A Lion used to kill many people.
In the same country lived n very poor man with five sons. Ono time, having nothing to eat, he gave a knife to each of his sons and told him to go out to earn wages. The boys traveled on until they came to a place where five roads met. They said to one another, "We will stick up our knives here and if anyone takes them find out who it is." So each stuck his knife up in one of the roads, and started on down the same road.
The smallest boy started off on the faintest trail, and presently came to a beautiful house with a fence around it. An old woman came out of this house and said, "What are you doing?" When she learned that he and his brothers had been sent out to work for wages, she said, "I have no children. Come and live with me." So the boy made his home with her.
All the time he was there he kept hearing guns discharged. Sometimes he would hear one discharged early in the morning and sometimes it would be late in the evening. "Mother," he inquired, "why are those guns discharged?" The woman answered, "There is a big Lion about catching people and they are shooting at it." "Mother, I believe I will go and see," he said, but she replied, "No; I think you couldn't do anything. Lions kill people and this one would kill such a little thing as you." "Well, I want to see him very much," said the boy, and he kept teasing her this way until at last she said, "You have wanted to go for so long that I suppose you must, though I think you will never come back. I suppose you are going to take your little dog along." "I am going to kill that Lion," said the boy, but his foster mother replied, "He has killed lots of better people than you and I suppose when you start away from hero it will be the last of you."
The boy set out early next morning and before night came to the place where the Lion lived. He was sitting in front of a rock house with rock foundation and rock steps surrounded by a kind of fence. "My little friend, what have you come for?" said the Lion. "Come in and let us talk." "That is precisely why I came," said the boy. The little dog lay down by the door and his master and the Lion entered, the Lion saying as they did so, "Come and have a look through my rooms." So the Lion led him through two rooms in which were many interesting things. In the third room the Lion had a great many guns and in the fourth a lot of sabers. "What do you do with these?" asked the boy. "They are to tickle a person's neck." "Let me tickle your's first," said the boy, "and then you can tickle mine," but the Lion refused. "Well," said the boy, "I will lie on my back and whistle four times and after that, if you can tickle my neck, you may do so."
Then the boy lay on his back and emitted a long whistle. The second was still longer, and when he was only halfway through the third in came the little dog, now grown to the size of a lion, seized the Lion by the thigh and tore off his leg. In consequence the Lion, who was about to tickle his guest with a saber, lost his balance and fell over. The boy encouraged his dog still further and he tore off the other hind leg of the Lion. "That is what I thought I would do to you," said the boy.
"If you will keep him away from me and spare my life," said the Lion, "I will give you something good." The boy agreed and the Lion continued, "Under the place where I am lying is a twenty-dollar gold piece. As long as you keep this you will have good luck." The boy hunted for this piece of money but after he had found it he set his dog on the Lion again. The dog seized him by the throat and bit his head off, but as soon as he let go the head rolled back and reunited
with the body. After this had happened several times the boy got a saber, split the Lion's jaw with it, and cut out his tongue. Then he did not revive again.
Afterwards the boy set his house on fire and the domestic cats which lived with him and were his cooks (inhompita haya) ran off to the villages. Then the boy himself set out to return to the house of the old woman, carrying the gold piece and the Lion's tongue.
On his way back the boy came to a man hewing logs, and the man said, "You passed here intending to visit the Lion. Did you see him? Evidently you did not or you would not have come back." The boy answered that he had not only seen him but had killed him. "What proof have you?" said the man. "Many people greater than you could not kill him. You are just talking." "That might have been so with other people, but I killed him." "Then show me something to prove it." Then the boy took the Lion's tongue out of a little bag and said, "Here it is. Here is his tongue." "Well!" replied the man, "I did not think that such a little thing as you could have killed him, but you have done so. Let me have the tongue." "Do you really want it?" "Yes." "Well, let me chop your finger off and I will give it to you." The man agreed, and after the boy had out off the end of his finger he took it back to his foster mother while the man carried the Lion's tongue into the village.
When the old woman saw her foster child return she said, "Did you find the Lion?" "I found him and killed him and have come home." "Son, better men than you have gone to kill him and never returned. What proof have you that you did kill him? Show me something." So the boy showed her the man's finger and told her he had gotten it in exchange for the tongue of the Lion. "What else have you by way of proof?" she asked. "Another sign he replied, "is a twenty-dollar gold piece." He showed this to his mother also and she said, "You are in luck. Go east and provide yourself with a good home." The word was (or it was reported) that there was a man living in the east who had a twenty-dollar gold piece which could talk.
79:1 Compare preceding Story.