The Lion’s Hair
In this Ethiopian folktale we learn a lesson about love and about determination (or resolve), a quality that keeps us from giving up, that keeps us trying until we succeed. The couple in this tale is overwhelmed with problems; that is, their difficulties have become too much form the. The result is a loss of harmony, or peaceful relations. A wise man tells the woman that she must bring a hair from a lion. She fears the lion’s claws (sharp nails) and its fangs (long, sharp teeth). But she finally succeeds in bringing the lion’s hair, and saved her marriage.
The story takes place in certain village in the mountains of Ethiopia, where a young man and a young woman fell in love and became husband and wife. For a short while they were perfectly happy, but soon there arose conflict in their married life. They began to find fault with each other and quarrel over little things. The man blamed his wife and the wife blamed her husband.
After a few months, when the wife could no longer tolerate her husband, she decided to ask for divorce. Before asking for divorce she plans to take help form a wise old judge. She went to the wise man who promised her to provide the magic medicine that would eventually solve her problem. He asked her to bring a lion’s hair that lived down the river. But the woman said, “but how can I get such a hair”, “The lion will surely kill me.” The old man asked her to find a way to get the lion’s hair if she wanted to repair her broken relationship. The young wife thought long and hard. She loved her husband very much. Finally, she decided to get the hair, no matter what.
The very next morning she walked down to the river, hid behind some rocks, and waited. When the lion came by to drink the water in the river, she was so scared that she nearly fainted. When she heard the mighty roar of the lion, she turned and ran home. But the next morning she came back carrying a bag of fresh meat. She put the food on the ground two hundred yards from the lion, and then hid behind the rocks while the lion ate. The next day she set the meat down one hundred yards away from the lion. And on the following morning, she put the food only fifty yards away and stood nearby while the lion ate the meat. And so every day she drew closer and closer to the fierce, wild beast. After a while she stood near enough to throw him the food, and finally came the day when she fed him right from her hand! When she stood near the lion, she trembled with fear. But she loved her husband more than she feared the lion. She closed her eyes, and pulled a single hair from the tail. Then she ran as fast as she could to the wise old judge.
When she reached the old man, she took out the hair and gave it to him. The old man took the hair and looked at it closely. The old man praised the lady for doing such a brave thing with a great deal of patience and resolve. Then the woman asked to give her the medicine to make my marriage better. The old man shook his head and said that he doesn’t have the medicine. Instead he said, “Don’t you see? I have already given you all the medicine you need. You were determined to do whatever it took, however long it took, to gain a magic remedy for your marriage the same your husband love each other. If you showed in getting this hair, you will be happy together for a long time.” The old man’s reply opened her eyes and then the woman went home with new resolutions to repair her broken relationship.