Patience

Jaguar and Coyote sat on the plain, waiting. The antelope were grazing, slowly making their way through the grass to the predators, but had not come close enough yet.

“Vagabonds, all of them! I can hardly believe I must feed on this sickly crew. I remember when the antelope were all full and strong and healthy,” Jaguar said.

“Perhaps, though we said the same about them ten years ago,” said Coyote.

Jaguar grunted and sniffed the air, trying to estimate how close the herd was. “Not yet,” Coyote said, “or your patience will be undone.”

Jaguar grunted again and sipped sweet water from the nearby stream. “Did we not have larger herds, and more plentiful food in the past?”

“Perhaps; the humans have hunted greatly in this area. But though we have a few lean years, they will find themselves greatly reduced, for they do not know how to survive without abundance. We can live with little. They love their great feasts, of corn and fish and spitted boar. We, we can survive on pinecones and grasses.”

“Hardly a decent meal,” Jaguar grumbled, thinking to his previous night’s near-empty belly. “We should move.”

“The antelope are not close.”

“I mean in general. We should migrate. Jackal says there is great feeding to the south, herds and herds of fresh deer, moose, rabbit.”

“Then why does Jackal not live there? Why is he here? Jackal is a trickster. And remember what has been said by others about the West.”

“The people, aye.”

Jaguar sniffed the air; the antelope were closer now, and Coyote tensed. “No, we will stay. Men may destroy our world, but we will stay and watch them suffer for it. And when they are gone, we and our relations will live on, and bring the land back. And when it is our turn again, we will rule kindly. But for now, we merely carry on the way we have, for it has always worked for us.”

He leapt forward, Jaguar closely behind.

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