Sunday, March 20, 2011


The colour-blind Chameleon simply couldn’t change colour properly. If he was sitting on a bush of green privet, he went a bright, blistering red and when he was basking on the yellow sandstone rocks, he turned sky blue.

Everyone warned him to start doing things in the proper chameleon way so as to blend in with his surroundings rather than stand out.

"If you don’t conform, you’re done for!” said one old chameleon who had spent her life changing colour in the regulation fashion. "Don’t you realise that there are enemies of chameleonkind just waiting for you to show up?!”

But the colour-blind Chameleon just smiled and went on changing colour in his own highly individual way. Climbing up the rough black bark of a tree, he gleamed as yellow as the sun; silhouetted on a branch against the cobalt blue sky, he sported a vivid shade of green.

All the other chameleons waited for the day when a jackal or a buzzard would spot and make short work of their non-colour-coordinated friend.

But that day never came.

It wasn’t that he didn’t get noticed, because he did. However, it wasn’t a jackal or a buzzard that spotted him, but a famous TV naturalist who was so fascinated by the Chameleon’s radical determination to stand out from the crowd and to be seen that he took him off to the Big City and offered him an exclusive television contract which, in turn, led to personal appearances, a lucrative publishing deal and international celebrity.

Even in the unrelenting glare of media attention and public notoriety, he somehow managed to avoid the jaws of jackals and the claws of buzzards and became the wealthiest, longest-lived chameleon in the history of zoology.

© Brian Sibley 2007

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