“Tomorrow we will go,” said Leopard. “Today my bones are weary.”
“Tomorrow they may be dead,” said Deer. “Let us go today.”
Leopard finally agreed. But he said, “We should carry food with us, for we will be out all day.” Deer, who ate far more often than Leopard, refused to help collect the food, so Leopard found six
bananas and carried them with him, along with his gun. Deer carried nothing. They walked through the woods a long way without finding anything to hunt. Finally, Deer said, “My belly is empty. Let us eat some bananas.”
“No,” said Leopard. “Not yet. Wait until we are on our way home.”
Deer was obliged to agree, for the food was Leopard’s food. A while later Leopard saw a monkey in a tree. He said to Deer, “Deer, there is a monkey in that tree. See if you can shoot him down.” “I am too weak with hunger,” Deer complained. So Leopard shot the monkey, but it fell in a fork
of the tree and stuck there, dead.
“See if you can get him, Deer,” asked Leopard.
“I don’t have the strength,” Deer said, and sighed unhappily. So Leopard climbed the tree. He
reached the monkey and was about to climb down when he saw Deer smelling the six bananas as if he might eat them. He began to climb down quickly, but he slipped, and his back feet became entangled in some vines so that he found himself hanging there helplessly, upside down.
“Deer,” he cried. “I beg you to climb up and cut me free!”
“I am too weak with hunger,” Deer said again. Leopard could hear some people working nearby. “Then shout for the people nearby to come, or I will die.”
“How can I shout when I am so hungry? I have not eaten food all day….particularly bananas.” “Then eat two bananas and then shout.”
Deer ate two bananas and shouted in such a small voice that no one could have heard him.
Leopard was now in great pain, and he begged his friend to make a greater effort.
“Those two bananas hardly touched my throat,” said Deer. “I am still too weak.”
“Then eat two more, and shout for help.”
Deer ate two more bananas, but his second shout was even weaker than the first.
“Have the bananas stolen your voice?” cried Leopard angrily.
“No, my friend, my voice is growing. If I could eat two more bananas my voice would be loud.” “Then eat the last two, and be quick before my legs are torn loose from my body.”
Deer ate the last two bananas, and then sat down and laughed and laughed at Leopard. Leopard
did not know what to do. Deer looked up at him, still laughing, and said, “If you can’t get down, I shall leave you, useless Leopard. Oh, how funny it is to see you hanging by your two feet.”
Leopard became very angry. He struggled and struggled, and began to free himself. He said bitterly, “When I get down I shall eat you, Deer. I will claw you to pieces.”
“When you get down,” Deer mocked him. But Leopard was pulling free of the vines, and when Deer saw this he grew alarmed and ran away. Leopard came down the tree and began to chase him. Deer hid behind a tree, and Leopard did not see him. Leopard went home, but Deer remained in the forest, and since that time he has had to run for his life whenever Leopard finds him.
About the Creator:
Aunt Clara Blaine was a well-known storyteller. “Aunt Clara” as she was known, was a Christian, and as a way of ministering to the Liberian people, she would tell them stories about her relationship with Christ and why they needed Him as their Savior. Her most popular stories were those she told about a Spider and his animal friends. She talked about a spider because it was an insect that everyone in Africa was familiar with. The stories became so popular that they were even broadcast over a Christian radio station called E.L.W.A. (which stands for Eternal Love Winning Africa). (Show picture of Aunt Clara with the children on the radio.) When she would start a story, she always began with “Once upon a time….” and then she would pause until her audience chimed in with “TIME”. Then she would continue with her story and the explanation of God’s truths found in the story.
Aunt Clara loved people and she loved Jesus. Groups of people in Monrovia and groups of people in villages came to know about Jesus through Aunt Clara’s storytelling. These groups began meeting as Christ-following churches, and the EC Church of Liberia was begun. People told their neighbors and friends about Jesus, and other churches were formed. Today, the EC Church of Liberia is growing and helping to transform the country of Liberia, all because a good storyteller was willing to use her talents to teach others about Jesus. (Show picture of Aunt Clara EC Church) This is an EC Church that was named after Aunt Clara. Because of the fighting during the war, this congregation has had a hard time building a permanent structure. Aren’t you glad that Aunt Clara used one of the Liberian customs to minister to her own people?
Aunt Clara was so well-loved and well-known that when she died in 1979, the government gave her a state funeral as a way to say thank-you for the difference she had made in her country. Let’s pray that the Christians in Liberia will carry on the example of Aunt Clara and find interesting ways to use their own culture to help Liberians understand their need for Jesus.
Original story: www.eccenter.com
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