What began as a deeply touching story of love ended as a vaguely nauseating story of
meat, reports the BBC. It could have been an example of tenderness and innocence
triumphing over the brutal constraints of animal savagery. But this is a true story.
It began with a lioness and a baby oryx--a tawny, delicate animal similar to an
antelope. The lioness met the oryx with its mother, but when the mother ran away, the
lioness unaccountably spared the calf.
In fact, for two weeks, the lioness guarded the oryx, fighting off leopards and other
predators. The calf seemed happy with its powerful protectress, and developed a habit of
curling up against her as the cat napped in the afternoon sun. Meanwhile the mother oryx
shadowed the pair. From time to time the lioness would actually allow the mother to
approach long enough for the calf to nurse; then the cat would drive away the adult
oryx, reclaiming her adopted baby.
Such a haunting tableaux! The graceful lioness, driven by some unfathomable impulse to
care for a defenseless creature which should have been her natural prey! The mother oryx
and her lonely exercise in fidelity! The baby oryx, protected by nothing but innocence
and trust, absolutely helpless and absolutely loved!
Well, last weekend, a male lion ate the oryx. The lioness was real mad when she woke up,
but after roaring around for a while, she went away. The mother oryx could not be
reached for comment.
And so this, O Best Beloved, is my tale to you: love is feeble like an oryx, and the
world is full of lions. Stupid cat. She should have eaten the meat while it was there.