by Duncan Jones
An old lion and an old zebra found themselves at a watering hole, one they had both visited so many times before. Upon seeing each other they both froze and stood staring, as they had done so many times before, each looking for signs of strength or weakness in the other. But today was not a day like the others. The lion was not here to hunt, and even if he had been, the zebra had no running left in him.
And being a day unlike the others, it was the zebra who surprised the lion by walking towards him. The lion was not afraid, but this had never happened before so he kept his eyes on the zebra until the distance was closed and they were only a few feet apart. And though each had known who the other was for their entire lives, they found themselves face to face for the very first time ever.
After a little while the zebra said to the lion, “You know … I suppose in a way I owe you thanks. You are the one who scared us the most. I would have never known how fast I was or how far I could run had I not thought that each day I would have to run from you. It was looking out for you that saved me from hundreds of other lions and why I have lived so long.”
The lion listened and said nothing for a long while. Finally he looked at the zebra and said, “Well, when you put it like that I suppose I owe you thanks as well. You are the one who pushed us the most. I would have never known how fast I was or how strong I was had I not thought that one day I might have to hunt you. Growing strong enough and fast enough to bring you down is why I was able to catch as many zebras as I did and why I have lived so long.”
Then they both put their heads back down and enjoyed the water, and the crocodile watching both of them moved a little closer.