Short Stories » The Tale Of How The Tiger Got His Stripes

The Tale Of How The Tiger Got His Stripes

Long time ago, ages ago, it was said that the tiger was like a lion without any stripes on his back, and the rabbit had a long tail.

The tiger had a big farm that need attending to, as it was overgrown with brush. Therefore, the tiger was searching for workers to clear the undergrowth.

The tiger called the animals and said, “I am in need of a good worker to clean this place. I shall offer a buffalo in payment for whoever does this work the quickest.”

The monkey called in first and said that he would like to do the job. So, the tiger assigned the job to him. However, the tiger, to his dismay, found out that the monkey was very slow. Therefore, the tiger fired him as quickly as he hired him.

The goat was the next on the list. Although the goat was a good worker, he could never concentrate nor focus. He would work on one part of the field and then move away to another part, without finishing the area that he was working on. As expected, the tiger fired him without any pay.

The armadillo was the next to be tried. It was the same story with the armadillo as well. He was a good worker, but the moment he saw any ants, he would stop and finish of the lot. As a result, work suffered. Therefore, he too was fired without pay.

Finally, a rabbit came forward. The tiger was a bit surprised and laughed at him and said,” how are you going to complete the work, where these animals had failed?”

Anyway, the tiger decided to try him.

The tiger was surprised to note that the rabbit was a hard worker. He quickly cleared most of the farm. Seeing his hard work, the tiger decided to take a break, and asked his son to watch over the rabbit.

The rabbit noted that the tiger had left. Therefore, he asked the tiger’s son, “Where is the buffalo that your father is going to give me? Is it kept by the side of the river?”

"Yes," replied the son.

The rabbit decided to take the buffalo, without completing the work. Just as he was leaving, the tiger entered and noticed that the rabbit was about to leave. He then ensured that he stayed until the work was complete. The work was complete and the tiger gave the buffalo to the rabbit, as promised.

The tiger then said, “If you plan to eat this buffalo, eat it in a place where there are no mosquitoes.”

The rabbit went away with the buffalo. After going some distance, he felt hungry and thought of butchering the buffalo. He looked around and saw there was a farm close by and mosquitoes as well. So, he decided not to kill the buffalo and went ahead a little more. Finally, he came close to a river, and there was strong breeze. He looked around and did not see any mosquitoes.

As he was about to butcher the buffalo, the tiger came along and said, “I am very hungry, and will you share the buffalo with me.”

The rabbit, out of fear, gave a piece of meat to the tiger, which the tiger gulped it in a moment. He then asked the rabbit, “Is that all what you are going to give me? I am such a good friend of yours and I am sure you will give me more.”

The rabbit, out of fear, gave more to the tiger. Soon, he had finished most of the buffalo’s meat. The rabbit had managed to get only a small piece and was furious. He decided to teach the tiger a lesson.

Few days passed. One day, the tiger was returning from hunting and he saw the rabbit cutting big blocks of wood. He asked the rabbit what he was doing?

The rabbit said that there were orders that every animal in the jungle has to build an enclosure or fence around themselves for protection. The tiger was surprised and said, “This is news to me.”

“Well, everyone is doing it,” said the rabbit.

The tiger got a bit apprehensive and said, “Please my good friend, won’t you help in building me an enclosure?”

The rabbit although initially hesitant, but after seeing the tiger’s pleas, the rabbit eventually consented.

Therefore, he quickly build a solid, wooden enclosure for the tiger and went away. It was strong and could not easily be penetrated.

The tiger was inside the barricade and after sometime felt hungry.

Soon a monkey passed that away and he asked the monkey, “Has the danger passed?”.

Although the monkey had the faintest idea what the tiger was asking, he still replied, “Yes.”

Therefore, the tiger asked the monkey to let him out of the enclosure.

“I cannot, as the ropes are tied securely. Ask the one who put you inside to come and let you out,” said the monkey.

Soon the goat came along, and then the armadillo and other animals and all of them had the same answer.

Soon, the tiger realized that he had been tricked. He tried with all his might to jump over the enclosure, but was unsuccessful. He kept on trying until he was tired. Then, he tried to break down the fence, but that too proved futile. He became very thirsty and hungry. He decided to rest a while.

He became desperate and thought that he might never get out of there alive.

He starts hallucinating about food and good spring water. Once more, he decided to give it a try with all his might. He kept on hammering the enclosure, until there was a little gap. He pushed and shoved through the gap and finally broke through. However, he was injured very badly in the process, and got deep gashes and cuts on either side of the body. As a result, to this day, he carries those stripes.

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