Once upon a jungle
In a land not far away

There was an awful bungle
In a den where lions lay.
There were two mighty
I’ve made a mistake there…
One was a mighty lioness,
Now, that’s being right and fair.

These two awesome beasties
Were parents fond and proud
Of a litter of loitering lion cubs
That called out clear and loud.

A Roaring Shame [Illustration by Paramita Kar]
A Roaring Shame [Illustration by Paramita Kar]

The lion cubs, they grew on,
And soon they lost their mew,
All but the strongest, oldest son.

Oh, What could his parents do?

They tried to make him roar,
And practised through the night,
That only left them tired ‘n’ sore,
But couldn’t put him right!
They tried to keep it secret,
A shame to them, my dear,
Till the nosy egret
heard him loud and clear.

Rattled her little birdbrain,
Looked to left and right…
Sounded like a cat in pain…
There wasn’t a cat in sight!

And then she had him spotted
The poor lion that mewed
Through the forest he trotted
To practise and to brood.

The egret told the jackal,
The monkey and the snail,
Soon the message reached them all,
A sad and funny tale.

They called the poor guy Jelly Bean
To make him feel more small.
I wonder why they were so mean…
But sometimes, aren’t we all?

Poor Jelly Bean, the lion
We’ll call him JB, fine?
Spoke not, was always sighing,
But looked quite leonine.

Dear JB, our sad hero,
Just waited for the day
He’d prove he wasn’t a zero
And roar their taunts away.

A Roaring Shame [Illustration by Paramita Kar]
A Roaring Shame [Illustration by Paramita Kar]

The monkey caught him one day,
And challenged him to gulp
A bush of fruit, so red and gay,
Or chew it down to pulp.

“My only chance”, thought JB,
And opened his jaws so wide
The monkey shinnied up a tree,
He knew he had to hide!

The charge was straight and fast,
The jaws clamped hard and tight,
The fruit went in, down to the last,
Oh! what a dreadful bite!

Poor JB, oh he knew not
It was a chilly tree,
All he felt was burning pain.
A happy tragedy.

For as the pain tore through,
JB thought he’d die
He screamed his loudest, not a mew,
A roar that shook the sky.

(First published in N. B. T.‘s Bulletin, Sept – 98 )

401 words | 4 minutes
Readability: Grade 2 (7-8 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: poems
Tags: #lions, #monkeys, #fruits

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