Great Cow! | Nal'ibali

Written stories

Great Cow!


By Koketso Tsemekwane


Illustrations by Heidel Dedekind

Listen to the story here

In the olden days, Cow and Cat lived on Toutswemogala Hill. They shared this hill with all the other animals. For the most part, all the animals lived together in peace and harmony.

Cow was very special amongst the animals because she was the only animal to have a mogogolwane, a beautiful cloak. Every morning she took her mogogolwane out, put it around her shoulders and held council.


Standing there in her finery, Cow looked like a real goddess. She was full of wisdom and would give advice on all matters big and small.

Now, sadly, no one liked Cat very much. The other animals believed that Cat was sly and they didn’t trust her. Why did she slink around at night and then sleep lazily in the sun the whole day? They were sure Cat was up to no good.

One day Cat came to Cow for some advice. Cat asked, “Cow, why don’t you and the other animals like me?”

Cow just lowed, wrapped her mogogolwane tighter around her shoulders and walked away without answering.

“Cow,” Cat meowed, “I want to know why you don’t like me. You are supposed to look after all of us and, even though you always help all the other animals, you never show any kindness towards me.”

Every day Cat went back to Cow with gifts, wanting to know why no one liked her. She brought sweet, fresh grass from the valley and sparkling, cool water from the stream. But no matter what Cat tried, Cow and the other animals still did not like her. They kept on ignoring Cat, and this made Cat feel very sad.

This went on until one day Cat said to Cow, “Enough is enough,” and moved away.

It took a while before the mice started running amok. This is when the other animals came to Cow to complain. They were very upset. “Great Cow!” they cried as they snorted and growled and bellowed and squeaked and screeched.

“You have to do something, Cow,” Lion roared.

“There are mice everywhere – where we sleep, where we eat, even where we drink,” grunted Hippopotamus.

It was only then that Cow and the other animals started to realize the important work Cat had done at night while they were all sleeping.

As the leader of Toutswemogala, Cow called together a search party to look for Cat. They all set off searching up and down, high and low. For seven days they looked here and there and everywhere.

When they finally found Cat, Giraffe – who had spotted her first – stepped forward. “Cat,” Giraffe said, “all the animals miss you. We no longer think that you are sly and up to no good. The more the mice plague us, the more we miss you. We need you and we like you. Please come back with us to Toutswemogala.”



Cat felt very happy as she walked back to Toutswemogala with the other animals. Every night she ate the mice and chased them out of every nook and cranny. All the animals were very happy, but Cow was the happiest because now, once again, there was peace and quiet in Toutswemogala. And from that day on Cow and Cat became very good friends, with Cow saving a lick of milk for Cat every day.


Get story active!

  • Draw a picture of a mouse.
  • Use clay or play dough to make models of a cow, a cat and a giraffe. Use your clay animals to act out the story.
  • Write your own ending for the story. Imagine that Cat refused to come back to Toutswemogala. What do you think would have happened?