This work is based on Walt Disney’s film “The Lion King”, so, elements and characters taken from this movie are property of Walt Disney.
Only a few months ago, I discovered the joy of writing. Another thing I should thank “The Lion King” for. It has been an inspiration for me, a helping hand that guided me through my writing.
About the character’s names : I didn’t have access to Internet when I started writing, so, I wasn’t able to find information about canon names and such. Therefore, some of the character’s names are different. The names that have changed are :
Ahadi.- In my story, the name of Mufasa’s and Scar’s father is Thembi.
Taka.- In my story, Scar’s real name is Hatari. Why Hatari ? Read the story and find out !
About the story : Many questions have surged regarding Scar’s obscure past. We do not know for certain if Scar was born mean, or if he was treated badly by life, but what do we know is that he killed his brother. The reason ? Some say he was hungry for the throne and nothing else. Others say he was jealous of his brother’s good luck in being born first.
I say he lived a hard life, and he didn’t truly cared for the throne, but he desired to posses it in order to keep a promise he had made to his father and to himself when he was young.
The object of this story is to try to find an explanation (it is not a justification) for Scar’s actions, specially regarding Mufasa’s death. I must point out that I am not justifying what he did, the difference lies in the fact that I try to understand him, and not to judge him. In my opinion, we can’t just say “He is bad and cruel” when we don’t know what was behind his actions and what were the circumstances that led him to do it.
Well, yes, I am a Scar Fan, and I am proud to say it ! But, if you aren’t one, still you might like to read this story, since you’ll be able to read about how Timon got to be an outcast and how he met Pumbaa. You’ll also get to know why Ed is less intelligent than Shenzi and Banzai…
Please have in mind that I am not a native English speaker. (I’m from Mexico and we speak Spanish here) It was difficult sometimes for me to express what I wanted to say in another language, so, I am sorry for any grammatical mistakes you might find in my story. I tried to do my best.
I want to thank several people:
My father, for accepting my Lion King addiction, for his help and support when writing this story, and for not getting mad at me when I call him Mufasa in front of other people…
My English Teacher Tere Moguel, for encouraging me to keep writing and for revising some of my earliest works. She is a great person who always has time for her students.
My mother, just because of the fact that she is my mother and I feel very lucky about it.
My brother, for lending me a PC in which I could write my stories, and for trying to make me see that all this Lion King addiction is silly and nonsense. It only makes my love for The Lion King deeper and stronger.
Ivan Trotter, for lending me his Motorola modem for almost 6 months and letting me join the wonderful world of Internet and IRC, in which I met my best friends.
David Morris and John Burkitt, for all their support and encouragement. For teaching me lots of things through their fan fiction. For being my friends.
Mike, Amy, Margaret, Jarrod and other Scar Fans I might have missed, thanks for being so understanding with Scar.
Phew ! Are you still reading this??? Well, if you have made it up to here, great ! Thanks for reading ! I only want to add something:
I dedicate this work to a very special person who gave me courage and helped me get out of the big, empty, cold cage I was trapped in, lacking of faith, depressed and lonely. You know who you are.
Well, I hope you enjoy reading “Mufasa and Scar : The Broken Legacy” as much as I enjoyed writing it. Comments welcome at email@example.com
It was almost sunset. The heat decreased little by little as the sun hid behind the horizon. The intense blue of the sky started turning violet with the arrival of the night, and the shadows began falling slowly over the great African Savannah, a wonderful place in which life and death make their apparition at every moment, a place where you must fight arduously in order to survive, and where you must faithfully obey, without distinction, the Laws of the Great Circle of Life.
This beautiful place was divided in a great number of territories, invisible to human sight, but easily identifiable by the animals living in it. The lands that belonged to the prides of lions were the most spectacular ones; they were, generally, near a water hole, which helped refresh the lions every time they wanted to, besides, their territories were big and spacious, covered by a soft rug made of green grass. It didn’t always remain like that, but the grass never failed in regaining its splendor as soon as the rains arrived. Among all the prides that lived in the Savannah, there was one which turned out to be more special than the rest because of all the things that occurred inside it, some, good things, some, bad things, but all of them marked the history of new generations of animals that were still about to come.
This pride was a healthy, strong and powerful one. Their territory spanned a great extension of the Savannah, it was so big that the members of it called its kingdom by the phrase of “Everything the light touches.” These lands had belonged to countless generations of lions. One of these generations decided to call their kingdom by the name of “Pride Lands”, it seemed that this name was of the lions’ taste and it lasted while time passed. In the middle of the Pride Lands, there was an imposing rock standing, which contained in its base a small cave which the lions used to protect themselves from the rain and the sun. The lions called that rock “Pride Rock”. The enormous stone was exceedingly beautiful and majestic, worthy of being occupied by the Lion King of Pride Lands and his pride; it had a great promontory which allowed the lions to observe a wide part of their territory. On the peak of Pride Rock, to which the lions could climb up to without difficulty, the whole kingdom could be appreciated, also part of its boundaries, the elephant graveyard at the Northern border. Pride Rock was no ordinary stone. It had seen the birth and death of many lions, it had lived and shared with them their triumphs and misadventures, their happiness and their sadness. Now, it was about to witness, once again, the miracle of life, but at the same time, the tragedy and pain of death.
The stars were already visible, and one lion, sitting at Pride Rock’s promontory, was looking at them intently. At the lion’s side, there was a completely grown baboon, who was also looking at the sky, expectantly. Both seemed to be waiting for a very important happening, and remained silent. The silence was broken by the baboon after a few seconds.
“I can see you’re very thoughtful… Is something worrying you?”, he asked.
The lion nodded as if to say no. “No, Rafiki, it’s just… I’m a little nervous because of the birth of my son, or daughter…”, the lion said, sighing at the end of his phrase.
The baboon smiled slightly. “Or sons…”, he added, making a strong emphasis on the plural.
The Lion King returned a nervous smile. Rafiki, the baboon, gave a soft pat on the lion’s back, trying to make him feel that he counted with the baboon’s own support.
“Everything is going to be fine, Thembi. The Prince will be born today, that’s for sure.”, Rafiki said.
Thembi smiled again. “I hope there won’t be any complications at all…”, he said, and then remained silent, allowing himself to absorb in the beauty of his kingdom.
Rafiki looked at the lion lovingly, thinking that maybe his sons would look just like him. He was looking very carefully at Thembi, who was so worried that didn’t notice he was being observed by the baboon.
Yes, Rafiki was, indeed, admiring the king’s features. He was big and brawny, his fur was darker than the fur of the rest of the lionesses of his pride. His mane was totally black, without a trace of blonde. His eyes were brown, just like his father’s. Thembi always had a severe expression in his face because he was a very serious lion. He had a very unstable temper, and he also used to be very spiteful and stubborn; once he took a decision, nothing on earth could make him change his mind. At the same time that Rafiki was looking at Thembi, the silence was broken when a lioness came walking out of the cave with a very big smile on her face.
“Thembi…”, she called, getting the Lion King’s attention.
He turned his head rapidly in order to face the lioness, and when he saw her broad smile, Thembi stood up and walked until he got to her side.
“Karanga, tell me, was it a male or a female?”, the lion asked, full of enthusiasm.
“It was a beautiful male lion!”, she answered.
Her radiant face helped calm Thembi. The lion started walking; he was heading for the cave’s entrance when, suddenly, he heard a cry that came from the inside.
“Oh, no! NO!”, was the exclamation of one of the lionesses from inside the cavern.
Thembi was startled, and also was the lioness standing by his side.
“Karanga, come quickly!”, a lioness called.
Karanga, fearing that something terrible was happening, looked at Thembi saying:
“Wait, don’t go inside for now, I’ll tell you when it is the proper time; maybe another cub is coming…”
Thembi didn’t say a word and he just stood there, observing how Karanga entered the cave again. Rafiki approached him, looking confused.
“What’s wrong?”, the baboon asked.
Thembi sighed deeply. “That’s the same thing I’d like to know.”, the lion replied, suffering greatly because of the uncertainty, not knowing what was happening to his wife or son. They kept waiting in silence for a few more minutes.
Inside the cave, the beautiful lioness Kitok was lying motionless on the floor. Her eyes were closed. Her face was pale and her expression was a painful one. The rest of the lionesses stared sadly at her. At Kitok’s side, there were two small cubs that tried to look for the warmth and caressing of their mother, finding neither of them. Karanga approached the smaller one and cleaned it with her tongue, because its mother didn’t have enough time to do it.
“Poor things!”, Sita exclaimed with cracking voice.
Some lionesses nodded. One of them took the word.
“Who’s going to tell Thembi?”, Anasa asked.
The lionesses looked at each other, without daring to communicate the sad news to the King. Karanga looked at her pride-mates for an instant, and sighed.
“I’ll do it.”, she said after a few seconds.
“Oh, Karanga… thank you. You have always been so strong for these things, I could never do it…”, Kuuliza said as she nuzzled Karanga lovingly.
She half-smiled in a sadly way, and, leaving the cub by Kitok’s side, Karanga left the cave, walking heavily, with head down and ears flattened. She walked across Thembi, who was waiting, impatiently, to know what had happened. Seeing that this time sadness was reflecting in Karanga?s face, Thembi felt a chill going all over his body, causing the fur on his back to bristle.
“What has happened, Karanga?”, the lion asked, trying to keep his composure.
She cleared her throat. “Actually, another cub was born, another male.”, Karanga replied, sighing at the end of her phrase.
Thembi tried to look in her eyes, but she looked away quickly, avoiding visual contact and trying to hide from Thembi the tears that were starting to appear in her eyes. The lion’s curiosity aroused.
“And… By chance… The second cub isn’t alive? Did he die when he was born?”, Thembi asked, wishing to obtain a negative reply.
Karanga nodded as if to say no. “He lives.”, the lioness answered as she felt her eyes mist up with her own tears.
Thembi breathed a sigh of relief. But… if his two sons were alive, then…
“Then why you look so worried, Karanga?”, the Lion King asked, becoming alarmed all of a sudden.
Karanga raised her eyes and looked at Thembi for an instant. Looking at the ground again, she said: “It’s… it’s Kitok…”
Thembi felt startled when he heard that. “What has happened to my wife?”, he asked, realizing, due to Karanga’s painful expression, that the answer was more than obvious.
Karanga took the word again. “She…”, she started, but all of a sudden, she broke down.
“What’s going on?!”, he demanded desperately.
Then, Karanga spoke. “Kitok died when the second cub was born! She saved the baby’s life, but now she’s gone!”, she said between sobs.
Thembi felt as if Pride Rock had fallen over him.
“My wife!”, the lion exclaimed, without even moving, not believing what his ears had just heard.
Without caring that he had to wait until the cubs were totally clean, Thembi entered the cave hastily, finding Kitok, lifeless. There she was. Her wife, companion, friend, the Queen of the Pride Lands. Thembi approached her, slowly, crying uncontrollably.
“Kitok…”, he said, his deep voice cracking, “I couldn’t even say good bye… I couldn’t listen to your beautiful voice for the last time…”, the lion continued, sobbing repeatedly.
He rubbed his muzzle against Kitok’s, wetting it with his own tears. He continued grieving his sorrow while the rest of the lionesses walked dissemblingly out of the cave, in order to leave the King alone with his grief. However, there was one lioness who knew that leaving the cubs alone might be dangerous for them; Thembi was obfuscated, and he could commit an action of which he might repent later, but it wouldn’t be fixed, so, Karanga, fearing for the safety of the two little lions, approached Kitok’s body and grabbed the bigger cub with her mouth. The lion King looked at her in awe.
“Leave him there!”, Thembi ordered, still looking at Karanga in a distrustful way.
She let go the cub smoothly, but was determined to not let him intimidate her.
“What are you going to do?”, the lioness asked, leaving aside, for a moment, the deep sadness she felt knowing that her best friend had just died.
Thembi dropped his gaze, only to lay it down on the two cubs. He could easily identify the one that had been born first, being completely clean, whereas the one that had been born after, still had some spots to be cleaned.
“That one,”, Thembi said pointing with his paw at the second cub and looking at him pejoratively, “that’s the one you can take away. I don’t want to see him. Get him out of here, now!”, the lion ordered.
Karanga’s eyes opened wide.
“But… Thembi! He’s your son—”
“No, he isn’t!”, Thembi interrupted Karanga. “That cub is responsible for Kitok’s pass away. Take him away! Take him far away! If he ever stands in my way then—”
“Stop it!”, the lioness shouted, looking straight at Thembi.
Both lions remained silent. Lowering the tone of her voice, Karanga continued.
“You can’t talk like that about your own son!”
Thembi sighed, and looked at the two cubs. He approached them. Karanga felt the fur on her back bristling, fearing that Thembi would make a terrible mistake.
“Thembi, what are you going to do?”, she asked fearfully.
The lion stood in front of his two sons and looked at them carefully. Both were beautiful, but they were starting to feel the lack of motherly warmth, and, therefore, food, so they whined constantly. Thembi tilted his head as he listened to the sounds his sons were making. Shedding a tear, the lion said:
“It’s a pity you never got to know your mother…”
Karanga listened, paying attention to Thembi’s words, realizing that the lion’s posture was not threatening, and it seemed he wouldn’t hurt his second son. Suddenly, Thembi’s sad expression changed into a more severe one when he fixed his gaze on the smaller cub. Karanga became alarmed again. Thembi started talking to the small lion that cried and pleaded for something to eat.
“Don’t cry!”, Thembi said through clenched teeth. “This is all your fault!”, the lion added coldly.
Karanga approached the cubs again and without caring about what Thembi might think, she took the smaller cub with her mouth, walked back a few steps, put the cub back on the ground and protected him with her own paws.
“I won’t let you harm him!”, Karanga exclaimed, growling softly.
Thembi looked at her and half-smiled. “That’s it. Take him away from my sight. Do whatever you want with him. I’ve already got my son.”, the lion replied as he turned his back on the lioness and patted lovingly the head of the bigger cub.
Karanga couldn’t help but gasp as she met with Thembi’s lack of sensitivity towards his smaller son. The lioness just watched as Thembi lied down for the last time at Kitok’s side, and hugged the other cub to give him a little warmth.
“Kitok…”, Thembi said, completely forgetting about the presence of Karanga and the smaller cub, “My love, my life, I know I will miss you so much! But I’m going to make the responsible of your death pay for his guilt!”, he said, hugging the bigger cub protectively, and looked pejoratively at the second one, still hidden between Karanga’s legs. She was looking at him, awed. Thembi frowned.
“You’re still there? I told you to take that one away! Do it!”, the bad-tempered lion said growling.
Karanga froze for an instant. This was something she had never expected to happen. She knew Thembi was highly agitated because of Kitok’s sudden death, so she came to the conclusion that Thembi wasn’t even thinking what he was saying. This excuse was a relief for her.
“Surely, once he calms down, he will think carefully about what had happened and will realize that the second cub isn’t guilty for Kitok’s death…”, she thought.
Carefully, she grabbed the little cub with her mouth and walked out of the cave quickly. Thembi saw her leave. He sighed, and let his head rest on his paws as he closed his eyes. Several tears ran through his cheeks as he recalled the time he and Kitok had spent together.
Outside the cave, Karanga was approached by the rest of the lionesses. Rafiki also approached her, and looked at the new born cub.
“What happened?”, the baboon asked.
“Haven’t they told you so?”, Karanga asked as she left the cub on the ground and felt a knot starting to form on her throat.
“They’ve informed me of Kitok’s death, but… what are you doing with this cub? Haven’t two cubs been born?”, Rafiki replied, looking lovingly at the baby.
Karanga nodded. “The other one’s inside…” She took a deep breath. “Thembi has decided he won’t recognize this cub as his son.”
The phrase provoked several comments among the lionesses, but it seemed Rafiki was the most impressed of all.
“Is it possible that the King said such a thing?”, Rafiki asked astonished.
Karanga nodded again. Sita couldn’t also believe what she had just heard.
“But what are we going to do with this cub then? He will be in constant danger!”, she exclaimed, knowing very well what happened to cubs who met with lions who didn’t accept them. And seeing how Thembi denied any kind of relationship…
“Oh, by all stars, we gotta do something!”, Kuuliza added.
Rafiki was about to say something when, all of a sudden, Thembi came out the cave hastily and walked to where the pride and Rafiki were together.
“Rafiki, my son needs food, and it has to be right now! He’s crying a lot and I know that none of the lionesses in this pride are in condition to feed him…”, Thembi said in a pleading tone, but Rafiki’s expression was severe.
“And you haven’t heard this one crying, have you? He’s even hungrier than the first one.”, Rafiki said looking at the second cub.
Thembi looked away. He didn’t feel in the mood for discussing that point at the moment, so he kept pleading.
“Rafiki, please, I need you to find someone able to feed my son… Please, it’s the only thing left from my Kitok…”
Rafiki frowned. He realized perfectly that Thembi was speaking as if he only had one son, but he came with an idea that might just work.
“All right, Thembi, I’ll look for someone to feed your son, but, on condition that…”
Thembi was amazed seeing how a simple, but wise baboon was conditioning him.
Knowing that Rafiki had now control over him, the haughty lion replied, “All right, I’ll do whatever you tell me.”
Rafiki smiled. “You will allow this cub also to feed from the lioness that will come to save their life.”, Rafiki said, referring to the smaller cub.
Thembi sighed deeply. He remained silent for a moment, then, turning around, he said, “All right, then so be it. But, please, Rafiki, hurry up. My son needs food as soon as possible…”
Rafiki nodded “I’ll do my best, Thembi. I’ll look for a substitute mother for your sons, and, perhaps, we will celebrate the Queen’s funeral at dawn…”
Thembi looked at him over his shoulder. “That’s right, I was almost forgetting about the funeral…”, the lion said as the tears filled his eyes once more.
He entered the cave slowly, as the pride made comments on what had just happened.
“I think he is acting in a very selfish way!”, Karanga said, licking the cub lovingly.
“If only I could feed him…”, the lioness thought, but, knowing it was impossible for her to do so, she offered willingly to help Rafiki with the search for someone able to do it.
Rafiki smiled at the lioness’s offer. “Thank you, Karanga, but it won’t be necessary. I know about someone who could help us; a lioness has given birth to her cubs not far from here.”
The lionesses cheered up with that reply and some of them sighed in relief.
Rafiki grabbed his staff and started walking, looking for the lioness he had just talked about a few seconds ago.
As he walked away, he shouted to the lionesses: “Try to keep the cubs warm!”
“Yes, Rafiki!”, they answered in unison as they watched the baboon disappear in the distance.
“Thembi’s attitude is really worrying me.”, Karanga said after a few minutes.
The rest of the pride remained silent for a brief instant.
“Can you let me clean him?”, Kuuliza asked Karanga, who licked repeatedly the cub’s head.
“Of course.”, Karanga said as she ceded the turn to her pride-mate.
While the rest of the lionesses also waited for their turn, some of them were shedding new tears for the queen that had just left. It meant one lioness less for Thembi’s pride, which wasn’t too big at all. By the moment, the lionesses left were Karanga, Kuuliza, Anasa, Huria and Sita. An now that Kitok had died, Thembi would have to choose another lioness as queen, which would be the adoptive mother of the Prince and his brother. This thought seemed to cross Anasa’s mind and she started making comments to her pride-mates.
“I wonder who will be the new queen…”
The lionesses looked at each other, and after a while, all the looks were fixed upon Karanga. She noticed this.
“No… Don’t look at me…”, she said, stuttering a little.
“It is obvious he will choose you as his wife”, Anasa said, knowing that Karanga’s rank and courage allowed her to be the new queen.
Karanga looked at the ground, confused.
“Wouldn’t you like to be the new Queen of the Pride Lands?”, Sita asked with a tone of awe in her voice.
“Me? Never!”, Karanga replied as her voice cracked. She started to cry.
Kuuliza seemed a little confused by the lioness’s attitude and pricked her hears with curiosity.
“But—”, Anasa started to say, but was interrupted by Karanga.
“I could never take the place of my best friend… I couldn’t do that to her…”, the lioness said, sobbing uncontrollably.
Kuuliza stood up. “Here, you clean the cub now.”, she told Anasa and put the cub between the paws of her friend.
Then, Kuuliza walked to Karanga’s side and whispered at her ear: “Come, let’s talk.”
Karanga staggered to her feet and walked away several steps so they could talk freely, leaving the rest of the lionesses full of curiosity.
Kuuliza took the word. “What’s going on, Karanga?”
She couldn’t stop crying.
Kuuliza waited a few minutes for her pride-mate to calm down.
When Karanga stopped weeping, Kuuliza helped her dry the tears with her own tongue.
“Cry no more, my daughter.”
“Mom… I can’t help it…”, Karanga replied as she accepted her mother’s caressing.
“Now,”, Kuuliza said as she sat in front of Karanga, “you wanna tell your mother what’s going on inside that little head?”
Karanga sat down too, and sighed deeply. With some difficulty, she started talking.
“I— I can’t take Kitok’s place, I can’t!”, the lioness said, looking at her mother’s eyes.
Without looking away, Kuuliza answered: “What’s stopping you? You know that, unfortunately, the Queen is dead.”
Karanga looked away, still listening to her mother.
“Now you can get what you’ve wanted the most, daughter. I know how much you’ve wished to be the queen and be at Thembi’s side—”
“Shut up! Shut up, please!”, Karanga said, covering her ears with her paws and throwing herself to the ground with a loud thump.
Kuuliza looked at her understandingly.
“My girl, you have always loved Thembi, now it could be your chance—”
“Mom! I feel as if I were betraying Kitok’s memory!”, Karanga said as she raised her look once more.
Kuuliza nodded as if to say no, but Karanga continued:
“You know how much she trusted me, mom. She told me everything! She loved Thembi as much as I did, and he… he gave his love to her.”, she said hiding in a very poor way the sadness she felt as she pronounced those words.
Taking a breath, Karanga continued talking.
“I don’t want to take advantage of this situation just to be by the side of the lion I love… Kitok deserves respect, and, even though she died, that doesn’t give me the right to take what belonged to her—”
“Daughter,”, her mother interrupted.
Karanga kept silence.
“One way or another, Thembi will have to choose a new queen.”
Looking at her daughter’s eyes once more, Kuuliza continued: “If he chooses you… What are you going to do? Will you turn him down?”
Karanga pressed her eyes shut, breaking the visual contact with her mother, the only lioness that could stand her look.
“Then…”, Karanga said. She sighed deeply and finished her sentence. “Then I will be his queen, and I’ll take care of the cubs.”, Karanga said, looking sadly at the ground.
Kuuliza looked at her fixedly. “You still love him don’t you?”, she asked.
Karanga nodded. “More than life itself.”, But, looking fixedly at the cavern’s entrance, the young lioness added: “Mom, I found very strange the attitude Thembi had with the smaller cub… “
“I think we ALL found it strange, girl, but maybe you could persuade him to accept the cub…” Kuuliza said as she rubbed her head against Karanga’s neck.
“Mom, I love you.”, Karanga replied as both lionesses purred slightly.
Then, Karanga noticed the moon was almost over them, and she thought that the cubs would be exceedingly hungry.
“I wonder if Rafiki could find the lioness he was talking about…”
Kuuliza shrugged, and started walking silently to where the rest of the rest of the pride kept the second cub warm. Karanga followed her, lost in her thoughts. When she walked in front of the entrance of the cavern, she couldn’t help but look at its interior. She descried Thembi snuggled beside Kitok’s body, while the cub, protected from cold by his father’s mane, slept, but the hunger the little animal was feeling was visible, because he moved constantly and whined raucously.
“I hope Rafiki returns soon…”, Karanga thought, and feeling more calm, she sat beside her pride-mates, who didn’t make any comment on who would be the new Queen of the Pride Lands.
The second cub wasn’t asleep, and rolled over uneasily looking for food, which no lioness could offer to him.
Rafiki panted strongly as he walked among the tall grasses. It seemed that the lioness that had just given birth had changed from hiding place in order to protect her defenseless cubs. Without wanting it, Rafiki couldn’t help but sitting down to rest. He had been running mostly during his distant search, and without having found the lioness, he continued looking eagerly for her, but it seemed it was useless. He felt an enormous sadness when he thought that Thembi’s cubs would die if he didn’t find someone able to feed them, when, all of a sudden, he heard a slight noise. Rafiki stood up quickly and looked in all directions. He noticed that something was moving between the tall grasses. Cautiously, Rafiki approached to inspect and see what was hidden. He listened as the animal talked to something or someone, unable to understand what it was saying, therefore, Rafiki kept approaching, until he was able to understand some of the words.
“I know you are hidden here, you won’t be able to escape— there… that’s it… Mmmhhh. Delicious!”
Rafiki, with aroused curiosity, couldn’t help but approaching a little more. The animal, that turned out to be a bird, was looking for food, but he was startled in surprise when he saw someone coming near him. He made a shrieking noise and tried to fly, however, Rafiki hit him with his wooden staff, right in the head, blocking the bird’s escape way.
“Don’t harm me!”, the stunned bird pleaded.
Rafiki, looking carefully at the stranger, smiled, gravely. “Well, you’re a bird ! Perhaps you could help me…”, the baboon said as he scratched his beard, thoughtfully.
The bird, rubbing his head with one of his wings, looked at Rafiki, and noticing his aggressor was a baboon, he became a little more alarmed, but he remained in his place, not wanting another knock on the head again.
“Help?”, the bird asked, sounding confused.
“Yes.”, Rafiki insisted, and added, “Could you, being able to fly, help me find a lioness that has just given birth? It is very urgent, since the sons of the King are in danger.”
“The cubs have been born?”, the bird asked enthusiastically.
Rafiki nodded. “But it is necessary we find this lioness I am talking about, because… the Queen has died, and, therefore, there’s no one to feed the future king and his younger brother.”
The bird’s happiness disappeared completely. “The Queen is dead? Oh, by all stars…”, he exclaimed looking fixedly and sadly at Rafiki.
The baboon, noticing that the bird, which turned out to be a hornbill, was very young, thought that he wouldn’t be too much help, however, he was willing to offer the necessary service in order to save the lives of the King’s and Queen’s sons.
“Of course I’ll help to find that lioness, I’ll do it immediately.”
“Thank you! The King will reward you for your help!”, Rafiki exclaimed at the same time the bird took off and disappeared quickly.
Rafiki continued with his search, praying to the kings of the past so they would give strength to the cubs and help them to survive until he finds the one who would feed them. After several minutes, the bird came back.
“Hey, you…”, the bird called the baboon, still in midair. Rafiki raised his sight.
“Tell me, have you seen her?”, he asked hopefully.
“Yes, she’s nearby, that way.”, the bird said, pointing with one wing at the direction where the lioness was.
“Great !”, the baboon said, sighing in relief. “Could you guide me ? “, Rafiki asked as he grabbed his staff firmly.
“Yes, of course.”, the bird replied, and both animals went towards the new hiding place of the lioness as fast as they could.
As they approached, Rafiki was able to listen to low whines that came from the lioness’ cubs, and to her strong purrs, trying to comfort them. The baboon approached cautiously. He descried the lioness hiding between the tall yellow grass. She was cleaning one of her cubs carefully, while the others ate. There were three babies in total. It would be a hard job for the lioness to feed so many cubs, her own and Thembi’s, but Rafiki was hoping she would accept his petition. Approaching little by little, Rafiki stepped, without noticing, on a small twig and it broke noisily. The lioness stood up, alarmed, and looked everywhere insistently, trying to listen to another sound or to get some scent that told her what kind of animal was nearby. She managed to make out the slim figure of Rafiki, who was watching her fixedly.
Rafiki, knowing that the lioness was already aware of his presence, approached a few steps saying: “Please, I come in the name of King Thembi to ask you an enormous favor. Don’t hurt me, because I won’t harm nor you nor your children.”
The lioness pricked her ears with curiosity, and felt interested when she heard the word King.
“Come nearer, I want to see you.”, she said as she hugged her small sons protectively.
Rafiki obeyed and walked to the lioness, while the bird waited impatiently to hear the mother’s answer.
Once he was in front of the lioness, Rafiki addressed her politely. “My name is Rafiki, and I’ve come here searching for you, because we need you to do us a favor.”, he said.
She tilted her head slightly. “A favor? What kind of favor?”
Rafiki stared at her. “The future king has been born, but he is dying from hunger, the same with his brother. There’s no lioness in condition of feeding them, that’s why I’ve been looking for you. I wanted to ask you to feed King Thembi’s sons until they are out of danger.”, Rafiki said, hoping to get an affirmative answer.
The lioness seemed to have found that a little strange.
“King Thembi?”, she asked.
She looked at her cubs for an instant. “I am not from this place, my pride is waiting for me… I only came here to give birth to my sons, I don’t even know King Thembi…”, she said with visible indecision.
Rafiki approached a little bit more, until he was able to feel the breath of the lioness in his face.
“Please… those cubs are the only thing that remains of Kitok, the Queen, and if they die… Thembi would suffer greatly… Please, the cubs need food now…”, the baboon pleaded.
The maternal instincts of the lioness were screaming at her what she had to do, and, after meditating for several minutes, she decided she would help the cubs of the King of that region.
“OK, I’ll help them. It would be very sad if they died…”
Rafiki felt so happy that he was about to kiss the lioness on the cheek, but he stopped in time.
“Thank you so much ! You have a kind heart !”, he said, placing his hand on the lioness’ head and rubbing it softly.
Then, carrying two of the cubs, one under each arm, he told the lioness: “You take that one and I’ll take care of these ones.”
The lioness raised to her feet and stretched herself, yawning noisily.
“Let’s go, huh…”, Rafiki said, but he realized that he didn’t know the lioness’ name. “What’s your name?”, the baboon asked.
After shaking herself, she answered: “Dalasini.”
“Then, Dalasini, let’s go. We don’t have time to lose.”, Rafiki said and started walking, with the cubs under his arms.
Grabbing the last cub with her mouth, the lioness followed Rafiki. The bird that had helped the baboon in finding the lioness, also followed him, flying a few meters behind.
Dalasini was confused. “Well, I just hope I’m doing the correct thing… I wish my pride won’t get too upset…”
Everything had been so sudden… She hadn’t ever met the baboon that guided her to the King’s cave, however, by some strange reason, he seemed to be trustworthy, but she was afraid of meeting the rest of the lionesses of a totally unknown pride.
“Don’t be afraid.”, Rafiki said at that moment.
Dalasini was startled.
“Thembi’s pride will be very friendly towards you.”, Rafiki added.
Dalasini was amazed at the fact the Rafiki had read her thoughts, but then she thought it all had been a mere coincidence.
They continued walking, quickly and in absolute silence.
It was almost at dawn when Rafiki and Dalasini arrived to Pride Rock. The lioness was marveled with the beautiful place.
“This place is wonderful!”, she exclaimed with emotion.
Rafiki only nodded.
The lionesses of Thembi’s pride descried the baboon approaching.
“Thembi, they’ve arrived!”, Anasa shouted.
The rest of the pride raised to their feet in order to greet Rafiki and the lioness that came with him.
Thembi came out of the cave walking quickly and approached his pride. Karanga remained at the side of the second cub, who was losing his body heat rapidly, as same as the first cub. Both lions were weak and they moved less with each minute that passed, falling slowly into a stupor. Their stomach growled constantly, demanding the vital food. For that reason, Thembi was exceedingly worried, but only for his older son. He hadn’t taken notice of the second one. Seeing Rafiki being accompanied by a lioness, the Lion King cheered up and ran to his meeting.
“Rafiki! You’ve found her!”, Thembi exclaimed, analyzing rapidly the lioness’ condition.
“Yes, indeed, Thembi. She has just had cubs…”
Thembi looked at her fixedly, causing her to look away.
“Tell me, dear, what’s your name?”, the King asked.
“My name is Dalasini, your Highness.”, she said with deep respect after she had left the cub on the ground.
“Dalasini, could you feed my son ?”, the King asked, but all of a sudden he felt a pain in the ribs.
It had been Rafiki, who, hearing Thembi speaking as if he only had one son, poked Thembi with the end of his staff on one side.
Thembi, getting the message, corrected quickly: “And his brother also?”
Dalasini nodded. “Where are they? I’ll feed them right now.”
Thembi rested one of his front paws on the lioness’ shoulder and fixed his gaze on her. She didn’t look away this time, and noticed that Thembi’s eyes were red and swollen because he had cried too much.
“I thank you so much for your help, Dalasini.”, Thembi said.
She nodded, and looking away, she said: “It’s nothing… Any mother would have done the same…”
Thembi rested his paw on the ground again and started walking towards the cave.
“Come, follow me, I’ll take you to where the cubs are.”, the lion said.
Rafiki grabbed the three cubs of Dalasini this time, and with a movement of the head, he signaled her that she had to follow the King and that nothing bad would happen to her.
Dalasini followed the lion while Rafiki and the bird that had accompanied him walked to where the rest of the pride was.
“Rafiki, will that lioness feed the cubs ?”, Sita asked.
“Yes, indeed. I just hope it isn’t too late…”, the baboon replied.
“Then, it would be better to take this little one inside the cave so he can eat also.”, Karanga said, and grabbed the second cub with her mouth.
She took him to the cave. She was followed by Rafiki, who left Dalasini’s cubs in charge of the other lionesses. The bird had decided to wait to know the health state of the cubs once they had eaten, and he settled in a nearby tree. Kuuliza and the rest of the lionesses remained in their places, wishing with fervor for the cubs to survive.
Karanga entered the cave while Dalasini lied on the floor, offering food to the future king. Thembi placed the first cub near Dalasini, and at the same time, Karanga did the same with the smaller cub. Thembi looked at her with distrust, but he said nothing. He just stood there, observing how his sons started eating. At the first contact with the liquid, the cubs seemed to wake up, and started eating anxiously, letting escape once in a while a deep whine.
“I’m glad they are eating, I was fearing they wouldn’t have enough strength to eat…”, Rafiki said.
Thembi, a little more relaxed seeing how his son ate, sat down beside Dalasini.
“Thanks again, Dalasini. Without you, they would have died for sure.”
Dalasini smiled understandingly, feeling she had done what was correct when going to the Pride Lands and helping Thembi.
With deep sorrow, the lioness said: “I’m so sorry about the Queen, Highness.”
Thembi pressed his eyes shut and remained silent, sighing once in a while.
Karanga approached him, and, trying to comfort him, she licked his cheek lovingly.
Thembi opened his eyes, startled, and gave a few steps back.
Karanga felt hurt, but she didn’t demonstrate it.
“Thembi…”, Karanga said, “We must carry through Kitok’s funeral ceremony.”
Thembi nodded, and , slowly, he returned on the steps he had given.
“Dalasini, it is necessary we carry on with the Queen’s funeral. Could you stay here and take care of my son ?”
Dalasini tilted her head, with curiosity. “Of your son ?”
“Of my sons”, Thembi corrected, turning around and walking towards Kitok’s body.
He suppressed a slight growl as he recalled that when the second cub came to this world, Kitok was forced to abandon it. That produced in him a terrible feeling of uneasiness, and he felt a great rage at the impotence of knowing that there was nothing that could be done to change things. He lied down next to Kitok, shedding some tears.
“Rafiki,”, the lion called, “help me.”
Rafiki walked near Kitok’s body and lifted her, placing her over Thembi’s back.
“It’s time for the funeral.”, the lion said.
“We’ll take her to your tree right now.”, Thembi added, and he stood up, carrying Kitok over his back.
He left the cave, and with the first lights of morning, the lions started the peregrination to the tree where Rafiki used to live. Once they got there, the baboon would be in charge of the Queen’s funeral. Sita took Dalasini’s cubs to the cave quickly and caught up with the rest of the pride. Thembi was walking at the front, heavily, suffering greatly because of carrying his wife’s body over his back… she, who had been always so skillful, agile and strong… It was too painful for the lion. He had always loved her, since they were cubs. He had never taken another lioness too seriously, saving his whole heart for Kitok and for no one else. Thus, it was impossible for him to get the idea that the would never again listen to his wife’s laughter. While walking, Thembi started recalling his cubhood, adolescence, and maturity, being always present the alive memory of Kitok, but one of those memories, in special, brought new tears to the eyes of the Lion King.
… “Kitok, I would like to talk to you for a minute…”, young Thembi said.
Kitok smiled coyly.
“Talk with me, huh ?”, she said with her melodious voice, and, looking straight at the prince, she added: “And… about what do you want to talk about ?”
Thembi looked at her fixedly, prisoner of the magic of that beautiful lioness, and he delayed his answer a few seconds.
“About… oh, I can’t tell you right now, let’s go somewhere else.”
Kitok smiled again and tilted her head with curiosity.
“Mhh, well, too much mystery… Can’t you just tell me a little something ? So at least I know what this is all about…”, she said, blinking anxiously.
Thembi nodded as if to say no.
“It’s a surprise, Kitok.”
She let loose a loud laugh and jumped from one side to another enthusiastically.
“Oh, yes! I love surprises!”
Thembi didn’t stop looking at her for an instant. He laughed slightly.
Kitok stopped jumping and looked at him with curiosity. “What are you laughing at?”, she asked.
“You look just like a cub that has gotten double portion of meat for dinner… jumping here and there…”, the lion answered, still smiling.
She approached Thembi, getting so near, that she made Thembi shudder.
Kitok smiled seductively and whispered at his ear: “I am still a cub, but not for long.”
The lioness turned around , and after looking coyly back at him over her shoulder, she walked away a few steps.
Thembi, fascinated, just observed how Kitok disappeared, but before she got lost in the distance, the lion shouted:
“If you want to know what the surprise is, I’ll be waiting for you at the water hole…”
The lioness shook her tail twice in reply, and disappeared in the distance.
Thembi sighed deeply and let himself fall down to the ground. He didn’t notice, because of his perturbation, that his father was approaching.
“Well, son, is something wrong with you ?”, King Haraka asked, sitting beside his son.
Thembi raised his eyes, and seeing the noble face of his father, the young lion got nearer and nuzzled him.
“Father, I have talked to Kitok.”, Thembi said with a little fear.
“I’m glad, my son. Now I see why are you so nervous…”, Haraka said understandingly, and added: “And… what happened ?”
Thembi sighed. “I haven’t told her anything yet, but we’re going to meet tonight at the water hole.”
Haraka smiled, and groomed his mane with one of his paws, grooming later his son’s mane.
“You must look good, cub.”, Haraka said.
Thembi walked away a few steps growling slightly. “I am not a cub anymore, dad.”, the young lion told his father, looking distrustfully at him.
Haraka smiled. “I know, son, but I just don’t get the idea of seeing you like this, an adult lion… I know I’m getting old, son, and you’ll soon take my place…”
Thembi approached his father quickly. “No, father, don’t say that… You will live many years more…”
Haraka looked at the sky sadly and sighed, as if some weight were upon him, bothering him.
Seeing that it was beginning to grow dark, the King said : “Go on, Thembi, if you are having a date tonight, it’s going to be better that you look good. Go and wash that face of yours, because it is still visible that you have just eaten.”
Thembi nodded, and after nuzzling his father once more, the lion walked away a few steps, he lied on the ground and started cleaning his paws, and with them, he cleaned his face, always thinking of Kitok.
Haraka smiled to himself and walked away in the opposite direction. At that moment, the lioness Karanga walked by, and she looked at him on the quiet. Noticing he was having trouble on cleaning part of his cheek, the lioness approached amicably.
“You need help ?”
Thembi glanced at her. “No, thanks, I am almost done.”, he replied curtly.
Karanga looked nervous from one side to another, wishing to start conversation with Thembi, without knowing how to do it.
“And… you ate well ?”, she asked, sitting slowly at the lion’s side.
“Mmm-hh. Delicious.”, he said, and, looking up, he stared at the lioness saying, “You are a very good huntress, I had been watching you while you and the others hunted this morning…”
She blushed. “Really ? You think so ?”
She looked at the horizon, nervously.
Thembi noticed that she was nervous, and he realized that he was making the same mistake again, giving false hope to Karanga.
Standing up, the lion showed he was walking away.
“You are leaving so soon ?”, Karanga asked, trying to hide her disillusion.
“That’s right. I have an unfinished business.”
The lioness stood up also and caught up with him. “Thembi…”
“Yeah ?”, he replied.
“Huh, I was thinking… I had planned going for a walk tonight, knowing that the moon will be complete and there is going to be lots of light… Wouldn’t you like to go with me ?”, she asked, smiling charmingly.
Thembi looked away, and, trying not to hurt Karanga too much, he said, “I’m sorry, Karanga, but I already have a date with Kitok.”
“Oh…”, she said, “with Kitok… That’s OK, perhaps another time…”, she said, visibly perturbed.
“Perhaps.”, the lion said, trying to ignore the agitation of her pride-mate, and, sighing deeply, he walked away, leaving Karanga drowned in her sadness.
“Thembi…”, the lioness thought once he was far away, “I always kept in my heart the thought that you would choose me as queen, but I see that is not going to happen.”
Shedding a tear that was soon lost among the grass, Karanga told herself, “But I am glad that at least Kitok will be happy, because she also loves you so much…”
The lioness returned to Pride Rock walking slowly, and there she was greeted by another lioness.
“Daughter, where were you ?”, Kuuliza asked.
Without controlling herself, Karanga broke down and clung to her mother’s neck.
“Mom, Thembi wants Kitok !”, she said between sobs.
Kuuliza remained silent while she stroked her daughter’s back with one paw. She closed her eyes firmly, suffering as she saw her daughter crying in that way, but it always had been obvious that Thembi had showed great preference for Kitok. Once that Karanga had calmed down, mother and daughter went for a walk, to talk a while and clear their minds.
“Kitok !”, Thembi said startled as the lioness walked to him. She looked beautiful under the moonlight. Kitok, admiring Thembi’s black mane, now shiny and silvery because of the light, approached the future king and sat beside him. Thembi was feeling nervous, because Kitok’s presence stirred him up. She had to start with the conversation.
“Well ? What was the surprise you were going to give, me, Thembi ?”
He smiled. “Well, Kitok, it’s that you…”
“I what ?”, she said smiling, without being able to hide her enthusiasm.
“You will be the new queen of Pride Lands.”, Thembi said, sighing at the end of his phrase.
“Oh, Thembi !”, she said with wide eyes.
“What’s wrong ? You don’t want to be—”
“Of course I want ! Of course ! Yes, yes, yes !”, she said, deeply moved, and, she licked Thembi’s cheek quickly.
“Well, Kitok, I am glad you have accepted to be the queen !”, the lion said as he touched with his own paw the recently kissed cheek.
She looked straight at Thembi’s eyes and said, “Thembi, do you love me ?”
“Of course I do, Kitok, more than my life.”, he answered, without looking away for an instant.
“And do you really want me to be the queen that will rule next to you ? I mean, your wife ?”, she said, coming nearer.
“My wife, the mother of my cubs !”, he replied, approaching too.
As soon as they were nose to nose, he asked, “And you, Kitok, do you love me ?”
She replied, “Thembi, my beloved Thembi, you know I have always loved you, and I will love you till the day I leave this world ! I love you ! I love you !”, she said passionately, and he kissed her.
“I love you too, Kitok, and I will also love you till death separates us !” …
“You are exhausted, Thembi, does your wife weigh too much ?”, Rafiki said as he helped the Lion King to put Kitok under the shade of his tree.
“No, Rafiki, it’s the weight of this sorrow the one that’s killing me, little by little…”, the lion said, looking at his wife and recalling the words he had pronounced the day he declared his love to Kitok: “Till death separates us …”
The rest of the lionesses remained silent, specially Karanga, who was looking with sadness at the body of her best friend. Arming himself with courage, Thembi cleared his throat and the funeral began.
“My pride, we are now gathered here to give the last good bye to the queen, a lioness whose feelings were kind and noble, who always had a word of comfort for the ones who were sad or wounded, a lioness who always looked after her pride… my wife—”
Thembi’s voice failed, and he couldn’t go on.
Making a signal to Rafiki, the baboon continued with the speech. “Kitok has passed away, but she has gone to a better place, where she won’t feel hunger nor thirst. We shall remember her with deep love and respect because she was so brave that she gave her own life in order to save the life of her younger son.”
At this point, Thembi extended his claws and buried them deep in the ground, but only Karanga noticed this.
Rafiki continued. “We must be strong and confront reality in a positive way, we shouldn’t let ourselves fall down. The Circle of Life goes on and nothing will stop it, there’s nothing we can do to stop life from following its course. We must have strength and courage, Thembi.”
The lion nodded, as did the others present.
Rafiki approached the lion, and, giving a slight pat on his back, he told him, “Don’t let yourself get down, Thembi, because when one door closes, another one opens.”
Holding back tears, Thembi sighed.
Taking the word again, the lion said : “Now, let’s keep silence for Kitok’s eternal rest.”
The lions remained in absolute silence, repressing sobs that threatened to burst out at every moment.
After a couple of minutes in silence, the King went on talking. “We must return to our home. Let’s say good bye to Kitok for the last time.”, he said, trying to be strong.
One by one, the lionesses nuzzled Kitok’s face, saying farewell to the queen. All of them, except Karanga, had said good bye when Thembi walked to his wife’s body.
“My Kitok, I will miss you… no matter what happens, I will never forget you…”, and , thinking, he said inwardly, “Your death will not remain unpunished, my beloved.”
Speaking in high tone of voice again, he said, “May you rest in peace, wherever you are, Kitok.”
He kissed her for the last time and turned around, heading for Pride Rock. The lionesses, except Karanga, followed him. Thembi glanced back and noticed that Karanga remained by Kitok’s side, motionless and crying inconsolably.
He looked at the rest of his pride and told them, “Walk to Pride Rock, I’ll catch up with you in a moment.”
The lionesses continued walking, while Thembi walked back to where Karanga was, crying for Kitok’s death. As he approached, he was able to listen to the last words of good bye for Kitok.
“…And you were my best friend, Kitok. I feel so sorry because you had to go, really…”
Thembi approached her and nuzzled her cheek softly.
“We must go back, Karanga.”
She raised her sight and looked with deep sadness at Thembi.
He stared at her, trying to cheer her up, even though he felt that he would too burst in tears in no time.
Karanga stood up and walking beside Thembi, the two lions walked away. Rafiki waited until both disappeared, and the funeral began.
When they arrived to Pride Rock, the lionesses entered the cave, in order to see how the sons of the king were doing. Dalasini was cleaning one of them, while the rest of the cubs slept peacefully.
“How are they ?” Kuuliza asked as she examined the five cubs.
“They’re okay, but the little one is too weak.”, Dalasini said, referring to the younger son of Thembi.
Kuuliza looked at Dalasini lovingly.
“Thanks a lot for helping Thembi’s sons.”, she told the new comer.
“It’s nothing.”, Dalasini replied smiling.
“What do you think if we introduce ourselves ?”, Kuuliza said, and the rest of the lionesses nodded.
Dalasini fixed her gaze upon them, wanting to meet the lionesses belonging to that pride, which had turned out to be very friendly.
“I am Kuuliza, the eldest lioness of this pride.” One by one, the rest of the lioness introduced themselves.
“I am Anasa.”
“And I am Huria.”
“My name’s Sita.”
Dalasini smiled. “It’s a pleasure meeting you. I am Dalasini.”, she replied.
Kuuliza glanced at the outside of the cave, noticing that Thembi and Karanga were approaching.
“The one that comes over there is my daughter, her name is Karanga.”, Kuuliza said.
Dalasini looked at the entrance of the cave, just at the same time that Thembi entered, followed by Karanga. Sadness was reflected in the face of both lions, and they didn’t pronounce a word.
Kuuliza walked near the King. “Thembi, your smaller son is weak.”, she whispered.
Thembi only shrugged.
Kuuliza glanced at Karanga, who sighed deeply.
“Mom…”, she said.
Kuuliza walked near her daughter, feeling uncomfortable seeing Thembi didn’t give importance to his little cub.
“Tell me, my daughter.”
Karanga didn’t pronounce a single word, but she hugged her mother’s neck and sobbed repeatedly.
The rest of the pride was looking at her compassionately.
Anasa whispered in Dalasini’s ear, “The queen and Karanga were very good friends…”
Dalasini looked at her and felt pity for that young lioness that was suffering greatly.
She was distracted when she heard a weak whine of Thembi’s younger son.
“Come on, little one, you have to eat a little more…”, Dalasini said as she licked the cub’s little head.
“It may be good if we take them out to the sun for a while…”, Sita said, looking worriedly at the little lions.
“It’s a good idea.”, Dalasini said, and she stood up, while the other cubs complained for their mother’s movement. Thembi’s older cub remained sound asleep.
“Can you help me take them out ? I can’t handle all of them at the same time…”, Dalasini said as she took one cub with her mouth.
“Of course”, the other lionesses answered, and helped taking the cubs to the exterior, where the light of the sun caused their little eyes to press shut until they got used to the light of day. Karanga came out of the cave after a few seconds, leaving Thembi alone for a moment. She sat down next to her pride and, without paying enough attention, she listened to their conversation.
“How are you going to call your cubs ?”, Huria asked Dalasini.
“She will be Sarabi…”, she said, pointing to the oldest one. “She will be… Sarafina.”, she added, pointing at the one in the middle.
“And the smallest one ?”, Anasa asked.
“She will be… Ndani.”
“How pretty names ! It must be wonderful to have cubs, don’t you think ?”, Sita asked her pride-mates.
All of them, even Karanga, nodded.
“And… how are the sons of the king going to be called ?”, Dalasini asked.
The lionesses shrugged.
“Thembi hasn’t told us anything yet.”, Kuuliza said.
“And, I don’t think he will for now.”, Sita added.
They remained silent for a few minutes until one of the cubs started crying.
“Calm down, Sarafina, mom ‘s here…” , Dalasini said soothingly. She fed the cub, and soon Sarafina calmed down.
Without paying attention, Karanga noticed that a blue bird with a big beak was looking at them curiously, perched on the branches of a tree. Karanga stared at him, and the hornbill noticed this.
Gathering courage, he asked the lioness, “Can I see the sons of King Thembi ?”
Karanga smiled slightly and nodded.
The bird smiled, and flying smoothly, he landed at one side of the pride, not without certain fear of being attacked, but his desire for seeing the princes was very much stronger than the fear he could feel. With a little difficulty, he managed to distinguish the two males.
“They are beautiful, specially this one.”, the bird said, pointing with one wing at the older cub.
The lionesses looked at the cubs and some of them nodded. They fell silent, letting themselves absorb in the contemplation of the babies.
Rafiki, having finished with Kitok’s funeral, went to wash his face at the water hole. It had been a very agitated day, but he knew that he still had job to do. He must go to Pride Rock to communicate the lions that the funeral had taken place, and, besides, he also had to gather herbs, plants, a little soil, and other ingredients that would allow him to foresee the future. He gathered on his knees in order to drink some water and deaden his thirst. Rafiki was thinking on fate and what it had prepared for Thembi an his sons. The older cub had the right of being King because he was born first, in case he died, the younger cub would have the opportunity of possessing the throne after Thembi’s death. Rafiki was still thinking about that, when, taking a last drink of water, grabbed his staff and started walking towards Pride Rock. It was not too long before he arrived, and he was glad to see the pride gathered around the cubs, but he noticed sadly that Thembi wasn’t with the lionesses. As he approached, Rafiki realized that a bird was with them.
“Oh, he’s the one that helped me find Dalasini, it’s good he’s there, I’ll thank him, and… I know he’ll be rewarded.”
The lionesses noticed Rafiki approaching.
“Rafiki !” Karanga exclaimed, and ran to the baboon.
“The funeral is over.” The baboon announced.
Karanga looked at him fixedly, as a tear ran on cheek.
Rafiki raised an arm and he touched Karanga’s face with his hand. “Don’t cry, Karanga, for Kitok is with you.”
She looked away and sighed slightly.
“Is Thembi inside the cave ?”, the baboon asked.
The lionesses nodded.
Rafiki glanced at the cubs, and then he looked at the bird.
Smiling, Rafiki said, “Come with me.”
The bird was amazed, but he didn’t say a word., and, obediently, he followed the baboon to the interior of the cave.
Once they were inside, Rafiki walked near Thembi, who was sitting, his back turned on the entrance of the cavern. The lion remained silent, absorbed in his thoughts, and he jumped startled when he felt the warm hand of Rafiki on his back.
“Rafiki ! Have you finished with the funeral ?”, Thembi asked.
Thembi closed his eyes for an instant. When he opened them again, the first thing he saw was the bird, who was looking at him with respect and admiration.
“And who are you ? What are you doing here ?”, Thembi asked, intrigued.
The bird looked at Rafiki nervously, without knowing what to answer.
Rafiki spoke for him. “Thembi, he was the one who helped me find Dalasini; without the help of—”, the baboon said, but he interrupted himself when he realized that he didn’t know the bird’s name.
“Zazu,”, the hornbill said, “My name’s Zazu.”
Rafiki smiled. “Without the help of Zazu, your two cubs would have died because of the lack of food.”
Thembi looked straight at the bird. “I appreciate your help on saving the future king…”, Thembi said.
Zazu smiled nervously. “Oh, Highness, it was nothing, really…”, he said with enthusiasm.
Rafiki took the word again.
“And…”, the baboon said winking at Thembi, “I believe he deserves a reward, isn’t that right, Thembi ?”
Thembi looked at the baboon and nodded. Then he looked at the bird.
“Tell me, Zazu… do you have a home ?”
The bird nodded. “I have two brothers and one sister.”, the hornbill said.
Thembi twisted his mouth slightly.
Zazu continued talking. “But, I wouldn’t like to go back there.”, he said, embarrassed.
Thembi looked at him with curiosity. “How’s that ?”, the King asked.
“Well… my brothers are so… they—They treat my sister and me really badly, because they are older than us.”, Zazu said as he arranged his feathers nervously.
Thembi glanced at Rafiki and both of them nodded.
“Zazu, “, Thembi said, “I was thinking that maybe your reward could be to live here with us, you could be my majordomo, and you could help me maintain my lands free from intruders…”
Zazu looked at the king estranged.
“Do you wish for me to help you, your Majesty ?”
“Of course.”, Thembi replied, and added, “You can fly, and you could tell me if strangers are approaching, or where the herds of gazelles are so the lionesses can go hunting… really, you could help me a lot.”, the King said.
Zazu was awed. He would have never expected that from one day to another he would turn into the King’s helper. The idea fascinated him.
“If you want my help, your Majesty, I will give it you with great pleasure.”, Zazu said, bowing.
Thembi, without losing his serious expression, nodded.
“Welcome !”, Rafiki said with a big grin.
“Come on.” Thembi said. “I will introduce you to the rest of the pride. From this day on, they will protect you and they won’t let any other animal harm you.”
Zazu gasped. It seemed marvelous to him to be among the lions, to study their past, learn their customs… They left the cave and walked to where the pride was resting.
“Look. Here comes Thembi.”, Anasa said.
Karanga turned quickly, and didn’t took her sight away from him.
Thembi approached his pride. “My lionesses, I have an announcement to make.”
They kept silence.
“From this day on, we will have a helper. This is Zazu. If it weren’t for him, Rafiki would have never found Dalasini and the future King would have died.”
The lionesses looked at him for an instant and then concentrated again on Thembi.
“Helper ? What do you mean ?”, Kuuliza asked, a little confused.
“He will inform us where the prey can be found, he will keep us informed about intrusions to our lands…”
Zazu straightened himself and looked at the lionesses with pride, until he heard what Thembi said next.
“…And he will take care of the cubs while you go hunting.” Zazu looked with wide eyes at the King, but he didn’t dare to say a word.
“Take care of the cubs ??”, the poor bird thought, “Oh, I just hope I won’t get into trouble…”
The lionesses looked at him and said in unison,
“Welcome to the pride, Zazu.”
Zazu smiled nervously, and he agitated the tip of his fathers in a salutation signal.
Thembi was getting ready to return to the cave when one of the lionesses called him.
“Thembi…”, Sita said.
Thembi returned on his steps. “What do you want, Sita ?”, the lion asked.
“We were just curious… How are you going to call your sons ?”
Thembi glanced at the concurrence, and looked at the ground for an instant. He sighed deeply, and at last, he talked.
“The older one will be called Mufasa.”
“Mufasa ! How nice !”, the lionesses exclaimed in unison.
“And the younger one ?”, Anasa asked, wishing to know the cub’s name.
With a stern grimace, that froze the lionesses’ enthusiasm and happiness, Thembi said, “That one will be Hatari.”
Karanga looked at him without believing what she had just heard.
“Hatari ? But that word means danger !”, the lioness said indignantly.
Thembi nodded. “Precisely.”
The lionesses looked at each other. Rafiki was exceedingly amazed also.
Thembi continued, “The cub is guilty for his mother’s death. He put Kitok’s life in danger. Therefore, he is a dangerous cub. Precaution with him must be taken.”
He turned around and walked inside the cave without saying another word.
Rafiki shook his head in disapproval. “This is going to be more serious than I thought.”, the baboon said.
The lionesses looked at each other terrified.
“Hatari, what an ugly name…”, Sita said.
“But we can’t do anything about it, he is the father, and he decided to call him like that.”, Kuuliza said.
“If only he had turned out to be female, we would have named her, since Kitok is dead, but, he turned out to be male…”
The lionesses looked at the cubs.
Rafiki, grabbing his staff and getting ready to leave, repeated to himself so he wouldn’t forget the names, “Mufasa and Hatari…”, and walked away slowly, leaving the lionesses and the new majordomo lost in deep confusion.
Karanga was terribly indignant. Her pride-mates stared at her, waiting to see what Karanga’s reaction would be.
The lioness looked at her friends, and said, “This can’t be possible. How can he do that ?!”
The rest of the lionesses shrugged.
“I will talk to Thembi right now !” Karanga said as she stood up.
“Good luck.”, Anasa said.
She walked straight to the cave and faced Thembi. “You are not naming the cub like that ! You change that name immediately !”, she said, sounding extremely annoyed.
Thembi looked at her and his face turned into a more stern expression.
“Who do you think you are in order to enter MY cave like that and give ME orders in that tone of voice?”, the King asked.
She growled loudly. “That cub isn’t responsible for Kitok’s death and you know it !”, she snarled.
Thembi half-growled. “He _is_ responsible. Now get out of here before I lose my patience.”, Thembi said turning around.
Karanga nodded no. “I am not leaving until you change that cub’s name !”, she said.
Thembi turned again and faced her, snarling menacingly. “That cub will be Hatari, and I don’t want to hear another word about it. I am warning you.”, Thembi said.
Karanga didn’t look away. And, even though she loved him with all her heart, she lost her patience and hit him in the cheek with her paw, claws partly extended.
He was clearly surprised by her reaction, and, lifting a paw to his cheek, he touched it, confirming that Karanga hadn’t drawn blood from his face.
She backed away a few steps, startled.
Thembi fixed his gaze on her, and shook his head in disapproval. “You have made a terrible mistake, Karanga.”, he said, approaching her.
She continued backing, fearfully. Finally, she couldn’t back anymore, she was trapped between the wall of the cave and Thembi.
“You,”, Thembi whispered at Karanga’s face, “You have hit me. You know I hate being hit by someone, specially by a female, like you.”, he continued.
Karanga gasped. “Will you kill me, Thembi ?”, she asked, looking at his eyes.
He laughed out loud. “Kill you ?, Ha, no.”, he said, and turned around, walking away from her.
He looked at her over his shoulder. “I have a better way to punish you.”
Without another word, he left the cave.
Karanga, still inside, sighed. “Oh, I—I couldn’t control myself, I was so—so angry…”, she said out loud, but nobody, except the dark walls of the cave, heard her.
Nervously, she walked out of the cave. She ran across Kuuliza.
“My daughter, what happened ? Thembi stormed out , and he looked very angry…”, Kuuliza said.
Karanga sighed. “Mom, I hit him.”
“You did what ?”, Kuuliza asked in awe.
“He was threatening me, he told me he wouldn’t change the cub’s name…”, Karanga said in despair.
Kuuliza nodded. “Okay, calm down.”, she told Karanga.
She sighed again. “Mom, he told me he would punish me… I wonder what my punishment will be…”
Kuuliza looked at the direction Thembi had taken, and then looked at her daughter again.
“Listen, Karanga, whatever punishment you get, because we all know he _will_ punish you, try to be strong, and you must not look too worried about it, don’t give Thembi that satisfaction.”
“Yes, mom.”, Karanga replied.
“Come on, let’s go to check on the cubs while we wait for Thembi to return.”, Kuuliza said.
Karanga nodded and followed her mother, still thinking on what she had just done to Thembi.
“Gee, I hit him ! I hit him ! He must be very angry…”, the lioness thought, as she sat down beside Dalasini and looked with interest at Hatari.
“I want to clean him. May I ?”, Karanga asked Dalasini.
“Sure.”, she answered.
Karanga grabbed little Hatari with her mouth and began cleaning the cub’s ears. The little lion purred, enjoying the caressing sensation of the warm tongue of Karanga.
“You don’t like Mufasa ?”, Sita asked, admiring the beauty of the older cub.
“Sure I do, but I feel something special towards… towards Hatari, that I don’t feel with the other cub…”, Karanga said between lick and lick.
Hatari continued purring, feeling safe next to the warmth of Karanga.
Rafiki had gathered everything he needed in order to foresee the future. He was at the top of his baobab tree, mixing some herbs with soil, water and the inside contents of a golden gourd in a tortoise shell. Looking at the mixture, he nodded and added a little more water, and shook the shell in a circular way. He left the shell in the floor and waited for its contents to settle down. He took a look around him, and noticed Thembi walking not far from there.
“Poor Thembi, he must be so sad…”, Rafiki thought. He dropped out of the tree and walked to where Thembi was pacing.
“Hey, Thembi, are you all right ?”, Rafiki asked.
Thembi turned around and looked at him. “No, Rafiki, you know I am not.”, the lion said, sighing deeply. “I miss my wife, and now I must punish Karanga.”
“Punish her ? Why ?”, Rafiki asked looking worriedly at the King.
“She hit me, right in the face. She lost all respect.”, Thembi said sternly.
“Oh.”, Rafiki replied, and remained silent for an instant. “But—why did she hit you ?”, the baboon asked after a few seconds.
Thembi closed his eyes as he spoke. “She wanted me to change the cub’s name. I told her I wouldn’t change it, we got angry and she hit me.”, the King said.
Rafiki nodded silently. “And how will you punish her ?”
Thembi looked at the distant horizon. “I don’t know yet, but I will make sure she learns her lesson…”
“Try not to be too rough with her, Thembi, you know she loves you…”
“But she must pay for what she has done.”, Thembi said, “No matter if she loves me or she doesn’t.”
Rafiki thought it would be better to leave the King alone now, and turned around, but he asked one more question. “Thembi, are you sure you will name your cub Hatari ?”
Thembi nodded. “Yes, he will be Hatari. And that’s the last I want to hear about it !”, the lion said.
Rafiki nodded in disapproval, but he left without another word.
The king was left alone.
“Hatari will be.”, he repeated to himself. He turned to Pride Rock and started walking, thinking on Karanga’s punishment.
Rafiki returned to his tree, feeling a little disappointed because of Thembi’s attitude, and, sighing, he sat down next to his tortoise shell.
“I must have my mind clear, otherwise, I won’t concentrate on this…”, he thought as he tried to calm himself.
He inhaled deeply several times, with his eyes closed. He tried to think on something nice, like how beautiful Thembi’s sons were. He relaxed a little. After a few minutes, he opened his eyes and fix his gaze on the mixture he had in front of him. Looking at it carefully, he began analyzing each of the figures that had appeared when the herbs and soil settled down. Studying them carefully, the baboon began talking to himself.
“Aha… I can see… oh, there will be a new queen, but… hmm, it is not too clear…”, he mumbled.
He looked at another figure. His face suddenly changed. His expression was one of fear mixed with worry.
“I can see… two big lions, and a small one…”, he said, interpreting the figure as he had been taught by his ancestors.
He continued studying silently, and after some minutes, he looked up and put his tortoise shell aside. The baboon sighed deeply.
“It seems Hatari will have a difficult life…”, he said, as he tried to put in order his mind.
The lionesses were preparing for the hunt. Thembi hadn’t returned yet, but all the females knew he must be hungry.
“Dalasini and Zazu, will you take care of the cubs while we are out, please ?”, Kuuliza asked.
Zazu nodded. “Of course, lady.”, he said politely.
Dalasini nodded also. “You know you can count with me on that. As soon as I am able to hunt again, I will help you.”, she said.
Sita looked at her as she sharpened her claws against a rock. “I wonder, Dalasini, do you think your pride is looking for you ?”
“No.”, Dalasini answered. “I have already sent them a message with a messenger; my pride knows I am okay and that I will be back soon.”
“Oh.”, Sita said, and she continued sharpening her claws.
Karanga was stretching herself and loosening her muscles a little, when she realized Thembi was approaching.
Karanga ran to her mother. “Oh, my god, he’s here.”, she whispered at Kuuliza’s ear.
“Don’t worry honey, everything’s gonna be okay.”, Kuuliza said, licking her daughter’s cheek lovingly.
When Thembi got to where the lionesses were getting ready for hunting, he said, “I trust you are preparing to get some food.”
“Yes, we are, Thembi.”, Anasa said.
“That’s good.”, he said as he looked at each lioness.
Kuuliza said, “Well, lionesses, let’s go.”
The rest of the pride followed Kuuliza, who was the hunt leader, and left Thembi behind.
“Karanga !”, Thembi called.
She pricked her ears, and, after looking for a few seconds at her mother, Karanga looked back.
“Yes, Thembi ?”, she said, trying to hide her anxiety.
“You stay here. You won’t go hunting today, cause we need to talk.”, he said coldly.
Karanga looked at her fellow lionesses. “Take care, all of you…”, she said as she returned to where Thembi was.
“Karanga…”, Kuuliza called.
She turned to her. “Yes, mom ?”
Kuuliza walked to her. “Honey, remember, whatever his punishment is, try to stay calm and accept it with courage…”
“Yeah, mom.”, Karanga said, and walked to Thembi’s side.
“Good bye, and good luck !”, Thembi shouted to the hunting lionesses.
“Thanks !”, they shouted back.
Thembi waited until they had disappeared, and then, without looking at Karanga, he said, “Come on, will talk inside the cave.”
Karanga nodded, and, silently, she followed the lion.
Dalasini and Zazu watched the scene with interest, wondering what Thembi would tell Karanga.
The lion walked inside the cave, and, even though it was getting dark, he could see clearly inside of it. Karanga entered, walking after him, and sat down, waiting for Thembi’s punishment.
“Well, Karanga, you know why I called you here.”, he said, looking straight at her.
She nodded. “Thembi… I—”
“I am talking, don’t interrupt.”, he said.
Karanga remained silent.
“I know what your punishment will be.”
Karanga closed her eyes.
He cleared his throat. “I was going to choose you as queen, but I wouldn’t like to have for queen a lioness who wouldn’t respect his own king…”
Karanga’s eyes opened wide. She opened her mouth to say something, but no sound came.
“So,”, Thembi continued, “I will choose another lioness for queen.”
Karanga felt her eyes watering.
“So… that’s my punishment ?”, she said, trying to sound confident, without achieving it.
“Yes, but I’m not over yet.”, Thembi said.
“There’s more ?”, she asked, feeling as she were sinking into the ground.
“You won’t be allowed to get near Hatari.”, Thembi said, looking at the entrance of the cavern sternly, and turned his back on Karanga.
“That’s all, you can leave now.”, he said coldly.
Karanga was way too confused to leave the cave.
“What do you mean ?”, she said, trying to understand.
He sighed. “You won’t groom Hatari, you won’t keep him warm, you won’t be near him, it’s that simple.”
Karanga felt her sadness turn into rage.
“Don’t you think you are over-reacting a little ???”, she asked in despair.
“I will not discuss it ! You won’t be near him and that’s all. You are dismissed, young lady, and I hope you learn your lesson, and respect your superiors.”, Thembi said.
Karanga’s mouth was hanging open. She looked at Thembi, and she couldn’t help shedding a tear.
“Thembi, what happened to you ? You used to be so sweet—”
“Get out, Karanga, leave me alone.”, he said, trying to ignore the lioness’s words.
Recalling she had promised her mother to be strong in front of Thembi, she dried the tear with her paw, and left the cave, running hastily. She kept running until she arrived to the water hole. The starts were already visible, and she looked at them, crying inconsolably.
“I won’t be his queen ! I won’t !”, she told the stars.
Then she looked down, pressing her eyes shut. “He knew how to punish me ! Oh, this can’t be happening to me !”, she said, crumpling to the ground and sobbing repeatedly.
“And I will not be able to be near that special cub !” she added between sobs.
She began scratching the ground madly with her paws. She was crying noisily, and a giraffe that was passing by, saw her. She stared at the lioness, wondering why she was crying so much. The lioness raised her head and noticed she was being watched by the giraffe. She dried her tears and turned around, walking away.
“Perhaps she was grieving the queen’s death…”, the giraffe thought, and bent down to take a drink.
“Yeah !!! But the best part was when Sita jumped on its back! Hehe, this zebra didn’t even see what knocked it out !”, Anasa said.
“Yeah, too bad Karanga had to miss this hunt !”, Huria added.
“I was wondering, maybe Thembi told her to be his queen !”, Sita said.
Kuuliza listened to the comments of her pride-mates, and sighed silently.
“Wow, imagine that we return and we already have a queen !”
“Yeah, we are all very glad for Karanga, aren’t we ?”
“Sure we are, she loves him so much…”
Pride Rock was ahead, and the lionesses saw Thembi sitting on the promontory.
“Look, there he is, waiting for us as always !”, Sita said.
“He is so kind… I am still wondering why in the world he named his cub Hatari…”, Huria whispered.
“I bet he will change that name as soon as he stops grieving Kitok’s pass away.”, Anasa replied.
As the lionesses approached, Thembi walked down the promontory, licking his lips at the thought of food. He had already seen that the lionesses were dragging a zebra with them, and he felt his mouth watering. After a few minutes, the lionesses arrived.
“Here, Thembi, we hope you enjoy it.”, Sita said.
Thembi kissed each lioness, and thanked them. “As always, thanks for your effort, my pride.”
They went to sit down not far from the carcass, while Thembi ate.
Kuuliza looked around, searching for her daughter, and since she didn’t found a trace of her, she approached Thembi. He growled instinctively as he sensed someone coming near him.
“Where is my daughter ?”, Kuuliza asked.
“I don’t know, after I talked to her, she left and I haven’t seen her. But she better return soon, cause I have an announcement to make, regarding who will be the new queen of Pride Lands.”, Thembi said with mouth full.
Kuuliza looked at him coldly. “Nothing… has happened to her, right ?”, she asked distrustfully.
Thembi swallowed and looked at her. “You daughter is okay, I bet she has learned her lesson.”
Kuuliza’s eyes narrowed. “If you have hurt her then—”
Thembi interrupted her, exasperated. “Kuuliza, would you mind ? I am trying to eat, we’ll talk later about your daughter.”, he said, munching another piece of meat.
Kuuliza sighed, and left him. She joined her pride-mates, and tried to control herself.
She was really worried about Karanga, and she was hoping that Thembi hadn’t hurt her too much. Thembi finished eating and cleaned his muzzle with a paw.
“Your turn, ladies.”, he said as he left the carcass to the lionesses.
They began eating, but Kuuliza didn’t feel to much appetite, so she ate very little.
“Kuuliza, you won’t eat that ? Gee, even the cubs eat more…”, Sita said, nuzzling her pride-mate.
“I… I’m not hungry, Sita, I’m too worried for my daughter, it’s too dark, and you know hyenas are already out there…”
Sita nuzzled her once more. “Don’t worry, I bet she is fine, she knows how to take care of herself.”
Kuuliza sighed, and she looked once more at the horizon. A tawny form was approaching, slowly, but steadily.
“Karanga !” Kuuliza, shouted.
Thembi pricked his ears and looked at the approaching lioness. He sighed in relief. He too had been worried about her, but he didn’t want to show it.
Karanga walked nearer and her mother ran to her.
“My precious daughter, my cub, what happened ?”, Kuuliza asked as she licked her daughter’s face. She could taste her cheeks were salty because of the tears.
“You’ve been crying, my Karanga…”
Karanga nodded silently. “mom, I—”, Karanga started to say, but Thembi interrupted them.
“Well, Karanga, it was time you showed up !”
Karanga looked at him sadly.
Thembi walked to a small rock and climbed it.
Once he got to the top, he said, “Pride, come here, I will make the announcement.”
“What announcement ?” Karanga asked her mother.
“Thembi’s going to say who will be the new queen.”, Kuuliza said, looking at the king.
Karanga sighed deeply. “Mom, he has punished me, the worst punishment he could have ever given me !”, she said, holding back tears.
“But, dear, what happened, honey ?”
“Karanga and Kuuliza, I am waiting for you.”, Thembi said.
“Okay, you’ll tell me later, honey.”, Kuuliza said and nuzzled her daughter quickly.
They went to where the rest of the pride was sitting down, and joined them. Even Dalasini was near, taking care of the cubs. Thembi cleared his throat.
“You all know I will never forget Kitok.”, he said, and the lionesses nodded.
“But you also know that the Pride Lands need a queen, right ?”
They nodded again.
“So, I have finally chosen who will be the new queen.”
Karanga sighed, and a single tear ran down her face.
“The new queen will be…” Thembi ignored the faces of excitement of each lioness, and looked straight at Karanga.
“The new queen will be Karanga.”
She looked up with wide eyes. “Me ?”, she asked, her jaw trembling. “But—but I don’t get it, you said— “
“Why, you don’t want to be the queen ?”, he asked.
“Yes, I do, but—”
“Then come up here, Karanga.”
The lioness looked at her mother with wide eyes.
“My little one, you already knew he would choose you…” Kuuliza whispered.
Karanga looked at Thembi, full of confusion and doubts.
“I am waiting for you, Karanga.”, the King said.
Karanga walked to the rock and climbed it, standing beside Thembi.
“Here’s Karanga the Queen.”, Thembi announced.
The lionesses roared happily, looking at the new Queen of Pride Lands.
Zazu was ecstatic. He had never seen a ceremony of that kind, and he felt so glad of being there. Karanga looked at her friends from the rock, but her mind was too confused to enjoy the moment.
“Thembi but you—”
“Don’t say a word, we’ll talk later.”, he said through his teeth clenched in a smile.
Karanga kept silent, and also smiled.
Thembi cleared his throat again and the concurrence hushed immediately.
“And now, Karanga, you can go and kiss my sons, because, even though Dalasini’s feeding them, she will leave one day, so you will be their mother from this day on. You can go and kiss the cubs.”, he said, looking at her with a slight smile.
Karanga gasped. “You mean… the little one also ?”, she asked with a wide grin.
She ran to where Dalasini and the cubs were, and she grabbed Hatari by the neck, and licked him lovingly. She held him between her paws and hugged him.
“My little one, my Hatari…”, she said, sobbing, but this time, of happiness.
“Well, I guess that’s all.”, Thembi said and walked down the rock.
He took Mufasa by the neck and kissed his little head. The rest of the lionesses silently walked away, leaving the new queen and king alone with the cubs. Zazu couldn’t help but stare at them. It was obvious the queen had certain preference for Hatari, as Thembi had it for Mufasa, but they seemed to be happy, each one with their favorite cub… Zazu sighed and followed the rest of the pride, who were resting after eating well, and, with stomachs full, some of them went to sleep.
After licking Hatari’s head for several minutes, Karanga asked Thembi, “Why did you do this to me ?”
Thembi looked at her. “I just wanted to make sure you would respect me.”
She looked at her cub silently.
“Never ever hit me again, Karanga. Because, then, the punishment will be for real.”
“I’m sorry, Thembi, it will never happen again.”, she said, realizing now, that she was The Queen.
Looking at him, she said, “Thembi, I will be a great queen, I promise.”
“I know you will be. Now, let me tell you, I’m sorry if I made you have a terrible time today, but, I guess you learned your lesson…”
“I think I did.”, she said, smiling, and added, “But, do you still think on naming this cub Hatari ?”
She sighed. “Okay, Hatari, your name is not important. You are a beautiful cub, and I will love you always.”, she said, nuzzling the little cub.
Thembi looked at Hatari sternly, and thought, “She won’t love you in a few time, murderer. I will make sure of that.” Then he looked at Mufasa. “My son,”, Thembi thought, “You will be a great King, it’s too bad you had to grow up without your real mother because of that cub… But, I promise, your life will be wonderful, full of satisfactions and possibilities, and you will be a great King, my Mufasa.”
Thembi and Karanga walked to the cave, each one carrying a cub, and joined the rest of their pride, who was getting ready for some sleep. Zazu remained outside the cavern, on a nearby tree, and he was aware that nobody trespassed on the lands of the Lion King. Once inside the cavern, Thembi lied down and hugged little Mufasa, while Karanga was being congratulated by the other lionesses.
“Hey, Karanga, now that you are the Queen, what are you going to do ?”, Anasa asked, looking at her admiringly.
“Well, I’m gonna take care of the cubs, and help Thembi in ruling the Kingdom…”, she said proudly.
Kuuliza nuzzled her and whispered at Karanga’s ear,
“Dear, you never told me what Thembi’s punishment was…”
“I’ll tell you later, mom.”, she answered.
Kuuliza didn’t say anything else, so Karanga lied down and kissed Hatari on the cheek. The cub answered with a purr.
Karanga smiled to the cub and told him, “You are so beautiful, my little Hatari…”
Thembi pricked his ears and listened to the lioness.
“So beautiful, yeah, right.”, he thought angrily. He hugged Mufasa again and kissed him. Looking at his son, he recalled that a very important ceremony was about to come, the presentation of the cubs. He frowned, knowing that Hatari would have to be presented also, because the second cub still had the chance of being the king in case Mufasa died. Thembi sighed and let his head rest beside the small cub. He fell asleep quickly, but his dreams seemed to be restless, because he moved his face from one side to another, and he was breathing rapidly. Karanga was still awake and looked at Thembi lovingly.
“I just hope Kitok isn’t mad about me being your wife now…”, she thought, looking at the sky through the entrance of the cavern.
Karanga sighed and lied down next to Thembi. She also hugged her favorite cub and held him close to her chest. The cub fell asleep, and after a few minutes, Karanga was resting peacefully also. She started dreaming of several things, but suddenly, she was amazed to see the silhouette of a lioness walking to her, and, even though it was a dream, the lioness seemed to be so real… Karanga looked intently at her. She recognized the face of her best friend.
“Kitok !”, she said in her dream.
Kitok smiled. “Karanga, take care of my Thembi, make him a happy lion…”, Kitok said.
“I will, Kitok, I will !”, Karanga answered.
Suddenly, Kitok’s face turned into a serious and sad expression.
“What’s wrong, Kitok ?”, Karanga asked.
Kitok sighed. “I must go now, Karanga, but I want to ask you a favor…”, Kitok said as she started fading away slowly.
“Yes, Kitok, tell me…”, Karanga said holding back tears.
“Take care of my cub…”
“Which one ?”, Karanga asked as she saw her friend disappear.
“He will have to live a tough life, always obscured by the shadow of his brother…”, Kitok said, and faded completely.
Then, Karanga woke up. She sat down and looked around breathing heavily; she could feel her heart pounding on her chest as she recalled her dream.
“I guess she was talking about Hatari…”, she thought, looking at the sleeping cub.
Karanga sighed deeply and lied down again, thinking on what Kitok had just told her. It was long before she could fall asleep again.
A couple of days went by, and the day of the presentation came. Zazu was very happy to help the King in spreading the good news. He told the animals about the ceremony, when and at what time it would be carried on. Thembi was grateful for the hornbill’s help, and got prepared for the cubs’ presentation. The sun started illuminating the savannah with its warm rays and caused Thembi and the lionesses to wake up.
“It’s the day of the ceremony !”, Sita said as she stretched herself.
The rest of the lionesses began grooming their fur as the sun continued ascending on the sky. The animals were starting to gather at Pride Rock and chatted happily about what they were just going to see. Thembi walked to the promontory and looked at the animals, who hushed immediately. Seeing that there were still lots of animals missing, he roared loudly for all the animals to hear. Some of them woke up to Thembi’s imposing roar; they hurried to clean themselves and walked as fast as they could to Pride Rock. Thembi watched as a group of zebras came galloping from the east, and some elephants approached walking slowly. The lion smiled. He stood there, watching the animals gather, and after several minutes, among all the animals present, Rafiki appeared. Thembi looked at him and smiled. He waited for the baboon to get to the cave. Rafiki got there and was greeted by the lion.
“I’m glad you came, Rafiki.”
“How could I miss this ?”, Rafiki said patting Thembi on his back.
Both animals entered the cave. Karanga was holding the two cubs between her legs, and she looked at Rafiki happily.
“Congratulations on turning the Queen.”, Rafiki said to the lioness.
She nodded and smiled, then nuzzled both cubs.
“Now, let me see…”, Rafiki said as he examined the cubs, “Which one is the first to be presented ?”
“Mufasa.”, Karanga said, nuzzling the cub.
Thembi’s chest swelled with pride.
The rest of the lionesses were watching the scene, and none of them made a single sound. The baboon anointed Mufasa’s forehead with the juice of one of his gourds, and spread some dirt on it. Mufasa stared at the baboon and smiled at him.
“Well, look at him, isn’t he sweet ?”, Rafiki said.
Karanga and Thembi nodded.
Rafiki grabbed Mufasa and took him to his chest. “Now it’s time to show you to the rest of the animals, little one.”, the baboon whispered and walked out of the cave.
Karanga and Thembi followed him.
The animals were watching expectantly, and they were happy to see the cub Rafiki was carrying. When Rafiki came to the tip of the promontory, he lifted the cub and held him up for all the animals to see.
They all cheered and clapped yelling, “Look at the Prince ! Hail to the Prince !”
The cub looked at all the animals as they bowed. He enjoyed the view, and looked from one side to another, until Rafiki held him down. At that moment, Thembi took a step forward and waited for the crowd to calm down.
As soon as silence reigned again, Thembi shouted to the crowd, “My son’s name will be Mufasa.”
The crowd cheered again shouting, “Prince Mufasa ! Prince Mufasa !”
Rafiki gave the cub to Karanga and grabbed the smaller one. The baboon anointed Hatari with the juice and dirt, but the cub seemed to be afraid of him. He growled slightly.
“Don’t worry, Hatari, I won’t hurt you.”, Rafiki said.
Hatari looked at him distrustfully, and he felt suddenly afraid when Rafiki grabbed him and took him to the tip of the promontory. The cub whined softly, even though Rafiki kept talking soothingly to him. He lifted the cub, and the crowd cheered again. At this moment, Thembi turned around and didn’t watch his second son’s presentation. The crowd hushed considerably, wondering why the King had turned around. Rafiki didn’t notice this, and he wondered why the animals had hushed. Hatari looked down at all the animals and he forgot his fright. His curiosity was piqued, and he looked at each species with interest.
“You see ? This isn’t so bad…”, Rafiki whispered at the cub’s ear.
He lowered the cub and turned around. He saw Thembi looking to the west, ignoring the cub’s presentation. The baboon frowned as he put Hatari between Karanga’s paws. She shrugged to Rafiki, without understanding Thembi’s attitude. The Queen kissed the baby lovingly.
“You were afraid, Hatari ?”, she said as Hatari purred.
“Thembi !”, Rafiki said, but the lion ignored him.
After a few seconds, the King turned around again and walked to the tip of the promontory. The animals fixed their looks upon him. Thembi cleared his throat.
“That cub’s name will be Hatari.”, he announced.
Only a few monkeys clapped, but the rest of the fauna looked at each other in complete silence, with awe.
“Hatari ?”, they asked. “But, why in the world he chose that name ?”, they wondered.
The lionesses weren’t surprised by the name, but by their King’s attitude.
Thembi continued speaking. “Well, I think that’s all, thank you everyone for coming to the presentation of my son, who, I know, will be a great King someday.”
The animals clapped at the speech, but they noticed that Thembi had spoken as if he only had one son.
They started walking away, talking among themselves about what just happened. Thembi turned to Karanga, who was looking at him with wide eyes.
“How can you do this to your own son ?”, she whispered.
Thembi rolled his eyes. “Let’s not start again, Karanga. You can do whatever you want with Hatari, but my son is Mufasa, and he will be the King. The throne is not for murderers.”
Thembi grabbed Mufasa by the neck and padded away. Hatari looked at the lion and followed him with his sight, as the King walked down the promontory. Rafiki approached Karanga and patted her head.
“Karanga, this cub will suffer a lot.” , the baboon said.
“I am afraid yes, Rafiki.”, she replied, sighing deeply.
Hatari looked up and fixed his gaze upon the baboon. Rafiki looked into his eyes. The baboon tilted his head as he looked at Hatari.
“It’s amazing…”, he said.
“What ?” Karanga asked.
“He is very little, yet he somehow knows that something is wrong…”, Rafiki said.
“How do you know ?” Karanga asked, looking at the cub.
“I can see it in his eyes. He can feel the rejection Thembi feels towards him…”
Karanga looked at Rafiki. “You think so ? He is so little to realize that…”, the lioness said.
Rafiki nodded. “He is little, but smart.”, he replied.
Karanga looked at the baby again and licked his head. The cub sighed and closed his eyes, pressing his nose against Karanga’s body.
“Well, Rafiki, I guess I must return to the cave, the baby must be hungry and Dalasini must be feeding her cubs by now…”
“Very well, Karanga. Take care of your cub, because I guess he is now yours.”, the baboon said.
She grabbed Hatari by the neck and carried him to the inside of the cave, where she ran across Thembi.
“Thembi, I think we must talk.”, she said after leaving Hatari at Dalasini’s charge.
“Okay, we’ll talk. Outside.”, he said.
They left the cave and walked a few steps away.
“Thembi, I just want to ask you a question.”
Thembi looked at her. “Ask, then.”
“You will hate your son ? You won’t love him as you love Mufasa ?”
Thembi sighed. “No I won’t, Karanga. Kitok is death because of him, so he can’t receive any love from me.”
Karanga nodded, sighing. “Well, Thembi, just promise me you will never hurt him. If you don’t love him, at least, try not to make him suffer, please.”
Thembi looked away and bit his lip.
After thinking for a moment, he said, “Okay, I’ll simply ignore him.”
Karanga closed her eyes and her ears laid back. “Ignore him, yeah. I think that will hurt him enough.” She said as she turned around and left.
Thembi looked at her as she entered the cave. Then he stared at the ground.
“Hatari has ruined my whole life. I just can’t stand the sight of him !”, he told himself, “He won’t have trouble with me as long as he stays out of my way.”
A few months went by. Thembi’s cubs were growing up quickly, as Dalasini’s lionesses did too, unfortunately, Ndani had died because she caught a strange disease a few days after they arrived to Pride Lands. Mufasa would often play with Sarabi and Sarafina. Hatari, instead, spent hours playing by himself, always longing for some company, but Thembi had —somehow— managed to make the two lioness cubs be afraid of the younger lion, therefore, Hatari always played alone and talked to himself. Karanga had already noticed that Hatari didn’t have friends, and she was very worried about it. One morning, after watching her stepson playing alone while Mufasa and the other cubs played together, Karanga decided she would talk to Hatari later and she would find out what was going on.
That same day, after playing for a little while, Hatari went for a walk beside the water hole when he heard someone approaching. He raised his head nervously, looking from side to side, until he noticed that the approaching animal was Sarabi, who was feeling thirsty and wanted to take a drink. Hatari felt suddenly nervous, and he didn’t know how to start conversation with her.
“Uh, hi, Sarabi…”, the cub said, and smiled in a friendly way.
Sarabi just looked at him and half-grinned.
She bent down and started drinking water. Hatari looked at her as he bit his lip.
“Sarabi, would you like to play with me ?”, the cub asked innocently.
She raised her head and looked at him distrustfully. “No way.”, she said, but realizing what she had just said, she tried to correct her mistake. “I mean, I—I can’t play now, I gotta go home, mom’s waiting for me…”
Hatari sighed. “It’s okay, perhaps another time ?”, he said.
Sarabi shrugged and turned around.
Hatari looked at her as she walked away, and shouted , “Hey, may I go back home with you ?”
Sarabi stopped for a minute, and, after thinking on what she should do, she said, “Well, if you want so…”
Hatari smiled and ran to her side.
Both cubs started walking in complete silence. Hatari was thinking on something to say to her, when Sarabi sighed.
Hatari looked at her. “What was that sigh for ?”
She shrugged and continued walking silently.
Hatari kept walking, wondering what was bothering the lioness. “What’s the matter, Sarabi ? You don’t want to talk ?”
She nodded no.
“Oh…”, the lion said, feeling disappointed.
He turned to her again and said, “Did I say something wrong ? Are you mad at me ? That’s why you don’t want to talk to me ? I saw you talking with Mufasa all right this morning…”
She nodded no again, and said, “Hatari, please, leave me alone.”
The cub stopped walking. “But—what did I do ? Please, I need to know !”
Sarabi looked back at him over her shoulder, and without saying a word, she turned around and left him alone.
Hatari sat down. “Gee, I must have done something terrible in order to receive this kind of treatment…”, he thought, “But, how can I say I’m sorry without even knowing what is bothering everyone… even dad seems to be disturbed by it…”
Hatari sighed. Then his face brightened up. “Hey, perhaps mom can tell me why they are all so angry with me…”
He straightened up and started running all the way back home, wondering if his stepmother could help him with this situation that was troubling his mind. After a few minutes, he arrived at Pride Rock. He could see all the lionesses lying down, some stretching, others sleeping, and, next to one big rock, there were Thembi and Karanga chatting lively. Hatari smiled, and he ran to his mother.
“Mom, mom !”, he called.
Thembi’s happiness disappeared almost immediately.
Karanga turned to his son. “What is it, dear ?”
He opened his mouth to say something, but noticing the stern look his father was giving him, he hushed.
“What’s wrong, my cub ?”, Karanga insisted.
“I—I have this question…”, Hatari said shyly.
Karanga looked at the cub. “Well, I also have a question for you, honey. Do you want to talk in a more private place ?”, she asked.
Karanga looked at Thembi. “I’ll be back soon.”, she told her husband.
He nodded. “Take care…”, the King said.
He had grown very fond of Karanga since she had become the queen.
“I will, Thembi. Take care of Mufasa.”, she said and walked away.
Hatari followed the lioness, but he couldn’t help looking back. He saw Thembi, looking straight at him. He shuddered.
“Oh, my, why does he scare me so much ? Isn’t he my own father ?”, he thought.
After a few seconds, Karanga sat down, making sure that there was no one nearby. Hatari sat beside her. Karanga looked at him and kissed his cheek.
“Now, tell me, what’s your question ?”
Hatari smiled. “No, you tell me yours first.”
Karanga sighed. “My little one, I have noticed something strange here…”
Hatari looked up at her. “Strange ?”, he said.
She nodded. “Mufasa plays with other cubs, and you don’t. Can you tell me why is that so ?”, Karanga asked.
Hatari looked down, sadly. “Mom, I wanted to ask you the same thing… I don’t know why the others dislike me so much… I thought you knew the answer to this problem…”
Karanga closed her eyes as she listened to the cub’s words.
“Mom, I feel—I feel so lonely sometimes, I wish I had a friend to play with…”
Karanga opened her eyes. “My Hatari, have you tried talking to the other cubs ? Sarabi, Sarafina, little Mahali…”
Hatari nodded. “Well, mom, Mahali has just been born… I tried talking to Sarabi today, but she seems to be angry with me, she told me she didn’t want to talk, and walked away. Oh, she also told me to leave her alone.” The cub said.
Karanga bit her lip thoughtfully. “Well, son, don’t worry. I’ll talk to her and I’ll see what’s bothering Sarabi. Is it okay ?”
Hatari nodded, but he had another question to make.
“Mom ?..”, he called.
Hatari looked for the exact words in order to make his question. “Could you talk to dad also ?”
Karanga held her breath.
“It is obvious that he loves Mufasa and he hates me, but I’d also like to know why, I mean, I’d like to know what I did wrong, I don’t want to make the same mistake twice…”
Karanga hugged the cub. “My dear cub, If you only knew how many nights I have spent trying to convince your father that you are not a murderer…”, she thought.
Holding back tears, Karanga said, “Okay, son, I will talk with him also.”
“Thanks, mom !”, he said hugging Karanga’s foreleg.
“C’mon, Hatari, give me a kiss.”, she said as she bent down.
Hatari kissed her lovingly, and then stared at her.
“What are you looking at, honey ?”, Karanga asked.
Hatari smiled. “I was just wondering… was my real mom as pretty as you are?”, he asked innocently.
Karanga laughed out loud. “No, son, your mother was much prettier than me… your father loved her greatly, and I bet he still loves her…”, she said.
The two lions started walking back o the cave.
“Mommy Karanga, what happened to my real mother ? All I know is that she died, but I don’t know how or when…”
“Well, Hatari, it is a very long story, but I will tell you this: Your mother loves you dearly, she told me so in a dream…”
“In a dream ? That’s great !”, the cub said enthusiastically.
“Yes, so, don’t worry about her death, we must worry about dinner, you know how angry your father gets when he is hungry… Now that’s something to worry about !”, she said laughing.
The cub laughed out loud too.
“I love you mom.”, he said, purring softly.
“I love you too, my baby.”, she said, licking the young lion’s head. “Come on, let’s go home.”
Hatari walked by her side obediently. “Mom… I’d really like to have a friend to play with… do you think Sarabi and Sarafina will play with me after you talk to them ?”
“Oh, so you want me to talk to the rest of the cubs also ? Okay, I will. I promise you, my son, you will have a playmate in no time.”
“Thanks, mom.”, Hatari said.
After a few minutes they arrived to Pride Rock, where the lionesses were getting prepared for the hunt.
“Now, Hatari, go with your brother while I hunt something special for you, okay ?”
Hatari nodded, but he added in a low whisper, “Please, whatever special treat you bring to me, hide it from dad, you know he will give it to Mufasa…”
Karanga sighed. “Don’t worry, son. Even though your father doesn’t let you eat until the end, I will never let you go hungry. Never.”
Hatari looked up and stared at her face. “You really like me, don’t you ?”, he said smiling.
“Why, of course I like you ! Now, let me go hunting or nobody will get special treats tonight, huh ?”
“Yes, mom.”, he said, and ran happily to where Mufasa was playing.
Karanga looked at the cub with deep love.
“Hey, Karanga, are you coming or not !”, Kuuliza called.
Karanga turned around and faced her mother.
“Coming, mom.”, the queen said and started off with the other lionesses.
Thembi roared good bye from the promontory, and the lionesses looked back smiling. The king sat there, waiting for the lionesses to return, and, without interest, he saw Hatari approaching his brother. Thembi listened to his sons’ conversation.
“Hey, Mufasa, guess what mommy Karanga just told me ?”
Mufasa looked at him. “What did she tell you ?”, he asked walking to his brother.
“She told me that she would talk to Sarabi and the other cubs about what was going on.”
“Cool !”, Mufasa said, and he added, “I asked Sarabi about it today, but she said she couldn’t tell.”
Thembi pricked his ears as he tried to listen better.
Hatari sighed, and looked at his brother.
“Wow, Mufasa, just look at you, you are so strong and cool… I bet that’s why the lionesses don’t like me, I am all skinny…”, Hatari said, comparing his small, slim figure with his brother’s, who was brawny and strong.
Mufasa grinned. “Oh, come on, brother, that’s not the reason… there must be something you did, and you don’t even remember…”
“But I didn’t do anything ! Promise !”, Hatari said, looking worried.
Thembi half-smiled. “They don’t like you because you are a murderer, what did you expect ?”, Thembi whispered.
The cubs didn’t hear their father mumbling and continued talking.
“Hey, maybe it’s because you said something nasty to them…”
“Mufasa, you know I seldom speak to the other cubs, and when I do, I try to be as friendly as I can…”
Mufasa sat down thoughtfully. “Well, Hatari, you might just wait to hear what Karanga tells you…”
Hatari looked at the ground thoughtfully. “Brother… how does it feel to have friends ?”
Thembi sighed when he heard this question.
“Well, Hatari, friends… well, friends are great, they are with you always, they help you, they listen to your problems and try to help…”
Hatari’s eyes began to shine with tears. “That sounds so nice, Mufasa, really, you are so lucky…”, the younger cub said.
“Don’t worry, Hatari, you will find friends very soon, I know.”, Mufasa said nuzzling his brother.
Hatari tried to keep his tears inside and smiled. “Thanks, brother.”
Mufasa looked up. “Hey, look, here comes Anasa with her new cubs.”
Hatari looked in the same direction.
“Yeah, her cubs are small—hey, look, here comes Sarabi, and Sarafina also…”, Hatari said, moving his tail from side to side nervously.
Suddenly, Mufasa had an idea. “Hey, Hatari, I know what we’ll do.”
“What ?”, Hatari asked, but his brother didn’t answer.
Sarabi and Sarafina walked to the future king. “Hi, Mufasa, we went for a walk with Anasa and her babies…”
“I’m glad you are back.” Mufasa said.
Hatari remained silent, licking one of his paws, trying to appear nonchalant.
“So, girls, wanna play something ?”, Mufasa asked.
“Yeah !”, the lionesses answered in unison.
“Okay, but this time, Hatari is playing with us.”
The lionesses’ happiness faded quickly.
“Hatari ?”, Sarabi asked nervously.
“Yeah, my brother likes to play also, and I don’t see anything wrong with him, I guess he can play all right.”
Hatari looked at his brother and smiled.
“So, that means I can play ?”, the small cub asked.
Sarafina opened her mouth to say something when she realized that Thembi was almost above them, listening to their conversation. The young lioness remembered the instructions Thembi had given her a few months ago.
Closing her eyes for an instant, she said, “Mufasa, if you’re brother’s playing, then I am not.”
“Me neither.”, Sarafina added.
Hatari’s ears went back and his tail drooped.
“Well, Mufasa, I guess this wasn’t such a good idea after all…”, the cub said and turned around, walking away.
“Wait, brother…”, Mufasa called, but Hatari, knowing that he was about to cry, started running.
Thembi followed him with his sight and smiled. Then he looked at the young lionesses.
“Very well done, my girls. You are obedient, and that is a great quality in a queen… because I’m sure that one of you will be the next Queen of Pride Lands…”, Thembi told himself.
He stretched himself and yawned. Then he continued listening to Mufasa’s conversation with the lionesses.
“Why do you treat him like that ? !”, Mufasa demanded.
Sarafina and Sarabi looked at each other.
“We can’t tell you, Mufasa, really.”, Sarafina said.
“Well, just look how you made him feel ! He is lonely, and you don’t care a bit about him ! How can you be so cruel ?”, Mufasa shouted and walked away.
Sarabi and Sarafina sighed and looked at each other again, but they pricked their ears when they heard Thembi calling them.
“Sarabi, Sarafina, come here, please.”, Thembi said.
“We’re coming, your majesty.”, Sarabi shouted.
They climbed the promontory and walked to Thembi’s side.
“Come here, girls, sit down.”
The lionesses sat down obediently.
“I noticed that you are obeying my orders. I am very glad about that.”
“We know that you have your reasons for acting this way, majesty, but we really feel bad about hurting Hatari’s feelings, now even Mufasa is angry with us.”, Sarabi said.
Sarafina nodded. “We don’t like making Hatari feel bad…”
“Well, don’t worry about Mufasa, he won’t be angry with you because I’ll talk to him later. And forget about Hatari for a minute. Now I want to discuss another subject with you.”, the King said, looking straight at them.
The lionesses turned to each other and shrugged.
“Girls, you like this place ?”, Thembi asked.
The cubs looked around.
“Yes, sure do !”, Sarafina answered.
“And,”, Thembi added, “Will you feel sad when you leave ?”
The sisters looked at each other again. Then looked at Thembi, with wide eyes.
“Why must we leave ?”, Sarabi asked.
“Well,”, Thembi said, knowing he now had the situation under his control.
“Your mother wants to return to her pride, but… I love you girls as if you were my daughters, I’d really like you to stay…”
Sarabi looked a little confused. “Gee, I don’t want to go, I like it here, I have my friends, I have Mufasa…”, Sarabi thought.
Then she looked at the King. “Well, your highness, I’ll try to persuade my mom of staying here…”
Thembi smiled inwardly. “Oh, my small lionesses… I really appreciate if you do that, I’d suffer greatly if you go away. Mufasa will suffer too…”
Sarafina looked at her sister and said, “Hey, Sarabi, we’ll talk to mom, right ? We must stay here, we don’t want go away from here, this is our home…”
Thembi smiled. “Okay, girls, now go and play. Try not to worry too much, I have a feeling that you are going to stay here…”
The lionesses smiled and walked away from the promontory, talking about what Thembi had just said.
As Thembi saw them leave, he couldn’t help but chuckle. “That’s the way everything should be done, _my_ way.”, he thought, smiling.
He liked everything done as he wanted it to be. Thembi liked Dalasini, and he was aware that if she left, there would be three lionesses less for his pride. Dalasini was a good hunter and a kind lioness. And something that Thembi liked in her was that she seemed to ignore Hatari also, not paying attention to him unless when it was feed time. She seemed to have preference for Mufasa, though she had never said so. Thembi was determined to make Dalasini stay with his pride, even if he had to use Dalasini’s daughters for his purpose.
Hatari was walking slowly, sobbing. He came to a stop and sat down, trying to control himself.
“They all hate me…”, he thought.
He was deeply hurt by Sarabi’s words, but after a few minutes, he calmed down. He looked at the sky. It was beginning to grow dark, and the stars were making their apparition slowly, first one there, then another one over there…
As Hatari looked at them, he asked himself, “I wonder what those things are… Would they be some kind of bird ?”
He shook his head as if to say no. “No, birds are always moving, these are steady, always in the same place…”, he thought, looking at the sky intently.
That was his way of learning. He was afraid to ask his father, and so, he learned about things by watching their behavior, their shape, their size…
In the distance, Hatari could hear Thembi roaring. The cub turned his face to Pride Rock , noticing that the lionesses were returning from the hunt, victorious. He sighed.
“I shouldn’t hurry the way back home.”, he said, looking at the ground. “After all, I must wait until Dad, Mufasa and the lionesses eat first…”
His stomach rumbled.
“Oh, but I’m so hungry…”
Hatari stood up and started walking back to Pride Rock.
Even though his mind was troubled, he tried to hide this as best as he could, so when he arrived to where Thembi was feasting, Hatari smiled to the lionesses and greeted them politely.
“Hi all, did you have a nice day ?”
“Well, Hatari, we almost lost our prey today, but we managed to hunt this zebra…”, Huria replied as she licked her paw repeatedly.
The rest of the lionesses remained silent.
Karanga looked at the cub and whispered at his ear, “Are you hungry ?”
“Well, don’t worry, son. Thembi will finish soon and I’ll save for you a nice piece of meat. Would you like that ?”
“Yes.”, Hatari said.
He purred softly, but stopped doing so when he saw Mufasa and the two lioness cubs approaching.
“What is it, dear ?”, Karanga asked, sensing that her cub was restless by some reason.
Hatari closed his eyes and snuggled next to Karanga’s paws.
“Here they come.”, he said, sighing.
Karanga licked his head quickly and looked at the approaching cubs.
“Hey, dad, I’m hungry too ! Hurry up, I want to eat also !”, Mufasa said jokingly as he teased his father by nipping his tail and climbing on his mane while he ate.
Karanga looked very worried about this. “Mufasa, come here, you know you shouldn’t get near your father while he is eating !”
Thembi raised his head from the carcass and looked at the hungry Mufasa.
The king licked his lips twice and said, “So, you’re hungry ?”
Hatari opened his eyes and watched the scene with renewed interest.
Thembi thought for a moment.
At last he said, “Well, you are my son, so, come and eat with me.”
“Yay !”, Mufasa shouted and started eating also, while the rest of the lionesses were looking at them with wide eyes.
“Oh, he loves Mufasa so much…”, Anasa whispered as she fed her young cubs.
“Yes, indeed he does…”, Kuuliza replied.
Karanga was looking at her husband when she noticed that Hatari was approaching the carcass.
“No, Hatari ! Come back !”, she hissed, but the cub didn’t listen to her.
She tried to stop him, but it was too late. Thembi had already realized that the hateful thing, as how he used to call the cub, was coming nearer. The King stood up and faced his younger son.
“Get out of here.”, he said through clenched teeth.
Hatari felt his jaw quivering, but he tried to control his fear.
“Dad, I am—I am hungry also… I am your son too… could I eat with you ?”, the cub asked, looking at his father.
Thembi’s face was a severe one as he peered into the cub’s eyes.
Hatari looked away.
Thembi grabbed the cub’s chin with one paw and turned the little face to him.
Hatari gasped. It was the first time his father actually touched him, and he didn’t know whether he enjoyed the contact or not.
Thembi, still grabbing his son’s face, said in a very low tone of voice, that only Hatari was able to perceive, “Listen, cub. If you ever come near me while I am eating, I’ll kill you. Understood ?”
Hatari closed his eyes firmly and whispered an almost inaudible yes.
“That’s good.”, Thembi said, releasing the cub.
He ran straight to Karanga’s side and hid under her paws. He was very afraid.
Karanga looked at Hatari confused.
“My little one, what did he tell you ?”, she asked, sounding worried.
“Uh, nothing, Karanga.”, the cub answered, visibly perturbed.
“No, you are telling me.”, Karanga insisted.
Hatari sighed. “He just told me the same thing you always tell me, not to get near the male lion when he is eating.”, he said, hiding from Karanga the must hurtful thing Thembi had ever told him; that he would kill him.
Karanga looked at the King; he was eating nonchalantly, as if nothing had happened.
Mufasa was also eating, unaware of what had happened with his brother. Karanga shook her head in disapproval. The rest of the lionesses were still staring at Mufasa and Thembi, eating together. None of them gave importance to what had happened between Thembi and Hatari, because it was the most common thing. The male will always drive away pesky cubs who start teasing him while he is eating, instead, Thembi had let his son eat with him. That was the oddest part of all, so, none of the lionesses paid attention on poor Hatari, being very impressed by Thembi’s behavior towards Mufasa.
After a while, Thembi finished eating and the lionesses gathered around the carcass. As they ate, Hatari looked at them with a hungry face, feeling his mouth watering, and also his eyes.
“He told me he would kill me… Why ? Why ??”, he thought as he lied down on the hard stone floor of Pride Rock.
“Why he didn’t tell he same thing to Mufasa when he approached him ? That’s unfair !”, he said, sobbing quietly.
He covered his eyes with one paw, feeling as lonely as he had never felt before.
Suddenly, he felt someone nuzzling his cheek.
“Honey, look, I brought you part of the leg…”, Karanga whispered at the cub’s ear.
As he uncovered his eyes, he tried to dry the tears so Karanga wouldn’t notice he had been crying.
But, as mothers always do, she did notice.
“My son, are you sure that’s all Thembi told you a few minutes ago ? You seemed to be so scared after you talked to him…”
Hatari nodded silently as he looked at the zebra leg he had in front.
“Come on, honey, eat something…”, she said, nuzzling the cub.
Hatari started eating, while Karanga remained alert that Mufasa and the other cubs wouldn’t steal away Hatari’s meal.
Thembi was inside the cave. He recalled what he had just said to Hatari and shrugged.
“He is so annoying… he is a pest…”, he thought, when suddenly Zazu came flying right into the cave.
“Sire, there are hyenas coming nearby, I think they want to steal the lionesses’ hunt !”
Thembi snarled angrily and ran out of the cave.
“Karanga !”, he shouted. All of the lionesses looked at him.
“What is it ?”, Karanga said.
“You must guard the carcass. There are hyenas nearby. I’ll take care of them right now !”, Thembi said.
He climbed down the promontory and started off, guided by Zazu.
Hatari looked at Karanga with curiosity and approached her.
“Hey, mom, what’s a hyena ?”
Without looking at the cub, she said, “Hatari, you should be careful with hyenas, they are very dangerous animals, and they will attack you without any doubt. They are merciless killers.”
“Oh…”, Hatari said as he looked in the direction his father had gone.
“How come they are so mean ?”, he asked after a little while.
“Well, son it is a very long story… you should finish your meal first, and perhaps, if you aren’t sleepy I’ll tell you everything about it.”, Karanga said, nuzzling the cub and licking away a few stains of red he had on the cheek.
“Okay, mom.”, the small lion said and continued eating.
As he ate, he could hear Mufasa, Sarabi and Sarafina playing nearby.
“This game is so boring, let’s play something else !”, Sarabi complained.
“Well, what do you want to play then ?”, Mufasa asked, sitting beside the lionesses.
“How about playing… I know ! Let’s play ‘The hyena’ “, Sarafina said.
Mufasa and Sarabi looked at each other.
“What’s that ? I’ve never heard of that game before.”, Mufasa said.
“Well, it’s because it’s a new game I invented.”, Sarafina said proudly.
“Well, sister, this game of yours better be good or you will be playing in the mud, that’s for sure.”, Sarabi said joking.
Sarafina grimaced and stuck out her tongue.
“So, what is ‘The hyena’ about ?”, the lion asked.
Sarafina cleared her throat. “Well, one of us gets to be the hyena—”
“Not me.”, Sarabi interrupted.
“Me neither !”, Mufasa added with a grimace of disgust.
Sarafina became exasperated. “Will you just let me explain what this is all about??”, she half-snarled.
“Okay, go ahead.”, Mufasa said, winking to Sarabi. She winked back and then looked at her sister.
Sarafina continued, “So, the one who gets to be the hyena, will sit over there…”, she said, pointing at a small rock with her paw.
Mufasa and Sarabi turned to look where she was pointing, and said, “And then ?”
Sarafina cleared her throat again. “We ask a question about what the hyena is doing at that moment.”
Mufasa and Sarabi looked puzzled.
“For example,”, Sarafina said, “we sing this tune, it goes like this: ‘We will play in the savannah while the hyena is not here, and if the hyena shows up, it would eat us all.’ “, Sarafina said, singing the tune.
Mufasa liked it, and said, “Hey, it doesn’t rhyme at all, still it’s catchy… sounds nice, but, then what ?”
Sarafina continued, “After the song we ask : Hyena, hyena, are you here ? And the one playing the hyena will have to answer something, whatever you like, for example, ‘No, I am just waking up from a nap’.”
Sarafina paused for a moment. “Then we sing again and ask the question; the hyena will have to answer something else, like ‘I’m washing my face in the water hole’ or whatever. And the funny thing is that when we least expect it, the one playing the hyena will say ‘Yes, I’m here !’, and the hyena will have to chase us. The first one who gets caught gets to be the hyena for the next round.”
Sarabi looked at Mufasa. “Well, sounds like fun…”, she said.
“So,” Sarafina said, “Are we playing ?”
Mufasa smiled. “Yes, but you are the hyena !”
Sarafina sighed. “All right.”, she said walking to where the hyena was supposed to be.
“What was the song like ?”, Mufasa shouted.
While Sarafina repeated the tune, Hatari sat down and watched them play. He felt his stomach full, but his heart was empty. He had so much love to give, and longed to receive some too. Thus far, the only ones who seemed to notice he was alive were Karanga and Rafiki. The rest of the animals ignored him as they would ignore a rock. Sometimes the rest of the lionesses would talk to him, but they were too fascinated with the charms of Mufasa that they seldom paid attention to him. Therefore, he was very surprised when Zazu landed beside him and started making conversation.
“You know, Hatari, your father has just scared away some hyenas who were making trouble.”, the hornbill said.
Hatari looked at the bird, and then he noticed his father was also approaching. Hatari shuddered. Thembi saw the small cub sitting beside Zazu, but ignored him completely. The King entered the cave and lied down, licking his paws. Karanga followed him. Hatari continued looking at his brother as he played happily.
“What kind of trouble the hyenas were making ?”, Hatari asked.
Zazu sighed. “Well, young prince, they were poaching on the lions’ lands.”
Hatari shrugged. “You mean they were looking for food on the Pride Lands ?”
“Oh, “, Hatari said thoughtfully, “I would have never thought that looking for food here was a crime…”
Zazu looked at him. “It is a crime for the hyenas, they are punished if they trespass on the lions’ domains…”, the hornbill explained.
Hatari remained silent, until Zazu said, “Well, I must go to where your brother is playing, just to make sure that the hyenas don’t return and try to attack him.”
“Okay.”, Hatari replied as the bird flew straight to where the cubs were playing.
Hatari turned around and walked to the cave. He wanted to snuggle beside Karanga and listen to the story about hyenas that she had promised to tell him. As he approached the entrance of the cavern, he was able to listen to Karanga and Thembi discussing something. Hatari pricked his ears trying to find the best angle for hearing better. He sat down outside the cave as he listened carefully to their conversation.
“But are you sure, Thembi ?”, Karanga asked
“Yes.”, he replied. Then silence.
“I told her to leave and take her stinky pups away from my territory.”, Thembi said after a few seconds.
Karanga sighed. “Oh, I just can’t help but feeling sorry for them, she is now a widow, and those cubs won’t have a father…”
Thembi sighed. “I had to kill one of them also, just like his father! He tried to attack me, that miserable hyena pup! And worst of all, he insulted me ! You know I hate that !”
“I know, Thembi,”, Karanga said, trying to calm him down, “but I guess you could have been a little more patient with him, after all, he was just a cub, he probably didn’t even know what he was saying…”
“Patient with him ?? I have no patience for hyenas !” Thembi replied.
At that moment, Hatari sneezed. Knowing that Karanga and Thembi were aware of his presence now, he entered the cave nonchalantly and greeted his father, trying to appear calm.
“Hello, dad.” Thembi looked at him while Karanga nuzzled the cub.
“Hello.”, he said coldly, and he left himself absorb in his own thoughts.
“Mom Karanga, you were going to tell me why hyenas were so mean…”
Hatari interrupted himself when he heard Thembi snarling.
The cub felt the fur of his back rising involuntarily.
Karanga looked at Thembi and then looked at the cub and whispered, “Honey, I don’t think this is the right time to talk about hyenas. Your father just had a fight and he had to kill two of them to save his life.”
“Yeah, right, one of them was only looking for food and the other was a cub…”, Hatari thought, “just like me…”
He couldn’t control himself and left the cave running.
“Hatari ! Wait !”, Karanga shouted, but the cub continued running, ignoring Karanga’s calls.
When he felt safe again, he sat down and sighed deeply. He thought about what he had just heard.
“Dad killed a hyena cub… so he might really kill me…” Hatari started to cry, feeling terribly confused.
“Well, perhaps hyenas are really mean, and maybe mom was right, dad had to kill them in order to save his life…”, he said, trying to find an answer and an explanation to one of his questions.
He was so busy crying and sobbing that he didn’t realize that Rafiki was looking at him from a distance. The baboon shook his head in disapproval, and sighed.
“Poor Hatari…”, he said, and continued gathering some herbs he needed for some of his mystical chores.
After gathering some more plants, Rafiki went to the weeping cub and patted him on the back. Hatari jumped back startled, but he sighed in relief when he saw it was his old friend Rafiki.
“Oh, Rafiki !”, Hatari said, standing up on two legs and grabbing the baboon’s leg with his forepaws.
Rafiki looked at him kindly and kissed the wet face. He sat down beside the cub and Hatari snuggled beside Rafiki’s legs.
“What is it, my cub ?”, Rafiki asked, drying the tears with his hands.
Hatari looked up and said pitifully, “No one loves me.”
Rafiki patted him between the ears. “Of course we love you, Hatari. We love you very much.”
Hatari nodded no. “Dad has just told me that he would kill me if I ever got near him again…”
Rafiki gasped. “He told you so ? Oh, he surely didn’t mean it. He would never kill a cub, and less if it is his own son !”, Rafiki said, knowing deep inside that Thembi would really kill Hatari if he considered the cub was being a nuisance.
“I don’t know, Rafiki… I just heard he killed a hyena pup, so, how can I be so sure he won’t harm me ?”, Hatari asked between sobs.
Rafiki sighed. “Hatari, I suggest you talk to Thembi and—” Rafiki interrupted himself when he heard some footsteps coming their way.
“Hush.”, Rafiki said as he tried to listen better, then he recognized the scent of the animal approaching. It was Karanga.
“It’s your mother, Hatari, she must be worried about you…”
Hatari stood up, and after a few seconds, Karanga found the cub.
“Oh, Hatari, don’t ever do that to me again !”
Noticing that Rafiki was with the cub, she said, “Oh, thank the great kings of the past you were with him, I thought something bad had happened to him, you know it’s so late, and the leopards are hunting…”, she said, then she hugged Hatari and kissed him.
“It’s okay, mom, nothing happened, don’t worry.”, Hatari said, trying to comfort her.
Rafiki walked to Karanga and patted her. “Your son is all right, now go back to Pride Rock and get some sleep, you seem tired.”
Karanga nodded. “Thanks, Rafiki, I would have died if something had happened to him.”
Hatari smiled, feeling himself being loved by Karanga.
“I won’t go away again, mom, I promise.”, the cub said licking his mother’s leg.
Rafiki smiled, feeling that the cub was a little more calm, and, gathering the herbs he had recollected, he started walking to his tree, while Karanga grabbed Hatari by the neck and carried him all the way back to Pride Rock. Even though Karanga tried very hard to make the cub tell her what was wrong, Hatari always answered with a negative reply.
The next morning, Thembi woke up earlier than usual. Hatari was already awake and watched his father intently, aware of every movement. Thembi hadn’t even noticed that his younger son was restless, and he walked straight to sleeping Mufasa.
“Wake up, cub.”, he said.
Mufasa stirred up and he yawned, saying sleepily, “Is it time ? Can’t we sleep a little longer ?”
Thembi nodded no. “Today is your first hunting lesson, you don’t want to be late for it, do you ?”, Thembi asked.
Hatari’s face brightened. “Hunting lesson ? wow…”, he said out loud.
Thembi looked at Hatari with the corner of the eye and continued speaking to Mufasa.
“Now get up, you lazy cub, what kind of King will you be if you can’t even get up early when you are supposed to ?”
Mufasa stretched himself, unsheathing his small claws as he did so.
Thembi looked at his son proudly, and walked out of the cave.
“Come on, Mufasa, hurry up.”
Mufasa ran past his brother without saying a word.
Hatari looked at Mufasa while he and his father started walking away.
“I want to go, I really want to…”, Hatari muttered.
Looking from one side to another, noticing that the rest of the lionesses were still asleep, Hatari walked out of the cave and began following Mufasa and his father.
Thembi had realized that, but he continued to ignore his younger son.
“Listen, Mufasa.”, Thembi said as they sat down a for a while.
Mufasa pricked his ears and paid attention to his father’s words.
“You see everything the light touches ?” Mufasa nodded.
“That is my kingdom, and it soon will be yours.”
Mufasa gasped as he looked at the beautiful place.
Thembi continued speaking. “You will have to rule over everything, my son, and that is a very big responsibility that only a few lions can handle.”
Hatari was approaching and he tried very hard to listen to his father’s words.
“And always remember that you will face lots of problems once you become a king. Remember that hyenas aren’t allowed to enter this land…” Thembi stopped talking when he saw Hatari sitting down beside them.
The King sighed. “If you don’t mind, I’m having a talk with Mufasa, so, go away.”, Thembi said.
Hatari looked at Mufasa, expecting him to say something.
Mufasa as very confused by his father’s attitude, and said, “Hey, dad, I bet he can listen to this conversation too, after all, he is my brother, and we share everything…”
Thembi wrinkled his nose slightly, and then shrugged. “I don’t care if he is here anyway.”
Hatari crumpled to the ground, while Thembi kept talking to Mufasa, and to Mufasa alone, never referring to Hatari at all.
“Well, we’ll continue this conversation later, now I’ll show you how to pounce.”
Mufasa jumped excited while Hatari remained there, hidden in the grass, watching his father coldly.
“Now look, “, Thembi told Mufasa grinning slightly, “there’s Zazu. You will have to pounce on him.”
Mufasa laughed. “Oh, poor Zazu, he will be very frightened…”
“Don’t worry about him, just listen to me. Crouch down.”
Mufasa obeyed and crouched down, laughing.
“Now keep silence, when you are hunting, you must be quiet, otherwise, you’ll scare all the animals.”
Mufasa hushed as he listened carefully to his father.
Hatari was watching the scene, fascinated, wishing that he could be in Mufasa’s place for once. The smaller cub listened to Thembi’s comments, and even though he wasn’t practicing the King’s commands, he kept them very well in his head.
“Crouch down… no sounds…”, Hatari repeated in his mind.
“Keep your tail down !”, Thembi hissed, and Mufasa lowered his tail until it almost touched the ground.
“Hey, Mufasa, as soon as you get nearer, hold your breath, the prey might hear you breathing and become alarmed.” Thembi whispered.
Instinctively, Hatari held his breath and continue watching.
Mufasa nodded and as he approached Zazu, he held his breath.
“Pounce whenever you want, son.”, Thembi whispered at a distance.
Mufasa waited for a few seconds, and then jumped over Zazu.
“Ahhh !!!”, the bird squawked, falling to the ground under Mufasa’s body.
“What’s going on ? Help !!”, Zazu cried out loud.
Even Hatari laughed seeing the poor bird as frightened as he was. The smaller cub approached the place where the scene had taken place, and wished to try his hunting skills also, but he wasn’t sure about asking his father for permission. Thembi was also laughing, but he regained his composure quickly.
“Well, Zazu, I was just teaching my son the pouncing lesson. I guess he did quite well !”, the King said, hugging Mufasa proudly.
Zazu arranged his feathers and didn’t say anything.
At last, Hatari succumbed and spoke. “Hey, Zazu, I want to try also, could you help me by staying still while I pounce on you?”, the cub said.
Zazu looked first at the cub and then at the king. “This has been the most humiliating thing I have gone through, but if the King tells me to do it again in order to show you how to pounce, then I’ll do it, but I m not happy about it.”, the hornbill told Hatari.
The cub looked at his father expectantly, waiting for his final word, but, Thembi nodded no.
“There has been enough pouncing for today, right, Mufasa ?”, Thembi asked.
Hatari’s face changed again to an expression full of sadness. “But—can’t you just let me try ?”, he said.
Thembi turned around, ignoring his son once again. “Come on, Zazu and Mufasa, let’s go home.”, he said, and started walking back to Pride Rock.
Zazu and Mufasa followed the king, and they looked back continuously, seeing the Hatari had remained in his place, sitting still, watching them leave.
Zazu sighed. For a moment, he thought on returning to where the younger cub was and help him serving as a target for his pouncing attack. Zazu turned around with that idea in mind when Thembi called him.
“Where are you going, Zazu ?”
The bird coughed. “Well, Sire, uh, I was going to help your son—”
“I said no.”, Thembi interrupted him, “And when I say something, I expect to be obeyed.”, he added.
Zazu sighed again. “Yes, your Majesty.”, he said, and continued flying in direction to Pride Rock, leaving Hatari alone with his sadness.
The cub saw them leave. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. All his father needed was to say yes. But, instead, he denied again another thing to him.
“I didn’t even wanted to pounce, anyway.”, he said out loud, scratching the ground with one paw.
Looking around, he noticed a rock was nearby. In a sudden rage, the cub charged against the rock and began scratching it madly, muttering things.
“If you don’t love me, then I won’t love you anymore ! I hate you, I hate you !!”, he said, but he soon repented of what he had said.
But he kept clawing the rock as if he were fighting with his worst enemy. After a few minutes of scratching his claws against the rock, he stopped, panting, and sat down. He looked at his claws disinterested, and noticed that they were more sharpened than before scratching them on the rock. He half-smiled.
“Someday I’ll have the most sharpened claws in this place, and I’ll show them to everyone…”, he said thoughtfully as he retracted and pulled out his claws repeatedly. He sighed, and looked at Pride Rock coldly.
“I don’t want to go back… No one likes me there…”
Then he remembered about how worried Karanga had been yesterday.
“No, She would be very sad if I left…”, Hatari thought.
He stood up and began walking to the water hole. Once he got there, he looked at his reflection in the water.
“I wonder what makes Mufasa so popular…”, he said, looking intently at his reflection.
There he was, a young, small skinny cub.
“Well, I know that my fur is darker than his, but… even my father’s fur is darker than Mufasa’s…”, he thought.
Seeing his reflection, Hatari knew he was very much alike to his father. Hatari had also more fur in the beard than other lions, such as Thembi did. After looking at his reflection for a while, he bent down to drink. As he listened to the sound his tongue made at the contact with the water, a pungent scent hit his nose. He straightened up and looked around, without seeing anybody. He started sniffing, noticing that the smell was coming from some nearby shrubs. Hatari stared at the bushes, and he heard some voices.
“Hey, he’s just a cub like us, he won’t harm us…”, a female voice said.
Hatari pricked his ears as he tried to listen better.
“Yeah, but what if its mother and father are nearby…”, a young male voice replied.
“We will have to wait until he goes away so we can drink…”
Hearing that, Hatari called out loud. “You can come and drink, I won’t harm you…”
Then there was silence. After a few seconds, the shrubs were agitated by something inside them, and at last, out from the bushes, three small animals came walking. Hatari stared at them. Those were the weirdest animals he had ever seen. Their hind quarters were smaller than the front ones, their tail was short and shaggy. They had big ears, and their pelt was dark with uneven brown spots. Two of the animals started drinking timidly, while the third one laughed hysterically.
“Stop laughing and come to drink, we can’t stay here much longer !”, the female called.
The laughing animal obediently approached and started drinking, while still laughing. It suddenly began coughing.
“Oh, not again ! How many times do we have to tell you not to laugh when you are drinking ?”, the male said looking at the female. Both rolled their eyes and continued drinking, while the other hyena coughed. Hatari looked at them, and seeing they were as small as he was, he decided to make some conversation.
“Hello, how are you ?”, Hatari asked.
The strangers raised their faces and looked at him.
“We’re terrible.”, the female answered, and continued drinking.
Hatari was very curious to know more about this strange animals, and so he continued asking questions.
“Why are you here ? Where is your mother and father ?”, Hatari said.
The other cubs looked at each other and shrugged.
“We’re here because we are hungry. And, Mom must be somewhere lookin’ for food for us, and dad is dead.”, the female replied bitterly.
Hatari approached the animals and sat beside them. “Your father is dead ? Oh, I’m sorry.”
The female nodded. “We almost lose our brother also…”, she said, pointing to the still laughing animal.
Hatari looked at him. His eyes didn’t seem to focus, one was pointing to one side, the other one to another. He drooled uncontrollably, and everything caused him to giggle.
“Why did you say you almost lose him ? What happened ?”, Hatari asked.
The animals looked at each other again. They sat on their haunches and looked at the lion cub.
“Well, we were attacked by a very big lion, you must know him well.”, the female said looking at Hatari distrustfully.
Hatari gasped. He felt suddenly afraid. “So you are the merciless killer hyenas ??”, he asked, ready to run as soon as the hyenas decided to attack.
The male and the female looked again at each other and laughed hysterically.
“So, ha ha, we are the merciless killers ??”, she said rolling on the floor.
The three hyenas couldn’t stop laughing.
“What, aren’t you hyenas ?”, the cub insisted.
“Yes, we are, but we aren’t merciless killers, who told you that ?!”
Hatari bit his lip. “Well, somebody told me.”
After a while, the hyenas calmed down.
“No, lion, you are wrong. Your King, because he ain’t our king, is the merciless killer. He killed our dad and tried to kill Ed also.”, the male said, pointing at the laughing hyena.
Hatari looked at him confused.
“But… how come he is not dead ?”, the lion asked.
“Your King cuffed him hard. Ed rolled down and hit himself with a rock. He was left unconscious, and your King thought he was already dead.”
Hatari felt his eyes watering, and he asked, “Why did he attack you ?”
The female sighed. “Mom and Dad were looking for some food in order to feed us. Then your King appeared, telling them that they were poaching on his lands and blah blah blah… Dad told him that he was sorry for trespassing his lands, but he needed food for us… Your King didn’t wait to hear more and killed dad, ripping his throat out with his claws.”
The male sighed too, saying, “Gee, dad was only looking for food, he wasn’t causing any mischief, but that stupid lion had to kill him !”
Hatari pressed his eyes shut when he heard the male’s words.
“So my dad is a murderer ?”, he asked, his voice full of sorrow.
The hyenas looked at him intently. “You are the prince ? The future king ?”
Hatari nodded no. “I am the second son, the future king’s brother. And let me tell you, I am very sorry about what my dad did to yours…”
The female glowered at him. “Yeah, right, you are sorry. You are a lion and everybody knows lions hate hyenas !”, she said, baring her little fangs.
“I don’t hate you, really, in fact, I liked talking to you, but, no one, not even you seem to like me either…”, the cub said.
The female hyena looked at him with curiosity. “So, why is that so ?”, she asked.
Hatari shrugged. I don’t know, but I expect to know soon, I’ve decided to ask my father. He hates me terribly, and I don’t know why…”
The female looked away and sighed.
“What’s your name ?”, Hatari asked.
“I’m Shenzi.”, the female said.
The male cleared his throat. “I am Banzai… the Great.”, he said, and laughed.
Shenzi laughed too. “You wish you were great, you lame brain…”, she said slapping his brother on the head.
“He’s only Banzai. And the one over there,”, she said, pointing to Ed, who was trying to catch a butterfly, “He is Ed. Thanks to your father he is now a fool.”
“A fool ?”, Hatari asked.
“Yes; your dad hurt Ed’s head badly, and now he can’t speak, he laughs at everything… oh…”, Shenzi said sighing, “He used to be so smart, in fact, he was the smartest of all… he was dad’s favorite.”
“He was ?”, Hatari asked, feeling sorry for Ed.
“He sure was,”, Banzai said, “But when he saw dad being killed in such a terrible way, he couldn’t resist it and began insulting your father…”
“Yeah,”, Shenzi added, “I had never heard so many bad words coming from one single mouth !”, she said laughing, and added, “Besides, Ed tried to attack him, of course that was a foolish thing to do…”
Hatari sighed. “So that’s why my father hit your brother ?”
The hyenas nodded.
Hatari looked at Pride Rock. He sighed again.
“I must go back home.”, he said at last.
The hyenas let their tails droop. “You are going so early ?”, Shenzi asked.
“Yes,”, Hatari said, “We could get in big trouble if he finds out I’m here talking with you.”, he said.
Shenzi and Banzai nodded.
Hatari stood up and started walking away. “Good bye. I hope we can meet again someday…”, he said.
“Yeah… Bye, friend.”, Shenzi said.
Hatari stopped. He liked being called friend. He turned and looked at Shenzi.
“Are you really my friends ?”
“Yes, well, you are kinda cool.”, Shenzi said.
Hatari smiled and continued walking.
“How ironic,”, he thought, “the _merciless killers_ are now my friends…”
He continued walking, feeling extremely disappointed of his father, until he arrived to Pride Rock. He could hear Mufasa talking with Thembi.
“But, Dad, I don’t get it… what about my brother ?”, Mufasa said, looking at his father, confused.
“Stop worrying about your brother ! The only way he has for becoming a king, is that you die, and that will not happen, my son. I’ll always take care of you and I won’t let anything happen to you. Hatari will never be king. And I am very glad about that.”
Hatari heard that, and pulled out his claws in anger.
“Why is he so sure about that ? I think I’d make a really nice King !”, he thought.
He continued listening.
“No, Mufasa. I’ll make sure Hatari doesn’t become a King, you will be the one who rules, the one who will have in your paws a whole Kingdom to take care of…”
Hatari felt his world crumpling.
Gathering courage, he stepped forward and told his father, “I know I can be a great King, if only you let me try.”
Thembi turned around and looked at him pejoratively.
“I guess you haven’t understood what the word respect means, cub,”, he half-snarled, “It’s improper to listen to other people’s conversation.”
Hatari shuddered. “I am sorry, I just wanted you to know that I can also make a great King. Why don’t you want to let me be one ?”
Thembi was about to say that because of Hatari, Kitok was dead, when suddenly Karanga appeared.
“Thembi, Thembi !”, she called.
Her face expression was sad and her eyes were red and swollen. Thembi could tell she had been crying.
“What is it, Karanga ?”, he asked, forgetting for a moment about Hatari.
“Dalasini had an accident ! One buffalo hit her hard on the face !”, she said sobbing.
“Calm down, calm down.”, Thembi said, licking the lioness’ face, trying to comfort her.
“Now tell me, where is she ? We will take Rafiki with us and he will help her, you’ll see.”, Thembi said.
Karanga sighed deeply. “She is already dead, Thembi.”, the lioness said.
Mufasa and Hatari gasped, while Thembi looked at her with wide eyes.
“Dead ? Dalasini ? this can’t be true !”, he said, startled.
He hadn’t expected that.
Mufasa, who loved Dalasini even more than what he loved Karanga, started crying and hurried to his father’s side.
Hatari just stood there, watching the scene, not shedding a single tear.
“She’s dead. The one who fed me, is dead.”, the young cub thought.
He was too shocked to say something, and Thembi, looking at him, mistakenly, took that confusion for insensibility.
“Of course, how is he going to cry for someone if he is mean…” Thembi thought, hugging little Mufasa with one paw.
Karanga continued sobbing. She was too sad for noticing her favorite cub’s inner battle.
Quite startled, Hatari left the cave, running hastily. He stopped after a while, and sat down on his haunches, thoughtfully.
“She never liked me as she liked Mufasa…”, he said out loud, recalling Dalasini,
“It was obvious she loved him the most, as the rest of the lionesses…” Hatari sighed.
He had already realized that he wasn’t one of the pride’s favorites. He lied down, thinking about how his life had been until that moment. The only true love he felt someone gave him, came from Karanga. Mufasa loved him also, but he spent more time playing with the small lionesses and he often forgot about Hatari’s existence. The young, slim cub sighed again.
“I’ll talk to my father one of these days.”, he thought, closing his eyes and thinking on what had happened to Dalasini.
Back at Pride Rock, the lionesses had gathered around Thembi, who had just pronounced a farewell speech for Dalasini. Sarabi and Sarafina were crying inconsolably for the death of their mother.
“Don’t cry, my little ones, I’ll take care of you, promise. Now you shall live with us. I’ll be your mother.”, Karanga told the cubs.
Sarafina sobbed as she hugged her sister.
“Mom’s gone !”, she whispered.
Sarabi hugged her also, but she tried to hold back her tears.
“She is strong…”, Thembi couldn’t help but notice that.
He approached the small lioness. “Don’t worry, Sarabi, this is your home now. You belong here.”
Sarabi looked at the King and half-smiled. “I’ll miss her so much…”, she whispered.
“I know…”, Thembi answered, and licked the cub’s face. The pride remained in silence, thinking of what had just happened.
Dalasini would be missed, and she would never be forgotten, being her the one who saved the future King’s life.
A couple of days after, far from Pride Rock and from the savannah, right in the heart of the jungle, there was excitement and happiness between the meerkat colony. The presentation of young meerkats would take place in a few hours, and all the female meerkats who had young sons and daughters were way too excited about it. Well, most of them. Sasuka was a beautiful female meerkat who had only one son. Her husband was killed by an eagle a few months ago, and now, her son was the only thing left of Chatu, her husband. Her son, a young irresponsible meerkat, had grown up to dislike the colony’s chores and spent most of the time playing, sleeping and swimming, while the rest of the meerkats worked hard to help each other. Sasuka was now looking desperately for her son, who seemed to have disappeared again.
“Timon, Timon…”, she called. She got no reply.
After a few seconds, another female meerkat approached.
“Haven’t you found him yet ?”, Twiga asked.
Sasuka shook her head in disapproval. “I wonder where he is now—” she interrupted herself when she heard a rustle among the leaves of a bush.
The two female meerkats stood up on their hind legs and looked from one side to another, sniffing. Suddenly Timon’s voice came from inside the shrub.
“Aw, calm down, it’s just me. I heard you were calling me, ma.”, Timon said, walking on his hind legs without any difficulty. He looked at his mother proudly.
“Look, ma, I’ve been practicing a lot, now I can stand up on twos and walk also ! Isn’t this great ?”, the young meerkat asked, looking at his stretched legs happily.
Sasuka nodded no. “Instead of practicing that foolish stuff, you should have been preparing for tomorrow’s presentation !”, Sasuka scolded.
Timon sat on a rock. “Oh, ma, you worry too much. That silly presentation is going to be just okay, trust me. After all, I am Timon. Everything goes right for me.”, he said, stretching himself.
Twiga looked at Sasuka, and, shrugging, she walked away.
Sasuka sighed. “Timon, you must understand that being a member of the meerkat colony is a very important role. You can’t take it as a joke. You must help the others…”
“Yeah, blah, blah, blah…”, Timon thought.
“Mom,” he said interrupting Sasuka, “This lifestyle stinks! I want something cool… adventures, danger… I’d hate to spend the rest of my life chained to a dark burrow under the ground…”
Sasuka sighed. “How I wish you hadn’t inherited that wild-spirit from your father… you saw what happened to him when he was seeking for adventures and danger, as you said a moment before.”
Timon sighed. “Yeah, ma, but I will take care of myself, promise.”
Sasuka looked at him sadly.
“Believe me, ma, I’m smart, I’ll survive. I’ll hunt my own food and—”
Sasuka nodded no. “I don’t want to hear another word about it, Timon. Now you go back home with me. I hope you will gain some sense of responsibility soon…”, she said, turning around and walking away.
Timon kicked the ground. “I am a genius. I’ll find a way out of his problem soon…”, he said, following his mother silently.
When he arrived to the burrow, he saw other meerkats working together. He shook his head.
“No, I just don’t want to spend my whole life working!”, he thought, biting his lip nervously.
He had only some ours of freedom before he turned into an official member of the colony. He thought that if he escaped, the colony would probably look for him and punish him for his misbehavior.
“I’ll come up with something soon.”, he thought.
Stretching himself again, he felt his mouth was dry and decided to go for a drink at a nearby pond.
“I’ll come back in a sec, ma. Goin’ for a drink.”, he said.
“Careful, honey, it’s getting dark…”, she said
“Not darker than the burrow, mom.”, Timon said and walked away, sighing now and then.
He heard his mother yelling : “And don’t sleep somewhere else, the presentation will start very early.”
Yeah, ma.”, he answered, and continued walking.
He arrived to the pond and started drinking. But his mind was very troubled.
“This are my last hours of freedom…”, he thought. Trying to wash those thoughts away, he jumped into the pool and started swimming.
“Oh, isn’t this cool…”, he said out loud.
He cleared is throat and started singing. “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…”
He was so busy singing that he didn’t notice a rustle in the nearby bushes.
“Near the village the peaceful village, the lion sleeps tonight…”
At the same time he started singing the next phrase, someone began accompanying him.
“Aweeeeeeee—-”, Timon sang.
“Awembo-wep, awembo-wep…”, the voice from the bushes sang also.
Timon gulped and stepped out of the pool quickly, ready to run at any moment.
The leaves rustled again and out from he bushes came a young warthog, whose tusks hadn’t grown completely yet. Anyway, Timon was very afraid, for he knew warthogs would eat meerkats if they had the opportunity. Fast as lightning, Timon ran away, but the warthog began chasing him.
“No, wait ! I just want to sing !”, the warthog called.
“Yeah, right, he’s just setting me a trap…”, Timon thought, panting.
Suddenly, he tripped with a small twig and fell down. He tried to stand up, but the warthog was already standing beside him. Timon closed his eyes and begged for his life.
“Please, don’t eat me, I’ll do whatever you want, but don’t eat me…”, he said almost whimpering.
The warthog laughed. “I won’t eat you ! You sing really cool, I just wanted to sing with you… keep singing, c’mon…”, the warthog said.
Timon, as nervous as he was, started singing, but his voice failed continuously. Even though Timon sang really bad this time, he warthog clapped enthusiastically.
“That was beautiful !”, he said. Timon sighed, realizing that the warthog wasn’t at a threatening position and he was smiling warmly.
“Wh-wh-who are you ?”, Timon stuttered.
The warthog sat down. “I am Pumbaa.”, he said smiling.
“I am Timon.”, the meerkat said, wondering what the warthog was doing over there.
He seemed to read the meerkat’s thoughts and said, “I had to run away from home.”
Timon looked at him wide eyed, and he sat down.
“Well, give.”, the meerkat said.
Pumbaa exhaled. “It is a long story…”
“We have all night, come on, Know-it-all Timon will help you with your problem.”
Pumbaa sighed deeply, and started telling Timon all about his problems at home.
After a while, Timon said, “That’s it ? you left home because you stink ?”
Pumbaa nodded. “Yeah, but you should see how hard is to live with my brothers and cousins… they keep teasing me all day long…”
Timon smiled, and his face suddenly brightened.
“Hey, perhaps if I smelled bad I could do the same thing you did… leave home… You are lucky !”, Timon said.
Pumbaa smiled. “You don’t like your home, do you ?”
Timon nodded. “Too much responsibility for me. I won’t be able to handle it.”, the meerkat replied. “But,”, Timon added, “let’s not talk about it. I want to enjoy my last minutes of freedom… let’s sing something.”
Pumbaa clapped with his front hooves. “Yay ! I love singing !”
Both animals started singing, and after a while, they both went to sleep.
Timon had forgotten about his mother’s warning, and it was almost midday when he woke up. He scratched his back, yawning. He looked at the sun, noticing it was almost on its zenith.
“Geez ! It’s late ! Ma’s gonna kill me !”, Timon shouted, waking Pumbaa up.
“What ? How, who ?”, he asked sleepily.
“Pumbaa, I must go, I hope we meet again, okay ?”, he said, running away.
“Okay !”, Pumbaa shouted, and shrugged.
He felt happy because he had found a friend who didn’t care a bit about his intestinal problems. He lied down again, and, smiling inwardly, he went to sleep once more.
When Timon arrived to the burrow, he could see that the presentation was over. All the meerkats were doing their typical chores, even the young ones had started to work like the adults. He stopped running and greeted his fellow friends.
“Hi Mbuzi !”, Timon called. Mbuzi looked at him, but didn’t reply.
“Katika ?”, he called another meerkat, but didn’t’ reply to his call.
“What’s going on ??”, Timon said out loud, but no one answered.
He walked to his burrow, and found his mother inside, sobbing.
He cleared his throat. “Uh… hi, ma… I’m back…”
She kept sobbing. After a few seconds, she faced her son.
“You missed the presentation…”, she said.
Timon looked at his hands nervously. “Yeah, I did, sorry, I forgot about time.”, he said.
Sasuka shook her head. “It is too late for apologizing, my son. Now you are not a member of the colony, and you must look for another place to live.”
Timon looked at her bewildered. “What ? What do you mean ?”, the young meerkat asked.
Sasuka sighed. “The rest of the colony won’t recognize you as a member, since you weren’t at the presentation. They won’t allow you to eat of the colony’s food, and they won’t talk to you.”
“Oh, son, what did you do ? I told you not to wander far from the pond, I told you the presentation was going to be early !”, she said, crying.
Timon swallowed hard. “Don’t worry mom…”
“How am I not supposed to worry ? You will have to leave this place, you will be alone and endangered…”
“No, mom, I have found a friend… we will live together and he’ll protect me, he is way too much bigger then me, and he has these tusks…”, he said, trying to cheer his mother up.
She continued crying, and hugged her son. “I will miss you, my Timon… promise me you’ll take care…”
“I will, mom.”, he said, closing his eyes and kissing his mother.
She cleaned her nose and kissed Timon.
“Try to stay in touch, my son… send a messenger or something…”
Sasuka sighed. “You must go, my son.”
Timon nodded again. He walked out of the cave, and looked at the fellow meerkats.
They looked intently at him.
As Timon looked at his ex-companions, he thought, “I will miss my mother, all right, but, if I had known that I only had to miss the presentation in order to leave responsibilities behind…”, he thought, and he smiled.
“After all, I am Timon, and everything goes right for me…”, he thought, being that phrase his favorite one.
“So long, don’t work too much !”, he told the rest of the meerkats.
None of them made a sound. Timon waved good bye, and turned around.
“Fools !”, he muttered, and walked away.
Sasuka walked out of the cave, still sobbing, when Twiga approached her.
“Don’t worry, your son will survive, he is intelligent, you know…”
Sasuka nodded. “I hope so, Twiga, I really hope so…”
The rest of the colony continued working on their daily chores. But one young meerkat, slyly, left the group and stepped over a big rock on her two legs, maintaining the balance with the help of her long tail, in order to have a better view. She saw Timon leaving, and cried for him. Young Kimya had always loved Timon, but he never paid enough attention to her, he was always busy learning some new tricks, learning how to walk on two legs without losing balance…
Drying her tears, she whispered, “I hope nothing happens to you, my love…”
She stood there until Timon, never knowing what was inside Kimya’s heart, disappeared in the distance. The young female meerkat walked down and joined the colony again, trying to hide her sadness.
Timon kept walking, until he found Pumbaa sleeping in the sun.
“Hey, Pumbaa, wake up !”, Timon said, climbing at the top of Pumbaa’s head.
“Huh ?”, the warthog said, confused. Realizing it was Timon, his face brightened.
“Oh, Timon, I never expected to see you again so soon ! How was the presentation ?”, Pumbaa asked.
“There was no presentation for me !”, Timon said laughing. “I am free, I am free !!”, the meerkat shouted, dancing merrily in two legs from one side to another.
He lost his balance and fell down. Recovering himself, Timon climbed up Pumbaa’s head and sat own on the warthog’s forehead.
“You know, Pumbaa, I guess we are both outcasts now. We should live together, don’t you think ?”
Pumbaa clapped. “That is a great idea !”
Timon cleared his throat and said, “Thanks, Pumbaa, but I am always full of great ideas.”
“I bet !”, the warthog said happily, and added, “Now, Mr. Great Ideas, I am hungry, shouldn’t we find some meat to eat ?”
“Aiee !”, Timon exclaimed and looked at Pumbaa. “Yeah, I forgot your kind eat my kind… Well, Mr. Pumbaa, it was a pleasure to meet you, but I’m outta here, you ain’t eating me that’s for sure and I—”
“Aw, c’mon, Timon, I’d never eat you ! You’re my friend !”, Pumbaa interrupted.
Timon sighed. “Yeah, but you are a hungry friend…” Timon hesitated for a moment.
“Hey, I have an idea !” , he said.
Pumbaa sat down and pricked his ears.
“We’ll eat insects, In that way, we won’t endanger ourselves…”
“Insects ?”, Pumbaa said, confused.
“Yeah, insects.”, Timon emphasized. “Whenever we feel hungry, we just hunt for insects… they are so easy to catch, and they taste quite good…”, the meerkat said, searching the ground for some bugs.
“Well, Timon…” , Pumbaa said uneasily, “Are ya sure those things taste good ?”
“Mmm-hhmmm ! Of course there are other ones that taste terrible, but it’s easy to identify them , because of their color, sometimes. The dark ones with bright colors on the wings don’t often taste good.”
“Oh, “, Pumbaa said, “Perhaps I should try the bugs and see how they taste…”, then he rose a nearby log with his powerful snout.
Timon smiled as he saw all the insects crawling where the log had been.
“Hey, cool ! We can make a nice hunting team, you know !”, he said, grabbing some bugs.
“Yeah… but… hurry up, this thing… weighs to much…”, Pumbaa said, making a very big effort on keeping the log up.
Timon gathered quickly some more bugs and walked away.
“All righty, friend, time for dinner.",
Pumbaa dropped the log and shook himself.
“Phew, that was an effort !”, he said, and walked to Timon’s side.
Timon grabbed a bug and handled it to Pumbaa.
“Here, try this one, it’s one of the tastiest kind…”, he said, munching another insect.
Pumbaa looked at the bug for an instant and swallowed hard.
“Okay, let’s see…”, he said, and dropped the insect into his mouth, he chewed for an instant, making a grimace of disgust.
“Well ?”, Timon asked.
Pumbaa swallowed. “Well, it’s not the best thing I have ever eaten, but it’s not bad…”, he replied, grabbing another insect.
“Cool !”, Timon said, feeling totally safe, knowing that his meat eating companion would now eat insects.
After eating, the two animals lied down to rest.
“You know, Timon, now that we’re gonna live together and we have made a hunting team… perhaps we should have a motto…”
Timon liked Pumbaa’s idea, but he wanted to be the smart guy, so he said, “Shh, Pumbaa, I am trying to think of something…”
Pumbaa hushed, and after a few seconds, Timon said, “I was thinking we should have something like a cool motto…”
“Yay, sounds great,”, the warm-hearted warthog replied, without realizing that Timon had just changed a few words of his own idea.
Timon grinned. “I never thought this would be so easy…”, he thought.
“Hmmm…”, Timon said thoughtfully, “How about Hakuna Matata ?”
“Hakuna Matata… Hakuna Matata…”, the warthog repeated.
“Yeah, it means ‘no worries’… don’t you like it ?”, Timon said, stretching himself lazily.
“Yeah, I like the ring of it… Hakuna Matata…”, the warthog said, and fell asleep after a few minutes.
Back at Pride Rock, Kuuliza was trying to comfort Sarabi and Sarafina, who were still sad because of their mother’s pass away.
“My little ones, cry no more. Your mother will take care of you wherever she is.”, the lioness told the cubs.
They kept sobbing repeatedly.
Kuuliza licked their little heads several times. Suddenly, a shadow was cast on the ground. Kuuliza raised her sight and noticed it was Zazu, flying above them. The lioness watched how Zazu flew away and landed right beside Hatari. She smiled. She was hoping Zazu could turn into Hatari’s friend, so the cub wouldn’t be lonely anymore. After a few seconds, she forgot about the hornbill and continued cleaning Sarabi and Sarafina.
Hatari was happy when he saw Zazu approaching.
“Hey, Zazu, how are you ?”, he called.
The bird looked down, and, seeing it was Hatari addressing him, he landed beside the lion, and arranged his feathers quickly.
“I am fine, young Prince, how about you ?”, the bird asked.
“I am very happy, because I finally got friends !”, Hatari said happily.
“Oh, I’m very glad for you, really.”, the Zazu replied, wondering who could be Hatari’s friends.
“Oh, Zazu, they are so nice and kind and cool…”
“Who are they ?”, the bird finally asked.
Hatari opened his mouth to say something but fell silent, recalling Zazu also hated hyenas.
“Well, I can’t tell you right now, Zazu, but I will.”
Zazu shrugged. “As you wish.”, he replied.
Both animals fell silent, not knowing what to say. Suddenly, Hatari came up with an idea.
“Hey, Zazu, if I ask you a question, will you promise to answer honestly ?”, the cub asked.
Zazu smiled. “It depends on which question you are going to ask.”, he said grinning.
Hatari smiled also. “I am talking seriously, Zazu, there’s something I really want to know… about the lionesses, you know, Sarabi and Sarafina…”
Zazu thought for a moment, and then began coughing uncontrollably.
“Ahem ! Well, Hatari…”, he said, blushing tremendously.
“What ? What’s wrong ?”, the cub said, wondering why Zazu became nervous so suddenly.
“Well, I think you should ask your mother or father about that, what can I tell you about young lionesses, I mean—”, the bird said, still coughing.
Hatari looked puzzled.
The cub looked at the grass for a moment, and then said, “So you don’t know why they hate me… or you know, but you don’t want to tell me, right ?”, Hatari asked, thinking that was the reason for Zazu’s nervous attitude.
Zazu looked at the cub, blinking several times. “Oh, that was what you were going to ask me ? Why do the lionesses hate you ??”
Hatari nodded. “Yeah, what did you expect me to ask ?”
Zazu shook himself, sighing in relief.
“Never mind.”, the bird said.
Hatari looked intently at him. “So, will you tell me why the lionesses hate me or not?”
Zazu held his breath for a moment. He knew perfectly well that Thembi had told the female cubs about Kitok’s death, telling them also that Hatari was ‘responsible’ for it. The bird let escape his breath slowly.
“Listen, Master Hatari…”
Hatari pricked his ears, paying attention to Zazu’s words.
“I can’t tell you anything. If you have to know someday why are you being treated in this way, it will be your father the one who tells you, no one else.”
Hatari’s ears went down.
“Dad won’t tell me anything… he hates me as much as the lionesses, even more…”, the cub said, trying to hold back tears.
Zazu patted him with a wing. “Try to be strong, Master Hatari… things might get to be a little difficult in the future…”
“More difficult than how they are now ?”, Hatari asked, lying down.
“Oh,”, Hatari said, closing his eyes sadly, “what I should do now ? Just wait till they forgive me ?”
Zazu shrugged. At that same moment, he heard Thembi’s voice calling for him.
“Oh, Hatari, I must go now. But, if you want an advice… obey your father. Try not to make him angry…”, the bird said, and flew away.
Hatari raised his sight, following Zazu with his eyes.
“Yeah… I try not to bother him, but my only presence drives him crazy… What am I supposed to do, then, leave this place ?”, Hatari thought.
He sighed deeply, and, standing up, he walked to Pride Rock. He got distracted when he saw a herd of wildebeest wandering nearby. Looking with interest at the big animals, Hatari approached them slowly, crouching down as best as he could.
Mufasa was walking alone, feeling sad about what had happened to Dalasini. He loved her very much, for she was the one who had fed him since the day he was born. Suddenly, Mufasa began listening to restless sounds. Looking at all directions, he noticed that the wildebeest were getting anxious about something, but Mufasa couldn’t see clearly what was bothering them.
Hatari kept approaching. He sensed that the wildebeest were aware of his presence.
“Hmm… dad told Mufasa to hide the tail, and to hold his breath…”, he recalled.
So, the cub lowered his tail and tried to hold his breath. He was determined to hunt a wildebeest alone, or at least, try to hunt one.
“If I can hunt before my brother does, the lionesses will surely like me better…”, Hatari thought.
He was looking for a way of being accepted into the pride, and he thought that if he returned home with a wildebeest in his mouth, his father wouldn’t be angry with him anymore. He kept crouching, advancing slowly step by step. The wildebeests weren’t too afraid of the cub, more than anything, they were annoyed. As Hatari approached more, the wildebeests began hitting the ground with their legs in an alarm signal, and a small cloud of dust raised among their hooves. The dust made Hatari sneeze. Just then, helped by the noise Hatari had made, Mufasa was able to see the small figure of his brother approaching the wildebeest herd slyly. Thembi had warned Mufasa not to go near the wildebeest herds, because if they got scared, they would probably stampede, and that could be very dangerous. Mufasa knew this very well, and he got suddenly frightened for his brother’s life.
“I know dad never warned him about how dangerous stampeding wildebeests can be, he is in real danger !”, Mufasa thought.
Hatari hadn’t realized Mufasa was behind him and continued sneaking upon the wildebeests.
“I must warn him, those wildebeests are becoming very angry !”, Mufasa whispered, and then, taking a deep breath, he shouted, “Hatari !”
Hatari raised his ears and he was about to turn around when the wildebeest herd started running like crazy. Hatari gasped as he saw the whole herd coming his way. The wildebeests had got frightened when they heard the word ‘Hatari’, thinking it meant danger approaching, and, since they were already restless because of the cub’s presence, they started running from one side to another, without caring that Hatari was almost in front of them, ready to be killed by thousands of angry hooves that wouldn’t stop for anything until their owners felt safe again.
“Hatari, run !”, Mufasa shouted again, but it only made the wildebeests more nervous.
Hatari didn’t know where to run, he was surrounded by dust, and he couldn’t see clearly. He started running towards a big rock he saw nearby, but suddenly, he was hit in the face by one wildebeest. Hatari screamed in pain.
“Brother ! Brother !”, Mufasa shouted hysterically, realizing that his brother had just been injured.
Hatari crawled to the rock he had seen, crying and bleeding. The running wildebeests dodged the rock, so, Hatari was safe. Everything was over quickly. The animals disappeared in the distance, leaving only Hatari behind. Mufasa looked for his brother, sneezing because of the dust.
“Hatari ? Hatari, where are you ?”, Mufasa said.
Hatari groaned in reply.
Mufasa turned to where he heard the noise, and saw his brother lying down next to the rock, panting.
“Hatari, what happened to you ? Are you all right ?”, Mufasa asked walking to his brother.
Hatari covered his face with one paw, trying to hide the wound from his brother.
“Hatari…”, Mufasa said, seeing the red stains in his brother’s fur, “You are bleeding !”
Hatari sobbed quietly, still covering his face with his paw.
“Mufasa, I’m in pain…”, Hatari said.
“Let me take a look at that wound…”, Mufasa said.
Slowly, Hatari uncovered his face.
Mufasa gasped. “Brother ! Your eye is hurt !”, he said.
Hatari tried to open it, but the pain was so terrible that he pressed both eyes shut.
“We must go home, maybe dad knows what to do…”
“No !”, Hatari said, “Dad will be angry, I don’t want to be punished…”, he added, still crying.
Mufasa sighed. “Why were you messing with the wildebeests in the first place, Hatari ?”, he asked.
Hatari opened his good eye and looked at Mufasa coldly.
“I wanted to show all of you that I am as smart and strong as you, and that I could hunt a wildebeest alone…”, Hatari said.
Mufasa looked at his brother for an instant. “You are talking nonsense. If you don’t want dad to see you like this, then, you should go to the water hole, so you clean your face and fur…”, Mufasa said.
Hatari nodded and he staggered to his feet. “I feel dizzy…”, the younger cub said.
“Must be the blow you received on the face…”, Mufasa replied.
They started for the water hole. Hatari tripped several times, and his eye was hurting terribly. He was afraid of not being able to see again, and that thought brought new tears to Hatari’s eyes. As he walked to the water hole, he thought on what just happened.
“I was doing quite well… I held my breath, just as dad told Mufasa…”, the cub thought.
Disinterestedly, he saw his brother walking ahead of him. Then, Hatari grimaced.
“Yeah… everything was going perfectly for me until he came and shouted my name… I bet he scared the wildebeests so I couldn’t hunt one of them, I bet he doesn’t want me to be better than him for one time…”, the cub said.
He looked at Mufasa distrustfully.
They kept walking for a few more seconds, until they arrived to the water hole.
“Now wash your face, Hatari, but be careful.”, Mufasa said.
Hatari nodded, and he submerged his face in the cold water. He started cleaning the rest of his fur. Mufasa watched him.
“Hatari, dad will notice something happened to you… it’s still bleeding…”, Mufasa said.
Hatari looked at his reflection I the water. There was a big wound, crossing his left eye.
“Oh, it is very big !”, Hatari gasped.
Mufasa nodded. “And I’m sure it’ll leave a scar.”, he said, looking at the poor cub.
Hatari sighed deeply, and continued cleaning his fur silently, suffering greatly because of the pain, an because of the fear he felt towards his father’s reaction.
“I got into trouble… he’ll sure punish me…”, he said, fearing his father terribly.
“Hurry up… it’s getting late…”, Mufasa said, glancing at Pride Rock once in a while.
“I’m doing as best as I can…”, Hatari replied.
After a few minutes, both cubs started their way to Pride Rock.
Karanga was cleaning her paws when she noticed that Thembi’s cubs were approaching. She didn’t realize that Hatari was hurt, because the cub was walking with his head down. Suddenly, she noticed blood dripping from Hatari’s face. Karanga became alarmed and ran to the cubs.
“Hatari, what happened to you ? You are bleeding, my love !”, she exclaimed.
“Mom !”, Hatari said crying, and hugged Karanga’s leg.
Karanga hugged the cub and looked at Mufasa.
“What happened ? Who hurt him ?”, she asked, sounding annoyed.
“He wanted to hunt a wildebeest, but they started running like crazy and one of them hit him right in the face.”, Mufasa explained.
She looked at Hatari and said, “But, my cub, you knew wildebeests could be dangerous…”
Hatari nodded no. “I didn’t know it, mom…”, he said between sobs.
Karanga kissed the cub, and looking at Mufasa, she said, “Please, Mufasa, go and tell your father what happened, and tell him to come here at once.”
“Yes, Karanga.”, Mufasa replied, and started running to Pride Rock’s cave.
Karanga stayed with Hatari and she tried to clean the cub. He grimaced in pain.
“It hurts !”, he said.
Karanga sighed. “I must clean it to prevent an infection, honey…”, the lioness said, licking smoothly Hatari’s wounded eye.
She looked at Pride Rock, noticing Mufasa had almost arrived to the cave’s entrance.
Mufasa entered the cave and saw his father, still talking with Zazu.
“Dad ! Dad !”, the cub called. Thembi turned around and looked at Mufasa.
“What is it, son ?”, Thembi asked.
“Hatari just had an accident ! Karanga wants you to go with her as soon as possible.”, Mufasa answered.
Thembi remained silent for a few seconds. “An accident, you say ?”, the King asked.
Thembi stood there, thoughtfully. “Maybe he’ll die…”, Thembi thought.
“Karanga’s waiting for you, over there.”, Mufasa said, pointing with his paw to where Karanga and Hatari were.
Thembi shook himself and walked out of the cave.
“I’ll be back soon.”, he told Zazu.
Mufasa followed his father. After a few minutes, he arrived to where his wife and son were.
“What happened ?”, Thembi asked. His face showed clearly no concern at all.
“Your son has been injured by a wildebeest.”, Karanga said.
Thembi looked at the weeping cub. “Let me see the wound.”, he said.
Hatari looked up, and, full of fear, he faced his father.
Thembi tilted his head as he looked at the cub. He could sense the fear Hatari was feeling. Karanga sensed it also, and she hugged the cub lovingly.
“Don’t be afraid, my love. Everything is going to be okay.”, she whispered at Hatari’s ear.
The cub nodded, still looking at Thembi fearfully.
The king sighed. “I guess you were bothering the wildebeests, so you got what you deserved.”, he said coldly.
Karanga pressed her eyes shut for an instant. When she opened them again, she looked straight at Thembi.
“That’s enough !”, she demanded, “Don’t you see your son is suffering ? Can’t you see you are making him miserable with your indifference ?”
Thembi looked at the Queen. “Karanga, we’ve already been through this.”, he said.
She nodded no. “I don’t care ! I won’t stand it anymore !”, she said, raising her tone of voice.
“I thought you had already learned your lesson !”, he roared angrily.
Hatari cowered between Karanga’s paws as he saw his parents fighting.
Karanga lost her patience. “No, I didn’t learn any lesson ! I have learned that you are the most cruel lion around ! That’s what I’ve learned.”, she yelled.
Thembi looked at her sternly, feeling suddenly angry when Karanga insulted him. She didn’t look away.
“You mistreat Hatari and he doesn’t even know why ! How can you do that ? !”, she added.
Thembi looked at the cub, still hidden between Karanga’s legs. The King chuckled.
“So that’s the problem, right ?”, he said, approaching Karanga. “You call me cruel because I have tried to hide the truth from that cub…”, he said.
Karanga stared at him with wide eyes.
Thembi glowered at Hatari. “Well, I won’t be cruel anymore. Today, Hatari will know why I treat him the way I do.”
Karanga gasped. “Don’t you dare !”, she said through clenched teeth.
Hatari looked up and muttered, “Yes, father, please, I want to know why everyone hates me so much…”
Mufasa, who was watching the scene, approached Thembi. He too wanted to know the reason why Thembi disliked the second cub.
“Come here, Hatari.”, Thembi called.
The cub stood up and walked to his father, looking at Karanga as he walked. Hatari was able to see that she was crying.
“Kitok ! Don’t let him do that ! Don’t let him blame Hatari for your death ! You know that’s not true ! Please !”, Karanga prayed as she cried.
Hatari sat down beside Thembi, and looked at him expectantly.
“Listen very well, cub.”, he said, sneering at Hatari.
He pricked his ears.
“Everyone dislikes you because you are a—”
“Thembi, no !”, Karanga interrupted, looking at him pleadingly.
He looked at her, and half-smiled. “You will learn your lesson this time, lioness. This is all for calling me cruel…”, he said, half snarling.
He looked again at Hatari and said in his coldest tone, “You are a murderer.”
Hatari opened his eyes wide and gasped.
Karanga closed her eyes and sobbed when she heard Thembi’s words.
Hatari turned to Karanga, his jaw quivering. “Mom, is it true ?”
“No, it isn’t, honey, it isn’t !”, she said, running to the cub and hugging him protectively.
“Yes, it’s true !”, Thembi roared, “Your mother is dead, and it’s your fault ! You killed her !”, he added.
Mufasa’s jaw was hanging open as he heard his father speaking. “I don’t think my brother was guilty for my mom’s death !”, Mufasa thought.
Hatari felt his eyes watering and he turned to Thembi.
“No ! I didn’t do it ! I didn’t ! I promise !”, he said, crying as he had never done before.
Thembi looked at him sternly, and then, squinting at him, the lion said, “Now, just tell me… why do you think your name is Hatari ? Why do you think the lioness cubs are afraid of you ?”
Hatari opened his mouth to say something, but no sound came.
“Your name is Hatari because it means danger, and you are dangerous ! And the lionesses are afraid of you because they fear you might kill them !”, Thembi shouted, without stopping to think on what he was saying.
The cub began repeating to himself, “I am not a murderer ! I am not a murderer !”
“Yes you are !”, Thembi shouted.
Then he grabbed the cub with one paw by the neck.
“Now listen to me !”, Thembi shouted.
Hatari was too afraid to move a single muscle. He tried to look at his father’s eyes, but he kept looking away instead.
“I’ve learned to accept your existence, cub,”, Thembi said, “But I won’t tolerate that you keep getting into trouble every time, understood ?”
Hatari nodded rapidly.
The king let go the cub and turned to Karanga. “About you…”
She raised her sight and looked at Thembi.
Both lions remained silent for a few seconds, looking at each other.
Thembi approached Karanga and looked at her closely. “I don’t want to see you cry, Karanga. You knew this day would have come sooner or later.”, he said, trying to calm himself.
She looked at the ground, saying softly, “If you had planned to tell Hatari about this, at least you could have been more tactful, after all, you have blamed him for something he didn’t do… Just imagine how the poor cub is feeling right now.”
Thembi looked at Hatari. He was crying uncontrollably. He looked at Karanga again and whispered. “You called me cruel because of not telling him why I hated him. Well, know he knows. And he better stay out of my way, Karanga.”, Thembi said, and he walked away.
Mufasa approached the lioness, and, waiting for his father to be at a safe distance, he asked, “Karanga, this is not true, right ? Surely dad is mistaken.”
Karanga nodded. “Your mother died as soon as Hatari was born, and thus your father thinks Hatari is responsible for her death. Thembi chose that name for your brother because it means danger, and he thinks Hatari is a dangerous cub…”, she explained to Mufasa, who was almost as confused as Hatari.
Mufasa looked at her and asked, “Are you angry with dad ?”
“Yes, my Mufasa, very much.”, she replied, “But I will protect your brother as if he were my son. I am Queen of the Pride Lands now, and I have authority here. I am no longer afraid of Thembi’s punishments…”
Karanga sighed and approached Hatari, who was still crying.
“My son, everything your father has told you is a lie. You don’t have to feel sad…”
Hatari turned to her. “Why didn’t you tell me before ? Why were you hiding it ?!”, Hatari demanded.
“Don’t call me honey !”, Hatari said angrily. “I guess dad’s telling the truth ! Nobody wanted to tell me I was a murderer ! Neither Rafiki, nor Zazu, nor you told me anything about it ! You knew it all the time !”, he said between sobs.
“No, son you don’t understand. Your father _thinks_ you are a murderer, but you aren’t.”
Hatari nodded no. “Then why didn’t you tell me before ?! If I am not a murderer, then what was the point in hiding what my father thought about me ?”, he said.
He stood up and started running.
“Hatari ! Come back here !”, Karanga called.
Hatari only looked at her over his shoulder, and kept running away.
Karanga attempted to follow him, but Mufasa stopped her. “Let him be alone for a while, it will do him good.”, the cub advised.
“But it’s late ! There might be hyenas or leopards around…”, she told Mufasa.
The cub shrugged and looked at the direction Hatari had taken. “I still say he needs to be alone.”
The Queen sighed deeply. “I hope he doesn’t get into trouble.”, Karanga said and started walking.
“Let’s go back to the cave.”, she told Mufasa.
“Poor Hatari, he will suffer a lot now he knows why everyone dislikes him…”, Mufasa said.
He was very confused by what had just happened, but deep inside he knew his brother was not a murderer. Kitok’s death was just part of the Great Circle of Life, as his father had taught him one day. They kept walking until they arrived to Pride Rock. Mufasa’s father was inside the cave, lying down thoughtfully. While Karanga lied down and waited for Hatari to return, Mufasa entered the cavern and walked straight to Thembi.
“Dad ?”, Mufasa called.
Thembi looked at him.
Mufasa could notice that his father had been crying.
“Dad, what’s wrong ?”, Mufasa asked.
Thembi hugged the cub and sighed. “I was recalling your mother, son.”
Mufasa remained silent.
“I loved her so much, and your brother took her away from me…”, he said.
“Dad…”, Mufasa said, “Are you sure he is guilty for mom’s death ? Perhaps it was just an accident…”
Thembi nodded no. “Mufasa, I don’t want to discuss this now. You know why your brother is so rejected now, and I know you will understand me. Hatari has no place here, not as long as I am alive.”
Mufasa knew he shouldn’t disobey his father and said, “I won’t mention Hatari anymore, dad.”, but he added, “But I would like you to understand that he is my brother, and I love him very much.”
Thembi sighed. “I know that son. And I also know Karanga loves him dearly too, but what she needs to understand is that I don’t feel anything alike towards that cub.”
They remained silent, and after a while, the cub fell asleep, comfortable and warm by his father’s side.
Hatari arrived to the water hole. He was a little more calm, but, still, his mind was troubled. He looked at the stars for a while, but he didn’t pay special attention to any of them. He was focused on the problem he had to face now. He still felt pain in his left eye, however, the wound was bleeding no more. He stared at his reflection in the water, with a sad expression on his face, looking at the wound intently. He sighed.
“What dad said must be true… I don’t think he would make up a thing like that just to tease me… This is very serious…”, he thought.
He lied down, sticking his paws into the cold water.
“How would I have killed my own mother ? I don’t even remember her !”, he said out loud.
He closed his eyes and said, “Mom, I am sorry for causing your death, I can swear it was not on purpose, because I can’t even remember planning something so terrible… I wish dad could understand that… I am sorry, mom, I am sorry !”
He started to cry again, when suddenly he heard footsteps approaching. He raised his head an looked at the direction where he had heard the noise. There were the three hyenas he had met recently, but this time, a bigger hyena came with them.
“Hey, mom, look, there’s the lion we told you about before !”, Shenzi said, looking at Hatari.
She noticed the cub’s wound.
“Hey, Hatari, what’s up with the tattoo ?”, Shenzi asked, examining the cub closely.
Hatari sighed. “I got hit by a wildebeest.”
Banzai approached and looked at Hatari also. “Ouch, that gotta hurt !”
“Lots !”, Hatari said, looking at the bigger hyena, who remained nearby, looking after her cubs.
“Is she your mother ?”, Hatari asked.
The hyena cubs nodded.
“Come, I want you to meet her.”, Shenzi said.
Hatari followed the female hyena silently, trying no to think on what Thembi had just told him.
“Mom, this is Hatari, Hatari, this is mom.”, Shenzi said as she introduced her mother to Hatari and vice versa.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”, the hyena said, “My name is Akili.”
Hatari dried the tears with one paw.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too.”, he said.
Akili smiled warmly.
Hatari looked at her and felt suddenly sad. “I am sorry for what my father did to your husband and your cub…”
Akili nodded. “Don’t worry about it, Hatari, I know you didn’t have anything to do with it. I am not angry with you.”
Hatari smiled. This hyena seemed to be nice and understanding.
“Where’s Ed ?”, the lion asked.
“He’s playing over there…” Akili said, pointing to some shrubs nearby.
“Ed ! Come over here !”, she said.
After a few seconds, the cub came to his mother running and laughing maniacally.
“Oh, Ed, I hate when you laugh like that…”, Akili said, kissing the hyena cub.
Then she looked at Hatari again. “What are you doing here at this time of the day ? You could be in danger…”, Akili said.
Hatari sighed. “I… I only came here for a drink…”, the lion cub said, looking away.
Akili looked at him closely. “Hmm, if I am not mistaken, you have been crying, cub.”
Hatari looked at the ground sadly.
The mother hyena approached even more.
“If there’s something I can do to help, just tell me. Shenzi told me you are having trouble with your father, is that true ?”
Akili sat down beside Hatari. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Seeing the lion cub was perturbed, she decided to stop talking about Thembi.
Hatari walked to the water hole and drank some water. As he drank, he watched the three hyena cubs playing with together.
“Come on, Banzai !”, Shenzi shouted.
Banzai pounced on the female and both of them wrestled playfully.
Ed just sat down watching how his litter-mates played. After a few seconds, he also joined the fun. He started fighting with his siblings and he bit their tail hard.
“Ouch ! Stinky, spotted idiot ! Don’t bite so hard Ed !”, Banzai said, trying to bite Ed’s tail too.
“Banzai !”, Akili scolded , “watch your language !”
Hatari sighed again, and looked at Pride Rock.
“I don’t know if I must go back… I am afraid…”, he thought, still looking at Pride Rock.
“Everyone there thinks I am a murderer… maybe I am… I don’t know, I am so confused…”, he thought after licking his left paw for a couple of seconds.
He knew that if he left, he would die from hunger, because he couldn’t hunt yet. He was still dependent from Karanga and the rest of the lionesses who hunted food for the pride.
He turned to Akili and approached her. Hatari looked at her. Maybe she could give some advice to him, after all, she was an adult, and adults had lots of experience with life.
“I don’t know if I must go back…”, Hatari said, sitting down beside Akili.
The hyena looked at him and licked his face. “Listen, cub.”
Hatari looked straight at her. He noticed that ‘hyena kind’ wasn’t ugly at all. They only were different from the other animals he had met.
Smiling, Akili said, “Just remember that if you ever need help, we will always be willing to help you. We don’t make distinctions.”
Hatari nodded slowly, and sighed deeply.
Akili continued, “If you are having trouble where you live, why don’t you try talking with your parents and arrange things ?”
“I have tried. But it doesn’t work.”, the cub replied, holding back tears.
Akili nuzzled Hatari. “Then , why don’t you come with us ?”, she asked.
Hatari looked at her in awe. “Come with you ? Where ? How ?”, he told her.
“Well, you could live with us in the elephant graveyard… My cubs like you, you would have friends there, and I would protect you always…”, she said, feeling really fond of the cub, even though she had just met him.
Hatari thought for a moment. “I don’t know if it would be the correct decision…”, he said.
“Think about it, cub.”, she said, “We will be waiting for you whenever you decide to come with us. But, I trust this won’t be necessary, and all your trouble between you and your family will come to an end very soon.”
“Thank you.”, Hatari said as he nodded slowly, thoughtfully. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard noisy laughter coming from Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.
The three hyena pups came running to their mother’s side.
“Hey, what are ya talkin’ about ?”, Banzai asked as he jumped happily around Akili.
Hatari looked at him and said, “I was just telling to your mother I must go back home now.”
“Aw, leaving so quickly ?”, Shenzi asked, sitting down next to Hatari.
The lion cub nodded. “I suppose Karanga will be worried about me…”, he said.
Akili patted the cub’s head with one paw. “You don’t want to upset the whole pride, now, do you ?”
“One more thing…”, Akili added, looking pleadingly at Hatari, “Please don’t tell your father we are still here… If he finds us, well… you know what will happen to us…”
“I won’t open my mouth ! Promise !”, Hatari said, smiling.
But despite the smile, Akili could notice the cub was still sad and troubled. “Hurry, Hatari, and take care !”, she said.
“I will !”, the cub replied, and started back to Pride Rock.
Shenzi, Banzai and Ed watched him leave. “What do you think is wrong with him, mom ?”, Shenzi asked.
“I don’t know, my daughter. I don’t know. But I have this feeling…”
The cubs looked at their mother expectantly.
“He has a big problem, and he will seek for help soon.”
The hyena pups shrugged and continued playing, while Akili lied down to rest her paws a bit. But she never left her cubs unattended, remaining alert always. She knew she wasn’t supposed to be in Thembi’s territory, but food was getting scarce around the elephant graveyard, and Akili didn’t want her pups to go hungry. There were also several hyenas who felt the same way, but they didn’t dare to trespass on the lion’s lands. However, the situation with Akili was different. She had already lost her husband, and she was determined not to lose her cubs, even if that meant she had to hunt for food inside the lions’ lands. After a few minutes of resting, Akili and her cubs went to hide at their temporal den.
Hatari was still upset when he arrived to Pride Rock. He saw Karanga was still waiting for him. Looking at her sadly, the cub approached. Karanga padded up to him slowly.
“My cub, I have been looking for you… Where were you ?”, she asked, sounding worried.
Hatari sighed. “I was trying to put my mind at ease. I am very confused right now, Karanga.”, he said with uncertainty.
She nodded. “I know, Hatari. What your father told you must be hurting deep inside, am I right ?”, she asked, trying to look in Hatari’s eyes, without achieving it.
“Yes.”, He replied, looking at the cave, where Thembi was supposed to be at that time of the day. “Now that I know why he hates me, I don’t dare to approach him anymore…”, he added after a few seconds of silence.
“Hatari, you need to trust me,”, Karanga said, “You are not a murderer. That’s what your father thinks, but it’s not true.”
Hatari looked at her, with visible indecision. “I don’t know what to think anymore.”, he said, and walked away.
Karanga sighed deeply as she watched the cub leave. “I feel he doesn’t trust me anymore…”, she thought.
Hatari lied down not far from Pride Rock. Looking at the grass disinterestedly, he noticed he was being observed by a bird. It was a stork. The bird watched the cub intently.
“What you looking at ? Scram !”, Hatari said, noticing that the stork was looking at his wound.
“Well,”, the stork said annoyed, “I thought your father had taught you some manners, cub…”
“Yeah, right.”, Hatari replied exasperated, and looked away.
The stork flew away, and told his companions about what he had just seen. “The second son is wounded, and I think he’ll carry a big scar on that eye from this day on…”, it said.
The news of Hatari’s accident spread quite quickly, and soon lots of animals were talking about the lion with the scar.
Timon and Pumbaa were resting under the shade of a tree after eating a big quantity of bugs.
“Now, this is life, my friend !”, Timon said, rubbing his stomach with one hand.
“I agree !”, Pumbaa replied, belching noisily. “Sorry…”, he said after a few seconds.
“Oh, s’okay.”, Timon said, and closed his eyes. He was almost asleep when he heard someone calling his name.
“Timon, Timon…”, a female voice said.
Timon got up quickly, as Pumbaa also did. They looked at all directions, trying to locate where the sound was coming.
“I think it came from over there…”, Timon said pointing with his hand nervously.
“I wonder who can be looking for you… you said your colony would ignore you always…”, the warthog whispered.
“Yeah, I also thought they would leave me alone, but I guess I was mistaken…”, he whispered back.
Both animals chuckled and walked to where they had heard the noise. Timon was startled when he saw a female meerkat standing on her two hind legs, searching for him.
“I am here. What do you want ?”, he said, without recognizing her.
The female meerkat turned to him and smiled. “Oh, I thought I would have deserved a nicer greeting…”, she said.
Timon looked at her closely, and he recognized her. “Kimya ?”, he asked with a tone of uncertainty in his voice.
She nodded. “I was hoping you hadn’t forgotten me…”, she said was she walked nearer.
Timon was feeling very confused. He had never expected to see her again. Neither had Kimya. She was so happy to see Timon again that she could hardly hide it inside her heart. She still loved him, very much. Pumbaa sat down a few paces away, watching everything with curiosity.
“Why are you here ? What brought you to this place ?”, Timon asked as he sat down next to Kimya.
She sat beside him and looked at the ground sadly. “Someone had to look for you, because there is an announcement we had to give to you. And I offered to do it.”, she said in a very low tone of voice.
Timon looked at her wonderingly. “An announcement ? To me ? What is this all about ?”, he asked.
Kimya remained silent.
Timon grabbed her arm, making her shudder, and said, full of curiosity, “Please, Kimya, give, give, give !!”
Kimya looked at him for an instant. “Timon,”, she said, “these aren’t good news…”
Timon, still grabbing Kimya’s arm, replied, “No good news ? What do you mean ? Is everything okay ?”
She looked at his eyes and said solemnly, “Your mother is dead, Timon.”
Timon gasped. He let go Kimya’s arm slowly and fixed his gaze on Pumbaa. He tried to understand what was happening, but he felt so confused all of a sudden. “Ma’s dead…”, he told the warthog.
Pumbaa’s eyes opened wide as he heard his best friend’s words. He approached Timon and nuzzled him with his snout.
“Oh, Timon, I am so sorry…”, Pumbaa said.
Timon remained silent, as if he couldn’t believe what his ears had just heard.
“But—what happened to her ? I mean… she was so strong and everything…”, Timon said, looking at Kimya again.
She sighed. “She was looking for food, and she never returned.” Looking at Timon lovingly, she added, “Timon, I am so sorry… I hated to tell you this…”
Timon looked at her. He could see her eyes were shining with tears. Timon sighed deeply.
“I never visited her again since I left the colony ! Now I will never see her again ! I feel so… so…”, Timon collapsed in tears and, without thinking, he hugged Kimya desperately, almost clinging to her neck. She felt terrible when she saw Timon crying, full of pain and regret.
“Oh, Timon !”, she told the meerkat, “Cry no more, I am here, with you, …”, she said as she hugged him back and closed her eyes.
Timon hugged her tighter as he said, “Thanks, Kimya, you are so kind…”
They stood there, hugging each other. Pumbaa looked at his friend sadly, but, seeing Timon counted with Kimya’s support, the warthog decided to leave them alone for a few minutes. Pumbaa walked away quietly, leaving the two meerkats behind.
After a few minutes, Timon calmed down, and, slowly, he released Kimya from his embrace. Cleaning his nose with an arm, he looked at her.
“Kimya, and you came all this way just to tell me this ? You could have been in danger… you are far away from the colony…”, Timon said.
Kimya smiled. “Well, somebody would have told you anyway, I preferred to do it myself…”, she replied.
They remained silent for a few minutes, until Kimya started speaking again.
“Timon, have you ever thought of coming back to the colony ?”, she asked as she played with her hands shyly.
Timon looked at her for an instant. “Not really.”, he answered. “I have had a great time here… I don’t think it would be cool returning to that place…”
Kimya sighed. “We missed you when you left… everything was so calm after that !”, she said chuckling, trying to distract Timon for a while.
He smiled. “Aw, c’mon ! I didn’t cause too much trouble, did I ?”, he said, trying his best to leave aside the sorrow his mother’s death was causing him.
Kimya grinned. “Well… you were always scaring the meerkats, you know, telling them an enemy was approaching or stuff like that…”, she said, recalling the times when she and Timon had spent time playing together.
Timon chuckled. “You were in that too ! You won’t blame me now !”, he said.
Both meerkats laughed, and, after a few seconds, Kimya said, “Wouldn’t you like to come back now ? Are you sure you feel really happy here ?”
Timon nodded. “I am completely sure, Kimya.”, he said, and added, “Besides, I am not supposed to go back, you know the colony won’t recognize me…”
“There is a way for them to recognize you.”, she said, looking at her tail nervously.
“Oh, there is ?”, Timon asked in awe.
Kimya nodded. “You could go back if you married one of the female meerkats of the colony…”, she said, looking away shyly.
Timon remained silent for a few seconds. “M-marry ?”, he stuttered.
She nodded. “They will have to accept you, whether they want it or not…”
Timon looked confused. “But I don’t want to go back… and if going back means I’ll have to get married, believe me, I’ll stay here the rest of my existence !!”, he said.
Kimya smiled inwardly. “He is still so immature…”, she thought. Looking at Timon, she said, “So, you are staying here, right ?”
“Right.”, Timon replied. “Besides, whom would I marry ? No one likes me there…”, he said.
Kimya smiled, looking straight at Timon. “_No one_ likes you?” She turned around and started walking away. “You must have your eyes checked, because there is someone who loves you with all her heart… and you haven’t even noticed her…”, she said, looking over her shoulder coyly.
Timon swallowed. “Kimya !”, he whispered.
The female meerkat sighed. “You know the way back home, Timon. If you ever want to go back, I’ll be there, waiting for you, always.” She walked away.
Timon felt as if he had been bewitched by a deadly spell. At first he thought of following her, and ask her the many questions that were coming to his mind in just a matter of seconds. Then he thought about Pumbaa.
“No, they wouldn’t accept my buddy on the colony…”, he thought. He was still undecided about what he should do, when he heard Pumbaa approaching. Timon looked at the warthog and climbed to the top of his head.
“Feeling better, Timon ?”, Pumbaa asked, worried for his friend’s feelings.
“Yeah, I guess…”, Timon replied thoughtfully. After a few seconds, he decided to ask Pumbaa for advice.
“Hey, Pumbaa…”, Timon said.
“Yes ? what is it, Timon ?”, Pumbaa replied.
“Well…”, Timon said, not knowing how to get started, “If you ever had the opportunity of returning to your home, would you go back ?”
Pumbaa thought for a minute. “I don’t think so, they wouldn’t accept me anyway… There is no use on returning there…”
Timon nodded slowly. “But—Suppose that you can be accepted again, _if_ you married a female warthog for instance…”, he added.
Pumbaa looked at Timon and blinked twice. “Are you trying to tell me that you will marry that meerkat and return to your place ? ?”, Pumbaa asked a bit nervously.
Timon nodded no. “Cool down, Pumbaa. Going back means I’ll lose my best friend, and I surely don’t want that…”
Pumbaa sighed in relief. “Then why did you ask ?”, he said.
“I was just curious… That’s all.”, Timon replied. He didn’t want to tell Pumbaa that he had thought, only for an instant, on returning to where his colony, specially Kimya, were.
“Who was that meerkat?”, Pumbaa asked after a few seconds.
“She was one of my best friends when I lived with the colony. She is cool…”, Timon replied, recalling how much Kimya had changed with the time that had passed, turning beautiful and slender.
Pumbaa remained silent for a second. “Timon, are you sure you don’t want to go back ? I wouldn’t mind, if that means you will be happy…”
Timon looked at Pumbaa, and hugged one of the warthog’s legs. Pumbaa hugged him back.
“You are my bestest best friend, Pumbaa !”, Timon said, “I am not going back.”
“It’s all right, friend.”, Pumbaa said.
After a few minutes, both animals went to sleep. Still, inside Timon’s mind, was Kimya. The female meerkat had impressed Timon very much, but, he was too used to a life without responsibilities, that he thought it would be better to leave things just like they were. Besides, he was afraid to admit that he was falling in love.
Hatari woke up. He had fallen asleep several minutes after the stork that had been staring at him flew away. The lion cub rubbed his eyes to make his vision clearer. When he rubbed his left eye, he whined. It hurt terribly. He tried to open it, but it remained half closed. The cub found difficult to maintain his eye open. With the help of his right eye, Hatari noticed that three other animals were nearby, looking at him without discretion. When they saw the cub was awake, the animals, which turned out to be male cheetahs, began muttering and mumbling things, which Hatari tried to hear, but he couldn’t. The cub looked from one animal to another, wondering what was going on.
“What’s wrong ? What are you looking at ? !”, he asked, noticing that the looks were fixed on his left side.
The three cheetahs looked at each other. They saw an opportunity for bullying and teasing the young lion, and grinned maliciously.
The youngest cheetah asked, “What happened to you ? Is it true all that stampede thing we have been hearing about ?”
Hatari gasped. He didn’t know what to say. He felt ashamed, and he thought that all the animals had been already told that his hunt attempt had been a failure and had ended in disaster.
“Come on, cub, we want to know !”, another cheetah said, moving his tail from side to side expectantly.
Hatari began shaking nervously, and he didn’t pronounce a word.
The cheetahs, who were youngsters, but months older than Hatari, started teasing the cub, knowing he was too young to harm them.
“Hey, don’t tell me that besides losing the eye you also lost your tongue !”, the oldest one taunted. The other two laughed at the cruel joke.
“I didn’t lost the eye ! I can still see through it very well !”, Hatari said, becoming angry, “and even if I only could see with one eye, it wouldn’t be hard to notice that you three are nothing but stinky spotted idiots !”, he said, recalling the words Banzai told Ed when he bit his brother’s tail.
“Oh, yeah ?”, the oldest one asked, becoming angrier than Hatari, “Then, can you tell me how many red spots you’ve got in your fur ?”
The one in the middle, knowing what the oldest one was up to, got suddenly nervous. “Come on, brother, I think we should go before we get into trouble… what if the King comes around ?..”
The oldest cheetah looked at his brother for a while, but ignored him.
“So, cub, if you can see okay, how many red spots you have ?”, he asked again, approaching Hatari menacingly.
Hatari started wrinkling his little nose aggressively. “I don’t have a single red spot in my pelt !”
Just then, the cheetah hit Hatari hard on the ribs, drawing blood with his claws. Hatari shrieked. The rest of the cheetahs walked a few paces away, fearing that the King would appear at any minute.
The oldest one chuckled satisfied. “Count again, cub. Now I see -with two eyes- who is the spotted idiot here, who doesn’t even know how to count how many spots it has on its pelt!”, he said glaring at Hatari as he humiliated the lion cub.
Hatari was lying on the floor, breathing rapidly. He didn’t say anything, feeling afraid at the thought of being hit again.
The cheetah sighed. “Come on, brothers, let’s go.”, and, looking at Hatari over his shoulder, he added, “This scarred thing won’t call us idiots anymore.”
“I am not a scarred thing ! !”, Hatari muttered, closing his eyes tightly.
The cheetahs walked away, calling Hatari by hurtful names that, fortunately, he wasn’t able to hear.
Slowly, the cub stood up and walked back to Pride Rock, feeling a little pain on his ribs, but nothing to worry about. When he arrived, he saw that the lionesses were gathering around Karanga. The cub sighed as he approached, wondering what was going on between them.
“Karanga, let me tell you, I agree with your mother.”, Anasa said, looking at the Queen fixedly.
Karanga sighed nervously. “Oh, girls, are you sure about this ? ?”, she asked.
Most of them nodded. Kuuliza said, “My girl, I am completely sure about it. You have all the symptoms, and you are putting on weight. That is not normal for a healthy lioness like you.”
Karanga sighed again. “Oh… I never thought I would have my own cub one day…”, she said, smiling. She had started to fear she wasn’t able to give a son to Thembi.
Sita licked the Queen’s face happily. “Congratulations ! You will be a mother ! !”
Huria purred in content. “You will make a great one, that’s for sure !”
Just then, Hatari approached and sat down beside Karanga shyly. The lionesses hushed immediately, feeling pity for the cub. Karanga kissed him carefully, trying not to cause any pain to Hatari.
“Your face is swollen, my dear. I bet Rafiki can help with this…”, she said as she stood up, stretching herself.
She nuzzled Hatari and told him, “Come on, we will look for him at his tree…”
Hatari nodded and followed Karanga. The Queen stopped for a second and told the lionesses, “Please, don’t tell anything to Thembi, I want to tell him when it is the proper time…”
The lionesses agreed, and started talking about other things, being Hatari’s wound the main topic.
When they were a few paces away, Hatari asked Karanga, “Mom, what is this you want to tell my father ?”
Karanga smiled broadly and answered, “Hatari, I am expecting.”
Hatari looked confused and stopped walking. “You are expecting what ? What do you mean ?”, he asked, tilting his head a little as he looked at the lioness.
Karanga motioned him to keep walking. Once he had caught up with her pace again, she said, “Listen, Hatari… I am going to have a son. It will be your younger brother or sister.”
Hatari seemed to understand the situation now. His ears laid back with sadness. “Oh… so, you won’t love me anymore, cause you’ll be busy with your new cub…”, he said sadly.
Karanga nodded no. “No, silly ! I will always love you ! You are my special cub, you know it.”
Hatari shrugged and kept walking in silence until they arrived to Rafiki’s tree.
“Rafiki …”, Karanga called.
In a matter of seconds, the tree began shaking and, from some branches, the baboon dropped out and landed in front of the queen and her adoptive son.
“Hey, it is always great to have visitors !”, Rafiki said chuckling, but he stopped laughing when he saw Hatari’s swollen face. His left eyeball was hardly visible.
“Oh, by the stars !”, he exclaimed, “What happened ?”
Karanga explained to Rafiki all about the wildebeest stampede while Hatari held his face down in shame.
“Oh,”, Rafiki thought, “so this is what the gazelles were talking about this afternoon…”
“Look at me, Hatari.”, Rafiki said.
The cub looked up and Rafiki examined him. Looking carefully at the eye, he saw it wasn’t damaged. The baboon climbed his tree quickly. Karanga and Hatari could heard noises coming from the inside of the branches, and after a few seconds, Rafiki came down with a gourd full of water and started cleaning the cub’s eye. Hatari grunted as Rafiki did his job.
“I know it hurts, cub, but we must prevent it from getting infected.”, Rafiki said.
Hatari remained silent, complaining a little once in a while. Karanga looked at the cub closely, and just then, she noticed the claw marks Hatari had on his side.
“Hatari ! What happened to you ! You didn’t have those marks when the stampede occurred !”
Rafiki heard Karanga’s comment and looked at the cub’s right side. “Hmm… looks like you have being hit by someone…”, he said, while he continued cleaning the eye.
Hatari remained silent.
“Hatari, tell me. Who did this to you ? Was it… your father ?”, Karanga asked, fearing that Thembi had hurt the poor cub.
Hatari sighed deeply. “No, it wasn’t him. Some cheetahs were bothering me, and one of them hit me. But it doesn’t hurt anyway.”, he said, recalling he had been called ‘scarred thing’, words who had hurt him even more than the blow on the ribs.
“Oh, my cub !”, she said, licking the small wounds at the side and wiping the dust away from them.
Hatari chuckled slightly and wiggled for an instant. “Mom, you tickle me…”, he said, the chuckling fading almost instantly and with a serious tone in his voice again.
“Don’t move, Hatari…”, Rafiki said, still working on the eye.
He cleaned it some more, and then blew on it so the water would dry. Hatari squinted. After a few seconds, Rafiki stopped blowing and patted Hatari between the ears.
“Karanga, he mustn’t get dirty… Try to keep that eye as clean as possible.”, Rafiki said.
She nodded. “What about his swollen face ?”
Rafiki looked at the cub again. “It’s because of the kick he received. It will be back to normal in a few days.”
“Well, thanks Rafiki.”, the Queen said and nuzzled Rafiki under the chin.
Rafiki chuckled. “Oh, it’s nothing… Remember, if you see the wound is not healing, come and see me again… we will see what we can do…”
Karanga nodded and started walking away, followed by Hatari, who felt very depressed. Rafiki could sense this.
“Hatari…”, the baboon called.
The lion turned to him. “Yes ?”
“Come here, I want to tell you a secret…”
Karanga looked at the cub as he approached Rafiki again. She smiled, hoping Rafiki could cheer Hatari up.
“Listen…”, Hatari said, “ The tortoise shell talked to me this morning…”
“Oh, yeah ? And what did it say ?”, Hatari asked with little enthusiasm.
“Well… it told me that you were going to be a very smart lion when you grew up.”
Hatari looked at Rafiki in awe. “Really ? ? It told you so ?”
“Exactly.”, Rafiki replied, and kissed the cub in the head. “Now, you don’t worry about this wound because it won’t get any worse.”, Rafiki added, mistaking Hatari’s depression as if it were only because of the wound; Rafiki didn’t know that Hatari already knew his father thought the cub was a murderer.
Hatari nodded sadly. “I won’t worry about the wound anymore. Though I don’t like the idea of being a scarred thing for the rest of my life…”, he muttered.
Rafiki, with his excellent hearing, understood the cub’s words. “Now, who told you that you were a scarred thing ?”, he asked, feeling annoyed.
Hatari sighed. “The cheetahs… I wanna go back home, I am tired.”, he answered, not wanting to explain the whole cheetah story to the baboon.
Rafiki nodded. “All right, Hatari, but, don’t ever say that again, you are not a scarred thing. You are a very beautiful lion, with a great and kind heart. You are not a thing, my little one, you are worth a star.”
Hatari smiled at Rafiki’s words. “Thanks, Rafiki.”, the cub said, licking rapidly Rafiki’s leg, and returned to Karanga’s side.
Both lions walked away and Rafiki climbed his tree again. He felt a little disturbed by what Hatari had told him a few minutes ago.
“Scarred thing…”, he repeated to himself, “This sounds like what the shell told me this morning…”
He hadn’t lied to Hatari. The shell had told him that Hatari would be very smart, but it also had told that the lion would be very hurt by the attitude of the rest of the animals towards him, and that could drive him to take the wrong choices even if he was smart.
“If the rest of the animals treat Hatari the way those cheetahs did, no way he will be hurt !”, Rafiki thought.
Hatari and Karanga arrived to Pride Rock. Thembi was sitting at the promontory, looking at the stars thoughtfully. Karanga sighed. She knew Thembi was upset with her, because of the things she had told him when he told Hatari that he was a murderer, but still, she wanted to tell him that she was expecting a cub.
“Honey”, she told Hatari, “I need to talk to your father. Why don’t you go inside the cave and get some sleep ?”
Hatari nodded. He entered the cave while Karanga made her way up to the promontory. Hatari lied down in a corner of the cave and while he fell asleep, he shed a few tears of pain and sadness. Soon he couldn’t hear Karanga’s and Thembi’s voice anymore as he got lost inside the world of dreams.
Karanga sat beside Thembi and looked at him intently. His severe expression didn’t change. He looked at her with the corner of his eyes, not moving a single muscle.
“What is it ?”, he asked sternly.
She sighed. “I know you are still upset with me because of the things I told you, Thembi, but—”
“What did you expect ?”, he interrupted, “First you defend that cub, then you call me cruel—”
“Thembi, listen to me for once !”, she said.
The lion fixed his gaze on the horizon, pricking his ears. “Okay, what do you have to say ?”, he said.
Without hesitating, she replied, “I will give you a son. I am expecting.”
Thembi’s jaw dropped and he lost all his severity and sternness all at once. “You ? A son ? My son ?”, he asked looking at Karanga in amazement.
She was surprised by his reaction. “Well… yes… I have been feeling strange for the last few weeks, and, look,”, she said pointing to her abdomen, “it is getting bigger…”
Thembi looked at her and nodded. “Yes… I didn’t notice it before…”
She smiled. “So, did you like the good news ?”
“Sure I did !”, he exclaimed smiling.
Oh, how Karanga loved to see him smile ! “I am glad you are happy, Thembi, it makes me even happier.”
Thembi felt so full of happiness and excitement, that he looked at Karanga and, without warning, he kissed her. Karanga was startled for a second, but then, he kissed him back. All the trouble she was having with Thembi because of Hatari was forgotten for a moment, and she let her head rest on Thembi’s mane, purring softly and whispering words of love. Thembi purred back and nuzzled Karanga lovingly. Both lions remained like that for several minutes, closing their eyes and imagining how the new cub would look like.
A few months went by. Karanga would soon give birth to her cub or cubs, and all the pride was very excited about this. Mufasa was turning into a handsome adolescent lion, and he had begun to show the first signs of a golden-brown mane growing. Sarabi and Sarafina were very fond of Mufasa, specially Sarabi. She and Mufasa spent lots of time together, they went for walks, they looked at the stars at night and they shared some secrets they wouldn’t dare to tell anyone else. Sarafina also spent time with Mufasa, but not like Sarabi. Still, the lion and the two lionesses got along well and enjoyed each other’s company.
Of Anasa’s cubs, only Mahali had survived. But she promised to be a great huntress. She invented her own games where she could exercise and play at the same time. She sometimes played with Mufasa and the other lionesses, however, she never dared to approach Hatari. Thembi had told her also about Kitok’s death and how Hatari was ‘involved’ in it. The lioness cub was afraid that Hatari could harm her. Mahali was waiting anxiously for Karanga’s cubs to arrive, knowing she would soon have pride-mates to play with.
As for Hatari, he was living a very difficult life. Some animals bullied and teased him because of the scar that was left after that terrible wound. The animals, instead of calling him ‘the one with the scar’ as they had been doing so for several days, they changed the nickname to ‘Scar’, which was obviously shorter, and seemed to suit the lion just fine. Hatari hated this nickname with all his heart, but he was starting to get used to it, because, even the members of his father’s pride had started to call him like that.
Hatari was sharpening his claws against a log when he caught a scent. A scent he knew very well. He sniffed the air until he found where the scent was coming from, and, slyly, he disappeared behind some bushes, looking behind now and then to make sure he wasn’t being followed. After a couple of minutes, he arrived to where he had detected the scent. There were Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, thirsty and hungry.
“Hey, you shouldn’t be around here ! My father is nearby, you could get in trouble !”, Hatari whispered.
The hyenas looked at each other. Finally Banzai spoke. “We’re damn hungry !”, he said, knowing his mother wasn’t nearby and she wouldn’t tell him to watch his language.
Shenzi added, “Yes… We haven’t eaten in several days…”
Hatari looked at them, trying to think of something.
“Come on, Hatari, we know you lions have got lotsa food… Why don’tcha bring us some, pal ?”, Banzai asked.
Shenzi nodded in agreement while Ed laughed happily just at the thought of food.
Hatari thought for a moment. Sighing, he said, “Well, I’ll see what I can do…”, the lion said.
“Great !”, Banzai shouted, but hushed immediately when he saw Hatari motioning for him to shut up.
“You mustn’t stay here, my father is checking the boundaries and he might find you…”
“Where do we meet then ?”, Shenzi asked.
After a second or two, Hatari replied, “I’ll go to the borders of the graveyard. Just be sure that none of your friends try to eat me !”
Banzai chuckled. “You bet !”, he said, and, without warning, he jumped over Hatari, making him lose his balance and fall down to the ground.
“Banzai !”, Hatari said from under the hyena’s body, “Let me up now !”
Banzai and Shenzi laughed hysterically. “We are still stronger than you, weak lion !”, Banzai said playfully as he bit Hatari’s ears and tail.
Hatari growled and snarled as he tried to stand up, but Banzai’s weight didn’t let him do it. “Come on, Banzai ! Or I won’t give you any food at all !”
The hyena moved quickly and sat down a few paces away from Hatari, letting the lion free.
“That’s more like it !”, Hatari said as he shook himself. Dust and grass flew from the lion’s body. “Well, see you near the graveyard, then.”
The hyenas nodded and left the place quickly, feeling a little nervous knowing Thembi was around.
Hatari started walking back to the rock when he saw his father in the distance, marking his boundaries and checking now and then that there weren’t intruders around. He sighed and continued walking when he heard his father calling him.
“Hey, you !”, Thembi shouted.
Hatari pricked his ears and looked at Thembi with indecision. “Who, me ?”, he asked with uncertainty.
“Yeah, you ! Who else did you think I was calling?”, he replied bitterly.
Hatari walked to where his father was, feeling a little afraid. Again, when he approached him, Thembi could sense his son’s fear. It made him glad.
“What is it, father ?”, Hatari asked shyly.
“Are you going to the rock now ?”, Thembi asked as he sniffed the grass around him, without looking at his son.
“Yes.”, Hatari replied, tilting his head a little with curiosity.
“When you get there, tell Mufasa to come here. It is important that he—” Thembi suddenly interrupted himself. He sniffed repeatedly, because he had found a strange scent in the air.
“What is it ?”, Hatari asked, sniffing too.
“Hmm… I could swear I smelled something…”, Thembi muttered to himself. He continued sniffing until he placed his sight on Hatari. He sniffed harder and noticed that the smell was back.
Hatari shrugged and started walking away when Thembi suddenly growled in anger.
“I think I know where that smell is coming from…”, he said, and approached Hatari slowly.
The smaller lion shuddered. “Wh- where is it coming from ?”, he asked nervously.
Thembi approached his son even more, until he was only a few inches away from him. He lowered his nose and started sniffing Hatari. “The smell comes from you !”, Thembi roared angrily.
“What do you mean ? What smell ?”, Hatari asked, feeling very scared.
“You have been with hyenas ! ! You smell like them !”, Thembi shouted.
Hatari recalled he had been playing with Banzai and his odor must have stuck to his fur.
“Well, I—- no…” Hatari didn’t know what to say, he felt very confused.
“What in the world were you doing with hyenas ?!”, Thembi shouted again, looking at the cub in anger.
“Dad… I mean, father, we were just playing…” Hatari explained.
“Playing ?? Just playing ? Lions DO NOT play with hyenas !!!”, Thembi roared.
“But… they’re my friends ! They like me, they wouldn’t hurt me…”, Hatari said.
“I don’t care if they are your friends or not ! Lions aren’t even supposed to speak to hyenas !! They are inferior to us !”, Thembi snarled, looking away and staring angrily at the horizon.
“I am sorry, father… It won’t happen again.”, Hatari said, feeling his father was not being fair.
“Get out of here, and remember to tell Mufasa to come.”, Thembi said coldly.
Hatari nodded silently and walked away. “I don’t care about what he thinks this time, the hyenas are my only friends, and I won’t lose them !”, he thought as he returned to Pride Rock. He heard Thembi shouting in the distance.
“And you better take a bath ! I don’t want you to smell like a hyena if you plan on sleeping inside my cave !”
“Yes, sir.”, Hatari replied sadly and kept walking silently.
Hatari arrived to Pride Rock, and seeing Mufasa was nearby, he walked to him. His older brother was talking with Sarabi. She seemed to be enjoying Mufasa’s company greatly, and when she saw Hatari approaching, she couldn’t hide a grimace of disappointment.
“Hey, Mufasa, dad wants to see you. He’s over there.”, Hatari told his brother, pointing with his paw at the direction Thembi was.
“Oh, must I go now ? I was talking to Sarabi…”, Mufasa whispered.
“I am afraid you have to go. He mentioned it was important or something like that…”, Hatari replied.
Mufasa exhaled. “Uh, well… okay.”, he said exasperated. Then he turned to Sarabi. “I have to go now, my dad’s calling me.”, Mufasa told the lioness.
“It’s okay, we can talk later.”, she replied, smiling understandingly.
Mufasa smiled back and winked at her. She winked too. The lion walked away on the direction Hatari had told him.
Sarabi sighed as Mufasa disappeared, and then she lied down, closing her eyes, purring happily. Hatari looked at her. She felt she was being observed and opened her eyes, finding Hatari just in front of her, looking intently at her.
“Uh, do you need something ?”, she asked, a little annoyed by his presence.
Hatari nodded no. “I was just… well, I hadn’t noticed how pretty you were, that’s all.”, he replied shyly, admiring the lioness’ features.
She felt uncomfortable when she heard Hatari’s comment. “Well, huh, thanks.”, she said, and looked away.
Hatari sat down and cleared his throat. “Uh, Sarabi… haven’t you noticed something ?”, he asked timidly.
She turned to him, and fixed her gaze on his left side. “The scar’s just the same.”, she replied coldly.
Hatari’s whiskers drooped. “No… I am not talking about the scar…”, he said.
She looked at him, and noticed his mane was growing also. “Oh… you’re getting a mane…”, she said with no enthusiasm at all.
“Yes,”, he said proudly, “and it seems it will be black, like my father’s…”, he added.
She nodded disinterestedly, and she yawned. “I am going to get some sleep.”, she said, and walked away, lying down under the shade of a small tree.
Hatari saw her leave and sighed. “She never talks to me ! Why in the world I try to talk to her then if I know what will happen ?”, he said, walking away, feeling angry with Sarabi and with himself.
He got straight into the cave, and the first thing that met his eyes were the remains of a gazelle the lionesses had hunted a few days ago. There was still some meat in several bones. Looking around and making sure no one was nearby, Hatari grabbed one of the bones and dragged it out of the cave. He headed straight to the northern border. Feeling angry by Sarabi’s attitude, he also felt as if rebelling to his father’s authority. He didn’t care about what Thembi had said about hyenas. He would help them even if his father had forbidden it.
As Hatari walked to the elephant graveyard, he always looked back just to make sure he was not being followed by a lioness or by Thembi.
“No one comes behind me.”, he said softly. But he was mistaken. Zazu had seen that Hatari had grabbed a bone and was taking it away from Pride Rock. The bird was intrigued by Hatari’s actions and followed the lion closely, by air. Hatari never noticed that and continued walking. After several minutes, the lion arrived to the border of the elephant graveyard. Shenzi, Banzai and Ed were already waiting for him.
“We thought you weren’t coming, Hatari !”, Shenzi said as she shook herself.
Banzai stretched himself. “Yeah, pal. We’re starving here, why did you take so long ?”, he asked.
Ed laughed a little and drooled as he saw the gazelle’s leg Hatari had brought with him.
“Sorry friends, I had a little trouble with… him.”, Hatari replied, referring to his father.
Zazu gasped when he heard this. He was very amazed to see that Hatari had made friends with the hyenas.
“Oh,”, Zazu thought, “What will the King say about this ?” He continued listening to the conversation between the lion and the hyena pups.
“So,”, Banzai said talking with his mouth full, “what was that you mentioned about having trouble with the old one ?”
Hatari turned his face away, feeling a little disgusted by Banzai’s manners when he ate, and replied bitterly, “The old one, as you call him, has forbidden me to see you again.”
“What ?” , Shenzi and Banzai said in unison, and then looked at each other puzzled.
“That’s it. He ordered me never to get near you again.”, Hatari said.
Shenzi seemed very annoyed by this comment. “I always thought you were kinda stupid !”, she shouted to Hatari, and added, “But why the heck did you tell him WE were your friends ? ? That was the stupidest thing to do !”
Hatari looked at Shenzi, a little amazed by her reaction, but his amazement turned into anger very quickly. “I didn’t tell him anything ! It was your stinky body odor the one that told my father I had been with you !”, he shouted back, pulling his claws out.
“Stinky ? Ha !”, Banzai said, “Look who is the one who stinks around here…”, he said, sniffing Hatari and making a grimace of disgust.
Hatari got angrier and, grabbing the gazelle’s leg, he started walking away.
“No, no, wait !”, Shenzi shouted as she watched how their meal disappeared.
Hatari turned around with the leg still in his mouth. After a while, he dropped it on the ground. The hyenas ran to it and started eating again before Hatari changed his mind.
After a while, Shenzi asked, “So, what is wrong with our odor ? How did your father noticed you had been with us ?”
Hatari cleared his throat and replied without looking at the female, “Remember Banzai had pounced on me ?, Well, his body odor stuck to my fur, and my father noticed it when I approached him.”
“Oh.”, she said as she munched another piece of meat.
They continued eating, while Ed coughed once in a while, choking sometimes by eating very big pieces of meat and trying to swallow without chewing them. That was the way he always ate.
When they finished eating, Banzai said, “So, I ain’t gonna be able to play with you anymore ? Because my odor will stick to your ‘royal’ fur ?”, he asked sarcastically.
Hatari sighed. “I guess I will have to take a bath every time I come to see you.”, he replied.
Banzai grinned. “Well, prepare yourself for a bath, my buddy, cause, I challenge you to a wrestling match !”, he said as he jumped on Hatari. The lion lost his balance and fell to the ground.
“Banzai, stop it !”, Hatari said laughing as he played with the male hyena.
Shenzi sat down a few paces away and watched the match cheering her brother. “Way to go, Banzai !! Rip his throat ! Bite his tail !”, she shouted happily.
Ed hadn’t paid attention to his brother’s game and started walking from one side to another aimlessly. He started tracing a strange scent, and, lifting his head to see where it came from, he came face to face with Zazu.
Ed started laughing hysterically. Banzai and Shenzi, who knew their brother’s language very well and knew that this time his laughter was full of alarm and concern, turned to see what was bothering the oldest hyena, and when they saw Zazu, standing there with a stern face, the three hyenas froze immediately. Hatari stood up quickly, wondering what was disturbing the hyena’s calm, and he met Zazu’s stern and worried gaze.
“Master Hatari ! This is intolerable !”, the bird said with an indignant tone in his voice.
“Zazu !”, Hatari exclaimed, very confused by the bird’s presence. “What… what are you doing here ?”, the lion asked.
“That’s the same thing I would like to know !”, he said, glancing at the hyenas with disgust.
“Well… I was just playing with my friends… I was not doing anything wrong !”, Hatari explained.
Zazu looked at him and said, “Your father will be very angry when he finds out you have disobeyed him and that you came to see the hyenas even when he had told you not to do so.”
Hatari felt suddenly afraid, just to think of his father’s reaction. “Please, Zazu, don’t tell him anything ! Please !”, He begged.
Zazu sighed. “Hatari, I can’t hide something like this.”
Hatari growled. He was thinking of a plan, and, suddenly, he came up with an idea. “Hey, Zazu,”, he said, trying to look as if he were sorry for what he had done, “I know what we will do. I will never ever see the hyenas again, and you won’t have the need to tell my father anything. What do you think ?”
The hyenas looked at Hatari with angry faces, feeling betrayed, but then they saw that Hatari gave a quick wink at them. The hyenas looked at each other and giggled, now understanding that Hatari didn’t mean what he had said.
Zazu didn’t notice the lion winking, so he said, “I think it is a good idea. But if I see you with the hyenas again, I will tell your father. Understood ?”
“Yes, sir !”, Hatari replied.
Zazu sighed. “I wish you never had messed with hyenas in the first place, but I hope you won’t see them anymore.”
“I won’t, Zazu, just don’t tell my father about this, you know he will kill me.”, Hatari replied.
Zazu nodded and started flying. “Come on, Hatari, let’s go back home, but, first, you take a bath. You do smell like a hyena.”, he said with disgust.
“Zazu,”, Hatari said, “just let me say good bye. After all, they were my friends…”
Zazu hesitated for a moment. “Okay, Hatari, but please, do hurry up. It’s getting late and we’re far away from home…”
Hatari approached the hyenas and whispered, “Don’t worry, I’ll visit you, somehow.”
Shenzi whispered back, “You know, Hatari ? We thought you had betrayed us… but it was a clever plan, I guess…”
Hatari nodded. “I would never betray you.”
Shenzi looked at him in the eyes, and even though she was smiling, the tone of her voice clearly showed that she was talking seriously. “You better not betray us, lion. We could kill you, you know.”, she said.
Hatari nodded. “You are ‘merciless killers’, I remember now.”, he said smiling as he recalled all the tales he had heard about hyenas before.
“Yeah ! We could kill a lion if we wanted to !”, Banzai said, half joking, half seriously.
“Well, I must go now,”, Hatari said, glancing at Zazu, who was waiting for him impatiently, “I need to take your stinky odor out of my pelt.”, he said, cuffing softly Banzai’s face.
“We-he-hell…”, Banzai said laughing, “You don’t smell like a buncha flowers either ! I think I will have to take a bath too, or the rest of the pack will banish me from the graveyard !”
Hatari couldn’t help but smile, and, as he walked away, he said, “Hey, say hello to your mom Akili for me, will you ?”
Shenzi and Banzai looked at each other for a brief instant. “Uh, yeah, we will, sure.”, Shenzi said with uneasiness, but Hatari didn’t seem to notice that. He followed Zazu silently, thinking on how he would do to see the hyenas one more time.
Shenzi and her brothers watched him leave, and sighed almost in unison.
“We must tell him, Shenzi !”, Banzai said sadly.
“I dunno, Banzai… I think he would feel kinda bad, knowing that his father also got rid of our mom…”, she said, recalling the scene they had lived a few weeks ago, where Thembi had met with Akili, and, recognizing her, he ended with her existence.
Shenzi recalled one of the phrases Thembi had told her mother seconds after finishing with her : “I told you to stay away from my lands ! You didn’t listen to me, and now you’ll pay for this !”
The female sighed as she lied down. “Banzai, I miss mom.”, she whispered.
“I miss her too… sheesh. She was just looking for food… what’s wrong with that ?”, he said, scratching his neck with a hind paw.
Shenzi shrugged, and then closed her eyes as she thought of her mother and father.
Hatari and Zazu arrived to Pride Rock. Karanga was lying down, thinking of names for her cubs in case these turned out to be females. Thembi was with her.
“Where were you ?”, Thembi asked, “I told you to take a bath, but it seemed you went to dig the water hole first and then filled it with mouthfuls of water…”
“Thembi, come on, don’t be so rude.”, Karanga whispered.
“I am sorry, father. I fell asleep before getting the bath… that’s why I am all wet right now.”, he said.
Zazu coughed. “Well, your majesty, I am going to get some rest, it has been a hard day…”, he said.
“All right, Zazu, sleep well.”, Thembi replied. And, after watching Zazu leave, he nuzzled Karanga lovingly.
“Tell me, haven’t you found a nice name yet ?”, he asked.
“Not yet, but I am still thinking…”, she replied as she felt Thembi’s muzzle rubbing against hers. She noticed Hatari was looking at them intently.
“Is something wrong, son ?”, she asked.
Thembi looked at him coldly.
Hatari was about to ask something, but, seeing his father’s gaze, he turned around quickly, saying, “No, thanks. I will be around.”
“All right, son, just don’t stray too much, okay ?”, Karanga said.
Hatari nodded as he walked away.
Sarafina was resting while Mahali played beside her. She imagined she was a huntress and she was getting prepared for the hunt. As she played, she noticed Hatari was approaching.
“Look, Sarafina ! Here comes Scar !”, the young cub shouted and ran to Sarafina’s side, feeling more secure.
Hatari heard that. He approached the lionesses and said, “Please, I don’t like being called Scar, my name’s Hatari.”
Both lionesses remained silent and watched as Hatari disappeared as fast as he had come.
Mahali sighed. “I am afraid of him… what if he tries to kill us one day as he did with his own mother ?”, she whispered.
Sarafina shrugged. “I don’t think he would harm us… you know Thembi would punish him severely…”, she replied.
Mahali nodded and rubbed against Sarafina’s body. “Anyway, I am afraid of him. It’s good I have you to protect me !”, she said. After a brief pause, she added, “And I also have mom…”
Sarafina smiled and kissed the small lioness. “We will all protect each other, always. That’s one of the rules of the pride…”
Mahali looked at Sarafina in wonderment. “You know a lot about the pride…”, she said.
Sarafina chuckled. “Well, Mahali, that is something every lion and lioness should know… it’s all part of being a pride… We must look for things that are good for ourselves, and protection is one of those things… we are like a big team where we all work together, and thus we al protect each other because it is part of our teamwork…”
Mahali nodded. “I understand…”, she said looking at the ground thoughtfully for a while. Then she raised her sight again and said, “Sarafina, you are very smart… will you be the next queen ?”
Sarafina looked at Mahali with wide eyes. “Who, me ? The queen ?”, she asked.
Mahali nodded. “I heard Thembi talking with Mufasa the other day, and they mentioned something about the new queen… but I didn’t get to listen to anything else…”
Sarafina looked at the cub and smiled slightly. “No, Mahali. I am sure Sarabi will be the queen… She and Mufasa love each other very much…”, Sarafina said as she let out a deep sigh.
Mahali tilted her head with curiosity, and, whispering at Sarafina’s ear, she asked, “You love him too ?”
“Mahali !”, Sarafina said, trying to sound annoyed, “That’s none of your business !”
Mahali smiled at Sarafina’s reaction and said, “You do love him indeed.”
Sarafina growled while Mahali giggled helplessly.
After a few seconds, Sarafina said, “Okay, I may like him, but that’s all. Now you don’t tell anything about this to anyone, understand ?”
Mahali nodded. “I’ll keep my muzzle shut.”, she answered and lied down next to Sarafina.
Several minutes went by, and suddenly Anasa appeared, and she walked straight to Sarafina and her daughter.
“Thanks for taking care of her, Sarafina.”, Anasa said, nuzzling her pride-mate.
“It was nothing,”, Sarafina replied, “Mahali is an excellent cub and she behaves greatly…”
Mahali smiled. “She’s right mom, I didn’t get into trouble not even once !”
Anasa chuckled. “All right, honey, let’s go back to the rock…”, she said as she nuzzled her cub.
“Aren’t you coming with us, Sarafina ?”, Anasa said as she started walking back.
Sarafina nodded. “I’ll catch up with you in a few minutes…”
“All right.”, she replied and continued walking, leaving Sarafina alone for a while.
When Anasa and Mahali were far away, she let loose a deep sigh again.
“Mufasa…” ; she whispered with her eyes closed. She loved him dearly, but she knew very well that Sarabi was like a rising sun for Mufasa, whereas Sarafina was only a firefly for him. Sarafina knew Mufasa liked her but not as he liked Sarabi. So, for her, it was more than obvious that the next Queen for the Pride Lands would be Sarabi and nobody else.
Sighing again, she stood up and started walking back to Pride Rock, thinking of Mufasa and how he would look as soon as his mane had grown completely.
A few days later, Rafiki was at the top of his tree, trying to comprehend some of the symbols the tortoise shell was showing him. Some of them were quite new, and he was having a little trouble in finding their meaning. He studied the figures carefully, one by one, until he started to get things a little clearer. He seemed to be worried about what he was seeing, and, after a few minutes, he seemed to understand what the new symbols were about. They meant something really important.
“I must go and talk to Thembi at once !”, he told himself and, gathering his staff, he dropped out of the tree.
Rafiki knew that something bad was going to happen… but he didn’t know exactly what that was. Still, by one of the symbols, the shell had told him not to tell anything to Thembi about what the future would bring unless it was absolutely necessary, and Rafiki would obey. He had to do as the shell said, that’s the way he had been taught by his grandfather. The baboon was heading to Pride Rock, walking slowly, thoughtfully, trying to think on how he would tell what he needed to say to Thembi.
Hatari was standing at the entrance of the cave. He looked at all directions, and, noticing nobody was nearby, the lion entered the cave, and took a bone full of meat from what was left of the most recent kill. Walking out of the cave, he disappeared quickly, heading for the northern border. He had promised to see the hyenas again, and, knowing that Zazu was away with Mufasa, he knew it was going to be less probable that he got caught. After walking for a while, he arrived to the graveyard. He was walking between the elephant bones and skulls, feeling no fear at all. Some older hyenas noticed the smell of an intruder and, guided by their sense of smell, they found Hatari in just a matter of minutes. They were licking their lips and whispering among themselves about how delicious that lion would be, when suddenly they hushed, seeing that the lion was being approached by Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.
“Hello, Hatari ! ! It is so cool to see you, pal !”, Banzai said, jumping happily around the lion.
“Well, here I am…”, Hatari replied, dropping the bone he had been carrying at Shenzi’s feet.
The older hyenas that had been watching Hatari closely, were now very amazed to see that the lion and Shenzi were friends. They walked to the hyena youngsters and addressed them politely.
“Hey, Shenzi… you know this lion ?”, one of them asked.
“Sure I do !”, Shenzi replied, and added, “If you thought you were going to have him as dinner, well, you’re wrong.”
The older hyenas, four in total, looked at each other confusedly. “But…”
“But nothing.”, Shenzi interrupted on of them. “This lion is our friend, he has fed us since—” She was about to mention that her mother was dead, but, recalling that Hatari didn’t know anything about it, she winked at the older hyenas saying, “Since _that_ day.”
The four hyenas understood what she was talking about and nodded silently. One of them approached Hatari. The lion felt a little alarmed but he still tried to smile at the approaching hyena.
“If you’re Shenzi’s friend,”, the hyena said, “Then you are also our friend.”
Hatari smiled happily. “Really ?”, he asked in awe.
The hyena nodded, but added in a gravely tone, “But, if you become her enemy, we are your enemies also.”
Hatari nodded, finding what the hyena had just told him a little strange.
The four hyenas walked away after patting Shenzi’s head.
Hatari looked at them as they disappeared between some old rib cages, and then, turning, to Shenzi, he asked, “Why do they respect you so much ? You are younger than them…”
“So what ?”, Shenzi asked, and, sitting beside Hatari, she said, “I will be the leader of the pack in a few days. So, they have to respect and protect me…”
“You ? The leader ?”, Hatari asked amazed,
Shenzi nodded. “My mom… is the leader of the pack, and, well, me being her daughter means I am next in line for leadership… it’s kind of normal, nothing to be amazed of…”, she explained, feeling very proud of being the next leader.
Hatari was very confused. “But—you are so young… and you are female ! ! Females can’t be leaders… Banzai should be the one taking the leadership of your pack…”
Banzai’s chest swelled with pride. “You see, sis ? I told you we males are more suitable for leaders… Hatari surely knows what’s good…”
Shenzi chuckled. “Yeah right, you ant brain.” Turning to Hatari, she said : “That thing of males ruling and females hunting is a rule in _your_ society, Hatari. Here, the females are the ones who order around… right, Banzai ?”, she asked, teasing her brother.
Banzai nodded. “Sadly, yes…”, he replied sighing at the end of his phrase.
Hatari chuckled. He had never imagined that the hyenas’ society was a matriarchal one. This was something new for him. He felt interested and started asking questions about the hyenas’ customs. They answered to them, at the same time they chewed happily the food Hatari had brought them.
Thembi had entered his cave, and in a few seconds he came out shouting, “Somebody took some of the food we were saving for tonight !”, and, looking at the lionesses, that were lying down nearby, he told them, “Didn’t I tell you to keep an eye on the food ?” They looked at each other nervously. Kuuliza stood up and walked to Thembi.
“We’re sorry, your Highness… It must have happened when we went for a drink at the water hole…”, Kuuliza explained.
Thembi nodded and looked around, noticing Hatari was not nearby. He narrowed his eyes, wondering if his younger son had anything to do with the disappearance of food. Thembi called Zazu, who came flying in a few minutes.
“What can I do for you, Sire ?”, the bird asked bowing.
“Would you look for Hatari, Zazu ? I must speak to him…”, the King replied seriously.
“Certainly, Sire. I’ll look for him right away.”, Zazu said, knowing perfectly that it had been Hatari the one who took the food, he must be feeding the hyenas again. He slightly moved his head in disapproval, and, sighing, he started flying.
“Hatari is in trouble now… if he has gone back with the hyenas, I will be obliged to tell Thembi about it… he had promised not to see them again…”, Zazu thought as he flew directly to the northern border.
Thembi was inside the cave when Rafiki called him.
“Thembi, are you there ?”, Rafiki asked.
“Sure, Rafiki, come on in.”, Thembi replied looking at the entrance of the cavern. He could only appreciate the silhouette of the baboon, but as he came closer, his features became visible.
“I must speak to you, Thembi, it is very urgent.”, Rafiki said.
Thembi tilted his head with curiosity. “Urgent ? What is it ?”
Rafiki motioned Thembi to sit down, and said, “Thembi, you must listen to me with an open mind…”, Rafiki advised.
Thembi shrugged and sat down beside the baboon. “What is it, Rafiki ? You’re intriguing me…”, he said.
Rafiki sighed and cleared his throat. “Thembi…”, he said, trying to put in order his ideas, “I have talked to the shell this morning… and it told me some important things…”
Thembi remained silent as he listened to Rafiki’s words.
“Thembi… I am afraid I have to tell you that you are mistaken…”
“Mistaken ? What do you mean ?”, the lion asked.
“You have chosen the wrong path…”, Rafiki said.
Thembi looked confused, not understanding what Rafiki was saying.
Rafiki looked at the King and said, “I am talking about your attitude towards your younger son…”
“Oh, no, not that again !”, Thembi said, becoming angry and standing up. He walked a few paces away.
“Thembi, you must listen to me !”, Rafiki pleaded, “At least try to do it…”
Thembi sighed. “Okay, what is it this time ? !”, he said, exasperated.
Rafiki swallowed hard. “Thembi, I think you should change your attitude towards your son… He is innocent, he didn’t cause his mother’s death, the shell told me so !”, he said.
“The shell can be wrong ! How can you believe everything it says ??”, Thembi asked angrily.
Rafiki paused for an instant. “Thembi, your son is suffering greatly… He tries to please you and the only thing he gets from you is hate and harshness…”, he said.
“He deserves it !”, Thembi shouted, “Besides what happened with his mother, he is a disobedient lion, he even dared to make friendship with hyenas !”, he added bitterly.
Rafiki shook his head. “Thembi, you’re no being reasonable here. The cub was lonely, and if he found friendship with the hyenas, what’s so wrong about that ?”, he asked.
Thembi turned to Rafiki staring at him with wild eyes. “What’s so wrong about that ?! You know what I think about hyenas ! I hate them ! ! ! That’s what is so wrong about that !”, he half-snarled.
Rafiki wasn’t intimidated, but disappointed by Thembi’s attitude, still, he kept trying. “Thembi, but your son—”
“My son is Mufasa !”, Thembi interrupted, showing his white teeth to Rafiki, “He really is a lion ! ! He is intelligent, responsible, he cares for the kingdom—”
Rafiki lost his patience and shouted, “And what makes you think Hatari doesn’t have those qualities too ? You haven’t even found out! You don’t know him, for God’s sake !”
Thembi was surprised by Rafiki’s reaction. It was the first time he had seen him so angry.
Rafiki felt bad for yelling at the King. “I am sorry, Thembi. I apologize for my conduct.”, he said a few seconds later, feeling a little more calm.
“Still,”, Rafiki continued, “I think you should treat Hatari a little more… You haven’t even had a talk from father to son about the ways of life and about how a lion is supposed to have cubs and such… Thembi, I am sure your poor son’s head is full of questions and doubts… and you haven’t even bothered to have one single conversation with him…”
Thembi sighed, closing his eyes tightly, while listening with lots of attention to Rafiki’s words.
The baboon continued, “I know you love Mufasa dearly, and that you have taught him many things. I am sure he will be a great king one day, but… What about Hatari ? You don’t know what his abilities are… Maybe he has other qualities that Mufasa lacks—”
“Like what ? Mention one quality Mufasa lacks of but the other one has!”, Thembi replied bitterly.
“Hatari is open minded.”, Rafiki replied quickly, without caring if Thembi would get mad at what he was about to say, “Thanks to the great king’s of the past, Hatari didn’t follow your steps, as Mufasa did. The best example is that Hatari knows the hyenas are just like you and me, and he makes no distinctions. That, my dear Thembi, is one of the greatest qualities, and, unfortunately, Mufasa, as well as you, lack of it.”
Thembi wanted to say something to the baboon, but the words were stuck in his throat. He just stared at the ground, thoughtfully.
Rafiki took a deep breath, letting it escape in a loud sigh. “Thembi…”, he said, “Please, for one time in your life, accept you made a mistake.”
Thembi nodded no. He remained silent, closing his eyes tightly.
“Rafiki… I don’t know if I can accept him…”, he said at last, “I don’t want to approach him… I don’t know if I want to do it or not…”, he said, feeling deep lost in confusion.
Rafiki smiled, noticing that Thembi was now doubting about approaching his son, instead of just making him aside. The baboon smiled.
“Thembi, “, he said, patting the lion on the back, “You can start today. Why don’t you say hello to him, or something nice… or just smile at him…”
Thembi sighed at the thought of talking and smiling to Hatari. “I won’t be able to do that, Rafiki. My hate for that cub has grown bigger than the love I could had ever felt for him…”
“But you mean you don’t feel even a little love for him ?”, Rafiki asked.
Thembi nodded. “Not a bit, Rafiki. He took away my most precious treasure, my Kitok…”
Rafiki twisted his mouth slightly and said, “Thembi, come on… that was a long time ago… your sons are even starting to grow a mane, and you are still blinded by what happened in the past… I know that telling you Hatari is not guilty for Kitok’s death is pointless, still, you could try to put that aside and, well, if I could call it like this, forgive your younger son.”
Thembi sighed again, recalling Kitok’s death and how much he had hated Hatari since then. It seemed impossible to him to put aside the hate he felt for Hatari. It would be a hard thing to do.
“Thembi,” , Rafiki continued, “When your son comes back today, just ask him if he had a nice day… That would be good for a start, don’t you think ?”
Thembi swallowed. “I don’t know… I am not sure about this…”, the lion said, lying down on the ground thoughtfully.
Rafiki smiled and he continued talking with Thembi about what he could tell his son and tried to give him courage to leave his hate towards his second son aside.
Zazu arrived at the northern border and he could see the elephant graveyard nearby. As he flew, he searched for Hatari, feeling completely certain that the lion had taken food from Pride Rock and brought it to his hyena friends. After a few seconds, he could descry Hatari and two hyenas chatting together, while a third hyena gnawed at a bone… the bone that was missing from the lions’ hunt. Zazu frowned as he approached them and he landed beside Hatari.
“Zazu !”, Hatari exclaimed surprised.
“You had promised not to see the hyenas again !”, Zazu said angrily, looking at the hyenas for a few seconds.
Shenzi an Banzai walked near Zazu and looked at him distrustfully.
“Oh, Zazu…”, Hatari said, “I… well, my friends were hungry and I—”
“You broke your promise !”, Zazu interrupted him, “And now I must tell your father all about this.”
“No, Zazu, please don’t !”, Hatari begged, feeling suddenly scared.
Zazu sighed. “I told you that if I ever saw you with the hyenas again I would tell your father… and, even though you knew that, you still disobeyed.”
Hatari felt tears coming to his eyes. “Zazu, I will do whatever you want, just don’t tell him I was here… I’ll get you some worms for breakfast, anything ! But, please, please don’t tell dad anything about this…”, he said as his voice started to break.
Zazu sighed. “The king hired me to keep him informed about everything that happened inside his kingdom… and I think this is very important… Hatari shouldn’t be hanging around with hyenas…”, he thought.
“Please…”, Hatari begged once more.
Zazu looked at him. The lion’s face was staring to get wet with tears. “Hatari, this was the deal… if I saw you with the hyenas again, I would tell your father… remember that.”
“I do remember, Zazu, but, anyway, in what way does it affect you if I hang around with the hyenas or not ?”
Zazu looked away. “If your father finds out I have been lying to him because of you, he would surely fire me, and I don’t want that. I like my job and I like living in this place…”
“Yeah !”, Hatari said becoming angry all of a sudden, still crying, “Go tell him then, you keep your job, but you know he will kill me!”
“Thembi won’t kill you !”, Zazu replied bitterly, “He will only punish you and perhaps you will learn some discipline soon !”, he added.
Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, who had been listening to the conversation, approached the bird even more.
Growling at its face, Shenzi said, “We won’t let you go alive if you keep this up. Promise you won’t tell anything !”, and she stepped on the bird’s long tail of feathers.
“Let me go !! Don’t touch me !”, Zazu said indignantly.
“Promise you won’t tell anything !”, Shenzi insisted.
“I promise, I promise !”, Zazu said, only to be released.
Shenzi let him go and the bird flew away from their reach.
“Zazu, so you won’t tell anything to dad ?”, Hatari asked with renewed hope.
Zazu was really angry because of the hyenas’ threats, and, he turned to Hatari saying, “Hatari, if you break promises, I can break them too.”
“Why you traitor !!”, Shenzi snarled.
Hatari looked at the bird pleadingly. “Zazu, come on… Breaking my promise didn’t harm you, if you break yours and tell father… I will be in trouble, believe me !”, he said.
Zazu thought, “He deserves some punishment for his disobedience… I think the best thing to do is to tell Thembi about this…”, and, without saying another word, the bird left, flying back to Pride Rock.
Shenzi sat down beside Hatari. “You think he will tell ?”, she asked.
Hatari thought for an instant, and then smiled, wiping away his tears. “Hmm… no, I don’t think he will. He just wants to scare me I guess… I think Zazu kind of likes me, at least he talks to me once in a while… I don’t think he wants my father to hurt me…”
Banzai, still snarling, said, “Yeah, but what if he does tell?”
Hatari sighed. “Then I will get a very big punishment…”, he said, feeling a little afraid. But he trusted that Zazu wouldn’t tell anything to Thembi. What did he had to gain ? Nothing. He lied down for a while, trying to calm his nerves, and waiting for the tears to dry. He didn’t want anyone in the pride to notice he had been crying. The hyenas looked at him, and Shenzi whispered at Banzai’s ear, “I am sure that bird will open the beak…”
“Me too”, Banzai replied, “and Hatari is going be in trouble…”
Ed laughed for several seconds.
“So you agree too, huh ?”, Banzai asked, turning to Ed.
The hyenas fell silent, thinking on what kind of punishment Thembi could give to Hatari.
“So, Thembi… I am glad you have decided to talk to him…”, Rafiki said hugging the lion and getting ready to go back to his tree.
“Don’t expect a long conversation here, huh ?”, Thembi said. He didn’t smile, but he didn’t show any signs of anger either.
Rafiki chuckled. “I know you will feel better after you talk to him… I know Hatari is a very special cub…”, Rafiki said. He heard a noise outside the cave and turned to see what was it. He saw Zazu standing inside the cavern’s entrance.
“I have returned, Sire.”, he said, a little nervously.
Thembi turned, and, approaching Zazu, he asked, “Well, did you find Hatari ? Where is he ?”
Zazu swallowed. He was about to say that he hadn’t found Hatari; he had decided to lie to the King at the last minute, but Thembi suddenly shouted angrily, “Hey, I can smell hyena !”
Zazu turned around, looking for some hyena that would be near the cave, but he found none. The bird started shaking suddenly when he noticed that Thembi was staring at him with wild eyes. Zazu tried to recall if he had had any contact with the hyenas. He remembered Shenzi stepping on his tail’s feathers, which was enough to make the hyenas’ pungent odor stick to them.
To Rafiki’s surprise, Thembi started snarling loudly. “Why do _you_ smell like a hyena ? ! Where have you been ? Is Hatari with the hyenas ?”
Zazu began stuttering, “Well… I—I, sire—”
“Tell me, Zazu ! Is _he_ with the hyenas ?”, Thembi insisted.
Zazu felt suddenly afraid and nodded slowly, swallowing hard.
Thembi roared as loud as he had never done before. “Darn ! I told him not to see them again !! And he dared to disobey me !”
Rafiki approached Thembi and try to calm him. “Thembi, Thembi, calm down, things won’t get better if you shout…”
Thembi growled deeply. “Just wait till that bunch of bones comes here, I’ll teach him some respect !”, he shouted, kicking the ground angrily with one paw, and forgetting everything about the conversation he and Rafiki had just had a few minutes ago.
Even the lionesses could hear what Thembi was saying and approached the entrance of the cave, wondering what had bothered Thembi so much. Karanga was the only one who walked to Thembi’s side and asked him what happened.
“It’s your beloved Hatari ! He has disobeyed me again, and this time I won’t accept it !”, Thembi replied shouting at her.
“Hey, you cool down in this very minute !”, she said, hating to see how Thembi was yelling at her.
“What happened with Hatari ?”, she asked, but Thembi didn’t reply. He was lost in his inner thoughts, snarling, and scratching one of his paws madly on the cave’s floor.
Seeing that she wouldn’t obtain any reply from him, Karanga walked out of the cave, not worrying too much about what happened. She knew Thembi could get upset with the most insignificant thing, and she didn’t think that the problem with Hatari now was so serious. She lied down outside, near the entrance of the cave, and the rest of the pride did the same, wondering about Thembi’s attitude.
Rafiki looked at Thembi in awe. “But, Thembi, you said that you were going to—”
“Forget what I said !”, Thembi said snarling, “That lion will see who is in charge here !”
Rafiki tried again. “Thembi, I didn’t want to tell you this, but the shell told me that something bad would happen if you didn’t change the way you treat your younger son…”
“The hell with your shell !”, he shouted and turned his back on Rafiki, “That lion disobeyed me ! I won’t stand it anymore !”
The baboon shook his head in disapproval. “Well, I tried to warn you…”, Rafiki said, and left the cave quickly.
“I don’t know what was the bad thing the shell was talking about… Still, I hope Thembi realizes about his mistake before it’s too late…”, Rafiki thought sadly.
He sighed deeply, and, as he walked, he looked at the sky, summoning Haraka, Thembi’s father. “Please, Haraka, help your son understand what he has to do…”
Zazu felt very sad for what was happening. He didn’t think the king would get so upset about it, and as he recalled Hatari’s words back in the graveyard, “He will kill me…”, the bird lowered his head in shame.
Thembi looked at him saying, “Thanks for telling me, Zazu. You are an excellent helper. “, and, talking to himself this time, he added, “If that lion thinks he will fool me, he is very mistaken !”
Zazu sighed and flew out of the cave. His heart stopped when he saw Hatari in the distance, walking back home. “I must warn him !”, Zazu thought, but at that very same moment, Thembi walked out of the cave, and also descried Hatari walking.
“There he is !”, he snarled. Thembi roared loudly.
Hatari could hear the roar and he froze. Thembi didn’t sound too happy… Had Zazu told him something ?
Wondering about that, he kept walking, fearfully.
Many things were passing through his mind, until he met with Mufasa, who was resting nearby.
“Hey, did you hear dad’s call ?”, Mufasa asked.
“Uh… yeah, I did.”, Hatari said, not paying much attention to his brother.
“I wonder what dad wants now…”, Mufasa continued, walking by the side of Hatari.
Hatari kept walking in silence, looking now and then at the promontory, where Thembi was standing.
After a few more minutes, they arrived to Pride Rock.
Mufasa went up to the promontory and kissed his father. “What is it, dad ? You need something ?”
Thembi nodded no. “Mufasa, tell _him_ to come up here, now.”
Mufasa was a little startled by his father’s attitude, he hadn’t seemed so angry that morning…
He climbed down the promontory and walked to Hatari. “He wants to talk to you.”, Mufasa said.
Hatari gasped, swallowing hard, and looked at all directions fearfully, noticing the lioness were aware that something was wrong. They were looking at Thembi with visible anguish.
“Oh, he did tell him after all…”, Hatari thought, feeling extremely disappointed in Zazu. He climbed the promontory nervously, and Karanga followed the lion silently, wanting to find out what was going on. She sat down a few paces away, while Hatari walked to Thembi’s side. The king was looking at the horizon, but his expression made Hatari shudder.
“I am here, father.”, he said, looking at the ground.
Thembi’s throat began to rumble with a snarl.
Hatari’s eyes were pressed shut.
Without looking at his son, Thembi said, “Zazu told me you were with the hyenas again, is that true ?”
Hatari nodded slowly, laying his ears back frightened.
Karanga gasped. She didn’t know her favorite cub had been hanging around with hyenas.
“And—”, Thembi continued, “He also told me you are taking the food that belongs to US to those animals… is that true also ?”
Hatari wrinkled his nose and turned to Zazu, who was standing a few paces away. “Why, you miserable tipster…”, he muttered.
“What did you say ?”, Thembi asked turning suddenly to him.
“Nothing.”, Hatari replied looking at the ground again.
“I asked what did you say !”, Thembi demanded, almost shouting at Hatari’s ear.
The cub tilted his head a little and tried to avoid Thembi’s loud voice in his ear.
“I—said…”, Hatari said, but he couldn’t continue.
Thembi looked at him. “Listen well, lion. You will explain me what you were doing today with the hyenas even though I had forbidden you to see them again !”
Hatari cleared his throat. “I was just feeding them because they were hungry, and I thought there was lots of food here for us, and we could share a little with them—”
“Share ?”, Thembi interrupted, “WE don’t share anything with hyenas !”, he roared.
Hatari sighed. “Hyenas are my friends… they are really nice…”, he said, trying to convince his father that hyenas weren’t as bad as he thought, but it only made Thembi angrier.
“Don’t give me that !”, Thembi shouted. “Hyenas hate lions and—”
Hatari lost his patience and shouted back, “No, they don’t hate lions ! They hate YOU, cause you’re the most selfish creature in this world !”
As soon as the words were spoken, Hatari felt repentant for what he had said, but the insult was enough to exasperate Thembi.
He cuffed the cub hard in the face. “You will respect me now !”
Karanga gasped when she saw that. “Thembi, what are you doing ?”
Thembi turned to her saying, “You stay out of this, Karanga, this is between this lion and me.”
She wanted to defend Hatari, but she knew that, in Thembi’s state of anger, he could hit her too, and it could be dangerous for the cub she was expecting. So, she just stood there, looking worriedly at Hatari.
Hatari lost his balance and fell to the floor, shaking. “I am sorry…”, he whispered, but Thembi was so angry to listen Hatari’s words.
“How dare you call me selfish !”, Thembi said, looking straight at the cub.
Hatari stood up slowly and faced his father once more. “I said I was sorry !”, he said in a higher tone of voice.
Thembi didn’t accept his son’s apology. “You are just like them… you are like a hyena…”
Hatari was hurt by this comment, because he knew very well what Thembi thought about hyenas. He didn’t care about being cuffed again, and all the resentment he had been keeping inside his heart, the sadness, loneliness came out in harsh words he never thought he would tell his father.
“No, I am not a hyena, I am a lion !, But it is a shame having someone like you in our kind ! You are a monster !”
“Shut up or I’ll hit you again !”, Thembi growled.
“Do whatever you want ! Kill me if you feel like it ! I don’t care anymore ! Kill me as you killed my hyena friends’ father, and almost killed one of the cubs also ! That was mean ! You don’t deserve respect !”, he shouted.
Karanga listened to the young lion’s words, recalling when Thembi had came home one night, saying he had killed two hyenas, and one of them was a pup. As she listened to Hatari’s words, looking at the way he was rebelling now, she could see that the innocent cub that would accept everything had disappeared. There was now an adolescent lion, full of resentment and pain.
Thembi looked at him with wild eyes. “_What_ are you talking about ?”, he asked.
Hatari looked at his father’s eyes and didn’t look away. “You killed that hyena ! You did it ! You are guilty !”
Thembi stared at him for several seconds, and chuckled. He walked away a few steps and said between laughs, “Yes, I did kill a hyena. Two, in fact…”, and, looking at Hatari through the corner of the eye, he added, “Akili, the mother of your ‘hyena friends’ is dead too. I found her trespassing again on my lands, and she had been already warned. Now she is buzzard food.”
Hatari gasped “Why didn’t Shenzi and Banzai tell me about it ? Perhaps they don’t even know yet…”, he thought, recalling how sweet Akili had been with him, and he felt his eyes mist up with tears. “You killed one of the beings I loved the most !”, Hatari said through clenched teeth.
Thembi chuckled again. “Now you know how I felt when you were born…”, he said, and added, “So, now that we have started speaking of guilt…”, he stared at Hatari once more, “Tell me, don’t you remember what happened with your mother ?”
Hatari felt suddenly enraged. “If I did kill her as you say, it was an accident ! I don’t even remember what she looked like ! ! I couldn’t have killed her !”, he shouted.
Thembi laughed out loud. “You will carry that guilt for the rest of your existence, lion.”
Hatari started crying, feeling terribly when being accused of his mother’s death. After a few seconds, he continued, “You know why I go with the hyenas ? Because they do understand me ! You are only worried about Mufasa being the King !”
Thembi nodded. “Indeed.”, he replied seriously.
“But what about me ?? I have the same right as Mufasa of receiving love and having the chance of being a king someday !”, Hatari shouted.
Thembi rolled his eyes. “You know something ? I assure you, you will never be a king…”
Hatari growled at Thembi. “Why not ?”, he asked defiantly.
“Because you are a fool. You don’t have the necessary qualities for being one !”
“Oh, yeah ?” How do you know which qualities I have ? Have you ever taken a walk with me and found out ?”
Thembi frowned, recalling that Rafiki had said something similar to him while they were talking.
“You wouldn’t make a good king, you skinny, weak fool…”, Thembi snarled.
Hatari pulled out his claws. “I am skinny because of you ! You always gave the best food to Mufasa ! ! I was hungry always, but you never cared about it ! You were always ‘Mufasa this, Mufasa that’ and never noticed if I was having trouble !”, Hatari said, crying as he had never done before.
Mufasa’s eyes opened wide. He had never thought his brother felt that way. “Hatari, I—”
“Stay out of this !”, Hatari yelled at Mufasa, feeling suddenly angry towards his brother.
Mufasa sighed and continued listening to Thembi’s and Hatari’s conversation.
Thembi looked at Hatari. “If you were as smart and responsible as Mufasa, then you would make a great king,”, Thembi paused for a second, “but you aren’t even half the lion your brother is.”, he replied. Even though he sounded less angrier and his tone of voice seemed much more calm, he was still talking without thinking what he was saying.
Mufasa felt terrible when he heard about his brother being compared with himself. He looked at the ground nervously, waiting for Hatari’s reaction.
There was none. For several seconds, Hatari remained silent, watching his father intently. At last he said, “You’re right. I am not like Mufasa… I am not an idiot like him in order to accept everything you tell him ! That’s why you like, him, right ? He’s a puppet you can play with whenever you like… but , yeah, I guess you’re right… I am not like him.”
Mufasa snarled when he heard that. “Hatari, I have done nothing to you so please—”
“Shut up !”, Hatari told him.
Thembi was very annoyed hearing Hatari talk the way he had about his dear Mufasa. The King pulled out his claws and approached Hatari menacingly. He whispered at the younger lion’s ear, “You know why you won’t be a king ?”
“Why ?”, Hatari asked defiantly.
“Cause you won’t live to reach the expected age !”, he said sarcastically, and got prepared to do what he had desired for so long : get rid of the one who had taken Kitok away from him.
Hatari knew what Thembi was up to. He had noticed his claws were extended, and his ears and tail told him that Thembi was about to finish with his existence. He felt very afraid suddenly, still, walking back a few steps, he said : “Listen, Thembi… You _did_ kill my friend Akili… and I will never forgive that.”
“What are you going to do, kill me too as you did with Kitok?”, Thembi replied, raising the fur in his back.
Hatari nodded no, laughing sarcastically. “You aren’t worth it… I wouldn’t want to get my paws red with blood of someone like you.”
Thembi wrinkled his nose and showed Hatari his perfect white teeth.
Hatari knew what he was going to do. Clearing his throat, he whispered for only Thembi to hear, “I promise you I will be king someday, that’s for sure, just to bother you, and I will laugh at the face you will make when you see me ruling the Pride Lands. I don’t know when and how, but I will be king and you will pay for everything you did to me, even if you are already dead !”
Thembi roared in anger. “Are you threatening me ?”, he asked.
Hatari shrugged. “Take it as you want. I can tell you it is not a threat, but a promise I have made, and this time,”, Hatari added, looking at Zazu, “I will keep it, no matter what happens.” After he finished his phrase, he turned around and, climbing down the promontory, he started running as fast as he could, hoping his father wouldn’t follow him.
Thembi didn’t. “I hope you never come back !”, he shouted and entered the cave.
Karanga shouted, “Hatari, please, come back here! Please !” She was very sad for what had happened, and she felt as if her heart were stopping as she saw Hatari disappearing in the distance. “Hatari !”, she called again, but got no reply.
Hatari listened to the lioness that had been like his mother since the day he was born. He shook his head as he ran in direction to the northern border.
“Mom Karanga will have a new cub soon, and she will be too busy taking care of it that she won’t be sad about me anymore.”, he thought, and he kept running, leaving behind one of the most painful stages of his life.
He had in his mind the promise he had just made, and repeated to himself, “I will show him I am as good as Mufasa, and I will get to be a king, and, I will hurt Thembi as much as he hurt me with Akili’s murder !”, he said vindictively.
He kept running, looking back once in a while. The only thing he saw was a lioness standing in the promontory. He slowed down a little, panting heavily.
Hatari had done it at last. His father was no longer a symbol of authority. He felt he loathed him for everything he had done and said. He didn’t want to go back. Not now. He was thinking on how he would do to become the next King for the Pride Lands. There was too much time for that. He came to a stop, and, lying down, he started crying again, letting all his sorrow escape from his hurt heart., leaving inside pain, bitterness and an urge of seeking revenge and make his father suffer as much as he had suffered too.
Thembi had to explain Karanga everything that had happened between Hatari and the hyenas, and the lioness felt terribly sad about the situation.
“Thembi, I must look for him and get him to come back… He doesn’t know how to hunt, you know that !”, Karanga said desperately.
“He will survive.”, Thembi said without looking and Karanga, but, chuckling slightly, he added sarcastically, “Or maybe not…”
“Oh, I will go get him !”, she said and started exiting the cave when she heard Thembi saying, “If I ever see him again, I will kill him. So you better not bring him here, cause then you would have contributed to his doom.”
Karanga stopped. She looked at the horizon, wondering where her favorite cub would be now, and she was dying to go looking for him, but she knew Thembi really meant what he had said. He would really kill Hatari if he ever saw him again. The lioness sighed deeply.
“I see you finally get my point.”, Thembi said walking to Karanga.
She lied down near the entrance of the cave, looking still at the horizon, searching for Hatari.
“I do understand it, Thembi. But I don’t approve it.”, she replied, knowing that it would be very difficult to change things now.
Thembi seemed more relaxed knowing Hatari was gone forever and lied down next to Karanga. “I know you feel sad, my love, but our cub is coming soon, and he will fill up our lives. You’ll see how happy we will be from this day on.”
Karanga turned to face Thembi and said, “Yeah, I can’t wait until my son is born…”
Thembi half-smiled, and, although he was still troubled by what had just happened, he closed his eyes and fell asleep quickly by Karanga’s side.
She sighed. “I know we will be happy… unless I die when my son is born… you will hate him too as you did with Hatari…”, she thought sadly, and one tear fell to the floor.
“My Hatari, I will miss you so much…”, she whispered, wishing she could see Hatari one more time. She recalled when he was a cub, when he was looking for friends… when he started to learn how to hunt all by himself… But with pain in her heart, she had also noticed a change in her adoptive son. During the last few weeks he had been very quiet and he seldom spoke to her. He had changed a lot since he got that scar. Scar. The name the animals have given him since that dreadful accident. The name that all the animals would remember from that day on.
Karanga continued crying silently, hoping Hatari was not too much hurt and that he could find happiness somewhere else. For her, Hatari deserved a great life. After a few minutes, she also fell asleep by her husband’s side, dreaming of the son she had just lost.
Hatari had reached the graveyard and was looking for his friends. He met with several adult hyenas, and they, already knowing the lion was friend of Shenzi, led him up to the new leader’s lair.
“Shenzi !”, Hatari said between sobs.
“But, Hatari, what is wrong ?”, She asked nuzzling the lion.
Looking at her pitifully, he said, “I have left Pride Rock. I won’t go back there until my father dies !”
Shenzi tilted her head a little, and said, “You can live here with us… but let me warn you that life here is very hard, not the things you were used to there on Pride Rock…”
“Could I really stay here ?”, Hatari asked with a slight smile.
“Sure.”, she replied smiling too, and called Banzai.
“What is it ?”, the male hyena said, and when he noticed Hatari was there, his expression suddenly changed, and tackled the lion playfully. “An intruder ! Gotcha !”
Hatari laughed and played with Banzai while Shenzi announced, “He will now live with us !”
The older hyenas looked at each other doubtfully, and one of them approached Shenzi, “My leader, are you sure about this ? He is a lion, what if he betrays us ?”
Shenzi looked at the older hyena and whispered, “Of course he is a lion ! If he betrays us, we will have to carry on with the law for traitors. But— He can hunt food for us…”, and gave the older hyena a slight wink.
“Oh…”, the other hyena replied and giggled. “So you’re kind of using him ?”, she added.
Shenzi nodded no. “No, he really is my friend. I appreciate him, and, well,”, she added chuckling, “I can’t help but seeing he can bring us some advantages…”
The older hyena giggled again. “Yes… you might make a nice leader after all…”, she said and kissed Shenzi’s cheek respectfully.
Shenzi asked for silence. When most of the hyenas had hushed, she cleared her throat and started speaking. “The name of our new friends is Hatari and he—”
She was interrupted by the comments of the hyenas.
“Hatari ? Wow ! Talk about an ugly name !”, one male joked.
“Yeah, why Hatari anyway ?”, another hyena said
The rest started making comments about it and soon nobody could understand what each other was saying.
“Silence !”, Shenzi shouted.
All hyenas, except one, hushed almost immediately.
“…Ain’t look too dangerous to me—”, was the last comment of one hyena.
Hatari sighed and spoke, “If you don’t like Hatari, you can call me Scar if you want, after all, everyone else does… I guess I am getting used to it.”
The hyenas looked at each other and then stared at Hatari’s left eye.
One of them smiled and shouted, “Yeah ! Scar sounds cool ! It suits you fine !”
“Better than Hatari…”, was the comment of another hyena.
Soon the hyenas started speaking again and Shenzi, turning to Hatari, said, “Hey, are you sure you prefer being called Scar than Hatari ?”
Hatari sighed. “Well, the name Hatari reminds me of why I was called like that… My father said I was dangerous, therefore he named me Hatari… And, well, Scar… as they say, it suits me fine… Although I don’t like Hatari nor Scar at all, I think I prefer Scar…”
The female nodded and said, “Okay, then Scar you will be. Welcome Scar !”
The lion smiled. “Thanks, Shenzi. I wish I could do something to demonstrate my gratitude…”, he said, trying to forget the recent fight with his dad.
Shenzi smiled broadly and started hyena-laughing. “Well, there is actually something you can do, my friend ! You could get us something to eat, you know…”, she said, drooling at the thought of food.
The lion smiled again. “I will have to poach in the lion’s lands, I guess…”, he said with irony.
“Yeah ! Just be careful with em’ lions !”, Banzai said laughing too.
“I will.”, Hatari said.
“Well, Hatari, go on !! We’re hungry !”, Shenzi said.
He chuckled. “I am not Hatari anymore, remember that.”
Shenzi nodded. “Yeah, I forgot… Well, Scar, go get us something to eat, please…”
As he walked away, Hatari thought about how things were going to change from this day on… He knew he would have to hunt for him and for the hyenas, and that he still required lots of skill for that. But he was optimistic, and he was sure he would survive to make his father’s life miserable, even if Thembi had already turned into a star. All the love Hatari had felt for him, had faded completely. There was nothing left of the cub that wished to please his father. There was nothing left of Hatari. The only thing left was Scar. A completely new lion, with new goals and desires, who would do everything in his reach to keep the promise he had made to his father before leaving Pride Rock.
Hatari kept walking as he tried to find the scent of some nearby animal he could hunt. And, in this way, a new stage of his life started. Hatari was dead and Scar was born.
Several weeks went by, and Karanga had just given birth to her cubs. Two pretty females were born. Thembi was looking at them happily. He was glad that everything had gone okay. As Karanga fed the new babies the rest of the lionesses made comments on them.
“Oh, look at them… they look just like you, Karanga !”, Huria exclaimed.
Thembi, who was sitting next to the Queen smiled. “So, how are you going to name them ?”, he asked.
Karanga thought for an instant. “She will be Tahlili,”, she said referring to the one that had been born first, “and the second one will be Shada.”
“Oh, very nice names !”, Kuuliza said, looking at her granddaughters lovingly.
It was a happy moment for the pride. Sarabi and Sarafina were happy with the arrival of the new cubs and wished they could have their own soon.
“Can I kiss them ?”, Sarabi asked.
“Of course, go ahead.”, the Queen replied.
Sarabi lowered her head until she touched the babies with her nose and kissed them softly. “They are so tiny and cute !”, she said after kissing them.
“Soon you will have your own cubs, darling.”, Karanga said nuzzling Sarabi.
“I want mine too !”, Sarafina said looking at the babies.
“You will have them, don’t worry.”, Karanga said. She suddenly recalled Scar. “I bet he would have liked to see my cubs… I wonder if he’s still alive…”, she thought.
The pride continued admiring the cute features of the baby lionesses and nobody else seemed to remember Scar at all. They felt very happy, even Thembi. Ever since Scar left, Thembi began behaving different towards the pride, specially with Karanga, without Scar around, they couldn’t fight as they used to. Their relationship had turned stronger. Mahali, the lioness cub, had nothing to fear now that Scar was away… She had always been afraid of Scar hurting her as he had done with Kitok. Those were the things Thembi had told her about his second son. So, that day, everyone except Karanga agreed that Scar’s departure had been quite beneficent to the pride, and Pride Rock seemed like a more happy place to live in now that Thembi wasn’t in a bad mood always, as he used to be when Scar lived there.
That afternoon, Mufasa and Sarabi went for a walk. The sun was setting, coloring the sky with tones of orange, red and purple. As the two lions walked, they enjoyed the view. They were silent, they didn’t have to talk. Both of them knew what each other was feeling. However, Sarabi could sense Mufasa was nervous. She didn’t know why, but she was hoping that Mufasa’s nervousness was because he was going to ask her to be his Queen. After some more minutes of walking, Mufasa came to a stop and cleared his throat.
“Sarabi…”, he said with uneasiness.
“Yes ?”, she said, sitting beside Mufasa, enjoying the moment.
“There’s… there’s something I would like to tell you… But I don’t know how to start…”, he said, feeling very nervous and excited at the same time.
Sarabi smiled charmingly. She looked into Mufasa’s eyes trying to give him courage. “Tell, me, Mufasa, whatever you have to say.”
He looked at her too, and, without looking away, he whispered the words “I love you.”
She felt as if she were melting. Trying to remain calm, she whispered back, “I love you too, my Mufasa, more than anything in this world.”
He smiled and let escape a deep sigh. “Sarabi, would you be my Queen ?”, he asked, still looking at her.
Sarabi started crying, tears of joy and happiness were streaming from her eyes. “Mufasa, of course I want to ! You have made me the happiest lioness in the Savannah!”, she said, smiling broadly.
Mufasa looked at the horizon for an instant, and then looked at Sarabi again. There she was, sitting still, smiling, beautiful. He hesitated for an instant, and then, he nuzzled her. It was not a common nuzzle, but a nuzzle followed by the words: “Sarabi, I promise I will love you always, I will make you happy, I will protect you and I will care for you.”, Mufasa said.
Sarabi repeated the same words : “Mufasa, I promise I will love you always, I will make you happy, I will protect you and I will care for you.”
Mufasa smiled and kissed Sarabi on the cheek. She kissed him back.
“So it is now official…”, Mufasa said chuckling, trying to relax a little. It had been a difficult and tense moment for him.
Sarabi sighed. “How I wished for this day to come, Mufasa !”, she told him.
Mufasa smiled broadly. “My Sarabi… I wished for it too. You have no idea how much I wanted to tell you that I loved you !”
She looked at him lovingly. He was so handsome, and she loved his beautiful blonde mane which had almost finished to grow. She felt she was lucky to have found such a lion as a husband. His heart was kind, noble, and he truly cared for the kingdom… What more Sarabi could ask for ?
When they got back to Pride Rock, they went straight to Thembi and gave him the good news.
“Father, we have something to tell you.”, Mufasa said nuzzling his father.
Thembi chuckled. “Well, tell me, son, what is going on ?”
Mufasa nuzzled Sarabi quickly and said proudly, “Father, Sarabi has accepted to be my Queen.”
Thembi roared of happiness. “My dear son ! Congratulations ! Sarabi, daughter, congratulations too !”, Thembi said and he nuzzled both lions lovingly.
“Karanga, you must listen to this ! All the pride, pay attention !”, Thembi shouted. The lionesses pricked up their ears as they listened to Thembi. Karanga was inside the cave, feeding her cubs, so she listened to what Thembi had to say from the inside of the cavern.
“My son has asked Sarabi to be the Queen ! She has accepted !”, Thembi said happily. The rest of the pride roared in unison to demonstrate how happy they were too.
Sarafina sighed and whispered at Mahali’s ear, “You see ? I told you he would choose Sarabi as his Queen…”
Mahali nodded. “But, I hope you are okay… I mean, you liked him…”
Sarafina smirked. “Of course I am okay… I had always known this day would come sooner or later…”
She turned away so Mahali would not notice the tears that threatened to burst out at any minute.
“I am going for a drink !”, Sarafina suddenly said, and left Pride Rock as quickly as she could.
Nobody, except Mahali, noticed that Sarafina was about to cry, so the pride continued celebrating with cheerful roars and purrs.
When Sarafina got to the water hole, she drank a little water and lied down. She was not crying, she had calmed down as she ran. However, she felt things were going to change a lot now that Sarabi was Mufasa’s girlfriend. She knew she would also have a chance to have her own cubs even though Mufasa and Sarabi were betrothed. That made her happy. For a few days she had been feeling an urge of having cubs of her own, but she didn’t know why. She had some theories for it… maybe she was growing up… maybe—
Sarafina heard a noise coming from some bushes at her left. She pricked her ears and tried to get a scent. The bushes started moving and out of them came a lonesome lion, a stranger that froze Sarafina’s blood. He looked strong, but not as Thembi. The lion didn’t take his sight away form her.
“Who—who are you ?”, she asked, trying not to sound scared.
The lion half-smiled. “I am Tawegboto. It’s a pleasure to meet you, cute one.”, he replied, walking to Sarafina. She walked back.
“Oh, well, Tawegboto, uh… nice to meet you too, but I must go now… the King is waiting for me…”, she said distrustfully.
She could see how Tawegboto was sniffing the air, tracking some scent. After a few seconds, the lion smiled.
“Are you sure you have to go ? We could have some fun.”, he said.
Sarafina nodded no nervously. “I really must go. You shouldn’t be here anyway, this land belongs to Thembi, and he hates to see strange lions inside his territory.”, she added as she started walking away. But the lion stood in front of her, blocking her way.
“Come on, I am a poor lion who only wants some company… I am looking for a new home…”, he said pitifully, but his voice was not convincing at all.
Sarafina’s instinct told her not to trust him. She felt he wanted something more than just chat.
“If you stay, we could do nice things… we could look at the stars… we could do whatever you want…”, he said seductively.
Sarafina looked at him closely. Tawegboto was not bad looking, but there was something in him that Sarafina didn’t like.
“No, please, don’t insist.” She said trying to walk away, but again, Tawegboto blocked her way.
“Come on, girl… I know you want it, but you just don’t want me to think you are the easy type… Don’t worry, I won’t think so.”
Sarafina was confused. “I don’t know what you mean, now, let me go or I’ll be forced to call Thembi. He won’t be happy to see you here.”
Tawegboto chuckled. “You will soon now what I mean, dear.”, he said, and turned around, disappearing quickly.
Sarafina hurried all the way back home, where the pride was resting peacefully, Mufasa and Sarabi were chatting happily on Pride Rock’s promontory.
Kuuliza saw Sarafina walking hurriedly and said, “Girl, is something wrong ? You look scared…”
Sarafina nodded. “Kuuliza, there is another lion here in the Pride Lands !”
The lionesses gasped. “Oh, my ! We must tell Thembi at once !”, Anasa said.
“Thembi, come quickly !”, Huria called.
Thembi walked out of the cave. “What is it ?”, he said.
“Thembi, there is an intruder in the Pride Lands !”, Sita called.
“What ? an intruder ?”, Thembi said, running hastily to the lionesses that were gathered around Sarafina.
Sarafina nodded. “He said his name was… uh… Tawegboto, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying clearly…”
Kuuliza tilted her head. “What did he say, honey ?”, she asked.
“Well, he told me we could have fun, and we could do nice things, and he wouldn’t think I was the easy type or something like that… I don’t remember. Since I told him I didn’t know what he mean, he told me I would soon understand.”
Thembi growled deeply when he heard this. The lionesses looked at each other. Kuuliza stood up and whispered at Sarafina’s ear, “Come, we must talk.”
Sarafina followed her silently.
Thembi was still very angry about what he had just heard. “Have any other of you seen this lion ?”
The lionesses nodded no.
Thembi snarled deeply. “I think we will have a fight here soon ! I won’t tolerate any intrusions in my lands !”, he said, and, after warning the lionesses to be careful, he returned to his cave and gave the bad news to Karanga.
Kuuliza sat down with Sarafina by her side.
“Listen, Sarafina… remember that talk we had the other day ?”
Sarafina hesitated for an instant. “Hmm… the talk about when a lioness cub turns into an adolescent ?”, she asked.
Kuuliza nodded. “Remember what I told you ? Remember what indicates when a lioness has turned into an adolescent ?”, she asked again.
Sarafina thought for a while. “You mean… the sign ?”
Kuuliza nodded again. “Exactly.”, she said, and after a brief pause, she continued. “My dear, you are already showing your first sign, and you haven’t even noticed it !”, Kuuliza said.
Sarafina gasped. It was true. “Kuuliza !”, Sarafina exclaimed.
Kuuliza smiled and nuzzled Sarafina. “Congratulations, my dear. Funny you haven’t noticed before…”
Sarafina’s eyes were wide open. “Well… no, I really didn’t notice…”, she said, feeling happy for turning into an adolescent.
Kuuliza nuzzled her once more. “My dear, you must be careful now. Perhaps the scent of your sign will have that lion… Tawegboto… bothering you. Try not to stray too much from the pride and let’s see if he gives up.”
Sarafina was still puzzled. “I don’t get it, Kuuliza… Does Tawegboto want what I think he wants ?”
Kuuliza twisted her mouth a little. “You mean about that _other_ talk we had ?”
Sarafina nodded. “Yeah, the one about males, females and where the cubs come from…”
Kuuliza sighed. “I am afraid he didn’t care about having cubs, but he did care about doing what comes before the cubs, honey.”, she replied.
“Oh !”, she said. Sarafina understood now. “Glad I didn’t stay with him to ‘talk’, as he had so nicely put it…”
Kuuliza smiled. “I am glad you are okay. I would have killed him if he had hurt you…”
Sarafina smiled back. “Thanks for everything, Kuuliza.”
Both lionesses returned to where the pride was resting. Some of the lionesses had fallen asleep, while others were aware that nobody approached them. Knowing that there was an intruder nearby made them very nervous. So, while some of them rested, others remained alert.
Back in the graveyard, the hyenas were discussing something regarding Scar. The relationship between the lion and them had changed a lot since Scar came to live with them.
“Yeah, I know, he can hunt and everything, but he is always complaining !”, Banzai said.
“It is obvious, Banzai, that he doesn’t feel happy here ! After all, he doesn’t belong here ! We should understand how he is feeling…”, Shenzi said.
Banzai remained silent.
Shenzi sighed. “You will see, Banzai, he will return to the lion’s rock very soon… I think he has been planning some way of becoming the king… I don’t think he will stay too much time with us…”
The hyenas hushed immediately when they heard Scar talking with another hyena not far from there. They pricked their ears and tried to listen to their conversation.
“Scar, I tell you, there is another lion on the Pride Lands… rumors have been spreading… it seems he wants to attack the king and take over the pride…”, the spy hyena said.
What Scar replied, Shenzi and Banzai weren’t able to hear. They both sighed in unison.
“I wonder if Scar really meant what he said a few days ago…”, Banzai said after a few seconds.
“What did he say ?”, Shenzi asked, trying to remember what was Banzai talking about.
“Well, you know, about us having no brain and such… I think he kinda feels superior to us, and he wasn’t that way when he was a cub… that was the coolest part of him… now he is so bitter…”, Banzai said.
Shenzi nodded. “Well, he thinks we ain’t got no brain, but we have it, and we have something else he doesn’t have…” ; the female said.
“What ?”, Banzai asked.
“He ain’t got no sense of humor, my friend…”, Shenzi replied giggling. Banzai laughed too, forgetting about his thoughts for a moment. They continued laughing and talking about the first thing that came to their minds.
Scar was pacing back and forth. He was thinking on what the hyena had told him about an intruder on the Pride Lands.
He sighed and lied down on the floor. He hadn’t forgotten the promise he had made when he left Pride Rock. And he was still determined to keep his word. He had made several plans, but none of them seemed to satisfy him completely. He still was unsure about how he would show his father he could be better than Mufasa and even achieve the kingship. Scar sighed again, thinking on what his life had been for the last few months. He had lived like a hyena, poaching in the lands that also belonged to him, and fearing that if he ever came up face to face with Thembi, he would kill him, just like he would do with the hyenas, for he was now one of them.
“I know there will be a way out of this… I know it…”, he whispered to himself as he closed his eyes, falling asleep in a little while.
Thembi was very upset because Tawegboto had been causing trouble in his lands, scaring the food away and bothering his lionesses. Thembi finally decided he would confront Tawegboto and fight for what belonged to him. He approached his pride and prepared to give a speech.
“My lionesses, please pay attention.”, he said as he waited for the lionesses to remain silent.
“I will go and face Tawegboto today. I don’t know how strong or how agile he is, but I know I must not underestimate the power he might have.”
The lionesses listened as they looked at their king intently. Mufasa was also with them. “Father, please, let me help you…”, Mufasa said, willing to help his father if he desired so.
“No, my son. This is between Tawegboto and me.”, Thembi replied as he nuzzled his son lovingly.
After a few seconds, the King continued. “I hope I can return victorious from this.”
“You will, father !”, Mufasa exclaimed, but Thembi moved his head in disapproval.
“There is always a risk, my son. I just wanted to tell you all, my lionesses and my son, that if I don’t come back, Mufasa will ascend to the throne and he will have to be in charge of driving Tawegboto away.”
Karanga gasped. “Oh, my husband ! You take care, please !”, she said trying to hold back tears.
Thembi kissed her and nuzzled her cheek. “I will be fine, my Karanga.”, he said. He nuzzled the rest of the lionesses quickly and started walking away, heading to where Tawegboto had been seen for the last time.
The lionesses roared, wishing Thembi good luck.
Thembi roared back and continued walking in complete silence.
Tawegboto was resting under the shade of a tree. Beside him were the rests of his most recent kill, an impala. The lion was sleeping soundly until he was awaken by the sound of some footsteps approaching. Tawegboto raised to his feet quickly and looked in every direction, noticing a golden from approaching. He narrowed his eyes when he saw it was Thembi. Tawegboto chuckled slightly. This might be the opportunity he was waiting for. He was sure he would be ruling Pride Lands in no time. Just then, Thembi stepped out of the tall grasses and came face to face with Tawegboto. Both lions remained silent for a few seconds.
Thembi growled slightly as he started to speak. “Are you Tawegboto ? The lion that has been poaching in my lands and harassing my lionesses ?”
Tawegboto stood straight. “Indeed, I am. What do you want ?”, he asked defiantly.
“I command you to leave my territory in this very moment.”, Thembi demanded.
Tawegboto didn’t move a single muscle and said, “No, I won’t leave. If you want me to go, you will have to fight me for it.”
“If fighting is what you want, then that’s what you’ll get !”, Thembi snarled as he pulled out his claws.
Tawegboto did the same, but he said sarcastically, “Are you sure you don’t prefer to give up ? I could spare your life… otherwise, if you fight with me, I will surely kill you !”
“I will kill you first !”, Thembi shouted and pounced on Tawegboto.
The other lion gave a couple of steps back and raised his forepaws to block Thembi’s pounce. Both lions were slashing and biting fiercely and none of them seemed to be giving up. Tawegboto had turned out to be stronger than what Thembi had imagined, and the king of Pride Lands was getting tired with each second that passed. Tawegboto had more strength, but his attacks were slow, giving Thembi time to escape the powerful blows of his adversary. Suddenly, with unexpected quickness, Tawegboto outstretched his claws and slashed Thembi’s throat. Thembi was so surprised that he couldn’t even say a word. Blood started pouring from the wound.
“Ha ha ha !”, Tawegboto laughed out loud, knowing that Thembi was severely wounded, “You will die in no time, fool !".
Thembi felt a terrible pain in his throat and as he watched his own fur being matted with his blood, he stood there, motionless, ignoring Tawegboto for a few seconds.
Tawegboto kept talking, “I told you to give up before we started fighting ! Now you are going to die, loser ! Loser !”, he said laughing madly.
Thembi turned to him slowly and looked at him with deep rage and fury. “You call me a loser ? I’ll show you who’s the loser !”, Thembi snarled.
With the remaining strength he had in his shattered body, Thembi sprang and landed with his full weight on Tawegboto, throwing him to the ground with his neck exposed. Without thinking it twice, Thembi opened his mouth and closed it with the throat of his opponent inside.
As Thembi choked Tawegboto, the other lion pawed madly trying to get rid of the heavy weight of Thembi, but he couldn’t. He could do nothing to save his life. At last, Tawegboto stopped moving and his chest didn’t rise anymore. Thembi had killed him and had remained the King of the Pride Lands… but he knew it was not for long. He let go Tawegboto’s throat and started coughing.
The wound he had in his own throat was lethal. He was losing too much blood, and he felt the end was near. There in the distance, he could see Pride Rock. He wished to be there once more, and perhaps see his son for one last time, so he started back to the place he had been calling home since he was born. He walked slowly, heavily, leaving a trace of blood wherever he stepped. He felt himself growing weaker and he thought several times in lying down to sleep and wait until the end came. But the desire of seeing Mufasa once more gave him renewed strength, so he kept walking, coughing now and then and feeling terrible pain in all his body.
Karanga was the first one to notice the pitiful state in which Thembi had returned from the fight.
“Oh, my love !”, she cried, and all the lionesses turned to see what was going on. Several of them gasped when they saw Thembi.
“What happened, Thembi ? Please, tell me !”, Karanga said as she kissed his husband and tried to clean his face.
Thembi tried to talk, but he found it difficult. His breathing had become difficult also, so he lied down and tried to rest a little.
“My dear, what can I do for you ?”, Karanga said, crying desperately, seeing that the wound Thembi had in his throat was very serious.
Thembi inhaled deeply and whispered the word, “Mufasa…”
Karanga raised her sight and looked for the king’s favorite son, but he wasn’t nearby.
“Please, Zazu, or whomever ! Find Mufasa, quick !”, Karanga shouted.
Zazu came flying quickly. “I think he went by the water hole, but I am not sure !”, he said nervously.
“Well, Zazu, please look for him ! It is urgent !”, Karanga said between sobs.
“I will, your Highness. “, the bird replied and went away flying as fast as he could.
Karanga and the rest of the lionesses looked at Thembi.
“Oh, Thembi, you will get well, you’ll see…”, Huria said, trying to comfort the lion.
He looked at her and smiled painfully. “I am going to die, but—”, he coughed as the blood kept running from his wound, “but Mufasa will take care of you…”, he added in an almost inaudible voice.
Karanga nuzzled him and licked his face. “Don’t say that, you will get well, my love !”
Thembi looked at Karanga. “Thanks for all the love you gave me…”, Thembi whispered.
Karanga wanted to say something, but she couldn’t. She sobbed continuously.
Sita and Anasa nuzzled each other and dried their tears. It was a painful moment for all the pride, and they whispered some words of courage and comfort to the queen, whose heart was being ripped apart slowly.
Thembi closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them again, he was able to see a bright light that even caused him to narrow his eyes a bit. And then, he heard a voice.
“Thembi…”, someone said.
Thembi seemed to find the voice familiar, but he didn’t recognize the owner of it.
“I am here, Thembi…”, the voice said again. Thembi looked harder at the light, and it slowly began taking the form of a lion. It was shining bright and it had a ghostly appearance.
“Who are you ?”, Thembi asked fearfully. He realized he was not speaking, it was his mind the one that was making the questions.
“Oh, so you don’t remember your own father ?”, the ghost said.
Thembi opened his eyes wide, as he recognized the lion’s features. “Father !”, he said in his mind.
“Yes, Thembi, it’s me, Haraka.”, the bright lion said.
Thembi smiled. “Oh, father, I am so glad to see you !”, Thembi said, but his smile froze when he saw Haraka was not smiling at him. “What is wrong, father ?”, he asked with uncertainty.
“My son…”, Haraka said, “You have mistaken your path.”
When he heard that phrase, Thembi felt a chill running all over his body. “Mistaken ? what do you mean ?”
Haraka looked straight at him. “You know exactly what I mean.”
Slowly, very slowly, beside Haraka, another form began to appear. Thembi gasped as he recognized it. It was his second son, just like the last time he had seen him.
“Hatari ! Is he dead too ?”, Thembi asked, impressed by what he was seeing, but without feeling any grief for the cub.
Haraka nodded no. “Physically, he is not dead, but, what you see here…”, Haraka said looking at the cub beside him. Thembi looked at him too, noticing the innocent look on the cub, his beautiful eyes full of love, his kind smile… “What you see here is already dead.”
Thembi looked at Haraka. “I don’t get it, father…”
Haraka tilted his head a little as he talked. “See this eyes ? This smile ? This expression of love ?”
“You will never see them again in your second son. They are dead. Most part of Hatari is dead now, leaving only a sad lion behind the nickname of Scar. Your son has changed, and certainly not for good.”
Thembi frowned. “He was never good !”, he said.
Haraka twisted his mouth slightly. “Hatari had nothing to do with your wife’s death.”
“But she died as soon as that miserable cub came to this world !”, Thembi said as he recalled the sad moment.
“Thembi, your wife would have died anyway, she was sick…”
Thembi gasped. “Sick ?”
Haraka nodded. “But Hatari helped her to leave this world before she suffered all the pain she would have to go through…”
Thembi remained silent, without knowing what to say, he still thought Hatari was to blame for Kitok’s pass away.
“I know what you are thinking, my son.”, Haraka said.
Thembi looked at his father and said, “Dad, I hate Hatari, and I still think he killed my wife, besides, he disobeyed me and—”
“Thembi !”, the ghost interrupted. “You will never change, will you ? Not even when you are facing death !”
“Father,”, Thembi said, “I have nothing to change. I have raised Mufasa as best as I could and I know he is suitable for taking the Kingship and protecting this kingdom… what else could I ask for ?”
“Did you ever stop to think about the harm you were causing Hatari with your indifference ?”, Haraka asked, “And with your preference for Mufasa ?”
Thembi didn’t still get the point. “But how wouldn’t I prefer Mufasa ? Hatari was always weak, and lame… he couldn’t have become a king, so, I didn’t cause him any harm, I just treated him as he deserved.”
“How dare you call your son lame ? ?”, Haraka roared angrily.
Thembi remained silent.
“I will have to tell you something, son.”, Haraka said. “For treating Hatari ‘as he deserved’, you have condemned your whole kingdom, and both of your sons !”
“What do you mean my whole kingdom ? Both sons ?”, Thembi asked, feeling suddenly afraid.
“You have already lost Hatari, and your beloved Mufasa will have a tragic end. Your lands will lost food and water and the earth will become gray and dull.”
Thembi’s eyes were wide open. “But… why ? I don’t understand ?”
“Remember the promise Hatari made before leaving Pride Lands ?”
Thembi frowned. “Promise ? What promise ?”, he said confusedly.
Haraka sighed. “You don’t even remember it… but your second son does, and he remembers it very well. He told you he was going to be a king someday, remember ?”
Haraka tried to recall. “Oh, yes, that thing…”, he suddenly wrinkled his nose in anger, “You don’t mean he will harm Mufasa so he can become a king, do you ?”
Haraka sighed again. “Yes, Thembi. Sad, but it’s the truth.”
Thembi snarled loudly. “Why are you telling me this ? ? It is only making my hate for that lion grow stronger !”
“Thembi !”, Haraka said, “I am not telling you this so you hate him more, but for you to recognize you made a mistake. Hatari would have been a great King as Mufasa, but you made that change, it was your mistake !”
“Oh,”, Thembi said still blind by fury, “So I will be blamed for the damage Hatari could cause to my son and my kingdom ?”
Haraka nodded no. “No, Thembi, Hatari will have his own punishment for his actions. Hatari still can choose whether hurting his brother or not—”
“So where’s my mistake anyway ?”, Thembi interrupted.
“You caused Hatari to be a lonesome lion… you told the lioness cubs not to approach him, when he tried to talk to you, you never listened to him ! THAT’S your mistake, Thembi !”
“Oh, great, so now I abused him !”, Thembi growled.
“No, you didn’t abuse him. You ignored him. You treated him like an object, like something without feelings. Now don’t tell me that is not a mistake !”
Thembi opened his mouth to say something, but he fell silent.
He recalled how his behavior towards Hatari had been, and he found that what Haraka was saying, was nothing but the truth.
Thembi sighed. “Father, I can’t love that cub right now… it’s beyond my heart…”
“I know, Thembi.”, Haraka said. “It’s difficult, almost impossible to love someone in a matter of minutes. But what I want to hear is that you accept you made a mistake, son.”
Thembi sighed again and looked at the image of Hatari standing beside Haraka. He didn’t know why, but he felt his eyes mist up with tears. “I guess I should have listened to Rafiki’s wise words…”, he thought, and at the same time, Haraka smiled and shone brighter.
“You did it !”, Haraka roared.
“Did what ?”, Thembi asked, trying to dry his eyes and blinking repeatedly.
“You finally accepted you were wrong ! By thinking on having listened to Rafiki’s advice… you have seen that what you did wasn’t the right thing !”, Haraka explained.
Thembi half-smiled. “Anyway, I can’t do anything now to change things… Can I ?”, he asked.
Haraka nodded no. “You can’t, son. And I know you will have a bad time seeing what the future will bring… still, always remember that at the end, there will be happiness for you and for the ones you love… and for Hatari too.”
Thembi sighed. “That makes me feel a little more relieved…”, he said.
Haraka’s figure started to fade as he said, “Now, my son, follow me.”
“What ?”, Thembi said as he saw his father disappear.
“You are coming with me now, son. Your place in the circle of life is no longer at Pride Rock, but at the sky, by the side of the great Kings of the past.”
“Father, please ! Let me say good bye to Mufasa ! Wait for me, just a few more minutes !”, Thembi begged.
Haraka looked around for an instant and he told Thembi, “Okay, son, close your eyes, count to three and open them again. And you will be able to say good bye to Mufasa.”
Thembi obeyed. He closed his eyes and counted to three. When he opened them again, the bright light had faded completely, and he could see the sad faces of the lionesses crying for him.
“Don’t worry…”, he said softly, “I will be okay. Tawegboto is dead, and you have nothing to fear…”, Thembi said.
He suddenly heard a cry of Sita, “Here comes Mufasa, Thembi !”
Thembi pricked his ears and smiled when he saw his son’s handsome face.
“Dad, what happened to you ? Was it Tawegboto ? Why didn’t you let me help you ?”, Mufasa asked, feeling as if he had something stuck in his throat.
Thembi smiled. “Don’t worry about me anymore my son. You take care of my kingdom… your kingdom… okay ?”, Thembi whispered.
“Father ! Don’t leave me here ! I need you !”
Thembi coughed and whispered, “Son, I will be looking after you from the stars, remember ?”
Mufasa nodded as he shed tears of sadness.
“So, when you look at the stars, remember I will be there, taking care of you, guiding you and comforting you. And you won’t feel lonely.”, Thembi added and closed his eyes.
Mufasa gasped, but he noticed with relief that his father’s chest was still ascending and descending, slowly and rhythmically.
“Father, do you have to go ? Is there nothing I can do to save your life ?”
Thembi nodded no. “My role here has already finished.”
As he looked at Mufasa, Thembi had a thought. He asked Mufasa to come closer, and when he did, he whispered at his ear, “Mufasa, be careful with—” He couldn’t finish the phrase. He thought on warning Mufasa about Hatari’s plans, but some strange force didn’t let him continue speaking.
Thembi closed his eyes, and, though he tried to say more, he couldn’t. He inhaled deeply and let his breath out slowly. His chest never rose again.
“Father ! Father !!”, Mufasa shouted, hugging his father’s mane and licking his face.
Karanga cried also, and nuzzled his husband lovingly. “My love ! Remember how much I always loved you ! I know that now you are happy by Kitok’s side, but, please, don’t forget me !”, she said in her mind.
The rest of the pride wept also, the cubs were very impressed by the death of the Thembi and hugged some of the lionesses, full of fear and curiosity of knowing what had happened to their King.
Watching the whole pride, was Thembi, by Haraka’s side. “It is time to go, my son.”
Thembi sighed. “Too bad I couldn’t talk to Mufasa a little more…”, he said as he turned around and walked away from Pride Lands.
Haraka followed him. “You could have said more if you hadn’t thought on telling him what was going to happen !”, he scolded.
Thembi looked at him. “I know, father. It was my mistake.”, he said with a slight smile, which, deep inside, was hiding a terrible sadness for the fate his beloved son would have to face.
Haraka looked at him lovingly. “Kitok must be waiting for you…”, he said as he nuzzled his son.
“I hope she still loves me…”, Thembi said after sighing deeply.
“Hmm…”, Haraka said, “She was not happy about what you did to Hatari, but she loves you anyway.”
Thembi smiled. “That’s good to know… I have missed her so much…”
Both lions continued talking, until Thembi realized he was far away from the ground and could look at Pride Rock from above. The sight amazed him. Even though he was sad because of the future, he smiled, for he was now a star, one of the Great Kings of the past.
Mufasa was standing on one of the rocks of Pride Rock. He was supposed to give a speech about his father’s death and about him assuming the kingship, but he didn’t have much words to say.
“Dear pride,”, he started, trying not to cry, “Two days ago, my beloved father Thembi, King of the Pride Lands, went to join the Great Kings of the Past, leaving me the role of caring for his Kingdom and all the inhabitants in it. I hope I can be a great king as he was.”
That was all he could say. He couldn’t find the right words to express what he was feeling, so he decided to stop talking. He walked down the rock and nuzzled his mate Sarabi. She licked his tears away and whispered some words of comfort.
One of the hyenas of Shenzi’s clan was watching the scene with interest, and ran all the way back to the elephant graveyard.
“Scar ! Thembi’s dead !”, she shouted, and all the hyenas that heard this started celebrating, for he had killed their leader, and he deserved no feelings of grief.
Scar pricked his ears and repeated to himself. “Thembi is dead…”, and he chuckled. “I think I will return to Pride Lands now…”, he said out loud.
“Hey, after all this time, you’re leaving us ? ?”, Shenzi asked frowning.
Scar nodded but nuzzled Shenzi on the cheek. “Don’t worry, I will visit you very often and bring you food… I need to be there, analyze the situation, you know, how a good King Mufasa is and such… perhaps it would help me to think of a better plan to be the King…”, he said.
Shenzi giggled. “Well, are you leaving soon ?”, she asked.
He nodded. “Perhaps tomorrow, or maybe in a few weeks. I don’t know… I don’t want to be there if they’re still grieving his body… I don’t want to see him…”, he said.
Shenzi nodded. “I understand.”
They remained silent, each one thinking on what the future would bring to their lives.
Several weeks went by before Scar made up his mind and decided to return to Pride Lands.
One morning, Karanga was lying in the ground, feeding her cubs. She was thinking on Thembi and how much she missed him.
“I wonder where your father is now…”, she told the cubs and licked their heads lovingly. The lionesses purred softly in return. Karanga raised her head as she felt the wind blowing gently in her face. She closed her eyes, enjoying the cooling sensation and hoping the wind would dry her tears. She opened her eyes again and looked around just to make sure everything was okay. Suddenly, she saw something that froze her blood. A lonesome male lion was standing not far from where she was. Karanga stood up quickly and hugged her daughters protectively as she looked distrustfully at the stranger.
“Don’t come any closer ! You are warned !”, she yelled.
The other lion half-smiled. “Now you too want me away from your cubs ?”, he asked.
Karanga was startled when she heard the voice. It was so familiar… She looked at the lion… his black mane shifting with the wind. Her worried face turned into an excited one when she noticed that the lion was wearing a scar in his left eye.
“My Hatari !!!”, she shouted happily.
Scar smiled. He also felt happy to see Karanga. She was the only lioness that had ever been kind to him. Even though Dalasini had fed him, she never paid attention to him. Scar padded up to Karanga.
“Hello, mom.”, he said softly.
Karanga burst in tears when she heard the familiar, soft voice of her favorite cub.
“My baby, how much you have changed ! And your voice ! Now you are a grown up ! I thought you weren’t alive !”, she said, kissing Scar’s face lovingly.
“Well, here I am, mom. Perhaps, if my brother doesn’t care, I could live here again. I know what happened to… to him.”, Scar said, trying to hide as much as possible his hate for Thembi.
“Oh, sweetheart ! I know you have suffered a lot because of your father, but try to forgive him. He didn’t know he was acting wrong.”
Scar shrugged. “Anyway, I am glad to be here. I missed you, mom.”, he said, purring softly.
“I missed you too, honey !”, she exclaimed and looked at Scar. “Why, you are so handsome !”, she said.
Scar smiled. “Mom, I am not !”, he said shyly.
She kissed him again. “Come on, let’s go home.”, she said.
Scar looked at Karanga’s cubs. “Who are they ?”, he asked, sniffing the cubs carefully.
“Oh, remember when I told you I was expecting a cub ?”, Karanga said.
He nodded. “Are these the cubs you were expecting ?”, he asked in awe.
“Yes, the older one is Tahlili, the younger one is Shada.”, she said.
“Hello !”, both lionesses exclaimed in unison.
“Wow, they’re so big ! I guess it has been a long time since I left then…”
“That’s true, my son. Just look at you ! You have a beautiful mane !”, she said, admiring the handsome features of Scar.
He smiled again and started walking to Pride Rock, wondering what the reaction of the rest of the pride would be. When they arrived at Pride Rock, Karanga roared happily and shouted, “Come here everyone, my son is back !”
Scar felt suddenly nervous. He knew that the lionesses didn’t like him at all, specially Sarabi, she had always neglected him, so he was nervous to see her again, as he wondered what she might look like after all the time that had passed. One by one, the lionesses arrived.
“Hmm… I wonder who that is…”, Sita thought as she approached. A few seconds after, she realized it was Scar. “Hatari ?”, she said in a whisper and approached the lion.
“Hello, Sita, nice to see you again.”, Scar said, trying to sound calm.
“We thought you were dead ! Where have you been all this time ?”, she asked looking at the lion, awed.
“Not far from here.”, he replied. He noticed some other lionesses approaching. Two of them were young and beautiful. Both lionesses stopped immediately when they saw the dark lion standing beside Sita and Karanga.
“Who is that ?”, Sarafina whispered.
Sarabi narrowed her eyes, trying to recognize the lion, and when she saw the scar, she knew perfectly who that was. “It’s Mufasa’s brother.”, she said.
Sarafina gasped. “Scar ? He is back ? Oh, Mahali won’t like this a bit…”, she said, knowing that the young lioness was afraid of Scar.
They approached him. “Hello, uh…”, Sarabi said, without knowing how to address him.
Scar sighed. “You can call me Scar. Nobody calls me Hatari now, and I certainly don’t like that name anymore.”
Karanga looked at him in awe. “Do you prefer I call you Scar instead of Hatari ?”, she asked.
Scar nodded. He couldn’t help but look at Sarabi and Sarafina, who were the most beautiful lionesses his eyes had ever met. Just then, he heard a loud roar in the distance. A roar he knew too well.
“Here comes Mufasa…”, Sarabi said, smiling happily at the thought of seeing her mate.
“Mufasa is the new King, you know, and he was away marking the boundaries of our Kingdom, but it seems he is back now.”, Karanga explained.
Scar half-smiled. He didn’t really want to see his brother, but he needed to do so if he wanted to become the next King. After a few minutes, he saw the blonde mane of his brother coming his way.
“Mufasa, come quick !, Your brother is back !”, Sarafina shouted.
Mufasa pricked his ears and noticed a lion with dark mane among the lionesses. He felt terribly happy. “Hey, Zazu, did you hear that ? Scar’s back !”, he said.
Zazu gasped. He knew very well that Scar was not too happy with him because of what had happened in the past… Perhaps he had forgotten everything, but perhaps not. Zazu sighed and followed Mufasa closely, who hurried all the way back home.
Mufasa came to a stop, panting and looked at Scar. “Well, brother, welcome home !”, Mufasa said.
His deep voice impressed Scar terribly. “What happened to your voice ?”, Scar asked awed.
“Has it changed that much ?”, Mufasa asked smiling.
Scar nodded. “Yes… It has been a long time… everything is so different here…”, he said, looking around admiringly.
Mufasa smiled and nuzzled him softly. “You can live with us at the rock again.”, he said.
Scar was about to thank him when he noticed the looks in the lionesses’ faces. They weren’t too happy about it. So, he nodded no. “Thanks, brother, but I prefer to have my own place. I became a little independent when I was away… besides, I don’t want to be a nuisance…”, he said, glancing at the lionesses as he spoke.
Mufasa shrugged. “As you wish, brother, but remember you will be very welcome in the cave whenever you want.”
Scar smiled. Inhaling deeply, he said, “Well, if you don’t mind… I would like to rest a little… I’ll be at the cave behind Pride Rock… around the south ledge.”
The lionesses nodded, some of them sighing in relief.
“I am not sure about this…”, Sarafina whispered, “There’s something in him that I don’t like… I feel I can’t trust him…”
Sarabi nodded. “We don’t know that for sure, but, he’s the King’s brother, and he deserves our respect…”, she whispered back.
Sarafina looked at Scar as he walked to the cave he was referring a few seconds ago.
“Welcome, brother Hatari !”, Mufasa shouted cheerfully.
Scar turned to him and said, “Please, don’t call me Hatari. Call me Scar.”, and without another word, he left. He walked past Zazu, and looked at him through the corner of his eyes. Zazu could feel Scar’s gaze, full of hate and anger, and he shuddered. He sighed in relief when the lion disappeared behind the boulders of Pride Rock.
Mufasa was a little confused by Scar’s attitude. “I wonder what’s wrong with him…”, he thought.
Karanga, as if she had read Mufasa’s thoughts, approached him and said, “I think he is sad… Perhaps coming back brought to him painful memories…”
Mufasa nodded slowly. “Yeah… But you will see, Karanga, everything is changed here, my father will no longer hurt him, and we will live happy, all together…”, he said
The lionesses looked at each other. “I think it would have been better if he didn’t come back…”, Anasa whispered.
Her daughter Mahali nodded quickly. “What if he tries to kill us as he did with Kitok ?”, she asked fearfully.
Sarabi nodded no. “I don’t think he would harm us. If we leave him alone, I guess he won’t bother us at all…”, she said, grooming one of her front paws as she spoke.
“I think I agree with Sarabi: we continue our normal life and don’t take notice of Scar… Just as if he were not there…”
Sarafina shook her head in disapproval. “I don’t think it will be that easy… We will have to speak to him sometime, at least say ‘good morning’ or something… We can’t behave rude towards him, because he is the King’s brother…”
“Yeah, “ Huria replied, “And we all know he has a chance of being King too, in case something happened to Mufasa…”
“Don’t say it !”, Sarabi exclaimed.
Karanga sighed deeply. “I know you girls don’t like Scar a little bit, but, I beg you, at least try to be kind with him… we don’t know how much did he have to go through when he left Pride Lands…”, she said.
The lionesses thought for an instant. “All right, Karanga, we’ll try…”, Sarabi said finally.
Karanga smiled and went to lie down far from the group. The rest of the lionesses continued talking.
Lowering the tone of voice, Sita whispered, “Personally, I don’t like the idea of Scar becoming a king…”
“Me neither !”, Huria exclaimed, “We don’t even know what kind of lion is he… It has been a long time since we talked to him… I don’t know…”, she said distrustfully.
“Is there a way for not letting him be a King after Mufasa ?”, young Mahali asked.
Anasa nodded, and looked mischievously at Sarabi. “If Mufasa has a son, then he will have the right of becoming a King, and Scar won’t have any chance at all…”, she said, and chuckled at the end of her phrase.
Sarabi felt nervous and said, “Hey, why are you looking at me ?”
The lionesses giggled. “Well, you know why !”, Huria said, pawing tauntingly at Sarabi’s face, “You are the one that will give that son to Mufasa…”
“Oh, ha ha…”, Sarabi said, chuckling nervously…
At that moment, Tahlili and Shada, Karanga’s daughters, came running happily and collided with some of the older lionesses.
“Hey, be careful, cubs !”, Anasa said reproachfully.
“Sorry…”, Shada replied kissing Anasa in one paw.
“Why were you running like that ? Is a hyena chasing you ?”, Mahali asked them.
Tahlili and Shada giggled. “No…”, Tahlili whispered, “We were spying on the lion that arrived here today…”, and giggled some more.
The older lionesses looked at each other and rolled their eyes. “What’s so cool about it, girls ?”, Huria asked the cubs.
Shada burst in laughter. “He—- he was ha ha ha—- He was crying ! Just like Tahlili cries when she is hungry ! Ha ha ha…”
Tahlili snarled at her. “Hey, I don’t cry like that !”, and looking at the lionesses, she added, “Believe me, I have never seen something so funny… he looked like a baby !”
The lionesses remained serious and looked at each other. Sarabi grabbed Shada by the neck and told her, “Honey, first of all, you don’t spy on people. Second, there’s nothing funny in seeing someone crying.”
Shada and Tahlili looked at the ground in shame. “Well… I thought it was fun to see someone crying like that…”, the cub whispered.
Sarabi nodded no. “It doesn’t matter if he’s older than you… he can cry just like you do.”
The cubs sighed. “Okay, we’re sorry. We won’t laugh at him again…”
“Did he see you ? Does he know you were spying on him ?”, Sarabi asked.
The cubs nodded no. “I don’t think so… he had his back turned on us, he couldn’t have seen us…”, Tahlili said.
“Okay.”, Sarabi said, and kissed the cubs in the head. “Why don’t you go and take a nap with your mom Karanga ?”
“All right.”, Shada replied sadly because the fun was over.
Both cubs walked to the lioness that had been queen for a long time. They snuggled against Karanga and fell asleep in several minutes.
Karanga hugged them with her paw in her sleep, and continued dreaming pleasantly.
The rest of the pride looked at each other with visible indecision.
“Should we go and see Scar ?”, Huria asked.
The rest of the lionesses shrugged. All of them thought it would be the best thing, but no one dared to do it.
Scar was in the south ledge of Pride Rock, lied in the floor, sobbing uncontrollably. Karanga was right. The place had brought memories to Scar’s mind, and he regretted having returned to Pride Rock. He recalled some of the most painful moments he spent there, playing alone, learning to hunt alone, and almost living alone. If he hadn’t counted with Karanga’s love and support, he might have even killed himself. But those memories that were coming alive, only made Scar feel the need to posses the throne stronger and stronger. Seeing Mufasa as strong and handsome as he had just seen him, had also a bad effect on him. Again, he felt he was less than his brother. Eve though he tried, he couldn’t stop crying until several minutes after. When he was more calm, he stood up and walked out of the cave in order to breathe some fresh air. There in the distance, Karanga was awake now and she was grooming her cubs.
When she saw him, she whispered, “My Hatari… how much do you look like your father…”
The cubs turned to see him and agreed… “Indeed, he looks like Thembi, only he’s more scrawny…”, Tahlili said.
Karanga sighed. “Just don’t tell him that… It might not make him too happy…”
The cubs nodded and purred as Karanga bathed them with her pink tongue.
She hoped Hatari would feel happy at Pride Lands, he deserved so much happiness as Mufasa, she thought.
Several months went by. The return of Scar wasn’t what Mufasa had expected. Scar had turned out to be bitter and sarcastic. Whenever Mufasa wanted to talk to him, Scar just couldn’t make aside the fact that Thembi always preferred him, and thus, he behaved bitterly towards his older brother.
The lionesses ignored him, but he ignored them as well. Sometimes he would say good morning, but other times, not even that he would say to them. He knew very well that the lionesses talked about him behind his back. Although it hurt him deeply, he acted as if he didn’t care about it. Only Karanga would lie down near him and groom his mane. Not even her cubs, Tahlili and Shada, spent time with him. They preferred to play by themselves, but sometimes they would talk a while with him. And he enjoyed those moments greatly.
Scar was aware that living in Pride Rock had certain advantages, one of the most important was the fact that he didn’t have to hunt for his food, although he ate always the last. He sometimes felt hungry even after eating, but, living with the hyenas made him change his feeding habits and he would search for something to eat ; he would eat almost anything. He had to do it before, in order to survive when he left Pride Lands at a young age.
Still, Mufasa’s pride didn’t seem to be too bothered by Scar’s presence and let him stay. Anyway, Scar didn’t spend too much time with them. He visited his hyena friends almost daily, and sometimes he brought food to them. The hyenas liked this, however, they were aware that Scar was not a very important lion in his pride, and sometimes they would laugh at this, and made jokes that Scar had learned to ignore. He felt somehow that the hyenas could help him with his plans, but he still didn’t know how. It was just a feeling.
One morning, Scar was walking by the water hole when he saw Sarabi walking slowly and heavily at the distance. Scar looked at her and half-smiled.
“She’s been putting on weight…”, he sneered.
The lioness kept walking and disappeared. It seemed she was heading for Rafiki’s baobab.
Anyway, Scar didn’t give importance to it, and headed to the elephant graveyard. As he walked, he saw Zazu flying in the distance. Scar growled as he recalled the last talk he had had with the bird. Scar had told Zazu he was angry with him for telling his dad he had been with the hyenas. Zazu knew perfectly well that he had somehow contributed to what had happened to Scar, still, he never said anything more about it. They seldom spoke now, only if it was necessary.
Scar sighed deeply as he headed for the graveyard, wanting to wipe those memories away of his mind.
When Scar returned to Pride Rock, he could hear the lionesses roaring happily. He wondered what could be going on, and hurried his steps. When Karanga caught a glimpse of him, she yelled, “Come, Scar ! Come and listen to the good news !”
Scar hurried even more, feeling curious about what had happened. When he reached the base of Pride Rock, Karanga ran to meet him.
“Scar, listen to this ! Oh, we’re so happy !”, she said moving her tail from side to side excitedly.
“What is going on here ?”, Scar asked.
Mufasa cleared his throat and announced with great pride, “I am going to have a cub.”
“A cub ?”, Scar asked, and then looked at the ground thoughtfully.
Sarabi said, “Yes, Scar, a cub. I will give a son or a daughter to Mufasa ! Rafiki told me so !”
Scar raised his sight again and placed it in Sarabi. “Hmm… so that’s why she looked fatter to me…”, he thought. Then, looking at Mufasa, with a fake smile, he said with uncertainty, “Well, brother… congratulations…”
“Thanks, Scar !”, Mufasa said, and, with his chest swelling with pride, he added, “Just imagine, if he’s a male, he will be the next King of Pride Lands !”
Scar opened his eyes wide. “What ? What did you say ?”, he asked, awed.
Mufasa looked at him with curiosity. “Didn’t father ever tell you that ?”, he asked.
Scar nodded no. “You mean… I—I don’t have a chance of being king now ?”, he asked trying to hide his disappointment as best as he could.
Mufasa glanced at the lionesses and then looked at his brother. “Listen, Scar…”, he started, “if the King has a son, it is the law that the son is the next in line for the throne…”
Scar nodded slowly. “I get it now…”, he said, and walked away, slowly, as if he had received some kind of shock.
His reaction left the pride in complete silence.
Sarabi frowned. “I guess he wasn’t too happy about our son…”, she told Mufasa.
Mufasa sighed. “Well, I don’t remember listening to Scar saying he wanted to be the King… I even thought he didn’t care about it… But I guess I was wrong… This might have been a hard thing for him…”, he said thoughtfully.
The lionesses remained silent, until Huria shouted, “Come on ! We were celebrating ! Don’t let Scar spoil our happiness !”, she said, and roared again.
Anasa smiled and roared too, and one by one, the lionesses started roaring again cheerfully, except Karanga. She lied down thoughtfully, thinking on what could be possibly going through Scar’s mind
In the cave, Scar covered his ears with his front paws. The lionesses were so happy… he couldn’t stand it. He was feeling as if he were dying. He knew that the arrival of the cub would complicate things even more. He wanted to show Thembi he could be a better King than Mufasa, but now he didn’t even had the chance of being a King ! He felt he already hated the coming cub. His only hopes were that it turned out to be female, or that it died when being born. Then he would still be next in line for the throne. However, his hopes vanished after several weeks, when Sarabi came into labor and gave birth to a beautiful male cub.
Scar was resting in his cave when he suddenly heard a noise. He turned to see what was causing it, and he saw Zazu standing at the entrance of his small cavern.
“You need something ?”, Scar asked, a little shortly.
“Mufasa told me to give you a message.”, Zazu said, not venturing inside the cavern fearing Scar could hurt him.
“Speak.”, Scar said, looking away.
“Tomorrow will be the presentation of the new King. Mufasa wants to see you there.”, Zazu recited.
Scar chuckled. “Oh, he wants to see me there…”, he repeated.
“Precisely.”, Zazu said, “So don’t forget it, tomorrow morning.” The bird walked a few steps and then flew away.
Scar sighed. He didn’t like the idea of being at the presentation of that cub. “Hey, who says I have to go ?”, he thought, and chuckled slightly. Just then, a thought came to his mind. He even shuddered.
“What if the cub died ?”, he told himself. Scar narrowed his eyes as he repeated himself that question. He shook his head in disapproval.
“Nah, it won’t work… Mufasa will have more children anyway… I can’t spend the rest of my life killing cubs…”
And then a more sinister thought came to him. “What if _Mufasa and his son_ died ?” Scar opened his eyes wide. Everything seemed clearer to him. “I would turn into the King instantly !”
Scar laughed out loud. “Hmm, I love to think of the face Thembi will have when he sees what will happen to Mufasa and his son…”
He laughed some more when he saw that killing Mufasa was the opportunity he had been waiting for. He would be the King and he would be able to make the lives of those who neglected him miserable. Scar liked the idea. However, his plan needed much working. Scar lied down and closed his eyes, meditating. “I think I will be King very soon…”, he whispered to himself.
The next day, the sun shone majestically upon the Savannah. Mufasa, standing on the promontory, let loose a strong roar and shouted cheerfully, “Wake up everyone ! Today is the future King’s presentation !”
Several animals heard the call. A rhino raised his head and looked at Pride Rock, noticing the King was standing there, and smiled. Some antelopes were already hurrying all the way to Pride Rock. A few meerkats also heard Mufasa’s call, and stood up on two legs as they scanned the horizon. A mother cheetah stretched herself, and looked at Pride Rock intently. She turned around and called her cubs.
“Come on, babies, it’s time to go.”
“Where we going, mom ?”, one of them asked.
“We’re going to meet the new Prince.”, she said and sighed.
As they walked, she told her cubs, “When I was your age, I remember mom took me to see Mufasa’s and Scar’s presentation. It was a wonderful experience, and I think you will like it too.”
“Cool”, her two cubs replied, and followed their mother obediently.
Birds were flying to Pride Rock too, Marabu storks, eagles… A group of elephants came walking slowly, crossing through the shallow part of a river; the water helped them cool themselves and refresh their skin. Some birds were resting in the elephant leader’s tusks, and he greeted them politely.
“Hey, you are already tired ? There’s still a long way to go…”, he said chuckling.
There was also a giraffe with her daughter. The small giraffe was blind when the sun reflected in her face.
“Hurry up, daughter.”, her mother called.
The little giraffe opened her eyes once more and continued walking, trying to avoid the sun in her eyes.
While the rest of the animals gathered around Pride Rock, Zazu was flying above Pride Lands, checking that everything was on order. When the sun had risen completely, Zazu decided he should go back to the rock and see how things were going over there. He was flying quickly, enjoying the sensation of the wind in his face. He saw Mufasa standing on the Promontory, looking at his Kingdom. Still, Zazu noticed the King had a serious expression. “Is something wrong ?”, Zazu asked himself.
He landed in front of the King and bowed. Mufasa smiled at him, but Zazu still thought something was troubling the King.
“Is something bothering you, Sire ?”, he asked.
Mufasa nodded. “Scar is not here. And I am sure he is not coming.”, he said.
“Sire, if you want, I can go and remind him to come…”, Zazu said.
Suddenly, Mufasa smiled. He saw that all the animals were moving as somebody walked among them. He descried Rafiki, that came walking as fast as he could. The baboon said hello to some animals and acknowledged the respect they were showing him with a small bow of the head.
Mufasa turned to Zazu. “No, Zazu. I don’t want to force Scar to come. However, I think I will have a talk with him as soon as the presentation is over.”
“Very well, sire. Now, Rafiki is coming up here, so I’ll better take my place down there…”, Zazu said.
Mufasa nodded, as he waited impatiently for Rafiki to come over.
Zazu flew away, and in just a matter of seconds, Rafiki climbed up the promontory. Mufasa smiled at him and hugged him.
Rafiki hugged him back. “Congratulations, father !”, he whispered.
Mufasa smiled and turned to face Sarabi, the Queen, lying a few meters from the entrance of the cavern. He walked to her and nuzzled her lovingly. Then they both looked at their son.
Rafiki followed the Lion King and looked at the cub with attention. “So this is the new king ?”, Rafiki asked.
The baboon started agitating the gourds he had on his staff, and these made rattling noises that attracted the cub’s attention.
The little lion started pawing at them and even pulled out a claw, trying to reach Rafiki’s gourds.
Rafiki stopped agitating his staff and picked up one of the gourds, breaking it in half. He moistened one of his fingers in the sticky content of the fruit, and carefully, he drew a line in the cub’s forehead. Immediately after this, before the liquid dried, Rafiki grabbed a handful of dirt from the ground and spread it in the cub’s forehead too, which made him sneeze. Mufasa and Sarabi looked at their son with great love.
“I guess it is time.”, he told the King and Queen.
Sarabi moved her paw so Rafiki could pick up the cub. The baboon grabbed the little lion and hugged him close to his chest. With steady paces, Rafiki walked to the tip of the promontory. The audience hushed immediately, and watched the baboon intently.
When Rafiki was at the tip of the promontory, he whispered at the cub’s ear, “Don’t be afraid, little one.
Holding the cub tightly, he lifted him up for all the animals to see. The animals that were present started cheering, clapping and shouting. “Long live the future King !”
Mufasa walked to the promontory, followed by Sarabi. The Queen glanced back and looked at her pride mates, who were smiling happily. Sarabi winked at Sarafina, and she winked back. Both lionesses were very happy because Sarafina was also expecting a cub, and it would be born in just a few more days.
Mufasa lied down while Rafiki held the cub high, and Sarabi did the same. Finally, Rafiki lowered the cub and placed it between Sarabi’s paws. Mufasa stood up and cleared his throat as he waited for the concurrence to keep silence.
After a couple of minutes, Mufasa started speaking. “Thank you all for coming to my son’s presentation, whose name will be Simba.”
“Long live Simba ! Long live Simba !”, the animals shouted.
After celebrating some more, the animals started returning to their habitual activities, while Mufasa and the Queen entered the cave, followed by Rafiki.
“Zazu ?”, Mufasa called.
The bird flew and landed in front of him. “What is it, your Highness ?”
Mufasa sighed. “Could you please go to the south ledge and tell Scar I want to talk to him ? I will catch up with you in a few minutes.”, Mufasa said.
“Certainly, Sire.”, Zazu said and flew to the south ledge of Pride Rock.
Not far from there… hidden between some huge rocks, Scar had been watching the presentation. It seemed as if he enjoyed torturing himself. When it was finished, he returned to the south ledge and lied down, feeling terribly depressed. He was about to take a nap when he heard a soft rustle. He looked up and noticed a mouse that had come out form it’s hole in the stone.
“Hmm… looks like a tasty snack…”, Scar told himself and got up slowly and silently, while the mouse cleaned its ears and whiskers. The mouse suddenly sensed danger approaching, and, as it sniffed the air, it noticed it was being watched very closely by a lion. When it tried to run, it was too late. Scar placed quickly his paw right on the mouse and grabbed its tail between the fingers of his paw.
He picked it up, and, looking at him, he said, “Life’s not fair, is it ?”, looking away from the mouse, he added, “You see, I, well… I shall never be king, hmmph !”, and sighed. Licking his lips as he savored his snack, he told the mouse, “And you… shall never see the light of another day…”, and he chuckled.
Licking his lips once more, he said, “Adieu.”, and, he opened his mouth wide, placing the small mouse inside.
He was interrupted when he heard a voice saying, “Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to play with your food ?”
Scar turned around to see Zazu standing beside him. He didn’t gave importance to the fact that Zazu had mentioned his mother, and, sighing exasperated, he said, “What do you want ?”
Zazu straightened up and said, “I am here to announce that,”, and he bowed before pronouncing the next words, “King Mufasa is on his way.” Standing straight, the bird added, “So you better have a good excuse for missing the ceremony this morning…”
Scar felt how his claws spread out involuntarily, and as he retracted them again -not completely, as he was used to having them partway extended- the mouse escaped from the lion’s grip and ran straight to his hole. Inside, it sighed in relief and waited in the entrance until it were safe to go out again.
Scar growled slightly. “Oh, now look, Zazu, you made me lose my lunch.”, he said.
Zazu chuckled. “You’ll lose more than that when the king gets through with you…” The bird turned his back on Scar and added, “He’s as mad as a hippo with a hernia…”
Scar lost his patience, and, disliking Zazu as much as he disliked Simba and Mufasa for what he had done in the past, he snarled sarcastically, “Ooohhhh… I quiver with fear !!” He stood up and began stalking the bird, showing his teeth in a malicious grin and growling deeply.
Zazu felt suddenly afraid. “Now, Scar, don’t look at me that way…” Fearing for his life, the hornbill shouted, “Help !”
His shout was stifled inside Scar’s mouth. The lion had jumped on the bird and had him now prisoner in his mouth. He felt Zazu struggling inside, trying to avoid the sharp teeth. Scar was about to end with the bird’s life when he suddenly heard the deep voice of Mufasa right behind him.
“Scar !”, Mufasa called.
Scar turned over his shoulder and tried to say, “Oh, you’re here ?”, but, being not able to speak because Zazu was inside his mouth, the only thing that came out was “Hmm, hmm hmm ?”
“Drop him.”, Mufasa ordered.
Scar sighed, but then he felt Zazu’s beak coming out of his mouth saying, “Impeccable timing, your majesty…”
Scar squinted at Mufasa, and then he turned around, spitting Zazu with no delicacy at all.
Zazu looked at his feathers, all covered with Scar’s saliva, and grunted in disgust.
Scar then, walking in circles in front of Mufasa, said sarcastically, “Why… If it isn’t my big brother descending from on high to mingle with the commoners…”
Mufasa scowled at Scar’s sarcasm. “Sarabi and I didn’t see you at the presentation of Simba.”, he said in a very severe tone.
Scar walked to one of the walls nearby and said in fake surprise, “Oh, that was today ?” Standing on two legs and resting his two front paws on the wall, he added, “Oh, I feel simply awful.” He slid down the wall with claws outstretched, making a screeching noise that sent chills to Zazu’s body.
Admiring his claws, Scar said, “Must have slipped my mind.”
Zazu frowned. “Yes, well, as slippery as you mind is, as the King’s brother, you should have been first in line !”, he said, flying in front of Scar’s face.
Scar, as to tell him ‘get away from here’, opened and closed his mouth quickly, making a clicking sound with his teeth.
Zazu got scared again and flew away, hiding behind one of Mufasa’s paws.
Scar, speaking to the bird, said, “Well, I was first in line, until the little hairball was born.”
Mufasa lowered his head and met his brother’s eyes with his own. “That ‘hairball’ is MY son, and YOUR future King !”, he said, trying to stay calm.
Scar only made things worse when he said, “Oh, I shall practice my curtsy.”, and turned away.
Mufasa growled. “Don’t turn your back on me , Scar !”, he warned.
Scar rolled his eyes and, looking at his brother over his shoulder, he said, “Oh, no, Mufasa. Perhaps YOU shouldn’t turn your back on me.”, and started walking away.
Mufasa lost his patience and roared angrily. “Is that a challenge ?”, he asked, blocking Scar’s way.
Scar, trying to appear as calm as possible, replied, “Temper, temper. I wouldn’t dream of challenging you.”
Zazu, knowing perfectly that Scar would lost if he fought against his brother, asked, “Pity ! Why not ?”
Scar chuckled slightly. Looking at Zazu, he said, “Well, as far as brains go, I got the lion’s share.”
Then, looking at Mufasa, he added with a colder tone, “But when it comes to brute strength…” He paused an instant, recalling how Thembi always gave the best food to Mufasa, making of him a strong and powerful lion. Walking by Mufasa, Scar finished his sentence, “well, I’m afraid I am at the shallow end of the gene pool…” And walked away.
Mufasa thought, “What has happened to my brother ? He didn’t use to be this way…”
He was interrupted by a sigh coming from Zazu. “There’s one in every family, Sire…”, recalling his two brothers, he added quickly, “Two in mine actually. And they always manage to ruin special occasions…”
Mufasa sighed. “What am I going to do with him ?”
That was the last thing Scar could hear as he walked away. He wasn’t completely sure of killing Mufasa, but he was really determined to finish with the cub that had taken from him the chance of showing Thembi he could be a king. Still, he knew he had to wait a little more. If he killed the cub now it might seem too obvious. The pride would suspect of him immediately, specially if they still thought he was guilty of Kitok’s death.
Scar sat down in the grass thinking on what he should do. Without paying attention, he started sharpening his claws against a rock.
After a while, he lied down under the shade of a tree and sighed deeply. As he listened to the soft rustle of the grass when agitated by the wind, he felt more and more sleepy, until he finally closed his eyes and started dreaming on the great day when he would become a King. Some animals that walked nearby noticed that Scar, the lion that never laughed, the bitter one, the evil one, was smiling in his sleep, a broad, sincere smile that the animals had never seen on him since he was just a cub.