The Lion and the Cow

Here is a story:

There once was a Lion and a Cow, both of them had sons that were good friends and liked to play together.

The Lion would often go to the bush to hunt animals and he would kill the animals and bring them back to his home where he would eat them with his children. The Cow, on the other hand, would often go to the swamps to feed on fresh grass, leaving the children behind to play.

One day, when the children of both the Lion and the Cow had nothing to eat, the children started playing a game saying: Let’s see who is the strongest. The children began to play and started grabbing and attacking each other like wrestlers. As expected, the calf had a lot of strength and it threw one of the Lion cubs against a tree and killed it. The cow, which was grazing in the grassland, had a premonition and said: My child has killed another. When the cow returned to the village, she found the dead cub and said: My child, you have brought misfortune down on me and when they find us they will surely kill us all. Therefore let’s run away, let us run. So they ran. You can imagine how they ran!

The Lion, while hunting in the bush, also had a premonition: My child has been killed. So the Lion returned to the village to find its child dead. He start to look for his companion, the mother Cow and its calf, and he found where they went as it was there. The Lion chased after them, singing:

Calf of a Cow, calf of a Cow, calf of a Cow, come back here calf,
I will find you, calf of a Cow, for I have not yet tasted a calf’s tail.

The Lion ran with extraordinary speed. When, finally, the Lion caught up with them, it killed both the cow and all of the calves. And when it started to eat them, he started with the tails as the words of the song say.

And that is the end of our story.


Written by Joseph Kafunda, 7th September 1994. It is a second version of a folk-tale (29) The Children of the Lion and the Children of the Monkey written by Frederick Katao Silwamba, and also a folk-tale (second version 13) The Cow and the Lion: Friendship and Hate, written by unknown author.