When the odds are stacked against him, a young student questions his master. What’s the point of even trying? The master replied with the Legend of Mkubwa, and this conversation ensued.
The student turned towards his master, frustrated. “What’s the point, if I’m going to lose anyways?”
This was an all too common question for the master. He paused for a moment. “Have you ever heard the Legend of Mkubwa the zebra?”
The student shook his head.
The master motioned for the student to sit with him, and then began. “Many years ago there was a zebra. She became well known among the local tribes as Mkubwa, the Great Mother, as she was often seen “adopting” any animals that may have been orphaned.
Elephants, giraffe, impala, waterbuck, even a wild dog once.
The students eyes lit up. “So, what happened?”
The master raised his eyebrows, pleased with the students curiosity. “Well,” he said. “One year the watering hole that she frequented had dried up. The tribes people tried to bring her water, to watch over her as she had watched over others. Though she was known by name, she was still wild and would not go near their offerings.”
“So what did she do?” asked the student.
“Only what she could,” replied the master. “She led her family, which at the time was two young warthogs, in search of a new home.” The master paused again?
“And?” the student asked.
“The journey went well. And other tribes began to report sightings of a zebra traveling with two warthogs. But…”
The student leaned forward.
“…early one morning, before the sun had fully risen, Mkubwa and her two warthogs were attacked by a pride of lions. Mkubwa was wise beyond her years, and sprung away from the lions before they could do any harm. But when she turned to find her young warthogs, normally by her side, they were not there.”
“Did she live? Did the warthogs live?” the student asked.
“She could have ran,” the master went on. “Having maimed the warthogs it’s not likely the lions would have given chase to her. But she did not run.” The master’s tone changed, and he looked directly at the student. “It is not likely a zebra has ever defeated multiple lions. And it is not likely a zebra ever will.”
“Did she at least fight them off long enough for her the warthogs to escape?” the student asked.
The master shook his head no.
“Then what’s the point?” the student yelled.
“The point is she fought. In the face of absolute defeat.”
“But it got her nowhere.”
“Yes, I guess you’re right,” the master admitted.
The student stood up to leave, frustrated with his master’s story.
The master caught his attention with one final thought. “But, it is strange…that she became a legend.”