The Bush Cow and the Elephant: A Efik Folktale

Cross River State Nigeria - Folkli
General Location: Cross River State / Map data ©2018 Google

This Efik folktale tells the tale of a fight between the bush cow and the elephant, which greatly angered the chief. 

The bush cow and the elephant had an argument because the elephant was always boasting about his strength, which made the bush cow ashamed of himself, as he always considered himself a good fighter that feared no man or animal.

When the matter was referred to the chief, he decided that the best way to settle the dispute was for the elephant and bush cow to meet and fight one another in a large open space. He decided that the fight should take place in the marketplace.

When market-day arrived, the bush cow took up his position on the main road to the market, and started bellowing and tearing up the ground. After a while the bush cow heard the elephant trumpeting, and breaking down trees and trampling down the small bush. When the elephant came near the bush cow, they charged one another, and a tremendous fight commenced, in which a lot of damage was done to the surrounding farms.

Many people who saw the fighting were frightened to go to the market, and returned to their houses. But the monkey, who had been watching the fight from a distance, thought he would report what he had seen to the chief.

When the chief heard that the elephant and bush cow, instead of fighting where they had been told, were having it out in the bush on the main road leading to the market, and had thus stopped most of the people coming in, he was much enraged. Calling for his bow and poisoned arrows, he went to the scene of the combat. He then shot both the elephant and the bush cow, and throwing his bow and arrows away, ran and hid himself in the bush. Six hours later the elephant and bush cow died in great pain.

Ever since, wild animals won’t fight on the public roads; but as the fight was never definitely decided between the elephant and the bush cow, whenever they meet one another in the forest, they always fight.

If you enjoyed reading this Efik folktale, then please consider keeping it alive by sharing it with your friends. You can find many more Nigerian folktales or Efik folktales by visiting our dedicated collections. 


  1. I removed a framed story which emphasizes the easily distracted nature of monkeys. It had no bearing on the framing tale, but took up a serious amount of space.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here