The Prodigal Hunter

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A young man grew up to be a mighty hunter. He became so famous he left his family and entered the service of a wealthy Chief. The Chief paid him well, so that he became rich and proud; he neglected his old father and mother, who lived in poverty and almost starved to death.

But the chief himself was an arrogant man, and the hunter wondered if the master really loved him; he decided to find out. He went into the forest and slew a fine red deer, then sprinkled himself with blood and went back to the Chief.

“O Chief,” he said, “I beg forgiveness, for while hunting I shot at a deer and killed a man instead. protect me from his family, O Chief.”

The Chief was annoyed.“Go.” he said. “Go from this town and never return. I want no palaver with dead men and relatives here.”

The hunter sadly went away. He thought he would visit his family, so he went to them and said:

“I have killed a man while hunting. Will you help me?”
They received him with great rejoicing, and tears came to his eyes when he saw how much they loved him.

“My son,” his father said, “You have returned, and now our hearts were alive where before they were dead.”

“My son,” his mother said, “we will protect you in this house, and sell ourselves to pay for your palaver!”

Then the hunter laughed with happiness, and brought in the fine red deer.

“It was a deer I killed, and not a man. All these years I have been killing my own self, but now your love has made me live again!

He lived among his family in happiness until he died.

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