111. The Chicken and the Wildcat's Magical Charm

Chicken couldn't lay eggs, so she went to see Wildcat.
"Your magical charms are famous," she said. "Can you give me a fertility charm?"
"But of course," said Wildcat. "You'll just need to pluck all your feathers and then rub yourself with salt and pepper. Do that, then come back, and I'll give you the charm."
Rejoicing, Chicken followed Wildcat's instructions exactly.
When she returned, Wildcat said, "Now, dance in front of the fire and sing: Charm for children, charm for children..."
As Chicken was dancing, Wildcat threw her into the fire.
"Roast chicken," he purred, "already salted and peppered."
[a Hausa story from northern Nigeria]

Inspired by: "The Hen seeks a Charm from the Wild-Cat" in Hausa Superstitions and Customs  by A. J. N. Tremearne, 1913.
Notes: You can read the original story online.

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