Tracks of Tears: A Zulu Folktale

Once, a lazy hunter watched in envy as a mother cheetah hunted a gazelle with the speed of an arrow. He watched her drag the prey back to her two cubs waiting in the bushes. And as he watched, he hatched a wicked plan. As soon as the mother left to hunt the next day, he snatched both cubs from their hiding place and ran with them into the forest. He would train them to hunt for him. When the mother returned to find her babies gone, she began to cry. She wept all night and the next day. She wept so long that her tears made dark stains down her cheeks. An old hunter passing by heard her. When he learned the reason for her grief, he gathered the village elders and together they searched for the cubs. The cubs were returned and the greedy young man was driven from his village. But those two dark tracks of tears remained on the cheetah's face and whenever hunters see them, they are reminded that men must only hunt in the honorable way of the tribe.