The New Creature
nce, long, long ago, there was a forest filled with trees and animals, and it was beautiful, with streams running over hills and into valleys. Animals lived happily in peace and harmony. But then, one day, many years after the beginning of this wonderful place, there was a new species entering into this land.
"What is it?" the animals asked each other. "It's not a bird, or a squirrel, or a tiger. What could that creature possibly be?"
The new creature was the fiercest animal in the land. It even stood up to the strong tigers. But this brave new creature also was caring. It took care of young animals and watched over his sick friends.
Finally the animals decided to give it a name.
"Where are you from?" they asked the strange new creature. "What did they call you there?"
"I am from the West," the creature answered. "Out there they say that I am a cougar. But please, give me another name. I do not care for that name, cougar."
So the animals thought and thought and thought and thought and thought. Finally a young squirrel spoke up.
"Do you like the name 'panther'?" the squirrel asked. "I think it describes you rather well."
"Yes," the new creature answered. "I like that name very much."
And so the panther became the panther. More of the species entered into their very special forest. Soon many of the panthers were leaders in the great forest.
ne day, many years later, when the first panther was nearly ten (that's old for a panther), yet another species came into the forest. Some of the animals remembered when the first panther came into the forest, and assumed this was a similar species.
Suddenly a loud "BANG!!" sound was heard throughout the forest. It came from an object the new creature was holding. That day, many of the wondrous animals of the great forest were killed. I will not go into the gory details of the horrible battle.
As the last shot whistled into the skin of the panther, it was said that at that time all the panthers instantly changed. They began to eat any animal they could find, desperate for food because of this evil, new species.
And so there was fear among the animals in the forest because none could defeat the evil species.
So on a cloudy day in January, the first panther went to talk to Chief Wompun, a fierce Miccosukee chief. He and his tribe were also planning revenge against the evil creatures.
"Yes," Chief Wompun agreed, "That is a good plan. We attack white men when we get warriors ready."
A month later, the Miccosukee and some brave animals attacked. Seven storks, one crocodile, and five Miccosukees were killed by the white men. The Miccosukee and the animals killed seventeen white men. And the war ended.
And there was peace in the forest.
ears later, when the white men finally returned, they had changed. Now they worked with the Miccosukee to help the wonderful animals of the forest.
And in the end, they honored the panther by choosing it for their state land animal.
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Copyright ©1998 by Meredith
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