By Bruce Farrow on May 11, 2015
The male white lion stretched in the South African sun and yawned. He was a magnificent creature measuring nearly 3 metres and weighing over 500 lbs. His fur was thick and a brilliant white, making him stand out from the dusty surroundings.
He looked around and remembered that today was the start of his journey to find his mate. He had come across many female lions on the savannah but none of them were worthy of his uniqueness and presence. He had heard that high up in the uplands of the Greater Timbavati region in South Africa, there lived a female white lion who was said to be the most stunningly beautiful creature that had ever lived and he had decided that he was going to find her and spend the rest of his life with her.
So he set off in search of his mate and soon came to a river that was too wide to swim across. As he sat and looked at the vast expanse of water a bird in a tree squawked “You will never get across that, it’s too dangerous and you will probably drown if you try.” The bird was right – crossing the river would be dangerous and he would risk life and limb doing it. Was his quest worth risking his life for?
In an instant he had plunged into the water and began to swim. The current was strong and he paddled furiously.
His progress was slow and the wind picked up, making it even harder. He was half way across and was already exhausted. He had to keep going and all he thought about was the image of the beautiful white lion that he had in his mind.
He was so tired, his paws slowed and the water kept washing over his head. He kept going, he was not going to be beaten and it was too late to give up.
Eventually the lion reached the other side. He had swum further than any lion had swum in the history of the world and he collapsed, exhausted on the bank in the hot sun.
When he woke, he got up and moved on. After several days he came to a canyon. It was several hundred feet deep and was in his way. He sat miserably by the side of the steep drop and wondered if his quest was too much. Would his intended mate even want him? Was it worth all this toil? How was he going to get across the canyon?
He spoke to a bird sitting in a nearby tree – “Go and find my mate and tell her that I am coming and find out if she has a message for me.” The bird flew off and the lion sat by the canyon and waited for the bird to return with a message. He sat there for many days and the bird never returned.
A pack of hyenas approached the solitary lion looking for a meal. “You are stuck now, oh so-called King of the animals!” they laughed “you are not going anywhere so we will have you for dinner!”
They attacked. The white lion fought like had never fought before – biting, scratching and swiping the pack of hyenas. All the time he had an image of his intended mate in his mind.
After a violent couple of minutes the hyenas either lay dead or had decided that this lion was not such an easy touch for a free dinner. So they ran.
The lion licked his wounds and looked once again at the canyon. It was impossible to cross.
Then he thought of his mate and at that very moment, he saw a path that was well camouflaged. It was narrow, steep and dangerous, yet it was a route to the bottom of the canyon. He set off down the path, being careful with each step and making sure every paw had a firm grip before placing his next paw. Slowly he descended the canyon.
Disturbed rocks fell from the path and dropped all the way to the bottom.
After many hours he arrived at the canyon floor, dusted himself off and set off once again.
A month of walking through a desolate desert left him weak and thin. There had been little water on this part of the journey and food had been scarce. His fur had lost its shine and he was looking bedraggled. He lay down and rested and while he rested, he wondered if he was doing the right thing. He was putting his life on the line for his intended mate and he still didn’t know that she would want him. This was ridiculous. Now he was barely alive in a hostile environment. He wasn’t sure he could go on any further. As he lay there, he closed his eyes and prepared to die.
“NO!” his eyes opened, he would not let that happen. He dragged himself to his feet and moved slowly on and, as he did so, there was a crack of thunder and the heavens opened and rain poured down. He drank his fill from the puddles, and dined out on a singular hyena that had stupidly got too close. He was back.
He moved into the forests, every step taking him closer to his quest.
Noises filled the air. Not forest noises. Human noises followed by the crack of a rifle. He had heard about humans before and knew they were dangerous and were a threat to him. He had also heard that they were stupid creatures and thought much of themselves.
He tracked them down and watched from a thick bush. They were rigging some kind of net to, he assumed, catch unfortunate animals. An idea came into his head. He circled round the undergrowth and then roared. He heard the humans shouting and crashing through the foliage after the sound of his roar. He led them away from the net initially and then slowly circled back towards it, always keeping a safe distance from the 2 legged monsters.
Finally he was near the net and walking carefully around it, he roared and roared and roared. The humans burst into the clearing and seeing the lion disappear into the bushes, they followed. Stupidly they ran into their own trap and triggered the trip wire. In an instant they were all suspended in their own net 10 feet above the forest floor.
The lion fell over laughing. He had not realised humans were THAT stupid!
He moved on and finally came to a steep mountain and he knew somehow that his prize lay at the top of it.
However, the sides of the mountain were very steep and extremely slippery and very dangerous. He sat and pondered.
Was he strong enough? Was he brave enough? Was the prize worth it?
A chimpanzee nearby laughed and chattered “Not a chance! You will fall off! Look at you, the so-called King of the Animal Kingdom. You see you can’t do everything that you want to do, can you? You have as much chance of climbing that rock face as I have of flying to the moon!”
The Lion considered what the chimp had said, thought about it carefully, thought about the image he had of his intended mate, and promptly dismissed the chatter. He had come this far on his journey and he wasn’t going to stop now.
He wanted to lie down and rest, yet he knew he had to move on and face the rock face.
Slowly he climbed the rock face. His paws started to ache as they supported his 500lbs. He pulled himself up, inch by inch, hour by hour. Every muscle in his body screamed in protest, yet he clung on by his claws, moving inexorably upwards.
Vultures circled above him, waiting for a mistake and occasionally dive-bombing him in an attempt to make him fall. He closed his eyes and pictured his mate. That was all that he thought about. He ignored the pain and entered a trance-like state, always moving upwards.
Sixteen hours later the lion dragged himself over the top of the rock face and rolled on his side, exhausted by the impossible climb. Yet he couldn’t rest.
Where was she? He looked around and he saw he was alone. His heart fell. She wasn’t here and his head dropped, he was so tired. He had sacrificed everything for his quest. He fell into a deep sleep.
Several hours later, whilst he was deeply asleep, the beautiful lion came to him in his dream. He felt his heart melt when he felt her near him, the special energy that she exuded. He reminded himself it was a dream.
He opened his eyes and looked up into two orbs surrounded by the most stunning face he had ever seen. His quest was over and his life could now begin.