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Issa Gammoh

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Dove, the Fox, the Owl and the Lion.

Our parents teach them...
Our grandparents tell them...
We think about them often...
In our days and dreams…
We experience them every day…
But it takes those with open eyes to see them happening in front of them…

Everything ages to end but stories age to live for a long time, their ideas are immortal, contagious and unbreakable. Passed from generation to generation with valuable lessons. Lessons that aim to remind us of our human values. Values that intend to keep us alive and remind us every day to live truly and truly live.

This is one of my collection of stories. Perceived differently by every pair of eyes, emerging different conclusions out of different perceptions, but only time will tell which of the various conclusions will give rise to the strongest and lasting values of all.

The Dove, the Fox, the Owl and the Lion.

Two mountains rose high with pride in a faraway land which humans have forgotten about. In between slept a large forest condensed with every kind of plant the planet could carry and the most vicious animals alive. Every day a charming dove with bright blue feathers flies in search for food for its newly born siblings and its old mother resting on top of the mountain. One day the dove was flying to across from one mountain to the other when suddenly a rock hit its head forcing it to lose focus, vastly throwing it to the ground and shutting its eyes into a coma.

Nine hours later, the dove woke up with no clue as to where it was or what exactly happened, but it was only sure that its left wing was no longer able to fly. Crying sadly in despair for its family who have spent almost half a day without food, the dove forced itself to use its weak, untrained legs to find its way out. Crawling with confusion (due to the large number of trees in the canopy which gave no clue what so ever about the correct direction to the mountain), the dove came across a hungry fox. Freezing with fear the dove stayed quiet for a while hoping that the fox wouldn’t see it and run away, but the mesmerizing colours of the doves wings captured the fox's eyes immediately.

"Well, well, well. What have we here?", the fox said victoriously.

With its heart beating faster and not knowing what to do, the dove stood in complete silence.

"You must be new here! Your wings look as fresh as the water in the running stream, and your legs seem as weak as a dying animal! I assume you recently fell from the high sky?"  The Fox continued while rotating combatively around the dove with a smirk on its face. 

"As you may know, I am higher up in the food chain than you, you poor creature; which naturally gives me the power to do whatever I want with you. However, since you are new here and given that I am not considered to be a mean fox, the rules of nature force me to be a bit hospitable. Therefore, I will give you two options, you can either choose to live happily ever after in my starving stomach or to be under my command for the rest of your sad life, doing all what I tell you and obeying every order of..."

"PLEASE! HAVE MERCY" The dove finally interrupted with fear "I have a family to take care of! They cannot survive without me!! I get them food every day; today I was flying to find them some until…"

"SILENCE!". Intimidated by the dove's strong will and courage, the fox stopped and powerfully interrupted it, making insects nearby fly away and the dove lowering its head to the ground. "If you wish to stay alive you better NEVER interrupt me again! The last thing I want to have in my sight is a worthless creature like you raising its ugly voice over me; your freedom period has expired! You will call me master, and you will obey me with loyalty or I swear I will eat you and your family in a bat of an eye, IS THAT UNDERSTOOD?".

"Yes, master." The poor dove replied with a sorrow voice, a voice that was no longer fresh, and a voice which once used to excite any creature which had its ears exposed to it.

Months passed by, the fox got more powerful and got used to this life of luxury. For the dove was obedient to every single command it was given. Growing more desperate, the dove uselessly tried to communicate with any flying bird possible, hoping to beg it for help or just to notify its family about where it was, but who could ever think to look for a singing bird on the ground?

With every silent answer came more sorrow and more loneliness, and the poor bird forgot what it was like to fly and to be free.
The fox and the dove were walking in the forest during one of the sunsets after waking up from a very long nap. As they were walking they were surprised by an owl that suddenly stopped flying and stood on one of the nearby tree branches. The fox ordered the dove to continue walking and not pay attention as this owl was a cursed animal detested by everyone in the forest. However, the dove couldn't help but wonder why the owl was staring at it with a deep gaze in its eyes.

Having broken the gaze and trying not to give it attention, the dove's random thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the voice of the owl saying: “Your other heart may be burning but you will swim in the sky again and it will be safe”.The dove turned around and mumbled “What?” in curiosity, but the freaky owl had already flown away, out of sigh.

“Crazy old owl! It is despised by all creatures of the forest!” the fox elaborated with confidence.

Confused by these two sentences, the dove didn't know which words to think about, the ones spoken by his unmerciful master or that of the globally cursed owl. Although confused, the dove had it inside its heart that the words of the owl were not merely words.

When the wing of the dove began to look healthy and was using it more often, the fox sceptically noticed the dove’s more vibrant condition. Looking back at the dove, he said with wonder: "I hope your wing feels better".

Looking up at the fox in surprise and hoping to see more mercy and kindness coming out of it, the dove replied back with a sweet voice: "Yes! Thank you, it feels a bit stronger!"

Fearing that it might lose its power the fox pounced violently at the dove before it could finish its sentence, grabbing its recovering wing and ripping it off its body, scattering its blue feathers over the forest floor and leaving the dove in agony and in severe pain.

Feeling totally authoritative again, the fox knew that the dove could never think of escaping, and it will remain under its power for as long as the forest would permit.Days passed by and the fox grew more brutal, frightening and intolerant. The dove had no more tears to pour, no more hope for seeing freedom in the skies of the future and no more blue feathers to remind it of the happy old days.

During one of the nights, foxes, wolves and all the horrible animals of the forest howled loudly to arrange for a meeting the next morning. The dove decided that it should take the chance and look for any animal in the audience that may seem compassionate enough to help it escape this tragic life.

The next day, as the fox and the dove were heading towards the river side where the meeting was being held, the dove tried to think of all the possible ways in which it could escape by itself. But given the bad physical conditions it was in, its body couldn't fly, run or do anything that would give it a chance for a successful escape. Fearing that it may not find any sympathy amongst the vicious creatures and ignoring the fact that one of the other foxes may jump on it and eat it alive, the dove decided to stick to its master for the time being.

The dove's situation could not have been any scarier, until it reached the river side. It could not believe its eyes; every fox, every wolf and every mean predator at the meeting had a different species of bird under its control. Some birds with chains around their necks and feet, some with a broken wing or two, and some with broken legs.

The dove's wild blood began to flow through its small, rigid veins, feeding every single part of its body and every bit of its spirit with energy, anger and resentment.

Despised and disgusted by the way its kind were treated, the dove forgot all about its sad condition, its history, its present and its uncertain future, and was determined more than ever to find a way out. The dove began to look for a solution that would stop this tragedy, focusing on what was given to it at that moment:

The dangerous group of omnivores…
The useless flock of weak birds…
The running river…
The faraway sky separated by the dense canopy…
And the only properly functioning part of its body, its legs…

"May the power of the forest guide me and stay with me with what I am about to do" The dove mumbled to itself, hearing its strong angry voice covering its doubts and fears, which, in return, raised its confidence.

"Master! I think we should stand near the river edge!" said the dove out loudly. "Shut up you ignorant fool! Don’t you dare talk to me in front of my tribe or I will make you their prey!" interrupted the fox with a low threatening voice.

"I am afraid that some of your enemies realised that you are present, hearing them mumbling about teaching you a proper lesson for all the food you have stolen from them!" the dove elaborated with confidence.

"Food!? What food? I never stole food from any one! You’re lying! What are you up to, you stupid creature!?"  the fox continued, fear and confusion being projected in his voice, finally.

"Remember, master! Remember 5 days ago when you found a dead rabbit just near the cave of your enemies and we stole it and ran away? I think your smell got stuck on the nearby trees!"

The dove continued confidently, knowing that the fox was getting older with an increasingly poor memory and low ability to connect things together.

"What? That is not possible! I don't remember! Who did you hear talking about it? Why are you…?”Realizing that the fox was starting to become scared, the dove knew that the fox was finally under its control.

"We should go near the river, master! You will be safe there since no one will attack you from behind!" the dove continued intelligently.

"Yes, you may be right! Let’s go" said the fox with hurry.

After reaching the stream, the fox stopped and started being alarmed and aware of the creatures around it, forgetting about the dove standing next to it. The dove then looked at the still river, took a very deep breath, got its focus sharp and started to walk quietly towards it while saying repeatedly in its mind: 

"Invisible creatures of the forest, hear me well! Guide me to the other side of the river if destiny means for me to be there, otherwise I will accept my death with complete peace and may you have mercy on me."

With no hesitation, the dove walked right into the river, slowly getting to deeper and deeper regions making two steps back and seven steps forward, until its body and head were fully immersed with water. Keeping its concentration in place and sticking to the peace inside it, the dove continued walking through the deep waters where the surface was getting further and further away from it, moments of panic started haunting it which made it run faster in fear.

Less than half the distance later the dove felt that it was slowly being lifted by the water pulling it away from the bottom of the river and lifting it towards the surface. The dove was hopeful that the water might actually make it float on top and it will be able to get a breath of air to re-energise.

But sadly, with time, the muddy river of the evil forest became cruel enough not to lift up any living thing that would step under its surface.

The slowly fainting dove reached a point where it was halfway between the two banks and midway between that surface of the river and its bottom.

It was running out of breath, it started to lose focus, to lose its consciousness and was too weak to think of what to do next, its heart beats were slowing down until its body stopped moving and its eyes were transferred into darkness.

After a few seconds in that state, the dove exhaled its last breath as bubbles ran towards the surface. However, just before the last bubble left its mouth, a blast of memory flashed by its eyes, a memory of a time when it was flying freely with all its beautiful blue feathers fluttering against the blue sky, a memory that felt so real which made the dove literally feel the effect of the strong wind lifting it up as if it went back in time, making it more powerful and giving it a bit of strength to be able to move its only wing, hoping to feel the imaginary cold breeze of wind that was recalled by its mind one last time. With this random wing movement the dove moved slightly upwards towards the surface, the peace inside it grew more powerful giving it more patience to survive with no air, sticking with this memory and the sense of freedom it once had gave it power to resist fainting and keep pushing the water downwards, and with one wing, it finally managed to rise above the surface, taking a deep breath and gaining back its consciousness.

Excited to have reached the surface, the dove breathed with shock mumbling with a tired voice “Thats it! The owls prediction! I was swimming in the sky!”, still not believing its realisation but feeling accomplished the dove looked back to check what went on meanwhile on the other side, to find out that the fox was still in a cautious mode checking and screening any creature in the meeting that could attack it. This gave the dove enough time to swim to the shore comfortably.

The dove continued, pushing with incredible strength and determination the dirty water guiding it towards the other side of the river, getting there sooner than it thought.
Shivering, from the dirty, cold water, and still not believing the thrilling experience it just went through, the dove whispered with joy "What a victory!"

As it was about to continue in its, apparently destined, mission, a distinct female voice behind it screamed:


The dove looked back and without any expectations, thinking that things couldn’t get any worse, its mother was shouting from across the river. Questioning this sudden scream, the fox and the other creatures turned their heads to realize that the fox’s slave had escaped. As wild as it could become, the fox shouted with rage: "YOU WORTHLESS LITTLE CREATURE, I WILL EAT YOU! I WILL EAT YOU ALIVE!!!"

The meeting turned into chaos and every creature present ran towards the connecting bridge that was a couple of miles away from where the meeting was taking place. Fighting with its thoughts and emotions and not knowing whether it should go back and be with its mother or continue and get help, the dove decided to keep its focus and run as fast as it could towards the top of the mountain where it would get help from all its tribe.

While fading inside the trees as sneaky as it could, the dove couldn't help but wonder about its mother; mumbling to itself: "How did my mother end up there? Could she possibly have been searching for me all this time? Is that what the owl meant by “your other heart will be safe”? But why didn't I hear her calling for me before? What happened to my siblings?". The dove faced many questions but decided to keep them aside and focus on getting help until they are both safe and everything returns to the way it used to be.

After running wildly for a while, the small dove was stopped by this incredibly gigantic, unusually amazing figure with white hair covering all of its body. Stopping with fear, yet still feeling calm, the dove asked: "You are strangely beautiful! Who are you? Are you an angel?"

"I am a white lion,
uncommon of my kind and beloved by everyone. I devote my life to maintain peace in this forest and to keep its circle of life healthy and fresh."

"MERCY! HELP ME YOU BIG CREATURE! Angry and insane animals are ruling almost half of my species on the other side of the river and my mother is amongst them! I escaped hoping to find help and they're running after me now, probably getting closer and closer! Have mercy on me and my tribe and fight for our freedom!"

Right after the dove ended its statement the white lion stretched its long white claw, grabbed the dove and placed it on its head.

"Stick with me, you brave soul! It’s going to be a tough fight but you will receive your victory and get your freedom back".


The tale stops here, for your imagination creates the best ending.

Some may think that they are the dove in this story…
Some may think that they are the fox...
We may conclude that we are brave white lions…

But a real thoughtful person admits and realizes that we are all foxes, doves and lions at different stages in our lives.
The real insight is finding out which stage you are in at the moment and paying attention to every owl on the way for they maybe the keys that open the doors of these stages for us.

A real victory lies behind knowing that you successfully transformed from one stage to another, ready to help anyone on your way who is seeking this great magical transformation.

May your life be filled with magical stories and long living tales.

Thank you for reading.

Written by: Issa Gammoh
Edited by: Farah Barakat

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