the lion tamer

angharad hughes

only connect

the lion tamer

 

 

once upon a time there was a man. he was not very tall but he was very fat. he had rather a doleful face, framed by rather uninspiring dreadlocks. he looked like a buddha on a bad day.

 

the fat man wanted to make a lot of money without breaking into a sweat. he decided he would sell powders and potions and tablets. but he was too lazy to learn about medicine and become a doctor. so he had to sell his wares without the sheriff finding out. the sheriff did not like people selling powders and potions and tablets unless they were doctors.

 

first the fat man had to find somewhere to sell his wares from. he did not want people coming to his own front door. some of the people who buy powders and potions and tablets from people who are not doctors are not so nice. eventually he found had a nice flat. well, it wasn't his flat. it was rented by a lady. she had a boyfriend who was not such a nice guy. he was prone to hitting people who didn't do what he wanted. sometimes he hit them with a hammer. this made quite a mess on the floor of the flat. one time he hit someone on the stairs up to the flat. the neighbours did not like this. there was a large pool of blood.

 

it was not just the blood that got the neighbours down. it was also the noise. sometimes the noise would just be music. but often it was the sound of fighting. one time a band of men came to the flat and smashed it up. the neighbour upstairs had a little boy who was terrified. she had to leave her home and move to somewhere quiet.

 

eventually the sheriff took the lady and her boyfriend away to the castle for a little holiday with the queen. her flat was locked up. this left the fat man with nowhere to sell his powders and potions and tablets. so he found another lady. she had a house. this made selling the powders and potions and tablets much easier. people could just pull up in their cars and beep their horn. they didn't even have to get out of the car. business was good. people came to buy powders and potions and tablets all day and all night. the only problem was the beeping of horns woke up the neighbours. that and the fighting.

 

one of the neighbours was a very brave man. he had been a soldier, and had fought at a famous battle in a famous war. after that the man had been a lion tamer and had sailed the seas with a travelling circus. but even the lion tamer was frightened by the fat man and his friends.

 

the sheriff came to hear about this. it did not seem fair to him that a man who had fought in a famous battle and travelled the world with lions should not be able to grow old in peace. the sheriff and his men took the magic battering ram and went to pay the lady a visit.

 

the lady quite clearly was not expecting them. she had not put the kettle on. they found all sorts of interesting things. the lady had not had time to tidy up. there were blades and mirrors and strange lamps and tiny furnaces. there were piles of powders and potions. there were children's toys and clothes, and a collection of very pretty dolls.

 

and there was a letter from the lady's daughter, who had been taken away by the kind ladies to live with some people who would feed her. in the letter her daughter wrote that she was sad and that she missed her mother and cried at night. the ink in the letter was smudged where someone had put a drink on top of it.

 

the lady was taken away in a van for a holiday with the queen. her house was closed up with big metal shutters on the doors and the windows. the very pretty dolls sat in a row in the dark bedroom, like dancers waiting to go on stage.