The Dark Wood’s King
Once upon a time, in the dark woods lived many creatures both big and small... The forest was full of monkeys and deers, rats and sparrows, frogs and fish, rabbits and sheeps, wolves and snakes and elephants and everything there is to be! And the dark woods were considered to be the mightiest of all the kingdoms....And to a kingdom of such a prestige there was only one crown to which all shall bow! And among all the creatures that lived in the forest, there was only one who could carry the crown with that grace! All the animals voted for his forefathers then and for him now... It had been over five decades and there weren’t any replacements. According to the tales that the wise owl tells all the kids many years ago, Krook, the crocodile tried to overthrow his great grandfather ‘Singha’ but the day the poachers came he was the first to be hunted down. They ripped off his hard skin, the owl said. It was only because of Singha that the poachers were forced to flee.
So, since then Singha’s generation ruled over the dark woods without any question, and now it was their king ‘Clawed’, he had the biggest claws in all generations the turtles would say.. It had been a decade of his reign now. Yes he would prey on the animals, so mighty he was, but he would take only what would be enough to feed his family and him, and nothing more: In turn he would protect the animals of the dark wood from the outside world...
Any human poacher or woodcutter or any animal who came with a destructive intention would be chased away. So mighty he was! He was well respected by all animals, except for one! The giant elephant leader wasn’t ready to submit. It had been over a month that he had come into succession, and after defeating all the giant elephants he was thought to be the second most powerful animal of the dark woods.
But as is known, when it comes to power, second is not good enough!
The giant elephant Mumbo wanted to take the throne for himself. He wanted to rule and be the most powerful of all; after all there was no other creature as giant as him in the woods, then why shall he surrender in front of a little ugly brown creature?! The elections for this year were near and this was the right time to cross Clawed. So Mumbo looked for a weak point for days and one day his grim spelt he finally had the formula to the throne. And hence, he went to all the herds one by one, to the monkeys and the sheep, the rabbits and the snakes, the deers and the wolves and all of them.
“ Why shall he prey on us? This ain’t what true rulers do. He eats our brothers and sisters and parents and children, and we let that happen. And in turn he or his family does no labour. It’s we who work day and night while he rests in his den all day and takes a prowl at the evening. He is no rightful king.”
Gradually by the day of election he convinced half the forest to stand against Clawed. But the wise old owl kept repeating “Mumbo shall lead the dark wood towards doom if he goes on. Sacrifices are a must for peace and fulfilment!” He was overheard by many and the wise half stood by his side while all the animals gathered around the pond for the elections that evening. And then walked in Clawed, well groomed neat and huge he was, a mighty one with his wife and 2 cubs... But today for a change only half of the others bowed to him while others did not...
The lioness roared in pride and asked them if this was the right way to honour their king? And then stepped forward the giant, Mumbo, “You think too high of yourself your majesty! Don’t you? The ego needs to rest and hence today with the acceptance of more than 30% as is the rule, I stand here to challenge your husband!”
The lioness wanted to show him where he stood but Clawed held her back and agreed to fight. He was a just and a wise one after all. The fight began the power of a lion and the size of the elephant collided face on! A thump here and a thump there and the jungle in its awe. But, the fight seemed endless until Clawed took out his sharp nails as if polished to pierce the toughest of skins and scratched Mumbo as if he were a tree. A tree who could bleed! Alas! Mumbo was losing. With the entire forest watching, losing this battle would have been a shame and hence Mumbo forced himself up and rushed towards the lioness. Everyone wondered what was he trying to do.
The lioness was too brave, she stood up accepting his challenge. She seemed fierce as if ready to carve his body with her sharp teeth stood she, their queen. Clawed who was angry at such a run away rushed for his wife’s rescue. He was mad at Mumbo and he roared as if this was the last roar Mumbo would ever hear. And then screamed the wise owl, yield before you die you fool. The jungle knew who the true king was and why.
But then something happened, Clawed stopped while she was frozen with her jaw dropped down.
Alas! Mumbo took the cubs in his trunk and if he dropt them they’d die! The entire jungle expressed against this yet mumbo threw the king’s son down and the cub who would one day be as mighty as Clawed himself, was dead. Nothing more, nothing less, just... just dead. Clawed wanted to kill Mumbo but he still had their girl. And hence he bowed. The lioness wanted to resent and avenge the toddler but looking at the father who overcame a king she bowed as well. The family of the mighty surrendered.
Evil Mumbo was crowned and the lion pride forced to move towards the other side of the hill. The owl found it wise to join them while rest of them just watched. Sadness took over. Mumbo was too proud, too arrogant and now that he had the crown uncontrollable. He would step upon anyone who’d speak against him! The jungle lived under his terror now. Doomed it was! Like the owl prophesised.
A year passed and a group of poachers and woodcutters came to the dark wood, they heard of no lion in the jungle since long. Hence it was sound to hunt. The animals who gave up on Clawed to save a few sacrifices cursed themselves while destruction started taking over. The habitats being vanished and the animals killed. King Mumbo was approached by many and finally forced to face the terror by is realm. The jungle would sing of his victory, if he succeeded. But then when he was there, the poachers were fancied by his big beautiful tusks. And when they saw him rushing towards them they shot him and so he fell, taken up into chains the giant was just a captive now! Alas! The king is gone! The jungle mourned.
Everyone was worried of their survival and then the wise old pig suggested, “Lets get Clawed back, its only him who could save us now!”
The life of the jungle gathered and the birds were sent as messengers towards the other side of the hill. Clawed was wise! And humble! And hence he agreed. And hence the lioness and the mighty lion ran down the hill and roared and growled at them. The poachers trembled and threw off their guns and ran. But there was one who was greedy and would still want the lion’s head, so he aimed. And before he could fire the lion had his head instead! So mighty was the dark wood’s king!
And hence in his reign the woods prospered again!
---- The End----
The Dark Wood's King by Ranjana Sharma and Tadam Gyadu
Rating - 136/200 Points
(Word-limit Penalty: 8 Points)
Final Rating - 128 Points
Judge - Mr. Mayank Sharma