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Treasures of the Kingdom, Number 50 (Fall 2009) | Timeless Truths Publications

Ezra and the Lion Hunt

Ezra picked up his toy rifle and went to find his boots.

“Where are you going?” Mother asked. She was rocking the baby to sleep.

“I’m going hunting,” said Ezra.

Mother smiled. “It is a fine day to hunt,” she said.

Ezra pulled on his boots and took his jacket off the hook.

“What are you hunting?” asked big sister from the kitchen. “Will you bring us some starlings for dinner?”

“I’m hunting lions,” said Ezra.

He opened the back door and big brother came in with an armload of wood.

“Lion hunting?” asked big brother. “You’d better take Stella along. She’s a good lion dog.”

Stella wagged her stubby tail. She liked hunting.

“We’ll catch big lions and little lions,” said Ezra, slinging his rifle over his shoulder. Then he thought of something. “Are there any real lions?” he asked his brother.

“Only cougars,” his big brother said. “Way off in the forest. But they won’t hurt you if you aren’t afraid of them,” he said with a laugh.

Ezra nodded. “Stella and I aren’t afraid of lions.”

“That’s good,” said big brother. “Have a good hunt!”

Ezra and Stella walked across the lawn and peeked around the hedge. No lions.

They stalked over to the garage, looking carefully for any sign of lions. “Smell anything?” Ezra asked Stella. She only wagged her tail.

Behind the garage were old tires and a big blue tarp. Something moved under the tarp. Stella barked and stuck her nose under the edge. Was there a lion under the tarp? Ezra held his rifle steady. “Get’m Stella!” he said.

“Woof!” said Stella and a little gray squirrel darted out across the lawn. It raced up a tree. Stella leaped after it, but she could not climb the tree.

“That’s a squirrel, silly dog,” said Ezra. “Come on! We are hunting lions.”

He started off across the field, his rifle on his shoulder just like when Daddy went hunting. Big brother and Daddy had shot a deer once. It was in the trees on the other side of the field. Maybe a lion would be hiding there.

It took a long time to cross the field. Geese flew overhead, honking. A flock of starlings landed and Stella raced after them. They flew up in a black cloud and disappeared over the treetops.

When they came to the tall grass, Stella started sniffing. “What do you smell?” asked Ezra. Stella barked and jumped backwards. Ezra aimed his rifle and crept closer. Something long slithered through the grass.

“Stop barking, Stella,” Ezra said. “That is only a snake.”

They marched along the tall grass until they came to the forest. It must be a forest, thought Ezra. There were so many trees and bushes. One tree was very dark and its branches touched the ground. A good place for lions to hide.

Ezra stalked closer and Stella followed him. Suddenly Ezra stopped. Stella stopped, too.

“Do you see anything?” Ezra whispered, staring at the dark place under the branches. He held onto Stella’s collar. The dog whined. Was she scared?

A jay screamed and Ezra felt his hair prickle. There must be a lion hiding under that tree. Ezra felt like running. Then he remembered what his big brother had said. He must not be afraid!

“Come, Stella!” he said firmly. “We aren’t afraid of lions!” He raised his rifle and ran straight toward the tree. Stella barked excitedly and leaped ahead. She dove under the branches and Ezra dove in after her.

“Bang! Bang!” Ezra shouted. It was dark. He stumbled over something big and furry. He was smacked in the head and scratched with giant claws. Ezra swung his rifle as hard as he could! There was a yelp and Ezra tumbled over.

Ezra put his arms over his head and lay still. Nothing happened. He sat up and looked around. Stella stood looking at him, wagging her tail. There was no lion. Only a big poky branch and piles of pine needles. Ezra frowned. His face hurt where he had smacked into the tree and there were scratches on his arm. Slowly he brushed off his jacket and stood up.

“Let’s go home, Stella,” he said. “I’m hungry.”

Slowly they marched back across the big field, around the garage, and across the lawn. Big sister met them on the back steps.

“Where have you been, Ezra?” she asked. “You are a mess!”

“Hunting in the woods,” said Ezra. He kicked off his boots and went inside.

“Is it time for dinner?” he asked Mother. She was standing by the stove.

“There you are!” she said. “It is time to clean up, Ezra.” Then she looked at him. “What happened?” she asked, reaching down to touch the bump on his head. “Are you hurt?”

“I was hunting lions and I got scratched up a little,” said Ezra, bravely.

“It looks like you tumbled in pine needles,” said Mother. “There is sap in your hair. I think you need a bath.”

Ezra scowled. He hated baths. But Mother just took him by the arm and led him to the bathroom. “I don’t want a bath!” Ezra howled.

Big brother passed them in the hall. “Is the lion hunter scared of water?” he asked.

Ezra frowned. “I don’t want a bath,” he muttered. “The soap always gets in my eyes.”

“Here is a washcloth to cover your eyes,” Mother said, cheerily.

“I don’t want a bath,” said Ezra again.

Mother smiled kindly. “Little lion hunter,” she said. “Look at me.”

Ezra looked up.

“Remember David the shepherd boy?” she asked. “Remember how he was brave and killed the lion and the bear?”

Ezra nodded. “I killed a lion, too,” he said.

“And were you brave?” asked Mother.

“Yes,” said Ezra. “I ran straight at him and whacked him with my gun! But then he got away.” Ezra sighed.

“I see,” said Mother. “But you weren’t scared?” Ezra shook his head and Mother gave him a squeeze. “I am glad,” she said. “Let’s pray that you can be brave about having a bath. Maybe the bath will be like Daniel and the lion’s den. Daniel wasn’t scared, was he?”

“No. Because God shut the lion’s mouths so they couldn’t hurt him,” said Ezra.

“Do you think God can keep the soap from hurting your eyes?” asked Mother.

Slowly Ezra nodded. He picked up the washcloth with a smile. “I’m not afraid of bubbles now!”