Hukumusume fairy tale collection > Foreign language (English) > Classical stories of the world
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A Cow and a Lion
(Old stories of India)
Japanese ←→ Japanese ＆ English ←→ English
This is a story from long, long ago.
A cow went to the river to drink some water and ate a lot of green grass by the river.
When the cow was about to go home, she unfortunately encountered a hungry lion.
“You, cow. Be prepared. I will eat you!”
The lion looked as if he was going to attack her any second.
The cow backed away at first but had a second thought.
(I’m going to die someday anyway. If so, it may be a honorable thing for me to offer myself to a hungry lion who is craving me.)
So the cow said to the lion,
“Sure, go ahead and eat me. But I have one favor to ask you.”
“What is it?”
“My hungry little boy is waiting for me to come home.
Please let me go home and feed him for the last time.
I promise to come back as soon as possible.”
“No way! I’m sure you’ll never come back!”
“Yes, I will.
I’ll keep my promise.
If I don’t feed the little boy today, my breast milk will be wasted.
It’s very important to be helpful for something, isn’t it?”
“… I see. You may go, then. I’ll be waiting for you right here.”
The lion agreed reluctantly.
The cow hurried back home and called the little boy.
“Come here, my little boy. Drink my milk as much as you want.”
However, the smart little boy noticed his mother acting differently.
“Mama, are you worried about something?
I’m not going to drink your milk if you don’t tell me.”
The boy looked so serious that the cow told him the truth.
Drink some milk now, good boy.
I’ve made a promise with the lion.”
The little boy looked up at his mother, looking as if he was about to cry.
I’ll come with you.
I’m too sad to drink your milk, knowing that you are going back to the lion alone.”
The cow hugged the little boy.
the little boy said,
“you told me that it’s important to be helpful for something in this world.
Eating both of us should satisfy the lion’s hunger enough to not eat other animals for a while.”
“But I can’t let the lion eat you…”
“No! I want to come with you!”
The little boy wouldn’t leave his mother’s side.
So the cow reluctantly took the little boy with her and hurried back to where the lion was.
“Lion, I‘m back as I promised.
My little boy is here with me as well.
Now you may eat us.
You must be starving, but if you eat two of us, you won’t crave other animals for a while.
We believe it’s a very good thing to sacrifice ourselves to save other animals.”
The lion had been listening to the cow closely.
His eyes were in tears.
“Here, Lion. Go ahead.”
“Eat me, too.”
Having said that, the cow and the little boy closed their eyes slowly.
Suddenly, the lion grabbed his stomach and said to the cow and the son.
“Ow! It hurts!
I’m getting stomachache just now.
I can’t eat anything like this.
What a shame, what a shame.”
Then the lion left without eating the two.
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