The Stolen Cubs and the Tear Stains of Honor
Long ago, in a land bathed in golden sunlight and rolling grassy plains, there lived a wicked and indolent hunter. This hunter, draped in the shade of a sprawling tree, gazed down at a group of plump springbok grazing lazily below. The heat of the day dissuaded him from the arduous task of pursuing prey through the thickets, leaving him dreaming of a feast without the toil. As he idly observed the springbok herd, a sudden movement caught his eye—a female cheetah stealthily approaching the unsuspecting animals. The lithe creature, downwind of her quarry, advanced with precision and grace. Fixating on a lone springbok that had strayed from the group, she sprang forth with astonishing speed, capturing her prey in an electrifying moment. The rest of the herd fled in a panic, while the victorious cheetah swiftly ended the springbok's life.
In the shadows of the clearing, the hunter's envious eyes never wavered as the cheetah conveyed her prize to a shaded spot on the periphery. There, three charming cheetah cubs waited eagerly. The hunter's heart brimmed with jealousy, wishing for such a skilled provider without the effort of hunting. He envisaged himself indulging in succulent meat every day, all without lifting a finger. Then, a malevolent idea crept into his mind. He resolved to steal one of the cheetah cubs, training it to hunt exclusively for him. He schemed to make his move when the mother cheetah departed for the waterhole in the late afternoon. A sinister grin formed on his lips as he anticipated his treacherous endeavor.
As the sun painted the sky with hues of orange and pink, the mother cheetah left her cubs concealed in a verdant thicket and headed to the waterhole. Seizing his spear, the hunter stealthily trotted to the bushes, where the cubs remained, too young to be afraid or to flee. He vacillated between selecting one cub, then another, and then reconsidering his choice yet again. Ultimately, he abducted all three, convinced that a trio of cheetahs would undoubtedly outperform a solitary one.
Upon her return, the mother cheetah discovered her beloved cubs missing, her heart shattered. Her mournful cries, marked by dark tracks of tears down her cheeks, resounded through the night and into the following day. Her lamentations reached the ears of an old man, wise in the ways of nature, who hastened to investigate the source of the sorrow.
This elderly sage possessed the knowledge of the animal realm, and his discovery of the hunter's wickedness ignited a fierce anger within him. The lazy hunter, a thief and a defiler of tradition, had broken the sacred code of honor. For it was widely known that a true hunter must rely solely on his own strength and skill; any other means of hunting was an affront to honor itself.
Returning to the village, the old man shared the tale of the hunter's transgressions with the village elders. Indignant, the villagers confronted the wrongdoer and banished him from their midst. The old man then embarked on a mission to reunite the stolen cubs with their bereaved mother. The cheetah's tears of despair transformed into tears of joy as her precious offspring were returned to her side. However, the marks of her ceaseless weeping remained etched on her face forever. Today, the cheetah bears these tearstains as a poignant reminder to all hunters that the only honorable path lies in the ancient traditions, guarding against the dishonorable temptation to forsake one's own strength and skill.