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How the Tiger Family Got it's Stripes
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How the Tiger Family got its Stripes
We have all seen the beautiful Tiger, or at least a picture of one. It has a golden coat with black stripes all over, something like a striped rug. Legs and tail, on the chest and on the mighty head, the stripe of the Tiger is recognised by animals and people everywhere.
Of course you know that Tigers did not always have stripes. You didn’t know that?
I suppose I could tell you how the Tiger got such a magnificently striped suit.
It was in the days before history when all the animals could talk to each other and discuss important things like cubs, eggs, food, water and the warmth of the sun
The day was perfect, warm, not too hot, with a mild breeze riffling the grass and a few fluffy white clouds to watch in the blue sky.
Lion, Tiger and Giraffe were lounging under the shade of the tree; their wives and children were on the other side talking about, children, their husbands and other important odds and ends.
Mrs. Giraffe looked fondly at her tall husband, “ oh what a beautiful coat he has” she exclaimed, Mrs. Lion looked carefully, she flipped a manicured paw, “ Well I prefer the gold of my husbands coat, his black mane sets it off to perfection. The thick brush on his tail tip is a delight” and on she went describing her husbands flawlessness.
Mrs. Tiger looked, but didn’t comment. She loved her husband but she could see that his plain coat, with no mane and no brush to his tail gave her nothing one could see to boast about.
He was a kind and gentle husband, caring for the cubs and providing well for his little family. Still though, his wife felt it would be nice to be able to say to the other wives, how beautiful he looked.
That night as the Tiger family lay asleep in their cosy den, Mrs. Tiger had a dream.
She dreamt that she had walked all the way to the special place that animals went to. She needed to talk to the Guardian of the Universe.
She told him all about her problem and asked if he could think of anything that could be done to make her husband as handsome and unique as the other big cats.
In her dream, the Guardian promised to see what he could do to help. He would see her soon with an answer.
Early in the morning the Tiger family woke up, stretched yawned and popped their heads out of the den to greet the new day.
The sun was shining and the dew on the grass sparkled like diamonds, the cubs tumbled out, leaving paw tracks and scattering the birds that were breakfasting on grass seeds.
Mrs. Tiger could still feel the edges of her dream pulling at her but she wasn’t about to say anything to her husband. She didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
She sat and watched the muscles move under his silky coat, she just loved him to pieces.
Sensing that he was being watched, the mighty Tiger turned and looked back at the Den entrance.
He smiled at his wife and called the cubs to order, it was time to visit the river for a bath before breakfast.
The day wore on but the memory of the dream did not fade. Mrs. Tiger began to wonder if she should walk to the meeting place. Perhaps she was getting a message from somewhere. She shrugged her shoulders and lay down with her friends under the shade of the tree.
She felt a restless energy within her body; she wanted to walk.
She felt she should go to the meeting place. As she stood up to leave Mrs. Lion looked at her, “my dear, you look quite strange, is there something wrong, can we help?” Mrs. Tiger thanked her for caring, “ I had a strange dream last night, I feel I must go to the Meeting Place and talk to the Guardian”
The Lioness nodded her head; “I to have dreamed of the Guardian, if you feel you must go, then you should go quickly” and she rubbed her head against her friend. “ Do not worry about your cubs, your mate and your friends will care for them, Go now!”
Mrs. Tiger stood with her head up; she thanked the Lion and Giraffe families. The Leopards were new arrivals to the morning group. “Please tell my husband I will return as soon as possible” and with a whisk of her tail, she was off, racing across the grasslands to the Meeting Place.
All through the long night she ran toward the sunrise. Well into the next day she stopped to drink at a sweet water hole, and on again, to the Meeting Place. Night fell once again and Mrs. Tiger was getting very tired, she needed to stop and rest but knew that the longer she was away from her family, the more worried they would become.
The night sky was clear and bright as on she ran. She hoped that the journey was not just wishful thinking and that she really was to meet with the Guardian of the Universe and do something wonderful for her beloved husband and mate.
Her paws were getting sore and she tried to ignore the hunger in her belly as she ran ever onwards to a new day.
She thought she heard a voice gently saying, ‘rest a while, you have come far, rest now’. She slowed to a walk, and in the shelter of an old weather beaten tree, she lay down and slept.
Once again she dreamed, the kindly face of the Guardian filled her dream and she heard him saying, “ I have thought about your request and I will grant your husband the gift you asked for. Return to the Den and take your mate and your cubs to the Bamboo Grove. Sleep well and tomorrow return to your mate”
Once more Mrs. Tiger awoke to greet the day, she felt refreshed and strong and she turned and ran for home and Den. Her hunger had vanished along with the pain in her paws, she knew that the Guardian had helped her and she sent words of thanks to him.
Soon the river that watered the plains near her den came into view and she saw in the distance her cubs and Mrs. Lion’s children playing with the young Giraffe, Leopards cubs were busy attacking each other’s tails.
She sat down in the grass to watch her babies and simply enjoy their existence. A shadow fell across her, she started and quickly looked around.
Her mate was laughing at the startled look on her face. “ I haven’t lost the stalking skills of my youth’ he said as he sat next to her and rubbed his head against hers. “Welcome back my love, hope your journey was successful”
“I dreamed again of the Guardian and he told me what we must do. Tomorrow you and I and the cubs must go to the Bamboo Grove.”
The morning mists had risen under the gentle persuasion of the suns rays as the little family set off for the Bamboo Grove. The cubs loved an adventure and this was the real thing. No one knew what would happen when they walked into the Grove so the little ones stayed bravely close to mother whilst father walked in front.
One deep breath, and on into the Grove, the suns rays shining through the bamboo threw dark shadows across the bodies of the Tigers. Their golden coats were patterned in the broken light.
Mrs. Tiger looked at her husband, he was magnificent, the Guardian had kept his word and more, all their coats wore the beautiful designs of light and dark.
Sadly they left the Bamboo Grove, sure that the magnificent coats would vanish with the shadows and they would once again be plain. To their great joy, it didn’t change; the beautiful stripes were there for all the world to see. Their friends had all come to the Bamboo Grove to see what the Guardians solution would be. The Lion, Leopard and Giraffe bowed their heads, acknowledging the wonderful gift. To this day the Tiger family wears the very special coat gifted by the Guardian of the Universe.
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Reader Count & Comments
27 Mar 2005
What a lovely story! Is this a fable? I hadn't heard it before.
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