The Squirrel and the Leopard
Narrated by Abdulkadir Guracha
Once upon a time, a squirrel and a leopard had a herd of goats that belonged to them. So they used to take the goats out on alternate days to graze. Whenever the squirrel took the goats out, they came back satisfied, but whenever the leopard took them out they came back very hungry.
The secret was that when the squirrel took out the goats he told his mother to climb a tree and break down the leaves for the goats to eat, but whenever the leopard took them out, they could only eat the small pieces on the ground so they went hungry.
One day the leopard said, “How come whenever I take them out they come back hungry, but whenever you take them out they come back satisfied?”
So the squirrel said, “Ah, that’s because I’m very smart – I take a branding iron and tie it to their tails. So, when they see it, they think they’re going to get burnt and run all over finding things to eat. But when you go they just stand in one place so they come back hungry.”
Now the leopard was not fooled by these lies. So he decided to spy on the squirrel. So one day he followed him in the distance and he saw another squirrel throwing down leaves. He was very angry that the squirrel had tried to fool him.
So, next day, when he was taking the goats out he hid behind a tree and climbed up it and killed the squirrel’s mother.
So, next day when the squirrel took out the goats, he called and he called, but there was no reply and he realised that she had died, and he sat down and cried and cried all day. He cried so much that his eyes became very red.
When he returned that evening the leopard said, “Why are your eyes so red?”
And the squirrel said, “Today I got some medicine which you put in your eyes and it makes you a hero and makes you brave and courageous.”
So the leopard asked him why he didn’t get some for him too, because he also wanted to be brave and courageous.
And the squirrel said, “OK, but there will be certain things. First, when I put medicine in your eye there will be lots of tears, but don’t worry, that’s natural. Then you might hear noise – but don’t worry, that’ll be our children playing or suckling together.”
So the leopard said, “OK,” and he lay down and opened his eyes.
And the squirrel got hot rocks and put them on the leopard’s eyes and they spluttered and he became blind.
So the leopard called, saying, “Take them out of my eyes, bring back my sight.”
And the squirrel responded, saying, “I’ll do that when you bring back my mother.”
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