|Out of the Lion's Mouth
Author: a rice lily PM
What is marriage?Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 884 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 1 - Published: 06-14-04 - id: 1637222
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
OUT OF THE LION'S MOUTH
Kumara's eyes were downcast, as a proper bride's should be.
Only she wasn't a bride.
Kumara straightened her back and defiantly stared at the lion that stared back at her with eyes that did not hold any fear. The lion sat calmly on his back legs, his brown eyes mirroring Kumara's own.
The girl glanced around her, and saw that her friends, her family, the entire village had not noticed her silent exchange with the lion. Instead, they were focused only on the next girl in line, who walked calmly up to the lion and placed her hand on the lion's head.
He shook his shaggy mane, and the girl shrugged, saying, "He looks like a toy to me."
Envious, Kumara glared at the girl who was walking off with an indifferent smile. Would that her fate would be the same!
But Kumara knew, looking at the lion that was alive to her eyes only, that she would have to travel a very different road.
The boy on the right crossed over to the lion, and placed his hand directly in the lion's open mouth, ignoring protocol. A gasp went up from the audience, and almost as if to punish the boy's rudeness, the lion's mouth closed.
But the lion still did not bite.
"I know you're alive," the boy said, his dark eyes hiding the anxiety he had to feel. "And I don't feel like getting married, so just bite off my hand already, would you?"
The village was very still.
"You all know the rules," the boy continued speaking, now to his audience. "If the lion is alive to your eyes, he will not bite off your hand only if you are to be married. But if he looks like a plush toy, you can put your hand in his mouth and he'll bite it off. One way to prevent those not destined for marriage from cheating their way into it."
Kumara looked at him earnestly, aware that if this boy too saw the lion as a real, live lion, then he was the one for her…
But enough of this romantic nonsense. Kumara came to her senses. It wasn't like she was one of the girls who pined after a boy, ready to enter blindly into a marriage just because some lion didn't bite your hand off.
But… marriage was always like that, wasn't it? Always you entered not knowing who the boy would be, not knowing what he was like. This village put a lot of trust in this lion, to decide who would get married to whom and when.
And yet it had always worked out. Kumara had heard of other places, far away from the home she knew, and that marriage didn't always work out because people chose each other for something they called love.
Love? How could you marry someone based on love? Love was something that came over time, and unless the people knew each other like a brother knew a sister, this "love" was impossible.
Kumara had asked her mother about it, and she explained it the best she could to her daughter.
"When the people say they got married for love, they mean that they were fascinated by the other person's character, for the short time that they knew them and that they were filled with lust for them. They don't really love each other, but love sounds better than lust when you ask yourself why you're marrying that person."
That made sense to Kumara, and it also helped her deal with why the villagers put such absolute trust in the lion. None of the marriages chosen by the lion had ended in divorce or murder or abuse or any of the nasty things that came from marriages from the other lands. Honestly, sometimes Kumara had wondered at the stupidity of these people. Marrying after three months – how well were you supposed to know a person after three months? Love took a lifetime to grown, and these people expected to have it after meeting someone who could look pretty and talk well for three months?
And so it was with these thoughts that Kumara strode forward, past her place in line to the boy that was waiting, still glaring at the lion that held his mouth closed over the boy's hand. She placed her hand on the lion's head, and his cavernous mouth opened, inviting her to place her hand in it.
So she did.
Looking at the boy with dark eyes, she smiled to see the surprise in them. I am your bride, she told him silently, and for a moment, his eyes opened even wider, listening to the heartalk that only a bride and her groom could use.
Together, they removed their hands from the lion's mouth, and he sped away, tail flinging out as he bounded past the villagers.
Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth, Kumara said silently again, and the boy answered aloud, "Oh, my beloved."