The Rock Lion Opens Its Mouth

A poor family and a rich family lived at the foot of a mountain. There was a large forest at the top of the mountain. Every day the head of the poor family went to the forest to get wood to sell for food and clothing.

In the forest there was a rock lion. Usually the poor man would put some barley meal and butter in the lion’s mouth and say, “Please eat this, brother lion.”

The days went by. One day as the poor man was feeding the rock lion, the lion said, “Thank you, friend. You are a good man.”

The poor man was frightened and said, “Brother lion, you don’t have a master to feed you, so I gave you some food. I don’t have any good food because I am poor.”

“You are an honest man. Tomorrow morning before sunrise, come here and I will give you something,” said the lion.

The man took his firewood and returned home. Next morning he went to the lion. “Listen,” said the lion, “there is much gold in my stomach. You may take some. But when the sun rises, you must take your hand out of my stomach, because at that time my mouth will close.”

“Yes, I understand,” said the man. He put his hand in the lion’s stomach and soon he had filled a small bag with gold. “This is enough for me,” he said, thanked the lion, and went home.

The poor man was now rich. His rich neighbour was jealous and asked, “How did you become so rich?” The honest man told him about the rock lion.

The rich man put on old clothes, went to the forest, and every day did as the poor man had done. He fed the lion barley with meal and butter and fetched firewood. One day the lion repeated what he had told the poor man.

The rich man was very happy and came the next day with a big bag. He took much gold from the lion’s stomach. The sun rose, but the greedy man still did not have enough. And clomp! – the lion’s mouth clamped shut on his arm and did not opened again.

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