A Leonine Tale - The Legend of Baikadu
The grandsire cleared his throat and began, “Cubs, hold your breath. Today I am going to tell you about the most powerful creature that has ever lived. I am the only one who has seen this creature and lived to tell his tale.”
There was pin drop silence. All the cubs were listening with bated breath. The grandsire continued, “It was many springs back when I was still a cub. My father was the leader of the pride, a proud and magnificent lion. I was very playful and often strayed away on my own. On one of the days I had strayed away too far and found myself on the road. “
There I heard a loud noise like I had never heard before. I was filled with anticipation. What was this creature? My first instinct was to run from that spot. But my curiosity got better of my fear. I went ahead to take a look. It was like no creature that I had seen before. And so fast it was moving. It covered close to a 100 leaps distance within moments. I could just catch a glimpse of it. It looked somewhat like a horse but the neck was much longer.
The creature seemed to have broken wind as it passed by. And such dark and foul smelling wind it had left behind. I wonder what it must be eating that it gave out this kind of gases. The creature disappeared within moments leaving me surrounded by the gases. And even the gases! How powerful they were! I nearly choked to death.
I immediately rushed to tell my father about this amazing creature. Dad would not believe me. He could not believe there was a creature more powerful than him. He roared loudly and asked, "Was this creature so loud?"
“No, dad! It was louder.”
Dad roared even louder. And he again asked, “Louder than this also?”
“No, dad! Much louder than this and anything else you can possibly muster.”
Dad was very furious. He put in all his energy and gave such a loud roar than the whole forest seemed to shake. But still he could not match that creature. The effort had really strained his throat and he had hardly been able to speak for the next few days. Having given up on the roar he wanted to match his speed against the creature. He ran quickly and took a leap once. Then a bigger leap! Then a superfeline effort that nearly cost him his bones! But still he could not match the creature’s speed. Having failed to convince me of his superiority, he decided to dismiss my tale as the fanciful imagination of a hyperactive cub.
The story would have ended with that if not for me discovering a carcass of one such creature on the road one fine day. Its upper part had been severed from the lower part. The lower part was motionless. The upper part was still moving around. I am not sure how that portion of the creature managed to keep itself animated even after being severed from the lower part. I quickly went to get my father. The moment my father saw the creature, he rose to the challenge. He immediately pounced on the moving upper part and brought it down. Red colored blood flowed from this part and my father feasted on it. He gave me a morsel also telling me that eating a portion of the creature that had scared me will imbibe in me its fearsome qualities. And indeed delicious it was. I am not sure if that imbibed any qualities of the creature in me though.
Then we moved on to try out the lower part of the creature. The creature seemed to have only two legs and such strangely shaped legs they were. My dad could not believe that these creatures could generate that kind of incredible speeds with such funny legs. The legs tasted so horrible! The rest of the body was worse. It was too hard and we gave up after we nearly broke our teeth. Soon blood began to ooze out from the lower part as well. But the blood was black in color and did not have the usual pleasant smell of blood at all. The very sight of this fluid seemed to scare us. But the brave lion that my father was, he decided to drink some of it. The moment he drank it, he began to feel uncomfortable and it was not long before he lay dead.
I was scared and ran from that place as fast as I could with my tail between my legs like a common cur. As they say prudence is the best part of valor. My father’s pride had done him in. The creature had been deadly even in its death. I never wanted to see that creature again. From that day I have kept away from the road. I have also ensured that none of the members of the pride did stray anywhere even close to the road.
The faces of the cubs looked grave as the grandsire completed his story. Normally that was effect the legend of the baikadu had on them. The voice of the grandsire wafted through the silent night as he finished his narrative with some of his poetry.
Vroom Vroom Vroom he roars
Louder than a thunder storm
Swift as wind is he
King of the road he
To him must bow even the king
Of the whole jungle
Deadly is he in
Death even this baikadu
Beware ye lions
* - Note on spelling and pronunciation - Humans often tend to spell baikadu as biker dude
Coming up next week - A Woody Tale - All in a day's work