In the beginning, before men roamed the earth, the lions reigned supreme over the savannah. Scottie the Zebra always passed by the lion’s den on his way home from the watering hole. One day, Ember, the queen of the lions, stepped out of her cave. She eyed Scottie suspiciously.
“Hey, you,” she said. “What is your name?”
“My name is Scottie.” he replied.
“What kind of animal are you? I’ve never seen a creature such as you before.”
“Well, I’m a zebra.” said Scottie.
“I don’t like zebras.” Ember narrowed her dark eyes. “They have too many colors.”
“What does that mean?” Scottie cried.
“Flamingos are pink, they have one color. That’s why they are the most beautiful birds. Lions are golden, they have just one color. That’s why they’re the best at ruling. Elephants are gray, just one color. That’s why they’re the smartest. Zebras are black and white.” she wrinkled her nose. “That’s too many colors. They’re not good at anything except being colorful.”
This hurt Scottie’s feelings. He went back to his house in the plains. Later that week, Ember held a contest. All of the animals came to her cave to show how talented they were. The nightingales showed that they could sing the best, and the trout showed that they could swim the best, and the baboons showed that they could climb the best. Then, it came time for the queen to judge who the smartest animal was. The elephants came and recited hundreds of facts, showing their great memory. But then, Stella, a parrot, flew into the queen’s cave. She had beautiful feathers, green, blue, and red. Stella could speak fifteen different tongues. She sang many different songs and recited poetry. Ember deemed that she was the smartest animal in the plains. Next, the queen had to judge who was the most beautiful animal. Everyone thought that the flamingos, with their long pink legs and big pink wings, would win. But then, Shadow the giraffe, walked into the cave. Ember saw his long, stately neck and his lovely smooth coat (which had two colors, rich bronze, and warm gold), and knew he was the most beautiful animal. Finally, Ember had to choose which animal was the best leader. There was a very heated argument. Were the lions the best leaders? The snakes? The hyenas? Before the fight could escalate any further, a jaguar, with its soft multicolored coat, stepped in and mediated the debate. Of course, the jaguar was dubbed the best leader.
At the end of the contest, Ember approached Scottie.
“I’m sorry for saying that zebras were useless,” she said sheepishly. “Now I know that animals with different colors can be smart, beautiful, and kind.”
“That’s alright,” said Scottie. “As long as you learned your lesson, it’s all good.”
And all the animals lived happily ever after because they realized that they shouldn’t judge people by their appearances.