Second in a series of stories for Month of October 2007

Story of the Month
As told to Tamara

She said "Tell me a story".

So I started:
Once upon a time in Africa there was this herd of antelope. What is an antelope? It is a majestic animal that roams the plains of eastern Africa in huge herds. And they eat grass and roam from place to place looking for the best and also to find the sweetest water when the seasons change.

Well, in this one particular herd, a calf was born - a baby antelope, and her name was Augie. Why Augie? I don't know. That was just the name her mother gave her. Augie was up and standing on her own two feet, I mean four feet, almost 3 minutes after she was born. That's a record time in that part of Africa because it usually takes 7-9 minutes and even more for a newborn antelope to stand for the first time. Well, Augie was up and moving around just like that and you knew that this was some special little antelope.

Now, Augie was not partial to this herd stuff. Everyone from the moment she was born was saying "Stay close to the herd". "Don't leave your mother's side", and stuff like that. But, Augie had her own ideas, and she would wander off, but not too far, always keeping the lower left side of her mother in full view because that was where she was going to get her next meal.

Well, as I said, she would wander off, and what would she do in these wanderings? She would leap in the air and move her four legs around and, well I guess you could say that she was practicing new ways of moving. That's it, she would dance - no pirouette type of stuff because antelope can't balance on one foot - but she would jump and practice fast movements because in a vision - she didn't know what that was - just something that appeared before her eyes - she had a vision of a people. She had heard others in the herd talk about people but she had never seen one. She had heard talk that they moved very fast and separated themselves from parts of their body - from the part that had round things at the bottom, and they would hold black things up in front of their faces and sometimes wave sticks around that made a sound. Anyway, in this vision, she saw herself as a beautiful, what she guessed was a people, with long black hair - much longer than she had and this people was standing on two legs and doing exactly what she was trying to do but, so far totally unsuccessfully. It is sort of like she knew... well, we will leave that to some other time.

On this one particular day, she was doing her usual thing and suddenly she felt a pair of eyes staring at her. And all of the hairs on her back were standing up straight. Now, she had never seen a lion because no matter how far she got from her mother, she had always been surrounded by herd. But she knew now why the herd sometimes stampeded suddenly without any apparent reason - she just knew that this was the reason. She turned around to go back to her mother but, for the first time in her life, her mother was not there and neither was anyone else. This was one of those cathartic moments when who we really are comes out. And Augie thought to herself, there is only one thing that I can do. I am going to do what I know best. I am going to be totally me.And she started dancing and jumping and doing all sorts of crazy stuff that this particular lion had never seen before - you could tell that the lion was enthralled. And because Augie did not know lionese, she talked to this lion in antegrams - you know - mental pictures. Something to the effect, I will dance for you if you do not hurt me, and then she thought of her mother and she added her, and then in a great magnanimous gesture or - thought that is - all the herd.

She didn't know if she was getting it across but by this time there were what she guessed were people detaching themselves from the part which had these round things on the bottom and putting black boxes up in front of their faces and others waving sticks around and that sort of thing. National Geographic had arrived. And they were all amazed that this lion was standing there not moving and apparently having no intention of moving, or crouching down or anything that lions were instinctively supposed to do. And there were all sorts of lights flashing as Augie danced and thought. Finally, when she could no longer move or think, she saw the herd out of the corner of her eye as they edged cautiously closer, and slowly, slowly she went the long distance and she found her mother.

And in the annals of National Geographic and in all the thousands of pictures taken, that day became known as the day that the lions stopped preying on antelopes - at least in that small part of Africa. What will happen in the other parts, as the news travels, we do not know.

The moral of the story is, when you are up against it, do the best you possibly can and be the best you possibly can be, and who knows, you may just save the whole herd, or the world, or at least something.

And I call this story
The Day the Law of the Jungle Changed Forever.

Morgan Copyright October 1, 2007 All rights reserved