A long time ago, King Maghan ruled the kingdom of Mali. He was loved by his people and had many wives. One day, a hunter came from far away to visit the king. The hunter asked him to marry a woman called Sogolon



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A long time ago, King Maghan ruled the kingdom of Mali. He was loved by his people and had many wives. One day, a hunter came from far away to visit the king. The hunter asked him to marry a woman called Sogolon. King Magham demanded, "why should I marry a woman I do not know just because a stranger has told me to?" The hunter told him that Sogolon would bear him a son who will become the greatest king ever to rule the kingdom. Like most Malians, the king believed in fate and destiny, and the king listened to the advice of the hunter. Even though Sogolon was very ugly, the king married her and she gave birth to a son. He was named Sundiata. But as the boy grew older they realised that he couldn’t use his legs.

King Maghan became very sick when Sundiata was still a young boy. Knowing his days were numbered, the king called Sundiata to his bedside. He told his son, “when I go, you will be king. You are destined for greatness, my boy!” But after king Maghan died, the king’s first wife had a different plan. She was called Sassouma, and she believed that her son, Dankaran should be king. Sassouma spread tales about Sundiata around the kingdom so that people wouldn’t accept him. The gossip worked and Dankaran became king instead. Sundiata was forced to flee with his mother.
Living far away in a foreign land, Sogolon became very unhappy. She said to her son, "Sundiata, you must know that I love you dearly, but I am worried about your future.  You are a strong boy and have a great heart, but your legs have allowed Sassouma to take control.  We cannot let Dankaran be king - it is against your father’s wishes!"  Sundiata felt sad but he had great courage and determination. Using two iron rods from a blacksmith, Sundiata used all his strength to pull himself up. Gradually, his legs started to grow, and within minutes he was standing on his own two feet. He told the gathering crowd, “now I am ready to be king!”

The young Sundiata grew into a man and became famous for his strength and charm. He had many admirers. In the meantime, Sassouma and Dankaran had lost control of the kingdom to a wicked wizard called Soumaoro. An old friend called Balle Fasseke told Sundiata how Soumaoro had magical powers over the people of Mali, and how he even displayed the skins and skulls of his enemies as treasures in his chamber.

Sundiata was determined to go back and free his people of the terrible wizard. Balle Fasseke gave his friend a special arrow. According to Balle Fasseke, Soumaoro would only lose his evil magic if he was scratched by this arrow. Trusting his friend, Sundiata set off to fight Soumaoro, joined by hundreds of his friends and supporters. There was a long and fierce battle but Sundiata’s determination and patience paid off. Soumaoro was wounded by the special arrow and lost all his power. The wicked wizard fled, never to be seen again.

Sundiata was finally crowned king, and his adoring people called him, “the lion king of Mali” because of his strength and courage. Sundiata’s reign was a long and happy one, and he became the greatest king ever to rule the kingdom of Mali.






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