Story: The two Lions: pointers to the Southern Cross
The two Lions: pointers to the Southern Cross
The names of the two lions are !gu and !háuë ta #hóu. There are four birds mentioned in connection with them, the /gi and his wife the /ki, the !kao and his wife the !k’o (or 'Blue Crain'). The two husbands are killed and roasted by the lions, the /gi by /gu and the !kao by the other lion. The /ki saw what the lions did, and when offered some of her husband’s flesh, refused it; but the Blue Crane accepted some of the flesh of the !kao. Both birds then went to fetch water. The Blue Crane, who had left her child (the little !koa) behind her, returned home from the water, and was eaten by the lions; whilst the /ki, who had taken her child (the little /gi) with her, did not come back, and went away to the house of the Crow, which was on the branch of a thorn–tree, and to this she was pulled up by a thong made of gemsbok skin. The Crow then made a fire, and heated stones. The lion !gu, pursuing the /ki, arrived under the thorn–tree, and begged to be pulled up. By direction of the Crow, the /ki threw down a rope made of mouse’s entrails, which, of course, broke, precipitating the lion into the fire, where he was roasted to death. The birds then departed from the thorn–tree; and the other lion (!háuë ta #hóu), attracted by the smell of roasted flesh, arrived, and cut off a piece from his companion’s thigh. Thereupon the lion !gu (who apparently suddenly came to life again) jumped up, and asked for a piece of his own flesh, which they both devoured together. They then hunted for food, but in vain. They perceived, at last, a male tortoise, and, notwithstanding its advice, as well as the request of his companion to be allowed to share this repast with him, the greedy !gu swallowed the tortoise down whole. In punishment of this, whenever the lion approached game or water, the tortoise told it to run away, or dry up; and when they came into the neighbourhood of human beings, the tortoise immediately called out to them to throw fire at the lion. Thus the two lions, while hunting together, could get nothing. They finally came to the house of an old woman who was lame, and lived with a little hare. These also managed to outwit the lions; and, at last, !gu died of starvation. After his death, the other lion soon obtained food. This is an account of the two Lions, called !hau e ta ≠heow and !gu, who catch and eat !kao and |gi who are ugly. They are Lions, but they are also men who eat people and can see at night. The |ki watches the Lions roast the !kao and the |gi, but will not eat the flesh because she can smell that the men are actually Lions, and the |gi is her husband. She carries away the little |gi and runs away from the Lions, who eat the Blue Crane and also eat the !kao and the |gi's flesh, because they are hungry. The |ki climbs up a thorn tree to get to the Black Crow's house. The Black Crow pulls up the |ki with a gemsbok skin thong, hangs out mouse entrails to dry, and goes down the tree to light a fire at the bottom. The Lions follow the |ki's footprints and scent to the Black Crow's house.!gu pretends to be the |ki's husband and calls for her to drop the rope. The |ki drops the mouse entrail rope as instructed by the Black Crow and the one Lion climbs up with his hands. The mouse entrail rope breaks and the Lion drops down and roasts in the fire beneath and dies. The |ki goes away with the Crow to another house while the Lion lies roasting. The other Lion, !hau e ta ≠heow, comes and they both eat the roasted Lion's own flesh. They then go off to hunt for men.
1) pp. 314v & 315v: on the names of the two Lions in this story, 2) The present-day blue crane is the Tetrapteryx paradisea, 3) See also The Lion star and other stars and The Lion and the Tortoise and The Lion and the Muishond, 4) This story is found in Book II-2
23 July 1871 (finished on or about)
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