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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The lion doth protest too much, methinks

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Let me tell you the odd tale of Asad.

As far as their genetic memories could recall, hyena packs and lion prides never got along. They fought over food, territory, and dominance of the lands. They were different in every way.

One day, a hyena pack came across a stranded lion cub. “What amazing luck,” they thought. His pride was nowhere to be found. Even to them, Asad was adorable with his big brown eyes and a growl that was more of a whimper. Normally, they would have killed the cub or left him for the elements. This time would be different. Some of the pack genuinely felt for him. Other, more practical members, saw an opportunity.

“Imagine if we could have a lion among us. One who was groomed by us and understood our ways. He would be an excellent tool!”

With nowhere else to go, Asad joined them.

As the years passed, the whole savanna would stare at Asad. Indeed, he was quite the sight growing up among the hyenas. He would happily strut like them and laughingly bark without an accent. Outwardly, he seemed happy and for the most part, convinced himself of it.

However, existential cracks began to show in Asad. For one thing, he hated his mane. It was so bushy and unnatural. His hyena brothers had beautiful smooth jaws. Why couldn’t he? He would scrub his mane against trees hoping to pull some of it out. At times, he resorted to ripping it out with his own jaw and paws. His build was different too. He felt his muscular and larger physique made him less nimble and slower than the rest. He naturally craved fresh meat rather than the mayta (dead meat) they loved. He thought, “I should prefer mayta because surely it was healthier and less cruel.” Still, he appeared to be doing well and grew into a robust adult lion.

Meanwhile, the lion prides were going through some rough times. It was famine season and good hunt was scarce. The lions became thinner and emaciated. The famine was good for Asad’s hyenas since weak and dead creatures were plentiful to scavenge.

One day, the pack was out in full force with Asad leading from the rear. They came across another group of injured hyenas. Parching thirst had forced them to a crocodile-infested lake. The crocodiles now had them cornered and slowly moved in for the kill. “We must help them against these oppressive reptiles!” Asad’s pack of hyenas jumped in yelping and snapping. The crocs seemed unfazed until Asad raised his head high and threw his heavy paws at them. Seeing him, the crocs receded back to their lake and the hyenas rejoiced. Asad was a hero!

Not too long after this incident, the pack was out again. This time, they came across a group of lions that had inadvertently fallen into a ditch. As they were weakened by the famine, they could not climb out. The hyena pack looked down at them and a chorus of statements arose.

“If we go to help, we might die with them.”

“It’s their fault for having gone there.”

“The other lions of the land should be helping them.

”Eventually, they turned around and began to walk away. Asad’s mind filled with thoughts of the blatant double-standard and hypocrisy. He protested out loud, “How can you just leave them? What about the hyenas we recently saved? ???????????????? ???????? ???????? ???????????? ???????? ???????????????? ?????????????????????” The leader of the pack, now a distance away, replied without even looking back: “My dear boy, they are lions and we are hyenas. What were you expecting?”

Khan, Mateen. (2022, March 1st). The lion doth protest too much, methinks. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/ilmphile

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