Haile Selassie I - Anecdotes

The Cartridges

“Tafari soon showed that his hand was steady and his eye keen. By constant practice he became a first class shot, far better than Lidj Yassu, whose steadiness of hand had already been lessened by the dissipations in which he indulged despite Tessama’s efforts to prevent him. This was a source of great mortification to Yassu, who one day stole some cartridges which Tafari had been saving for a special occasion. Ammunition is always short in Ethiopia and to steal a man’s cartridges is a very heinous offence under the law, which regards it much as horse stealing was thought of in the Wild West, where a man’s horse was a matter of life and death to him. Lidj Yassu found himself faced by a furiously angry Tafari who levelled a gun at him and demanded the return of his cartridges. At first he laughed out loud at this sign of determination on the part of one of whom he thought so little. Then as he saw the look in the eyes behind the gun, he threw down the stolen ammunition saying that he had only been joking.
That was the first triumph of Tafari over the man who bullied him. It taught the timid lad that the best way to deal with some sorts of people is always to call their bluff.”
(Taken from “Haile Selassie Emperor of Ethiopia”, Princess Asfa Yilma, London 1936)