Lioness and Cub

The morning sun bled into the blackness of night, the land stirring as its warm embrace stretched across the plains.  Beneath an arcing baobab Lioness stretched and yawned, her cub already awake and playfully tugging at her tail.

“Wake up, wake up” she said excitedly, “it’s morning and we need to find breakfast.”

Lioness looked down at her cub.  “Save your strength young one” she said in her deep calming voice “the hunt is no game and not to be taken lightly.” She stretched slowly got to her feet.

“Can I go look for gazelle” the cub asked excitedly.  “I am a good lookout” she insisted chasing her own tail and spinning around in the tall dry grass “and father does so enjoy gazelle.”

The lioness walked slowly away from the shade of the tree and felt the warming rays on her skin.

“I like gazelle too” the cub said proudly.  “Does that mean I am like father?” she asked.

Lioness laughed “You are indeed my child” she answered,  “but we are also not so different to the gazelle you know” she added.

“But gazelle has horns” cub said quizzically, “and she has no claws and looks nothing like we do.”

For a moment cub forgot what her mother was saying as she spotted a large red butterfly fluttering just above the ground ahead of them.  She did rather enjoy chasing butterflies.

“How are we the same mother” cub asked eyes still locked on the butterfly.

“If we are to live then we must eat, and if we are to eat then we must run faster than the gazelle” Lioness said.  “And if the gazelle is to live then she must run faster than the lions.  That is the way of the plains, as always it has been.”

“Well I am faster than the wind” Cub said proudly, “One day I will perhaps even be faster than cheetah.  Just watch.”

Lioness smiled as Cub broke into a run chasing the butterfly, racing through the grass jumping and falling until eventually she gave up and watched the insect disappear into the sky.

“I will catch it next time” Cub insisted trotting back to her mother’s side.

“Indeed you will my cub, indeed you will.”