- Vol. 03
- Chapter 05
The Raja’s Daughter
Too long ago, before recorded time, there was a Raja and his little daughter. She had heard the tale, spun by the court minstrels, of a lion who learned to talk. The daughter pleaded very much to see such a fantastical beast. So the Raja sent word out, throughout all the known world, beseeching his subjects to bring one to court.
One day a man arrived, and said he had such a beast. But when he unveiled the cage he brought with him the lion inside only roared at them.
That night as all were asleep, the Raja’s daughter snuck out to the lion’s cage and commanded it to speak. This time the lion replied, with all the grace and good humour one is compelled to speak with when addressed by an imperial child.
Thoroughly delighted, she demanded from the lion all the stories it knew. She, who had been raised on stories that all ended happily, with characters droll and quaint, was ill-prepared for the one she received. As the lion placed its jaws so close to her face she could breathe its carnivorous breath, its nose gently touching hers so all she could see was its heart shaped nose and deceptively gentle mouth, it told her its tale. Of a lion cub taken at birth. Its mother tortured for sport then killed. A lifetime spent at the hands of a cruel owner who would use his ability to speak as a means of livelihood. About the resolution never to speak in front of humans again. A resolution it had kept, until now.
The Raja’s Daughter
Hearing this the child burned red in rage. She begged the beast’s permission to be excused, and vanished into the night. On her return she looked slightly flustered but pleased.
“I killed him - your owner.”
Then the lion looked upon her with awe, and the closest a devourer of flesh can feel to love.
Over the years their alliance blossomed. She would sneak out into the dark jungle and receive stories from the lion, who would whisper them to her, nose pressed to hers, whiskers tickling her cheeks.
Thus all the stories that made their way into the kingdom’s records originated from this lion, and were handed to the chroniclers and minstrels of the time from the mouth of this magical beast. And none knew, save the Raja’s daughter.