The First Gift

An Anuak story

Before you read the story   

  • Are human beings stronger than all the animals?
  • If your answer is "yes", why do you think that human beings are so strong?

Now read the story

Long, long ago, God made the world. He made the forests and the rivers. He made the trees and the grass. He made the fish and the animals. And he made man.

He called the animals and the man to one place, and spoke to them.

"Tomorrow I'm going to give you your gifts," he said. "Look for the morning star. When you see it, come to me. Listen for the cock. When he crows, come to me."

So the man and the animals went away.

Now God loved the buffalo more than all the other animals, and he said to him, "Come to me early in the morning. Come before the morning star rises in the sky. Come before the cock crows. Then I will give you the best gift of all."

The dog was hiding in the trees. He heard God's words. Quickly, he ran to the man.

"Listen," he said. "Tomorrow morning don't wait for the morning star. Don't wait for the cock to crow. Go to God early. Tell him you are the buffalo, and then you will get the best gift."

So very early the next morning, the man woke up. He put the skin of an animal on his back and he ran on his hands and feet to God.

"Who are you?" said God.

"I am the buffalo," the man said. "Is there a gift for me?"

"You are the first," said God, "and so the best gift is for you."

And God gave the man a spear.

"Are you happy now?" he said to the man.

"No," the man said. "I am not happy. Give me all the spears."

So God gave the man all the spears and the man ran away.

A little later, the buffalo came.

"Who are you?" said God.

"I am the buffalo," the buffalo said.

"Then who was it who came earlier?" said God.

"It was the man," said the buffalo. "The foster child of the dog."

"You're late!" said God. "Why didn't you come earlier? I gave the man the spear because he came first. For you there are only horns."

So God gave horns to the buffalo and to all the cattle, and to the lion and leopard he gave claws, and strong noses, so that they could smell their enemies. But the man became the master of all the animals, because he had all the spears.


Exercises for The First Gift


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