The Cowardly Lion

Fandango tagged me for a 321 Quote me challenge on courage.  I am going with a story instead of posting two quotes.  Brrr was the name of the Cowardly Lion and he believes that he is a coward, because he has fear and this makes him feel inadequate.  The lion meets the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, Toto and Dorothy while they are on the Yellow Brick Road on their way to the Emerald City in hopes of meeting the Wizard of Oz.  This particular lion feels like he is not living up to the reputation that precedes him, as he is supposed to be the king of the forest.  When the lion hears the group approaching, he lets out a terrible roar and then he bounds into the road.  With one blow of his paw he knocks down the Scarecrow, and then he strikes the Tin Woodman who also falls over in the road and lays still.  Little Toto runs up to the lion barking, and the great beast opens his mouth to bite the dog, but Dorothy would have no part of that, so she slaps the Lion on his nose, as she cries out, “Don’t you dare to bite Toto!  You ought to be ashamed of yourself, a big beast like you, to bite a poor little dog!”

“I didn’t bite him”, said the Lion, as he rubbed his nose with his paw where Dorothy hit it.  “No, but you tried to, you are nothing but a big coward”, Dorothy retorts.  “I know it”, said the Lion, hanging his head in shame.  “I’ve always known it.  But how can I help it?”  “I don’t know, I’m sure.  To think of your striking a stuffed man, like the poor Scarecrow!”, Dorothy snaps back.  “Is he stuffed?” asked the Lion in surprise, as he watched her pick up the Scarecrow and set him upon his feet, while she patted him into shape again.  “Of course he’s stuffed”, replied Dorothy, who was still angry.  “That’s why he went over so easily”, remarked the Lion.  “It astonished me to see him whirl around so.  Is the other one stuffed also?”

“No”, said Dorothy, “he’s made of tin.”  And she helped the Woodman up again.  “That’s why he nearly blunted my claws”, said the Lion.  “When they scratched against the tin it made a cold shiver run down my back.  What is that little animal you are so tender of?”  “He is my dog, Toto”, answered Dorothy.  “Is he made of tin, or stuffed?” asked the Lion.  “Neither.  He’s a–a–a meat dog”, said the girl.  “Oh!  He’s a curious animal and seems remarkably small, now that I look at him.  No one would think of biting such a little thing, except a coward like me,” continued the Lion sadly.  “What makes you a coward?” asked Dorothy, looking at the great beast in wonder, for he was as big as a small horse.

“It’s a mystery”, replied the Lion.  “I suppose I was born that way.  All the other animals in the forest naturally expect me to be brave, for the Lion is everywhere thought to be the King of Beasts.  I learned that if I roared very loudly every living thing was frightened and got out of my way.  Whenever I’ve met a man I’ve been awfully scared; but I just roared at him, and he has always run away as fast as he could go.  If the elephants and the tigers and the bears had ever tried to fight me, I should have run myself—I’m such a coward; but just as soon as they hear me roar they all try to get away from me, and of course I let them go.”

“But that isn’t right.  The King of Beasts shouldn’t be a coward”, said the Scarecrow.  “I know it”, returned the Lion, wiping a tear from his eye with the tip of his tail.  “It is my great sorrow, and makes my life very unhappy.  But whenever there is danger, my heart begins to beat fast.”  “Perhaps you have heart disease”, said the Tin Woodman.  “It may be”, said the Lion.  “If you have”, continued the Tin Woodman, “you ought to be glad, for it proves you have a heart.  For my part, I have no heart; so I cannot have heart disease.”  “Perhaps”, said the Lion thoughtfully, “if I had no heart I should not be a coward.”

“Have you brains?” asked the Scarecrow.  “I suppose so.  I’ve never looked to see”, replied the Lion.  “I am going to the Great Oz to ask him to give me some”, remarked the Scarecrow, “for my head is stuffed with straw.”  “And I am going to ask him to give me a heart”, said the Woodman.  “And I am going to ask him to send Toto and me back to Kansas”, added Dorothy.

“Do you think Oz could give me courage?” asked the Cowardly Lion.  “Just as easily as he could give me brains”, said the Scarecrow.  “Or give me a heart”, said the Tin Woodman.  “Or send me back to Kansas”, said Dorothy.   “Then, if you don’t mind, I’ll go with you”, said the Lion, “for my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage.”  Little did anyone know what a great disappointment it would become when they finally were able to meet the great Wizard of Oz.

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