The tiger and the traveller


Sutradhaar—Nidhi Kundra

Long time ago, in the thickets of the Deccan, lived a weak and aged tiger. He had lost most of his teeth and claws. He was not able to hunt for himself and the lack of food only added to his misery.

“I have ruled this forest all my life,” he would often think to himself, “and now I cannot even scare a fly…what a pity!” He began to think of a strategy to kill human beings who carelessly passed through the forest. He had killed one such man in the past and had retrieved a gold bangle from his belongings. He took it out and looked at it with careful thought. “Aha…,” an idea suddenly occurred to him.

The tiger found a shady spot near the pond that lay on the path which most travellers used and sat there in a meditating pose. In order to make the sight more authentic, he held a bunch of the holy kusha grass in his hands.

The next morning, an unmindful traveller sat by the pond to rest for a while. He looked around admiringly and his eyes suddenly rested on the tiger on the other side of the pond. “Oh!” he exclaimed in fright.

“Do not worry my friend…,” mumbled the tiger and slowly opened his eyes. “I am no more the usual tiger… I have given up hunting and have turned vegetarian,” he said holding out the grass in his hands.

“I have renounced the world and the lust for worldly belongings,” he continued, “here take this bangle, it might be of some use to you!”

The sight of the shimmering bangle was very intriguing but the wise man did not fall prey to the trap  and decided to move on. The tiger sat attempting to lure many passers-by but none stopped.Finally,  one day, a greedy man found the offer very attractive.

He warily called out from the other side of the pond, “What if it is a trap?”

The tiger smiled gently and whimpered, “What harm can an old tiger like me ever do to a young man like you!”

The man was easily swayed by his words and he readily made his way through the pond. Little did he know that the middle of the pond was a marsh. He got stuck so badly in it that he could not move a hair! Finding the moment opportune, the tiger pounced on him and killed him in one blow. Only if  he traveller had been less greedy!

Moral: A cheat will always be cheat.