(inspiration... la forza 11 oil on panel (THE STRENGTH)c by Alba2 Rossini)
Once upon a time there was a great lion King named Leo. He lived in a cave on a high mountain with his wife and 2 sons. He was king of the forest and other animals bowed down to him.... mostly. Every now and then he had to put some animal in it's place, and there were many lions that did not want him to be king. Mostly his brothers, but other lions too. They were constantly questioning his authority and challenging him. It was hard work being a king.
Today Leo felt old. Being king of the forest was not as good as he had hoped it would be. The years of leaping and pouncing the lesser animals of the forest had not been good for him. His paws ached... his head ached... his tail ached... his back ached... even his hair ached. And now... he had a throbbing tooth ache.
His wife was understanding and sympathetic but his two sons were still cubs and demanded his attention. They did not care that he was not feeling well, they just wanted him to play with them. One of them would take his place one day as king but for now he was hurting and wanted piece and quiet. Leo let out a grand roaaaaar and the two boys scurried off to play outside. His wife stroked his mane.
"There... there my king. We will find someone to help you. I promise." She kissed his nose and left him to rest alone.
Leo could not wait all day for help. He hurt NOOOOW... and wanted help right away. When he saw his wife was safely out of view he, got up from his comfee spot on the cave floor and, set off to look for his OWN help.
He limped and groaned the whole way down the side of the mountain hoping no one would notice how weak he really was. When ever he came to another animal he stood up straight and stuck out his chest, but the moment they were out of sight he would slump back down and groan. He asked everyone he saw on the way down if they could help him, but no one could. Everyone was too scared of him to even TRY looking in his mouth at the tooth. A few told him to say "aaaaaahhhh" but that was about all the help he got. Finally a frog told him to go to see the wise old owl, in the crooked oak tree, in the center of the forest, for help. Leo thanked the frog and headed out to make his way to the tree.
The sun was hot today and Leo knew he should be resting in the coolness of his cave, at home, but he had to get to the oak tree before noon and back to the cave by night fall. If any of his brothers saw he was weak they would challenge him to be king and he was NOT in the mood today for a fight. He needed to be home before his wife noticed he was gone. She would NOT be happy he had left the cave. He hurried his pace.
Leo's new found mission seemed to have temporarily gotten his mind of his hurting. He felt alive and free. Getting out of the cave and having something to do was better than wasting away feeling sorry for himself.
Along the way he met many animals. They all had respect for him but he found that they actually seemed to LIKE him. He held his head a little higher at the thought that not EVERYONE was after him. He had been in the cave way too long. He needed to get out more. He made a mental note to "get out more" and continued on his way to the oak tree. It was close. He could see the leaves of its' branches up ahead. He stepped up his pace, walking a little taller.