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U3A Writing: Jeremiah, The Googly-Eyed Lion

Betty Shorting tells a delightful children's story about a lion who glared.

Jeremiah lived by the edge of a watering hole where the animals gathered night and morning. But he was a very lonely lion.

Everyone would move away from him when they saw him coming because he always looked so fierce and bad-tempered. He knew it was all his own fault that he looked like this.

When he was a small cub he loved to chase the other cubs, glaring at them and roaring in a lion cub sort of way.

“Jeremiah, you must stop making those faces. One of these days the wind will blow and you’ll get stuck like it,” said his mother.

Sure enough, one day while he was chasing and roaring and glaring, the wind blew and he was stuck like it.

One morning early, before the other animals gathered at the watering hole, Jeremiah went for his first drink of the day. Everywhere was quiet, as most of the animals were still asleep.

When he reached the water he could hear a strange noise. He stopped to listen; he was sure he had heard a sound like it before, but couldn’t make it out. So he started to look around to see where it had come from.

There in a clump of dried-up grass Jeremiah saw a round, soft bundle. When he got closer he saw it was a very young lion cub, and he was crying softly to himself. When Jeremiah got close, the young cub didn’t run away; he was too upset.

“What’s wrong, old chap?” asked Jeremiah?

“I’ve lost my mum and brothers and sister,” said the cub, trying hard not to cry again.

“How did you manage to do that?”

“Well, I was playing on my own and hiding from the others. I heard Mum call but let them go on without me, and then I couldn’t find them. I’ve been here all night on my own, and I want my mum.”

“Don’t worry,” said Jeremiah, “we will have a drink then go and look for your family.”

Jeremiah was so happy that the little cub was not frightened of him, and they set off together to find the cub’s mum. They hadn’t gone far when out from the shade of a tree the lost mum appeared and ran out to defend her baby.

The cub was pleased and happy. “This is my new friend,” he told his mother. “He found me and brought me back to you.”

The lioness stopped glaring at Jeremiah and thanked him.

“That’s alright,” said Jeremiah. “I was glad of the company.”

“It’s so difficult watching the youngsters,” said the lioness. “I have two families to care for on my own as their fathers were caught and shot by poachers.”

“I could always give you a hand,” said Jeremiah. “I know how important it is to obey your mother. I ended up looking like this because I wouldn’t listen to what she said.”

Just then a strong wind blew, ruffling Jeremiah’s mane and blowing the leaves and grass around.

“What do you mean, ‘looking like you do’? I think you are a rather handsome lion.”

Then Jeremiah realised that his eyes felt different and weren’t popping out of his head. And on top of that he had found new friends who weren’t afraid of him

No more was he a googly-eyed lion.


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