What About Kopa?
(WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CUB AT THE END OF THE LION KING)
Part 1: Simba's Worries
The animals stopped stamping because Rafiki, the old gray baboon, had placed the little lion cub back on the ground. The small golden cub, who looked just like had looked Simba as a cub, toddled over to his mother.
Rafiki picked up something else--a soft sandy-colored lion cub who was a girl. She was lifted up and the animals cheered a little, but not as much as for the golden cub--a male--who'd be the future king. The sandy-colored cub would be just "another" lioness when she grew up, though she'd have special privileges because of her position as the golden cub's sister.
"Little Kopa." Nala said tenderly to the golden cub. To the sandy-colored girl, she said: "And little Kiara."
Simba whispered tensely, "We can't let anything happen."
Rafiki left and the animals scattered. Kopa sneezed and settled back into his mother's circled paws. Kiara tried to wiggle away, but was too sleepy and small to go very far. Besides that, Simba pushed her back, a worried look in his eyes. He still hadn't reconciled himself with his father's death, and he didn't want anymore tragedies. He he protected Kopa, and Kiara too, fiercely.
"Simba..." Nala said, suddenly thinking towards the future. "When they are older, they'll want to hunt, and go on their own. What will you do then?"
"Watch them." Simba snarled, not wanting to think about it.
"Don't get upset, Simba. It's just...your so tense about them."
"I know, Nala, I know...I must...be calmer. Like Mufasa."
"But Simba...what if...something happens? You won't hide like you did before, will you?"
"Nothing will happen!!" Simba roared. At his loud voice, Kopa jumped, then cried. Nala glared and her mate looked away guilitily. He stomped off, left Pride Rock, and slunk into the grasses. There he lay for hours, feeling very depressed. He couldn't let go of his past, but he knew that he couldn't let it affect the future. Yet already he was sealing off the reality that something might happen to one or both of his cubs. Simba rolled his eyes and got up, calling for his father's spirit, but the stars were silent. The spirits didn't come at every demand. Suddenly frightened, Simba ran back to Pride Rock. Nala was in the caves away from the "common" lionesses, her cubs around her. A few lionesses had cubs sired by other lions. Simba suddenly wondered who would be Kopa's bethrothed. She would have to be someone who'd be loyal, who'd protect Kopa.
Part 2: Kopa in Trouble
A couple days later, Kiara and Kopa started talking, much to Simba's delight. They were playful and energetic, but were made to stay within the grass around Pride Rock by the well-meaning but misguided Simba. The cubs rode on Pumbaa's back and pretended to be pigs like him. They constantly pulled Timon's tail, to the meercat's disgust, but Timon still liked Kopa and Kiara--a lot. They were very playful. He did like Kopa a little bit better, though, because Kopa was mischeivious and made good jokes.
"Hey, Dad, what do you get when you cross a dirty warthog and a wet lion?" Kopa laughed one day, running around on Pride Rock with his father. Simba smiled. "I have no idea." he said in almost a patronizing tone.
"Muddy, hairy feet!" Kopa giggled. "Get it? You crossed a dirty warthog and a wet lion? So you get hair on your feet from the warthog's back, along with dirt, then you make mud when you cross the lion. Ha, ha, h--Dad?"
Simba wasn't paying attention to his son but staring at the brooding sky. Suddenly, rain let loose. "Quick, Kopa, inside now!" Simba cried as the clouds massed. A sheet of rain came down, then it started pouring. Simba grabbed his confused son by the nape of his neck. Everyone else was inside, so he could concentrate on helping Kopa0. The big lion bounded forward, then skidded in a pile of shattered rock.
"Aungh!" Simba cried out. Then: "Kopa!"
He raced towards his son, who'd flown out of his mouth. Grabbing the cub again, he raced forward, but a dazzling bolt of lightning suddenly crackled right nearby, blinding Simba. Confused, he lunged forward, closing his eyes to the dazzling lightning that was now repeating over and over. Kopa slid and Simba tightened his grip. He was nearly at the cave when a sudden, strong wind blew, sending a few grains of broken rock flying into his eyes from the top of the cave roof. They stung and blinded him, and through his eyes, the lightning looked watery. Then he felt Kopa fall out of his mouth. He didn't see Kopa tumble over a sharp blade of rock.
Lightning flared again, along with thunder, and Simba's vision cleared, the thunder cleared his mind. He grabbed his cub, who was terrfied and indeed paralyzed with fright. He raced into the safety of the cave and lay there, panting. It was dark but dry. From the darkness he could see a pale blob. It had Nala's voice.
"Simba? Are you all right?" Nala panted.
"I'm...fine...had to help Kopa."
"Daddy...I hurt!" Kopa cried.
"It's okay, you just got knocked out when you fell." his father replied.
"No, Daddy, like my skin is all broke!"
"Broken." corrected Nala, then gasped, realizing her son was serious. "Simba!"
"Where do you hurt, son?" Simba said, trying to sound calm.
"My left side."
"Hang on, son, hang on."
Simba touched his son's side. The little cub flinched, but his father leapt backwards, his mouth dry and his paws numb with fear. Kopa's tender side felt sticky and warm, smelt like blood. Something wet slithered off of the paw where he'd touched the little cub. Trembling, he begged aloud for a bit of lightning. Two succesive flashes revealed Kopa laying on the cave floor, a deep gash in his left side, pouring forth blood. Simba felt weak and turned to the blob that was Nala. "Get some clean dirt." he ordered. "It will slow the bleeding."
"Bleeding!" Nala exclaimed. The word seemed to snap and crackle in the air.
"Yes, bleeding! Get the dirt!"
Nala left, running to a dirt pile in the cave.
A tear slipped down Simba's face and landed on his mane. As Nala arrived with the dirt, he stepped back. The storm was calming down, and a slow grey light began to enter the cave. The lionesses were gathered in a circle, terrfied. Nala wished her mother were there, but she was gone. Simba longed for his mother's comforting wisdom, but she had passed into the stars, too. His father did not speak to him from the sky. He felt all alone as the wound was packed with dirt. It was a bad wound, jagged and pursed open. It was packed with dirt, but blood still gurgled forth. Timon and Pumbaa, their faces unusually grave, stepped forth and tried to cheer up the cub with weak jokes. The cub didn't hear. He was crying with pain.
Zazu flew into the cave.
"Zazu! Get Rafiki!" Simba yelled. Zazu obeyed on the spot.
When Rafiki arrived, Kopa's breathing was labored. The old baboon smiled sadly, but tears glistened in his eyes.
"The young cub must join all the other innocent cubs, as a flower in the grasslands."
There was a roaring in Simba's ears and Nala almost broke down, but they regained enough control to said good-bye to Kopa, who slowly drew his last breath. The lionesses began to sob, and Rafiki blessed the cub with flower pollen, showing that his spirit would become a flower and bloom on in the grasslands like all the past, passed-away cubs, to remind everyone of the innoncence and playfulness of cubs. Kopa's bright brown eyes looked up one last time. Then his head fell back and his spirit left him.
"Daddy?" sobbed Kiara. "What happened to Kopa?"
But Simba wasn't listening, nor did he hear Nala's reply. He began to run, running out of the cave, away from death. Nala began to follow him, then went back to her little girl. Simba needed time to sort things out.
Simba kept running until he got to the rise far from Pride Rock, where his father had told him about the Circle of Life when he was a cub. Only a few gazelle bounded away from him. The grasses were flat from the driving rain and had a grey cast from the sky. Everything looked gloomy, but it seemed even gloomier to Simba, because of the tragedy. He collapsed, choking on a lump in his throat. He was filled with sorrow, but at least he didn't blame himself for his son's death. He knew he'd done everything he could. Still, he was grieved. Why had it happened? Where had his father been?
"You can't tell me this is what you wanted!" Simba shouted at the sky. Then the clouds shifted and swirled. A brilliant gold aura came from the clouds and slowly morphed into a glowing, ghostly image of his father. His father was sorrowful but grave.
"I don't control these things, Simba. I don't know what or who does. But you must go on. You have Kiara."
"I won't let anything happen to her!" Simba sobbed. "I won't...I won't..."
"Rise up and go on..." Mufasa's spirit repeated kindly but firmly. "Rise up...go on...go on..."
The voice and image faded away. A heavy-hearted Simba headed back to his cave and had his son's body lain gently amid a field of flowers far from the cave. He fell asleep and didn't wake up until the next morning. Seeing it was sunny, he wandered outside. In the grass was a brilliant yellow flower, a huge blossom, with petals curling downwards. It was nodding in the wind, and as the wind whistled between its petals, Simba heard Kopa's voice faintly:
"I love you, Daddy...I love you."
Then Simba looked up, determined. Kiara's presentation as future queen was tommorrow. He would always be sad, but he was determined to move on. He decided to be glad for Kiara. But in the back of his mind, he was determined to keep Kiara safe--no matter what!