The mythology and tales make an important part of any culture as they appear to be the pieces of literature that are informative about the religious views of people in various time periods, their beliefs, hand-out customs and traditions for the next generations. Though the folklore, various parts of the world differed, as well as the life style of countries; it is easy to trace that the tales, which were spread orally, always showed what people found important. Comparing the Story of the Prince and the Lions and the tale How a Hunter Obtained Money from His Friends one can find that these two peoples from the Middle East and from Nigeria had some shared values. Though the plot of these tales is completely different, as well as the point of view from which the problems are regarded, both of them show that the audience is interested in the people’s attitude to the duty and to people.
Story of the Prince and the Lions depicts that “courage and fortitude” are the most important traits for a person and “timorous disposition …is a chief fault” (Stielow 484). The story describes the adventures of one price, whose duty was to fight a lion in order to show that he was “worthy of governing a lion” (Stielow 484). He tried to evade this duty all the possible ways, but, finally, no matter where he went, the image of the lion followed him. The story tells that the prince did not even say his name to all kind people whom he met in order to escape from the duty; he introduced himself as a prince, “whose troubles at home have driven abroad” (Stielow 488). Nevertheless, the duty appears to be stronger than the name of a person or the person himself. The duty is something the most important, which follows a person, his thoughts, stays in his mind until it is fulfilled earlier or later.
The issue of the duty is also raised in the second tale – How a Hunter Obtained Money From His Friends. The story depicts how a hunter Effiong has deceived and killed those who helped him and whom he called his friends. The moral of How a Hunter Obtained Money From His Friends tells that one should not lend money to people, because they can try to kill you if they cannot pay back, sounds quite primitive (Stielow 551). Therefore, it is necessary to analyze it deeper and find out that, though the hunter was cunning and greedy, he tried to evade his duty to pay back. Consequently, it shows the audience that sometimes the duty can be evaded in a cunning and cruel way, and friendship is not regarded as something valuable and, in a greater sense, the evil conquers the good. To sum it up, both stories teach that the duty is important and should not be evaded, but the first one teaches people to commit the right deeds on the example of the main hero who was mistaking, but, finally, made a correct choice, while the second story shows that one wrong decision of a person can lead to a chain of the wrong decisions made by those who seemed to be kind.
The attitude towards people described in two stories is different: all characters of the first story, whom Prince Azgid has met on his way, were quite hospitable and kind to him (the same as he was to them), while the second story shows that the hunter Effiong betrayed his friends – the leopard, the bush cat, the cock, who helped him, and Okung, who has got his money, and stayed indifferent to his friend’s did for “two hundred rods” (Stielow 551). Therefore, the Middle Eastern tale teaches a person how to behave in a right way, while the Nigerian story shows how to behave not to be deceived. To my mind, this brings the idea that the audience of the latter people is more used to cruelty and deceiving in life than the first one. Even according to the moral of the tale How a Hunter Obtained Money From His Friends, it is obvious that people are taught not how to prevent something bad from happening from the point of view of the offender, but how those, who are offended, should tackle the results as they do not seem to be able to decide anything, but are easy to be manipulated. Probably such negative position is connected with the history of the African continent and slavery of the great number of African population and, therefore, the mentality of slaves.
The common feature among two tales is the repetition of the actions. For instance, the Prince has visited and got acquainted with Oaxus, Sheik Hajaar, Emir and Perizid and even the replicas used in the dialogues are similar. The same repetition of the action can be found in the second story: the hunter has borrowed the same sum of money from each of his friends, he has promised them the same and, finally, each of them has eaten the previous friend. To my mind, these repetitions bring the audience to the idea that the kindness and hospitability are common for all Middle Eastern people and naivety, obedience and predictability – for the Nigerian people. If Prince Azgid could rebel even against his duty, the main characters of the African stories were told to eat what they could find and they did it.
The images of the nature and animals are used in both tales. In Story of the Prince and the Lions the image of a lion as something strong and fearless symbolizes the duty, the image of the water, of fountains is the symbol of calmness and safety, the nature. In the African story the animals symbolize people and their characters. Effiong and Oaxus, who are humans, are in the advantageous position in the end of the story while the poor animals, which were manipulated, were killed. Therefore, the animals remind a reader about the destiny of the slaves.
As a conclusion, it is possible to state that the stories and tales of peoples from all the continents are closely connected with their history and life styles which form their beliefs. Consequently, these beliefs predetermine the point of view from which the problems are regarded, as the chosen way to tell a story appears to be the easiest for perception by some definite audience. Though the peoples from different continents and countries have different ideology, there are some themes which are important for all people. Themes which are discussed in the above mentioned tales are the attitude toward people and the duty.