Cruel Chameleon
Cruel Chameleon 1
Publication Information

The Lion King: A Nature Fun and Learn Series




Rafiki Remembers


1995 – 1997



Story Guide

How Wasp got his Waist


Who Stole Duiker's Eggs?

Treat your fellow creatures kindly, lion cubs. Unhappiness benefits no one.

Cruel Chameleon is a story from the Rafiki Remembers magazine collection. It was published in the 1990s as part of The Lion King: A Nature Fun and Learn Series.


Chameleon is a hot-tempered sort who likes to bully and frighten animals who are smaller than him. He is so lazy that he forces Mantis to fetch water for him, but Mantis's head is too round to balance the pot. Because of this, the pot falls often, and Mantis returns to Chameleon with only a few droplets of water. Though Mantis tries to explain his plight to Chameleon, he is forced to fetch water multiple times a day while Chameleon lounges in the sun.

One day, Mantis is resting beside the river when he encounters the Great Spirit. When prompted by the Great Spirit, Mantis explains that he is tired from carrying water to Chameleon and is taking a rest. Moved by Mantis's kindness, the Great Spirit gives him a flat head to better carry the water and curses Chameleon so that he will only be able to drink small amounts of water at a time and will change color if he becomes angry.

After the Great Spirit departs, Mantis carries the water back to Chameleon on his newly flattened head. Chameleon accepts the water as usual, but finds that he cannot take big gulps of water anymore. This causes him to become angry, which in turn changes his skin from blue-green to gray.

From that day on, Mantis is able to make trips to the river much easier, and since Chameleon is only able to drink a little bit at a time, one pot of water lasts him the entire day. Further, Chameleon dislikes when his skin turns gray, so he does his best to hold back his temper.