Once upon a time… A Lion at Ushirombo. (PE nr. 1080)

From the White Sisters’ diary.

15th October 1925: A little girl has been carried away by a lion at five in the afternoon very close to home in the sight of her parents. She is the third victim of the beast in the space of a month.

4th November: In the evening after supper we heard cries of distress. Fifteen minutes later the Fathers and some men bring Magdalena, the wife of Constantine, seriously injured by the lion. It surprised her right in front of the door of her house. It took her in its mouth and dragged her twenty metres away. Her husband, brother in law and daughter, shouting and hitting it, succeeded in chasing it away. Poor Magdalena. She was very courageous as we treated her wounds. She has so many wounds and some are very deep. She thanks the good Lord and the Blessed Virgin for escaping death. For one terrible moment she had believed she would die.

5th November : At half past four in the afternoon cries of distress again, followed by the beating of drums. At the leprosarium of Bwenda, three quarters of an hour from here, the lepers leaving their chapel see a lion on top of Monica Nakalabo. They succeed in making it leave its prey but the poor woman is no longer alive. The beast had bitten her throat. The fathers go there straight away and to kill it put poison on the corpse. Hardly have they gone fifty paces from it when he lion returns and carries the corpse away.

6th November : Again we hear a lion, very near our house at ten o’clock in the morning. All the men go to hunt it but in vain, it is too well hidden. The school children are escorted home by armed men.

8th November : Finally some men have found the lion dead. The poison had done its work. Of poor Monica we have found only her skull and some bones for her funeral. The people say the lion had gone mad and that is why it began to attack humans.

Frank Nolan

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