Segab's mother died when he
was eleven years old. His father married another woman, Bizunesh by
name. Segab did not like Bizunesh. But Bizunesh began to love the
boy very much and tried to be a good mother to him. She always made
good breakfasts, dinners and suppers, but he did not eat them. She
bought him many good clothes, but he did not look at them. She gave
him new shoes, but he went to the river and threw the shoes into the
water. When she spoke to him, he always ran away.
One day the poor woman said to Segab, "I always wanted to have a son,
and now I have you, Segab. I love you very much, my dear boy!"
But Segab said angrily, "I am not your son, and you , are not my
mother. My mother is dead. I do not love you. I will never love you."
Bizunesh was very sorry and cried all night. In the morning she
decided to go to a wise old man. She told him about Segab who did
not love her. :
The old man said, "I can help you. But first you must bring me three
hairs of a lion."
"But how can I do this? The lion will kill me," Bizunesh said.
"I cannot answer your question. I need three hairs of a lion. Try to
So Bizunesh went out to try to get the hairs. She went far, far away
from her house and came to a place where a lion lived. The lion was
very big and roared angrily. He was hungry. Bizunesh was afraid of
him and ran away quickly. But the next day she came back with some
meat for the lion. She put the meat not far from him and ran away.
The lion saw the meat and went to it. He ate it all very quickly.
The next day she again brought some meat for the lion and put it a
little nearer. And again the lion ate it all up.
Every day Bizunesh brought some meat for the lion, and he soon
understood that the woman was his friend. He was not angry, and he
did not roar. He was happy to see her.
And one day Bizunesh came very near to the lion and gave him the
meat from her hand. At the same time she tore three hairs off his
back.1 The lion was not angry. Bizunesh ran to the old man and
showed him the hairs.
"What must I do with them now?" she asked.
"Nothing," he answered. "But you know how to go near a lion, little
by little, step by step.2 Do the same with Segab, and I am sure he
will love you."