The Chameleon and the Hornbill

The animals decided that the oldest animal would be heir chief.
"I'm oldest!" shouted Chameleon.
"No, I'm oldest!" shouted Hornbill.
"I'm so old that the sky was still dark when I was born," said Chameleon. "There was no sun yet, and the ground was still just soft mud."
"Well, I was born before there was sky above and before there was ground below," replied Hornbill. "I had to bury my father in my head when he died because there was no ground in which to bury him!"
The animals declared Hornbill to be the oldest and made him their chief.

Inspired by: "Chameleon and Hornbill"  in Thirty-Two Folk-Tales of the Edo-Speaking Peoples of Nigeria (published in Folklore) by Northcote W. Thomas, 1920.
Notes: You can read the original story online. For another story about a hornbill and a dead body, see: The Man Who Didn't Go to Funerals. There is a Greek legend about the hoopoe burying its father in its head because it was impossible to bury him in the ground (told as an explanation of the hoopoe's crest).

No comments:

Post a Comment