Once upon a time, in a faraway jungle, there lived a Papa Lion with his son, a cute and cuddly Little baby Lion. Papa Lion loved him very much. But he was also very worried. The baby Lion had still not learnt to roar. For that matter he could not even growl.

One day Papa Lion decided to appoint a tutor to teach his son how to roar. He asked Jackknife, the Jackal, to be his son’s tutor. The next morning Mr. Jackknife bathed, shaved, dressed up smartly and came over to the lion’s cave. The baby Lion had never seen such an interesting tutor.

Mr. Jackknife opened the lesson. “This is how to do it,” he said,

“Watch me.” He turned towards the sky and whined “ooo-woo, oooh-wooo”.

“Ooo-wooo, Oooh-wooo”, said the baby Lion. That was simple.

They both went proudly over to Papa Lion. Papa Lion asked his son: “What have you learnt?”

The baby Lion turned towards the sky and said, “Ooo-wooo, Wooo-Oooh.”

Papa Lion became furious. “You call that a roar?” he asked and roared angrily.

Mr. Jackknife was terribly frightened and ran away.

A Baby Lion Learns To Roar [Illustrations by Gurmeet Singh]
A Baby Lion Learns To Roar [Illustrations by Gurmeet Singh]

Next day, Papa Lion hired a new tutor – the elephant. Mr. Hophop was a strict teacher. He put the Baby Lion on his back and took him to the river side. “I understand that all you do all day long is to roam around and chat with birds and butterflies,” said Mr. Hophop very seriously,” and that you come here to catch fish every day.”

“Oh yes, Sir,” said the baby Lion. “Mr. White, the rabbit, and I enjoy it very much.”

The baby Lion was delighted. He thought maybe they were now going to catch fish instead of studying. But Mr Hophop said sternly: “All that is very well but you must pay attention to your studies.I shall teach you how to roar.”

Saint Longbeak, the crane, was standing in the river, meditating with his eyes closed, waiting for a fish to come by.

He opened an eye and said, “Well, if you gentlemen are going to roar around here you will scare away my fish.” The baby Lion began to laugh.

“Silence!” cried Mr. Hophop. “We shall now begin our lesson. Now watch me carefully and repeat after me.”

Mr Hophop lifted his trunk and said, “Aaahh…..aaaaah.” The baby Lion lifted his paw and said, “Aaaahh….aaaahh”. “Very good,” said Mr. Hophop, “You have now learnt how to roar.”

But when in front of Papa Lion, the baby Lion lifted his paw and roared, Papa Lion became very angry.

“This is an elephant’s roar!” he shouted.“Lions do not roar like elephants!” Then he chased Mr. Hophop away.

Next day, Papa lion hired Mr. Cool the Cat as the new teacher. Mr Cool first gulped down a glass of milk, cleaned his whiskers carefully and twirling his tail said, “Me….ow, me….ow.”

“This is very interesting,” the baby Lion said to himself, quite pleased,” fun to learn.” Later, Papa Lion asked his son, “Let’s see what have you learnt.”

The baby Lion drank a glass of milk, cleaned his whiskers and twirled his tail proudly.

“Well?” said papa Lion impatiently. “Me….ow, me….ow,” said the baby Lion with great pride.

“God save the jungle!” exclaimed Papa Lion, furious, “if that is a roar then what is this – Roo … oo …oo..ar!!!” By the time he stopped roaring, Mr. Cool had disappeared.

“Perhaps, I’d better teach you myself. Now let’s see.” Papa Lion roared again. “Try to repeat.”

The baby Lion tried but he just could not do it.

“All right,” said Papa Lion. " We will do it step by step. First you deepen your voice and say Ro, then say OOO. Then say AAR, Ro-OOO-AR.”

The baby Lion said “Ro” Then he said “OOO” Then he said “AR”. The baby Lion just could not do it.

Disappointed and angry, Papa Lion walked away.

The baby Lion became very sad. He tried many times but was not able to roar.

“I will never do it,” he thought and began to cry. His friends gathered around him.

“Do not worry,” they said, “You will learn eventually.”

Many days passed. One day the baby Lion was playing with his friends. Suddenly, they heard noises “BANG BANG.” All his friends ran away.

“Run, Run,” they cried to the baby Lion. “There are some hunters in the forest.

They are here to kill animals, run.”

The baby Lion began to run. A hunter saw him and began to run after him. The baby Lion was scared and ran even faster.

The hunter took aim and fired. The bullet went just past the baby Lion’s head. He was so frightened that he suddenly let out a roar. ROOAR!

The roar scared the hunter. He dropped his gun and ran away. The baby Lion could not move from his place. He was very surprised.

He had learnt to roar.

First published by National Book Trust, India

838 words | 10 minutes
Readability: Grade 3 (8-9 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: stories
Tags: #rivers, #hunters, #glass

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