Powieści i opowiadania

The old lioness

Behind the house on a plantation of coconut trees sat an old lioness, lurking and deprived of her youth. Her skinny body with faded fur, scraped a little in some places, did not evoke such respect as it used to. Her teeth were yellow and chipped, looking like a broken chisel. For this old animal the only joy in life was now lying in the sun and the smell of stale meat. And so she would lie the whole day in the sun, which rays generously lighted up the coconut valey. In the evening the lioness would go down to the watering place and drunk thirstily.

Noone ever attacked her. She enjoyed a well earned position among the inhabitants of this area. During her long life she gave birth to a dozen cubs and brought them up to be decent hunters that hunt with passion and fury of their instincts. She was proud of them and watched with her nearly blind eyes as they chase gazeelles with great determination. She could recognize her children by their smell and always knew which one of them was going hunting. She knew that, even if the smell was coming from the far end of the area. The coconut trees carried the smell especially for her as if in gratitude for her beautiful looks that they could admire for so many years. She never forgot the grace and joy of all-day hunting.

One afternoon the Old Lioness felt that it was time to finally give up fighting. Thanks to her wisdom and natural instincts she knew very well that the spirit of death was getting closer and she wanted to welcome it in a truly royal manner. Without regret she said goodbye to the coconut valley and went on a  journey North – to the Rock Cliff Mountains. The road before her was difficult, but she was prepared to take part in her final and most important fight.

During her whole long life she fought many times, sometimes for the honour of her family or for food and territory her children needed to grow and develop. She was brave and just and she brought up her children to be like her, knowing that one day they would become great hunters taking care of their prides. She taught them  how to pick gazelles that were weak and would not survive till the next day and, at the same time, healthy enough to make a wholesome meal. This wisdom, passed down through generations, was the lions’ strength and power and gave them advantage over other species. The Lioness stretched herself and looked for the last time at the place where she grew up. Now, in a slow and steady pace, listening to the sound of leaves and whispers of the grass, she was heading towards her death. She was ready. She finished the meat and drunk plenty of water in order to have strength for the journey ahead. High up in the mountains she would find the right place, she was shure of it. There she would lay down her head on beautifully smelling flowers and breathe the fresh, forest air. She would roar for the last time and then, purring songs that she sang to her little cubs as lullabyes, she would fall asleep. And she would sleep for long years , but her body wouldn’t turn into nothing. During her last transformation she would be carried by the lion’s soul and turn into a giant hawk, which, with its natural  lightness, would soar into the air and rule over the mountain tops. All this had been written in the book of the wonderful circle of life and death. Believing in what had been written, the Old Lioness would obey the laws of death with dignity. By the cycles of royal transformations she was given the right to rule for ever, because the queen’s postions is a power wielded for eternity. One could never lose such power. In the animal kingdom it is not possible to dethrone a ruler.

Suzi Volter

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