Leo was a great storyteller. Every town, every city, every mountain had its story. Here are a few examples extracted from the Cosmographia Del'Africa (Description of Africa, 1550, his most famous work). All page notations refer to the 1952 French edition of Leo's work by Alexis Epaulard.
Leo was an adventurer; but a wise one. As evidence of this odd mix of risk taking and wisdom, he tells a story of near death in the High Atlas, on a snowy trip through the mountains:
was a schemer.
demonstrates this art of manipulation in a highly entertaining account
of the strategy he imagined to help the King of Fes extract great quantities
of money from the inhabitants of Tefza, a city the latter had just captured.
At the time of the conquest, in 1509, Leo was a counselor of the chief
of armies who was also the temporary ruler of the conquered lands. Amongst
his responsibilities, the chief of armies had to resolve latent disputes
between members of the community, notably concerning 42 merchants who
were reputed to have stolen goods and property from other inhabitants.
These 42 men were known to be very wealthy and the chief of armies was
hoping to draw great sums of money from them to send back to Fes.
The following morning, Leo's team drafted the false letter and showed it to the prisoners. Hearing this fateful verdict, the prisoners begged the chief of armies to intervene on their behalf. As counseled by Leo, the latter pronounced that they would be sent to Fes, unless of course they could gather enough money to assuage the King's wrath. The prisoners agreed. And sure enough, within a few days their families had gathered enough money to dazzle Leo, the chief of armies and even the King of Fes. Speaking about the money they gathered, Leo writes: "I had never seen such a stack of gold. It should be noted that neither had the King of Fes" (ibid, 147).