A Bushman Story
The Gemsbok was a dowdy drab animal, grey in colour and without horns. It lived alongside the Ostrich which was a magnificent beast, having a striking black and white coat, a long neck and a pair of beautiful slender horns.
The Gemsbok was very jealous and challenged the Ostrich to a race. “I can run much faster than you” said the Gemsbok, “but I will give you a fair chance by carrying your heavy horns for you. Not that it will make a difference. I will still beat you.”
Unable to resist the challenge from the Gemsbok, the Ostrich agreed. “This will be an easy victory ” he thought. He gave the Gemsbok his heavy horns and black and white coat.
Sprinting ahead, the Gemsbok took an early lead in the race. He chose all the rock and stony places to run over and with his hard hooves he sailed across the rough terrain. Behind him the Ostrich was limping badly. His soft feet were not accustomed to such a terrible pounding on this hard and uneven surface.
Furious, the Ostrich stopped, unable to run any more. In frustration, he started throwing stones at the Gemsbok who kept on running until he reached the other side of the hard terrain. When the Ostrich looked down for more stones to throw, the Gemsbok laughed and ran away with the horns and magnificent cloak of black and white. For a long time they did not meet. The Gemsbok was proud of his new cloak and horns and learned to fight well with them.
In the meantime, the Ostrich was beginning to feel the benefits of not having to carry those heavy horns. However, when they did meet again, the Ostrich, out of pride, fought to regain his sstolen possessions, but found the Gemsbok far too skillful.
Dejected, the Ostrich had to admit defeat, while being secretely relieved that he did not have to carry the heavy burdain again. “Maybe we should be friends and the Gemsbok can protect me with those horns of mine” he thought.
The Gemsbok and Ostrich are often found together for this very reason.
Credit – African Tales – wildlifeafrica.co.za