In this sturdy variant of a popular folk-tale motif, starving Akimba grows rich when an old man he helps out rewards him with a cow that spits gold on cue. But a greedy neighbor robs Akimba of his cow, substituting an ordinary one, and the same fate befalls the unsuspecting Akimba's subsequent acquisitions of a sheep that spits silver and a chicken that lays eggs. (""Well, eggs are eggs."") The last gift, a stick that beats when the magic word is spoken, finally wises up Akimba and catches out the neighbor, who is forced to return the animals. Meryman's rough woodcuts establish the African setting and allow Rose's properly unembellished telling to find its level.