Tales : Greater may be smaller

It is said that when the Creator was busy, at the beginning of time, making the creatures of the jungle, he made a promise to each new creature as he made it. To the monkey, he said “There, Monkey: No one will climb through the trees more quickly than you.” And to the deer he said, “Deer, such fine, strong legs I have given you. No one will move more gracefully than you.” And when he made the lion, he said, “There, Lion – I have given you sharp teeth and fierce claws. No one will be greater than you.”

But some time later, the Creator had a visit from all the creatures except the lion. “Lord,” they said, “the lion you have made is a tyrant. With his sharp teeth and claws, he attacks us whenever he wishes, and fears nothing. Can you not make another creature, still greater, that will put the lion in his place?”

“How can I? I have made a promise,” said the Creator. “I told the lion that no one would be greater than he.”

“But we live in fear,” said the creatures, “and the lion fears nothing.”

“Hmm,” said the Creator, “I have an idea.” And he breathed into the palm of his hand and produced another creature – a very tiny creature, that danced in the air, but was almost invisible. “There,” said the Creator, “Biting Midge, I have given you a merciless bite. No one will be comfortable in your presence. Now go and find the den of the lion!”

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