THE EMPEROR

Darkness of the night has just started to clear. The sun hasn't yet opened his eyes properly. But birds are chirping from amongst the green leaves of trees. Rabbits, foxes and wild cats come out of their holes. A fox looks about, thinking where it should go today.

Suddenly the birds' chirping can't be heard anymore. An uncomfortable silence comes down. The reason is clarified instantly. The emperor is advancing toward the small pond, crushing withered leaves under his feet. He looks around with his bright yellow eyes, as if ensuring that everything's okay.

Then he bent down near the water body and drank a little water. A tree has bowed down so much that it's leaning over the pond, creating something like a bridge. The emperor walks onto the trunk and lies down. His dinner last night was pretty sufficient; so he isn't going to hunt any time soon now. Instead, he thought about to taking a good long rest. An owl cried out foolishly and the emperor silenced him with a single roar. The silence from before prevails.

A herd of deer is grazing on the grassy river bank. Parrots, martins, parakeets and several other birds are constantly chirping. The kingfisher is jumping into the water and emerging with a fish in its beaks the second later. A very peaceful scenario.

All on a sudden that peace is broken by a loud unnaturalnoise. The deer looks up and start running toward the deeper part of the forest. The kingfisher has also disappeared. A motorboat appears from round the corner of the river. The annoyed magpie peeks from behind the leaves, "Who is it disturbing us at this hour?" and sees two human on the boat. The whole forest has gone dead silent.

The man standing on board yelled at the man who is sitting down on one end. "Didn't I tell ya to stop the engine and use the oars? Now look, the animals have all gone into hiding. What do ya say now?"

The boatman stops the engine with a sullen look and starts rowing. The other man is still cursing. As soon as the boat nears the bank he jumps off. Before he got off he picked up a long stick-like thing.

The magpie looks carefully and recognizes the thing instantly. He at once warns everyone, "The human have come with a gun! Everybody, save yourselves!"

Hearing the magpie's chirp the boatman says, "Heard that, sir? The magpie's still calling."

The gunman barks, "What do I do with a darn magpie? I can't spot a single deer. It's been so long since I had deer meat." Saying this he enters the forest through the bushes.

The boatman feels sick. He curses the amateur hunter and pulls the boat onto the bank so that it doesn't get washed away. Then he decides to wait in the boat.

Shibu is running staking his life on it. Just now he saw that horrible two-legged creature. It even had that long thing in its hand. This creature had killed many of his family last year. Who knows how many he'll kill this time!

The emperor is sleeping cozily on the tree trunk. The elegant black stripes on his yellowing-golden skin are looking very pretty in the soft morning sun rays. Suddenly a loud noise wakes him up. At once he jumps up and smells the air. He can smell a burning stench. Just then a little deer leaps right in front of him crossing the canal. The child looks terrified.

The emperor isn't hungry right now. He asks in his majestic voice, "What is the matter, Shibu?"

If it had been any other time Shibu would have run away. But now the fear of human dispelled everything else. In a state of panic Shibu tells everything to the emperor.

Hearing it all the emperor roars furiously, "Who dare to attack my forest? How dare they even look at my subjects without my permission?" with one leap the emperor crosses the canal and disappears behind the trees.

Shibu begs him not to leave. Because he saw that stick-like thing in that human's hand. It could be dangerous for his majesty as well. But emperor is already out of sight.

The baby martins can't seem to understand what has happened. Everything happened so fast.

First that creature called human did something with that stick-like thing aiming at running Shibu. But brother Shibu at once fled into the deeper forest. That human was looking about, as if searching for something.

Just then the emperor came. He leapt on the human's back. But that human jumped out of the way. However, he couldn't dodge it completely. His majesty's paw hit his shoulder and he started to bleed. Then emperor attacked again. The human again got away and tried something with that stick but it didn't hit his majesty. But before his majesty could prepare for attacking again the human made that horrible sound once more and this time his majesty was hurt. His arm was seriously injured. The little martins hid their faces in fear. They heard his majesty's enraged roar a few times more. Again that terrible sound was heard, this time twice in a row. Then it was his majesty's wail, then silence.

When the little martins open their eyes they see the man from before has brought another one with him.

The boatman, "What have you done, sir? Killing a tiger is illegal."

The hunter yells, "Shut up you! Hurry up and take it to the boat."

The two seem to be in argument about something but nothing gets into the little martins' little heads. The two human then picks up his majesty carries him toward the river. With surprise in their eyes they see that the parrots, swallows, the magpies- all are watching in utter silence. Even the elephants can't be heard.

It's been a while since those two human took away the emperor but no one is stirring yet. Suddenly hearing a sound, they look down and see Shibu heading back toward the inside of the forest. They can't see but the owl sitting in the niche of a tree sees, with its sleepless eyes, how some tear drops roll down Shibu's cheeks.