Flash Fiction: Lion & Spider

Posted: June 27, 2016 by J.A. Prentice in Flash Fiction, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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There is a story they tell in the kingdom of Mawu, where the jungle is green, the savannas gold, the earth full of diamonds, and the kings magnificent as the emperors of old.

It is the story of Lion, fiercest and boldest of all beasts.

He walked the jungle and the grass with no fear of any other creature. Never did Lion bother to hide his presence. With a valiant roar, he would announce himself wherever he went.

“I am Lion!” he roared. “Noblest and greatest of all jungle creatures! Behold the sharpness of my claws. Behold the gleaming of my teeth! Hear my call! I am Lion, the Jungle King!”

The other animals didn’t like Lion’s boasts. They thought he was arrogant and that his loud roar was very disruptive. He also tended to eat them, which could be very rude.

So they called a meeting. All the jungle creatures came together in the dead of night, by a great watering hole. They spoke in whispers, afraid that Lion would hear them.

“He’s so loud,” Frog complained.

“So arrogant,” Tiger growled.

“So irritating,” Monkey said.

This about summed things up and all the animals nodded. They were all about sick of Lion.

“So,” Serpent hissed, “what do we do about him?”

And then everyone fell silent. They weren’t sure about that bit. As boastful and arrogant as they thought Lion was, they had to admit that he could back up most of his claims. He was fast. He was strong. His claws and teeth were very sharp.

Lion was the mightiest beast in the jungle and none of them could hope to challenge him.

They all looked meaningfully at Tiger. Tiger was big, he was fast, and he was vicious. If anyone could challenge Lion, they hoped it would be him.

Tiger said nothing at first. Monkey coughed and prodded the large cat.

“Tiger,” he said, “you’re very impressive.”

“Yes,” Tiger said awkwardly. “Well… I suppose so. Thank you for mentioning it.”

“And you’ve said often that Lion isn’t all he claims to be,” Monkey added.

“Well,” Tiger muttered, “I might have said something along those lines, yes.”

“So I was thinking,” Monkey said, “that you might be the one to teach Lion a lesson.”

Tiger looked around, hoping to find a way out. Every animal was looking straight at him. It was a choice now between looking like a coward or facing off against Lion.

Far too cowardly to look like a coward, Tiger held up his head proudly.

“I will face Lion,” he said.

Everyone cheered and Tiger tried not to feel sick.

They sent out the challenge. Lion was to face Tiger at the lake the next day, when the sun was high above the treetops. It would be settled once and for all which of them was the greater.

Lion roared in rage when he received the challenge. His voice shook the trees like thunder and wind.

“Challenge me? Tiger will regret this!”

Tiger heard the words and slunk into his cave, trembling with fear. He knew that he couldn’t beat Lion. Lion was mightier in every way. But there was no way out of it now. Even if he didn’t show up, Lion would hunt him down.

“Woe is me,” he moaned. “Oh, woe, woe, woe is me!”

It was then that he heard the voice, coming from above.

“Perhaps I can help,” it said.

Tiger looked up and saw Spider, hanging down from the roof of cave, swinging back and forth on a strand of web. Laughter shook Tiger, mingled with sadness and fear.

“You?” he asked. “You’re so small. Lion wouldn’t even see you.”

Spider smiled. “Exactly.”

Tiger looked very confused. Like Lion and most of the other beasts, he didn’t understand anything other than force and fighting. The idea of Spider being any help seemed preposterous to him.

But he decided things probably couldn’t get any worse for him, so he nodded.

“All right,” he said. “Help me, please.”

And so Spider told him his plan. Tiger had to admit it was a good plan, certainly not the sort of thing he’d have come up with.

“Let’s do it,” he said.

The next day, when the sun was high in the sky, Tiger met Lion by the lake. All around them the trees were full of beasts, waiting anxiously to see who would win. They would have preferred it to be Tiger, of course, but either outcome would give them an entertaining fight. The amusement of Tiger’s humiliation would be almost as good as seeing Lion get his just desserts.

“You are very brave to challenge me,” Lion said, “but also very foolish.”

“If you’re so mighty,” Tiger said. “Prove it.”

Lion let out a great roar that shook the earth, then charged at Tiger. He made it about halfway to him before he suddenly tumbled head over tail. He landed flat on his face in the dirt.

Tiger laughed.

“The great Lion,” he said, “couldn’t even reach me without falling on his face.”

The animals all laughed as Lion pulled himself up, trying not to look ridiculous. He huffed and glared at Tiger, but knew it was over. Tiger had humiliated him.

Lion just wished he knew how Tiger had done it.

He slunk away with his tail between his legs, muttering about how he would show Tiger one day. All the animals laughed as they saw him pass.

It was only when he got back to his den and saw the strands of spider-web upon his paws that he realized what had happened. Spider, cleverest of weavers, had bound his mighty limbs together whilst he hadn’t been watching.

Lion was diminished by his humiliation. While the other Lions (and there were others, each of them called Lion as he was and as all Lions are) stayed as they were, he grew small and shed his mighty mane.

So Lion and his children took on a new name: Cat.

To this day, they hate spiders.

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Comments
  1. Hehehehe so that’s what happened?
    Good story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mandibelle16 says:

    Awesome fable/story. Enjoyed it very much. No one likes spiders lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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