Staying Alive
Staying Alive 1
Publication Information

Hakuna Matata


1995 – 1997



For coloring and informational errors, see here.

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


Simba finds himself in one dangerous situation after the next until he learns to conquer his fears.


Part 1

Staying Alive 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, Simba is playing hide-and-seek with his friends. While searching for Pumbaa, Simba picks up the scent of the warthog's mud-crusted coat and follows the scent to where Pumbaa is hiding. Deciding to play a trick on his friend, Simba climbs a nearby tree and springs down in front of Pumbaa, who cries out in surprise.

With Pumbaa found, Simba moves on to Timon, but the cub mistakenly climbs into a burrow looking for his friend and gets trapped in a rockfall. As Timon scrambles to rescue him, Simba crawls ahead to an alternative exit and ends up face-to-face with a herd of grazing wildebeests. Meanwhile, Pumbaa has joined Timon in his mad scramble to rescue Simba, and the two manage to save the cub from the horns of the wildebeests.

Once Simba is safe, Timon and Pumbaa chide him for being so careless, and Simba apologizes for scaring them. The three then make for the river, where Simba once more puts himself in danger by hopping onto the back of a hippopotamus. To the cub's relief, the hippos form a line and help him cross the channel, with Timon and Pumbaa watching in concern, but no sooner has he reached the bank when there is an ominous rumbling in the distance.

Part 2

From the horizon, a herd of stampeding wildebeests comes charging toward the friends, who stand watching in fear and shock. Timon and Pumbaa immediately jump into action, reaching the opposite shore safely, but Simba, caught up in painful memories, stays rooted to the ground in the path of the stampede. Only when his friends and the hippos in the river cry out his name together does he snap out of his trance and climb a tree branch in order to escape the thundering herd. However, as he's grasping for a hold on a branch, the herd brushes up against the tree and causes the branch to snap, sending Simba careening into the river below.

Seeing the cub fall, a hippo rushes to his rescue and bears him to safety on the opposite bank of the river. There, Simba is briefed by the hippos, who explain that the wildebeests are only doing what comes naturally. Simba then spots his friends on the far bank and calls to them, reassuring them that he is safe. The three reunite, and Timon and Pumbaa resolve to stick to their friend's side like mud.

Part 3

While recovering on the bank of the river, Simba spots a wildebeest calf being swept away by the river. Before he can save it, a hippo steps on his tail, preventing him from jumping back into the river, and the hippo who had saved Simba earlier volunteers to save the calf. Just as the hippo slides into the river, Simba spots crocodiles slithering into the water after the young wildebeest.

The other hippos quickly erupt into action, keeping the crocodiles from reaching the helpless wildebeest calf. As the calf is carried to safety by the first hippo, the others form a barricade to keep the crocodiles from reaching it, and the calf bounds happily toward its mother.

With everyone focused on the calf, no one notices as a crocodile sneaks up behind Timon until Pumbaa notices the danger, but the crocodile easily sweeps him aside and lunges for Timon, who fights back by sending a log rolling into the crocodile's open jaws. The predator backs off when he realizes that the hippos have noticed and are outnumbering him, and the friends cheer as the crocodiles slither away.

Meanwhile, Simba has overcome his fear of wildebeests, for he's realized that they are just like him, with fears and needs and desires. In good spirits, he invites his friends to play another round of hide-and-seek with him and then cheers for the hippos, who have saved the day again.