“Elephant, I challenge you to an eating contest,” said Goat.
Elephant laughed. “I’m so much bigger than you!” he said. “I know I’ll win.”
The contest began.
Elephant ate and ate: grass, sticks, weeds, everything he could see.
Goat, meanwhile, ate some grass, but not much, and then lay down on a rock, chewing his cud.
“What are you eating over there?” Elephant asked.
“I’m eating this rock,” said Goat. “After I eat the rock, I’m going to eat you.” Then Goat gave Elephant a hungry look.
Elephant ran away, terrified.
Elephant is still afraid of Goat to this day.
[a story from Liberia]
Inspired by: "The Elephant and the Goat" in Missionary Story Sketches: Folklore from Africa by Alexander Priestley Camphor, 1909.
Notes: You can read the original story online. Camphor adds this note: The natives, when traveling along through the section of country which is the habitat of the elephants, always take with them a goat, and the above narrative is the reason they give for this custom. As a matter of fact, the peculiar noise of the nanny goats frightens the elephant, and he loses no time in running away." For more about Camphor's work in Liberia, see: The Elephant and "Big America. For another version of this story see: Why the Elephant Runs from the Goat, a Vai story from Liberia.