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An unbelievable story

There was once a big flood, a very huge flood of Biblical proportion. A lot of ice in the mountains had melted and water rushed down in large amounts. Giant trees and plants came floating in the river. People flocked to see the rising water, some even spotting large animals. Then, on a Sunday morning I received a frantic call from my friend, who was at his restaurant named delightful – “Come here right now , you won’t believe what is happening.” As soon as I arrived, he took me to the kitchen where I witnessed something I had never seen before – a lion and a mouse !. The lion was resting his head on a table snoring and the mouse was fast asleep at his side slowly moving from side to side from the gush of air blowing out of the lion’s nose. I was bewildered. Where did the lion meet the mouse?

Artwork by Prachurya Baruah

There was a forest a few hundred miles away from the city and the lion must have come floating. During his childhood, perhaps, his parents had not taught him to swim. He was about to be drowned when he suddenly saw a huge tree floating by; he quickly jumped onto it, climbed it and sat on the tree-trunk. The tree kept floating downstream. One day passed, one night passed, two days passed, two nights passed, many villages and lands passed by when he finally reached the riverbank. But how did he meet the mouse?

As the lion stretched his paw to get a footing on the soil of the riverbank, he saw a small mouse coming out of a hole. He thought “Ah! Food” But as soon as the lion went to grab it , the little mouse raising it’s hand ( I mean raising its leg , how can animals have hands !) said –“Wait, wait. Oh mighty Lion, oh King of the Jungle, why you want to eat me? what will you gain by eating a tiny creature like me. If you want, I can take you to a nice place where you can eat to your heart’s content.” The mouse was street smart, a good speaker, or perhaps he learned the persuasive skills of a Toastmaster because when she finished, the lion readily agreed, “OK , OK , now hop on , please ” the mighty lion pleaded to the meekly mouse. The mouse was quite pleased, climbing upon the ear of the lion, she guided him towards the marketplace. Slowly the lion started, before increasing in speed, and - boom! - he took a giant leap, one small step for a lion , one giant leap for a mouse; they landed at the delightful restaurant. It was late at night, and nobody was inside the restaurant. The mouse entered through a hole under the rear door. After watching carefully, he located the wire connecting to the alarms and cut it with his sharp teeth. Did I tell you – the mouse was street smart? Satisfied, she pushed the switch to the sliding door– Oh Lion King, welcome, come in! The lion was dumbfounded; the kitchen was flooded with food. Different kinds of meat were kept hanging from hooks on the wall , some of them marinated in spices , some raw, some half cooked , mutton , chicken , liver , potato , onion , peas. Drops of saliva started dripping from the his mouth and his hunger increased ten-fold. He grabbed a piece of goat’s leg and was about to chew it when the mouse again raising his hands –I mean raising his feet screamed, “Oh no, you cannot eat like that here. I know you are very hungry , but you cannot eat in as you eat in the jungle. You must abide by the rules and regulations of every place; we say when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Now, sit in this chair, I’ll serve you, so to speak, I will be your waiter today.” The lion obliged and after a three-course meal and after a stupendous dinner both fell asleep.

The speech is inspired by Saurabh Kumar Chaliha, recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Academy Award

Friends, this is how I found them next morning, the lion resting his head on a table snoring with a napkin tied round his neck and the mouse by his side fast asleep, the table decorated with folded towels, the salt and pepper holders, a bottle of tomato sauce, and a flower vase. I was becoming more and more amused by my explanation when there was a sudden commotion. I saw firetrucks with emergency lights flashing. Someone called 911! The cops arrived and they were everywhere. The mouse heard the noise and hurriedly whispered into the lion’s ear – “lion uncle, wake up , wake up, the cops have come to arrest you.” But before they could escape, the policemen entered the kitchen; one drew his gun. Pointing to the lion he said, “Hands up.” The lion was clueless, he didn’t know that one should raise one’s hands up in the air immediately when a cop points a gun at him. “Hands up, Hands up!” the cop continued shouting. The lion was appalled. “What the heck? You humans think you are the best. But you don’t even have common sense. How can animals have hands. You fool, you morons, you despicable human?” But before it could react, he was shot. Fortunately, it was a tranquilizer gun, he survived. They could not capture the mouse though. It jumped down from the table and escaped.

Once upon a time, there was a lion who met a mouse that befriended him and it was delightful until one policeman drew his gun and told him to raise hands that he didn’t have …. Friends, I happened to be there, as the story unfolded right in front of me , it was unbelievable

Toastmasters Speech Evaluation by Daisy Luong

Ankur gave a speech in the Tall Tale theme with the title "An Unbelievable Story." Ankur immediately engaged the audience right off the bat, looking directly into the camera and using facial expressions to complement his vocal variety. His energy level was a strong start to the speech. A key thing Ankur did this time that really added to the speech was the use of good positioning of his body. For example when describing the animals peering into the restaurant, he got close to the camera as if looking through a window. When personifying the restaurant host, greeting the lion, he turned his body sideways to the camera. This positioning was very effective at illustrating the action in the story and personifying the characters, especially the animals. Ankur is commended for working to memorize his speech. It's difficult enough to memorize any speech, but memorizing a story that must entertain presents additional challenges. In spite of this, Ankur gave his speech from memory with only micro breaks in the rhythm when he had to recall the words. Ankur consistently raises the bar for himself with each speech. To continue raising the bar, some things to consider in the speech. could include where to add gestures for further illustration. For example, when he's describing the cops surrounding the restaurant, he says they were everywhere. One might raise one's arms/hands to illustrate cops being everywhere. Another idea might be to toss up one's hands and shrug the shoulders to illustrate the lion not knowing that he was supposed to raise his hands when the cops said, "put them up." Another idea to consider is where to insert pauses or play with word or syllable emphasis. For example, at the end, Ankur states "it was unbelievable." Since it's the last statement in the speech, consider slowing down the statement or drawing out the word "unbelievable" for emphasis, or emphasizing the first syllable in "unbelievable." These are ideas that might help Ankur take the speech to the next level since he's already at an advanced level, and a Tall Tale is the type of speech that would be quite challenging for the average speaker. Overall, Ankur raises the bar for himself with each speech. Just writing a tall tale speech is difficult. Ankur came up with an imaginative, humorous story that was thoroughly entertaining. Excellent work, Ankur!


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