The Lion, the Leopard, the Black Mamba Snake and the Man

Here is a story:

There once was a king who built a great village. In that village, there was a man that hunted many animals, but he didn’t give any of them to the king. The king got angry and said to the man: Get out of my village. The man moved out of the village and began to live in the bush alone. He didn’t have a wife, he was just alone. One day, while walking through the bush, he discovered four things in a game pit. In the game pit there were: a Lion, a Leopard, a Black Mamba and a Man.

When they saw him, they began to yell: Let us out of the game pit. He refused saying: You want to kill me and then eat me. The Lion said: Please let me out. I won’t eat you. The Leopard said: Please help me. I won’t catch you. The Black Mamba said: Please let me out. I won’t bite you. The Man said: Please help me out. I am your brother and I may help you a lot. The man stood there thinking to himself and said to them: I will let you all out, and whatever you really want to do then you will do it anyway. The man cut down a tree and carved it into a ladder and then he put it in the game pit. The Lion came out thanking the man and saying: Thank you very much. The Leopard, the Black Mamba, and the Man came out, and the man also went back to his village.

One day, the Lion went to visit the man who saved his life. When he arrived, he noticed a man building a tower. The Lion said: Come down here so that we may greet each other. The man was paralysed with fear and said: I’m not coming down. We can greet each other like this. The Lion said: Don’t you have a wife? The man replied: No, I don’t have one. The Lion said: I will help you out because you helped me.

The Lion went to the village and when he reached it he went to the king’s palace. He entered the king’s courtyard and hid himself on one side. Eventually, the king’s daughter said: Let me go outside. As she went outside, the Lion jumped on her and caught her. The people began to scream: A Lion has taken the king’s daughter! The Lion carried this girl to the place where the man lived. He did this without causing her any harm. When he brought her to him, the man was very happy because from then on he would have someone to talk to and so he thanked the Lion saying: You have done very very well!

On another day, the Leopard brought the man and his wife some meat to eat. The man was very happy because he liked having such good friends. They lived together for many days.

Then, one day, a man left his village and went hunting in the bush. He came across the place where they lived. They greeted each other and the man recognised the girl, the daughter of the king, who had been taken by the Lion. He was greatly surprised and returned to his village. When he arrived, he went directly to the king’s palace. He said to the king: The girl taken by the Lion didn’t die and she is still alive. She was taken to the man whom you chased from the village. I saw her there. The king sent his soldiers and they went there and found the man and the girl. They caught them and brought them to the village.

Early in the morning, the king called all of his people together to see the man who was brought by the soldiers. The king put a question to his people: What shall we do with this man? The council of people decided: Just kill him. The king said: Very well, but first of all we will lock him in that abandoned house and kill him tomorrow. They took him and locked him in the house. At night fall, the Black Mamba which had been taken out of the game pit came and slithered in through the window. He found the man inside and said to him: Just as you helped me, I will help you now. Right now, I will go outside and bite the king. When no medicine works to cure the king, the Man who was with us in the game pit will come and help you. The Black Mamba added: When they come and take you out from here and ask: ‘Help us to find a cure for the king’, please come to the termite hill and you will find me there.

In fact, the Black Mamba left the house and went towards the king’s palace. When the king said: Let me go outside, the Black Mamba bit him and the king began to yell in pain. The people screamed: The king has been bitten. The king has been bitten by the Black Mamba. The people came together and tried all kinds of medicine, but they failed and the king grew weaker and weaker. The Man whom the boy had taken out from the game pit together with the three wild animals said to the king’s advisors: Couldn’t we ask the man we imprisoned to help us as he lived in the bush for a long time so maybe he knows the medicine for different snake bites? They all went and let the man out of the house and said to him: The king has been bitten by a Black Mamba. Can you find us some medicine? Immediately, the man went to the termite hill where the Black Mamba was.

The Black Mamba gave him the medicine with which he cured the king. When the king realised he has been cured by the man, he was very happy. He told his advisors: Don’t kill him, he saved my life. The king gave him his daughter to be the man’s wife. Anger is not a good thing.

And that is the end of our story.

The moral of the story: it is right and good to furnish each other with help and mercy.

The Mambwe proverbs say: (An animal) steps (walks) where (another animal) stepped (walked)(Ikalyata, muno yalyasile). English equivalent: “All doors are open to courtesy”; “Civility/courtesy/politeness costs nothing”; “Courtesy never broke man’s crown”; “He may freely receive courtesies who knows how to return them”; “One good turn deserves another”;“There is nothing lost by civility”.

Subjects: love – helping in need – mercy – success


Written by an unknown author.