Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Microstory 1293: The Predators and Their Spoils

A tiger, a wolverine, a hyena, and a black bear once became a hunting party. They decided to join forces, so no prey would be able to escape their grasp. The tiger was sort of considered their leader, even though the team-up was more or less the wolverine’s idea. The tiger was the largest, and this was her territory, so she determined which animals they were going to go after, and what strategy they would use to catch them. Though they were hunting together, they were not eating together. The general rule was that each predator still got to keep for themselves whatever they caught, just as it would be if they were operating separately. They really just stuck together to instill more fear in their targets, so it would be easier to take them down. This seemed to have a side effect, however, when they eventually found that the animals figured out how to steer clear of this fearsome four. They learned how the the predator group hunted, and more importantly, how to avoid them. This quite nearly caused the group to disband, and head their separate ways, but the black bear had an idea. All they needed to do was travel north, to a land where the animals knew nothing about them. They needed to regain their element of surprise. This seemed like a good idea, so they packed up, and moved out. What the black bear failed to mention, however, was that there were fewer animals in the north, because it was always sparsely populated. They continued to struggle to find food, until one day when the hyena was able to run down a moose who had been drinking by a stream. It was quite large, but it was also alone, so if they followed their own rules, only the hyena would get to eat. “We can change the rules,” the tiger said after a long pause in the argument about it. “We are the ones that made them up, after all! We shall divide the moose into four equal parts; one for each of us.” And so they did, and it was fair, and they were full.

This story was inspired by, and revised from, an Aesop Fable called The Lion’s Share.

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