The Clever Raven and the Mountain Lion

Without a word, she dropped to the ground. She was no longer in fear; she knew that the lion could never frighten her again.

This is the story of a mountain lion who, one day while walking through the wood, spied a clever and alluring young raven perched high in a tree. He was immediately captivated, and fell madly in love with her. He was so smitten that he immediately asked for her hand in marriage. He asked her to come down from her high branch so that they might live together in wedded bliss for the rest of their days.

She declined. And offered, by way of explanation, that she would not live her life in constant fear. Fear of having such a powerful and dangerous mate. Fear of being crushed or torn to pieces by the lion whilst in the throes of passion.

But the lion pressed, so smitten was he, “What can I do to prove my devotion to you, fair raven?”

The clever raven thought and finally offered the lion a challenge that she hoped would dissuade him, “You can prove your devotion by bringing me a gift. Bring me food.” She believed that he would fail and this would discourage further advances.”

The lion turned and dashed into the forest. The next morning when the raven awoke she looked down and spied the lion with a dead stag clutched in his maw. He dropped the deer when he spoke, “My love, I have brought you a deer. There is no finer meal to be found in the forest than fresh deer.”

“Oh my,” said the raven. “Birds, such as I, do not eat deer, we eat fruit, berries, grains and small animals but nothing so large as this. This will never do. I cannot marry you lion. You would never understand me.”

But, the lion would not be discouraged, and he continued to press. To the great dismay of the clever and alluring young raven, his attentions even increased. Each morning she would wake to find dead animals and other prizes stacked at the base of her tree but, she continued to spurn the advances of her eager suitor. Then one morning upon awakening the raven found the lion silently scaling her tree. She feared for her life and knew she must do something to permanently discourage his amour. The lion was nearly upon her when she raised her wings to ensure his attention and she spoke, “Alright good sir. I will wed thee but, your great teeth and your long claws frighten me. Prove your devotion by having your teeth pulled and your claws shorn to the nub. Do these things and I will join you in matrimony.”

The lion looked fixedly at the object of his desires, grinned toothily, and climbed down from the raven’s tree, which he had ascended. “Wait here my love, I will return in haste.”

But, he was gone for three days. On the morning of the fourth day the raven awoke to find her paramour pacing at the base of her tree. “Good morning sir,” she squawked down to him. “Have you heeded my wishes? Are we to be wed?”

He looked at her perched high above and smiled. Truly he had not a single tooth left in his head. “See how much I love you,” he crooned.

“Come up here and let me get a closer look,” the clever raven implored.

The lion leapt onto the trunk of the tree and immediately dropped again to the ground. He did this time and time again. The raven could see that his fearsome grapnels had been shorn and he could not gain purchase to climb the tree. Not even nubs remained where his mighty claws had once been. Without teeth or claws the lion was harmless; the clever and alluring raven looked down at him and without a word, she dropped to the ground. She was no longer afraid, she knew that the lion could never frighten her again.

Here are the rules:
• Your post must be dated March 30, 2014, or later.
• Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
• Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
• You must include the following sentence as the FIRST line of your submission: “Without a word, she dropped to the ground.”
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