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The Lion on the Road

Lion on the Road (The)


THIS collection of short fiction is somewhat different from previously published volumes. In a way it is experimental. I have always maintained that stories should be entertaining. Almost everyone loves a story, but some draw the line when the stories become propagandist, or try to point out some moral. That sort of approach spoiled stories for us when we were young and our teachers used to say, in effect, 'Now, children, the point of this story is . . .' Of course, stories teach us something. It was the way heads of families and elders of tribes taught their cultures, inducting the young into ancient wisdom. Song, visual art and literature have helped to mould us in our various cultures.

Most of us are fascinated by the stories that come out of our own culture and put us in living touch with the past. At the same time, contemporary writers of yarns like to show how the culture is developing in the present and what it may be moving towards in the future. In this sense entertainment is not merely escaping from the problems we face daily, but is a way of coping with the present, even seeing value in it, and perhaps learning something useful. I have taken a few stories out of Hebrew history because, for certain reasons, this is not an area many of us explore. We shy away from what we call 'religion', and, perhaps, rightly so: religious people are often uncertain people, and even dark in spirit. They are searching for something in a world which often does not seem to make sense. In many ways they are like philosophers who seek to rationalise humanity and the universe, but who seek to do it without referring to any deity.

There are so many people, who would not call themselves religious, who are, to use the modern term, 'looking for something'. My last batch of short stories Laughing Gunner had no religion in it, but it won the 1993 Christian Book of the Year Award. The judges said it spoke to all who seek to understand the nature of human beings in a difficult world-that mixture of the best and worst in us all. I have been gratified by the way it has been received by those who would see themselves a long way from religion. Going back over some of the old stories of Hebrew history, I was struck by the authentic nature of them, and their value for our age. I was also impressed by the fact that we have carried bits and pieces of them into our language and thought forms. Take for example, the story called 'Oh, Jezebel!' Jezebel represents to us a hard, yet seductive, woman, seeking to win people by her feminine wiles. How wrong we are! She was one of the most powerful women listed in the Hebrew chronicles, and as a woman of another culture made an impact that lasted for generations. Her end was appalling, but her story needs to be retold in the modern idiom.

'The Lion on the Road', the title story of this book, has fascinated me for months on end. To write it as a 'religious' story would be to miss the dynamics of mystery. Someone has said that a mystery is a puzzle for a man to solve, but for a woman it is something to live in. A story that lacks mystery or simply treats it as a puzzle does not easily grip the mind, or, for that matter, the heart. Anyway, I include these old stories, and trust that the experiment will have some success. The remainder of the yarns follow my usual line and pattern. I hope that the new and the old, together, prove entertaining in the best sense of that term.


Lion on the Road (The)

Rev. Geoffrey Bingham

by Rev. Geoffrey Bingham

Publisher: Troubadour Press

Subject: Short Stories

Book Code: 338

Pages: 266 pp

Pub. Date: 1994

ISBN: 1 87565 306 6

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