THE SHORT STORIES OF ZAKARIA TAMER
sun golden-rayed, the plants green, and the flowers yellow, red and white. He was sad and his resentment for death, and for the owl, grew. But he forgot all of this the second he caught sight of a fat fox. The elderly lion readied himself for action.
The owl screeched: “The fox will die, the fox will die!” The fox realized that he would die and felt total fear, but he did not flee. The fox approached the lion and cried out: “The soothsayer spoke true! The soothsayer spoke true!”
This made the lion curious. He asked the fox: “What are you talking about?”
The fox replied: “Yesterday a soothsayer told me that you will die one day after I die.”
The lion grinned a malicious grin: “And how do you know that I am the lion the soothsayer meant? As you know, lions do not have names.”
At once the fox replied: “The soothsayer prophesied: that when I see the lion who will expire after my death, I will know the thoughts that fill his head. When I saw you, I knew what you were thinking.”
The lion was shocked: “What was I thinking?” “You were thinking,” replied the fox: “that fox-meat might help cheer you up.”
The lion was taken aback and said: “You have spoken true.” At that the owl screeched: “The wily fox outwits the powerful lion.”
The lion said with anger in his voice: “Shut up and mind your own business.”
Then he turned to the fox and beseeched him: “Live with me and I will provide all the meat and grapes you need.”
The fox was happy and agreed to the lion’s suggestion. The fox loved his own cleverness so much more, now that it had provided a happy life free of work and free of danger.
Then one day the lion became hungry, he was starving. He could not find anything in the jungle to eat. He lost all selfcontrol, he pounced on the fox, he devoured the fox, and he
174 BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015