My mother in the eyes of a lion

When I was ten years old, I went to visit my maternal uncle who lived in the village of Kelishahar. There was a chain of mountains nearby, about a mile away. I was extremely fond of roaming in these mountains.

About two o’clock one afternoon, my friends were all in school, so I decided to go for a walk alone on one of the mountains. I had been to that mountain many times accompanied by my friends and relatives. This time, being alone, I got more joy from my adventure, so I roamed further and further until I was in the thick of the dense forest which covered the mountain. Formerly, when I had gone with my friends and relatives, they had wandered only through the outskirts of the forest, as these were more accessible.

I was very fond of a certain kind of fruit called jujub. There were many jujub trees in the forest, so I climbed one of them and ate to my heart’s content. When I climbed down — Lo and behold! — facing me, only ten feet away, was a mountain lion! The lion and I were face to face.

My immediate reaction was that the lion, far from showing a ferocious look, was all mildness. Furthermore, I saw my own mother’s face reflected in the lion’s eyes, although my mother was in our home village, Shakpura, six miles away.

This scene lasted for several minutes. Seeing my mother in the eyes of the lion, I felt no fear and raised no cry. I was calm and serene. The more I looked into the lion’s eyes, the greater was the affectionate feeling I was receiving from the lion.

After about five minutes, very slowly I started to move away, turning my back to the lion and walking toward my destination. When I had covered a reasonable distance, perhaps a quarter of a mile, at a slow and cautious pace, I turned back to see if the lion was following me. There was no sign of the animal. Then I ran for dear life.

I covered a mile in a short time, crying and shouting for help: “Save me! Save me! I saw a lion!” When I finally came to my aunt’s house, I was trembling and screaming. My aunt felt as though I had died and had come back to life by some miracle. Some of the villagers showed sympathy while others scolded or mocked, but my aunt was holding me with such affection, as if I had really been killed by the lion.

Although it had been decided that I would go back home after spending four days at my uncle’s house, my mother arrived quite unexpectedly that same day. While she was having her siesta, she had seen in a dream that her youngest son was attacked and killed by a lion. She came with her servant to her brother’s home, practically insane with grief, assuming that her son had died.

I was literally bathed in the sea of tears shed by my mother and aunt in their joy at seeing me alive and safe.