Once upon a time in Africa, where everything is bigger and more ferocious than anywhere else, lived a very big and ferocious lion. This lion would nowadays be known as an Alpha Male, and what a fine specimen he was.
He was huge and strong, with muscles rippling like knots in his chest, across his back and hindquarters. He had a big, bushy mane, and paws the size of dinner plates. Because of his size and dominant disposition, he had a large harem of fertile lionesses and a veritable flock of lion cubs.
But of all his attributes and possessions, what he held in the highest esteem was his tail. It was as thick as a mans arm, long and strong with a most extravagant tuft of jet-black fur at the end. So enamoured was our big boy with this fine tail, that he would often look back while strolling through the jungle to make sure that it was still there.
One day while touring his very large territory he decided to have a rest beneath a large tree. As he lowered himself carefully in the shade, a loud “SNAP” was heard and a burning hot pain shot through his body. He jumped up and bolted only to be whipped back by his tail which was firmly ensnared in a strong steel trap.
The pain was unbearable and he realised to his dismay that he would either have to chew his tail off to escape, or wait and take his chances.
At this point the story heads off in two directions.
He lay there for a while but could not bring himself to chew off his pride and joy. He knew that hunters had set the trap and that they were sure to return and check their traps. He knew that hyenas and other lesser scavengers were circling and just waiting for lack of water to take it’s toll. But still he couldn’t. It was not out of fear of pain, for he had endured much worse in his early territorial wars, but it was through fear of ridicule. He could not face his pride (literally and figuratively) tail-less. Nature eventually took it’s course and our friend succumbed, and was torn to shreds by hyenas and later vultures.
He lay there for a while, and eventually decided that his own survival, and thus the survival of his pride, was more important than his own pride, and with one firm bite severed the tail at it’s base and bounded off.
On his return the lionesses and cubs gathered around and sniggered, but a few growls sorted things out very quickly. In time, and despite all logic to the contrary (and because it’s my story) the tail grew back.
Now to the moral.
It is sometimes necessary to sacrifice what you treasure most to ensure survival. Sometimes what you lose is not that important after all. And sometimes (because this is my story), you get it back.