Leader of the Forest

 

The animals of the forest had gathered in a circle because they wanted to choose a leader for themselves. The bear brought the meeting to order and asked, "are there any candidates who think they should lead the animals of the forest?"

The elephant raised its trunk and in a loud voice said, "Yes. I think I should be the leader of the animals, because I am the biggest and strongest animal in the forest."

A sparrow chirped, "That is not fair. No matter how much I try to grow, I will never be as large as the elephant. I will never stand a chance. Besides, if we were all as large as the elephant, then very soon we would run out of room in the forest."

The animals agreed that the elephant was not a suitable candidate.

Then the snake slid its way through the crowd into the middle of the circle and hissed, "I should be the leader of the animals because I am the deadliest and the slyest of all animals."

A squirrel climbed down from its tree and said, "that is not fair. I am a vegetarian and I never kill any other animals. Besides, if we all want to become killers, pretty soon everyone will be dead and there will be nobody left in the forest."

The animals agreed that the snake was not a suitable candidate.

The hare ran into the middle of the circle and while panting, said, "I should be the leader because I can run faster than any of you."

The turtle slowly raised its head in objection and said, "I may be slow, but I am steady. Besides, if all the animals of the forest were to run fast, we would all bump into each other and there will be chaos in the forest."

The animals agreed that the hare was not a suitable candidate.

A peacock strutted into the middle of the ring, opened its beautiful tail and said, "as the most beautiful and colorful animal of the forest, I should be your leader."

The crow cawed its objection, "I only have black feathers. I am not as colorful as you are. But I offer my own uniqueness, my shade of black beauty. If all the animals were as colorful as you, then we would all look the same."

The animals agreed that the peacock was not a suitable candidate.

A donkey hee-hawed from one side of the ring, "I am the loudest animal and everyone can hear my commands. I should be your leader."

A bat hanging upside down from a tree flapped its wings and said, "my hanging quietly in the caves during the day, and flying quietly in the skies at night brings a gentle peace upon the forest. Besides, if everyone would be as loud as the donkey, when will I ever get some sleep?"

The animals agreed that the donkey was not a suitable candidate.

Finally the lion got everyone’s attention with a determined roar and said, "as a lion, I am kind and benevolent, but that is not all. I am also courageous and wise. I think these are the qualities that we all want in a leader, and these are the things we want to cultivate in ourselves. This is why I think I should be the leader of the animals of the forest."

The animals thought a little and some conferred with each other. They decided that if every animal were to be kind and benevolent, they would all strive to help each other. Plus if everyone were wise and courageous, they would all think well and choose good things, and have the courage to follow through with them.

So the animals unanimously voted that since these were the qualities that they wanted to see in themselves and in their leaders, they should elect the lion as their leader. This is how the lion came to be the king of the jungle.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver Canada
August 12, 1998


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