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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The hunter and the lion

Once upon a time there was a chief in a village near the bush. This man had many sons, and one of them was the best hunter in the whole land. Whenever he went out hunting, he always managed to bring back much more meat than any of the other hunters in the village. But this hunter did not just like to provide meat for the villagers, he enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, stalking his prey and outsmarting it, and killing animals for fun.
The chief often reprimanded his son, because he knew that the spirits of the forest and the ancestors did not approve of killing for fun or sport. But all his exhortations fell on deaf ears. His son’s behaviour never changed.
As for the animals, they were both afraid of and angry with this hunter, and they called a meeting of all the bush animals to discuss if there was not some way to could stop this man. Some suggested setting traps to catch him, but everybody agreed that this hunter was too clever to fall into a trap, he would surely spot it from afar. Then the lion suggested that one of them should change into the shape of a young woman, in order to seduce the hunter. Then he could be lured into the bush and killed. It was decided that the lion’s wife should be the one to do this job.
The next morning, the chief’s son was getting ready to set out for the bush, he was gathering his weapons, his spear, his bow and arrows, and a machete, when his father approached him. “Son”, said the chief, “Please stay home today. I had a dream last night that you went into the bush and got killed by a wild lion! Stay home today, please!”
But the son brushed aside his father’s concerns, “Pah! Pah! Don’t worry, old man, I can take care of myself. Any beast that tries to kill me will get off the worst, I promise you”. And with that he set off, chuckling to himself. He had a good day in the bush, and had already killed as much meat as he could carry, so he decided to call it a day and make his way back home. Then to his surprise he saw a beautiful young girl approach him. Beautiful young girls do not usually come this far into the bush, so he called out to her: “Sister, what are you doing here in the bush? I can see you are not from our village”. She smiled at him, “I heard about you”, she said, “I heard that there is a hunter who is smarter and stronger than anyone. So I decided to look for you, and here you are!”
“I am just on my way home”, said the hunter, “why don’t you come with me to my village, and we will eat and drink something together”. She agreed, so h took her back to the village and his father’s compound. The chief thought it a bit odd that this young woman had been walking around the bush all by herself, but he was so happy that his son had returned home, and had not been killed by a lion as his dream predicted, that he did not question her at all. The son, in the meantime, was falling head over heels in love with this strange young woman, and before the night was out, he asked her to be his wife. She laughed, and told him that she would be very happy to be his wife, but she would have to ask her father’s permission first. So they agreed that the next morning, they would set off early and visit her father.
So the next morning, after eating some fruit and porridge, they were read to set off. The hunter was gathering his weapons, but the girl asked him to leave them behind, as she explained it would be rude to turn up at her father’s house so heavily armed. The hunter agreed to this, so they set off walking through the bush. When they had gone some distance from the village, the girl changed herself back into her natural lion shape, and attacked the hunter, who, having no weapons, was unable to defend himself. That evening, while the chief sat outside his hut waiting in vain for his son’s return, the animals celebrated.