Fish and Lion

One day everything has changed in the Great Desert. For many months the scorching sun was so bright and a heat so intolerable that every source of water, even the largest ones, have dried up. Animals have been confused, they were tormented by thirst. So they have gathered for the Great Desert Council, which was not gathered for almost ten years, to think up a way to rescue from the sun. And each of them came into the Council's center, and each was questioned by others of how it's possible to find a salvation, yet nobody could give the answer.

In desperation, animals have called for their last hope – they have summoned a desert Lion into the center of Council, who had a reputation of being most courageous, wise and strong from all of them and by the right was considered their tsar.

“I will find water for all of you, I swear with the honor of the tsar of animals!” the Lion has growled. “I will find it and I will show you the way.”

And, having this said, the Lion has gone on searches of a source of revival, and the rest of animals started waiting for his return.

For many days and nights, the Lion tirelessly ran and ran through the desert, driven by a sandy wind and thoughts of his dying comrades and of his debt before them. And when it seemed that his forces have completely left him, a great, boundless and endless ocean has opened before his eyes.

“At last I have found it! I have discovered water! Now we are saved!” the Lion cried, and with the last bit of strength ran downwards to a coast.

When he, at last, has managed to creep up to a coast and scooped saving water in paws, he has suddenly noticed a fish, swimming in this water. The Fish played on the sun by all colors of a rainbow and looked at him as if studying.

“Do you desire to drink from my spring?” she asked suddenly.

“Yes,” the Lion has either growled or whispered. “I have been running for many days, my powers have run out, and my comrades are dying from thirst. I have to drink to restore my strength and return to them to inform of this great source of a saving moisture.”

“But do you know about its properties?” a Fish questioned.

“Of what properties are you talking?” the Lion was surprised. “I see water, and I am going to tell about its source to others. Please, do not weary me, swim away, so I can drink this luring moisture and restore my powers!”

“The water, which you are going to drink, may kill you,” replied the Fish.

“What a strange fish,” the Lion has thought. “How can water kill somebody?”

“To kill me? Of what death are you talking about? I have already almost died from thirst,” the Lion growled. “Move aside, let me drink it!”

“If you drink from my spring, your thirst will only grow and strengthen,” Fish responded. “The more you will drink, the greater your thirst will become.”

“But how can you live in this spring of yours and drink from it without dying?” the tsar of all animals questioned.

“What is death for you, terrestrial ones, is a birth for us,” she said. “We were born in this bitter source – and are destined to spend our entire life in it. It has ceased to be deadly for us – and became our air and now we enjoy it.”

“But what am I supposed to do then?” the Lion inquired. “I must help my relatives by any means possible! I am considered as the strongest and wisest tsar of animals by right!”

“You can drink from my spring and rescue them,” the Fish replied. “There is a river in the north that runs into this sea – its water can bring you relief. Besides, you can also find my brothers in that river – for we can live even in your waters – who will aid you further. However, this river is far away, and you will hardly manage to reach it.”

“Then what options do I still have?” the Lion questioned.

“You will have to drink from my spring, but remember, that your own price for this act can be too high. Waters of my sea will suffice for a short duration, so you must travel with haste. However, even if you will finally come to a river, you will probably still not manage to return to your comrades. But my river brothers will help you to bring the message of a river source – but first, you should reach it.”

“And if I will refuse to drink from this sea?” the Lion questioned.

“Then, most likely, you will be unable to reach the river,” Fish answered.

For several difficult minutes, the Lion lay ashore, not even daring to take a sip of this water. However, when he has dared to do it at last and has scooped some water in a paw – it has tasted so bitter that he has immediately spat it out, being unable to bear that taste.

“No way. To drink from this sea means to die instantly, no matter what the Fish would speak,” the Lion has decided. “I still have powers, I shall reach that river, for I am the tsar of animals!”

And the Lion, exhausted with thirst, having gathered the rest of his forces, has run in the direction, pointed by the Fish.

His forces, however, finally run out after only several hours.

The sun has risen highly once again over the Great Desert – too high for some of the terrestrial ones. After several hours of journey, the Lion, exhausted with thirst, has fallen to hot sand, panting. He knew that he was dying. He knew that he failed to fulfill his duty.

“Damned fish!” he thought. “There are no even signs of a river here, and never was for certain. You have led me the wrong way, you have killed me!” he growled. “Devil's f-f-f-f-f-f-i-i-i-i-i-i-s-s-s-s-s-h-h-h-!” a loud roar of defeated tsar of animals spread over the desert – and then the desert went silent once again.

Only a sun was still shining the same, only a sandy wind was still blowing, and only waves of the great and boundless ocean were romping and splashing somewhere. And only several hours of the journey still remained to the fresh river, feeding the sea, which he could pass, if only has dared to drink from this bitter source…