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Happy Birthday, Leo

Happy Birthday to all born under the sigh of Leo.

Does it look like the lions are quarreling? I did this drawing thinking that I would illustrate A.A. Milne's wonderful poem, The King's Breakfast,

(Nobody, my Dear, could call me a fussy man, I only want a little bit of butter for my bread!")

with lions as the King and Queen. I lost interest when I realized that there would be copyright issues, but I still love this.

Before I go on I need to say that the majority of my family members were born under the sign of Taurus, and I'm thinking of them this week partly because I didn't greet all of them on their days, and partly because of a post this morning in Marginalian, the blog formerly known as Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. She wrote about Ferdinand, who I wrote about a few years ago in a Happy Birthday, Taurus blog post.

Remember Ferdinand was raised to fight in the bull ring but he was a peaceful bull and all he wanted to do was to sit and smell the flowers. Written in 1930 the book by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Larson, became fodder for the culture wars, as it seemed too pacifist for the times. I think it's meaningful for today, especially this quote;

In a stark affirmation of Iris Murdoch’s timeless observation that “tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify,” the book was deemed pacifist propaganda, banned in Franco’s Spain and burned in Hitler’s Germany.

If you have Hitler, Franco and Mussolini all mad at you you must be doing something right. You can read the whole piece here;

Let's get back to the Lions because it's really their day. Are there any stories about a lion? How about Aesop?

A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion's nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.

"Spare me!" begged the poor Mouse. "Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you."

The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.

Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion was caught in the toils of a hunter's net. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.

"You laughed when I said I would repay you," said the Mouse. "Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion."

A kindness is never wasted.

That reminds me of the sign on my street;

"If we all do one random act of kindness daily we just might turn things around." Max Kornfeld.

Anyway, I was talking about the Lion, and all my dear Leo friends, like Alan, Molly, David, Jon, Joan, Cheri. Here are some lions for you to share.

One of my very first etchings--my first aquatint.

From my series of New York's outdoor sculptures--the Sherman Monument visits the Library.

Leo and Leon or Patience and Fortitude

These two really tickle me--they flank the entrance to what I thought was the Museum of Natural History in Paris but now I'm not sure. I'd love to know their story. If you recognize them, please let me know.

Speaking of cherubs and lions, this is Sunny Mari Sherman.

So, Happy Birthday, Leo and to everyone, remember to be kind and to take time to sit and smell the flowers.

July 21, 2022

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