That night the lion fell into a restless sleep and slipped into a dream. He returned to the cave and saw the snake coiled upon itself, eating its tail.
Why are you eating yourself snake. You will die! said the lion.
The snake stared wide eyed at the lion and continued eating
The lion turned from the cave lifted his eyes to he heavens. The sky turned red and the sun turned black and darkness enveloped them.
Where is the light! the lion said
I will show you the light, the snake echoed
Follow me and I will show you the light…
The lion could not move his feet. All around him was blackness. Suddenly the light returned and the sun shone brightly. Hotter and hotter until the bush and trees combusted into flames and all was engulfed in the roar of raging fire. The lion grew fearful and closed his eyes and roared loudly. And suddenly there was peace and a coolness. The lion opened his eyes and he stood surrounded by the endless dust and desert. In the distance there was a mighty dune. He climbed the dune and peered into the distance and saw a mountain, and below the dune there was a pool. Thirsty he descended to quench his dry mouth.
He approached the pool and saw a baboon next to a coconut tree, bathing in the sun. Trying not to disturb the baboon. The lion looked into the pool and saw his reflection. His majestic mane blew in the wind. The lion bent to drink.
If you drink you will die, said the baboon
The lion stopped and looked at the motionless baboon for a time, then bent to drink again.
You will die, the baboon said again.
Who are you, said the lion.
I am a friend here to help you
The baboon rose.
Do as I say and you will live.
He climbed the tree and retrieved several coconuts and wove a rope from the palms and strung the coconuts around the lions neck.
What is this nonsense, said the lion. It’s heavy.
Walk to the mountain my Prince and you will find more help along the way
I need to drink said the lion
Soon said the baboon.
The lion was parched and exhausted by the heat. He looked at the cool blue pool in longing, then at the old baboon.
Being in a foreign land he felt helpless, the first time in his life.
Very well said the lion.
He began to walk towards the mountain. He continued onward toward the mountain in the distance, up the steep dune surrounding the pool.
Back at oasis, the pool belched gaseous vapors and a carcass floated to the surface. The baboon, seated peacefully under the palm, opened one of his eyes and observed a dead lion float to the surface and sink back into its depths again.
The lion scaled dune after dune in the desert heat. His limbs were growing weak and soon he collapsed from exhaustion. The sun baked his gold fur and he closed his weary eyes.
“Foolish lion” said a voice
The lion opened his eyes
“Foolish lion who listens to monkeys”, the voice said again
The lion saw a small lizard crawl out from under the sand
“Some king you are taking orders from a monkey said the lizard”
The lion winced and tried to speak but his mouth was too parched to form words.
The lizard crawled on the lions back and inspected the coconuts.
Silly lion, taking orders from monkeys. But you look like a tasty treat, said the lizard, and he bit into the lions flesh.
Too exhausted to move the lion released a deep groan.
A shadow flicked overhead and in the next moment the lizard squeaked and leapt from the lion and jetted across the rippled sand.
A howl pierced the air and a plume of sand erupted where the lizard once was. When the dust settled the lion saw a large raven tossing the remains of the lizard into this throat. The raven then turned to the lion and peered at this lifeless king of beasts. He hopped closer and inspecting the coconuts and hammered his beak into their flesh. Water began to trickle out.
Drink, said the Raven. You’re close.
He nudged the coconut closer to the lion and the lion lapped the refreshing coconut water.Life returned to his limbs
Rise and follow me.
The lion rose and continued his march, while the raven flew overhead
Soon he reached the foot of the mountain, just as the sun was setting
There were large rocks at the base, crags and pointed peaks. He climbed the mountain and at the top he saw a large tree engulfed in flames. A voice spoke:
You must fulfill your destiny as king and step into the darkness, said the voice
The lion shook with fear.
The voice spoke again.
Go into the darkness and bring the light, said the voice
The tree burned bright and the lion bowed his head and shielded his eyes
Go now, said the voice.
The trees flamed roared louder and louder until suddenly silence.
The lion opened his eyes and was greeted by the morning sun. He stood and saw his pride all around him stirring in their sleep. The sun just began breaking over the horizon, illuminating the valley below.
What a strange dream, the lion thought.
He was disturbed by the dream. What does it mean? He thought of the cave and the snake the day prior. That day he roamed the valley like he had done so many times before, but he could not get the dream nor the snake from his thoughts.
He returned to the cave and approached the opening and called into it.
An echo rang back.
He began to walk into the cave, deeper and deeper. He turned and saw the light at the entrance of the cave appear as a small bright dot.
Hello, he called.
Hello hello hello, the echo called back.
He walked further and lost his footing and slipped and tumbled down the rocks and into a free fall. The lion looked up as he fell and the last trace of light extinguished into blackness as he plunged into the dark pit. Time stopped and the lion trembled at the thought of being lost and dying alone. Down down down he fell until he splashed into dark waters. His lifeless body, shocked with pain, paralyzed with fear, floated in the dark waters. Beneath the waters was only the sound of whooshing and his heartbeat. Blackness bled into nothingness.