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The King of the Forest

by Hongping Liu

Part II: Te, Bole, and Skunk

1. A Boa Attacks on the Sly

Another spring having come, birds were busy chirping and singing:

Let’s chase spring, let’s catch it.
Spring is in winter, spring is in buds.
Spring is in forests, spring is in our hearts.

Bole, Kaka and the boa
One afternoon Tiger King Bole was taking a nap under a fir tree. Suddenly, he was hit by a few nuts. Bole raised his head and saw Squirrel Kaka standing on a branch on his hind legs and throwing some pine nuts at him with his forepaws.

Bole was angered by this, but he was quickly given a knowing wink. Bole took a look as he was directed and saw a boa stalking him with a rustling sound.

In a twinkling, the boa rushed at Bole and wound its long body around him so that Bole couldn’t move any more. At the crucial moment, Bole seized the chance to bite off the head of the boa.

2. Newcomers’ Invasion

Te and Bole
From then on, Tiger King Bole got to know Squirrel Kaka better. Kaka could dance very well on trees, and his paws were as tough as diamond and as tensile as silk.

One day, while Bole and his retinue were watching Kaka performing in the trees, Tigress Ella came with a report. “Your Majesty, Red fox Rex is guiding a group of ferocious animals to our kingdom from an open grassland, and the animals possess superb skills. The chief is called Lion King Te and he has just claimed that he would be the king of the forest from now on.”

At the news, King Bole was provoked, and he wanted to fight Lion King at once. Ella said, “Your Majesty, please take it easy. As far as I know, the lions are inferior to us in climbing and swimming. The lions are absolutely at a disadvantage in our forests and rivers. You can bargain with him about a contest. If he loses the game to you, the condition is that he should leave here with his followers forever.”

Tiger Bole asked, “Are you sure they will leave here if their king fails?”

Ella said, ‘Yes, I know some bald eagles who have been to many places such as the open grassland. They’ve told me a lot of stories about this kind.”

3. Tiger King vs. Lion King

Then some bald eagles were sent to give a message to Lion King Te: the two kings should have a final contest beside the Tiger Gorge the next day. The winner would be the king of the forest and the loser must leave unconditionally.

the combat
On the next day, Tiger King Bole and Lion King Te came face-to-face with each other on the top of the mountain with a sheer precipice and overhanging rocks. From the top of mountain, waterfalls were falling down to the deep gorge below, through which surged a big river.

At the sound of the starting signal, Lion King pounced at Tiger King, and Tiger King freed both his front paws and greeted his opponent with a loud roar. The battle was soon joined. Tiger Bole gave full play to his unique skills, which he had learned from his foster father. All the animals in the kingdom watched them fighting and cheered for Tiger King Bole.

Lion King had skills equal to Bole’s, and it seemed that Lion King could deal with any attack from Tiger King. The lions, too, shouted loudly to cheer for their king.

4. The Endgame

in the river
The two kings fought from the top to the foot of the mountain, and they chased each other from the foot of the mountain to the edge of the river.

Tiger King Bole lured Lion King into the river by escaping into the water. Tiger Bole could swim as well as a fish. Lion King could not resist the thundering billows and was soon worn down by the lash of the turbulent waves.

After some crocodiles pulled Lion King out of water, Lion King breathed feebly, sighing to Tiger Bole. “Only you could fill the post of the king here.”

The other lions witnessed the unique skills of Tiger Bole and admired him very much. They felt very bad at seeing their king lose, but they hadn’t become accustomed to the forest and preferred their open grassland. They accompanied Lion King Te on a move back to their home.

5. After King Bole’s Wedding

the monster
After that encounter, Tiger Bole highly appreciated Tigress Ella’s intelligence and decided to marry her.

When King Bole’s wedding took place, many of the animals in the kingdom attended it. Some animals gave the greatest performances. Squirrel Kaka did wonderful dances for King Bole and Queen Ella. The pleasant songs spread in the wind.

No sooner had the wedding finished than a monster came to the kingdom from far away. The monster could spit flames from his mouth and spurt venom from his tail.

Upon his arrival, the monster brought many disasters upon the kingdom. Sometimes he spurted venom into pools or streams, and sometimes he spat flames to burn the woods. The animals in the forest often escaped here and there in fear, and the plants seemed ill, withering in the evil wind.

Tiger Bole gathered some animals to fight the monster several times, but they were beaten back by its flames and venom.

6. The Plan to Defeat the Monster

At dusk, Tiger King Bole, Queen Ella and his officials stayed in the palace, trying to find a way to defeat the monster. They were depressed.

Bole and Skunk
A pungent odor drifted in. Tiger Bole covered his nose and asked, “What kind of smell is that?”

Leopard Tola answered, “It’s from skunks. I think they have come back now.” The skunks lived in an outlying area at the order of Tiger King Bole because of their foul smell. King Bole asked Tola to go out and have a look.

After a while, Tola came in and reported. “Your Majesty, Chief Skunk says they may have a way to deal with the monster.”

Tiger Bole said in a hurry, “Please let him in.” Chief Skunk came in paying his respects to King Bole and Queen Ella. He said, “Thanks to your Majesty, we skunks have a place to live in freedom. Now our kingdom is in danger and we would do our part to serve our kingdom.”

Tiger Bole asked, “What’s your idea?” And he tried his best to bear the smell from Chief Skunk.

Chief Skunk said, “The smells we emit can make the monster lapse into unconsciousness. I’ll gather all of our kind to throw odors while the monster is sleeping. When he is paralyzed, your Majesty will be able to gather some animals to kill him.”

Tiger King Bole jumped for joy and exclaimed, “What a good idea!”

7. The Fate of the Monster

Skunks at midnight
At midnight, the sky was clear and studded with stars. In the gentle breeze, the monster was sleeping soundly on a large rock beside a stream.

Chief Skunk led all the skunks to surround the monster and they launched their stinking liquid all at the same time. The monster smelled these offensive odors and felt dizzy. At the same time, King Bole led some animals to rush upon him. Only after a few rounds, the monster broke down and fell to the ground with blood running from his nose. Then King Bole ordered some animals to push the monster into the stream and drown him.

A group of bald eagles began to dispose of the body of the monster. They tore it to bits and quickly ate it with great relish.

8. Former King Wida

Tiger King Wida
After the death of the monster, things in the kingdom returned to normal, and all the animals were able to enjoy themselves again. One day when Tiger Bole got home, he saw Bear Dudu crying. Dudu said, “Our former King Wida has gone missing.”

Tiger Bole asked some animals to look for his father, but they couldn’t find him. Several days later, Leopard Tola cried, “It’s just occurred to me. There is one place King Wida must have gone to.”Then Tola guided them to the place.

When Tiger Bole reached the place with his followers, they found that Tiger Wida had died at some time in the past few days. Leopard Tola said to Tiger Bole, “I should have thought about it earlier. It’s the place where your mother passed away when she was looking for you.” Upon hearing the news, Tiger Bole was too saddened to speak.

9. New Hope for the Kingdom

Bole and Ella
It had been one month since the death of Tiger Wida. Tiger Bole decided to roam the kingdom with Leopard Tola. They reached the elephants’ paradise first. Groups of elephants were casually raising their long trunks. Some were eating leaves or grass while others were playing. In earlier times they had roamed the hills of the monkeys and bears.

Then Bole asked Tola, “How about the guinea pigs? Can they get used to living here?”

Tola said, “They are very pleased to live here. The little animals used to live in the neighboring kingdom, and they were eager to pursue a better life in a better place. So they were guided to the kingdom by some bald eagles. They are small and nimble. They like to bury seeds in the soil. Years later, new trees might begin to grow from those seeds.”

While Tiger Bole and Leopard Tola were returning to the palace, Bear Dudu jumped out and told them some good news. Queen Ella had borne two tiger cubs. King Bole was too pleased to speak. At the same time, many animals were coming to celebrate the new cubs. The whole kingdom was full of joy and cheer again.

Copyright © 2011 by Hongping Liu

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