Out on the vast African Savanna there lived a Cheetah. She was the fastest animal around and loved to show off and boast about her speed to other animals. One day the Cheetah was sunning herself on a rock when an Elephant ambled up to her. The Elephant asked, "Would you like to be my friend, Cheetah?"
The Cheetah looked at the Elephant before throwing her head back and laughing. "I am the fastest animal on the Savanna," the Cheetah said vainly. The Cheetah got up from her rock and ran a quick circle around the Elephant. The Elephant awkwardly spun around to follow the Cheetah's movements. The Cheetah laughed again and jumped onto her rock. "Why would I want to be friends with someone as slow and clumsy as you?"
The Elephant frowned and walked away.
The next day, the Cheetah was running along the Savanna, conceitedly telling every animal she passed about her agility and gracefulness. The Cheetah was not looking where she was going as she showed off her speed. Suddenly she found herself falling into a deep pit. She yowled when she landed on the hard ground. She shook herself and looked around, realizing she was trapped. She jumped at the dirt walls but could not climb out. Her amazing speed could not help her here.
The Cheetah called out for help. A few moments later the Elephant looked over the side of the pit. The Cheetah smiled and said, "Help me out of here."
The Elephant simply asked, "Why?"
The Cheetah scoffed and replied, "Because I am the fastest animal on the Savanna."
The Elephant walked away, leaving the Cheetah confused. Why wouldn't the Elephant help her? She was the fastest animal on the Savanna. She didn't deserve to be in this pit. She paced around the bottom of the pit, her tail lashing back and forth as her anger grew. The Elephant should have helped her.
Just then an Eagle landed on the edge of her pit. The Cheetah glared at the Eagle. "What do you want?!" She shouted in anger.
The Eagle shook his head. "You are very arrogant, Cheetah."
"So? I have a right to be arrogant. I am the fastest animal on the Savanna!"
The Eagle shook his head again. "That may be so. But look at where your arrogance has gotten you." After he had spoken those words the Eagle flew away.
The Cheetah scowled and turned away from where the Eagle had sat. She looked around herself. She was at the bottom of a pit, all alone. She felt a moment of disbelief. She was always alone. She had pushed away the Elephant's friendship, because her pride wouldn't let her be friends with such a slow animal. She had pushed away the one animal who could help her.
The Cheetah bowed her head in realization and embarrassment. All her arrogance had brought her was loneliness. Her arrogance made her feel better about herself, but with no one to share it with, her pride was pointless. The Cheetah lifted her head and called out for the Elephant. "Elephant! Elephant!"
The Elephant stuck her head over the side of the pit. "What do you want?" The Elephant asked.
"I'm sorry," said the Cheetah genuinely. "I'm sorry I was mean to you. Just because I am fast doesn't make me the best animal on the Savanna. I want to be your friend, Elephant."
"Even though I am slow and clumsy?" The Elephant asked.
"You may be slower than me, but you are taller and have a long trunk. You can do things I can't. You are an impressive animal, Elephant. And I would be honored to have you as my friend."
The Elephant smiled and lowered her trunk into the pit. The Elephant grabbed the Cheetah and lifted her from the pit. The Cheetah smiled up at her new friend. "Thank you, Elephant. You are very strong."
"You're welcome, Cheetah. You are the fastest animal on the Savanna."
"Thank you." The Cheetah replied, feeling happier than she had ever been.
Together the Cheetah and the Elephant walked off onto the Savanna.
The Cheetah learned that day that while arrogance made her feel better about herself, it pushed everyone else away, leaving her alone. By using modesty, she is still able to feel good about what she can do, while having a friend she can share those happy feelings with. The Cheetah learned that by being modest she will always have friends who can help her if she ever gets in trouble.