A Tale of Two Brothers
|A Tale of Two Brothers|
Cover of A Tale of Two Brothers
|Illustrators||Denise Shimabukuro and Raymond Zibach|
|Collection||The Lion King: Six New Adventures|
A Tale of Two Brothers begins by introducing Kopa, the prince of the Pridelands, and Pimbi, his hyrax friend. Kopa leaps at Pimbi, preparing to pin him down, but Pimbi leaps out of the way at the last second, and Kopa crumples to the ground in a heap of fur and tail. Pimbi laughs at Kopa, saying, "some king you'll make". But Kopa just gets up and shakes the dust from his fur. He then states proudly that he'll one day rule the Pridelands, since his father, Simba, was the lion king. But Pimbi continues to laugh at him, saying Kopa wouldn't make a good king unless he learned how to pounce properly. Kopa, in his own defense, says that Simba was planning to give him more lessons on pouncing later, but then is reminded of something important. Simba was supposed to show him something very special that day! With a hasty good-bye, Kopa promises Pimbi he'll tell him all about it tomorrow, then rushes towards Pride Rock. Simba was going to show Kopa the Pridelands from the top of Pride Rock!
Simba had told Kopa that it was a tradition for the future king to be shown the Pridelands from atop Pride Rock, and that Mufasa had once shown Simba his land from the same spot. Kopa had never known Mufasa, but had heard wonderful things about him from all the older animals and from Zazu, the king's majordomo. Kopa thought that Simba was a good king too, even if he was really busy and didn't have a lot of time to spend with his son. As Kopa nears Pride Rock, he sees his mother, Nala, lying on one of Pride Rock's ledges. As Kopa approaches her, she asks him if he had had fun playing with Pimbi. Kopa, a bit confused, asks how she had known what he was doing. But Nala just licks him, saying that she can see anything that moves on the plain from the top of Pride Rock. Kopa just responds by saying, "creepy". But just at that moment, Simba bounds up onto the ledge with Zazu and Rafiki following close behind him. The three are talking urgently, and Nala tells Kopa that it's another crisis at the watering hole.
But Kopa rushes over to his father, telling Simba that he was ready to go. Simba nuzzles Kopa, then turns to Zazu and Rafiki, asking them if there was anything they could do about the water crisis. But both say that the animals wouldn't listen to them. With a sigh, Simba turns back to Kopa and says that he wouldn't be able to take him up to Pride Rock that day. And not until the crisis had subsided. Kopa, greatly hurt and disappointed, reminds Simba in a whisper that he had promised to take him there. But Nala interjects, and gently tells Kopa that Simba had certain duties and responsibilities as king. But Kopa once more whispers that Simba had promised. Simba turns to Rafiki and asks the baboon to explain Simba's responsibilities to the young cub. But the baboon surprises Simba by saying that he agreed with Kopa, since great kingdoms had suffered because of broken promises. Simba begins to question Rafiki, but the baboon interrupts, and tells Kopa to listen to a story about "a king, a prince, and a great enemy". Kopa gets excited and asks if the enemy was "a hairy giant with purple eyes", but Rafiki says no. Instead, the enemy had a scar down the side of his left cheek. Simba, Nala, and Zazu all immediately know that Rafiki is talking about Scar, the tyrannical lion who had murdered Simba's father, Mufasa.
Rafiki begins the story by saying that it was a hard time for the Pridelands. It was a time of great drought, and many animals were suffering, not only from fighting for water, but for food and shelter. Rafiki, at the time, was a traveler and happened to stumble onto the Pridelands during one of his many voyages. He was hot and tired from all the traveling he had been doing, when suddenly, a colorful hornbill, named Zuzu, lands at his feet. She tells him that he looked tired and suggests he sit down in the shade. Rafiki doesn't know where to go, so Zuzu points him towards Five Stones, then flies away.
Rafiki finds Five Stones easily, and starts to sit down in the shade, when he gets the uneasy feeling that he's being watched. Upon turning around, he sees three grinning hyenas racing towards him. They corner Rafiki and begin closing in on him. But before they can reach him, there's a mighty roar from behind them. Rafiki looks up to see Ahadi, the lion king, glaring at the hyenas, with his two sons, Mufasa and Taka, close behind him. Mufasa looks ready to fight, but Taka looks bored. Ahadi chides the hyenas, telling them that they had already eaten and that it was against the rules of the Pridelands to hunt for sport. One of the hyenas, Shenzi, tries to object, but is silenced by Ahadi. After being ordered away, the three run off. Taka begins circling Rafiki and says that they should have let the hyenas eat the baboon, even though his meat was probably stringy, even for a lion. But Mufasa tells Taka to leave Rafiki alone. He then introduces himself, his father, and his brother to Rafiki. Ahadi then comes forward and asks what Rafiki was doing in the Pridelands.
Rafiki replies by saying that he was seeking knowledge, and studying the African land. Taka yawns, obviously bored at the prospect. But Ahadi comments that Rafiki might prosper from such a quest, making Taka growl. Ahadi continues by asking Rafiki for help, since the Pridelands was in dire need of wisdom. Rafiki follows the king and his sons back to Pride Rock. When they arrive, Taka wanders off, but Ahadi stays, and tells Rafiki that his mate, Uru, was away, seeking a new source of water and food. Ahadi and Rafiki talk all day, and when night falls, Ahadi offers Rafiki a place to sleep. As the world begins to plunge into darkness, Rafiki watches the Pridelands, the Zuberi River gleaming like a silver stream in the darkness.
Rafiki comments to Mufasa, who was sitting nearby, that he likes to sleep under the stars and to talk to "the wise ones of the past". Mufasa stretches out next to him, and says that he likes to talk to the kings of the past also, who reside in the stars as well. Rafiki asks if Taka does this too, but Mufasa says no. Taka didn't do much of anything, and didn't get along with his father or his brother. Rafiki asks if Mufasa liked him, but Mufasa indirectly answers the question by saying he looks after his younger brother. The two soon say goodnight and fall asleep. But Rafiki is awakened in the middle of the night. When he opens his eyes, he comes face-to-face with a spitting cobra. The giant snake is poised and ready to strike!
Going back to Kopa, the young cub asks if the snake bit Rafiki, but Rafiki says it did not, and only spit at him. Rafiki then asks if he could continue his tale, and Kopa nods eagerly. The baboon continues by saying that Mufasa awoke shortly after Rafiki and, after seeing the danger, begins to stand up. But Rafiki tells him to be still. He then looks deep into the cobra's eyes, filling his head with calm, friendly thoughts. He then tells the snake that they were not enemies, but brothers, and a part of the great circle of life. The snake begins to sway from side-to-side, then slithers away down the side of the rock. Mufasa, appalled, asks Rafiki how he had down that. Rafiki responds by saying that he had learned the trick from an old baboon who had lived in his former home, Grass Walls. Mufasa begins to say, "But if the cobra had-", but is interrupted by Rafiki, who tells him to be calm and to go back to sleep.
But Mufasa thinks it odd that a snake had come onto the ledge, since they usually stayed above and rarely ever came out at night. But Rafiki comments that snakes are unpredictable and can surprise you. But secretly, he is having suspicions about how the snake may have been planted there. He could smell another scent nearby, aside from the snake's and Mufasa's; Taka's. Rafiki thinks to himself that two snakes had visited him that night....and one of them was Taka.
Early the next morning, Rafiki wakes up before everyone else and sets out to find breakfast on the plains. Although many of the trees were bare, Rafiki manages to climb one and begins eating the small amount of leaves clinging to the topmost branches. But just as he's finishing his meal, he hears several voices below him. Looking down, he sees the same three hyenas who had cornered him earlier. Shenzi is complaining about how Ahadi is bossing them around all the time, and Banzai is echoing her thoughts. Ed just snickers. Shenzi continues by saying that Ahadi always spoiled their fun. But Banzai is confident that things would change; and for the better. Rafiki begins to suspect that there's more to these creatures than meets the eye.
Shenzi comments that Ahadi would not live forever, and if something was to happen to Mufasa, they would be top dogs around there. The three hyenas begin boasting about how one day they'll rule the Pridelands. The three soon wander off, and Rafiki hurries back to Pride Rock to tell Ahadi of the hyenas' ambitions. But when he returns, Ahadi is facing a crowd of shouting giraffes, zebras, warthogs, and other African animals. Mufasa is sitting at his father's side, while Taka is lying a few feet away.
All the animals are complaining about the shortage of water and food. The antelopes and zebras are blaming the giraffes, while the leopards are blaming the cape buffalo, Boma, and his herd. The ostriches are worried about the hyenas, and Zuzu, who had appeared nearby, agrees with them. Ahadi promises to take care of them later, but is interrupted by the ostrich. She asks when he would do it, and he says that he would take care of it right at that moment. But Taka reminds his father that he had promised to take his two sons hunting that morning. But Ahadi says that that would have to wait. Enraged, Taka leaps to his paws and complains that whenever Ahadi was going to do something with his sons, something more important always came up. But Ahadi reminds Taka that a king had great responsibilities, and that Mufasa seemed to understand these things.
But Taka begins complaining that "daddy's favorite" always got more attention. Mufasa warns Taka not to speak about him that way, but Taka ignores him. But as he begins to speak more, he is interrupted. The animals protest that it doesn't matter who the king was if the whole land was starving. The protesting gets louder until Ahadi roars to command silence. He tells the desperate animals that he will take care of the hyenas, and that Uru was out searching for a new water source, and that they would all have to be patient until she returned.
He then whispers to Taka that he hopes the young lion would understand, but Taka just snarls, yelling at Ahadi that his promise had been broken. But then, a sudden change comes over Taka and he turns to Mufasa. He invites his brother to come out to hunt with him, claiming that they would have lots of fun together. Rafiki becomes suspicious of Taka, but Mufasa accepts his offer. Ahadi then turns to Rafiki and says that it would be much easier to learn about the little problems before they become big ones, then turns around and goes off to deal with the hyenas. As he leaves, Zuzu comments on how brave he was. She had seen him go off to face many dangers; as a matter of fact, she had known about the waterhole problem for days, but didn't want to add more to Ahadi's to-do list. Rafiki is startled, realizing the bird was full of surprises. But before he can say anything else, Zuzu says good-bye and flies off.
Rafiki then overhears Mufasa asking Taka if he's ready to hunt. Taka says he needed to do something first, but would meet Mufasa at Five Stones in a short while. Mufasa agrees, then turns to talk to a pacing leopard. As Taka passes Rafiki, he asks if he had any trouble sleeping the past night. Rafiki says that he slept fine, and is often undisturbed when sleeping. Taka flicks his tail, then races off to a small cluster of trees in the distance. Rafiki decides to follow him. He uses the trees to his advantage, and swings from branch to branch. Finally, Taka stops at a dried up watering hole. Rafiki can't tell if he's deep in thought or brooding in anger. But suddenly, Banzai, Ed, and Shenzi leap out of the bushes and begin creeping towards Taka.
But Taka isn't scared. He tells them to not be so dramatic and comes over to join them. All three laugh. But soon things get down to business, and Taka tells the three that Ahadi was looking for them, warning them to lay low. Banzai sighs, and says that he wishes it wouldn't be so hot around the Pridelands. He suggests moving to the snowy mountains, but is quickly silenced by Shenzi and Taka, who yank at his whiskers. Ed snickers. Taka then says, "No wonder you begged me to join your little gang". But all three hyenas object to this, saying they had never begged him. But Taka lifts up his paw and releases his long claws, making the hyenas, who are intimidated by this threat, hastily agree with him.
Shenzi then sneers at Taka and asks if he was supposed to go hunting with his father. But Taka merely dismisses it as "a change of plans". Shenzi asks if he ditched Taka again, but Taka roars at them, making them back away in fear. As Taka corners them against a tree, Shenzi tries to cover herself up by reminding Taka that Ahadi always treated Mufasa as his favorite, Banzai agreeing with her. Taka seems angry at this, but Shenzi tells him that he should get even with Mufasa, and have revenge. Taka says that he was already going to take care of that by going hunting with Mufasa and bringing back more game, showing that Mufasa wasn't perfect. But Shenzi suggests making Mufasa look bad, so Ahadi would consider Taka as the next lion king. Both Banzai and Ed agree with her. Taka seems to like Shenzi's idea, and tries to think up a good way to make Mufasa look bad.
He thinks that if the animals began arguing over something Mufasa did, then they would lose faith in their king and his firstborn son. The hyenas are just as enthusiastic about it. But as a plan comes to Taka, the hyenas ask if they can share in on some of Taka's game. Taka laughs, but agrees to give them their fair share of his catch. He then begins to race back towards Pride Rock, Rafiki still following him. Rafiki thinks about Taka's scheme with the snake and the look of hate he had seen in his eyes as he talked about revenge. Rafiki worries over how far Taka would go to get revenge on his brother. But as his thoughts keep whirling away, he loses concentration on his surroundings, and as he swings from the trees, a limb cracks and he falls to the ground, blacking out!
When he awakes, he hears a high-pitched voice talking to him. He opens his eyes and finds Zuzu standing over him. She chides him on swinging through the trees when he's so old, and for being so careless, but Rafiki interrupts her by thanking her for all her help. He then asks if he had been lying there long, and Zuzu replies that he hadn't. But Rafiki was still worried that Taka had covered a great distance, and that Rafiki would never be able to find him now. But then he remembers Zuzu. He asks her if she had seen Ahadi, Mufasa, or Taka, and she says that Ahadi was at the Elephant Graveyard and that Mufasa was at Five Stones. She didn't know where Taka was. Rafiki then urges her to find the king and tell him to search for his sons. When Zuzu questions him, Rafiki tells her it's urgent, and tells her to begin the search at Five Stones. Zuzu reluctantly agrees, then flies away to find Ahadi.
Rafiki then begins to run towards Five Stones. When he finally arrives, Mufasa is nowhere to be seen, even though Rafiki can still smell his scent on the breeze. He can also smell Taka. Rafiki quickly finds their trail and begins to follow it. The trail goes for a long way, but eventually leads to a small watering hole. The last watering hole, Rafiki realizes with a jolt. A large cape buffalo is standing in the middle of the pool, and Mufasa, who is at the side of the pool, is creeping towards him. Not stalking him, but just being cautious. Taka was nowhere to be seen. Rafiki runs down the hill and joins Mufasa at the edge of the pool. The cape buffalo eyes them coldly as they approach. Rafiki asks Mufasa what he's doing, and Mufasa says that he is trying to help his father by asking Boma, the cape buffalo, to share the water with the other animals. Rafiki notices that Mufasa had said "we", as if referring to another lion who had helped formulate the plan, and Rafiki gets terribly suspicious. After asking what Mufasa meant by "we", he learns that Taka had come up with the plan and was helping Mufasa.
Rafiki then asks where Taka is, and spots him hiding in some tall grass by the pool's edge. But before Rafiki can confront him, Boma rudely asks what Mufasa wants, with a voice "as deep as the rumbling earth". Mufasa swallows hard, and tells Boma that he must share the watering hole until the rain comes. But Boma questions him, obviously not keen on the idea of sharing. But before Mufasa can respond, Taka comes up from behind Boma and roars. The cape buffalo whirls around and asks what he's doing. Taka replies that he's enforcing the lion king's orders. He then says that if Boma does not listen to Mufasa, he'll have to face him in combat. Boma, greatly angered at this, laments on how Ahadi had sent his children to do his work, then accuses Mufasa of wanting to fight him. Mufasa starts to protest, but Boma ignores him and begins charging at him. Rafiki urges Mufasa to run, terrified that the cape buffalo would hurt the young prince.
The two begin to run. But as he runs, Rafiki can feel the cape buffalo gaining on him. Rafiki reflects on Zuzu's earlier words, and agrees that he's far too old for all of this. Mufasa veers to the left, sliding down a hill and into a rock formation, with Rafiki and Boma following close behind. But as Mufasa and Rafiki near a fallen log, Rafiki knows he won't make it, and bravely tells Mufasa to go on without him. But Mufasa insists he hold on to his back, and keeps persisting, following Rafiki's objections. Finally, Rafiki clings onto Mufasa's back, and the young prince manages to hold them both up. Rafiki is worried that Mufasa wouldn't make the jump over the log, but the young lion is confident, and makes the jump easily. It ended up that the log was in front of a ravine, and Mufasa is able to clear the ravine in a single jump. Boma, however, having no clue about the ravine, falls in with a loud crash.
Turning around, Mufasa tells Boma that he himself had once fallen into the ravine, but Boma just yells back that he'll have revenge. But Mufasa tells him that he doesn't want to fight, since they are both brothers in the great circle of life. But Boma won't listen to him, and continues to threaten Mufasa. He then says that "the others" would get Mufasa's brother. Confused, Mufasa looks out into the distance and sees Taka rolling on the ground in laughter. But three cape buffalo emerge from the grass and begin charging towards him. Taka's laughter turns into cries for help as he turns to run away. Mufasa, his eyes widened with horror, wants to help his brother, screaming Taka's name. Mufasa then begins to run towards his brother. Rafiki tries to stop him, but Mufasa ignores him and keeps running towards Taka.
Meanwhile, Taka is trying to escape the buffalo, but the three are showing no mercy towards him, and are continuing to slash him with their horns. Finally, one of them gives him a particularly hard slash, and he crumples to the ground, an unmoving heap of dark brown fur. Mufasa rushes to his brother's side, and faces the buffalo, roaring in defiance. The three prepare to charge at him, when there's a strange trumpeting sound. The lions look up to see that Ahadi is at the head of a herd of elephants charging towards the buffalo. They soon surround the buffalo and the two lions. Zuzu lands beside Rafiki, saying that she had gotten them as fast as she could. She then comments on how Rafiki looked terrible. Rafiki smiles at her and tells her that she looked beautiful, which makes her bury her head in her feathers in embarrassment. Rafiki then comes to stand beside Ahadi, who demands to know why the buffalo had attacked his sons. The buffalo whine that Mufasa and Taka had started it, but are interrupted by Mufasa, who cries out that Taka was hurt, and that he wouldn't move!
Rafiki assures Mufasa that he will look after Taka, but Ahadi still warns the buffalo that it had better not be a serious injury. He then joins Mufasa to look at Taka. Rafiki finds that Taka had suffered no broken bones, but had a serious injury on his face. He tells Ahadi that he had an herb pouch back at Pride Rock, and Ahadi suggests taking Taka home. He tells an elephant to carry Taka in his trunk, and orders another elephant to help Boma out of the gully.
Later, after Taka is feeling better, Rafiki tells him that he'll be sore for a few days, and that he'll carry a scar for the rest of his life. Ahadi tells him that it will remind him of how reckless he had been. Mufasa asks Taka why he had angered Boma, and Taka admits that he wanted to embarrass Mufasa and get even with Ahadi for breaking his promise. Ahadi gently tells Taka that instead of hurting them, he had nearly gotten himself killed, and that the scar would serve as a reminder of his foolishness. At first Taka is angry, but then softens up. He asks to be called Scar from then on, as another reminder of his terrible decision. He then promises that he will never forget what had happened that day. The four then go to join Zuzu, who had been waiting nearby.
Ahadi says that despite Taka's attack, Boma and the herd had agreed to share water with the Pridelanders. He then sighs, saying he wished he had some way to learn about little problems before they became big ones. Rafiki then suggests appointing an "eyes and ears" of the kingdom, who could report all the troubles to Ahadi, and who would help him become acquainted with his followers. Ahadi likes this idea, and asks Zuzu if she would take the position. Zuzu is honored and immediately accepts his offer. Ahadi is relieved, and says that from then on, her family would serve as stewards to the kings of the Pridelands.
Zuzu bows her head, politely accepting his words. She then takes to air, saying her family (particularly her son) would be so proud of her. Ahadi then tells Rafiki that he would be his teacher. At first, Rafiki is stunned. He had always lived alone! But Ahadi wanted the Pridelands to thrive and to be led by a wise king. He asks Rafiki if he would help achieve this goal. The baboon then says that he would, and accepts Ahadi's offer; but only if he would be able to go on quests from time to time to obtain more knowledge. Ahadi heartily agrees, then proclaims that he could already feel the wonderful times coming ahead.
Going back to Kopa, the young prince is appalled at the story. Rafiki then says that it rained a few days later, ending the drought. Kopa then comments on how amazing Ahadi and Mufasa had been, and Rafiki says that Uru was amazing as well, for she discovered a lake on the western edge of the Pridelands, saving many animals from thirst. Zazu then states proudly that his mother, Zuzu, was right when she said that her family would be proud, and that her whole family was so honored to be given the position. Simba then comments that Zazu had served the kings well ever since. Kopa tells Rafiki that it was an amazing story....and that his great-uncle Scar had been a "real creep". Simba then thanks Rafiki for the wonderful story, saying it had taught him a great lesson. Kopa quickly agrees with him. Simba continues by saying that he was reminded of how much had gone into the making of the Pridelands, and how important loved ones were. He nuzzles both Nala and Kopa. He then says that promises were important as well. Kopa, excited at this, asks Simba if he really "meant it", and Simba confirms Kopa's excited thoughts, saying he would take his mate and his son up to the top of Pride Rock. After all, "it's a tradition". Rafiki smiles at this, saying, "and a wise one at that".