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This story is so very old that the only witnesses are dust and ashes long ago. In those days, the first men  that walked upright shared the Okavango, and, as they were new to the area, seeing a cheetah trapping a prey was a wonderful show to them.
The Cheetah were then much more robust than today, they had the classic belly of the big cat and he was so much alike their cousins the leopards, which was very easy to mix up, but man, that young and strange animal, for some reason, he preferred them .
One afternoon when Cheetah devoured the remains of a gazelle, one of those strange animals newcomers, the men, he said with admiration:
– What a beautiful race you’ve done, Cheetah, you certainly deserve to enjoy that delicious gazelle!
Cheetah was a little confused. What did the newcomer say? Cheetah had done nothing that leopards, lions and hyenas do not do every day: get their food.
“It’s nothing,” growled Cheetah, just hungry.
– Nothing! But if you ran like the wind! – the man flattered him.
Cheetah was very satisfied and that night when the herd was about to sleep, he told the story in detail.
The herd was as confused as him, but the next day, when the king of black hair  struck a young zebra and  roared hard to alienate the cheetah, one of them, in anger, replied:
“Do you know, Lion, that man has made it clear that no one runs after a prey so beautifully like us”.
And as animal love  gossips, in  a week or so , everyone around the Okavango knew that only  cheetah run like the wind to catch their prey.
The competition was unleashed. There was’nt a large cat that did not take his mornings to practice to the long runs and afternoon naps were abandoned as everyone strove to be the best runner.
However, there was no consensus. The leopards were convinced of being the best, the cheetah had in his favor with the testimony of men, but the Lions claimed to be the best and who could be so foolish to oppose them? Perhaps the lions were not good runners, but could anyone doubt  about how powerful were its claws and jaws?
So they turned to be simple.
“We will ask the man who decides – agreed feline families.
And that strange animal that moved on two legs, Man, came in, noted, come back and continued watching. Finally the man spoke:
“You are all good hunters. The lion is the most powerful, the leopard is the best climber, but surely only the cheetah runs like the wind.
The war was declared. Leopards failed to greet his cousins and lions immediately granted them the dubious honor of leading the pack of their favorite prey.
Now the cheetah not only needed to run to catch their prey, but mainly for his life from the fury of the lion.
One day the cheetah were more depressed than usual, The Nature managed to pass by. She stopped to observe the exercises of the cheetah  when they ran after an antelope  and when they began to rest, spoke up:
“Maybe I could teach you some things”.
As soon as they demanded her advice, as The  Nature made them a list of exercises needed to lengthen legs and tails, a diet to lose weight and a  piece of advise that nobody asked.
-Concentrate on short distances. With those legs, you would be good sprinters.
The cheetah understood little or nothing, but truth was that they were hungry and were tired of living besides hiding from lions. That morning began their workouts and lowered the amount of calories consumed daily.
Soon they had their stomach removed and had  long, powerful legs. From running, their backs had become a striking curved and the tail had developed long and powerful and served them as a stabilizing rudder in the race.
When the cheetah  felt sure of winning any competition, sent an emissary to challenge the lions and leopards.
-We will compete in the savanna, the first to catch an antelope is the winner, agreed to the cats. 
And they asked the man to be judge of the competition.
On the very  day, the leopard spent much of the day trying to catch an old wildebeest, until he finally gave up and climbed the nearest acacia to watch the developments.
The lion lay down to nap, but not before ordering the lionesses of his pack to take charge of dinner. Females planned an ambush and caught a big buffalo on which they toiled until he had left but  bones picked clean.
Man was boring. What a waste of time! “This was the least competitive I have ever seen!” he said. He was about to return to the village when  Cheetah came in. He was thin and their large padded paws were gliding over the grass like velvet.
“Wait, man, – he said, you owe me your opinion”. 
He sat at short distance until he saw a herd of Grant gazelles  to come closer. Cheetah stood against the wind not to be sniffed and fixed his eyes on an anaware, careless  gazelle   in there, boasting of being a good catch.
Suddenly he lunged forward and ran like a cloudscape towards its goal. The gazelle flew like a shadow, but the distance shortened untill  soon there was no way to avoid the meeting. A single blow and dinner was ready.
Man, admired, came over to where the Cheetah share his food with the rest of the family. Cautiously, he stayed at a safe distance and then said.
“Don’t know what you’ve done Cheetah, but now that your belly is gone, and your legs are longer, now you run like the wind and nobody can reach you”.
The Cheetah reported throughout the Okavango the words of man, but they were very careful not to say that they were specialized in short races for the lion thought he could never catch them. So when after his run he’s out of breath on the grass, hiding so no one knows, he only reappears when he is able to breathe  again.   

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