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The Tiger's Teacher

Also read in Chinese »

Published June 1, 2016
Countries: China
Age Levels: 8 and up

Tiger was strong.  Tiger was fast.  But, Tiger was loud and clumsy.  With all of his strength and speed, he still had trouble catching small animals to eat.  Every day, Tiger left his home to hunt.  Many nights, Tiger came home with no food to eat.  He often went hungry.

One morning as Tiger went out to hunt, he saw Cat chase and catch a mouse.  Cat was fast and graceful.  Cat moved smoothly and quietly and easily caught its prey.  "If only I could move like that," thought Tiger.

He went to the Cat.  "Cousin," started Tiger.  "Would you give me lessons so I might learn to move as smoothly as you?"

"How do I know that you will not use the skills I teach you to hunt me for your dinner?" asked Cat.

"My dear cousin," said the Tiger.  "Do you think I would ever hurt a family member.  How could I ever hurt someone I am related to?  If you help me, I will become your protector.  I will never allow anyone to harm you."

"Become my teacher!  If I ever harm a hair on your head, may I be cursed by all animals.  May I go hungry forever if I ever allow you to come to harm," appealed Tiger. Tiger did his best to look truthful to Cat.

Finally Cat was convinced to help Tiger.  Cat taught Tiger to do gymnastics and to move smoothly and quietly.  Cat was a good teacher and coach.  She taught Tiger move after move.  She did her best to teach Tiger all she knew.  She kept only one trick to herself.  That was the art of climbing trees.

Tiger was a good student.  He learned every trick that was taught.  Before long he was strong, fast, quiet and smooth in his movements.  He was ready to become a great hunter.  He was ready to eat.  Tiger looked at Cat.  Cat looked delicious.

Cat saw Tiger staring at him.  Tiger smiled and showed his teeth.  Tiger's mouth began to water and drooled down the side of his mouth.  Cat knew that Tiger could not be trusted any more.  "Your lessons are over," said Cat.  I have taught you all that I can."

"Are you sure, my wonderful teacher?  Is there nothing else to teach me?"  As he talked, Tiger's claws extended.  Tiger opened his jaws wide.  He leaped through the air.  My, Tiger was fast.

Cat barely got away.  Instead of running, Cat jumped into a tree.  He climbed as high as he could go.  "It is a good thing I never taught you to climb trees," said Cat.

Tiger leaped and growled.  He clawed at the bark.  He tried every new skill Cat had taught him.  But - he could not climb the tree.

Cat climbed from branch to branch and from tree to tree until he left the Tiger far behind him.

Tiger was ashamed.  He had let his hunger and greed get in the way of learning the last and best lesson his teacher could have taught him.

Never let anything get in the way of learning all you can.

Source: Story can be traced back to Storytelling Motif J1662.0.1 - Cat teaches all tricks except one and Motif A2581- Why tiger lacks some qualities of cats

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