The first in the Little Lion Leo stories I made up for my son.
The Little Sleepy Lion
(The Little Lion Who Stayed Awake)
Once there was a little lion named Leo. He lived with his mommy and daddy in a large cave in the mountains. Every morning when he woke up, his mommy would go hunting for their dinner, his daddy would go meet with forest animals to talk about important things, and little Leo would go hunting crickets in the tall grass.
Little Leo would crouch down low in the grass, staying silent and still, watching for crickets to hop past. When he saw one, he'd dig in his claws, wriggle his body, then - POUNCE! - He'd catch the little cricket gently between his paws. Every day he'd catch at least 10 crickets before the sun finished its journey across the sky, telling him it was time to go home.
When he got home, they'd eat the meal his mommy had caught, then curl up in his little corner and go to sleep.
One evening, after he'd eaten his food, he asked his mommy, "Can I see the moon come out?"
His mommy and daddy looked at each other, then she answered with a smile, "Of course. Let's go greet the moon."
They stepped outside the cave, sat on the ledge, and watched as the bright moon began to rise into the sky. Leo saw the small dots of light in the big, black sky, and asked, "What are those lights?"
"They are stars," said his daddy. "They are suns that live far, far away from here."
"Oh." Little Leo looked back at the moon. "Is the moon a sun too? It shines like the sun and stars."
"No," said his mommy. "It borrows the light of the sun to give light to the night."
"Oh." Little Leo nodded thoughtfully as he listened.
"I need to get some sleep before I hunt tomorrow, so I'm going to bed now. Don't stay up too late now, you two. Good night." Leo's mommy went back into the cave and went to bed.
"Good night, mommy." Leo smiled as she left, then looked back up at the sky.
Soon, his daddy let out a yawn. "I need to get some sleep myself, Leo. You come in to bed soon, don't stay up much longer son."
"Ok daddy, good night."
Leo's daddy went into the cave to go to sleep. Leo watched the moon as it traveled across the sky and tried to count the stars in the sky. Soon, he saw the sun begin to rise and realized he'd stayed awake all night. He quietly went to his sleeping corner, curled up into a ball, and pretended to be asleep so he wouldn't get in trouble for stay up all night.
His mommy and daddy woke up and went to wake him up as usual. Then his mommy and daddy went to do what they had to every day, and little Leo went to hunt crickets as usual.
He caught his first two but began to slow down and barely caught his third. As the sun traveled across the sky, he moved slower and slower. Soon, it was time to go home for dinner, and he'd only caught his 3 crickets in the morning, no more.
He got to the cave, sat down with his mommy and daddy to eat his dinner, but didn't get to eat a bit before he laid his head down and fell asleep.
Late the next morning, his daddy woke him up. His mommy was already out to hunt.
"Where is my dinner?" Little Leo asked as his tummy began to rumble.
"You fell asleep before you could eat it, so I finished it off for you."
"But, I'm hungry now."
His daddy nodded. "Come with me."
They went out, and soon he saw his mommy, crouched low in the grass. She suddenly wiggled, then pounced, and soon came over to them. "Here is some breakfast for you, Leo. You didn't eat your dinner because you were too tired to stay awake."
Leo ate quickly, then looked up at his mommy and daddy. "Why did I fall asleep before eating? I was really hungry."
His mommy smiled. "You were really tired, too. You stayed up all night watching the moon."
Leo's eyes became big. "You knew?"
His daddy nodded. "We knew." He wrapped his paws around little Leo in a hug. "If you don't sleep when you're supposed to, your body won't work right. How many crickets can you usually catch in a day?"
Leo thought for a minute, then replied, "Ten."
His mommy smiled. "And how many did you catch yesterday, after not sleeping through the night?"
Leo looked down, sad. "Three."
His mommy and daddy smiled as they went back to what they needed to do. "Think about what happened, son," his daddy said as he walked away.
"Remember what we told you just now," his mommy said as she returned to her hunt.
Little Leo did not go hunt crickets that day. He went back to the cave to think. He watched the sun travel across the sky and thought about the what his mommy and daddy had said, and about what he had done the day before.
Soon, his mommy and daddy came home, and they ate their meal.
"Did you think about everything?" His mommy asked him as they finished their food.
"Do you understand?" His daddy asked as they got ready for bed.
"Yes. Good night mommy, good night daddy." His daddy and mommy smiled as little Leo went to his corner and cuddled down to sleep
The next morning, Leo woke up with a grin, a smile, and happily left to hunt crickets in the grass while his mommy and daddy went to do what they needed too.
He crouched, still and silent. He wiggled and pounced. He caught crickets all day, then joined his mommy and daddy for dinner.
"How many crickets today, son?" His daddy asked as they prepared for bed.
"Fifteen!" Leo puffed out his chest. "I caught more today than ever before." Little Leo looked out at the night sky. "I still want to see the moon rise sometimes, though."
His mommy and daddy smiled and walked out to watch the moon rise with little Leo. Then his mommy stood up to go in. "I need to go to sleep, so that I can hunt tomorrow."
Little Leo stood up as well and followed her in. "I need to sleep, too."
So, the family went back into their cave, and slept the night away.
- 2 -
MMXIX Serraia Storme