Once upon a time, there lived a young cheetah on the plains of the far off Kingdom of Animalia. The little creature had been raised by his mom, who loved and protected him as best she could in lion country.
There had been a time when mom could sleep half the day because the larger wildebeests had no interest in daily cheetah life, and there were plenty of antelope and Thomson’s gazelles to sustain the family. Even the powerful and aggressive Cape Buffalo, equal in strength to the rhinoceros, crocodile, and elephant, chose not to interfere with the feline world. Of course, it was lion country, always a danger, and occasionally a cheetah might run afoul of a leopard having a bad day; but that is life. The young cheetah learned that lesson from his mom, along with the ability to use some of his special skills such as blinding speed and semi-retractable claws.
As the cheetah grew, his world began to change. Hyenas and vultures became discontented. They looked at the young cheetah with eyes filled with envy and hearts green with jealousy. The hyenas were more powerful, but lacked the cheetah’s speed. They didn’t care about their God-given, bone-crushing, sabre-like teeth, or their ability to efficiently hunt in packs. They spent their days whining because they could not climb trees or outrun lions. The vultures envied the cheetah’s strength and stealth, and seemed unaware of their ability to fly, which most birds called freedom.
The young cheetah, no longer so little, now on his own since his mom’s demise, found himself threatened on all sides. Lion and leopard dangers remained ever present, but a new threat hit the plains in a form that defied Nature. Rather than using their enormous talents to sustain their own families, the hyenas and vultures hung around the rivers and grasslands waiting for the young cheetah to hunt.
And hunt he did. He met a lady friend, started a family of his own, and together they stalked their prey for many hours to support the little ones with whom they had been blessed. Yet, more than half their yield seemed to be snatched by the hyenas and vultures too lackadaisical to fend for themselves, too covetous to use their own skills, and too lethargic to develop new talents for self-sustenance.
And so life as the young cheetah knew it had disappeared. His own cubs never experienced life on the plains of plenty, with only the Natural perils of lions and leopards to draw concern. In time, when the cheetah and his mate completed their lives, their young cubs weakly attempted to continue the cycle of life, without the knowledge and guidance of those who walked the plains before them. The Cape Buffalo was still too strong for assaults by the hyenas and vultures, but their turn would come. After all, in the mindset of the scavengers, there existed certain unfairness among species. The Cape Buffalo worked his swamp land, grazing all day. The lions had their zebras. Why should vultures and hyenas be resigned to a life of toil? The giant buffalo could learn to consume less.
The cheetahs lived happily ever after – for a while. Then, along with all the beasts of burden, they went the way of all things. And the marauding vultures and hyenas, with nothing to scavenge, turned on each other.
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