The documentary on TV showed the life and death
of lions in wildest, uncivilized Africa, where brutality
pervades and mercy goes unpracticed. From first breath
a lion cub is nurtured, protected from harm. The duality

of a lioness -- savage killer, gentle, loving mother –
illustrates how even a ruthless beast attends her baby.
An adolescent male, once he has left the pride, is another
matter. A young male with leg ripped open, maybe

from battles fought, approaches his mother but receives
no loving welcome. Ears laid back, teeth bared, she
delivers a forceful blow with her paw to his head. No reprieves
from his fate will mother now provide. Lame, defenseless, the

approaching night will bring his death from a pack of hyenas.
His mother, impervious to his plight, abandons him without
remorse. By Nature’s rules, she owes no further mothering… Meaner
still was the report on the local news that night, without any doubt.

Police, investigating possible child abuse, rescued a girl
of age three from her mother and two male friends. The child,
dehydrated, starved, her tiny body broken and scarred, lived in a world
of pain and neglect. She annoyed the two men, who with a cruel smile,

bragged that she was an unruly brat who needed their discipline.
The mother, in a daze of drugs and sex, had abandoned her daughter
to her fate. The child died -- the mother placing all blame on the men.
Inside she knows she gave her baby to two human hyenas to slaughter.

Recalling the lioness, I thought I knew what her thoughts would be.
“Cold-hearted killer I may be, but I have the decency to protect my baby.”

Harry Edward Gilleland      09.29.02    printer friendly