71. The Tortoise, the Leopard, and their Mothers

During a famine, Tortoise told Leopard, "Let's kill our mothers and eat them."
Leopard agreed.
"Mine is across the stream," said Tortoise. He crossed the stream, gathered plums, and squeezed plum-juice into the water. 
Thinking he saw blood flowing, Leopard killed his mother too, putting her body into a bag.
Tortoise brought back a bag also, but it contained only plums.
"I'll cook yours," said Tortoise; "you cook mine."
They ate Leopard's mother first.
Then, when Leopard went to cook Tortoise's mother, he found only plums.
"What have you done?!" shouted Leopard.
Tortoise replied, "Ask instead: what have YOU done?"
[a Bulu story from Cameroon]

Inspired by: "How Turtle Deceived Leopard Into Eating His Own Mother" in Bulu Folk-Tales (in Journal of American Folklore) by George Schwab, 1914. The Bulu are a people who live in Cameroon.
Notes: You can read the original story online.


  1. Haha Leopard is so gullible, it serves him right!

    1. Yes it was hilarious how easy it was for Tortoise to trick him into killing his mother!