How the Jaguar got its appearance
A long time ago, there was a verdant, abundant forest with an exuberance of lush vegetation growing and vines intertwining around tropical, tremendous trees. In the thick of the beauty, however, there was a hideous beast. It had no fur, no tail, nothing. It was Jaguar. Jaguar, although very sharp and quick, was solitary. No-one ever stopped to talk to him, no-one bothered to try to befriend him and no-one even knew him. He did not bother to make friends as he was rather diffident due to his horrifying appearance. However, another beast, who was even more hideous, lurked among the jungle.
The beast was called Envy. She was fanged and venomous. She had patterns on her scales and a feathered tail. It was so monstrous that you would scream “AAAAAAAHH!” at the sight of it. It was very reminiscent of a basilisk (a mythical beast) with a serpent like body and a long forked tongue lapping up the air for sight. It had everything. They say that if you looked into her eyes, you would see your heart’s envy. It was blinded, however due to her being so mighty and vigorous that not even the Gods could defeat her. Her ability to hypnotise you with your desire made her very powerful and compelling. The only way that she could be unblinded was with a bright light.
Jaguar was feeling rather sombre one day, as he went around questioning his own use. He went to ask the monkey. “Monkey, do you believe that I have any use?” he asked.
“You! As if anyone with grotesque features such as yours would have any use! Do not make me laugh!” the mischievous and rather vain monkey replied. So Jaguar left feeling rather dejected and went to ask the lion the same thing. The lion said the same as the monkey. Jaguar had decided that he had had enough. He went to the wisest creature of all the land, the quetzal bird. “Oh mighty quetzal bird, do you believe that I have any use?” he desperately asked.
“Not currently.” she replied, “However, your time will come soon. You will be a hero in an unexpected fight.” So Jaguar waited for the moment. Little did he know that opportunity was closer than he thought.
One day, when Kukulkan was delivering gifts, he had caught an illness similar to influenza but for Gods. Kukulkan-the God of day- burst into flames when he sneezed. Unfortunately, to avoid hitting the trees, he had to lay low, near the monster. Kukulkan was holding in a particularly large sneeze but was near Envy’s sleeping body. He tried to fly faster but it was in vain. He sneezed and burst into bright, colourful flames. Not only did this awaken her, but it unblinded her as well. She immediately ate a terrified Kukulkan and gained his strength. She then set out for the other Gods.
Waiting for something to happen, Jaguar prowled the lush, emerald jungle thinking to himself, ‘Why are you doing this? As if anything were to happen! And even in the slight chance that something big would happen, I would just run away and hide like the coward I am.’ Just then, all the animals came rushing past him apparently all of them were called to a summons by the Gods. “Although you’re not invited.” said the most useless creature in the forest, the slug to Jaguar. Jaguar thought it was for the best. After all, what need would the Gods have for him?
The Gods were worried. “She’s back. Envy’s back!” Chac wailed as the animals seated. “We need your help to fight her!” Chac told the animals, “Kukulkan’s already been eaten and now she’s stronger than ever (Envy not Kukulkan)!” Everyone prepared for battle as they armed themselves and wore the heaviest armour. They all sprinted towards Envy’s hideout, ready for battle.
Envy thought, ‘Who are these weak, foolish mortals who dare to oppose me! Nobody will defeat me!’ as she devoured the animals one by one and gained their strength. The Gods were trickier, however. They could not be devoured like the animals. They first had to be weakened, like Kukulkan with his influenza. She then had an idea. She looked into their eyes and mesmerised them by showing them what they wanted most. It was rather easy. Just show them being respected and well known. One by one, she devoured all the delighted and weakened Gods and soon became as large as the highest trees. Only Jaguar remained.
Jaguar felt an unearthly presence nearby. Envy was lurking in the shadows. She looked at this hideous, ghastly beast with delight. Finally! Someone more hideous than her! They must be destroyed. She went up to Jaguar and tried to flatter him but he did not listen. He knew she was saying white lies in an attempt to eat him. He knew what she was and would not dare look at her directly in the eyes, only through the reflection of a puddle. Soon she grew weary and rushed in front of him. “Look at me!” she yelled with steam coming out of her ears looking into his eyes and froze him in place. Jaguar was too slow to turn around and saw himself with fur, with friends, with beauty. He was delighted. However, Jaguar was not fooled by this utopia, knowing full well that it was fake, and shut his eyes. Thoroughly annoyed, Envy flew away, swearing for revenge. Then Jaguar thought of a plan.
Jaguar collected the most poisonous berries in all the land and mashed them up, concocting a deadly brew. He knew it would not be enough to kill Envy, but it would weaken her greatly. He dyed it brown and ran into the beast’s lair, which she built in the short amount of time, and shut his eyes. He was greeted by Envy, who did not trust Jaguar, and was allowed to come in. Jaguar got his brew and offered it to Envy as a sign of their truce. He said that it was the finest chocolate from Paradise and that it had extraordinary power beyond belief. She greedily took the cup with her scaly tail and slurped it up. Immediately, she was sick and out came all of the Gods and creatures which Envy devoured. Being weakened, Envy was condemned to the Underworld and the Lords of Death dealt with her. The Gods and creatures were delighted with their new hero and rewarded him. The Gods gave him fur, fangs, a tail and beauty. All the animals realized the error of their ways and all befriended him so Jaguar’s utopia in Envy’s eyes came to life.