As you’ll remember, last week I invited anyone who reads this site to send me in some questions to answer, so we could have a Q&A session of sorts today. The questions I received, of which there were many, ranged far and wide on a number of different topics, although most of those topics were the same one. In fact, now I look at the questions you sent in, it appears that most of them were all centred around the same topic: animals.
But I like animals - apart from stoats - so there’s no worries. Hopefully, once you’ve read this entry, you’ll never feel the need to know anything about me ever again! Or you’ll continue to never feel the need to know anything about me. One or the other.
Your question reminds me somewhat of the old saying that is generally attributed to Rudyard Kipling, “Four things greater than all things are, — Women and Horses and Power and War”, taken from The Ballad Of The King’s Jest. I think what Kipling was trying to stress is the essential futility in attempting to establish oneself as a true person, when the dogs of war and power serve to corrupt each of us, and the strength of passion shared between a man and a woman is self-seeking, regardless. That the fourth of his collection of ubiquitous vessels was the humble horse may at first seem purposefully confusing and graceless, until one looks further into the definition to seek a clarity. Every man who rides into battle requires a horse to carry him, which makes the animal perhaps the most important on any battlefield. Whilst a pigeon carries a message of hope or despair, a horse carries that most important of things: a human soul.
It is in entrusting ourselves to nature that we can feel the real essence of power, for the kinship between man and nature is a tenuous one at best. Whilst an animal may be loyal to its owner, there is nothing to define the officiousness of the owner. When taking nature by the hand, first check that your hand is your own, and not guided by foreign suspicion. The answer to your question, I believe, is that the nature of a zebra depends upon the nature of the owner.
I don’t think that’s really the right question to ask, given the situation. Having been a traveller of many different countries, I can safely tell you that getting into the mindset of a puma is much akin to picking up a judo stick and charging at Jet Li. No matter your reason, you are going to leapt upon and destroyed.
Given the impossibilities of mindreading inhuman animals at this stage, the best way to ascertain the mindset of the puma is to watch the documentaries of that intrepid explorer David Attenborough. At some point I believe he made a series which focused exclusively on the life of the general puma, and his conclusions will doubtless make for a fascinating and entertaining hour-long diversion from the travails of life. However, I am aware of the fact that you wish to hear about my specific opinions, as opposed to those of a beloved English treasure, and so I’ll offer you my analysis: it appears to me that the puma is clearly an animal of instinct, whose main ambition in life is based around survival. In this respect, the puma is anything but misguided. If it were to drop this wish for survival, the species would be rendered extinct within decades. And so, I can only conclude that the puma is a wary animal, and fully motivated and conscious of the cognitive process.
I feel that I must at this point guide you towards a poem by the unimaginable wit that is Michael Dugan:
Tastes like glue,
While giraffe casserole
Sticks to the bowl.
An emu roast
Tastes like burnt toast
While the pelican fried
Turns the inside.
But none of this feed
I trust that this answers your question.
I’ve drawn you a picture.