The Butterfly Lion
‘The Butterfly Lion’ is a beautiful story about a boy named Berty and his friendship with a Lion.
Berty is a young boy who stays with his parents somewhere close to the jungles, near a waterhole. He grows up seeing animals gather for their daily drink. With a busy father and an ailing mother, Berty hardly has much company and spends most of his time watching the animals and observing their behavior. One day, Berty spots a white lion cub with its mother and is thrilled at this discovery. Soon after, the unfortunate death of the mother lion leaves the cub alone. Berty is so fascinated by the cub that he makes up his mind that if he ever spots the cub again, he will save it and get him home.
To Berty’s luck, one day, he spots the cub near the waterhole. To his dismay, the cub is alone, weak, and vulnerable. Berty saves him with the help of his mother, and they get it home. The cub soon becomes part of the family as they feed it daily and keep it comfortable within the warmth, comfort, and protection of their home.
But this happiness is short-lived. Berty’s parents decide to send Berty to London for his studies and sell the lion cub to a circus in France. Berty is heartbroken but helpless. He tries to set the cub free, but the cub cannot survive in the wild. Berty is left with no choice but to let it go. He promises the cub that he will definitely meet him again in his lifetime.
Years pass. Berty grows up, joins the army, and fights in the war. One day, a coincidence makes him meet his dear friend, the white lion, again. Berty is a grown-up man now and more determined too. This time he wouldn’t let his lion go.
The story is written in the form of a narration by Berty’s wife long after Berty and the lion have died of old age, having lived a long and complete life. She narrates the story to a young boy studying in the same school Berty had studied. The boy is so intrigued by this beautiful story that he wants to learn more about Berty, his family, and the lion. This quest makes him discover something unusual.
First, through Berty’s wife and then through the boy, the story about the butterfly lion still stays alive.
It is a heartwarming story about friendship, love, and loyalty. It is a story about loneliness and yearning, with a backdrop of war. It is a simple, short read that is suitable for early readers though people of all ages can appreciate the story.
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