Netting a cub.


Samson looked at Aslan.

     “Let’s get you a coat too,” he mewed.  Aslan smiled at Samson.  Samson dragged another rug from the store and buckled it around Aslan, the smaller lion playing up to Theo by doing his best impersonation of a horse, to Petra and Theo’s delight.

      “You look so funny!”  Petra laughed.  Aslan kissed her on her nose.

      “Now we go fruit picking,” he mewed.  Samson grinned at the two younger lions.

       “Good luck,” Theo mewed.  Fleur padded up to Samson, hugged him, and decided she’d join the party.  Smiling at his sweetheart, Samson led the group out to the garden, the darkness well in now.  Their eyes adjusting to the darkness, the cats padded through the garden and into the wood.  Samson showed them bushes where they could pick blackberries.

      “Now gently take the berries off the bush with the toes of one paw, nip the berry off at the root, don’t crush it now,” he advised.  Even with this good counsil, all the cats had stained forepaws before five minutes passed.  Samson stood back and watched Petra, Aslan and Fleur as they raided the bushes, smiling to himself.  Taking a deep breath, he focused his senses on his surroundings, tuning into the wild.

       “Any news today?”  He asked himself, breathing steadily, his eyes and ears browsing through information like a human would the local newspaper.  Though what Samson was picking up was more akin to the internet, this being the home page of the website of the wild.

       “No news,” Samson thought, tuning out, but keeping alert.  Suddenly he heard something, a tiny sound, a cry, from somewhere off to his right.  Twitching his ears, he focused, opening his mouth and holding his breath so he didn’t confuse his senses.  Yes, there it was again, a tiny cry, desperate, pleading, as confused as he was clear headed.  Samson breathed softly, feeling a paw touch his.

      “Something the matter?”  Petra asked.

      “Something’s out there, frightened and alone,” Samson mewed, “come with me Petra.”  Samson padded through the wood, the white lioness in her warm rug following.  Indeed, Petra was thankful for the rug, for her paws were freezing, and she knew she’d be feeling a lot worse if the rug wasn’t there.  They found a bush, under which was a string bag with something inside it.  Petra could smell the scent of man on the bag, and she noticed Samson bristling with fear and anxiety.

      “They’re not too far off,” Samson mewed, referring to the men, “I think, think something disturbed them and they dumped the bag.  What are they doing with a string bag anyway?”  Petra looked round her, pricked her ears for danger, found none, then approached the bag, sniffing and testing the ground at every step.  Reaching the bag, she dragged it from beneath the bush, the tiny creature inside whimpering and struggling feebly, pressing its fat paws against the net, gripping with its toes and biting with tiny teeth at the net which was too thick for it to break free of.  Petra could only see a white form; she didn’t know what it was.  Samson, looking over her shoulder, gasped with astonishment.

       “’tis a white cub, a white lion cub Petra,” he mewed.  Petra sniffed at the bundle of fur, the cub mewing pitifully.

      “What is a white cub doing here in the middle of the night?”  Petra asked.

       “I can answer that one,” Hop along snarled, his anger and grief clear to hear.

     “What?”  Samson asked.

      “The men were carrying the bag through the wood,” the tiger replied, “It’s an illegal trade in lion cubs.  They get money for the cub; a white one is very expensive.”  Samson sniffed at the white cub in the net bag, his mood changing suddenly.

       Petra, he said, “we’ve got more here than meets the eye I think.  Could you try and get hold of one of the cub’s forepaws for me?”  Petra coaxed the cub to give Samson its paw, and the huge lion held the toes of the cub’s fat little paw in his huge one, closing his eyes and thinking hard.

       “The scent is familiar,” he mewed, “I know this cub’s parents, one of them at least.  History repeating itself, a lost white cub.”  Petra stared at Samson in the moonlight.

        “No, oh Sammy, please, tell me you’re not serious!”  She mewed.

      “I scared the men away,” Hop along mewed, “you thought they were nearby because they left their belongings in the bushes.  A rucksack and a water bottle, I’ve investigated the lot.  A mobile telephone in there, plus syringes of something.  Possibly sedative for their captive.  The cub is drugged, despite appearances.”  The tiny cub looked up into Samson’s face with glazed but terrified eyes.

       “I want my mum,” it cried.  Samson gulped hard, the truth of what he was feeling plain in his own eyes.

      “Elsa, the same Elsa!”  He snarled, “She was banished from here some time ago, and she had another white cub!  You have one lion here, a lion with wandering eyes, one that wants lioness’s but can’t stand cubs!  He made this cub!”  Petra turned her head away, recognising her own story.

       “Tommy!”  Hop along mewed, “so Elsa had the cub, weaned him, and threw him out, the humans caught him and then lost him when I intervened?”  The tiger asked Samson.

       “Yes, I think so, but we can’t be sure.  This cub’s only two months old, ripe for the pet trade. Only just weaned too, look at his teeth!”  Petra examined the cub, without touching him, the cub bearing his tiny teeth in an infantile snarl of fear and anger.

       “You poor thing,” Petra whispered, trying not to cry, “you poor, poor little cub.”  Samson let the cub’s paw drop, the tiny creature pressing his pads hard against the net in an attempt to break it.

      “You can’t escape little one,” Petra mewed, “save your strength.”  Bending low, she touched the cub’s nose with her own, the cub staring at her in wide eyed fear.

       “Simba, friend, no fight,” the cub whispered.

      “Not another Simba!”  Aslan yelled, arriving and catching the cub’s whispered words.”

      “He can’t help his name,” Petra mewed, “His mother named him Simba because she has no imagination, I should know!”

        “What?”  Aslan asked, “How should you know anything?”

      “This cub and I are related, I am his sister!”  Petra snapped.

      “Elsa,” Aslan breathed, “the bitch!  I knew she’d not be away for long!”

       “Who’s to say she’s anywhere near here,” Samson mewed, “her cub’s here, but she could be continents away now.  Where is Tommy?”


Tommy trip left the house soon after Leo’s death, not wanting to be present if the secret of his night time wanderings should come to roost.  Eohippus had told him that she would bring any white cubs to Petra for her to nurture, as some kind of reparation for what Eohippus had done to her feline assistant.


“I have a funny feeling about all this,” Petra mewed, “I have a feeling Eohippus has something to do with this.  The tiny cub stared at Petra, his eyes full of terror.

       “How are we going to free him?”  Aslan asked.

      “Let me have a go,”  Samson mewed, taking a portion of the net in his teeth and between his forepaws, the cub whimpering and cowering as far away as he could.  Samson tore and bit at the net, but couldn’t free the cub, the net being made of plastic mixed with wire.  Samson gave up after a while, cursing and spitting blood, for he’d cut his mouth and paw pads on the netting.

      “We’ll need some human help with this,” he panted, “that stuff’s too strong!”

       “Let me have a go,” Petra mewed.

      “You’ve got soft paws!”  Samson mewed, “you’ll be cut to ribbons Petra!  Use your paws, but don’t use your teeth!”  Petra laid her paws on the netting, accidentally touching the pads of one of the cub’s paws as she did so.  She felt his paw clamp round her toes, holding them tightly.

       “I know little one,” Petra mewed, bending down and kissing him through the netting, “Dear little cub,” Petra purred, the sound soothing the tiny white form.

       “You won’t be able to break the net,” the cub mewed, “that lion couldn’t, and he’s stronger than you.”

       “We’ll see,” Petra replied, sensing eohippus was helping her.  Samson, Simba the white cub and everyone else watched as Petra gripped the net between her forepaws and effortlessly tore it apart.  She gently freed the white cub, the tiny creature too far gone to fight her strong paws.

       “Come,” Petra mewed, “let’s get him inside.”  Fleur looked over at the white cub in Petra’s paws.

       “Tommy’s gone because he knew what would happen when Elsa had another white cub,” she mewed, “eohippus brought the cub to you Petra.”

      “I was beginning to think the same thing,” Petra purred, “for white cubs don’t turn up every day.  I hope Tommy was castrated after this!  He knows what his problem is!”

      “He’s a male lion, they do that kind of thing,” Aslan mewed.

       “Aslan,” Petra replied, “you know what problems a white lion can have!  This tiny cub might have my problems, and I don’t just mean the white fur!  We won’t have long until we find out.”  Petra carried the tiny cub in her mouth, Simba hanging limply.  Petra raced back to the house, Theo staring at her as she streaked past him, a white blur before his eyes.  Petra leapt up the stairs four at a time, her paws never missing a step, her stride never faltering.  Once she’d reached the cubbing den, she gently placed the tiny cub on the rug and curled up to keep him warm.  Kissing the cub’s nose, Petra took him in her paws, the cub snuggling tight against her.

       “I’m hungry,” the cub mewed.

      “I wonder if I still have the ability to produce milk for lost cubs.”  Petra asked herself, “please eohippus, don’t take that away from me now, this cub needs help!”  Petra looked down at her teats, and saw with relief that she’d got milk for the tiny cub.  The cub drank his fill, and when he was done, did something so alien to cubs that Petra knew he was one very special cub.  Having finished his drink, he wiped his mouth with his paw, something she’d done from very young.  Whether it was from a hatred of the feel of the milk clogging his whiskers, she didn’t know, but the action made her take a second look at the cub.  He, like her, was Leucistic, white fur, with black pads on his paws and a black nose.  His claws, when he extended them were black.  Petra embraced the cub tenderly.

      “Tell me little one,” she asked, “can you eat meat?”  The cub nodded.

     “Thank eohippus for that,” Petra thought.  Curling up to sleep, the cub buried his paws between Petra’s outdoor rug and her fur.  Petra forgetting until then she still wore the rug.  Now she remembered it, she realised she felt hot in it.

      “Before you go to sleep Simba, could you please help me get this rug off?”  Petra asked.  The cub found the clips and, under Petra’s guidance, undid them.  Petra rolled out of the rug, the cub touching the warm inner lining with his paw, then his nose.

     “This is warm,” he mewed.  Petra suddenly had an idea.  Remembering how cold she’d been as a cub, she lay on one end of the outdoor rug, now flat on the floor.  She then looked at Simba.

      “Take the other end of the rug in your teeth, and drag it over here,” she mewed.  Petra smiled as she watched the tiny white cub walking backwards, the rug falling in folds in front of his forepaws.  When the pads of his left hind paw touched those of her right fore, Petra told the cub to stop pulling the rug and lie down.  The cub curled up in his customary place between her forepaws.  Petra then grabbed hold of the portion of the rug the cub had been dragging, his scent filling her nostrils making her want to cry.  With a powerful jerk, Petra threw the rug over herself, encasing her fore and hind paws in the rug, white cub and all.  Petra then tucked the free end of the rug beneath her body, making the rug into a cocoon.  The under rug, with which the den was carpeted, would insulated them from the cold.  Petra found Simba had worked himself up so his nose touched hers.

       “Are you looking after me now?”  He asked.  Petra lifted one of his tiny forepaws in her huge left one and kissed his pads, the cub smiling.

       “I am,” she mewed with certainty, “I am.”  Simba snuggled into Petra’s hug, the lioness and her cub falling asleep soon after.


Meanwhile, Theo, having heard from Hop along and the rest of Samson’s group of the goings on in the wood, paced about, angry at Elsa, but overjoyed Petra had taken the newcomer into her care.

       “Tommy should be shot!”  He mewed, “he knows what his problems are.  Why does he do it time after time!  Before we know what’s hit us, we’ll have loads of white cubs turning up, we can’t have this, and neither can they!  It’s not fair!”

        Petra’s very happy by the way,” Fleur mewed, “I went up the slope and checked on her and the new cub Simba.  You can’t see either of them!  Petra’s encased her and the cub in a kind of cocoon made of her outdoor rug and the indoor rugs.  It’s probably nice and warm in there, and she’s keeping the cub warm, though what she’s doing to feed him I don’t know.”

      “Probably milk for the first night,” Theo purred, “then, if she finds he can eat meat, she’ll try him on that, though this could cause issues for her.”

      “She won’t be able to help him hunt for meat, let alone show him how to eat it,” Fleur mewed, very concerned.

       “Yes,” Theo replied, “well, there’s one good thing, Little Simba will be getting five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, that’s for sure.”  Samson laughed helplessly at this.

       “It wasn’t that good,” Theo protested.


Simba woke in the late evening feeling much better.  He remembered his capture by the humans, and a stinging pain in his shoulder, then nothing until he was woken by being dropped into a net sack.  Simba could still feel the netting against his paw pads, and the memory frightened him.  What he remembered most of all though was the white lioness that broke the net and took him in her paws.  His mother had said something to him in anger about a white cub she’d had once, a cub that she’d hated and wanted dead, just like she now hated him and wanted him dead.  This was before she’d shovelled him out of the den and run off with his sandy coloured brother.  Simba looked into the face of his rescuer, she looked like a cub to him, but she clearly wasn’t a cub, not with the strength she had, her face was cub like however.  But, when he looked down at her paws, they weren’t cub’s paws; they were large, fat, as well as very very warm and comforting.  This lioness knew how to give comfort.  For Simba knew that without a word, she’d soothed him.  He reached up and lovingly touched the lioness’s whiskers with his paw.  She shifted slightly, rubbing back against his paw pads, her paws round him tightening their hug.  Simba sighed contentedly.

       “I love you,” he whispered to the lioness.  Petra woke shortly after, feeling Simba’s contemplation of his situation.

       “You are safe here now,” she said to the cub.  Simba looked into her eyes.

     “What’s your name?”  He asked.

      Petra,” Petra replied.

      Petra,” Simba mewed half to himself looking thoughtful, “Petra, Petra…”

      “That’s my name, don’t wear it out,” Petra mewed.

       “I, I think, think I know that name,”  Simba replied, “for it was that name my mother used when describing a cub she’d had who looked like me.  She didn’t like that cub, nor did she like me.  She said I was as bad as that cub, but, but you aren’t bad!”  Petra hugged Simba close.  The cub, now even more distressed, began to wail, you are lovely, and warm, and comforting, and I love you!”  Simba buried his face in Petra’s fur and burst into tears.

      “Hey Simba dear, hush sweet cub, hush my dear.”

       “I can’t be your cub!  I want to be, but I can’t be!”  Simba sobbed, “You’re my sister, and I so wanted to be someone’s cub!”  Petra hugged the white male lion cub with all her might and conviction, trying to impart to him what she felt.

        “You are my cub, you are my cub Simba.  If you want to be my cub, you can be.  I don’t mind if you want to call me mum, for I’ll love you all the same whatever you call me.  I know what it’s like Simba; I know how it is for you my dear.”

        You can’t know!”  Simba cried.

     “Simba, I know!  Trust me little cub, I know!”  Petra said, raising her voice to the cub, something he obviously hated.  Almost crying herself now, Petra regretted raising her voice when she saw the look on Simba’s face.

       “I didn’t mean to upset you,” the cub mewed, touching her nose with his, “I’m sorry!”

      “One day you’ll learn my tale Simba,” Petra sniffed, “I don’t mean to inflict it on you, but you must listen to me!  I know what you are going through!”

        “Okay,” the cub mewed, feeling stupid now.

        “Let me hug you mum,” Simba said naturally, as if to his own mother.  Petra let the cub embrace her, feeling his love for her in the touch of his pads on her fur.

       “I’m sorry for raising my voice to you Simba,” Petra mewed.  The cub buried his face in her shoulder, breathing in her scent.  It was sweet like coconut oil.

      “Now isn’t that sweet,” someone said.  Simba screamed with terror!

      “Go away Orsa!”  Petra snarled.

        “We’ve met, haven’t we Simba,” Orsa snarled, “the little cub was in his net and I found him before any of you.  We had a little game didn’t we Simba?”

       “What game?”  Petra growled, “Simba was out of it pretty much when we saw him, so if you got to him before we did, he must have been almost unconscious!  Another thing, why didn’t you tell anyone!”

       “I ran away when the men came back, before Hop along sent them packing and Samson found Simba.  You two were so engrossed in Simba you didn’t see me, or hear Hop along roaring at the men.  As for the game, well, me and a few mates came across this white scrap in his bag…”

     A few mates?”  Petra asked, “Whom do you mean by “a few mates?”

       “Capybara,” Orsa replied, “great fun they are.  Well, me and the two capybara had some fun with Simba.”  Simba began to cry.

      “Fun?”  He sobbed, “That wasn’t fun!  You, you, you kicked me, slapped me, beat me up with your paws!  I couldn’t do anything to stop them!”  Petra heard the pain in Simba’s voice and looked into his tear filled eyes.  The cub was telling the truth, and why should he lie?

       “You disgust me!”  |Petra roared at Orsa, the female polar bear cringing at the lioness’s tone, “You will pay for this!”  Petra leapt upon Orsa, pinning her to the floor.

       “You touch a hair on my cub’s head ever again, I’ll murder you!”  Petra snarled.

      “What’s this?”  Allie asked, coming fast into the room, “What’s going on!”  Simba gave her a hurried but accurate description of everything in about five seconds flat.  Allie listened, caught his drift, and rounded on her cub.

       “How dare you beat up a defenceless cub!”  The female polar bear yelled.

      “It was fun, real fun!”  Orsa replied, “You should have heard him squeal.  He knew we were beating him up, but he could do nothing, that bag was a real help to us.  We rolled him about a bit, picked him up, threw him about, and then booted him back under the bush when the men came.  They didn’t see us, but they saw their plaything.  They stuck another of the pointed things into the cub and he went quiet once more, then they left, just before you turned up.  The stuff they put into the cub only subdued him, it didn’t knock him out, everything better for us.”

       You blood thirsty little bag of fur!”  Allie yelled, “How could you kick and throw around a defenceless cub!”

     “Lions can take it; he’s a tough little scrap!”  Orsa yelled.  Simba meanwhile, cried into Petra’s fur, the lioness cradling her weeping cub, her eyes murderous.

      “It was probably a blessing Simba was so out of it, or he might have been killed!”  She roared.

       “I will take Orsa away,” Allie replied, “you will hear no more from her!”


Theo padded in then.  He looked shocked.

       “Samson, he, he, he killed both Capybara!”  Theo gasped, “Petra, I saw him, I saw him do it!  He strode up to them in the garden, knocked them down and broke their necks!  He, he then ate one of them!  What kind of lion is he?  Apart from wild that is.  Was there something he had against these two?  You know him best of all, so I’m coming to you for help!”  Petra smiled, for she was hiding Simba’s body with her own and part of the thick blanket.

      “Samson’s definitely got a problem with those Capybara,” she mewed, “for them, along with Orsa, beat up a cub, a defenceless white lion cub.”

       “A white lion cub?”  Theo asked, “I know you’re looking a bit younger than you were, but you don’t look in the least beaten up,” Theo replied, “anyway, you could have kicked their backsides!”

      “Not me, not me,” Petra mewed, “that is, they weren’t attacking me.  Yes I could kick their backsides, but it wasn’t me they were attacking.  It was a tiny white male lion cub.”

      “Noone tells me anything these days,” Theo mewed, “what white lion cub?”

     “The same one Hop along and his team told you of,” Petra mewed, “the capybara and Orsa got to him before we did, kicking him about like a football!”  Petra drew back and Theo looked down at Simba, the first time he’d seen the tiny white lion cub.

       “You n’alf moved last night,” he remarked to Petra, you can really run!”  Petra smiled.

       “I wanted to get him to somewhere safe, out there wasn’t safe,” she mewed.  Theo touched noses with Simba.

      “You’ll be fine here Simba my friend,” he purred.


Meanwhile, in the garden, Samson cleared up the mess from his and Fleur’s meal of capybara.  Theo had run off before Fleur had begun eating her fill.  Now both were satisfied, Fleur not in the least phased she and her mate had just eaten the community’s capybara population.  Samson looked at his mate.

      “That tasted so good!”  Samson mewed.  Fleur smiled:

     “They did,” Fleur mewed.  Theo listened at the back door, unable to believe his ears.

       “You, you ate the capybara too Fleur?”  He asked.

      “I did,” Fleur mewed, “and I liked it too.”  Theo covered his face with his paw.

       “I thought you couldn’t stand killing!”  Theo mewed.

      “I kill for food,” Fleur mewed.

      “You don’t care for the capybara then?”  Theo asked.

      “Caring for Capybara?  No!”  Fleur mewed, “if they don’t care for us, why should I care for them?  They are good eating,” she turned to Samson, “aren’t they my dear,” she said, Samson smiling at her.

       Petra’s got the cub in the den,” Theo mewed, “she’s crazy about him.”  Fleur smiled.

      “Nice,” she purred.  Samson looked at Theo.

      “Did you get hold of that bloody polar bear cub?”  He asked.  Theo grimaced.

      “Orsa did things to Simba, things that, that, I can hardly put into words.  Kicking him about like a football.  He was drugged Samson!  Worse than when you saw him!”  Theo began to cry, despite trying not to.

       “Orsa called it a game,” Theo sobbed, “she said it was fun to kick the cub around!  I want her to suffer!  I don’t care Samson, I want her to suffer!  I know I shouldn’t advocate violence, but do what you have to, make Orsa see sense, for we’ve become too soft here!  So soft that the cubs think they can do anything and get away with it!”  Samson had a vision of a polar bear cub kicking at and teasing Simba in his net prison, and it made him angry!

       “I will do the necessary,” he mewed.  Stamping away, he jerked his head at Fleur.

      “Come with me,” he said, “I might need someone to comfort little Simba while me and his foster mum rip Orsa to shreds!”  Fleur padded after her mate, Theo lowering his head in despair.


Meanwhile, up in Snowy’s control room, snowy and Tigger listened to the goings on, having seen most of it from their technological powerhouse.  Snowy had even installed infrared cameras in the wood, and managed to catch everything on camera.  She wasn’t looking forward to showing the footage to Samson.  The lion, wild though he was, was also tender hearted, and she knew her film would have him weeping bitterly.

        “Poor Simba,” Tigger mewed, “that poor cub has gone through so much.”  Snowy took his paw and squeezed it.

        Petra will look after him,” she purred.  Tigger wiped his eyes, he’d been crying after listening to the video with snowy describing each scene to him.  Snowy’s description coupled with the sound, made Tigger angry.  Now he was waiting for Samson to lose it totally.


Back in Allie and Sam’s den, Orsa lay trembling as Samson looked down at her.

       “You deserve to die!”  Samson roared, “I know you will grow to be larger than me, but now, now you are a cub!  I am not willing to allow you to grow up if you are going to grow up a spiteful cub!  You might have come into the world being massaged from nose to tail, but you will go out in shreds!  I do not want to do this, but Simba is my cub, is my brother, and is my responsibility!  I will not turn from that Orsa!  Because of this, I want retribution for what you did.  You will give me my due!  I will have my pound of flesh!  You do not know the wild, blood for blood, honour among animals is paramount.  If one of our number is injured by someone else, we stand together and fight!  Fight!  Fight!  I will not allow you to kick a defenceless cub like a football and get away with it!  Do you realise how much trouble you are in?”  Orsa, dry mouthed, shook her head.

        Petra wants you dead!”  Samson mewed, “she wants to kill you!”  Orsa began to sniffle.

      “What happened to the capybara,” she asked.

      “Their energy was transferred to Samson and Fleur in the most economical way possible.”  Kalahari replied, passing through to grab another book from the boss’s library.

      “Um, what was he saying?”  Allie asked.

       “Fleur and I ate the capybara,” Samson mewed.  Allie looked shocked!

       “You didn’t!”  She exclaimed, “what, what did Theo have to say about this?”

       “He could do nothing,” Fleur mewed “though he did ask that we made sure Orsa got punished.  I was sent to look after Simba while Samson and Petra did the necessary.”  Allie looked at Orsa.

      “Good luck to you my cub,” she whispered, knowing what was about to happen was out of her paws.  Orsa had trodden on pride ground with her clumsy paws, and would be made to pay for it.


Samson shepherded Orsa from the room, her paws damp with sweat.  Allie closed her eyes to stop herself from collapsing.

      “This is it!”  She thought, “My cub is going to die!”


Petra lay with Simba cradled in her paws, the cub trembling with fear.  Petra knew he could feel her tension, and when she looked into his eyes, she saw naked terror.

      “Dear sweet Simba cub,” Petra purred, “please don’t worry.”  Simba clung to Petra with desperate paws.

       “Those polar bears are big!”  He mewed, “the cub that kicked me about was big, so what’s her mother like?”  Petra kissed Simba’s nose, just as Samson came in with Fleur and Orsa.  Samson drove Orsa in front of him right past Simba, who watched the polar bear cub thrown to the floor.

       “You kicked this cub for no other reason than you thought it would be fun,” Samson said to Orsa, “you and your buddies, who are now dead, found Simba tied up and drugged by humans.  You kicked him and threw him around like a plaything!  Is this right Simba?”  Simba, peeping out at the scene from between the toes of Petra’s huge left forepaw which covered his face, his own paws holding hers there with desperate strength, mewed that Samson was right.

       Petra felt her paw pads becoming wet as Simba, who’d dragged her paws over his face to shield the view, cried inconsolably.

      “I think Simba isn’t ready to see this,” Petra mewed, sounding calmer than she felt.

      “But it is pride custom that cubs see justice done to perpetrators of crimes against them,” Samson mewed, “Simba needs to see justice done to Orsa!  You can’t deny him that!”

      “I’m not denying him justice,” Petra mewed, “I’m just asking that he is allowed to leave, so he doesn’t have to see it done.”

       “Who will carry out my sentence?”  Orsa asked, “Petra, Samson or Fleur?”

      “Who is it to be?”  Samson asked Petra.  The lioness looked into Samson’s face.

      “Okay, so be it, it is set.”  Samson mewed.  Simba’s paws tightened on Petra’s.

       “You’ll be killed mum!”  He sobbed, choking on his tears.  Coughing, he fought for breath, his paws still clamping Petra’s paws over his face, so he could hardly breathe.  Petra forcibly removed her paws until Simba had recovered, but then, the cub buried his face in her fur, turning away from the group.

      “Polar bear mothers are dangerous!”  He sobbed, his breath catching in his throat, “you’ll be killed mum!”  Petra knew her cub had guessed everything.  He knew it was Petra who was to carry out the sentence.

     “Don’t do it mum, don’t touch that cub!”  Simba pleaded, “Her mother will come and kill you!  I don’t want to lose you!”  Petra lowered her head so her mouth was next to her cub’s left ear.

       “I’ll be careful,” she whispered, “I promise.  When we talked this over earlier, you wanted to see everything; don’t you want to see what happens now?”  Simba, now the crunch was about to happen, didn’t want to see anything.  His paws soaked with sweat, he clung to Petra with desperate, heart felt urgency.

       “I beg you to leave it for now!”  Simba pleaded.

      “I cannot,” Petra replied, “Simba, dear, cub; tell me, do you trust me?”  Simba gulped hard, and then coughed as saliva went down his windpipe. His Eyes watering, Petra patted him on his back, soothing him until his breathing became easier.

     “I trust you mum,”  Simba said hoarsely, “and if it was any other animal apart from a polar bear I wouldn’t ask you to stop, but it’s a polar bear, they’re huge, and don’t understand the pride like we do.  What’s the point in punishing a cub who doesn’t understand why she’s being punished?  A polar bear isn’t going to understand our ways, as we don’t understand theirs.”

       “Keep talking Simba, you’re getting me off the hook!”  Orsa thought.

       “We must do what’s right for the lions,” Petra mewed, “Orsa had time to study the lion way of life.  There are enough of us around.  Now she has violated our laws, both of the community and of the pride.  For this she must be punished.”  Simba suddenly ran from Petra’s side, screaming and crying.  Fleur caught the galloping cub, rolling over with him and then hustling him out the door!

      “Poor Simba,” Petra mewed.  She looked up at Samson, and realised she couldn’t punish Orsa.  Petra looked down at her paws, realising her cub was right.

     “We can’t punish her Samson,” Petra mewed, “for Simba’s right, Orsa doesn’t understand our way of life.  Maybe education would be the best policy to adopt.”

      “But, but, she needs punishment!”  Samson yelled.  Petra looked into Orsa’s face, and saw something else, the face of a white mare.

      “Orsa doesn’t care for your ways Petra,” eohippus said, “Simba was right, and his method would have worked, if Orsa was misguided.  She is not, she doesn’t care for your cub, and she showed that when she found him, for she knew what he was.  She’s not stupid, she’s deliberately ignorant.”

       “I must do something!”  Petra thought.

      “You must do something yes, threaten her, claw her, but don’t kill her.  Get your lioness anger out; imagine your cub being kicked about by a polar bear cub.  I know you want desperately to take Simba’s course, and it would be the right thing to do, that is if Orsa wanted to learn, which she doesn’t.  Warn her off Petra, warn her off!  Do you want me to show you what Simba felt during Orsa’s attack on him?  I can do so.”  Petra nodded.  In the next few minutes Petra saw and felt everything Simba had.  The images were blurry from drugs, but the pain was real, kicks from hard polar bear paws rained in upon Simba, and by extension Petra.  Kicks to his and her shoulders, belly and paw pads.  Petra felt the net constricting her own paws as if they were Simba’s.  When Simba and she no longer reacted with sobbing and pleading lying still in their own net prisons, the capybara, which’d stayed on the sidelines giving Orsa vocal encouragement, came forward and began poking at, kicking and spitting on Petra and the exhausted male lion cub. Petra wept as she felt Simba’s incomprehension and fear.  It was this, more than anything else which upset her.

     “That’s enough Eohippus!”  Petra whimpered, “I know what I must do now!”  Petra’s vision cleared, and Orsa’s face reappeared.  Petra hated that face, that leering laughing face, that face which taunted and mocked while the capybara taunted from the side lines, too scared to join in, until the cub was exhausted.  Then they kicked him.  Orsa had even kicked the weakened and half conscious cub.  Petra felt Simba’s pain become her own pain, his fear hers.  Petra’s eyes burned into Orsa’s.

       “Simba might have spoken wise words,” but I have been shown another way, the way of the wild!”  Petra roared, her fur standing on end!  “You will pay for hurting my cub!”  Samson felt his toes curl with anxiety as he watched Petra.


A white blur suddenly shot through the door and stuck its claws into Orsa’s nose!

       “You hurt my mum!”  Simba yelled, “I will kill you for what you have done!”  Orsa tried to fight the angry cub off, but he was angrier than she had ever seen anyone before!  Simba’s claws raked down her face, Orsa’s blood streaming onto the carpet!

      “If you had kept your paws to yourself, Eohippus wouldn’t have had to show mum what you did to me!  Now you’ve done it to her as well!  I’m not letting you hurt us both!”  Samson stared in incomprehension!

      “What the hell is he doing!”  He asked Petra, who dug her claws into the rug on which she sat.

      “I don’t know!”  She mewed, maybe he saw something!”

       “You will die Orsa!”  Simba yelled.  Simba’s fire suddenly died, and he left off clawing at Orsa, crawling away like a cub.  Orsa wanted to finish the cub off, but even though her injuries were slight, she found she couldn’t bring herself to do it.  Crying, Orsa covered her bleeding face with her paws, her tears stinging the deep scratches inflicted by the claws of a tiny lion cub.

      “I think Orsa’s punishment is at an end,” Samson concluded.  Simba had by this time crawled back to Petra and tugged at her paw until she lay down, then he’d snuggled up to her.

       “I saw you going through the same thing I went through,”  the tiny white cub said, “and I couldn’t bear the thought Orsa had done it to you as well as me.”

      “I asked to be shown it,” Petra mewed, “so I could stoke up my anger to punish Orsa.  But in the end, you did it little Simba.  You punished her.”

      “For me, and for you,” the cub replied, “I saw you twisting, rolling and struggling, mewing for mercy, pleading for your life!  I suppose I did that too.  I know I did, for I know who brought me to you.  The white mare still loves you Petra, if she didn’t, she wouldn’t have brought me to you.  I suppose eohippus wanted me to prove my loyalty to you too.  She knew your loyalty to me was absolute, but she had to make sure of mine to you.  Once I saw from a bystander’s viewpoint what Orsa had done to me, and then to you, I resolved to get revenge for me and for you, but mostly for you.”  You looked terrified mum!  Like you were a little cub, just like me!”  Simba sobbed.

      “I felt, saw, heard, and experienced everything you did, from the drugged feelings, to the feel of the net bag around, beneath my paws and between my toes.  I can still feel it now!  Simba, I am a cub, not little, but in other ways just like you are.”  Not understanding Petra’s last statement but wanting to comfort her all the same, Simba took Petra’s left forepaw in his and began to massage it.  He felt and caught the scent of the sweat of fear on her pads, and it reminded him of lying in the net, smelling his own fear on damp paw pads.

     “We are one, you and I,” he mewed.  Petra hugged him with her free forepaw, crying into his fur.


Orsa scrambled to her paws, padding from the room.  Samson watched her go, growling deep in his throat.


Simba patted his mum’s paw, then gently extricated himself from her huge embrace, turned to her and took her paw.

      “We fixed Orsa!”  The cub mewed, jumping up and down while still holding Petra’s paw in his.  Smiling tearfully, the white lioness looked down at her paw, the white cubs paw gripping her toes with tremendous strength.

       “Please stop leaping about Simba,” Petra pleaded, “you’re making me feel sick!”  Simba sat down suddenly, pressing his paws into the carpet.

       “Look, my paws are stuck to the carpet!  I can’t leap now!”  The cub whimpered.  he pretended to struggle to free his hind paws, wriggling and rocking,, Petra laughing and gently trying to pick up one of the cub’s forepaws, Simba putting his weight on the paw as if it was glued to the carpet.  Petra made a face of huge concentration and effort as if she was struggling to lift Simba’s paw.  Simba screwed up his face in concentration, mewing and gasping with supposed effort.  Petra gently held the cub’s paw, now slightly raised from the carpet.

       “My paw’s free from the carpet, but now we’re stuck!”  Simba whimpered theatrically.

      “I think we’re bonded in more ways than one.  My paws stuck to yours!”  Petra mewed.  Simba tugged harder, Petra gently holding the toes of his paw in hers, knowing he would be able to free himself at any time and that the fight to free his paw was all a huge game.  Petra, totally entering into the spirit of the thing, encouraged Simba to try harder to free his paw. 

     “Go on ~Simba, you can do it, just a bit more, pull harder dear cub, you can free that paw!”  Petra yelled. Now he had encouragement from his mum, Simba really went to town!  Digging and curling his toes hard into the pile of the carpet, Simba closed his eyes, set his teeth and, snarling with anger, tugged violently at his trapped forepaw in a desperate attempt to free himself!  Samson looked concerned:

      “If his paw is trapped in yours, then we need help!”  He exclaimed.  Petra, as caught up in the game as her cub, yelled to him to make one last effort!

      “Go on Simba, you can do it!”  His mum’s words made Simba redouble his efforts. Squirming and wriggling in an effort to free his hind paws which had also mysteriously become trapped, spitting and snarling with anger, as well as worrying at his trapped forepaw, Simba amerced himself in his fight for freedom.  Now really worried, Samson saw the cub’s whole being was focused on freeing his paws!  This was too real for the huge lion!  Samson wanted to run for help, but was glued to the goings on as firmly as Simba’s hind paws were seemingly stuck to the carpet, or his forepaw was stuck to his mum’s paw.  Petra waited until she thought Simba was imagining making his greatest effort to free his paws, then let go of his forepaw.  Simba tumbled backwards ending up on his back with all four paws in the air!  The cub, slightly confused, looked up at Petra and Samson in bewilderment.

      “What happened there?”  He asked.

      “Your game was becoming rather real to you I think,” Petra mewed.

      “But I wasn’t trapped!  I knew I could free my paw mum.  You had no real hold on my paw at all!  Well not really, maybe just a little.  But not enough to trap my paw.  How did I end up on my back?”

      “When I encouraged you to pull harder, you went to town with acting trapped,” Petra mewed, “you ended up trying really hard to free yourself, leaning back hard, pushing hard with your hind paws to give yourself leverage.  When I let go of your forepaw, you fell over backwards!”  Simba got to his paws, shook himself and hugged Petra.

      “That was wonderful!”  He mewed, “a really great game!  Can we play again?  Maybe you try freeing your paw this time?”  Petra grinned at her cub and kissed his nose.

       “I like those games,” she mewed, “they’re really fun!”  Simba giggled cubbishly and took his mum’s paw, stroking it tenderly.


“I don’t understand this,” Samson said, “why pretend your paw is trapped?”

       “My paw wasn’t really trapped,” Simba mewed, “I was pretending, we both were, mum holding my paw, and me trying to free it.  Well, my part got a bit serious at the end I suppose, but that’s good in a way.”

       “Why do this?”  Samson asked, “Its strange behaviour.”

      “Sammy dear,” Petra asked, “Are you serious?  You look it.”

      “My question is deadly serious yes,” Samson replied, “why pretend to have a trapped paw when you don’t have a trapped paw at all?”

       “It’s called play,” Simba said, “We do it for fun, because we like playing those games.”

       “Okay,” Samson replied.  Petra got up, padded over to Samson and sat down in front of him.

      “Sit down Sammy, don’t lie there,” she mewed.  Samson sat down, the toes of his and Petra’s forepaws touching.

      “Now,” Petra mewed, gently take my left forepaw in yours and hold it lightly.”  Samson took her left forepaw in his right and did as she asked, looking very confused.

      “Now I will do what Simba did, try to free my paw,” the lioness said, Samson staring dumbly down at the lioness’s white paw held in his.  Petra worried at her paw, Samson dropping it instantly.

      “No no no!”  Simba protested, jumping up and down, “you don’t play like that Sammy, hold mum’s paw firmly.  She’ll let you know if she’s fed up.”  Samson picked up Petra’s paw and held it tighter.  It was obvious to Petra Samson didn’t have any imagination, or if he did, he didn’t know how to use it. For whenever Petra tugged at her paw, or even looked as if she was going to try and free herself, Samson let go.

      “I can’t,” he mewed, “I can’t do it; I’ve never played like this before, well, ever actually.  This is so strange to me!  So let me get this straight, I hold your paw, lightly, of course, and then you imagine you have a trapped paw and struggle to free it.  While I sit, still holding your paw?”

      “Yes,” Petra mewed.

      “What do I do in all this?”  He asked, “apart from holding your paw in mine that is.”

      “You encourage mum to try and free herself,” Simba mewed, “like she did for me!  Of course, you have to look at the other player, to see what they are doing, but then you react in whichever way you feel, be it encouraging them to pull harder to free their paw, or you tugging at yours, then you’re both in the game.  Of course, you have to let go at some time, but the trick is to know when to let go, so each player has a really good game.  Petra watched me, and knew when I was trying my hardest to free my paw, when I was caught up in my game, and she released my paw!  It’s all imagination; it’s all so much fun!”

      “It’s all right for you two,” Samson growled, totally out of his depth, “you can imagine those things!  For all I know, you can turn a bit of rubber tube into a raft, well I can’t!  I don’t know how!”

       “Hey Sammy, it’s all right,” Petra mewed, seeing the huge lion was getting upset.

     “No it’s not, it’s not at all!”  Samson whimpered, shuffling his forepaws in misery, “I saw real love between you and Simba during that game.  You two loved each other’s company, each playing with the other.  You knew what he was thinking by watching him!”

     “It was more what his paw was telling me,” Petra mewed, “but yes, I do know what you mean.  You don’t need to see the player to know, when you’re a pro at this kind of thing.”

       “I never knew how to play,” Samson mewed miserably, “my life was all training, all survival, and no hint of taking time out to pretend play.  I don’t think I will ever be truly a part of things here Petra, I don’t know paw massage, I can’t pretend play, I don’t even like anyone touching my paws if the truth be told.  I put up with it in the bathroom, because that’s what they do, but I don’t like it.  It’s not that I don’t want to like it; it’s that I don’t know how!  I’ve never been able to take time to think about pretend play, or explore the potential uses for my paws or anything like that!  I want to know, I want to play, but I’m unable to, and it frustrates me beyond words!”  Petra embraced the huge lion, who was almost crying.

      “If you want to know about play, we’ll teach you Sammy,” Petra mewed.  Simba crawled up alongside his mother and, with her supporting his forepaws, stood on his hind paws and touched the lion’s nose with his.

       “We will teach you Sammy,” Simba mewed.  Samson looked into Simba’s eyes, seeing in them the same light he saw in Petra’s.  They were too cubs together, one with years of experience behind her to teach the other.

       “I want that, I want to have that light in my eyes!”  Samson whispered.

       “What’s Samson on about mum?”  Simba asked.

       “I think he wants to be a cub again,” she mewed, “well, we’ll show him how, how about that Simba?”  Simba grinned.  He patted Samson’s paw, and the lion lay down, Petra releasing her cub onto all fours.  Simba crawled to Samson’s side, and clambered onto the lion’s back like he was climbing a ladder, Samson’s eyes filling with tears when he felt the tiny cub’s toes gripping his fur as he climbed.  Reaching safety on Samson’s back, Simba crawled forward to where the lion’s long mane lay across his neck and back.  Taking a large chunk in his forepaws, Simba sat down comfortably on Samson’s back, remembering to sheathe his claws.  Petra laughed as she watched her cub, for he looked like he was about to ride Samson in the Grand National!

      “Walk on dobbin!”  Simba commanded.  Samson’s reply was to grab Petra, bury his face in her fur, and burst into tears.  Simba let Samson cry, then, when he’d recovered, the huge lion got to his feet, Simba still on his back, and padded from the cubbing den.  Padding down the slope up which he’d come as an uninvited guest all that time ago, Samson realised Simba and Petra loved him with everything they had.

       “If only we had more cubs,” Petra mewed, “we could have races between the cubs, us adult lions, larger bears and tigers carrying them on our backs.”  Samson attempted to snort and whinny like a horse, to Simbas huge delight.

      “That’s really good!”  Simba mewed.  Petra kissed Samson on his nose.

      “Who said they couldn’t play?”  She asked.  Samson smiled at his friend.

        “That was easier than I thought,” he mewed, Simba still giggling to himself over Samson’s attempt at whinnying like a horse.

      “Simba loved it when you pretended to be a horse,” Petra mewed.

     “Let’s hope I don’t fall at the first fence,” Samson replied smiling.  Petra laughed merrily.  As they reached the living room, Petra took Samson’s paw in hers and squeezed it tenderly.

       “We’re going to make a good team you, Simba and I,” she mewed.  Simba smiled and patted Samson’s back with his paws.

      “We’ll make a great team!”  The cub mewed, Samson fighting back his urge to weep for joy.

      “Yeah we will,” Samson sniffed, wiping his eyes with his paw.  Simba grinned, got carefully to his paws, trotted to Samson’s tail and slid down it to the carpet!  Snorting with surprise, Samson flicked his tail, the black tasselled tip whacking Simba round the head as the cub leapt for safety from Samson’s hind paws in case he got kicked.  Simba sprawled on the carpet, doing a great act of being knocked senseless by Samson’s tail, while Samson looked at the cub in horror!

       “Oh no!  ” he mewed, “I knocked Simba out with my tail!”  Throwing himself on the carpet intent on gathering Simba to him to see if he’d done any permanent harm to the white cub.  Simba watched Samson through half closed eyes, still apparently injured, and when he saw the lion’s left forepaw come within his range, the cub grabbed it with one forepaw, tickling his pads and toes with the other!  Samson roared with laughter, and before he knew it, Petra was tickling his hind paws while he laughed helplessly.

     “We’ve got you right where we want you,” Simba said smiling.  Samson, panting for breath after five minutes of the fiercest double tickling session his paws had ever known, smiled at the cub.

      “I’d rather be nowhere else in the world than right here,” he mewed.


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