How the Cheetah Got His Spots
From The Orphan Calf and the Magical Cheetah: Cheetah Poems, Essays and Illustrations by the Children of Namibia
Published by the Cheetah Conservation Fund: New Namibia Books, 1996
A long, long time ago when animals could still talk, there lived a cheetah. He was the only one from his species that survived. This cheetah had a beautiful gold skin and was very quick; therefore the other animals called him Blitz.
His prey could not easily escape him, and he could always find lots of wild animals, like rabbits, springbok, and hares. So, whenever he was hungry, he would go down to the river and he would always find something close by to eat.
One day Blitz was down by the river, getting ready to pounce on a springbok for lunch. But when he looked up, he saw a hunter's rifle pointed at him. Blitz became frightened and he ran and ran as fast as he could. Running was something that Blitz was very good at, so good in fact, that after a few minutes, he realized that he had run far away from home. Now he was in a strange place where nothing looked familiar and food was scarce and he was getting very hungry now.
Fortunately, Blitz came across a hare, and just as he was about to eat him, the hare begged him not to, promising Blitz that there were many hares nearby much fatter than he. Blitz grimaced suspiciously and told the hare to speak quickly if he wanted to live.
With that the hare walked over to a big, dangerous-looking rock and told the cheetah that he must strike the rock as hard as he could with two stones that the hare gave him. And so Blitz took the stones and hit the strange looking rock with all of his might. Well, it turned out that this big rock was actually a beehive and the next moment Blitz was being tackled by a swarm of bees. Blitz ran as quickly as he could to the nearest river and jumped into the water. Meanwhile, the hare ran in the other direction and managed to escape.
When Blitz got out of the water, he was covered in spots from all of the bee stings that he had received. The other animals asked him, "What happened to your beautiful gold skin?" He would just look angrily at them and walk by. In time though, he began to like his spots and he became proud of them because they made him look different from all of the other cats. But form that day forward, Blitz and the hare were bitter enemies.
There are over 3000 spots on an adult cheetah's coat.