A woman was walking down a little used path, with a shawl to cover her head. She walked quickly, she was scared. Few people if any ever dared to come to this place. But she was desperate, and that made her one of the few.
It was a strange path, the one she took. Despite being in the literal middle of a forest, there was no sound. No animal calls, and even the dried leaves she trampled on, crumbled in silence.
Soon she arrived at her destination, a small hut with bleached white bones littered about. Not all of them looked like animal bones, so she didn’t look too closely.
A guttural voice called out.
“Come in child.”
She bowed and entered. Seated cross-legged on the hut’s mud floor was a herbalist. He gestured for her to sit so she lowered herself to the mud floor also.
“So what brings you here woman?”
With tears in her eyes, she told her tale. She had a sweet marriage, with everything going on smoothly till the last three years. Suddenly her husband changed towards her.
The kind, loving man she married seemed to have evaporated or something, he was harsh, brutal. He didn’t care about her. She was frustrated. And that brought her to the reason for her journey-
“I need a love potion to bring him back.”
The herbalist took a long, good look at the woman sitting in front of him.
“I’ll need three hairs from the mane of a living lion.”
“And they must not be taken by force.”
“Do you want your potion or not woman? Bring me the hair.”
She left the place even faster than she came.
On the way back, she pondered her situation. The problem wasn’t finding a lion, there was a cranky old beast in the mountains not too far from the village she lived in. The problem was the way she was asked to get the hairs. She kept thinking and thinking and thinking.
That night she tossed and turned before falling into a troubled sleep. When she woke up, she had a plan.
The following day, she walked up the mountain, cradling a lamb, till she could see the beast. As it watched her, she tied the lamb and walked away quickly. She hadn’t gone far when she heard the lamb screaming out in pain. She quickened her footsteps.
Regularly she brought lambs to feed the lion. Every visit was a test. she did not like the lion. she did not like the sound of its roar. She hated the look of the beast, with its battle scars criss-crossing it’s flesh. She was afraid of the way it looked at her. Like it was considering eating her instead of the lambs.
But she hated it a little less each time, and feared it even less.
And gradually it came to know her, and to expect the free meal she always brought along. At first, it let her get close while it was feeding without snapping at her. Then she could sit around it without fear.
Soon it was relaxed around her, purring and as playful as a new born kitten. She also got used to being around the lion. She often stroked it’s mane and sang to it.
One day, while she was stroking it, after it had eaten, it fell asleep. Quickly she plucked three hairs from the lion’s mane and wrapped it tightly in leaves, tucking the parcel in her wrapper.
The next day she returned to the herbalist and offered the hair. He then asked her how she got the hair. She told him the story. With a chuckle he told her
“With patience and persistence, you tamed a lion. Do the same thing to your husband.”