The Leopard's Child

Part Two

The boy's parents were at the market. They came home, and found their son.

"Who are you?" they said to the boy. "Who are your parents? Where are your father and mother?"

The boy could not speak. He did not know the language of people.

"Look, husband," his mother said. "This child's eyes are like your eyes. His nose and mouth are like yours. He is our son! We lost him many years ago, and now he has come back to us."

She was very happy. She brought some food and gave it to the boy. But he did not like her food. He did not want cereals, and cooked meat.

The leopard was unhappy. All day she thought about her foster son.

"Is he unhappy?" she asked herself. "Is he well? Those people don't give him meat. I'm sure he is hungry."

She killed a bushbuck and took it to the boy's house. She left it by the door, and ran away.

The boy found the bushbuck. He fell on his knees and ate it with his mouth. He did not use his hands.

"Look," said his parents. "He eats like an animal. Did an animal take him away from us?"

The leopard did not forget the boy. Every day, she killed an animal and brought it to his house. She lay in the forest and watched him. She still loved him.

Slowly, the boy learned to speak. He told his parents about the leopard. They asked him many questions.

"Was the leopard kind to you?" they said.

"Yes," said the boy. "She was kind."

"Did she feed you? Did she look after you? Did you play with her cubs?"

"Yes, yes," the boy said. "The leopard was good. She was my foster mother."