Mythical Panther Story

Chapter 2 - The Swamp Buggy

On her second day of rest, Tawny hears the sound of splashing in the distance. This splashing is accompanied by the sounds of muffled thunder and whining noises. Tawny is not frightened by these sounds, she has heard them many times before in her life. Sometimes the thing that makes these sound comes closer, but most of the time, she never sees this it. The times it has come close to her, she always remained stealthy still in the palmetto brush and the thing always passed by, unaware of her presence. Tawny doesn't know, but this thing is called a swamp buggy. What is not understood, is this swamp buggy with big black round legs, always has one or more other animals on top of it. She has seen these animals at other times also. She has seen them walking upright and sometimes perched in trees. Sometimes with sticks that make thunder and sometimes without. These animals are not her natural prey and she mostly just ignores them. If they come very close to her, she just stealthy slips a little farther away. Tawny also does not know that these animals are called man.

One time in her life, one of these swamp buggies approached her in the open. That time the swamp buggy, stopped moving. The men on its back then start making noises, their front paws reaching out in her direction. On this occasion, Tawny just scampered into the brush and soon the swamp buggy continued splashing on again.

She has seen these things also at the place where the ground was hard and warm. There they are much different looking, with smaller black legs and running very fast. they do not make a splashing noise except when it is raining. On one occasion one of them approached very close, while she was crossing the hard place, its speed catching her by surprise. It stopped while making a loud roaring noise, and its small black legs seem to have smoke under them. This frighten Tawny and now she always tries to cross the hard ground at night, when fewer of these things are around. This of course was an automobile running down the highway, skidding to a stop, to keep from hitting Tawny. More panthers have been killed by automobiles then any other act of man.

Today, this swamp buggy is coming closer. Ahead of it, she hears a running and splashing sound and grunting. A sow with piglets are running ahead of the buggy. Normally, Tawny would try to catch one of the piglets, but she doesn't want the men on the swamp buggy to see her. So she remains hidden. The sow and piglets run into the thick palmetto head and disappear. The swamp buggy stops and the men on its back are pawing in the direction the sow and piglets have gone. One of the men gets down and is looking in the area the pigs disappeared. After a while the man climbs back on the buggy and soon it continues on, after awhile the sounds of splashing and muffled thunder can not be heard.

The sow and piglets appear again. They slowly start moving back toward the direction they had come from. Tawny sees this as an opportunity to get an easy meal. She stealthily slips ahead of the path they are following. The sow is too big and would fight using her sharp tusks that protrude from her mouth, but a piglet would be easy to catch. She must do it quickly and get away from the sow. The sow will fight to protect her babies. Tawny hides off the path and downwind from the pigs. She will let the sow pass, and the piglets, will be following behind, walking single file following the scent of the sow. She will pick one out and leap, with luck she will be able to grab it and carry it off before the sow can return.

Tawny is crouched and tensed for her leap. She hears the sow coming, the sow makes a low grunt, every so often, to give the piglets a direction to follow. The sow is just passing by and has not scented Tawny's presence. The piglets are following, but a little behind, not quite able to keep up with momma. Tawny sees there are four and waits for the last one. It is the smallest and last from the sow, this will give her more time to grab it and get away. The last piglet is in front of her and she leaps. The piglets are all squealing, especially the one in her mouth. It is squalling in pain and all this noise has the sow running back. The noise of the piglets is covering the sound of the sow returning and before Tawny has killed the piglet, the sow is there. The sow makes a charge at Tawny and Tawny leaps sideways to avoid the charge. The weight of the piglet in her mouth, keeps her from making a full jump. The sow is spinning back and Tawny drops the piglet, to enable her to make a full jump to get away. The sow misses again and now stands her ground next to the fallen piglet. The piglet is badly hurt and falls to the ground every time it tries to stand.

Tawny circles a short distance away, the sow turning and feinting charges to make Tawny back up. The other piglets are under the sows feet, keeping her from spinning and moving fast. After a short period of time the injured piglet, no longer tries to get to its feet. Weak from the injury, it will not be able to keep up with the others as they travel. The sow senses this and knows it must abandon it to save the others. With a grunting sound, she assembles the other piglets and moves slowly away. the piglets follow under foot. The injured piglet, tries to rise, but cannot. This is the way of nature. Only the fittest survive. When the pigs move a short distance away. Tawny leaps back on the piglet, killing it and quickly carries it into the palmettos. When she is sure that the sow is not returning, she starts to feed on it. It will satisfy her hunger, it is not as large as the raccoon, but will be a good meal. The kittens in her, make her hungry often. But she is satisfied for now.

Chapter 3