Saturday , June 22 2024

A Story

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful land far away, and it was full of wondrous people and animals. In the middle of the land, was a beautiful green field, that stretched out to the horizon in all directions.

And in the middle of that field, a there was an old lion. He was a tired old lion and was asleep, but it was a very deep sleep. Indeed, it looked like a lion that was resigned to just lie around. His mane was short, matted and dull, and he had a handkerchief halter tied around his muzzle. But he didn’t seem to mind – he had become a very tame lion, used to getting everything given to him and not having to care about his territory.

As this lion slipped further and further into his unnecessary retirement another animal came prowling into the field. He was young, fit and determined; a leopard used to getting his own way. The leopard, with the pride of the victorious in his eyes, came into the field and disdainfully viewed the old lion. He began to prowl around the lion, circling the field. Soon the lion had lost all his territory and was in danger of losing his very ‘lion-ness’; but yet he was asleep, nearly in a coma.

And the leopard ominously came closer, circling as he came on. But even as the Lion slept, a little something or a someone crept in, and unseen, began to untie the bonds that kept the lion down. As the someone did so, the leopard began to come dangerously closer. He didn’t want the Lion to awaken and discover his plans and schemes to become the King of the Land, and he came on, determined to end the lion. But then he stopped and resumed his encircling. Something had frightened him away. For while the mysterious thing which had untied the lion sat helplessly on its right, a large, tall, shining being in armour with a drawn and raised sword stood on the left of the Lion. He looked like a glorious angel, or a resplendent Elf, in battle array on sentry duty. But the angelic knight needed to go – he only had a short time to be there erst he had to return to his other duties. And if he left, it would be all over for the sleeping, yet untied lion.

Then, in the midst of this, the Lion slowly awoke. He was tried, and his muscles looked old and spent. But as the leopard crossed before him, continuing to circle ominously he saw it. And the Lion saw the threat. He saw it was in HIS very own field and his face, old and wrinkled (if you can imagine that in a lion), began to set. Yet his muscles were weak and he still could not get up.

But as time went on, the Leopard continued to circle and more of the Lion’s strength returned. He sat up on his haunches and stared at the leopard. And the something, or someone, still hidden, began to feel confident. Then the lion rose – a weak standing – and unsteadily, but it greatly annoyed the leopard: His strategy of stealth had been lost. He could see there might well be a battle, but nobody could beat him – not even an old Lion who had been quite the terror of his days.

As the leopard continued to circle feeling superior and stronger, the Lion grew in resolve. He didn’t think he would win, but he was going to give it a dashed good try.

And he charged.

Part 2

Now the leopard hadn’t expected the old, slow Lion to charge, least of all with such speed, and he was caught unawares, and indeed, turned away to get more distance. But the lion had shed its age and came on with a terrifying and determined pace, and pounced on the leopard! There was a mighty scuffle, as the Leopard, stronger and more wily, sought to outfight the older, determined Lion. But the Lion came up on top. He held down the leopard with his heavy paws and kept the Leopard’s neck in his jaws, holding him in a lock. The leopard had lost the battle, yet to his eyes, it was not the loss of a war.

But then the thing, or person appeared. And he held the same white handkerchief that had been around the Lion’s muzzle, and tied it hard around the Leopard’s muzzle. Yet, as he began to tie a rope around the paws of the leopard, it could be seen what he was. He wore a brightly coloured, blue waistcoat with a long black dress coat. And he was short, and had long hair, and wore 3/4 length breeches. And it could then be seen, that the mysterious was like a hobbit!

The hobbit-like creature, with the Lion, lifted the firmly trussed up Leopard and took him to the end of the field, where the sea could be seen.  Over the sea was a thick fog, one which nearly reached up to the long, white, chalk, cliffs that stretched up on both sides of the little bay where the leopard was placed in a little boat. Then the hobbit pushed the furious and vengeful leopard out to sea. With four bounds, the lion – again youthful and strong – bounded up to the top of the cliff. From the other side of the lion, a young woman, wearing rather shabby, dirty and muddy clothes, and looking very dazed, slowly came on, trying to see and understand what was going on.

The Lion roared! Now you may have heard a roar, but this was louder than anything any of you had heard before. It was so loud, that the sound-waves could be seen and they spread out from the Lion’s mouth and rolled with his now golden, beautiful, and flowing mane. The waves caught up the little boat, and sent it skipping to the other side of the sea, deep into the land where the fog stood. And the hobbit thought and felt for those who lived on the other side of the sea, where the leopard was still king.

But he knew that back in his own Empire, the leopard would be free and plotting his furious vengeance. And so the Hobbit mounted up the hill, and held in his hand, a small hoe or mattock. It was an old farming instrument he knew well, but had never held it for battle. But he knew that for his nation he needed to heft it as he watched out to see how the vengeance of the leopard would appear. And he was afraid, yet proud.

Then came another hobbit. He carried and sword-stick that had been sheathed and he too walked up the hill. He had a slow, rolling gait, and his skin, which was hidden by his sunflower yellow waistcoat and brick-red coat was the rich brown colour of a man whose ancestors were from tropical lands. And he too came to guard his land.

And then the third arrived. He skin was tan coloured, dashing and wore all blue which perfectly matched a majestic blue turban. Over his shoulder, he carried a smallsword with military precision. Like the others, he was a fierce fighter, but unlike the others, soldiery was in his blood and he joined the other two hobbits standing like a sentry.

And then the people came. They came and gathered together on the clifftop, and they were men and women of every age, type, shape, and colour; there were women with red hair, there were children with brown hair. A few wore tricorns and, a handful of others top hats, but everyone came in endless little streams of hobbit like people up to the clifftop to join those watching out over the sea. Even a few who couldn’t stand up for long came up; an old silver-haired man with a cane and straw hat, red-faced from his unusual exertions, who required a bench. Between sips of water, he proceeded to regale the watchers with reports on how this reminded him of his far-off younger years, when the beasts across the seas came with force and not cunning.

And the Lion knew he had won, and that he could now rest from his exertions. Yet now he rested attentively, watching in case the leopard returned.

Part 3

But the hobbits were alone in their victory: They could muster little compared to the mighty armies of the leopard, which was prowling on the other shore of the fog. So they called for help, and they sent out letters to their kin who lived in distant lands. And from the western side of the island-land could be seen lots of boats, sailing out to the families of their folk who lived overseas. The letters carried with them the reports of history, reports of their victory, and other messages, offers and requests.

Messages for help,

Messages to rebuild their relations,

Offers to buy and sell,

Offers to work together,

And requests to forgive and heal the wrongs of the past.

Messages of future, Messages of common history, Messages of common culture, Messages of common values

Messages of common equality, Messages of common rights

Messages of common-wealth




About Ted Yarbrough

Ted is the co-founder and editor of the Daily Globe. He is a long-time blogger on British politics and has written a thesis on Thatcherism.

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