Why the Zebra has Stripes

Narrated by Fleur Menzies

Once upon a time the donkey and the Zebra were sisters. Born from the same mother and father. They were a very happy family and the two sisters were very close. In fact, they did everything together, played, sang and worked together. Other animals looked down upon them as being dull and ugly.

One day the king of the animals, the lion, organised a party. He wanted to choose a wife. All the animals were excited and set upon preparing themselves for the big feast. The two sisters pondered how to make themselves beautiful for the king’s party. So they decided to paint themselves in bright and noticeable colours. They chose black and white in colour. The older sister decided that she should be painted first. The younger sister set about painting the senior sister. She was very careful and meticulous about the design. She made her stripes curved and spaced. She took a long time in doing the painting that when the horn sounded; she had just finished her sister’s.

As soon as the big sister heard the horn and her painting finished she took off for the party without painting her little sister’s skin. The little sister pleaded with her to help her become beautiful too but her big sister refused and left for the party. The big sister actually blamed her little sister for taken such a long time to paint her.

The little sister remained dull and ugly. She did not attend the party but stayed behind. A man found her and he was very kind to her. He told her, she was beautiful. He persuaded her to go and live with him. She agreed. Her elder sister never came back.

The big sister got her stripes and stayed in the bush while the little sister became a domestic animal called the donkey.


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