LIFE LESSONS: PATIENCE IS THE GREATEST VIRTUE


     A young woman suspected her husband was cheating on her. They got into incessant fights, sometimes he failed to come home and even when he did come home he would neither eat her food nor share her bed. Because of this, the woman consulted a renowned medicine man and pleaded with him to help her make a charm or potion that would help her husband love her again. The wise old medicine man asked her some questions about her husband and took note of the answers she gave. After that he consulted with the oracle and then he said to her:
   “The oracle says only the milk of a lactating Lioness can be used to prepare this potion you desire. Once you bring this milk, I will use it to prepare a potion you will put in his food, once he eats it, you will become irresistible to him, just like a lion cub cannot resist its mother’s milk.” He added, “When you go to look for this milk, you must go alone or the milk will not work as it should.”
    The woman thanked the medicine man and left, but she was confused and unhappy.” How would I a mere woman even find a lioness, not to talk of a lactating one, without help?” even if I found one how would I approach it knowing that a lioness with young cubs would be extremely hostile and dangerous?”  “Is my husband even worth that level of sacrifice?”  These were thoughts that ran through her mind for days, but in the end, her love for her husband won out. She resolved to try and find a lactating lioness, no matter what it would cost her.  For weeks she roamed the deep dark recesses of the jungle, where even veteran hunters would think twice about going, in search of a lioness. It was a traumatizing and unpleasant experience, she was beaten by rain and sunshine, she was chased by wild animals, she endured colds and fevers, but she refused to give up.
      At last one day she found a lioness that had just given birth to four cubs. However the problem was how to get close to the beast without being attacked. So she went home, killed a goat and brought it back for the animal. At first the animal was wary and defensive, but in the end its hunger won out and it attacked the food. Every day   the woman would bring some meat for the animal; the animal would eagerly eat the food but still would not allow the woman to get close to it. The woman was not dismayed by this and she patiently continued to bring the meat for the beast. After a seemingly interminable time of trying, the animal started to trust her. The lioness would allow the woman to stroke it and it would lick her face like a large dog. Its cubs would roll all over her and lick her face. In time the lioness even learnt to wag its tail anytime the woman came around. One day the woman came as usual with the meat and while the lioness ate, the woman placed a calabash under its teats and was able to get as much milk as she wanted. Finally after months of hard work she was able to go back to the medicine man’s house with her prize.
The old man marvelled at the patience and endurance that the young woman displayed to accomplish the task and he said to her: “the reason why I asked you to bring the milk of a lioness was not to make any potion for you, I only wanted to see how much you were willing to give to get your husband back.  I know that in order to get this milk, you patiently studied the animal, tried to understand its habits and endured its hostility in order to win its trust. If you can show this level of patience with your husband, all your problems will become a thing of the past. I am sorry for deceiving you before but there is no potion that can do what you wish. By your actions you have shown that you are capable of achieving your desires.”
         The woman was disappointed that that the old man could not give her the potion she desired in spite of her efforts, but she took his advice, and became more patient and understanding with her husband just like she had been with the lioness. To her surprise, he changed as well, he stopped keeping late nights, the fights stopped and he no longer refused to eat her food or share her bed. The woman finally realized that there is no charm like patience and endurance. With it one can achieve the hardest of aims, and with it one can tame the wildest and most hostile of animals─ or men.
 

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