francolin, Thabala and his friend, Nazeze the swift, thoroughtly
enjoyed light-hearted jokes and fun. Their´s was a happy
friendship until their fun turned to boasting and the boasting
turned into rivalry - each trying to make out that they were
smarter than the other.
"Listen, my friend," said Thabala to
Nazeze one day, after a long argument, "It takes a really
good brain to present a successful trick and my brain is easily
better than yours."
"I will not agree to that!" argued the
swift hotly. "You are just boasting! Let us have a competition
and see witch of us has the greater cunning. We´ll invite
everyone to a party and our guests can act judges to settle
our argument once and for all."
The francolin agreed readily. So, for the next
few days, each practised the trick that pleased them the most.
On the day of the party, birds and animals from far and wide
gathered at the swift´s house, looking forward to the
entertainment, while the judges were appointed to decide the
winner. The swift was the first to show his skill. He had already
told his wife to put a large pot of water onto the fire and
have the water boiling. When the pot was bubbling merrily, Nazeze
turned to his guests.
"Listen, everyone," he said. "This
trick needs brains as well as speed. My friend Thabala here
says that he is cleverer than I. After he was fished his trick,
you must judge. I will now jump into this boiling water and
will come out quite unarmed. Watch!"
Without another word the swift disappeared into
the dense cloud of steam that was rising from the furiosly boiling
water. As you know, the swift is called the 'swift' because
of the speed of his flight. So, as he flew in circles under
the steam, his tremendous speed tricked them all and no-one
saw him until, after a minute or so, he flew out of the steam
wet, but none the worse for wear.
"There!" he said to the frankolin, "can
you do that?"
"Of course I can - easily," replied
Thabala boastfully. "I can stay in the water twice as longe
as that!" and, strutting up to the pot, he plunged head
first into the boiling water.
During the first minute that passed there was
a dead silence and the excited circle of guests waited expectantly
for Thabala to come out of the steam as the swift had done.
But when he failed to appear after double that time, they anxiously
dampened down the fire to find, when the steam had died down,
a very dead francolin lying at the bottom of the big pot.
So you see, my friends, never boast that you can
do a thing unless you are quite sure that you can!