the drummers a great deal of money, but if it rains nobody will come to see the maidens dance at my wedding!
Tortoise went to the Chief and said: If you will give me a certain sum, I will hold up the clouds on my hard back and there will be no rain.
The Chief readily agreed to pay the cowries Tortoise demanded, and Tortoise stood at the back of his hut and cried to the Cloud: Pass! Pass! The Cloud rolled back, the sun shone brightly, and the wedding took place with much rejoicing.
But Tortoise did not lay any money on the ground, and instead, he kept the whole amount for himself.
The next day a man came to Tortoises house and offered him much money if he would cause the rain to fall. For, he said, my fishing-stakes are too high, but if it rains the river will swell and the fish will come into my baskets.
Very well, replied Tortoise. I will throw a spear into the clouds, and the rain will fall.
Then he stood at the back of his house, where he could not be seen, and cried to the Cloud: Fall! Fall! It began to pour with rain.
But again he neglected to lay money on the ground and kept it all for himself. Soon, in this way, he grew rich and famous, and almost every day someone asked for fine or rainy weather. He stored many bags of cowries in his house and gave nothing to the Cloud.
When two people asked him for rain and sunshine on the same day, Tortoise pretended that he had grown tired with holding up the clouds on his back, and so the rain fell.
But after some time, seeing how rich Tortoise became, the hard-working Cloud was angry and decided to punish him.
One day Tortoise wished to set out on a journey with his family, so he stood outside his house and cried: Pass! Pass! Let the sun shine on my journey!
But as soon as he had set out, the Cloud rolled back again and rain poured down in torrents, causing a great flood in which Tortoise and all his famiIy were drowned.
At one time the Leopard was colored like a lion, and he had no dark markings; but he was pursued by Akiti, the renowned hunter, and feared that he might be slain.
To avoid this he ate the roots of a certain magic plant, which had the effect of making him invulnerable to any of the hunters weapons.
Soon afterwards Akiti saw him as he slipped through the dense undergrowth of the forest, but though he shot his poisoned arrows, Leopard escaped.
But where each arrow struck him, there appeared a dark mark, and now, though hunters still pursue him, he is rarely caught, but his body is covered with the marks of the arrows, so that as he goes among the trees he looks exactly like the mingling of the sun and shadow.
Another Story about Leopards Spots……………………
ACCORDING to another story, Leopard once had a very dark skin. He was prowling one day in a beautiful compound, when he noticed a little hut in which a lady was taking her bath.
Round and round the hut Leopard walked, waiting for an opportunity to spring into the hut and seize his victim, for he was hungry.
But as he passed the opening of the hut, the lady saw him, and, uttering a scream of terror, she threw at him her loofah, which was full of soap.
She flung it at him and he fled,
But to this day the Leopard still
Is flecked with soap from foot to head!â€