The Story
As Written in The Art of The Lion King


ACT I

In the velvet blackness of an African night
- at the hour before dawn when the land is full of dreams -
a lone voice heralds the new day.

As the red disc of the sun rises,
the one voice becomes many
until the Pride Lands echo with song.

The distant mountain floats above the mist.
Vast herds move across the golden plain,
and the heavens come alive with storks and doves,
kingfishers, and flamingos.

~

High on Pride Rock, Mufasa the Lion King waits,
watching as the creatures of his domain gather below
to celebrate the arrival of the newborn Prince.

~

Rafiki, keeper of the mysteries, anoints Prince Simba's brow,
sprinkles the cub with ceremonial dust,
and raises him to the skies
for all of heaven and earth to see.



~

Mufasa's jealous sibling, Scar
sits in the shade, taking bitter pride in his absence
from the sacred ceremony, scheming and dreaming of the day
he will usurp the throne

~

Zazu the hornbill, Pride Rock's chief of protocol,
informs an indifferent Scar
his truancy has not gone unnoticed.

Confronted by Mufasa
Scar hides revenge beneath a cloak of scorn.

~

Each sunrise finds Simba in the royal cave
nudging his father from his sleep, begging him to join
in the immemorial games that ensure
the survival of the species.

~

From the peak of Pride Rock,
father and son survey the Lion King's domain.



Crossing his kingdom, Mufasa speaks earnestly
of the Circle of Life - the endless chain
that links all living things,
from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.

~

Too young to read the fury in his uncle's eyes
Simba tells Scar all he has learned that day -
how he, not Scar, will become the Lion King.

Sly Scar exacts a promise from the cub,
a pledge that Simba will never venture near
the forbidden place where elephants go to die.



~

A graveyard!
Scar has planted a secret Simba must share at once
with Nala, his greatest and most trusted friend.
He finds her in the dappled shade of Pride Rock
lazing with the lionesses of the pride.

~

Simba and Nala mask their curiosity,
but first they must lose their escort, Zazu,
sent along to keep mischief at bay.

~

Mistaking the cubs' whispered plans for love talk,
Zazu imagines that romance is blooming.
The cubs scoff at his quaint idea
and plot their escape.

~

Trying to elude their feathered guardian,
the cubs play hide and seek.

Elephants and hippos, monkeys and giraffes
join in the fun as Simba sings his song.

~

I'M GONNA BE A MIGHTY KING
SO ENEMIES BEWARE!
(I'VE NEVER SEEN A KING OF BEASTS WITH
QUITE SO LITTLE HAIR.)
I'M GONNA BE THE MANE EVENT
LIKE NO KING WAS BEFORE.
I'M BRUSHING UP ON LOOKING DOWN,
I'M WORKING ON MY ROAR.
(THUS FAR A RATHER UNINSPIRING THING.)
OH, I JUST CAN'T WAIT TO BE
KING!



NO ONE SAYING DO THIS
NO ONE SAYING BE THERE
NO ONE SAYING STOP THAT,
NO ONE SAYING SEE HERE.
FREE TO RUN AROUND ALL DAY.
FREE TO DO IT ALL MY WAY.

EVERYBODY LOOK LEFT,
EVERYBODY LOOK RIGHT,
EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK I'M
STANDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT.

LET EVERY CREATURE GO FOR BROKE AND SING,
LET'S HEAR IT IN THE HERD AND ON THE WING,
IT'S GONNA BE KING SIMBA'S FINEST FLING,
OH, I JUST CAN'T WAIT TO BE
KING!

~

Escaping Zazu
the lion cubs arrive at the graveyard,
an eerie spot guarded by thermal springs.



A jet of steam subsides to reveal an eerie landscape
littered with skeletons and monumental piles of bones.
This macabre world seems to go on forever,
vanishing into hissing vapor and eternal gloom.

~

From within a massive skull comes chilling laughter,
and in the empty sockets blazing eyes appear.
A grinning trio of hyenas slinks into view:
baleful Shenzi, sadistic Banzai, and addlepated Ed.

~

Weaving among the skeletons, blinded by mist and steam,
their short legs racing over treacherous terrain,
Simba and Nala flee, hyenas in pursuit.

~

Zazu is caught
and plunged into a thermal cauldron,
barely escaping with his feathers intact.

~

A roar seems to bring the whole world to a stop.
The three hyenas freeze
until Mufasa's paw sends them running.

~

The sun sinks in the sapphire sky,
but Simba does not notice its expiring glory.
His head hung in shame, he follows Mufasa home,
planting his childish paws in his father's giant footsteps.

~

In the gathering dusk, Mufasa turns to face his son.
Tears of regret glisten in Simba's eyes.

~

Mufasa talks of wisdom and folly,
the difference between bravery and bravado,
and explains how even a Lion King can know fear
when he believes he may have lost a son he loves.

Night comes quickly to the Pride Lands.
The sky turns violet and shatters into stars.
At this magic hour, Mufasa and his son
sit beneath the slowly turning galaxies,
surrendering themselves to
the rhythms of the nocturnal world.



~

Mufasa passes along the wisdom of the pride,
telling Simba how the great kings of the past
look down from the stars and will always be there
to guide him.

~

Meanwhile Scar conceives a bolder scheme,
one that will rid the Pride Lands of King Mufasa
and the royal brat in one fell swoop.

Scar preens and poses on his rocky pedestal,
exhorting his accomplices to greater heights of infamy.

~

I KNOW THAT YOUR POWERS OF RETENTION
ARE AS WET AS A WARTHOG'S BACKSIDE.
BUT THICK AS YOU ARE, PAY ATTENTION!
MY WORDS ARE A MATTER OF PRIDE.

IT'S CLEAR FROM YOUR VACANT EXPRESSIONS
THE LIGHTS ARE NOT ALL ON UPSTAIRS,
BUT WE'RE TALKING KINGS AND SUCCESSIONS,
EVEN YOU CAN'T BE CAUGHT UNAWARES.

SO PREPARE FOR THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME,
BE PREPARED FOR SENSATIONAL NEWS.
A SHINING NEW ERA,
IS TIPTOEING NEARER.

AND WHERE DO WE FEATURE?

JUST LISTEN TO TEACHER.
I KNOW IT SOUNDS SORDID,
BUT YOU'LL BE REWARDED
WHEN AT LAST I AM GIVEN MY DUES
AND INJUSTICE DELICIOUSLY SQUARED -

BE PREPARED!



IT'S GREAT THAT WE'LL SOON BE CONNECTED
WITH A KING WHO'LL BE ALL TIME ADORED.

OF COURSE, QUID PRO QUO, YOU'RE EXPECTED
TO TAKE CERTAIN DUTIES ON BOARD.
THE FUTURE IS LITTERED WITH PRIZES,
AND THOUGH I'M THE MAIN ADDRESSEE,
THE POINT THAT I MUST EMPHASISE IS
YOU WON'T GET A SNIFF WITHOUT ME.

SO PREPARE FOR THE COUP OF THE CENTURY.
BE PREPARED FOR THE MURKIEST SCAM,
METICULOUS PLANNING,
TENACITY SPANNING
DECADES OF DENIAL
IS SIMPLY WHY I'LL
BE KING UNDISPUTED,
RESPECTED, SALUTED,
AND SEEN FOR THE WONDER I AM.
YES, MY TEETH AND AMBITIONS ARE BARED -

BE PREPARED!

~

Rank upon rank of hyenas strut below
as geysers erupt in clouds of steam.
The earth itself appears to crack apart
in the face of Scar's villainous ambitions.

~

With lies and wily flattery
Scar lures Simba to a winding gorge
and tells him to wait there until Mufasa comes.

~

As Simba practices his roar,
Scar signals to his criminal confederates
and sets a tragedy in motion.

~

Simba hears a sound like thunder.
Dust rises and the earth begins to tremble.

~



As he clings to a rotting tree,
a tide of wildebeests sweeps by.

Scar warns Mufasa of Simba's peril,
sending his brother charging
into the path of the stampede.

~

With his last reserve of strength,
Mufasa reaches up and places Simba on a ledge,
safe from the panicked herd.

~

Scrambling to save himself,
Mufasa sees his brother above him on the cliff,
stretching out a helping paw.



Inch by inch, Scar pulls Mufasa towards safety
but, at the last moment, lets him go and watches gleefully
as Mufasa vanishes beneath the slashing hooves.

~

In the stillness that follows,
Simba searches for his father
and finds a lifeless body sprawled in the dust.

~

As Simba sobs beside his father
Scar savors his hour of victory.

~

Scar toys with Simba,
planting the seeds of guilt,
and tells the bewildered cub to flee
far from the Pride Lands.

With Scar's hyena mercenaries in pursuit and gaining,
Simba plunges from a bluff
into the unknown.

~

The three hyenas watch as Simba vanishes,
certain that the desert sun will finish off their work.

~

ACT II

Eloquent with false grief,
Scar reports the deaths of Simba and Mufasa
to the pride.

When the usurper's hyena cronies
lope into view
the lionesses recoil in horror.

In his tree, Rafiki mourns
the loss of his friends.

~

Vultures circle overhead
as Simba collapses to the desert floor,
dazed by the blinding sun,
his legs too weak to carry on.

~

Eeeeeeeeeeeeee - yaaaaaaaaaaaa!
With an ear-splitting yell,
Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog
charge at the vultures.

As the ugly birds scatter,
the two friends see the lion cub
near death on the desert floor.

~

Timon pries Simba's lips apart
to reveal a fearsome set of teeth -
the jaws of a carnivore.

~

The cub seems so helpless,
Pumbaa picks him up
and carries him to the lush coolness
of the nearby jungle.

~

Waking in unfamiliar surroundings,
Simba thanks the Good Samaritans who saved him,
then rises to take his leave.

Persuading Simba to stay with them
Timon and Pumbaa
introduce him to their philosophy:
HAKUNA MATATA - no cares at all!



~

Timon pulls back a fern
and Simba is introduced to his new friends' lair,
a jungle paradise complete with hanging vines,
a carpet of soft grasses, and a canopy of leaves.

Succulent spiders, juicy beetles, and worms -
Pumbaa and Timon initiate their newfound friend
into the surprises of the creepy-crawly diet.

And so it happens that Simba, the lost crown prince,
grows to manhood far from the Pride Lands,
in the jungle playground of Pumbaa and Timon.



~

HAKUNA MATATA!
WHAT A WONDERFUL PHRASE.
HAKUNA MATATA!
AIN'T NO PASSING CRAZE.
IT MEANS NO WORRIES FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAYS.
IT'S OUR PROBLEM-FREE PHILOSOPHY.
HAKUNA MATATA!

WHEN HE WAS A YOUNG WARTHOG
HE FOUND HIS AROMA LACKED A CERTAIN APPEAL.
HE COULD CLEAR THE SAVANNAH AFTER EV'RY MEAL.

I'M A SENSITIVE SOUL THOUGH I SEEM THICK-SKINNED,
AND IT HURT THAT MY FRIENDS
NEVER STOOD DOWNWIND.
AND OH THE SHAME
THOUGHT'A CHANGIN' MY NAME
AND I GOT DOWN-HEARTED
EV'RY TIME THAT I . . .

HAKUNA MATATA! WHAT A WONDERFUL PHRASE.
HAKUNA MATATA! AIN'T NO PASSING CRAZE.
IT MEANS NO WORRIES, FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAYS.
IT'S OUR PROBLEM-FREE PHILOSOPHY.
HAKUNA MATATA!
HAKUNA MATATA!
HAKUNA MATATA!

~

Meanwhile, at Pride Rock,
Scar the usurper sprawls in the royal cave,
tormenting Zazu to relieve his boredom.



~

Contemptuous and unannounced,
Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed burst into the royal presence
demanding food. But the herds have moved on,
and the larder is bare.

~

One glorious tropical night,
Simba Pumbaa, and Timon sprawl in a jungle clearing
gazing at the stars.

Simba recalls another starry night
and his father's reassuring words.

~

Overcome by melancholy, Simba goes off by himself.
Flopping to the ground, he loosens seed floss from a
milkweed plant.
A breeze from the cooling plain below
lifts the seeds high into the starry sky
and carries them towards an ancient tree.

~

A hand snatches the seed floss from the air.
Rafiki sees what he has snared and dives into the tree.
in a big tortoise shell, he mixes the floss
with the contents of a gourd,
interprets the signs in the gumbo, and laughs.
Simba is alive!



~

With all the stealth a warthog can muster,
Pumbaa stalks a plump and tasty bug.
Too late he spots a pair of hungry eyes.
The hunter is hunted.

~

The lioness springs at the trapped warthog
and all seems lost till, with a roar,
Simba dashes from the trees.



~

The lions battle in the dirt,
Simba gaining the upper hand until,
with a crafty flip,
the lioness pins him.

~

Simba cannot believe that Nala has found him!
Nala cannot believe that Simba is alive!

Simba is still king.
This is Nala's firm belief -
a point of view that Simba does not share.

~

Together after so many years,
Simba and Nala feel the awakening of secret longings,
the reawakening of childhood dreams.

~

I CAN SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING
AND THEY DON'T HAVE A CLUE.
THEY'LL FALL IN LOVE AND HERE'S THE BOTTOM LINE:
OUR TRIO'S DOWN TO TWO.

THE SWEET CARESS OF TWILIGHT,
THERE'S MAGIC EVERYWHERE
AND WITH ALL THIS ROMANTIC ATMOSPHERE
DISASTER'S IN THE AIR.

CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT?
THE PEACE THE EVENING BRINGS.
THE WORLD FOR ONCE IN PERFECT HARMONY
WITH ALL ITS LIVING THINGS.

I WANT TO SAY I LOVE HER
BUT HOW CAN I EXPLAIN
THE TRUTH ABOUT MY PAST? IMPOSSIBLE!
TOO MANY GHOSTS REMAIN.
Note: This is an original version of the lyrics, and the version printed in The Art of The Lion King.

HE'S HOLDING BACK, HE'S HIDING
BUT WHAT I CAN'T DECIDE.
WHY WON'T HE BE THE KING I KNOW HE IS,
THE KING I SEE INSIDE?

CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT?
YOU NEEDN'T LOOK TOO FAR.
STEALING THROUGH THE NIGHT'S UNCERTAINTIES,
LOVE IS WHERE THEY ARE.



AND IF HE FALLS IN LOVE TONIGHT
IT CAN BE ASSUMED
HIS CAREFREE DAYS WITH US ARE HISTORY.
IN SHORT OUR PAL IS DOOMED.

~

Simba and Nala wander through the enchanted landscape.
Watching from afar, Timon senses the love between them
and realizes that the carefree bachelor days have ended.

Nala tells Simba how Scar and his hyena hoodlums
have laid waste to the Pride Lands.

Still Simba insists that he never will return.

~

Confused by the news Nala has brought him,
Simba seeks solitude and guidance from the stars.

~

But the voices of the former kings are silent
and soon his reverie is interrupted
by a curious song:

Asante sana. Squash Banana.
We we nugu. Mi mi apana.


~

Telling Simba that his father is alive,
Rafiki orders the bewildered lion to follow him.



~

Simba gazes into the waters of a pool
and sees the image of a full-grown lion there,
but it is merely his reflection.

~

Disappointment overcomes him once again,
but then he hears Mufasa's voice!

The darkness begins to shimmer.
Mufasa's spectral image appears,
an awesome presence filling the air with supernatural
radiance,
as if some star has fallen to earth.

And now the phantom king speaks to his son:
Look inside yourself, Simba.
You will find that you are more than what you have become.
You must take your place in the Circle of Life.
Remember who you are . . .

~

The ghost has vanished.
Rafiki, like a friendly goblin, reappears,
and with his stick he teaches a lesson:

Sometimes the past can hurt,
but it will hurt more if you run away
then if you face its consequences.

~

Rafiki brings a message to Simba's friends:
The rightful king is on his way
to claim his throne.

~

ACT III

Simba speeds towards Pride Rock,
but when he reaches the borders of his kingdom
he finds a scene of utter desolation -
naked trees, the earth scatter with sun-bleached bones.

~

As storm clouds gather,
Nala arrives to fight at Simba's side
- Timon and Pumbaa too -
and together they move onward
to do whatever must be done.



~

At the foot of Pride Rock, starving hyena sentries can't believe
their eyes.
Pumbaa and Timon - a banquet and a tasty snack -
ham it up Hawaiian style.



From the cover of a boulder, Simba and Nala watch
their friend's diversionary display, then
- while the sentries dream of chitterlings -
they dash towards Pride Rock.

~

As the thunder rumbles all around,
Scar calls on Sarabi, Simba's mother,
demanding that her hunting parties
scour the land for food.

~

Flashes of lightning
set the brush afire.
Flames throw Simba's noble head
and muscular body into silhouette.
For a moment Scar panics,
believing Mufasa has returned to haunt him.



~

Simba nuzzles his mother,
assuring her that it is he,
back to fulfill his destiny.

~

Seeing that Simba, not Mufasa, is his foe,
Scar feels his confidence return.

~

Simba admits his past mistakes,
failing to notice that Scar has backed him up
against a precipice.

Simba slips and hangs from the rock,
seeming completely at Scar's mercy
just as Mufasa had been years before.
Gloating, Scar recalls Mufasa's death.



~

Murderer!

Simba pins Scar and forces him to confess
to the listening pride that it was he, not Simba,
who caused Mufasa's death.

~

As the Pride Lands burn
Simba and Scar are locked in mortal combat.

~

The battle is joined once more,
with lionesses clawing at hyena throats
and Rafiki wielding his staff with furious skill.

To save himself Scar lies again -
not realizing that his closest allies are listening
as he betrays them.

~

Giving his uncle one last chance, Simba tell Scar to flee.
Scar capitulates. Another trick.
Scar lunges at Simba once again,
but Simba sends his father's assassin flying off the ledge.



~

Scar lands in the burning brush,
Pride Rock at his back.
Led by Shenzi, hyenas advance upon him through the flames.

Friends, Scar calls them,
but they are friends no more.

~

Simba reunites with Nala and the Pride,
and then, through the smoke and rain,
Rafiki appears once more
and motions for the youthful king
to take his rightful place.

~

King at last, Simba climbs through the rain
to the summit of Pride Rock
and lets out a mighty roar.

Simba looks up to the heavens once again
and sees the clouds part to reveal an ocean of stars.
Distant thunder rumbles
and the new king hears the old king's voice:



Remember!

~

The Pride Lands return to life.
Tender shoots and sweet grasses
bring the great herds back to the water hole,
and the union of Simba and Nala
brings a new cub into the world.

~

The sacred ceremony is repeated.
Rafiki holds the infant aloft for all to see,
and the world resounds with song once more.



~

THE END



Again, special thanks to Matt Robinson, who typed this up, and to Christopher Finch, the author of The Art of The Lion King, who wrote this in the first place.

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