The Lion and the Sheep

Here is a story:

There was a Lion and a Sheep who became very good friends. The Lion lived in the bush while the Sheep lived in the village. The Lion killed many animals and brought them to the Sheep.

One week later, the Lion said to the Sheep: My friend, please come tomorrow to the meadow where I will be working. You can come and carry away for yourself the animals you find that I will have killed for you. The next day in the morning, the Sheep went to the place where the Lion worked. When he arrived at the meadow, he saw that the Lion had killed many animals. He liked this very much, and when he arrived he put all the killed animals on the middle of the pole in such a way that it should be carried by two and not just one. When the Lion saw this he was flabbergasted. Straight away he said to the Sheep: My friend, the way you are carrying, is that our way of carrying animals on a pole? The Sheep said to the Lion: Well this is how I do it, but if you want me to change the way I carry the animals you are going to have to show me how. The Lion understood nothing. After a month passed, the Lion and the Sheep continued to argue about how to carry meat.

One day, the Sheep said to the Lion: Come and visit me since I always go to visit you. On that day, the Lion did not go hunting. As the sun was going down, he went to the Sheep’s home. When he arrived at the Sheep’s home, the Sheep was very happy to see him. The Sheep went to the house and began to prepare some food. He put the huge pot on the fire while the Lion waited outside. The Sheep took an enormous tail and threw it in the huge pot which made the pot swim in grease. The Sheep’s wife poured it into a smaller pot and filled it to the brim and then she called the Lion and said: Let’s go in. When the Lion looked inside the pot, he began to salivate. When he drank, it was delightful to his taste. Returning home, he took some for his wife. After she tasted it she asked him: The thing you brought, where does it come from? Her husband said: It all comes from the King with whom we are good friends. Then his wife told him: The only way we can get this delicious sauce is by killing the Sheep and his wife, and then we can eat to our hearts’ delight. On another day, the Lion said to the Sheep: My friend, please do come tomorrow and collect some meat.

In the morning, the Sheep took his travelling stick on his shoulder and went to see the Lion. The Lion said to the Sheep: My friend, take some meat, but in order to carry the meat back you must hook the meat some on the front and some on the back. The Sheep said to him: To learn how to carry meat your way would take three days and this is only the second.

The Lion and his wife were stalking the Sheep. The Sheep arrived at the meadow and hooked the meat on the front of his stick and then started for home. When the Lion saw the Sheep, he leapt at him yelling: I got you, and thus he was impaled on the stick which went right through him. The Sheep turned around and said: I asked you a long time ago: ‘Please show me how to carry on both sides”. The Sheep then killed the Lion, and that was the end of the friendship between the Lion and the Sheep.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: any immoderation, be it in eating or in lust, eventually leads to misfortune. Some trades or amusements are not without danger. Do not let good things interfere with your welfare. Do not let pleasure interfere with safety.

The Mambwe proverbs say: The little bone you enjoy so much widens (or leaves) the gap in your teeth (Akafupa kano utemilwe, kakakuzya imyalu; Akafupa kano utemilwe, kakasy’umwalu; Akafupa kano utemilwe, kakaciti myalu); He who spins a top is never without a sore (Mucinzya nsengwa, asiula kalonda);The one who said: “let me suck to the very end,” was caught; the one who said: “it is always sweet,” went away (Kamfipilile yamulemile, visisila kulyompa wapisile); The one who said: “let-me-lick-the-plate,” was caught; the one who said: “it is always sweet,” went away (Kankombesezye yamulemile, visisila kulyompa wapisile); The one who drinks to the end, they caught him (Kankuulula, yamulemile).

Subjects: immoderation – misfortune – lust – dangers – pleasure – welfare – trade – risks


Written by R. Lucembe Nacula, Cikunta 9th of April 1984.