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“So they waited till dark, and then the Leopard heard something breathing sniffily in the starlight that fell all stripy through the branches, and he jumped at the noise, and it smelt like Zebra, and it felt like Zebra, and when he knocked it down it kicked like Zebra, but he couldn’t see it. So he said, ‘Be quiet, O you person without any form. I am going to sit on your head till morning, because there is something about you that I don’t understand.’
Presently he heard a grunt and a crash and a scramble, and the Ethiopian called out, ‘I’ve caught a thing that I can’t see. It smells like Giraffe, and it kicks like Giraffe, but it hasn’t any form.’
‘Don’t you trust it,’ said the Leopard. ‘Sit on its head till the morning—same as me. They haven’t any form—any of ‘em.’“
— from “How The Leopard Got His Spots”, by Rudyard Kipling.
I’ve read this story many, many times to my wife. I drew the spotless leopard and half of the zebra a few years ago, and only last week got around to doing the rest of it.
The illustration’s not that great, really. I mean, it’s a fun drawing, but it doesn’t really illustrate how hard the zebra is to spot in the stripy shadows of the jungle, does it? I have a pre-modern brain. All my stuff is stagy.