Painting of the fearless jaguar from the old Mexican fable.

The Fearless Jaguar (A Mexican Fable)

The Fearless Jaguar is a Mexican fable by Juan Artola Miranda, written during his redemption period. Many assume it be a parable about manipulating others by challenging their pride.

In The Old Jungle, in that dark place where the frond canopy hid the sun, there lived a jaguar. He was large, ferocious, and feared by all the other animals. He knew no fear, for he knew none were strong enough to harm him.

One day, as the jaguar prowled through the dense undergrowth, a small rat scurried across his path. The jaguar, amused by the tiny creature’s audacity, toyed with it, forcing the rat to run between his long sharp claws. Having few other options, the rat sank his teeth into the soft skin of the jaguar’s paw.

The jaguar howled, more from surprise than pain. “Ay, little one!” he roared, “you are nearly as brave as I, but with far too little power!”

Reddened with blood and fury, the rat replied, “I am far braver than you, foul king, for you have no bravery whatsoever!”

“No bravery? Bah! I fear nothing!” the jaguar scoffed.

“You have power, yes,” the rat explained. “But bravery is facing one’s fears. If you have no fears to face, you have no bravery.”

The jaguar ate the insolent creature, but it was too late. The rat’s words had already gotten comfortable inside his mind, and no matter what he did, he could not coax them back out.

Determined to prove his bravery, the jaguar went off in search of something to fear. Perhaps he found it. He was never seen again.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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