Lion Whiskers: A short story of Bravery for kids

Long ago in Alexandria a woman named Milly married a man who had a son.  His wife had died few years before. Try as Milly might, she could not seem to spark a connection with the child.

She offered the boy food, and he said no.  She spoke sweetly to him, and he turned away. She sat next to him, and he would get up and walk away.  After some months of this, Milly didn’t know what to do.

Now in Milly’s village there was a medicine man, who lived off in the mountains. When anyone in the village was sick or injured, a visit to him would do the trick. Most of the time, Milly could fix her own problems. But this time,She needed help!

As Milly came up to the medicine man hut, she saw the door was open. The old doctor(medicine man said without turning around. What’s the problem?”, Come here. 

She introduced herself and explained. 

he said.  “I understand. But what do you expect me to do about it?”

“Make me a drink, an amulet” cried Milly. “Anything! Whatever it takes to get this child to respond to me.”

The medicine man looked in her eye. he said “Young woman,” “This is not the same as healing a broken bone or healing an ear infection. I need some time to think. 

Come back in three days.”

Three days later, Milly come back to the old doctor’s hut.

The medicine man said with a smile, “I have good news for you! There is a medicine that will change the behavior of the child towards you. But you should know that it requires a special material. You must bring me a mustache from a live lion.”

Milly said with shock. What  “A lion’s whisker?!” Such a thing is not possible!”

“You want your stepson to respond to you?!” he shouted. “Bring me a whisker from a lion.” Then he turned his back. “There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I’m a very busy person.”

That night Milly tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker of a live lion?

The next day, she leaves the home. In her hand was a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. 

Milly went to a grove of shady trees where lion marks were seen and a lion was known to live. She walked a safe distance from the shady trees and very calmly placed the bowl on the grass.

Then as safely and quietly she backed away and went home.

At the same time the next day, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. When he saw that the old bowl was empty, he took it and put the newly filled bowl down. She went silent again.

Every day, she used to do this. Months passed. Milly has never seen a lion. But from the footprints lying on the ground, she knew that the lion was eating her food.

Then one day she saw a lion’s head coming out from behind some trees. Making sure not to look into the eyes of the lion, she stepped very slowly and went to the same place as usual. She put down the new, full bowl of food, picked up the empty bowl, and left.

Day after day, the lion’s head peeked from behind the trees which were closer to where she had kept the bowl. Till one morning the lion was sitting near the empty bowl, waiting for it when it came. This time she sat and waited until the lion ate it. When he was done, he stroked his thick fur like a house cat. She gently looked into his eyes and saw that he now trusted her.

“Actually,” she thought, “it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it.”

This went for for awhile until finally Milly thought the time had come to see if she could get the whisker.

The next day, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the bowl of food, and the lion allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice, “Oh, dearest lion!  please I have just one of your many fine whiskers?”

While petting the lion with one hand, she quickly cut off the whisker with the other hand, careful without hurting the lion in any way. “Thank you, my gentle friend,” she said.

Quickly, she ran to the medicine man’s hut.  Holding the whisker tight in her hand, she cried, “I have it! I have the lion’s whisker!”

“You don’t say?” said the healer, turning around. “From a live lion?”

“Yes!” she said.

“Tell me,” said he. “How did you do it?”

She explained the steps.

With pride she handed him the whisker. The healer looked at it with care.  Then he walked over to the fire and threw it in, where it burned up right away to a crisp.

“What have you done?!” Milly cried. “What it took for me to get that!”

“Milly,” said the old doctor softly, “you don’t need the whisker. Tell me, is this child really more dangerous than a lion? If a wild beast will respond to your patient, loving care, don’t you think a child who misses his mother will, too?”

Milly was startled.  But she thought .. maybe?  And by the time she got back home, she knew what she could do.


The End

Moral of the story is that a seemingly impossible problem can be handled with patience and bravery.

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