Which Story Explains The Saying "The Leopard Can't Change His Spots"?


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Will Martin answered
Rudyard Kipling didn't invent this saying, but he claims to explain it in one of his classic "Just So Stories" for children.

Long ago, everyone lived on the High Veldt, and the Ethiopian hunter and his companion the leopard were a sandy colour, blending in with the Veldt where they lived. This made it easy for them to creep up on the giraffe and the zebra, who were quite similar in colour. Eventually the latter animals got tired of being hunted, and went off to live in the forest. There they gradually changed their appearance to spots and stripes, to blend in with their new surroundings.

When the hunter and leopard finally found them, they found that their yellowish colouring made them very conspicuous in the forest. So the Ethiopian changed his skin colour to black, and used his fingers, still wet, to put black prints all over the leopard. This is why the leopard has patterns of five prints all over its body; and it's true they look like fingerprints.

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