The Coyote and the Cougar

April 29, 2009
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It was a crisp spring morning. The sun was just rising over the highest peaks of the mountain. A pack of coyotes was waking up to begin all of their daily routines. They lived in a forest near the Cache la Poudre River at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The coyotes were preparing for the first big hunt of the year. Cobalt, a handsome brown coyote, had snuck off with his friends while the others were being told to stay away from the tar pit at the heart of the forest. As they strolled through the forest, another coyote bet Cobalt that he couldn’t jump over the tar pit. Being arrogant, careless, and brazen, Cobalt immediately tried to jump the pit. He didn’t make it.
All of cobalt’s friends struggled to pull him out. Foul-smelling, humiliated, with his fur stained black from the tar, Cobalt made his way back to the area where the elders resided. Upon seeing him, they quickly realized what he had done. They sent a young hunter that had just returned to find the pack leader. When he arrived, the leader said to Cobalt, “You are reckless, brash, and disobedient. Because of your terrible smelling strange black coat and thoughtless ways, you are exiled until you have learned the error of your ways.” Cobalt roared in raged and raced out of the forest.
While all this was happening, Jasmine, a silvery-white cougar, had been walking passed the forest. She was looking for a new cave home for her family. As she was strolling by, she noticed a large cave with a wide ledge leading up to it. The cave opened out to a large cliff that provided sunbathing and scouting room. It was unclaimed so she caught a few mice inside, and started to fall asleep.
Just then, Cobalt burst out of the forest. He spotted the cave and wanted it for himself. As he raced towards it, storm clouds began to blanket the once sunny sky. It was pouring when he reached the mouth of the cave and saw the huge, silvery-white cougar. Jasmine, being cautious and careful, asked, “Who are you? What is your reason for coming here?” in a sweet, melodic voice. Cobalt, in a harsh, grating voice said, “I am Cobalt. I have come to claim this cave for myself.” This angered Jasmine. She roared and told him, “If you want this cave, you’ll have to fight me for it.” Then with that the battle began.
Jasmine and Cobalt squared up and began circling. Jasmine, sly, cunning, intelligent, and ever calculating, was analyzing the situation. Suddenly, Cobalt charged, in an attempt to knock Jasmine off her feet. She dodged this type of attack a few times, realizing that Cobalt relied on strength and thought nothing through. So, Jasmine swiftly positioned herself near the edge of the cliff, just above the river. Cobalt charged once more and fell off the cliff as Jasmine dodged the attack. She had moved so fast that Cobalt had had no time to stop. The river then swept him away.
When he was finally able to climb up onto solid ground, he lay down for a moment, and began to think. He had been so bold and arrogant before that he failed to see the true cause of all his problems. Cobalt realized that he was exiled because he hadn’t listen, hadn’t thought the jump over the tar pit through, and had figured he was strong enough to make the jump. He also realized that if he hadn’t been so careless he might have been able to put up a decent fight against the cougar.
Cobalt returned to the pack a few days later once he had regained his strength. He sincerely apologized to the pack leader and the elders. They welcomed him back to the pack with open arms since he had finally learned his lesson. However, he still couldn’t hunt with everyone else the way he smelled. So, until he had shed all traces of his tar stained fur he stuck to hunting near the tar pit. It helped him work on learning how to think things through and be careful. Cobalt had learned his lesson thanks to a silvery-white cougar whose name he never learned. This troubled him until he was an old, gray muzzled coyote, when once again a problem was solved by a nameless friend.
Jasmine, with a sense of accomplishment was living peacefully in the cave alongside her mate and two young cubs. Although it had been many years ago, Jasmine had never forgotten the young coyote she had helped in a round-about way. After living to a ripe old age Jasmine finally met up with Cobalt again. He too was now old yet he still retained a faint gleam of mischief in his eyes. He grew wary upon seeing her and snarled loudly, his fur bristling.
Jasmine simply sat down and said, “I mean you no harm. I only wished to see the coyote I once fought.”
“I regret that battle. Not because I lost, but because I never even learned your name.” Cobalt replied.
“My name is Jasmine.” She told Cobalt.
“Well then Jasmine,” said Cobalt. “I must offer you my thanks. If it weren’t for you, I never would have learned my lesson.

They parted for the final time, not as enemies, but as friends. They would not see each other again after this brief encounter. A few weeks later, at the age of 85 (in dog years), Cobalt lay down to rest for the last time. Cobalt’s last thoughts were that for the first time in his life, even if it was only for a short time, he was content. Jasmine had seen Cobalt as the other coyotes lifted him into the hole they dug to bury him in. A few days later, Jasmine left this world to join Cobalt up in they sky.

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