But suddenly he
heard a snap of twigs, and there on the edge of the forest the lion
stood - not as Hari had seen him before, not a dark, shadowy form,
but a golden, pulsating Being. His thick mane and the tuft on the
end of his tail caught the rays of the morning light and glistened,
and his eyes were like two suns. Hari gasped and rose to his feet.
What he had seen before was nothing compared to this. The
lion-looked at him, and in his sun-eyes there was a compassion that
seemed to penetrate to the bottom of Hari's soul a compassion that
knew all and understood all. And in the depths of those eyes, Hari
knew lay the answer he sought. It was a shining, sure Something.
For several seconds
Hari and the lion looked at one another. Then the lion took a step
forward, and suddenly Hari's fear returned from the pit of his
stomach. He tried to remember how he had wanted to be eaten; but
seeing the lion face to face was another matter. The lion took a
second step. And Hari turned and ran.
Hari's misery after
this conduct was indescribable. The only thing I have ever loved
I, have lost through stupid, craven fear. Fool! Fool! Fool! He
was convinced that the lion would never return. And for several days
the lion did not return. Hari knew that he was not only doomed but
self-doomed, which was infinitely worse, to Nothingness.