The Tale of Toad


When Nyiswa made his children they all pretended to love him. Toad was the only one who loved the Sky-god with a deep and constant love; and the other children treated Toad very badly. Although he was the greatest hunter amongst the animals and brought meat in every day, he was only given offal and abuse, and was kicked by the larger children and pinched by the small ones.
He was so good-natured that he never protested, but kept on with his work. Often he wished that he could live by himself in peace, and hunt only when he wanted to, but the rules of the group forbade him to do this. Nyiswa saw that some of his children did not love him, and decided to find out how many of them did. For some time he pretended he was sick, and the only visitor he had was Toad who came as often as he could with such gifts of food as he could find.
Then the Sky-god pretended to die; and Toad mourned him with great sorrow, but he mourned alone. He asked the other children to help him bury Nyiswa, but everyone else was too busy playing, or dancing, or eating, so he dug a grave himself and began to bury the Sky-god with such ceremony as he could.
And Nyiswa came to life. Toad’s brave little heart was filled with joy. Nyiswa summoned the animals to a meeting,
“I have learned you do not love me,” he announced. “Therefore you are cursed. You will wander in the forest fighting and in fear of death, and you shall not know peace. Only one among you loves me, and that is Toad. Henceforward this noble animal will always live in peace, and those animals who disturb him will be badly cursed.”
Since then there has been war among the animals, and the only animal who lives in peace is Toad.

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