February 11, 2010

The Lion and the Prime Minister

My friend Zippora was in the good position to have been able to quit her job and become a professional storyteller, and every time I hear about this my interest is piqued. She took me to some events in SL already, and shared some web resources with me. I think telling stories is a beautiful thing to do. So when my friend PanPan IMed me last night and vented off about her RL boyfriend, I took the opportunity to soothe her with a story I read. The problem was that after a few lines I realized I forgot about most of the story, so I had to make my way up as the story continued. Still I think it went fairly ok:

The Lion, king of the animal, looked for a new prime minister, since he was unhappy with the old one and ate him. So he assembled the animals around him, and demanded that new candidates for prime minister came forward. The Hyena came forward and said "I'll do the job". The Hyena was wicked, and thought with the Lion as protector she can be even more wicked.
The Lion looked her up and down, and then blew his breath into her face, and it stank and the smell of the old prime minister who the Lion ate was still there.

"How do I smell?", growled the Lion
And the Hyena - not dumb - said "Oh king of the animals, your breath is like a fresh morning in the desert, like the rain in the forest, like flowers in full bloom."
And the Lion stared at the Hyena and growled "you are a sweettalker indeed, but when you talk like this to other mighty animals, to heads of state, they will feel like you make fun of them. you are no use to me."
And he hit the Hyena with his paw and killed her.

Then he looked at the other animals, and growled "I still need a prime minister".
The animals were all scared and look at each other, and finally the wildebeest came forward. "I be your prime minister." The Wildebeest - also known as the McDonalds of the steppe - hoped for protection as well, and courageously smelled the breath of the Lion.

"What do you think of my breath?" demanded the Lion.
And the Wildebeest considered this and then took all its courage and said "With all due respect, my lord, but your breath is quite bad. It smells of rotten flesh, its foul stench keeps everybody at bay, and the animals know from far that you are coming because you smell so bad."
The Lion looked at the trembling animal with a long and sincere stare. And finally he growled "Do you want to INSULT me? And do you want to insult visiting kings and princes and politicians? Honesty is not what is needed in a prime minister!"
And he hit the poor Wildebeest with his paw and killed it.

Again the king looked at the scared animals and growled "Anybody else wanting to become prime minister?" Nobody moved, fear hang in the air, sweat poured from faces, nervous coughs all over. And finally a tiny swallow flew up, circled twice through the air, and then landed in front of the Lion.

"You?" growled the Lion and laughed a deep rumbling laugh.
"Yes, my Lord, I want to be your prime minister."
The Lion took a deep breath, blew up his lungs, and then blew the air against the tiny bird, making it tumble all over. He laughed as the bird finally got back on his feet and came back to the huge Lion.

"So, what is YOUR take on the smell of my breath?" he demanded.
And the swallow replied "What, oh Lord, is your breath supposed to smell like? I am just a small swallow, but if you tell me what it smell like, I make sure to tell every other animal, so they all know about it."
The Lion stared at the bird in disbelief, and then started to laugh and laugh and laugh, and when he finally stopped laughing he looked at the assembled animals and announced "Bow to the new prime minister!"

And since this day, the swallows always fly between Europe and Africa, to bring the words of the Lion King to all the other animals.

The original - or at least the version I knew before forgetting half of it - can be found here.


Vextra Messing said...

What a lovely fun story, Peter!

PanPan said...

It was a great story. Thanks again for cheering me up.

Rika Watanabe said...

You didn't answer. Was it an African or a European swallow? :)

Zippora Zabelin said...

*cough* just for the record, because I've already told you and I'm way too late with commenting: I didn't quit my job, but lost it. Choosing for storytelling as my new job was a conscious decision though.

And once again: I love the story and how you made your own version of it. I actually envy you a bit for your ability to improvise so easily *blushes*