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Specimens of Bushman Folklore, by W.H.I. Bleek and L.C. Lloyd, [1911], at


When we show respect to the game, we act in this manner; because we wish that the game may die. For the game would not die if we did not show respect to it.

We do as follows: a thing which does not run fast is that which we eat, when we have shot game; because we desire that the game should also do as it does. For the game is used to do thus, if we eat the flesh of a thing which is fleet, the thing (i.e. the game) arises; it does like that thing of whose flesh we did eat. The thing, also acts like that thing the flesh of which we had eaten, (doing) that which it does.

Therefore, the old people are accustomed to give us the flesh of a thing which is not fleet. They do not give us all (kinds of) food; for they only give us food (of) which they know that it will strengthen the poison, that the poison may kill the game.

The people do thus, when we have shot a gemsbok, they do not give us springbok flesh, for they feel that the springbok does not a little go. For it is used to act thus, even if it be night, it is used to walk about; day breaks, while it is (still) walking about. Therefore the old people do not give us springbok meat; while they feel that the game, if we ate springbok meat, would also do like the springbok; it would not go to a place near at hand, while it felt that we ate springbok which does not sleep, even though it be night. It (the game) would also do that which the springbok does; and the springbok is wont to do thus, when the sun has set for it in one place, the sun arises for it in a different place, while it feels that it has not slept. For it was walking about in the night. Therefore, the old people fear to give us springbok's meat, because they feel that the gemsbok would not be willing to go to sleep, even at night. For it would, travelling in the darkness, let the day break, while it did not sleep.

Therefore, the old people also do not allow us to take hold of springbok's meat with our hands, because our hands, with which we hold the bow, and the arrows, are those with which we are taking hold of the thing's flesh; we shot the thing, and our hands also are as if we had smelt the springbok's scent; because our hands are those which held the arrows (when) we shot the thing. Therefore, if we take hold of springbok's meat, the thing is as if we ate springbok's meat, because our hands are those which (make) the thing seem as if we had eaten springbok's meat with them. We have not eaten springbok's meat; for it is our hands. We think, 'How can it be? I have not smelt the things which I am (now) smelling?' Another man, who is clever, he thus speaks: "Thou must have taken hold of springbok's flesh, it must be that which has acted in this manner; for, I feel that thou dost not seem to have smelt other things."

Therefore, the people are used to act thus with regard to the man who shot the thing, they do not allow him to carry the springbok; they let him sit down at a little distance, while he is not near to the place where the people are cutting up the springbok. For he sits at a little distance, because he fears lest he should smell the scent of the springbok's viscera(?); that is why he sits at a little. distance, because he wishes that he may not smell the scent of the springbok's viscera

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