Lion was tired. He was tired of Mr. Ted, the man who fed him meat twice a day. He was tired of people throwing hot dogs at him, waiting for him to growl and scare them. But most of all, Lion was tired of living at the zoo.
“I’m the King of the Jungle,” he said to his wife. “I should be running wild and free in the forest. When you overpower a zebra, I should be eating him for my supper.”
“Yes, dear,” Lioness said. “Perhaps you should take a vacation this Christmas. Maybe you could visit your cousins in Africa.”
“Will you come with me?” Lion asked.
“No, dear. I’m not as tired as you are. I don’t want to hunt for food. I’ll stay here and eat the food Mr. Ted gives us, and I will take care of our cubs.”
So Lion said goodbye to his family and jumped the moat. He went as far as the main entrance to the zoo. Then he stopped. It was dark, and the zoo was closed. Everything was quiet. Lion had to admit it was peaceful during the night. He rather liked the zoo at night, but then he thought of the crowds during the day, and so he went on.
“I don’t know where I’m going,” he said to himself. “But I’m sure I can get there if I walk far enough.”
Lion walked for a long time. The hard pavement hurt his feet. He was hungry. He was cold. He missed Lioness and the cubs. He thought of them back at the zoo. They would be nestled together as they slept. Lion turned around.
“I’ve gone far enough,” he said. “I’m going home.”
But which way was home? He had walked a long time and crossed many streets. Should he turn to the right or to the left? He continued walking. Finally he came to a large field. The night was over and Mr. Sun was peeking his head over the horizon. The field was wet with dew. The grass was tall and green. The warmth from Mr. Sun awoke the little creatures hidden in the grass. Lion could hear them getting ready for the day’s work.
“Sounds like the zoo,” he thought. “Noise is everywhere.”
Just then Mr. Farmer started his tractor. It roared across the field, tearing the earth, turning it upside down. The beautiful green grass was gone. All Lion could see was row after row of brown dirt as Mr. Farmer plowed the earth. Lion growled at him to stop, but Mr. Farmer could not hear. Lion ran towards some trees. He lay in the green forest. He was panting. He could hear the rat-a-tat-tat of the tractor. He could hear the chirping of birds and the drone of insects.
“I must be near Africa,” Lion thought. “I’ll walk on a bit until I find my cousins.”
Lion walked deeper into the forest. The tall trees blocked out Mr. Sun. It was dark, but it was not quiet. Lion was hungry. He was tired. He missed Lioness and the cubs. He thought of them back at the zoo. Mr. Ted would be feeding them now. People would be lining up at the entrance gate while they waited for the zoo to open.
“I’m going home,” Lion said to himself. “I’m going home to Lioness and the cubs, to Mr. Ted and the visitors. I can’t wait to eat the food people will throw at me. I will growl, and they will run. Everyone will be happy.
The moral of this story is be satisfied where you are and make the best of your circumstances. Unless you’re in a dangerous situation, find the good in each day and embrace it. It’s gone all too soon.