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Urban Legends in Capetown

When I arrived to Capetown, my first host was so nice to take me on a morning walk and couple of tours around the city. He would tell me things about the city and life in South Africa.

One story that particularly appealed to me was an urban legend about Devil’s Peak, part of the Table Mountain Range. We stood on the balcony of his house looking at it when he started telling the small story about the clouds hovering around the top. Devil’s Peak was originally known as Wind-berg or Charles Mountain. The English term Devil’s Peak is actually a 19th-century translation from the Dutch Duiwels Kop, and supposidly comes from the folk-tale about a Dutch man called Jan van Hunks, a good man who lived at the foot of the mountain circa 1700.

He was forced by his wife to leave the house whenever he smoked his pipe. One day, while smoking on the slopes of the peak, he met a mysterious stranger who also smoked. They each bragged of how much they smoked and so they fell into a pipe-smoking contest. The stranger turned out to be the Devil and Van Hunks eventually won the contest, but not before the smoke that they had made had covered the mountain, forming the table cloth cloud.

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