Once upon a time, there was a magical forest populated entirely by large jungle cats.
The lions and the tigers shared the leadership according to the will of the rest of the cats. Sometimes there was a lion in charge, but tigers served in other key positions. Other times, the leadership was mostly lions or tigers. Since the cats were a fickle bunch, lions and tigers changed positions frequently.
It had not always been thus. When the jungle was first discovered, lynxes and ocelots were the two ruling cat classes. Leopards and cheetahs had also made brief appearances. Still, it became obvious to most that the lions and the tigers would be running the show for a long time.
The lions had been in power a particularly long time, and many of the cats were tired of it. "The lions have ruined everything," they grumbled. "It's time for a change."
"You can't say that," the lions said. "That's disrespectful of us, your leaders. After all, if you hadn't wanted us to lead, you wouldn't have chosen us to lead you."
"Wait until next time," the cats said. "We'll have a tiger in there and show you all."
"Play nice," the lions said. "We can all get along. After all, we're all cats."
When the time came to elect the next leader, a marvellous and strange thing happened. A rare white tiger appeared in the jungle, and his beauty captivated everyone. In a stunning landslide, the white tiger became the leader of the jungle.
"Hooray!" cheered the tigers. "A leader we can all believe in!"
"Boo," said the lions. "He's not my leader."
"What do you mean?" asked the tigers. "When the lion was in charge, you told us we had to respect his office and play nice. The last time there was a tiger in charge, you all played nicely with us. What has changed?"
"Nothing, nothing," said the lions in unison. "It's fine."
There came a day when the white tiger wanted to gather all of the young cubs to him and talk to them about how important it was to learn how to be a good cat.
"Boo," said the lions. "I don't want him talking to OUR cubs. He's not our leader. Boo."
"What?" asked the rest of the cats. "He's our leader. Why can't he talk to the cubs?"
"We don't support this leader, so he can't talk to the cubs," said the lions.
"Is this because he's a white tiger?" asked the tigers.
"No, no," the lions hastily said. "Of course not."
So the leader of the jungle never got to talk to the cubs. And the cubs learned that a leader is only your leader if you voted for him.