Once upon a time, there was a goat that lived in the Transkei. Every year this goat would move to the hills in the early months of summer. She went there because there was far more food and she was able to eat as much as she liked.
One summer she left to go to the hills. She was walking along the path when suddenly, there in front of her, stood an enormous leopard.
“Good morning, Ms Goat,” said the leopard. “Where are you going?”
“Oh, Mr Leopard,” answered the goat, shaking from head to toe with fear, “I’m just going up to the hills to eat the good food there.”
“Well,” said the leopard. “I’m very sorry for you, but I’m hungry too. So, I’m afraid you’re not going anywhere! I have to eat you right now, right here!”
“Oh, Mr Leopard,” said the goat. “Don’t do that. No, no, no! Don’t eat me now. Wait until I’m fat enough. Wait until after summer. I will be so much fatter then and you’ll have much, much more to eat.”
“Mmmm,” said the leopard. “That’s a good idea. Alright, I won’t eat you now, as long as you promise that when you come back, you will meet me here, at this exact spot.”
So the frightened goat promised and went on her way. When she reached the hills, she forgot all about the leopard. All summer long she ate the lovely green plants on the hills. When the end of summer came, she was nice and fat. Soon it was time for her to leave the hills and go back home.
Only as she started walking home, did she remember what she had promised the leopard. With every step that she took, she became more and more afraid. Very soon she was near the place where she had said she would meet the leopard.
“What am I going to do?” she said aloud.
Just then a hare hopped by and stopped to say good morning to her.
“Hello, Ms Goat,” he said. “You look so healthy and fat. But why do you look so sad on such a beautiful day?”
“Oh, Brother Hare,” said the goat, “my story is very sad. When I came up here at the beginning of summer, I met an enormous leopard. He said he was going to eat me. I begged him not to and said he should wait until I’m fat enough. I told him that he should wait until after summer when I had eaten all the good food up on the hills.”
“What did he say?” asked the hare.
“He agreed to wait,” said the goat, “and said that I must meet him at the same spot on my way back. Now I am nearly at that spot and I know that when he sees me, he is going to eat me!” And the goat burst into tears.
“Dear me! Shame!” said the hare. “That is a sad story. But cheer up. I have a plan. Leave it to me. Just wait here.”
The hare quickly ran home. He dressed himself up in his very best clothes. He put on a big hat that had a feather in it, and one long dangly earring. Then he grabbed a sheet of paper, a pen and a small saddle, and ran back to the goat.
When he reached the goat, he strapped the small saddle onto her back and rode on her as if she were a horse. Eventually they reached the place where the goat was to meet the leopard. And there the leopard was, in the middle of the path, waiting.
“Who are you?” shouted the hare. “What are you doing here?”
“I am Mr Leopard and I am waiting here to eat Ms Goat,” said the leopard, annoyed. “We made an arrangement. And do tell me, exactly who you are?”
“I am Mr Hare. I have been sent on a special mission by High Chief Singewe of the greatest African kingdom of all. He has asked me to collect ten leopard skins as a gift for his new wife. How lucky I am that I have met you. Your skin will do very nicely.”
The hare stopped talking and pulled out his pen and paper and wrote down, One very large … Then he stopped and looked at the leopard.
The leopard was so scared of what he had heard that he turned around on the path and ran for his life.
The goat was very happy and she thanked the hare for saving her. Then the goat and the hare went their separate ways. The hare went back to his home and the goat went back to hers. She was very happy, and much, much fatter than before.