Title Wisdom
Year 1998
Tagline "Take a look, what do you see?"
Comment The characters Simba and Mufasa are property of Disney


  On this bright and sunny day, Mufasa elected to take his young son out
to observe his rounds. The small cub was terribly excited, and wasted no
time in bouncing eagerly about his father's massive paws. The sun was
merciful to the Lion King, and eventually beat the cub into more subdued
tagging along, for Simba found the shade of his dad to be the coolest place
to walk as they moved along the way.
    It was not long before the sounds of a scuffle reached the pair's ears
just beyond the hill. Wary, Mufasa guarded his son as they approached and
looked down to see what was going on. A large gathering of wild dogs were
engaging hyenas in a bitter scuffle. It seemed like a war zone, with obvious
injuries on both sides. Though the battle be between hyena and wild dog, it
was obviously still within the borders of the pridelands. Simba sat down
next to his father, tilting his head.

    "Dad? What's going on down there."

    "Apparently a battle," the larger lion said, "over food."

    "Food?" Simba repeated, confused, "what food?" Mufasa leant closer to
his son and motioned briefly with his paw.

    "There..." The cub squinted closer from their safe spot.

    "That?" Simba wrinkled his nose up at his father, "but that's such a
small scrap of meat?" Mufasa nodded his head, then motioned in the other

    "And what do you see over there, son?" The cub quickly went to see, tail
flicking behind him as he blinked.

    "Wow! That's a whole lot of impala," Simba licked his lips, but paused.
His brow crinkled inward and he looked up at his father, "Why are they all
fighting over that small scrap when there are so many other fresh kills to
be made?" Mufasa smiled a little and drew Simba close into his shade. The
cub purred happily and nuzzled against his father's leg, enjoying the
intimate teaching session.

    "Simba," Mufasa started, "you and Nala play 'stick' all the time,

    "Yeah!" the cub exclaimed.

    "And what happens when Nala takes the stick from you and runs away?"

    "I chase her for it...?"

    "But why?" the lion pressed, "why chase her for that stick instead of

    "Well..." Simba pondered this a moment, "because it was mine, and-" He
stopped, looking a little confused. Mufasa chuckled and placed a paw gently
on his back, smiling.

    "Son, that's the way that that game is played. But you know it's a game.
They are fighting for what they perceive to be their lives. You know the
difference between real and fake, right?"

    "You mean like how that picture in the water isn't really me, it's just
the water showing what I look like?"

    "Yes," Mufasa affirmed, "something like that. Those hyenas and wild dogs
down there somehow think that small piece of meat is important, even if it
would feed only one of them."

    "That's stupid," Simba said firmly, as only a cub could pass
judgement. Mufasa chuckled.

    "In this case, you are right. There is plenty else to be had if they
just gave up that petty piece of meat." The cub turned and looked up at his
father expectantly.

    "So, are you going to stop them dad?"

    "No, son." The Lion King answered quietly. Simba looked up at him,
surprised and disappointed.

    "Aww, but why? They are on our lands, right? You could just roar, and
jump in there, and swat 'em around, and they'd all run away. You could make
them kiss and make up if you wanted to." Mufasa laughed at this, eyes

    "As king, I've learned to pick and choose my battles, biding my time
until it's just right to do something." He smiled briefly, "Son, there are
times to rush to action, and there are times to let things settle. Should I
run in there amidst a pack of wild dogs and hyenas, there is a chance for
injury. But, should I wait a little longer until they have exhausted

    "Then you can go in and have less trouble because they won't have any
energy to resist?"

    "Simba," Mufasa chuckled, "you make me sound so cold blooded. Yes,
something along those lines. After all, this might just be a petty thing
that is more solved than it appears to be. The battle may be cathartic in
some ways."

    "Cah -- thahr -- ?" the cub stammered,

    "Cathartic, son," the lion smiled, "it means that it releases energy in
such a way that it makes them feel better at the end."

    "Ah," replied the enlightened cub. He paused to scratch at something
behind his ear before tilting his head up to his father once more, "so what
happens if some of them decide to leave before you deal with them? They look
pretty angry." Mufasa shrugged.

    "If there's one thing about the Pridelands, it is hard for certain
animals to stay away for some reason. Should they decide to leave, that is
fine. The Pridelands will not stop functioning just because a few wild dogs
and hyenas decide that its better to nurse their private wounds elsewhere.
Their squabble is unimportant to the functioning of the lands, save the
noise and attention they are attracting to each other."

    "Aren't you worried about it driving the herds and others away from
here, seeing this kind of thing going on?" Simba inquired.

    "Not worried," Mufasa replied, smiling to his son, "though it is
something that we have to deal with sadly. Son, the world comes to balance
in strange ways. Sometimes, it takes a massive effort on the part of the
entire Pridelands to bring things back to normal, and other times it just
takes a small slice of time on the part of one."

    "You?" the cub asked with honest innocence. Mufasa smiled.

    "For the time being. But the other animals come back, there's a security
here that can't easily be matched elsewhere." Simba looked down upon the
squabble, peering through the kicked up dust. Yips, moans, and barks shot up
from the bottom of the hill, fading into nothingness as the fight became
less and less interesting. After a second, the cub yawned and looked up at
his dad.

    "This is boring, can we go see something important?" Mufasa chuckled and
nodded to his son.

    "Alright, alright," he smiled, "I just wanted to make sure you got the
point of why I stopped to show you this."

    "You have to choose your battles, and know when to step in and when to
stay out." Simba repeated, giving his eyes a gentle roll, "can we go now?

    "Heh," Mufasa chuckled, "Very funny. One day, you'll thank me for this
piece of wisdom." The two shared a nuzzle, then continued through the rounds
of the day.

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