by Camille

This parable is the result of pouring over Chamorran history in an attempt to understand how they came to be what they are today.  Somehow, it didn't make sense why modern Chamorrans seemed to have lost their pride while the Mayans in Belize were still holding on to theirs.  Finally, we realized that it was the hand-outs from the American government that made the difference. Read On.

Many years ago, in deepest Africa, the cheetahs became jealous of the lions.  "Why is it that they get to be the king of the jungle?" they asked themselves.  "We are faster and smarter than they - certainly we are far more qualified to be the most important cat in the land."  So, they came up with a plan to de-throne the lions and take their rightful place as the kings of the jungle.

The cheetahs hid in the tall grasses and ambushed the great lion leaders, one by one.  "Now, we are the kings of the jungle!"  They congratulated themselves.  But the cheetah children watched new lion leaders step up from within the lion's pride and knew that their parents had not succeeded.

When the cheetah children were grown, they decided to try something different and settle the score once and for all.  "If we make the lions work for us, they will become our slaves and so lose their sense of independence and pride."  The cheetah children began to steal the lion's food for themselves.  Now, the lions had to work twice as hard to provide food for the cheetahs as well as themselves.

The extra work began to take its toll on the lions.  They soon began to look tired and worn out.  "We've won!" shouted the cheetahs.  "The lions are no longer the kings of the jungle!"  But, the cheetah grandchildren could see the glow of pride still shining from the eyes of the bedraggled lions and knew that their parents had not won.

The cheetah grandchildren thought hard about what they were seeing and decided to try a totally different method.  They decided to take away the lion's sense of independence and so deprive them of their status as king of the jungle.  The lions woke one morning to find a fresh meal waiting nearby.  At first they were suspicious, but eventually they ate.  Each night, the cheetahs would go hunting for the lion's next meal.  It wasn't long before  the lions stopped hunting for themselves.  They lost their fierce look and became complacent.

"Hooray!" cried the cheetahs.  "We are now the kings of the jungle!"  And it was true.  The lions had lost their sense of pride.  Their eyes no longer shone with confidence. They had become reliant on the cheetah's handouts. They had lost their ability to provide for themselves. 

After a few years of enjoying their new status as the kings of the jungle, the cheetahs became tired of providing food for the lions.  They discussed it and decided that they had been better off before.  The cheetahs were willing to take the risk of losing their position as the new kings of the jungle.  So, they stopped hunting for the lions.

It wasn't long before some of the lions began complaining to the cheetah.  "Where is our food?" they asked.  The cheetahs replied, "We are tired of hunting for you."  At this the lions began to panic.  "But, what will we do?  We can't live without food!  What will we feed our children?"  "You have sharp teeth and strong muscles," said the cheetahs, "you can easily hunt for yourselves.  Remember, not long ago, you were the kings of the jungle!"

At this the lions, walked away.  They began to hunt for themselves again and slowly, their pride and fierceness returned.  Eventually, they had more pride than ever before - so much so that their family groups are now known as "prides."  They vowed not to lose their independence again.  And to this day, the lions remain the undisputed kings of the jungle.

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