Mini-but-Mighty Lion

The lion, tail twitching, silently stalked across the plush savanna. He’s spied a nut-brown orb hidden behind one of the dining room table legs and was approaching it with utmost stealth. His mind had turned it into a young warthog at a water hole and he was the ravenous beast of prey – though really he wasn’t all that hungry. Nevertheless, he was determined to capture and torture this hapless creature that dared to lie around so nonchalantly.

As he crept closer, the orb – actually a hazelnut dropped during the nut-cracking party two evenings ago – seemed to lie there helplessly awaiting its fate. The lion, tabby rather than tawny, reached out a paw and gave the creature a tentative tap with its paw. Did it have sharp fangs? Would it rear up and do battle? No. Not even a squeal. Rather, the hard-shelled thing lumbered under the table and hid in the shadows. Cowardly creature! Tearing it to shred was going to be piece of cake.

His strategy now was simple. With a flying leap his front paws landed on the creature. The blow would have crushed the spine of a true warthog, but this pee-wee brown thing was made of sterner stuff. It skittered away again, and the lion – mini but mighty – gave chase.

With a whack from his huge paw the creature rolled between two shoes. All the better! Here was a challenge. However, while he was wrestling the pee-wee mouse – for it was a baby mouse now – from between the running shoes, gnawing at the laces in his hunger and frustration – or just for fun – along came the Person of the house and ruined his adventure. As he rose into the air he saw his prey escape under the toe of one shoe.

The Person had scooped him up and was cuddling him. “You can’t tear my running shoes to shreds with your sharp little claws. Let’s see what else we can find for you.”

The lion, though he was ever so fierce, knew better than to wrestle with this tall tree of a Person, so he submitted to the indignity of being carried away to a chair and petted. As soon as he was released from captivity he leaped onto the savanna below, remembering his pee-wee mouse and those wiggling shoe laces. A moment later, however, a silvery ball began to move through the plush pile savanna.

Just as a gazelle grazing on the plains of Africa would catch the attention of his lion and tiger cousins, even so the glittering ball caught the mini lion’s attention. Back and forth his eyes flicked. Back and forth his fluffy tail lashed. His back rose in an arch as he slowly stalked the plump creature. When it suddenly made a dash to safety under a footstool, he gave pursuit. And when it darted out again, he was on it!

He’d come back and cuddle later. Right now he was the fierce hunter and there was tantalizing prey about.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: NUT-BROWN
Fandango’s FOWC: STRATEGY

The Hawk At Dawn

In the light of dawn his profile
 adorns the south route sign
 waiting for day to reveal
 the carnage of speed.
 Then he feasts,
 crisscrossing the highway
 sampling the hapless menu.

 Does he ever rise into the sky
 to dip in the currents heavens?
 Or has this young hawk bartered
 his soul for this putrid feast?
 Sold his soaring and searching,
 abandoning lofty rights
 for the easy dead and the dying?

 Like those human birds of prey
 flush with the takings of greed,
 those shadows that lurk in byways
 to prey on suffering souls.

Heather’s choice for the Ragtag Daily Prompt today: FLUSH
Fandango’s One-word Challenge: PUTRID

An Ungraceful Visitor

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is GRACEFUL

Which immediately makes me think of SWANS. Don’t they always look so graceful when they’re floating serenely in a stream?

Swans my webst

Other birds just don’t have the knack.
Duck down. Alexas Fotos

🙂

Which calls to mind an rather ungraceful visitor we had one morning some years ago.

Great horned owl.Pexels
Image: Pexels — Pixabay

On the wing, a great-horned owl can be a very graceful bird. I’ve read that the owl has a feather construction and placement that allows the predator to fly without a whisper of sound, swooping down with no warning on its prey.

Its efforts on the ground are another matter, rather ungainly, as we were to learn one day.

We’ve often heard a great-horned owl in the woods beside our yard and in the evenings we’d see one flying over the pasture behind our acreage. We’ve heard them and have seen le Grand Duc, (Grand Duke) as the French call it, many times in the tallest bare trees, surveying their domain or looking for some unsuspecting morsel of lunch. One evening we saw two owls in the treetops hooting back and forth to each other, discussing prospects.

One September we could hear a screech or squawk and decided that this noise was coming from a young owl. Then we went away on a five-day trip to visit friends in mid-September, and early on the first morning at home I let our long-haired black cat, Panda, go outside. A few minutes later I was hearing this funny loud peeping or squawk outside, so I glanced out the window and beheld a fascinating sight.

A great-horned owl chick was sitting in our driveway near the car shelter, staring toward the house with its big golden eyes and letting out a screechy sort of peep about once a minute. Fluffy and cute with its pointy “ear tufts,” this young owl looked almost white to me. Our huge black Panda, about the same size and shape, sat silently on our deck eyeing the owl with her big golden eyes.

Were they curious about this odd specimen in front of them? The way it was peeping, you could almost think the chick was lonely and thought Panda might be another owl for company. Or were they sizing each other up, wondering who should eat who? Perplexed as to what should be done about this strange white cat – or black bird, depending on whose viewpoint you took?

I decided not to take any chances, so I let Panda in and the owl soon got bored sitting there. It proceeded to make its way down the driveway and back again, snapping up grasshoppers as it went. Its “running” was quite amusing and anything but graceful — a kind of waddle-and-hop from side to side as well as forward.

For a couple of hours the owl chick stayed around our yard, entertaining us and eliminating some of the many grasshoppers we had that year. It did the rounds of our garden and lawn, flying up to roost on the clothesline post in between. We never did see it fly away, nor see it again. My husband guessed the chick had made itself to home in our yard while we were away; it must have decided not to come back when people were around.

I Witness A Mugging

Since my other domain is about to expire and I’m not sure what will happen when it doe or how my other blogs will be affected, I’ll re-post a few past stories. This was initially posted on March 25, 2012, the year I started blogging.

I Witnessed a Mugging Today…
…And Rescued the Victim With My Bare Hands!

One day fellow blogger Apronhead Lilly wrote about witnessing a murder: she saw a Cooper’s Hawk kill a blackbird in her back yard. I know that the cruelties of nature play out around me every day, but I’m so soft-hearted: I do sometimes intervene to prevent the slaughter of some helpless creature. The next day I had the chance to do just that.

I woke up from my afternoon doze in the recliner and found the living room quite warm, so I went out sat on the side deck — not a deck, exactly, but a corner platform where our steps come up to our side door. Because it was sunny and mild I left the door open in case one of the cats wanted to join me, and Angus did a few moments later. Then, bored with my inaction, he went to snoop under the stairs to our main entrance.

Suddenly he dashed into the house and I decided to get up and shut the door. Then I saw him inside — with something hanging from his mouth. He’d snagged a mouse? “Outside!” I insisted several times, but he just stood there looking at me.

Closer inspection revealed that what he had was a little junco. He had it by one shoulder, but it was still twitching. Likely he’d brought it in to play with and here I was, being such a wet blanket. I ordered him outside again, fearing he’d let the thing go and we’d have to chase it all over the trailer. When he didn’t budge, I picked him up and carried him out, thinking he’d let go of it any second, but he was still holding the bird when I dumped him on the deck.

Then I reached down and pried his mouth open. Unmugged, the bird flew away–showing no sign of injury. He dashed after it, but it settled in the caragana hedge and he never did catch it again. I tried to impress on him our “NO BIRDS” rule; I doubt it sank in. To him a bird is a toy and that’s that.

Anyway, now I could say that I prevented a murder today. 🙂

I wrote a story once about a little elephant that finds a child and sort of befriends it. Later he sees his child friend asleep and a huge snake is about to swallow the child, so the elephant intervenes: he stomps the snake flat.

“No, no, no!” said my writing school instructor. “You can never have your main character commit a murder!”

“But it’s a snake! All children know that being swallowed by a snake is bad.” No dice. I had to cut out all the violence. He could chase the snake away, but not stomp on it.

I figured a child reader would identify with the little elephant, but I hadn’t considered that a snake would be seen as an animal — and of equal value, too. In my books, a snake is a reptile. I suppose you couldn’t have the family cat, if it talked, catch a mouse and eat it, either. Life gets complex in the world of “correct” children’s literature. We never thought of all this back in the days of Sylvester and Tweetie Bird.