The Ant Eater and the Dassie
Tendal was helping his Grandmother to cook lunch outdoors. He was waiting eagerly to eat the tasty sadza [maize grain] and stew when on their small radio they heard the news bulletin. One news Item was about some African farmers who had caught a scaly ant eater in their farmlands. They travelled in a group and presented it to the President of Zimbabwe as a token of respect. The President then sent the creature to the National Park where it was safely released into its natural world again. Grandmother told Tendai that scaly anteaters were never harmed because they weres ymbols of good luck. While they sat eating their lunch, she narrated to Tendai an amusing anteater tale.
A scaly anteater once lived near the Limpopo river, which flows at the border between Zimbabwe and Its Southern neighbour, South Africa. Pangolin and little Dassie were friends and together explored the bush, and tried to find interesting ways of challenging each other with new games and races.
They had a lot of fun together. Dassie would take his friend to visit his colony and Pangolin admired the intricate burrows and network of pathways built between the rocks made by them. On each of Pangolin’s visits, Dassie had observed that it was difficult for his heavy friend to climb up and down among the rocks and pathways. He himself was small and sleek and able to run along easily. One day he had a splendid idea. He decided to ask Pangolin to race against him down one of the paths. He smiled a wily smile to himself because he felt quite sure that he would win. He called out to his friend, “I have a good idea for a new race. Let us climb to the top of the kopje and come down the main path that goes straight down. The one who can reach level ground first will be the winner. Pangolin cheerfully agreed since he loved to compete, whether he won or lost. Together they climbed to the very top of the kopje. Dassie’s beady eyes shone eagerly as he drew a line in the clay at the beginning of the path. They took positions at the starting line, counted to three and set off, running as fast as the could. Little Dassie soon drew ahead because this was the most familiar of paths to him. He could also run faster than Pangolin who had to carry all his heavy, clattering scales along. When they reached level ground, Dassie was the winner by a clear distance. Pangolin came up puffing and panting, but happily hailed Dassie as the winner. The two friends then had a good laugh together over the day’s contest. The next day, Pangolin returned to visit his friend and Dassie challenged him to the downhill race again. Pangolin agreed.