The Lion’s Whisker

Once upon a time in a small village lived a manager who oversaw the staff who worked on the land for the local Lord. Unfortunately, the manager was not happy. So one day the manager secretly sought the advice of the local sorcerer.

“I need a spell” the manager said. “My workers are tired and disinterested and work productivity is down. I cannot get them to work hard. They hate me and sometimes, sadly, I hate them. No one is happy,” he said.

The sorcerer understood and offered to make a special potion that would win the manager the respect of the workers. However, for the potion to work, a lion’s whisker was required.

The manager was horrified and questioned how a lion’s whisker could be obtained. “Without the whisker, the potion will not work,” said the sorcerer. “If you really want the respect of your workers you will find a way,” he said.

Now it just so happened, that in the high mountains just beyond the village, there had been a sighting of a black lion. The manager set out to find the black lion and after two days of searching, the manager spotted the lion. The manager left some food for the lion.

It took many months of visiting and feeding the lion, but with patience, the manager finally won the trust of the lion and was one day able to snip a whisker from the lion.

Jubilant, the manager rushed back to the sorcerer. “I have the whisker. Now can I have the special potion to win the respect of my workers?” The sorcerer replied, “I have no potion, there is no spell. If you can take the time and make a conscious effort and commitment to tame a lion, showing much patience and dedication, then surely you can do the same to win the respect and confidence of the workers.”


ABOUT THE STORY A verbal tale retold by Catherine Gillespie. This version may have been based on the original tale from The Lion’s Whisker’s: Tales of East Africa compiled by Russell Davis and Brent Ashabranner (Little, Brown, 1959)

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.