A telling touch.



Bess and Whitie made their way to Whitie’s place, the Old English sheepdog settling down comfortably on the rugs.  Whitie settled down beside her, Bess rolling over onto her side and giving Whitie access to all four of her large white paws.  Whitie picked up Bess’s left forepaw and began to stroke her pads and toes, the sheepdog relaxing as the massage took hold.  Bess, her left forepaw in both of Whitie’s, began her tale.

      “My early life was happy, but soon it became less so.  I was bought by humans who wanted me for breeding.  Nothing wrong in that you might think and neither did I, until it was time to give birth to my pups.  I had a difficult labour, it was horrendous!  So painful, stressful and exhausting.  I struggled for hours to give birth to my pups, trying everything I knew to bring them into the world, from rolling on the floor during contractions, to swimming in the garden pond.  Nothing worked, and my owners were forced to admit I wasn’t going to have the pups unaided, and take me to the vets while I was in full active labour.  I remember that journey well, every bump and jolt bringing on strong contractions.  I could feel what was wrong, the first pup was large, and was stuck fast.  Even so, each contraction had me clenching my teeth and curling my toes with pain and effort as I struggled to have those pups.  I was drenched in sweat and exhausted when I got to the vets.  During the short walk to the vet’s operating room; I had two massive contractions which had me on my knees screaming with pain.  My owners were anxious about the pups, I now feared for mine and their lives in equal measure.  Once on the table I was knocked out, mercifully.  I woke when my pups were born, and fortunately they were all fine.  This could not be said for me however.  The vet advised my owners that I would never be able to have pups again, and that the damage caused by the extended labour and excessive efforts I’d had to make had put an end to any further breeding.  My owners were furious, having paid good money for me.  I believe the vet was reluctant to tell them they were at fault for not getting me help sooner, but in the end they were told.  My owners let me wean my pups, and during that time was when I saw the same game those two tigers were playing, the tail grabbing, paw tickling game.  Once my pups were weaned, I was thrown out of the house, taken in a car to a remote place and dumped.  I roamed for days, coming into your wood about two days before you found me.  The rest is history.”



“That’s a dreadful tale,” Whitie mewed.  She was stroking the sole of Bess’s left hind paw and Bess curled her toes round Whitie’s holding them tenderly.  Whitie left her paw where it was, her pads touching Bess’s.

      “I suppose I’ll have to give my life to looking after the cubs of others now,” Bess said.  Whitie smiled as she felt Bess’s toes massage her own.

      “I don’t know how the new mothers will take to you looking after their cubs,” Whitie mewed, “by all means, when I have cubs, you can help me look after them.”  Bess smiled as she thought of Whitie’s cubs, already imagining them crawling all over her and tickling her paws.

     “I’d love to help,” Bess said, her eyes shining.

      “How about practising playing with me?”  Someone asked.  Bess looked round to find Ahanu crawling towards her.  The cross bred cub, not yet on his legs, had learned to retract his claws that very day.  Crawling over the carpet, he approached Bess, who, smiling, took the cub in her paws, Ahanu wriggling and purring with pleasure.  The cub made sure Bess ran her paws all over him, from his nose to the pads of his paws.  Ahanu snuggled up to Bess, and then turned to Whitie.

      “Whitie,” Ahanu said, “I’m sorry for busting in on you and Blackie the other day.  I didn’t know what Panja and bramble were up to until it was too late!”

     “That’s okay,” Whitie mewed, “we were fine after that.”

      “But, but,” Ahanu continued, his words falling over each other, “Bramble and Panja call Blackie the black monster, but he isn’t!  He’s lovely, I met him, and we played together, and he tickled my paws!”  Whitie smiled.

     “Blackie’s wonderful,” she purred.  The padding of heavy paws announced Nick’s arrival, the large lynx lying down beside Bess and touching Ahanu’s back with one huge forepaw.  Ahanu, feeling Nick’s touch, wriggled free of Bess’s paws and crawled over to him, Nick reaching round and playfully tickling the sole of the cub’s left hind paw as he came towards him.  Ahanu laughed, curling the toes of the paw Nick had tickled.  Nick rubbed the pads of the paw he’d tickled, Ahanu smiling at him.

     “I liked that,” he mewed.  Nick purred contentedly, feeling Ahanu’s tiny toes curling round his larger ones.  Nick wiggled his toes, Ahanu releasing him, allowing Nick to gather him close.  Ahanu snuggled up to his adopted sire, working his face and forepaws deep into Nick’s thick fur.  Nick purred loudly as he cradled Ahanu in his huge paws.


The sound of someone crawling towards them made Bess and Nick look round.  Brunetta crawled towards Bess, taking her in her huge forepaws and hugging her tenderly.  Bess, feeling the bear’s intentions in the touch of her paws, snuggled into Brunetta’s hug, working her paws into the brown bear’s long, thick, soft warm fur.  Brunetta combed the sheepdog’s long fur with her paws, working her toes deep into the hair, massaging Bess’s body from nose to tail.  Brunetta knew how to stroke most animals to best affect, and when she reached Bess’s paws, Brunetta took extra care, massaging the sheepdog’s pads and toes with infinite care.  Bess wiggled her toes while Brunetta worked on her paws.

     “This is amazing!”  Bess exclaimed.

     “I’m glad you like what I do,” Brunetta said.  Bess curled her toes round Brunetta’s, the brown bear smiling broadly.

     “Can I stroke your paws and belly?”  Bess asked Brunetta.

     “What about the rest of me? Are my ears, nose and back not worth stroking?”  Brunetta asked playfully.  Bess touched Brunetta’s nose, the bear sticking her tongue out at the sheepdog, making Bess laugh.

     “I will stroke your paws, belly, nose, ears and back,” Bess replied, dabbing at Brunetta’s nose with her paw, making the bear smile.  Bess removed her paw from Brunetta’s and turned to her, stroking her from her nose to the toes of her huge paws.  Brunetta was heavily built, with short legs and massive paws.  Bess counted the toes on all her paws, coming up with twenty.  Brunetta had five toes on each paw.  Each time Bess touched the pads of her paws, Brunetta curled her toes, holding gently onto Bess’s own.  Bess traced round Brunetta’s pads with the toes of her free paw, tickling the sole of her paw.  Brunetta laughed merrily wriggling madly.  Bess increased her assault on Brunetta’s paws, the brown bear laughing and wriggling until she was weak.

     “That’s enough!”  Brunetta pleaded.  Bess changed tickling the brown bear’s pads to rubbing them, Brunetta’s relief instant.  Brunetta sighed contentedly.

     “That’s better,” she said, “though you tickling my paws was fun too.”  Bess patted the pads of Brunetta’s right hind paw, and then moved to her forepaws, tickling the pads of her left forepaw.  Brunetta squealed with laughter clenching the tickled paw and thrashing wildly with her other three paws.  Bess smiled and hugged the huge bear as best she could, Brunetta smiling and returning the sheepdog’s embrace.

     “You really know how to tickle paws,” Brunetta said, smiling and touching Bess’s nose with the paw the dog had just been tickling.

      “Would you stroke my paws one more time?”  Brunetta asked, she now needing paw massage more than ever.  Bess realised this bear was almost addicted to having her paws stroked.

     “I have to go now,” Bess replied, “but maybe someone else will stroke your paws Brunetta.” Brunetta crawled away, while Bess returned to Ahanu, she and the cross bred cub playing with Nick, both of them tickling the adult male lynx’s paws until he was exhausted from laughing.


Brunetta found Aslan lying on a rug not too far away.  Now fully grown, Aslan was not above playing cubbish games, such as tail chasing and paw tickling games.  He watched Brunetta crawling towards him, having watched Bess stroking her paws.  Aslan yawned languidly, knowing what was coming.

    “Okay Brunetta,” he mewed, “I’ll stroke your paws, but then I must do the same for Petra, in a while.”  Brunetta knew why Aslan stroked Petra’s paws, and why she stroked his.  The lion and white lioness were crazy about each other.  Brunetta gave Aslan her paws, but she could tell his mind wasn’t on her, and wasn’t surprised by it.  Aslan’s massage was good, giving Brunetta the fix she needed, but his heart wasn’t in it.  Once he’d finished, Aslan padded away in search of Petra.


Aslan found the white lioness squaring up to Stifftail.  Apparently the disgraced snow leopard had insulted her in her hearing, and now she was screaming at him.

      “How dare you call me an illegitimate bitch!”  Petra screamed, almost dancing with rage.

     “Well you are!”  Stifftail yelled, “Its common knowledge all Elsa wanted was quick satisfaction, and Tommy gave it to her.  They weren’t in love, and that’s a fact!  Tommy didn’t want cubs, he just wanted to satisfy his desire, and now he has!”  Petra knew she had been the unwanted cub, and even though Theo and his mate Elsa had taken her in and loved her, Tommy’s rejection of her still hurt as if it were yesterday.  The knowledge of what Tembi forced Theo to do to her also made Petra want to cry.  Theo had known about her allergy to meat, but had been forced to feed it to her by Tembi.

      “I don’t want to hear any more of this!”  Petra yelled, trying not to cry.

      “Come to think of it, neither do I,”  Aslan said, padding into Petra’s line of sight, “Stifftail, shut up!”

      “What if I don’t?”  Stifftail challenged, “What will you do then, Aslan, oh great one, you stupid cub!”  Petra couldn’t say for sure what happened next, but the outcome was Stifftail lying lifeless on the concrete!

       “You, Aslan, you, Stifftail, oh no!”  Petra gasped.  Aslan looked down at the dead snow leopard.

      “He deserved that,”  Aslan said calmly, “Stifftail won’t be missed by anyone.”

     “Maybe not, but you shouldn’t have killed him!”  Petra sobbed, crying more for Aslan and herself than for Stifftail, who she didn’t care at all for.

      “You need not worry about punishment,”  Theo mewed, placing a comforting paw on Petra’s, “Aslan was more than justified in what he did, and he won’t repeat it, unless he is faced with a tyrant like Stifftail.  Now we can have some peace round here, without scum like him tainting our community.  I am not a violent lion, but if all else fails, as with Simba, then the ultimate punishment needs to be dealt.  Now Petra, dry your eyes, and go with Aslan, for I think he will protect you from harm, as he’s been doing ever since he first met you.”  Petra looked at the fully grown lion who she loved so deeply.

      “It was Aslan who spoke up for you when Elsa rejected you Petra,”  Theo mewed, “remember that always.”

     “I don’t want you to feel beholden to me for the rest of your life Petra dear,”  Aslan mewed, “but I would like to take you in my paws and hug you.  May I?”  Petra looked at Aslan.

     “We can’t, I can’t let you do that.”  She mewed, “it’s not right, ‘twas okay when we were cubs, but not now.”

      “Okay, if that’s the way you want it,”  Aslan mewed.  Petra looked at him.

      “No Aslan, that’s not the way I want it!”  She snapped, “I want you to take me in your paws and hug me, I want you to tickle my paws and for us to play together, but, but we can’t, not any more!”

      “Who told you that?”  Aslan asked.

       “Noone, not really, it’s just that I don’t think I could,,,”  Petra replied, her voice trailing off.  It was true her paws wanted to be stroked and tickled, she could feel her need for it, but the grown lioness in her told her she couldn’t have that kind of carefree pleasure any more.  Aslan touched Petra’s paw with his, feeling her paw was trembling slightly.

       “How about if we try it, just one paw?”  Aslan asked.  Petra looked at him.

     “I know that if I give you one paw that will lead to all four paws and we can’t do it!  I won’t let you do this to me!”  She mewed.

      “You’re doing it to yourself,”  Theo said softly, “it’s you, not Aslan, who’s putting up barriers.  The question is, on what grounds are those barriers based?  Shaky ground at best I think.”  Petra looked at Aslan.

     “I want to roll on the grass with you, play with you, tickle your paws and have you tickle mine, all that, but we can’t Aslan!  Even my paws want it, I can feel they want this so much!, it’s driving me mad!”

     “Well do something about it then,”  Aslan suggested, “come on Petra, let’s try this gently by starting off with one paw.”  Petra looked hunted.

      “No Aslan, I can’t,”  she said quickly.

      “You let Pepper stroke your paws,”  Theo reminded his cub, “you even played games with her.  What difference is there between you giving Pepper your paws and giving them to Aslan for him to massage?”  Petra and Aslan knew there was a world of difference.

     “Pepper was providing a professional service,”  Petra replied, “Aslan wouldn’t be, and it’s different with him and me.  We’re not cubs any more, and we can’t play like cubs.”

      “Okay,”  Aslan said, “that’s it then.”  He knew Petra was stressed and that she wanted his help.  He wanted to help her, indeed, Aslan knew he could help her, but she wasn’t letting him.

     “I suppose we’d better bury Stifftail,”  Theo said, looking down in disgust at the dead snow leopard.

      “Take me with you Aslan!”  Petra said suddenly, “Drag me away if you have to, and just get me out of here!”  Aslan grabbed Petra’s paw and they fled from the area of the concrete prison.  Aslan heard Petra’s paws padding on the carpet, then the tiles of the passage as they left the area.  Petra looked at Aslan.

      “We could play like we did when we were cubs, couldn’t we?”  She asked hopefully.  Aslan smiled at her, slipping his left forepaw over her right.

    “We could,”  he mewed.  Petra kissed Aslan on his nose.

      “You remember how to tickle paws?”  Petra asked.  Aslan smiled.

     “Give me your paw and find out,”  he mewed.  Petra smiled.

      “I will,”  she replied, but not here though, let’s go to a secluded place.”  Aslan grinned at her.

     “You still worried we’ll be seen?”  He asked.  Petra laughed nervously.

      “Well, it’s not what adult lions do, brother and sister or not,”  she replied.

     “Isn’t it?”  Aslan asked, “I’ve seen Whitie and Blackie tickling each other’s paws, Theo and Elsa too.  Theo and Elsa were tickling each other’s paws the other day, I saw them!  It was lovely to see.  Petra had seen this too, and smiled at the memory.

      “They do,”  she mewed.

     “So why can’t we?”  Aslan mewed.  Petra smiled.

     “Let’s do that,”  she mewed.  The two big cats padded to the bathroom, where Aslan ran a deep bath, Petra watching him all the time.  She watched everything, from the way Aslan worked, to the way his tail twitched as he worked.  Petra followed Aslan into the water, the water warm and comforting.  Aslan had turned on the spar feature, the water bubbling up from the bottom of the bathtub, tickling Petra’s paw pads and forcing itself between her toes, making her laugh.

      “Are your paws getting tickled by the water too?”  Petra asked.  Aslan smiled:

     “They are,”  he replied, raising a forepaw to touch Petra’s nose.  Petra saw his claws were retracted.  Petra tickled the pads of Aslan’s left forepaw, the lion laughing and diving beneath the water, where Petra soon felt his forepaws envelope her right hind, which she lifted off the bottom of the bath so he could tickle her pads and toes, something Aslan did with care and gentility, even so, Petra laughed helplessly.

     “You little rogue!”  She mewed, pulling her paw away, Aslan chasing it under water until he was forced to come up for air.  When he did, Petra ambushed him, both cats play fighting beneath the water.  When they got bored of this, they lay together, each examining the other with infinite care.  Aslan remembered running his paws all over Petra’s body when he’d first met her, examining her by touch as his eyes hadn’t opened yet.  She’d loved it when he touched her paws, and still did, if the toes curling spontaneously round his when he stroked her pads were anything to go by.  Now he was able to examine her by sight and touch, from her black nose, to the black pads on the soles of her large, still rather cubbish paws.  Petra enjoyed every minute of Aslan’s attention, knowing he would look after her.  She remembered how distressed he’d been when she’d nearly been killed by the meat which Tembi had forced into her.  Petra remembered how he’d held her tightly after the night where as she was violently sick in the garden, her body racked by spasms, her paws clenching with every effort her body made to get rid of the poison.  Petra remembered how exhausting that night had been, struggling to vomit when there was nothing to vomit, and hadn’t been for hours before.  These times were the worst, feeling dreadful, unable to do anything but suffer as her body tried to expel the poison inside.  Petra remembered other parts of that night, horrendous abdominal pain, which ended in her squatting on the grass, while her body took its revenge on her, Petra crying with pain and fear throughout.  Throughout all this, Petra herself had been dimly aware of those around her, but uppermost in her mind was pain, sickness, and the need to get rid of the poison in whatever way her body wished next.  Now, three years on, just thinking about that night made Petra feel exhausted all over again.  Aslan knew what Petra was thinking and patted her paw.

      “Theo and Tembi wouldn’t let me go out there with you until you’d calmed down,”  Aslan mewed, “I wish I could have been there though Petra!”  The lion’s eyes filled with tears, “I was so worried, hearing everything but unable to touch you, to hold you.  I wanted to hold you Petra!”  Aslan was crying now.  Petra touched his paw.

      “I wanted you there too,”  she mewed, “Theo was wonderful, but I wanted you there too.”  Aslan cried into Petra’s fur, the white lioness cradling him in her paws.

      “I hate Tembi!”  Aslan yelled, anger flaring in him.

      “It’s okay Aslan. She’s gone from here now,”  Petra said in an attempt to comfort the distressed lion.

      “How could she do such a thing as collude with Tarker, when she knew how ill you’d be if you ate meat?  That’s the mark of an evil mind Petra!”  Petra stroked Aslan with her forepaws, trying to comfort him, but also herself at the same time.

      “Please Aslan,”  she mewed, “would you massage and tickle my paws and belly, please?  I want to forget all this, all this horrid stuff.  I don’t know how I got thinking about it, but I wish I had never started now.  Stroke me, take my paws in yours and examine them all you like, touch them, stroke them, tickle them until I laugh so much I can’t laugh any more!  Then, Aslan, please, can I do the same for you?”  Aslan smiled through his tears.

      “I’m yours from nose to tail Petra,”  he said.

     “I wouldn’t mind it if you stroke me from nose to tail either,”  Petra said, kissing his nose.  Aslan kissed the pads of Petra’s left forepaw, making the lioness smile.

      “I love you Petra, from your nose to your paw pads,”  Aslan said.  Petra knew he’d loved her from the minute he’d laid his paw on hers when they were cubs.  Petra knew Aslan might have said he loved her from her nose to her paw pads, but she knew that even if she was scarred from nose to toes, he’d still love her as much as he’d always done.  She was reassured to find that she could admit to herself she’d love him if he did not look the way he did.  Petra loved Aslan from nose to tail, but as with his love for her, her love for him had been kindled in the days of touch, when that was all they knew.  Petra knew her relationship with Aslan was deeper than most other relationships.  It was rooted in the touch of paw pad and whisker against fur and paw pad, and the touch of noses.  Aslan and Petra loved each other’s mind first, and bodies second, as each had learned about the other’s mind first, so were drawn to that, rather than to physical appearance.  Petra and Aslan left the water, laughing as they both realised their paw pads were as wrinkled as Prunes.  Petra crawled like she’d done when she was a cub, Aslan following her example, and ambushing her as he’d once done when she was safely on a rug.  Petra rolled over, catching Aslan in her forepaws and kissing his nose.  She felt his damp pads against her own and they felt wonderful.  Petra tickled Aslan’s paws, the lion laughing merrily and curling his toes round Petra’s, Petra mewing theatrically and tugging at her paw as if it was trapped.  Aslan massaged her toes and kissed her nose, Petra purring with contentment.

      “I love all this!”  She mewed, pressing her pads hard against Aslan’s.  By degrees, Aslan examined all four of Petra’s paws, the white lioness drifting in a dream as his paws made their considered journey over the soles of all four of her paws.  Once this was done, Aslan began to stroke Petra from nose to tail, the lioness loving every minute of it, and showing this by pressing herself into Aslan’s hug, as well as rubbing her paws hard against his when they came into contact.  Throughout all this, the two lions hadn’t given Stifftail a thought.


Indeed, the community, having  heard of Stifftail’s fait from Theo, resolved not to mention it to Aslan or Petra.  Ahanu, in the way some cubs do, remarked straight off that now Stifftail was dead, at least he, Ahanu,  would get some peace from the leopard’s disgusting comments.  Ellie told him that to say things like this was wrong, but Ahanu told her he didn’t care, because it was clear Stifftail didn’t care about him.  Why should he respect a leopard that’d done nothing but terrorise him his whole life?  Nick smiled at his cub, knowing Ahanu had thought through his words to his mother.


Aslan and Petra knew nothing of this, so wrapped up in each other were they.  Aslan realised he loved Petra, plain and simple, and she realised she loved him.  It had gone from protective love to something else, and this wasn’t driven by the need to have cubs.  In truth, though Aslan never admitted it to Petra, he’d felt he loved her from the moment he met her.  They may have considered themselves brother and sister, but Petra could not be more different from Aslan if she tried.  It seemed leucism had done strange things to Petra’s make up.  Petra being broader and heavier than Aslan, her paws larger, body heavier set, and her legs shorter than his.  Indeed, she was larger than him in almost all respects, apart from he had more mane  than she did, and.  Petra was huge now!  Not fat, but big, one big lioness!

       “If others got to hear about the love we have for each other,”  Petra mewed, “there’d be an outcry!  You took me in your paws as a cub and treated me as your sister for so long, but I wasn’t really your sister at all.  Now our feelings towards each other have changed, not from love to hate, but from one kind of love to another.  Protectiveness is still there, but there’s something else, a deep grounding which binds me to you Aslan my dear.  It binds us like the strongest glue imaginable.”  Aslan kissed the toes of Petra’s left forepaw.

     “No cubs Aslan,”  Petra said, “please, please respect that.”  Aslan looked into her eyes.

      Petra,”  he said, “I will not do anything you don’t want me to.”  He kissed her nose, Petra’s eyes filling with tears.

     “That stuff about me not wanting to have my paws tickled because it was not a grown up thing to do was a load of rubbish!”  She sniffed, “it was all down to the realisation that I was not your sister, I was not who we’d pretended I was all these years.  I’m not like you, Elsa, Tommy or anyone here!  I shied away, because, because, I was falling head over paws in love with you Aslan, and to admit it would cause a storm!  Noone would realise we weren’t brother and sister, noone knows who I am!  If, if it was only leucism which set me apart, then that would be fine, but it’s not just that.  I’m a genetic mutation.  I’m not of Elsa, nor of Tommy.  Elsa gave birth to me, but that was the end of any connection I had with her.  What Tommy has is a strange genetic problem, it’s not just Leucistic genes, it’s something which will create, once in a while, a being which is unlike either of it’s parents.  I am that creation.  Tommy’s not fat like me, nor was Elsa.  I’m more like snowy in appearance.”

    I love you the way you are,”  Aslan mewed, “and the community will have to get used to us loving each other.  Stuff their views Petra!  It’s not their business!”

      “Cubs too,”  Petra mewed, “I’ll tell you now Aslan, I can’t have cubs.  I’m unable to.”

      “Fine,”  Aslan replied, “that’s not a problem Petra.”

       “Are you sure?”  She asked.

      “I’m as sure about cubs as I am about the fact that despite all you’ve told me, I still love the white lioness lying beside me,”  Aslan mewed.  Petra, tears rolling down her nose, gathered Aslan to her in her huge paws and embraced him tightly.

      “That’s lovely to see,”  someone purred.  Petra looked round to find Ahanu crawling towards them, his eyes open, and staring at her and Aslan.

       “How much have you heard?”  Petra asked, shock at the cub’s arrival driving out any anger she might have felt.

      “Everything,”  Ahanu replied quickly, “and I don’t’ care if you’re Aslan’s sister or not, the fact you love each other is great.”  Petra touched the cub’s paw.

      “If this got out,”  she mewed, “we’d be thrown out of the community for sure.  Theo thinks I’m Aslan’s sister by birth, I’m not!  It would tear him apart!”

      “No it wouldn’t,”  Theo said, his whiskers brushing Petra’s, “you forget my dear cub, I know eohippus and what goes on there.  I know you are not Aslan’s sister in any way, shape or form.  I always knew the transition for Aslan from protection of his sister to loving the white lioness for other reasons would happen sooner or later.  Aslan knew deep down, though he didn’t know he knew.  I did, I knew you arrived in this world neither of Elsa, nor of Tommy.  You, as eohippus herself was to Equine kind, are descended from the first lioness, the first carnivore.  Though you learned the ways of eohippus, for she and the first lioness lived together in harmony, lying down together at the dawn of things.  It was when on an adventure the first lioness fell into a fever and woke to find she’d given birth to many cubs, both male and female, did the lions begin to learn how to eat meat.  When the first lioness went back to eohippus and told her what had befallen her, eohippus looked at the multitude of lions, realising they had to eat something, as they had no interest in grass and vegetables as she and her friend did.  So the mare took it upon herself to give her life and those of her descendants to the lions, until they could learn the ways of the first lioness once more.  Eohippus then gave birth to five horses, two stallions and three mares of different breeds, so that they could breed and produce more horses, so that the path to absolute harmony could begin.”

      “You mean to say,”  Aslan said, “that eohippus gave her life and those of her kind to the lions so they could live until they worked out how to live in peace with the horses?”

    “Yes,”  Theo mewed.

     “Right!”  Aslan mewed, “I’m never eating meat again!”  He was close to tears, “so Theo, You’re saying Eohippus, seeing the inevitable conclusion of the leonine ranks, tried to help them back to the path in the only way she knew how.  I’m never eating meat again!  Never ever!  Noone should have to make that choice!  Those lions should have had their heads knocked together, every dam one!”  Theo nodded at Aslan.

       “Giving birth to several score of cubs must have been hell,”  Petra mewed.

     “Dam those cubs!”  Aslan yelled, “It’s the horses I feel for!”

      “It’s only a story,”  Theo mewed.

     “It was a good one,”  Ahanu purred.

     “So you are related directly to the first lioness,”  Aslan said to Petra, touching her cheek with the toes of one paw.

      “I suppose I am,”  she mewed, “though I’m not about to have fifty cubs, nor eat the horses.”  Theo laughed merrily and said:

     “Love each other with all you have.  I’ll only get angry if you don’t admit your feelings for each other and act on them, for they are worthy of celebration in whatever way you wish.”  Petra and Aslan grinned at each other, Petra grabbing Aslan’s forepaw in both of hers and holding it tightly.

     “It’s said Eohippuses representative on earth could be any animal,”  Aslan mewed.

     “Yes they could, but if you get a white lioness, you have the other side of the tale,” Theo mewed.

       “I love my white lioness,” Aslan mewed.

     “That’s quite evident,” Theo said.  Bess padded in, the long hair on her paws swishing slightly as she walked.

      “What’s this I hear?”  She asked, “|Petra and Aslan are finally admitting their love for each other?  How wonderful!”  Aslan and Petra smiled with pleasure.

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