Wolf, Jackal and the Barrel of Butter

Wolf and Jackal were exploring the veld, wondering where their next meal would come form.

The came upon road and, traveling on it, was a cart piled high with barrels of delicious butter. Wolf and Jackal stared after it longingly when - PLOP - a barrel rolled off the back of the cart and was left in its wake. What luck for the hungry devils!

“At last!” cried Wolf,  dashing over to the barrel, intent on gobbling the butter all up right there and then.

“Wait!” cried Jackal, looking concerned, “Don’t you know that eating fresh butter will kill you! We should roll it into the long grass and hide it. Then, when it’s good and ripe and ready to eat, we will come back for it and enjoy it together.”

Wolf thought this sounded like very sound advice indeed and together they rolled the barrel of butter into the long grass, hiding it away.

A few days later the barrel of butter was all that Wolf could think of. It was all he could dream of while he slept! He was sitting outside his door, dreaming of it when Jackal came loping by.

“Jackal!” said wolf, “Do you think the butter will be ripe yet? Shall we not go and test it?”

“My friend,” said Jackal, “ I have much more important things to worry about at the moment for  my wife has just had a pup and we must take the little one to be baptised.”

“Oh yes? And what will you be calling the little one?“ asked Wolf.

“Um… A Good Start,” said Jackal, and at that he wandered off, his stomach bulging a little. Bulging just like a stomach would if it were full of butter.

A few days later Wolf was once again dreaming of the delicious butter. He couldn’t bear it any longer, so he went to call on his friend.

“Jackal,” Wolf whined, “Surely now the butter is ripe to eat?!”

“Oh, Wolf! You won’t believe it, but my wife has had another pup and I must once again take the little one to be baptised.”

“And what are you calling this little fellow?”

“This one? Uh… First hoop,” and again Jackal trotted on his way.

Wolf laughed to himself. Jackal was giving his children some very strange names indeed.

A few more days passed and Wolf was, once again, dreaming of nothing but the butter, but when he came across Jackal he was once again headed off to baptise yet another pup. This time, Second Hoop.

A few more days passed. Another pup. Third Hoop. This carried on and on for days, with Jackal baptising Third Hoop, Fourth Hoop, Fifth Hoop, Sixth Hoop! And all the while, Jackal’s stomach grew and grew.

The next day Wolf was surprised by some news from Jackal.

“Don’t worry, my friend,” Jackal said, “Tomorrow we will go and check on the butter, for this morning I baptised my very last pup, Bottom of the Barrel. I will come to you in the morning.”

The next morning, as promised, Jackal arrived at Wolf’s door and they set off to the barrel’s hiding place.

“That butter is going to be delicious,” said Jackal.

“Oh yes!” replied Wolf, and the pair picked up their pace, dashing to the barrel’s hiding spot in the long grass.

But when they got there the barrel was empty! Both animals accused one another of having been the sly fellow who had been sneaking off to eat the butter.

“It was you!” cried Wolf.

“It was you!” cried Jackal.

Fur and claws and teeth flew as the pair fought over who was the guilty party.

“Wait!” cried Jackal, “Wait! Wait! We’re going to tear each other to pieces if we continue this way. Let’s rather find out who the guilty party is.”

“Well, I think it’s you.” huffed Wolf.

“And I think it’s you,” sighed Jackal, “but we’ll get no answers scrapping about it. Let’s lie in the sun and see from whose mouth the butter drips.”

“And that person will get a very thorough hiding indeed, “ said Wolf, sure of who “that person” would be.

“Indeed,” said Jackal.

The pair lay in the sun, Wolf drifting off to sleep. Once Wolf was softly snoring, Jackal quietly snuck over to the barrel, scraped the very last trace of butter from the bottom, smeared it across Wolf’s muzzle, and lay back down.

Presently, Wolf woke up, with Jackal pretending to do the same next to him.

Jackal stretched and yawned. “My muzzle is clean,” he said.

“But.. but… Mine is covered in butter!” cried Wolf. “ I can’t believe it. I don’t remember a thing. Perhaps I was sleepwalking. Perhaps when I dreamed of eating butter I was really eating it!”

“Well then, I think we both know what has to happen,” said Jackal as he tore a nice supple branch form a tree.

Wolf continued to ponder and question what could have happened. But Jackal didn’t hear a thing. He was too busy warming up his arm to give Wolf the thorough hiding agreed upon.