Abase

The lion approached through the tall grass, his thick mane flickering under the rays of the sun, his great haunches undulating under his golden fur. He sighted a flat rock in the middle of the field upon which perched a crow.

“Old crow,” said the lion, “I would have words with you.”

The crow looked up from a freshly cracked nut. Quickly diving into a curtsy, she replied, “What is his majesty’s desire?”

“A man has just removed a thorn from my paw. What reward do you think is best?”

The crow cocked its pointed head. “Would his majesty abase himself to bow before most hated man?”

The lion stared over the plain and snuffed. “I suppose not. Still, bloody decent of him, wasn’t it?”

“Indeed, sir. Perhaps you might befriend him that he might partake of your wisdom. May not the man profit greatly from so generous an ally?”

“Rather too greatly, I think,” said the lion. He shook his thick ears.

The crow took a moment to dig a mite from beneath her wing. “Might I inquire, your highness, if you have not already devoured the man?”

The lion burped. “I have.”

The crow cawed quietly. Under the lion’s watchful gaze she pronounced, “Then perhaps the best reward is his undisturbed digestion.”

The lion rose to his kingly legs. “It is as I thought. Thank you, old crow.” He sauntered into the tall grass, his tawny tail sweeping the air behind him. The crow accompanied his departure with a throaty cheer for parliamentary debate.

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