African Legends :
The hunter and the lion
|The hunter and the lion|
Bura Folktales Legend (Nigeria)
|There was a hunter who often went into the bush to hunt. Hunting was his work. No other work was so sweet to him as hunting. Every day he was trying to find where the most game could be seen. The bush was all known to him. He knew that in some places there was game and in other places there was none.|
One day when the hunter was far in the bush looking for game, he heard a noise that sounded like something coming toward him, but he could not see anything. In a moment he saw a large lion almost on top of him, and it was coming toward him. The lion was so near that it was no use to think of running. The hunter trembled with fear, for he did not know what the lion was going to do with him. Any moment the lion might catch him and kill him. Even if he had wanted to run he had no strength in his legs, because they were shaking.
The hunter noticed that as soon as the lion saw him he began to show him his troubles. The lion opened his mouth, and the saliva was running down "lo-lo-lo." The hunter noticed that the lion was very poor, instead of being fat as lions usually are. He laid down his bow and quiver and took off the shooting ring from his thumb and knelt down before the lion. All that he could do was to praise the greatness of the lion.
The lion began to move his tail back and forth in a friendly way and came up to the hunter. When the lion was very near the hunter, he lay down in front of him, and raised his mouth up to him. The hunter looked into the lion's mouth and saw a large bone which was stuck in the lion's throat. The lion had not been able to get it out for himself.
The hunter was very, very sorry for the lion. He went to a nearby stream and washed his hands until there was no dirt left on them. He came back and reached his arm into the lion's mouth and took hold of the bone which was fast in the lion's throat. He carefully removed it. When it was out, the lion gave a big sigh, "mmm."
Now the lion was free from the trouble which had overtaken him. He went down into the little stream and lay down in the water and rolled. Then he got up and shook himself and took a drink. Again he lay down and washed out his throat and bathed his whole body.
When he came up from the water he went to the hunter and thanked him over and over again. He licked the hunter's body and moved his tail back and forth in a friendly way. The lion showed the hunter that he should stay where he was until the lion came back. The hunter sat down to wait.
Before the lion had gone far he saw a large herd of roan antelope. Quickly he ran ahead of the front ones and turned them toward the hunter. When the hunter saw the large herd of roan coming, he put on his shooting ring and, taking his quiver and bow, he lay down flat on the ground and waited. The herd of roan came right toward him. In an instant he was on one knee shooting at them. He hit three. The lion caught three more large males. The lion took the hunter and showed him the three large roan which he had caught for him.
The hunter went back to the village and called all the people in village to come and help skin the six roan, The hunter selected some of the best meat and took it to the lion where he
was hiding himself. The rest of the meat was carried into the village.
This is how the hunter and the lion became great friends. If the lion does not see the hunter each morning he thinks that something must be wrong, and he goes to hunt the hunter so that they may salute each other. The hunter is not without meat, because his friend always drives it around to him.