An Ethiopian Folktale: The Goats Who Killed The Leopard


Once a leopard cub wandered away from his home into the grasslands where the elephant herds grazed. He was too young to know his danger. While the elephants grazed one of them stepped upon the leopard cub by accident, and killed him. Other leopards found the body of the cub soon after, and they rushed his father to tell him of the tragedy

“Your son is dead!“ They told him. “We found him in the valley!“

The father leopard was overcome with grief.

“Ah, Who has killed him? Tell me, so that I can avenge his death!”

”The elephants have killed him,” the other leopards said.

“What? The elephants?“ The father leopard said with surprise in his voice.

“Yes, the elephants,“ they repeated.

He thought for a minute. “No it is not the elephants. It is the goats who have killed him. Yes, the goats, it is they who have done this awful thing to me!“

So the father leopard went out in a fit of terrible rage and found a herd of goats grazing in the hills, and he slaughtered many of them in revenge. And even now, when a man is wronged by someone stronger than himself, he often avenges himself upon someone who is weaker than himself.

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