(Image: Own Work)
The Grassland Monster lived in the windy plains of South Africa. It had only one half of a human body, with monstrously long teeth and limbs, and where the other half of its body should be was dry grass waving in the wind. The monster prowled the grasslands during the day, stealing food from unwary travelers. At sunset, it returned to its home, a tree above a large pool. There, it ate steamed bread stolen from nearby villages before falling asleep for the night. It always kept a butcher-bird as a pet, which would stay up in the night and wake the monster up when someone was attacking it or stealing from it. Once, Hlakanyana, an African trickster, came to steal the creature’s bread. When the bird woke the monster up, it chased Hlakanyana, almost catching him even though it only could hop on one leg. At last, Hlakanyana got to eat the monster’s bread (Mandela 45-51).
The monster’s voice sounded hollow when it chases Hlakanyana (Mandela 48-49), suggesting that the Grassland Monster may represent the wind that is ever-present on the grasslands, blowing grass around and sometimes even “stealing” light steamed bread by blowing it away.