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1001 Stories Collection

The Cow Tail Switch

Added on 26th June 2020

Oral tradition Liberian folktale

In this tale we are reminded that no-one has truly died while there are those who remember them.


A hunter is tragically killed while out on a hunt. His family – his pregnant wife and his four sons – cannot find the hunter and over time they begin to forget about him. Then his wife gives birth to another boy. As he grows he learns to speak and his first words are, “Where is my father?” The four older sons once again go searching for their father. When they find his remains each of the sons helps to bring the hunter back to life. When the hunter returns to his home he makes a beautiful cow tail switch to give to the son who did the most to return him to the land of the living. But who will he give it to?

Why we chose it

The Cow Tail Switch was one of the stories in The Story Museum’s original audio stories collection.

Associated stories

Two more of our original audio stories have a similar theme where the brothers bring an animal back to life. Both were told for our collection by storyteller Chris Smith, a short traditional telling (The Three Brothers and the Lion) and a longer version with an arctic setting and a polar bear (The Three Brothers).

Added on 26th June 2020

Oral tradition Liberian folktale