Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects, including education and creative writing.
The King of the Beast, the mighty lion, ruled over a troubled land. He was surrounded by jackals, vultures, parasites and scavengers who always complained about every move this lion made. In particular they snubbed their muzzles and beaks at this hunter.
"Why kill another animal for food," they often said in unison, "when all one has to do is to wait for them to drop dead?"
Of course, animals that fell dead in this land had something to do with the lion. But those rascals -- who were overjoyed to reap this -- always forgot this gift the king gave to them.
Then there came the great drought. Food was scarce. The jackals, vultures, parasites, and scavengers had little to eat, and no way of obtaining their own food. The only one who knew what to do was the lion.
On one particular day, the lion found a prey and made a quick kill of it. He dragged it into the tall grass where he and his family could enjoy a plentiful meal. He found a suitable place and sat down to have his share of his portion of this meal before he delivered the rest to his pride.
As he did so, a jackal came out of hiding, a vulture landed nearby on the branch of withered tree, the parasites and other scavengers waited in the distance. The jackal was the bravest of the group; so, he approached the lion during his meal.
“Uh, sir,” the jackal said. “We’re all hungry and we were wondering if…”
“Did you help me in this hunt?” the lion interrupted.
“No.” the jackal admitted. His shifty eyes shifted away from the steely glare of the lion.
“Then, there’s your answer!” the lion roared. “You wait on others, and then complain. Why should I share?"
Disgusted, the lion clasped his mighty jaws onto his prey and trotted further into the grass.
“He’s cruel,” the jackal said.
“He’s a monster,” the vulture said
Now it was the vulture's turn. But he was not the type to negotiate. He figured he had one sneaky way to get things we wanted, and he decided to take that approach.
The vulture took to the air and swooped down on the lion, For a moment, this ugly, emaciated bird thought he was a proud eagle. With wings spread and his sharp talons ready for the steal, the vulture attempted to snatch the lion’s possession. The lion wasn’t going to have that. He slashed at the bird with his powerful claws, nearly shredding the vulture into ribbons. Luckily for the vulture, he got away, minus a few feathers.
The other parasites and scavengers were cowards. They never spoke or took action. Instead, they scurried out of the lion’s path. In the end, all of them watched the lion vanish into tall grass with what they hoped would be theirs for the taking.
“He’s cruel,” the jackal said.
“He’s a monster,” the vulture said.
The other scavengers and parasite simply agreed and grumbled.
And, upon that day, they starved just a little bit more during the long, long drought.
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© 2016 Dean Traylor