English: Male silverback(A.K.A MARK GRAHAM) Go...

Male Silverback Gorilla

Ikenga was the silverback leader of a band of gorillas.

One day, he called his young son, Eto, to come to him.

“Eto, one day you will be the leader of this family,” he said, “So you will need to build your strength so that you can defend them from enemies.”

“Thank you papa Ikenga, I will make sure that I eat much fruit and grow to be as big and strong as you.”

“Good boy Eto, but there is one other thing that you must do to gain the strength that you need.  You must fight me.”

“I can’t fight you,” protested the young gorilla. “You’re much too big and strong.”

“Yes, I am,” said the silverback, who smacked his son around the ear, sending him hurtling to the ground.

Eto scampered away to his mother, rubbing his ear and looking over his shoulder suspiciously at his dad.

A few weeks later, Ikenga called Eto over again.

“Are you ready to continue your lessons?”  he asked.

“No,” replied Eto.

But Ikenga wouldn’t take no for an answer and quickly pinned his much smaller protege to the ground.

The weeks and months went on and the fighting lessons continued.

Ikenga was much stronger than his son and always won, but Eto was gradually getting stronger and more skillful, and started to hold his own a bit more.

After a couple of years, Eto was reaching maturity and was a magnificent large gorilla, with a vast chest and rippling muscles.

His father challenged him once again and the two of them squared off in a clearing in the jungle.

The whole band gathered to watch as the powerful Ikenga launched himself at the confident young Eto.

Fists flew, tufts of hair floated through the air and the two beasts grunted and growled as they fought with intensity.

After what seemed like hours, Eto got the upper hand and eventually pinned his father to the ground.

He turned, faced the other gorillas and raised his tired arms in triumph.

He looked down at his father, who was beaten and bloodied.

Ikenga managed a smile and called his son close.

“I am so proud of you,” he muttered weakly.

“Thanks father, but I don’t understand, why does it have to be like this?  Why did we have to fight?”

“You would never have been as strong as you needed to be without the struggle,” Ikenga answered.  “But there’s one more thing that you need to learn before you’re ready to lead.”

“What’s that?”

“With strength comes responsibility.  Now that you are strong, you must have mercy on the weak and never, ever use your power to intimidate or manipulate them, but to lead them.”

Eto helped his father to his feet and as he did so, Ikenga noticed something on his son’s back.

“Hey everyone,  Eto has his first silver hair,” he proclaimed proudly to the rest of the band.

The rest of the gorillas cheered with delight and Eto went on to become a strong and wise leader.

I wrote this story for my youngest son, Logan.

I asked him what animal he wanted me to write a story about and he chose gorillas.

I pray that I can raise him to be a strong, yet merciful man who is able to lead others, just like Eto will.

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