Omir the Storyteller

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Lion and the Statue


Once many years ago, a man was friends with a lion. This doesn't happen much anymore, and I think it's a shame, don't you? Things might be better in this world if we befriended more animals.

Anyway, the man was showing his leonine friend around the ancient city of Athens. The lion marveled at the magnificent caves the men had constructed to live in. He saw the market where they obtained their food without having to chase it down first (much less fun, in the lion's opinion, but it takes all types to make a world), and he made a mental note of some really good sunning spots, should he ever happen back this way again.

This all changed a bit when the lion came to a particular statue. "Can't say I think much of that one," the lion said, and well might he not, for the statue showed a man ripping the lower jaw off of a lion.

"Oh, that," the man exclaimed with an embarrassed half-smile on his face. "That's a statue of Heracles defeating the Nemean Lion. It wasn't really a lion, you know," he continued sheepishly, which is an unfortunate adverb when you consider that he was in the presence of his friend the lion. "More like a giant, lionish beast. It just gets depicted as a lion in statues. Anyway, it's more of an allegory of the triumph of the mind of Man over the brawn of Nature."

The lion strode over to the statue, circled it a couple of times, looked it over in great detail, then gave it the Universal Feline Symbol of Disapproval. The same one you've probably stepped in once or twice if a cat happens to let you share its house. "Let me tell you something, friend," the lion said, "if lions made statues I'd show you something much, much different."

We are all too good at presenting things the way we wish them to be.


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