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Creative Corner: Lying in Wait

Taylor Rupp, Columnist

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There once was a Lion who didn’t lose sleep over the opinions of The Lambs, or so he called them, for they were actually lions just like him but smaller—with less food, fewer mates, and a lesser mien. The Lion watched over the pride as he slept atop of his towering rock. He had been up there his entire life, watching the small ovals of lions below move across his picture. His father before him had been a fantastic hunter and had secured him a place on the towering rock. Occasionally, the Lion would call to those below for some food, and they would bring it to him and go on their way. Other times, he would direct the lions in their work, work they already knew how to do, before going back to sleep.

The other lions below went about their work, hunting food, finding shelter, teaching the cubs how to behave, and tending to each other’s wounds. Their society functioned even with the divisions, even if it was not ideal, even if the lions who hunted and collected sometimes thought less of the teaching and the tending, and even if the lions who taught and tended sometimes thought less of the hunting and the collecting.

One day the Lion atop the rock tower awoke, yawned, and stretched. He glanced around at the pride and noticed the lions who were teaching and tending. “What a waste,” came his roar, “they should be doing more,” even though he didn’t have a problem with them before. He stood up proudly “These lions are not lions like us! They are The Lambs!” he announced. “They are of no use to us. They eat our food and sleep under our shelter. They teach our cubs the scary parts of the world and cause a cynical questioning of everything, which is too much for such young minds. Why should they tend to lions who cannot even hunt well? It is a lion’s own fault if he gets caught in a stampede. We should get rid of The Lambs. We will be better off with the pure lions who hunt and collect.”

Many of the lions growled in agreement, “You’re right! Why should they share our food? They think they’re better because they teach and tend and we simply hunt and collect, but we’ll show them! We won’t share our food and kick them out of our shelters!” Now that he had spoken, the Lion atop the rock thought everything would all work out; the lions would split and get rid of The Lambs. There were more hunters and collectors than Lambs, surely they would sort themselves out. The lions below continued to growl and began to take away food and shelter from The Lambs, and The Lambs quickly herded together. The Lion atop the rock heard all of their interactions as a distant rumble from below and found it a comforting white noise, so he sprawled out on his rock and went back to sleep.

The Lambs communicated with each other and decided they must reach out to the hunters and collectors to survive. So, The Lambs roared while the Lion atop the rock snored. They roared loudly at the lions who told them they were worth nothing and extended their claws at the lions who bared their teeth. They did not roll onto their back and expose their soft flesh to be preyed on. The Lambs reminded the lions of what they were giving to the pride and how their world would only work if the lions accepted and worked with The Lambs. Many lions did not listen to this explanation and “baaed” at The Lambs, but other lions did listen and understood. They had family who was hurt in a hunt and received care from one of the Lambs. Their children had been saved from traps thanks to the lessons taught by The Lambs. Several already knew the necessity of The Lambs’ work.

Those lions who knew the value of The Lambs told the others that they shouldn’t put The Lamb’s lives in danger. Some listened and understood that if they wanted to function, they needed each other and that The Lambs could only survive to do their jobs if treated well by the rest of the lions. Together, the lions who understood and The Lambs worked to discourage discrimination among lions. Many teachers and tenders were starved and became sick from the rain, causing many to die. The hunters and collectors were unable to get help for their wounds, and many cubs were lost from their reckless mistakes. The Lambs never stopped roaring, showing the rest of the lions what the consequences of separation were. Soon, the lions realized that they did need The Lambs.

“All this suffering,” they lamented, “because the Lion atop the rock told us we were better off without you! Yet, all he does is sleep up there and take our food from us. He has caused a great loss.” The Lion snored because he believed he could ignore the opinions of The Lambs.

“Yes,” The Lamb lions agreed, “he has used us all. We will be better off without him.” So, the hunters and the collectors set themselves up at the base of the towering rock and lifted up those who used to be called The Lambs. Together the knocked the towering rock down. He stayed atop his toppled rock but made no more sounds. While the lions went about their lives, he stayed and stood on his ruined rock all alone, and no lion gave him food or even a glance. He was never missed by the lions who were never going to be lambs.

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Creative Corner: Lying in Wait