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Leboo, Wiwi & Mingati

Born outside the pride searching for a home

By DapoPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 5 min read
Leboo, Wiwi & Mingati
Photo by Kurt Cotoaga on Unsplash

Hey kids! I'm Leboo. I keep cows, but I hunt lions. I'm calm, fearless, and I won my honor when I speared a lion. But, when I was little like you, I did a thing no Maasai had done, "I made friends with a lion". This is our story.

That day was like any day. I beheld the Massai Mara- a land very vast! An enormous wide-open space with grasslands as far as eyes dear see. It is a priceless refuge secured a time long ago by ancient Maasai ancestors, who journeyed south along the Nile from the Meditteranean Sea up north.

Live awakens gently here. Lions, Cheetahs, Elephants, Impalas, Rhinos, and Baboons arise replying to Ngai's call from the top of Kilimanjaro. Ngai (Naamoni aiyai - 'the She to whom I pray') gazed down upon its white peaks hidden in thick fog. Sunlight awakens the Massai Mara as cold winds descend the mountain heights, flowing as a stream of breeze rustling the grasslands round about it.

The breeze rustles the grass feeding Wildebeests traversing the plains as migration season begins. A pack of Lions gnaws a Zebra breakfast near a watering hole. Dozens of towers of Giraffes munch at tall tree leaves. The sea drifts its cool morning breeze into my face, my nostrils taken in the wild air. Oh! I how long for the sea at Mombasa!"

The Sun takes its place in the Maasai Mara sky. Its gracious glow tempers the morning cool breeze turning it warm. I never tire of the sight. Quietness returns slowly, but nearby a shroud of grass doesn't stop its rustling. I studied the noise from a hideout. It was hunting season, but I waited for my group to turn up. I like being early. The rustle continued until it became louder. I took a high ground to see what was in the grass.

Within it, a cub is playfighting a grasshopper. 'How is he alone?' I thought. 'Did he stray?' Lionesses often birth their young outside the Pride to return with them as several weeks old Cubs. So, I watched out for its mother as I drew near. Then, it sees me. It stops playfighting. With its head raised, eyes trained, it lets off a cub's roar. We stare at each other! After a shift of the shadow, it begins to run, jump, and wrestle alone.

I sat for some time, watching the little cub amuse itself. After another shadow shift, I stood up to leave. It stops. We stare at each other again. This time it treats me like prey, stalking, hiding, and springing to attack. I tried to move away, but it runs circles around me. After another shift of the shadow, the cub came and stood before me. In a brief moment, an Anteater crosses between us, and the cub gives chase after it. Later, I found 'cub' two Wildebeests groups away pawing ants from his face, rolling in the grass. I kindly helped".

We spent that morning searching Maasai Mara for its mother. But we came up short. I had abandoned my hunt, and group to get cub home. I had no luck. Perhaps, I was doing this the wrong way. Yet, cub occupied my whole day. Later, I had to rescue it from a pack of Hyenas crossing the Wildebeest lands. "I think it was grateful," because it skipped and played all the way to my hut. It decided to follow me home. I did dissuade it, but the little thing was quite persistent and naughty. Plus I thought it must be hungry.

The women loved it. They gave it Cow milk and it licked it all, belched, and rolled on its back. The cub was a sight to see, as the children tickled it. They called it, "Mingati". "He can't stay here", said Dara our clan head. "I wasn't so sure what to do with him", I replied. "It followed me home". "Well a long time ago, Wiwi the barn owl led you home", said Nataana. "Maybe she can help?" And to that, I agreed. There had been a time when I got lost in the grasslands, but I met Wiwi, who showed me the way back. Then, I decided that together we'd pair up to find Mingati's family".

I looked up from my storytelling audience. The night grew darker. Quietly, my hunt instincts peaked yet lingered. A feeling of a stare in my back enveloped me. I turned around to look into the dark grasslands behind me. Nothing. I returned to the story. "As I backed against Wiwi's tree, the darkness fell on Massai Mara. Wiwi hooted. I woke up. Spear in hand, my senses sharp, I was ready for the long night trek.

Unexpectedly, Mingati leaped upon me. It put me on my back. Licked me, playfully roaring inside my ear. It was lovely. It had been a few days living in my homestead. It added some weight too. Mingati made friends with the children and met Wiwi. Dara had insisted it had stayed a few days too long. So, tonight was about finding its family. Wiwi, Mingati, and I set off. We didn't stop until we found Mingati's pride pack."

So, children, that's Mingati's story. The moon is out, it's time to return to your hut. "But...please...don't stop?" said Namelok. A helplessly looking little girl protested. I felt so terrible, that I made her feel this way. "She's not going to stop", said Dara. "You must continue", retorted Nataana. "Or we all may have a miserable night's sleep". "Ok! I will". I replied Namelok.

Right then, I felt the stare on my back. I ignored it to continue the story, "and we set out. We checked three watering holes, crossed three rivers to the other side of Kilimanjaro. At her foot; she was a behemoth of a mountain. We traveled by night, day and rested in the evening. After one day's journey, we got to a watering hole that didn't fit. A Lion had won its place, widened the pride, and migrated it. I let Mingati wander into the pride. Wiwi and I watched to see if he'd be accepted as we had done in the last three. All the Lionesses that sniffed him didn't accept him."

I stole a glance at my audience. Some had fallen asleep, not Namelok. So, I persisted. "Four growled at Mingati. He stood for a moment at the center of the pride helpless. One lioness moved towards it, circling slowly, sniffing carefully. She presses her face on his, as Mingati's paws rose to rest on her face. Three other lively cubs playfight each other behind her. She nudged Mingati to join them. Wiwi lets off a long hoot, as a smile reached my lips. We were overjoyed. And there you have it, children. Mingati was home!

The Mothers of the sleeping children picked their children shouldering them off to huts. I yawned, stretched, and got up. I looked down to find a little hand tugging my knee, it was Namelok. I took a knee to hear her squeaky voice. "Do you visit Mingati?", she asked? "I may someday", I replied. Then the tingle in my back returned, a sense that I'm being hunted. I waited for the lanterns to go out. The night's breeze chilled. In the dark, I could see a pair of eyes, and Mingati strolls into view. She had seven cubs. This was her third visit to my homestead. Her cubs' playfight near her. We stare! The moon dims slowly.

"Mingati is a girl!" Namelok whispered behind me. I turned. She was peeping from behind her hut. "Yes, she is"! I smiled. I returned my gaze to Mingati who had melted back into the darkness. Wiwi hooted doing a fly-by over my hut, leading Mongati and her cubs home.

Short Story

About the Creator

Dapo

I write about personal ideas, experiences or researched concepts. I publish "indieactivity" - an independent filmmaking publication for filmmakers.

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