176. The Boy and the Elephant

There was a boy with no legs. His brothers carried him to the riverbank and left him with a basket of mealies while they fished.
A hungry elephant said, "Give me those mealies and I'll loan you my front legs."
"Agreed!" said the boy, giving the mealies to the elephant. "I'll bring back your legs soon."
The boy took the legs, jumped up, and ran to find his brothers. "How mighty is the elephant!" he sang. "He loaned me his legs! His legs!"
When his brothers found out, they said, "Run home! Keep the legs."
Then they killed the elephant.
[a Nyanja story from Zimbabwe]

Inspired by: "The Boy and the Elephant's Legs" in Folklore of the Banyanja (published in Folklore) by Madeleine Holland, 1916.
Notes: You can read the original story online. In the original story, the brothers are surprised that the basket is empty and the boy explains; he only steals the legs the next day when the elephant comes back again looking for mealies.

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