Animal Tales. Volume 1

G.R. von Wielligh

Timeless tales from the Bushmen recorded before the oral story-telling tradition was threatened by modernity, presented here accompanied by lively illustrations. Appropriate for ages 4 to 104!
Date Published :
September 2012
Publisher :
Protea Boekhuis
Contributor(s) :
Dale Blankenaar
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781869194338

Stock Status : In stock


The tales of Jackal and Wolf are to South Africans what apple pie is to Americans. No one should grow up without them. Yet the sly Jackal and the whimsical Wolf is older than apple pie. These stories come from the Khoi-Khoi, a group of Bushmen who narrated them into existence shortly after the Stone Age. Animal Tales Volume 1 is the first book in a series of animal stories compiled by G. R. von Wielligh, who heard them as a child and who spent his adult life documenting them for future generations. In this edition, freshly translated into modern English, the stories get a new look thanks to the beautiful, full-color illustrations of Dale Blankenaar. Animal Tales Volume 1 is a compilation of 15 stories. We read about the big war between the walking and the flying animals; we are told who gets crowned as the king of the animals and we meet sly Jackal and poor, gullible Wolf. In Animal Tales Volume 2 among the 15 additional stories, we meet Tiger, Crocodile and Rabbit, while poor Wolf still suffers under the hand of Jackal and is often outwitted by Jackal. We also discover why Tortoise is such a gloomy fellow and how he came to learn that honesty is better than lying. We also read that even a clever animal like Baboon can be fooled.

About The Author

G.R. von Wielligh (1859–1932) grew up with the stories of the Bushman people. After he qualified as a surveyor, he made it his life-long quest to document these tales for posterity. Von Wielligh had a surveyor’s office in the hinterland of South Africa from where he would visit the regions known as Bushmanland and the Agter-Hantam. Without Von Wielligh, countless African fables would have been lost, since the radio and later television killed the indigenous traditions of storytelling.

DALE BLANKENAAR studied graphic design at Cape Peninsula University. He majored in illustration and advertising and was mentored by Piet Grobler. After graduation he worked as a freelance designer for a year and during that time illustrated his first book. He now works as a promotions designer at Condé Nast and as a freelance illustrator of children’s books.


Animal Tales 1 is the first book of a series of animal tales collected by the author (G. R. von Wieligh, 1859-1932) from Khoikhoi storytellers of the African veld. Imaginatively illustrated by artist Dale Blankenaar, these extremely eccentric -looking animals do indeed look as though they could talk amongst themselves, spinning many a tale. The Khoikhoi style of enriched, expanded storytelling is beautifully described in the beginning chapter of "Animal Tales 1," allowing adults who read this book to their avid audience full license and encouragement to act out animal voices, create special animal sound effect, etc. Khoikhoi tale telling is very much a matter of getting into the moment of the tale, it appears. Here are many crafty animal characters; Jackal, Wolf, Owl, Horse, Donkey, and Tinkietinkie, the clever pied crow, with multiple teaching tales woven about their human-like tendencies towards foolishness. The delightful colored illustrations add to the somewhat zany tone of many of the Animal Tales, further piquing children's interest. "Animal Tales 1" would appear to be a storyteller's book, meant to be read and acted out for the pleasure of children. A rich tradition of Khoikhoi lore and wisdom is cleverly packed into every funny line of the Animal Tales. Also highly recommended in this series is "Animal Tales 2 (9781869195045, $12.00)," collected by the same author from Khoikhoi storytelling uncles of the African veld. At the end of "Animal Tales 2," a lovely set of sayings orchestrates the telling of each tale: "Golden pins, my story begins,/ Golden fiddle, we've reached the middle,/ Golden friends, my story ends!"

- Midwest Book Review

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