Ahadi, the Lion King, loved both his sons, Mufasa and Scar. Mufasa was older and would someday be king, so Ahadi spent hours with him, teaching Mufasa what he would need to know. As time went on, Scar grew jealous of Mufasa. Then Ahadi broke a promise to Scar. Angry and vengeful, Scar made his own promise: One day he would rule the Pride Lands.
Kopa, the prince of Pride Rock, is playing with his friend, Pimbi, when he remembers that his father, Simba, had promised to take him to the summit of Pride Rock that morning. After delivering a quick goodbye to Pimbi, Kopa hastens to Pride Rock, where he is greeted by his mother, Nala. Shortly into their conversation, they are disrupted by the arrival of Simba and two of his loyal helpers, Rafiki and Zazu.
Nala explains to Kopa that there has been another disruption at the water hole, but Kopa ignores her and bounds over to Simba, declaring that he is ready to visit the summit. To Kopa's disappointment, Simba explains that he must deal with the crisis at the water hole first. Disappointed, Kopa laments his father's broken promise. When Simba attempts to get Rafiki's support for the decision, Rafiki unexpectedly sides with Kopa and explains that many kingdoms have suffered from broken promises. Simba starts to protest, but Rafiki interrupts him and begins a tale about Simba's father, Mufasa, and his evil uncle, Scar.
Long ago, Rafiki was a wanderer who happened across the kingdom of the Pride Lands. He arrived during a severe drought and was advised to rest in the shade of Five Stones by Zuzu the hornbill. There, he was attacked by three hyenas, but rescued by the king of Pride Rock, Ahadi, and his two sons, Mufasa and Taka. Ahadi questioned Rafiki on his business in the Pride Lands, and Rafiki explained that he was seeking knowledge. Intrigued, Ahadi invited Rafiki to come to Pride Rock and discuss the kingdom's troubles with him.
Together, Rafiki and the royal family journeyed to Pride Rock, where Ahadi and Rafiki discussed the kingdom's problems for many hours. When night at last fell, Rafiki was invited to spend the night with the pride. He accepted, choosing to sleep next to Ahadi's eldest son, Mufasa. The two discussed the spirits of old, and Mufasa revealed that his brother, Taka, did not get along well with their father.
Eventually, the two said good night and settled down for sleep, but Rafiki was awoken by a rustling in the leaves, which turned out to be a cobra. Mufasa awoke and started to rise, but Rafiki ordered him to stay still and began to speak to the cobra, telling it that they were brothers and in harmony with all living creatures. The snake relaxed and slithered away, much to Mufasa's shock, and Rafiki explained that he had learned the art of snake-taming from a baboon in his homeland of Grass Walls.
With the danger abated, the two went back to sleep, though Rafiki suspected that Taka had purposefully planted the snake on their ledge.
A royal crisis
The next morning, Rafiki sat down to eat breakfast at the top of a tall tree. In the midst of his meal, he spotted the same three hyenas who had attacked him before – Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed – gathering together at the base of the tree. Unaware of their audience, the three complained about Ahadi's kingship and plotted to depose him and his heir, Mufasa, from the throne.
Once the hyenas wandered off, Rafiki hastened to warn Ahadi of the danger, but found that the king was occupied with a crowd of disgruntled Pride Landers, who were complaining about the shortage of food and water, and the constant threat posed by the hyenas. In order to calm the crowd, Ahadi promised to deal with the hyenas, but Taka interrupted, reminding his father that he had promised to take his sons hunting that morning.
Ahadi regretfully informed Taka that the hunting trip would have to wait, to which Taka asserted that his father was always valuing his duties as king over his family. Ahadi explained that being king meant taking on certain responsibilities and that Mufasa seemed to understand this. Distraught, Taka accused Ahadi of favoring Mufasa.
Before Ahadi could offer a defense, the Pride Landers interrupted, arguing that the throne was less important than their current situation. Ahadi agreed, then pleaded with Taka to understand. At first, Taka continued to accuse his father of having broken his promise, but he quickly changed his mood and asked Mufasa to come hunting with him instead. Though Mufasa responded positively, Rafiki suspected Taka of having sinister intentions.
Just then, Zuzu joined Rafiki and commented that she had been aware of the kingdom's many problems before they had come to Ahadi's attention. Rafiki thought to himself that she could prove of use to the Pride Lands.
Before departing for the hunt, Taka told Mufasa that he had something to do first. A suspicious Rafiki decided to follow him and witnessed him meeting with Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed at a dry water hole. Taka warned the hyenas that his father was searching for them, and they questioned him as to why he was not out hunting with Ahadi and Mufasa. Stiffly, Taka explained that plans had been changed, and the hyenas suggested that he make Mufasa look bad so that Ahadi will stop playing favorites with his sons. Intrigued, Taka agreed, and he promised to deliver the hyenas leftovers from his hunt for their help.
As Taka departed, Rafiki followed him, but along the way, he fell from a tall tree and blacked out. When he came to, Zuzu was there to help him to his feet and notify him of where Ahadi and his sons were. In a panic, Rafiki ordered Zuzu to fetch Ahadi while he stopped Taka from bringing Mufasa to harm. Zuzu departed at once, and Rafiki followed Mufasa and Taka's scents to where a cape buffalo named Boma was standing belly-deep in a pool of water. Though Taka was nowhere to be seen, Mufasa was cautiously approaching the cape buffalo.
Rafiki asked Mufasa what he was doing, and Mufasa explained that if he could convince Boma to share his water hole, the other Pride Landers would be greatly helped. Before Rafiki could stop him, Mufasa told Boma that he must share his water hole with the other animals until the rains come again. Just then, Taka approached Boma and roared, proclaiming that Boma must either share his water hole or face Mufasa in combat. Furious, Boma charged Mufasa, and Rafiki urged the young prince to run.
Together, Mufasa and Rafiki fled Boma, but Rafiki soon began to slow, and Mufasa ordered him to climb onto his back. Rafiki did as he was told, and Mufasa jumped a nearby ravine, carrying himself and his charge to safety. Boma overlooked the jump and fell with a crash into the ravine, from where he began to threaten Mufasa for what he had done and promise that Taka would come to harm as well. At Boma's words, Mufasa realized that Taka was being attacked by the other cape buffalo in Boma's herd, and he bravely threw himself between the herd and his severely injured brother.
A new era
Just then, Ahadi arrived at the head of a herd of Pride Landers and rebuked the cape buffalo for attacking his sons. With the help of an elephant, Ahadi bore an unconscious Taka back to Pride Rock, where he recovered under Rafiki's care. Once healed, Taka was chastised by his father, who told him that the scar he had earned would serve as a reminder of his recklessness. Mufasa questioned his brother as to why he had angered Boma, and Taka admitted that he had wanted to embarrass Mufasa and get even with Ahadi for breaking his promise.
Ahadi reminded Taka that instead of hurting his family, he had nearly gotten himself killed. He then encouraged Taka to rid himself of his anger and let his wound serve as a reminder of his mistakes. Though at first angry, Taka relented and asked to be called "Scar" from then on.
With Taka healed, Ahadi met with Mufasa, Rafiki, and Zuzu on the peak of Pride Rock and revealed that Boma's herd had agreed to share their water with the kingdom. Despite the good news, Ahadi lamented his inability to anticipate crises. Rafiki suggested that Ahadi appoint an "eyes and ears" of the kingdom. Ahadi wondered who would best fit the job, and Rafiki suggested Zuzu. The hornbill gladly accepted the position, and Ahadi appointed her family to be stewards to the monarchs of the Pride Lands.
After appointing Zuzu, Ahadi asked Rafiki to be his teacher, and Rafiki gladly accepted, with the condition that he could go on personal quests from time to time. Happy to oblige, Ahadi welcomed Rafiki as his newest follower and declared that a new era was beginning for the Pride Lands.
As Kopa listens, enraptured, Rafiki explains that the drought had ended a few weeks later. Zazu adds that his family had been immensely proud of Zuzu for securing them positions as stewards to the monarchs of the Pride Lands. Touched, Simba thanks Rafiki for the tale and decides to take Kopa to the summit after all.