The Egg's Revenge - Zeme Folktale


2 min read

The pheasant and the jungle-cat were friends. The cat called the pheasant to see his house.

The pheasant went, and the cat said: "Now you  must show me your house." The pheasant did not want to show his house,  because he thought: "The cat will eat me". He showed the cat a hornets'  nest and said: "That is my house." The cat told his wife: "Cook plenty  of rice today. I have seen something good to eat." He went very quietly  and caught the hornets' nest. The hornets stung him all over.

The  pheasant asked him: "Why are you all swollen?" The cat said: "I have  eaten too much salt, that is why I am swollen." He asked the pheasant  again: "Where is your house?" The pheasant showed him an ants' nest. The  cat went quietly and caught the ants' nest. The ants all bit him.

The  pheasant asked him again: "Why are you all swollen?" The cat said: "I  have been eating too much salt, that is why I am swollen." He asked the  pheasant again, and the pheasant showed him his house.

The cat came  quietly and caught the pheasant. There were eight eggs, but when he  seized them one slipped away. He took the pheasant and seven eggs.

The  egg ran away.

The people it met on the road asked where it was going.  The frog asked it. The egg said: "My mother is dead, and I am going to  kill whoever killed her. If you want to come, follow after me." The goat  asked it also, and the egg said the same thing, and the goat followed,  and the cow asked it, and the cow followed, and the ant as well.

The egg  came to the cat's house. The cat said: "Ah! One egg was lost, and now  it has come here of its own accord." All the animals which had followed  the egg were ready to kill the cat and they all stood like sentries  outside, but the ant got into the cat's clothes.

The cat caught the egg  and said: "I will eat you". The egg said: "How will you eat me?" The cat  said: "How shall I eat you? Tell me." The egg said: "Rake out the fire  and bury me in the earth and ashes, and you and all your household sit  round and open your eyes wide with your fingers." This it taught the  cat. The cat buried the egg and did as it said. The egg blew up and all  the hot coals went into the eyes of the cat and his household. The cat  seized a cloth and tried to wipe his eyes with it, by the ant was in the  cloth and bit him. All the animals outside shouted: "You come out! You  come out!" The cat was afraid to come out, but at last he went where the  frog was and the frog struck him and he died.

Ursula Graham's Collection

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