A South African Folk Tale
NOT because he was exactly the most capable or progressive fellow in the neighborhood--but because he always gave that idea--Jackal slowly acquired among his neighbors the name of a "progressive man." The truly well-bred people around him, who did not wish to hurt his feelings, seemed to apply this name to him instead of, for instance, "cunning scamp," or "all-wise rat-trap," as so many others often dubbed him.
Jackal obtained this name of "a progressive man" because he spoke most of the time in English, especially if he thought some of those who were present could not understand it, and also because he could always hold his body so much like a judge on public occasions. Indeed, Jackal had a smooth tongue, could make quite a favorable speech, and could expatiate on the backwardness of others to great effect. Underneath, however, he really was the most unlettered man in the vicinity. But Jackal had perfect control over his inborn cunningness. This allowed him, for a long time, to go triumphantly through life as a man of great ability.
One time, for instance, he lost his tail in an iron trap. He had long attempted to reach the Boer's goose pen, and had framed many good plans, but when he came to his senses, he was sitting in front of the goose pen …