Jabu and the Lion

          A long time ago, a young cowherd named Jabu lived right at the edge of the forest. He cared for his cows as a mother cares for her children; he watched them closely, carefully, and in years of herding he had never lost a single cow to the lions and hyenas that prowled the prairie. Never hungry, never scared, the cows lived a comfortable life under Jabu’s watch. One day, Jabu was walking across the plains near his home when he encountered a large metal trap. The hunters in Jabu’s rural village often built traps like this one to catch wild animals, and as Jabu strolled past the trap, he heard a somber voice calling from deep within it.
          “Jabu! Please, my friend, help me! Set me free! I am starving in here.” Jabu was a kind, compassionate boy, and he rushed to the trap to liberate whatever creature lay inside. As he looked past the iron bars that formed a cage around the trap’s bait, Jabu stared deep into the wide eyes of a lion, its bushy mane filling his vision. “I beg you, Jabu, rescue me!” the monstrous feline called from his confines.
          “If I free you, lion, how do I know you won’t just come after me and devour me in one huge gulp?” Jabu asked hesitantly. The lion purred.
          “If you don’t, the hunters will come and kill me! Can’t you see how serious my predicament is?” he said in a soft, hushed voice. Jabu’s kind heart welled with sadness; though he feared the lion, the poor animal looked so helpless and timid in its trap that he ignored the inherent danger lurking in its powerful claws and vicious, scythe-like teeth. “Do you promise?” Jabu asked.
          “I promise, Jabu, I will not eat you.” And with that, Jabu lifted the heavy iron gate at the front of the trap and led the lion to freedom. The lion sniffed the air hungrily and licked his lips, baring his massive incisors. “Well, thank you Jabu. Now if you would, please show me to the river; I’m parched, and I’d like a drink before I devour you.”
           “Lion, you promised!” the boy yelled, terrified. His arms and legs began to shake weakly.
           “I guess I did, but I’m really hungry, Jabu,” the lion said matter-of-factly. He drew closer to Jabu and flexed his jaw muscles; a hostile smile spread across his wide face.
           “Just wait a minute, lion!” Jabu begged frantically. “Let’s ask all the other animals in the forest if they think this is fair; you wouldn’t want to get a bad reputation, would you, King of the Forest?” The lion paused to consider this. “If they agree with you, lion,” Jabu conceded, “you can feel free to eat me.”
           “Fair enough,” the lion agreed, “but I’m only getting hungrier, let’s hurry up with this.” As they approached the river, they ran into an old, weathered horse who neighed a greeting upon seeing his visitors.
           “Hello, good horse!” Jabu responded, “we need you to resolve our argument. I freed this lion from a trap - an immense, impenetrable metal thing some hunter constructed - and he promised that he wouldn’t eat me. But now that he’s free, he wants to have a quick drink from the river and then munch on me for a nice afternoon snack! Is that fair?”

          A long time ago, a young boy named Jabu lived right at the edge of the forest. He herded cows for his father, and watched them with alert eyes all through the day. In years he had never lost a single cow to the lions and hyenas that prowled the prairie. The cows lived a comfortable life under Jabu’s watch. One day, Jabu was walking across the plains near his home when he encountered a large metal trap. The hunters in Jabu’s village often built traps like this one to catch wild animals, and as Jabu strolled past the trap, he heard a sad voice calling from inside.
           “Jabu! Please, my friend, help me! Set me free! I am starving in here.” Jabu was a kind boy, and he rushed to the trap to free the creature that lay inside. As he looked past the trap’s iron bars he stared into the wide eyes of a lion. Its bushy mane filled his vision. “I beg you, Jabu, rescue me!” the huge cat called.
           “If I free you, lion, how do I know you won’t just come after me and devour me in one huge gulp?” Jabu asked, afraid. The lion purred.
           “If you don’t, the hunters will come and kill me! Can’t you see how serious this is?” he said in a hushed voice. Jabu’s kind heart filled with sadness. Though Jabu feared the lion, he felt sorry for it, and he failed to recognize the danger lurking in its knife-like claws. “Do you promise?” Jabu asked.
           “I promise, Jabu, I will not eat you.” And with that, Jabu lifted the heavy iron gate at the front of the trap and led the lion to freedom. The lion sniffed the air hungrily and licked his lips. “Well, thank you Jabu. Now if you would, please show me to the river. I’m thirsty, and I’d like a drink before I eat you.”
           “Lion, you promised!” the boy yelled. His arms and legs began to shake with terror.
           “I guess I did, but I’m really hungry, Jabu,” the lion said matter-of-factly. He drew closer to Jabu and flexed his jaw muscles. “Just wait a minute, lion!” Jabu begged. “Let’s ask all the other animals in the forest if they think this is fair. You wouldn’t want to get a bad reputation, would you, King of the Forest?” The lion paused to consider this. “If they agree with you, lion, then you can feel free to eat me,” Jabu suggested.
           “Fair enough,” the lion agreed, “but I’m only getting hungrier, let’s hurry up with this.” As they approached the river, they ran into an old gray horse who neighed a greeting when he saw his visitors.
           “Hello, good horse!” Jabu responded, “we need you to decide our argument. I freed this lion from a strong metal trap some hunter constructed, and he promised that he wouldn’t eat me. But now that he’s free, he wants to have a quick drink from the river and then munch on me for a nice afternoon snack! Is that fair?”

           A long time ago, a young boy named Jabu lived on the edge of the forest. He herded cows for his father. Although lions and other wild beasts lived nearby, Jabu was very brave and protected his cows. The cows lived a happy life under Jabu’s watch. One day, Jabu was walking across the fields near his home when he found a large metal trap. As Jabu strolled past the trap, he heard a sad voice calling from inside.
           “Jabu! Please, my friend, help me! Set me free! I am starving in here,” the voice cried. Jabu was a kind boy, and he ran to the trap to free the creature inside it. It was a lion! “I beg you, Jabu, rescue me!” the huge cat called.
           “If I free you, lion, how do I know you won’t just eat me?” Jabu asked. The lion purred.
           “If you don’t, the hunters will come and kill me! Can’t you see how serious this is?” the lion said in a quiet voice. Jabu’s was afraid, but he felt sorry for the lion. “Do you promise?” Jabu asked.
           “I promise, Jabu, I will not eat you.” Jabu lifted the heavy iron gate at the front of the trap and let the lion out. The lion licked his lips. “Well, thank you Jabu. Now please lead me to the river. I’m thirsty, and I’d like a drink before I eat you.”
           “Lion, you promised!” the boy yelled. His arms and legs shook, and he was terrified.
           “I guess I did, but I’m really hungry, Jabu,” the lion said. His stomach growled loudly.
           “Just wait a minute!” Jabu begged. “Let’s ask all the other animals in the forest if they think this is fair. You wouldn’t want them to dislike you.” The lion paused to think about this. “If they agree with you, lion, then you can eat me,” Jabu suggested.
           “Fair enough,” the lion agreed, “but I’m only getting hungrier, let’s hurry up with this.” As they approached the river, they ran into an old gray horse.
           “Hello, good horse!” Jabu said, “we need you to decide our argument. I freed this lion from a strong metal trap, and he promised that he wouldn’t hurt me. But now that he’s free, he wants to eat me for lunch! Is that fair?”