Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a
young husband and wife in a small village in Africa. For some time
now, the husband had not been happy with his marriage. He began to
come home late from working in the fields. His wife thought he was
the most wonderful man. But she was unhappy, too. His behavior was
making her miserable.
Finally, she went to the oldest man in her
village, the village elder. The elder was sad to hear her marriage was
not a happy one. He had married them only two years before. At the
time, he was sure that the marriage would be a good one.
"Of course I will end your marriage if that
is what you want," he told the young wife, after listening
patiently for a while. "You will be free to marry again. But is
that really what you want?"
"I want my husband to be loving," she
said. "I want to be loving. We are both miserable."
"I think I can help you," the elder
said slowly. "I can prepare a secret potion that will change your
husband into a loving man."
"Prepare this magic potion at once!"
the young wife cried out excitedly.
"I could make it," he said sadly.
"But I am missing an important ingredient. I am too old to get
this ingredient for you. You must bring it to me."
"What do you need?" the young wife
asked eagerly. "I'll bring it today."
"I need a single whisker taken from a living
lion to make the potion work."
Her eyes widened in alarm. She bit her bottom
lip. She straightened her shoulders. "I'll get it for you,"
The next morning, the young wife carried a huge
piece of raw meat down to the river where lions sometimes came to
drink. She hid behind a tree and waited. After waiting many hours, a
lion ambled down to the river to have a drink. He sniffed at the raw
meat. In three bites, the meat was gone. He raised his mighty head. He
knew she there. The young wife held her breath. The mighty lion moved
slowly back into the forest and disappeared.
The next day, the young wife came again. This
time, the lion appeared quite quickly. This continued for many days.
Days became weeks. Each day, the woman crept from her hiding place
behind the tree, moving closer and closer to the lion.
At the end of four weeks, she moved quietly next
to the lion and sat silently while he ate. Her hand shaking, she
reached slowly out and pulled a whisker from his chin. Holding her
prize firmly in one hand, she sat frozen until the lion had
disappeared back into the forest.