The Lion and the Red Jewel

I’ve been writing short, folkloric-feeling or fairy-tale-ish stories for a book I’m working on. The stories are Arab-inspired, people-centered, and hopefully, tell their own tale, even within the context of the larger story.

This one is called The Lion and the Red Jewel and features a lion who isn’t what he seems to be.

There was a lion who lived in the desert who ate a jewel. It was as large as its head, as red as a burning sun, and hard as the mountain stone. 

This lion ate the jewel, breaking it into pieces with its strong jaws, cracking through with its powerful teeth. And when the jewel lay in pieces in the sand, the lion swallowed each piece whole, feeling its weight settle in his stomach.

A hunter watched the lion, and knew the wealth it carried in its belly. This hunter was a greedy hunter, and he was fearless.

He stalked the lion for days, waiting for the right moment to bring it down and gut it open. The day came when the lion settled in for a nap in the shade of a palm tree, near a desert oasis. The oasis wasn’t much, just a shallow dip in the sand that filled with the odd rain that showered the desert.

The lion wasn’t stupid, though, and knew the hunter was following him. He kept one eye open just enough that he could see the hunter stalking towards him. The hunter came from behind, but the lion was so positioned that he could watch the hunter’s reflection in the pond.

Just when the hunter raised his arrow to shoot the lion in the back, the lion roared and bellowed and swiped the hunter with its sharp claws. 

The hunter’s belly was shredded into ribbons, and blood poured out of him. The hunter curled up tight in the sand like a child in its mother’s womb. As the blood dried on his body in the sharp desert heart, it hardened over his skin, and the man became a jewel as large as the lion’s head and as bright as a burning sun. The lion swiped at the jewel and gnawed on it, breaking it into pieces. The lion then swallowed each piece, and when he was done, he went to the pond and lapped at the water. With his belly full, he settled in for a proper nap under the palm tree he so loved. 

Tell me in the comments what you think!

Copyright (C) 2020 by Rania Hanna

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