Short Stories » The Gnat and the Lion
The Gnat and the Lion
This is a short story about the Gnat and the Lion from Africa. Africa is known for its variety of animals and dense forests. Its climates are severe and its summers’ are extremely hot.
At the end of a hot summer day in Africa, the animals were getting ready to settle for the night.
On a tiny blade of grass, a Gnat was making his hammock for the night. Gnats, like mosquitoes, need the blood of warm blooded animals to survive.
It was a warm night even for the Gnat, and he decided to go to sleep. No sooner he closed his eyes, he was fast asleep. The night soon became darker and a bit cooler. It was interrupted suddenly by a loud ROARRR…somewhere in the depths of the forest.
All the animals woke up startled including the little Gnat. He rubbed his eyes with his feelers and peered out to find out what the sound was.
It was the King Lion, and he was out on a hunt; searching for unsuspecting prey. Once again, he opened his jaws and roared...
The Lion reached the place where the Gnat was sleeping. The Gnat was visibly annoyed by the Lion’s roar. He shouted at the Lion, “Why are you shouting at this time of the night? Can’t you see that we are all sleeping?”
The Lion scorned at the Gnat, and raged, “You are a mean, little, insignificant insect. How dare you speak to me like that?
The Gnat spoke in disdain, “You may be physically strong, but that doesn’t give you the authority to go and wake his subjects at night. Why don’t you stick to your part of the forest? Why don’t you roar at subjects that are your size? Leave us smaller animals alone and let us sleep in peace.”
The Lion was livid and had to restrain his anger. He was aware that to control others, one must be master over oneself.
“By what right?” he said in a more dignified manner. Don’t you know I am the King of the jungle? I can do what I wish, and eat whom I want. I do what I want, and go where I please. I say what I like and no one can question my authority. Simply because I AM THE KING OF THE FOREST.” And the lion roared again.
“Oh, will you shut up for a while,” said the Gnat. “At least while we are conversing. It is difficult to talk with an imbecile, who keeps roaring in the middle of a conversation.”
The Gnat further added, “What make you think that you are the King of the jungle.” Has someone elected you? Just tell me that!”
By now, the Lion was losing his temper fast. He was angry that a tiny insect questioned his authority.
He told the Gnat, “I don’t need to prove to anyone. Everyone acknowledges that I am the King of the jungle, and are scared of me.”
The Gnat laughed and said, “I am not scared and so I do not need to regard you as King? And so, you don’t have the right to be the King of the jungle.”
The Lion by now was furious and shouting. “You deny me the right to be King? YOU little insect!”
“That’s right, and you can never be King, until you have defeated me”, said the Gnat.
The Lion laughed so loudly, as he couldn’t believe him fighting a small animal, let alone an insignificant, tiny Gnat.
The Lion wasn’t certain whether the Gnat had invited him for a fight.
“Did you say FIGHT?” the Lion queried.” No one has heard a Lion fighting a Gnat. Get lost, you stupid insignificant little animal! You stop your chatter, or I’ll blow you to smithereens.”
But, however hard the Lion blew; he could not disturb the Gnat’s hold on the blade of grass.
The Gnat started laughing and said, “If you leave this place without fighting me, I’ll tell the entire animal kingdom, and they will make me King.”
The Lion laughed and said, “Well, fight it is, but don’t say, I didn’t warn you.”
The Gnat paused and said, “But, you must agree to the conditions!”
“What conditions?” queried the Lion.
“The one who wins, shall be the new King!” said the Gnat.
Most certainly, “said the Lion, as he expected an easy win.
“Tell me when you’re ready,” said the Gnat.
“Am always ready,” said the Lion.
Then let’s begin,” said the Gnat.
Hearing that, the Lion sprang on the blade of grass, with his jaws open, hoping to swallow a whole hive of Gnats. The Gnat, excepting this, coolly spread his wings and flew into the Lion’s nose and began to sting him there. He stung and he stung until the Lion rolled in agony, begging him to stop. The Lion moaned and groaned, but the Gnat kept stinging him. He rubbed his nose on the grass, sniffed and sneezed, and the Gnat didn’t let go.
“Ooh my nose….” The Lion began to whine and whimper.
“Please come out of my nose, my poor nose. I agree that you are the King. Please don’t hurt my nose anymore,” begged and cried the Lion.
So, finally the Gnat flew out of the King’s nose and returned to his grass, all pleased and proud. While the Lion quietly slipped to the depths of the jungle, humbled and humiliated by a tiny Gnat!
“I should have been the King a long time ago,” exclaimed the proud Gnat. I am so smart, clever, brave and handsome...
While gloating about his new conquest, the wind had blown the glass blade close to the ground. At once, a Spider, spotting the Gnat had caught the blade of grass, and with it the new victor. The more he struggled to get out of the Spider’s web, the more knotted he became. Then, the Spider noticing the Gnat, slowly came crawling and swallowed the Gnat. That was the end of the proud Gnat!
In short, a strong proud Lion had been overcome by a clever, even more proud Gnat.
And a clever and proud Gnat, which had beaten the huge Lion ended as supper for a Spider.
Moral: Pride always comes before a fall.