Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Abdulkhaliq Shikh-Osman

Translated into English
  by Maarten Janssen - 2014

Original title (Somali):

Country of origin: Somalia

Story type: The Lion's share (ATU 51)


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Lion Share

Abdulkhaliq Shikh-Osman / Maarten Janssen

Once there was a lion, a hyena, a fox, an ostrich and a hare, which together owned a bunch of camels. They took turns every day to bring the animals out to the pasture, except for the lion, who stayed home, because he was the king of beasts.

One day the fox and ostrich went out together to feed the camels. When the animals started grazing, Fox asked the ostrich, whether he would like to look after the animals, or would rather find Xabag for their lunch.

The ostrich chose to keep an eye on the camels, while the fox went off to collect lunch.

Fox wrapped the sticky mass of the Xabag around two stones.

"Go ahead," said the fox, "eat these two pieces of delicious Xabag".

The ostrich at once swallowed the two stones, which got stuck in its throat.

"Call the animals together and sing for them so we can get them home," said the fox.

"Wuu - uu - uu - mm," muttered the ostrich.

"You should not scare the camels," said the fox.

When they got home, Fox told the lion that the ostrich had frightened the camels.

"What 's the matter with you?" asked the lion.

"Wu - uu - uu - mm," muttered the ostrich.

"See, he does it on purpose," said the fox.

The lion hit the ostrich and broke his neck.

The next day the fox the hare were asked to go herding the animals.

At noon the fox drank some milk of the milk that the lion had hidden in a secret place. The fox took a little of the cream and pretended to play with the hare and sprayed some cream on his lips.

"Who drank my milk? " the lion asked when they came home.

"I do not know, but the hare has cream on the lips," said the fox.

Lion discovered the cream of the hare's lips and killed him.

Next morning the lion killed one of the camels and invited all the animals to share the meat among themselves.

First he asked the hyena to divide the meat.

Hyena divided it into two halves.

"One half is for the lion and the other half is for the rest of us," said the hyena.

Lion was not happy with hyena's way of dividing the meat, and hit him on the side of his head. One of hyena's eyes fell out.

"Come here, fox, now you need to divide it," ordered the king.

"One third of the meat is for us, two-thirds are for the lion...... No, no. I make a new partition. Lion must have it all!" the fox concluded.

"Well, who taught you to share? " asked the lion amused.

"Hyena 's drooping eye has taught me how to do it," said the fox.

One day Fox asked whether he would be allowed to make a new mat for the lion, because his old one was starting to wear down. In his stead, the lion could then take care of the camels that day.

Lion accepted the fox's proposals and shooed the animals out to pasture.

The fox dug a big hole inside the lion's cabin, filled it with hot charcoal and covered it over with branches and grass.

When the lion came home in the evening, the fox led him to his new mat and asked the lion lie down on it to try it. The lion lay down and fell into the burning charcoal, where he died.

Finally, the one-eyed hyena asked the fox to remove a blade of grass that had been in his eye.

"It's easy enough, come here, I'll take it out," said the fox.

The fox took a pointed stick and stuck hyena's other eye out and he went blind.

That is how the fox came to be the sole owner of the camels.