This tale was originally created on Dec.11,2001 and is copyrighted to Kristin Nienaber(KristynLioness).

I am a jaguar slinking through the dense rainforest. My keen senses detect that I am the hunted this time, not the hunter. In a moment’s time, I could be lying dead like so much of my prey has before me. I think of my cubs at home. How will they survive without their mother? My claws are unsheathed and I climb up a tree, hoping that the foliage will protect me. Loud noises sounding very much like my roar sound out, as well as a shriek as another jaguar is shot down. I did not know I could do this, but perspiration forms on my forehead, and my breathing is labored with nervousness. I scent the air, wrinkling my nose when human stench reaches it. It’s all I can do to keep from even quietly grunting my disgust. My heart races in my anxiety to be with my cubs. For all I know, they could be lost, or killed, or…..I can’t even bear the thought!

I can’t smell my enemy anymore, so I climb down from the tree, my muscles tensed up with the restriction of my cautious movement. A toucan sends out its call up ahead, and I want to silence it forever. The stupid bird could have alerted the human to this very spot! My throat closes in my extreme anxiety, and I painfully swallow to clear it. I scent the air again. The enemy is near!!!! I hear the bushes rustle! Wild terror grips me, and I run as fast as I can to the nearest shelter. I find a large weasel burrow, and go in there. After a minor tussle, the weasel is no more. Shortly, I see booted feet outside the burrow , and then a long double-holed cold stick is poked through obviously trying to find me. I close my eyes so they won’t glow in the darkness, and shrink away as far back as possible. The stick pokes a clump of dirt, and it falls down around me, but I don’t even shake the dirt off. Finally, the human and his stick leave. I shake the dirt off, and step out of the burrow taking the weasel carcass with me for food. The bright light blinds me for a while, and not until my eyes adjust do I move on. If I can make it home, I know it’ll be all right.

On the way home, I start at the sight of a full-grown jaguar’s body with all the fur stripped off. Now I know I MUST survive! I could not lie there in the rainforest with all my beautiful fur stripped off! In my surprise, I’d dropped my weasel. I pick it up, and sniffing the air, move on, taking advantage of every tree, bush, and shadow. As I get closer and closer to my cave, happy visions of my three cubs tumbling about and playing fill my head. My step becomes lighter, even though I’m still on the alert.

Finally, I arrive at my cave. I quietly call my cubs to me, but no small, spotted balls of fur come running. I lay down the weasel and slowly enter my cave. There are scavengers inside picking at something! With bared teeth, I chase them away. They leave immediately. What I see fills me with alarm. There are three small limp bodies. They are laying in pools of blood. My beautiful, lively, healthy cubs are dead! What’s more, their fur was stolen too! I sit down on my haunches, droop my tail, and place a paw over my face in grief. Then, I go outside my cave, and dig a large hole, dirt flying everywhere. I roll each of my cubs into the hole, and cover it with dirt and rocks.

An intense rage fills me. My green eyes narrow, and my nose wrinkles as I bare my teeth in a snarl. I am no longer the hunted. I am the hunter now. My prey is the one who killed my cubs only for their fur: Fur-stealer! I go on the prowl once again, taking advantage of every tree, bush, and shadow. Monkeys start hollering, and birds call. I pay no mind to them. I sniff the air for His scent. Good, Fur-stealer isn’t that far away. I unsheath my lethal black claws. I find him about to kill someone else’s cubs with his cold stick.

I roar and pounce immediately knocking him down. The cubs go hide in their burrow, their skins literally saved. The man has dropped his stick, and I find he’s defenseless without it. I don’t care. My teeth and claws tear into him, as he desperately tries to keep me from doing so. The mother of the cubs I saved is here now, and she curiously watches the fight. Fur-stealer gets out a detached claw with some wood at the end, and slashes me in the shoulder with it. I yowl in pain and promptly retaliate by slashing his shoulder.

Finally, Fur-stealer is dead. All fur- clad animals are safe. I lay on the ground too wounded to move. My senses are not as good as they had been earlier today, and I feel rather light. The mother jaguar is thanking me for saving her cubs, and I can only grunt in return. She washes my wounds as if I was a cub, and I’m grateful for it, but it’s already too late. Everything is getting darker and blurrier. Every sound is hollow and seems far away. The last thing I see is my body lying on the jungle floor as I hover above it. Just as I wanted, I did not die with the indignity of my fur stolen. I died protecting my fellow jaguar. I float on until I reach the big jungle in the sky where I can live happy forever.