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The Frankolin and the Swift

The 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!