Prickly Problems
Publication Information

Hakuna Matata


1995 – 1997



For coloring and informational errors, see here.

Prickly Problems is a magazine story inspired by The Lion King. It was published in two issues of The Lion King: A Nature Fun and Learn Series as part of the Hakuna Matata magazine series.


When Simba is attacked by a porcupine named Spike, it is up to a herd of elephants to save him.


Part 1

Prickly Problems begins by introducing Simba, the self-exiled prince of the Pride Lands, and his two friends, Timon and Pumbaa. At the start of the story, the three friends are watching a herd of elephants thunder past when they spot a young calf, Esme, trying to snatch a mouthful of leaves with her trunk. The three approach her and gently ask where her herd is going, to which Esme responds that they are traveling to an elephants' graveyard. Before she leaves, the friends fetch the leaves for her.

As Esme rushes back to catch up with her herd, the three decide to follow the herd and figure out what an elephants' graveyard is. With the herd in the lead, the friends travel across the savanna until they reach a barren wasteland ridden with elephant bones. There, Timon and Pumbaa meet Spike, a porcupine who offers to help Pumbaa find a meal of bugs.

Before Spike can lead Pumbaa to the site of the bugs, Simba jumps out of the foliage, roaring at Spike to stay away from his friends. As the cub moves to attack, Spike strikes out with his spikes, injuring the cub, and Timon and Pumbaa race forward to help their wounded friend. Just then, Esme shows up with her mother, and the elephants agree to take Simba to Grandmother Elephant to receive treatment for his wounds.

Part 2

Eventually, the elephants reach Grandmother Elephant, who treats Simba's wounds with special roots and leaves. To the relief of his friends, Simba awakens, and he is gradually nursed back to health. Once he is deemed fit by the elephants, Simba is released, and he and his friends start their journey back home.

On their way back to the jungle, Timon spares the life of a grasshopper, who comes to his aid when he falls and injures his leg. With the help of an army of ants, the grasshopper has Timon borne home, with fireflies lighting the path. During the course of the trip, the friends are nearly attacked by a lion until it is chased off by Spike. Together, the friends continue home.