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Folk tales of Sri Lanka

The foolish lion

Lions are supposed to be brave and ferocious animals. However, there was a lion in a remote forest in Sri Lanka that proved to be a different kind of animal.

The young lion used to live in his den with his mother who used to hunt wild animals and feed her somewhat lazy son. The young lion enjoyed his food and led a carefree life.

One day the young lion happened to see a village girl who had strayed into the forest while collecting firewood. He looked at the girl several times and felt that his heart was beating faster than on other days.

The village girl collected some firewood, made them into a bundle and started carrying it on her head. as the dusk was falling she hurried home to meet her father who was waiting at the doorstep.

The young lion followed the girl and reached her home. He waited for sometime until the girl went into the kitchen. Then the young lion made his appearance at the doorstep and looked at the girl’s father sternly.

Fearing imminent death the man turned to go into the house but the young lion stopped him from doing so.

“There is no need to get frightened. I mean no harm to you or your daughter”, the young lion said.

Unable to believe the lion’s words the man asked what he wanted. “I love your daughter. I came to marry her”.

“To give my daughter to a lion? That’s quite impossible. when I see your large teeth and sharp claws even I get frightened.” The lion roared. The man trembled. “Ok, Mr Lion, I’ll consider your request if you can meet just one condition.” the man said.

“What’s that?”

“If you can get rid of your teeth and claws my daughter might take a fancy to you.”

“If that’s so I’ll come tomorrow without my teeth and claws,” the young lion said.

The man went into his house and closed the door tightly. The lion returned to his den and started removing his sharp teeth and claws.

“What are you doing, son? “Mother lion asked.

“Oh! you don’t understand these things. I want to marry a village girl. She wouldn’t marry me if I had my teeth and claws.”

“Ok, go ahead and you will soon realise your folly” mother lion said.

The toothless and clawless lion went to meet the girls’ father who was ready with a heavy club to welcome him.

“Now you’re powerless without teeth and claws. Run away back into the forest before I beat you to a pulp,” said the villager. The poor lion returned to his den crestfallen.

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