There was a herd of little gazelles playing and grazing out in the wild. At the same time, there was a roaring lion, roaming the wild seeking whom to devour. The mother of the little gazelles was a little distant from her calves when she saw the lion. She knew it had seen them when the lion crouched and focused intently on them –or may be on one of them, she couldn’t quite tell. She knew her babies were in trouble.
When the roaring lion began to charge towards them, the mother gazelle ran and stood in front of her calves while they ran, to safety, away from her. The loud intimidating sound and charge of the roaring lion coming towards mother gazelle was just too frightening. She shut her eyes tightly; her heart lost its beat, her skinny legs weakened and her brain shut down. She collapsed and fell to the ground helplessly, before the lion even got to her.
This was no fun for the roaring lion. Its mission had been to kill, destroy and steal away its prey back to its pride that evening. So it dragged the helpless mother gazelle that had slumped into a coma by now, and went back into its pride. The other lions and cubs in the pride got excited in quite a mean-spirited way when they saw the lion, as though it had brought back a toy for them to play with.
They mauled the mother gazelle and kicked her around playfully, before getting bored and setting her to the side and going about their normal businesses within the pride. Mother gazelle was in a coma for three days in the lions’ pride. During the three days, though she was unconscious, she could hear the daily conversations of the lions like it was in her dreams.
She learnt a lot from their conversations. She learnt all about their hunting strategies as the lionesses would return from the day’s hunting with their cubs and begin to correct them on all the hunting mistakes they had made out there; how they should attack their prey from behind, how they were to spot out the weakest prey in the herd, how they must chase when the prey tries to flee, and many other wiles, devises, and tactics that opened mother gazelles eyes as to what she had been doing wrong, all this while, to protect herself and her young from the enemy.
All these revelations made her feel like she finally had the keys to life and death, and she swore that if she left the pride alive, back to her herd, she would spread this news not only to her species, but also to other species out there so that they too can be safe.
On the third day, strength jolted back into her and, for the first time, her eyes opened. She looked around the pride and saw a few lions, only about three of them. The lionesses had all gone out hunting with their cubs and there were left only a few lions lying around lazily. She looked around without moving her body. Only her eyeballs darted from corner to corner, as she charted her escape route. When that was clear, she sprang up and began to run with intensity. She heard frightening roars from the lions, but they propelled her to run even faster, not looking back until she got back home to the other gazelles.
Back home, everyone was despondent. The little gazelles thought mother had died and it was even more saddening to think that she had died in their place, sacrificing her life for theirs. That’s why they were overwhelmed with shock, joy and awe to see her return. “But we all saw her fall and die”, they thought to themselves. She got closer and they felt her. They knew she was real. She narrated all that had happened to them. She also told them about all the devises of their enemy the lion, which she had heard discussed in her coma.
She taught them how to overcome the enemy; how not to trigger their predatory instinct, how not to look weak in their eyes, and even how to resist them so that they will flee.
She told the little gazelles to go ahead and spread this good news to all the other gazelles out there, starting with those closest to them like their friends. They did. Some gazelles doubted them though. They just could not believe that their mother had survived three days amongst the lions, in their pride, and came out alive. So, they didn’t listen to the strategies of how to stay alive. They made fun of the little gazelles. “Keys to life and death, my skinny legs!” they teased.
With time, the different herds of gazelles out there divided into two large herds only –those that believed and those that did not.
The gazelles that did not listen or believe continued in their old ways. They grazed out in the wild, doing everything wrong, from turning their backs to the lions, to even coming out into the wild when injured. Many of them were struck by the enemy and eaten. They perished because they rejected knowledge. Some of them, seeing this, turned and came to seek out the gazelles that were living according to the tactics and strategies. They were the ones who seemed to keep alive, like they had some sort of eternal life going on.
The believing gazelles happily shared the strategies with those ones that came back, and they believed and accepted the knowledge and started living according to the strategies. They stayed alive because they now knew how not to get eaten by the lions.
As time went on, other animals in the jungle noticed the group of gazelles that were staying alive and protected from their enemies, and they sought them out and learnt from them how to have this life. The tactics from mother gazelle spread throughout the jungle. Those that believed practiced her strategies and stayed alive, while those that didn’t, rejected her knowledge and were eaten up by the enemy.
She was disappointed to see that not all gazelles believed, though. Even other animals seemed to believe with more conviction than some of the gazelles. She had expected that those who knew her best and who could relate to her would be the first to listen to her, believe her and adopt her strategies. But that was not so. She was mostly rejected by her own and it broke her heart to see them lose their lives to the lions.
On a brighter side, what brought her joy was to see the eagerness of the other animals to embrace her tactics; from wildebeest, impala, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and wild hogs to even the rhinos and the hippos. And slowly but surely, those that believed were steadily outnumbering those that didn’t.
Photo Credit: Jacques Durocher | Dreamstime.com