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Story of a great friendship and how it was put to the test
This story is about some young men who were friends.
Some boys made a covenant of friendship; they lived together, (and) were inseparable. They had their maidens in an outlying village. Always they used to go together (and) bring them. On one occasion, one of his friends did not go, so only one went to bring the maidens. When he went, he brought back the maids.
(As) they were going along, they met a lion; and it knocked down and lay on one of the girls, but he, he drew his sword and cut at the lion's head. The lion died, and he found the maiden was not dead. And he told her to lie down beneath the lion along with him, and one of them was to go and tell his friend.
So she consented, (and) ran off (and) found he has begun to sleep. She roused him, (and) he said, 'Where are So-and-so and So-and-so?' And she said, 'They are out there, a lion has killed them.' And he rose up, he did not take anything with him, he went along and came and reached (where) the lion was; it was above them.
He did not hesitate, but sprang and climbed on the lion. He thought it was alive. Truly it was dead. Then his friend rose up and said, 'Rise, So-and-so, you have proved yourself (a free-born) man.' So they lifted up the maiden (and) went home.
Now among them who was better than another?
If you do not know, there it is.
Off with the rat's head.
Maalam Shaihua, translated by R. Sutherland Rattray
photos by Kővágó Nagy Imre