moved through the trees, like living fog.
Its ears twitched and its tail switched. It looked over its
shoulder—followed by a force that struck fear into its heart. As it streamed through the leaves and
branches, like a snake with legs, it grew more and more agitated and wild. It could hear the singing closing in on it in
the distance. The panther was
terrified. How could its pursuer know
where it was? It blended into the night
like black paint onto black canvas, but still the singing followed. It followed
like an invisible river. Legend had it
this tamer of wild things used its dreams to follow its prey. The deeper the panther glided through the
jungle, the louder the singing became. It
was maddening. Legend had it this singing hunter used the pages of the night
itself to read its prey’s movements. How
could the panther match such wisdom?
This hunter was said to even write messages in the leaves that signaled
others to help show him the way. This
hunter even spoke with other hunters—unafraid of the competition, and shared
his secrets and listened to theirs. This
hunter would not be denied. Still the
panther tried, it slid through the trees growing more and more afraid. Finally,
in complete and utter desperation, the panther turned and sprang on its
pursuer, knowing it would mean suicide—for no one conquered this hunter. But this being followed, this impending
calamity and doom, was too much for the panther to bear. And so it leapt, loosening a thick, guttural
growl. Its pursuer simply stepped aside,
and in the flash of a second was on the panther’s back, laughing, and singing. The panther shot up the nearest tree hoping
to lose its unwelcome rider. It leapt
from one branch to another, but still the hunter clung on, singing and
laughing, having the ride of his life.
And then the most feared thing began to happen—the thing the panther had
always heard would happen if you came into contact with this strange hunter. The hunter began stroking it behind its ears
as he sung the most hypnotic, luminous song it had ever heard. The singing began seeping into the panther’s
moon-colored brain. And then, like a
kitten, the panther began descending from the treetops until it finally
alighted onto the ground. It tried one
last time to run, but its legs gave way, and soon it was stumbling and
splashing through the dew-drenched ferns until it collapsed, helplessly
swooning. The hunter kept petting it and
singing his lullaby of morning and sun, of eternal spring and eternal summer,
of rivers of laughter and ponds covered with golden leaves. The panther just closed its green eyes
and sighed, purring, defeated, completely tamed. And the child, that rider of panthers and dragons,
threw his arms around the panther’s neck and wept. The panther, to the amazed delight of the
watching rabbits and tree-mice, wept also.
Then the child stood and sang his song even louder than before. As he sang a light began pouring from his heart. The light created a glow that surrounded the
panther. The panther stood on its hind
legs and began dancing with the child. With its deep,
husky voice, it began singing.
And as it sang, it danced in the light until it disappeared into the
child’s waiting, infinite heart.
Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog