Somewhere in the jungles of Africa, a lion pack was resting after a few hours of hunting. They were feasting on the carcass of a young deer that they have just captured a few minutes back. There were a lot of angry growls as the lions tried to eat as much as they can.
The first lion gave an angry stare at the lion next to him, “Stop eating so much, there’s plenty of us and there’s not much meat to go around.” The second lion growled, “Things would be much different if Idol was still around.”
The first lion growled, “You are right, if Idol was here, he would have captured a much bigger animal and perhaps more with his strength and speed, which means more meat for all of us.” The second lion growled, “If Idol was only here, we would all not go hungry just like Toothless.”
All the lions growled in laughter when they heard the name of Toothless who was keeping a good distance away from the lion pack. The monicker “toothless” seems to fit the lion. Many of the lion’s teeth were either missing or broken which made him useless as a hunter.
He was also the oldest and the weakest lion in the lion pack. The old lion just looked at the lion pack and then at the sky, “Oh why was I born small and weak unlike the other lions who are strong and big?”
He looked at the carcass of the young deer the lion pack was eating, his stomach growled in hunger. He knows that he would have to wait until all the lions in the lion pack have eaten their fill before he can eat, if ever there’s meat left for him to eat.
The lion pack and Toothless continued what they were doing when they heard a very loud growl. The lion pack stopped eating and everyone smiled. Everyone chanted: “Idol has returned, Idol has returned,” repeatedly.
True enough a very big and ferocious looking lion approached. Every lion in the lion pack approached the newly arrived lion. The first lion growled, “Idol, you have returned. We always knew that you would return.”
Idol growled, “That is true. I have returned. No cage or zoo can keep me from escaping back in the jungle were I’m king.” “We would never grow hungry again,” growled the second lion, “you would bring plenty of meat again, Idol.”
“Of course,” growled Idol, “I have no choice but to escape. I cannot be caged. I’m the king of the jungle. I need to hunt for my food. The humans are humiliating me by rationing me meat. I need to hunt for my food because I’m the king of the jungle. I don’t need handouts from humans.”
“That is indeed humiliating,” growled the first lion, “we need to hunt for our food and not wait for humans to give it to us everyday.” The second lion growled, “With you Idol back, maybe we can eat again everyday.”
Idol growled, “That’s what I intend to do. We may go hungry at times, but at least we are free to hunt the animal we want to eat.” Toothless, who was still very hungry was listening, he murmured to himself, “Free food from humans?”
The lion pack suddenly heard rustling noises. They knew the sound. Humans are approaching! They all panicked. They started running away but the humans eventually showed up and were coming nearer and nearer.
The first lion growled, “Run everyone. It’s clear that the human are hunting us again. Now that Idol has escaped, they either want Idol returned or some other lion to take his place!” Idol growled, “Get away lions, I’ll try to hold them up as long as I can.”
The second lion growled, “But they’ll capture you again Idol and they might not let you go again.” “I’m the leader of this pack and it’s my job to protect all of you lions. Now go all lions!”
In a matter of minutes, Idol was encircled by the human hunters. They aimed their tranquilizer guns at Idol. The lion posed defiantly. It was clear that he was not going to be captured without a fight.
Toothless was not far along. Because he was too old and too weak to run, he was also in danger of being caught by the humans. Then he remembered what Idol said about life in captivity.
“Free food. I never need to go hunting for food.” In a split second, he dashed to where Idol was, “Idol, run away, I’ll take your place. I want to get captured and be put in a zoo.”
Idol looked at him with disdain in his face, “You’re not only weak and old, but a coward too! Imagine a lion choosing captivity over the freedom to roam the jungle and hunting any animal you want!”
A human hunter aimed his rifle and squeezed the trigger. Without batting an eye, Toothless shielded Idol from the tranquilizer dart that came from the rifle of the human hunter. Idol looked at the motionless body of Toothless before making his escape away from the human hunters.
When Toothless woke up. He was in a zoo and inside a large pen which was now reinforced to keep any lion from escaping. The aroma of fresh meat filled his nose. When he opened his eyes, he indeed saw a large chunk of meat in a distance together near a pool of drinking water.
He has never experienced so much happiness in his life. There were no other lions who would take away his meat from him. The pool of water was also fresh not unlike the hard to find water in the jungle which was often rancid.
Next to his pen was the pen of an old tiger who growled, “I see, you’re an old animal too. Would you speak with me, because the lion who used to occupy your pen hardly talked and would always complain that he should be back in the jungle to hunt?”
In the short time that Toothless was in the zoo, he was able to become friends with the other animals who were old. They all told him that the best thing about being in a zoo is that you never have to worry about finding food. The humans give it to you regularly.
Then one day, the zoo gave Toothless a partner, an old lioness. In due time, Toothless was able to have a wife and cubs. One day, one of his cubs asked him what life is like in the jungle. He just smiled and said: “I’ve never regretted being in a zoo.”
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