© Cypherwrite Technical Services 2016
Kit Thornton
Short Stories
THE UNHAPPY TIGER ~   a fable  ~ At   the   zoo,   which   in   this   fable   we   will   call   the   Family   Zoo, there   were   several   tigers,   each   one   secure   in   his   cage.      In their   cages   most   of   the   tigers   were   content,   more   or   less. Some    cages    in    the    Family    Zoo    were    a    little    larger    than others   and   some   cages   in   the   Family   Zoo   were   a   little   more comfortable   than   others,   but   all   of   the   tigers   were   content, more   or   less,   except   for   one   tiger   who   was   very   unhappy. The   tigers   knew   that   from   time   to   time   their   lives   would   be made   uncomfortable   by   circumstances,   but   they   encouraged each    other    and    so    managed    to    get    through    the    un- comfortable   times.      And   the   tigers   knew   that   from   time   to time    their    lives    would    be    made    really    uncomfortable    by Nasty   People   and   Uncaring   People   and   Mischievous   People. Although   they   wanted   to   hide   themselves   away,   the   tigers had   to   suffer   abuse   from   these   folk   because   they   could   not escape   from   their   cages.     The   Nasty   People   and   the   Uncaring People    and    the    Mischievous    People    would    call    the    tigers names   and   say   bad   things,   and   sometimes   even   do   really nasty    and    uncaring    and    mischievous    things    like    throwing stones   or   poking   with   sticks.      None   of   the   tigers   enjoyed   the attention   of   the   nasty   and   uncaring   and   mischievous   people, but   they   tolerated   it   because   they   could   not   escape   from their    cages,    and    they    encouraged    each    other    and    so managed    to    get    through    even    the    really    uncomfortable times.      They   all   tolerated   it,   except   for   one   tiger   –   the Unhappy    Tiger.        Every    time    the    Nasty    People    and    the Uncaring    People    and    the    Mischievous    People    called    him
names   or   said   bad   things   or   threw   stones   or   poked   him   with sticks   the   Unhappy   Tiger   would   fly   into   a   rage   and   roar   and hurl   himself   at   the   bars   of   his   cage.      But   never   could   he reach   the   Nasty   People   and   the   Uncaring   People   and   the Mischievous   People,   and   the   other   tigers   watched   sadly   as the   Unhappy   Tiger   limped   away,   battered   and   bruised,   to lick his wounds in the farthest corner of his cage. Of    course,    as    time    went    on,    the    Nasty    People    and    the Uncaring    People    and    the    Mischievous    People    visiting    the Family   Zoo   learned   that   it   was   no   fun   to   torment   the   tigers who   quietly   tolerated   the   names   and   the   bad   things   and   the stone-throwing    and    the    stick-poking.        They    would    go straightaway   to   the   cage   of   the   Unhappy   Tiger   and   they would   call   him   names   and   say   bad   things   and   throw   stones and   poke   him   with   sticks,   and   always   the   Unhappy   Tiger would   reward   them   by   flying   into   a   rage   and   roaring   and hurling   himself   at   the   bars   of   his   cage.      And   always   the Unhappy   Tiger   would   limp   away,   battered   and   bruised,   to lick   his   wounds   in   the   farthest   corner   of   his   cage.      And always   the   other   tigers   in   their   cages   were   very   sad.      And always   the   Nasty   People   and   the   Uncaring   People   and   the Mischievous   People   went   home   excited   and   happy,   looking forward to their next visit to the Family Zoo. And   so   it   went   on,   and   on,   and   on.      The   Unhappy   Tiger became    more    and    more    unhappy    and    the    other    tigers became   more   and   more   sad   for   their   unhappy   friend.      Until one   day   the   other   tigers   decided   that   they   needed   to   Take Action.      So   they   held   a   pow-wow   (or   whatever   it   is   that tigers   do   when   they   need   to   meet   to   discuss   a   problem).      Of course   they   could   not   actually   meet   because   they   were   all   in their   own   cages,   but   they   managed   to   communicate   in   the
mysterious   way   that   tigers   do.      And   they   came   up   with   a Plan,   a   Secret   Plan,   which   they   kept   very   close   to   their   tiger chests.      (So   you   and   I,   dear   reader,   will   never   know   exactly what   the   other   tigers   decided   to   do,   although   we   might suspect   that   the   Secret   Plan   could   involve   sharing   a   few   jars of   Tiger   Beer      –   the   beer   with   Hidden   Depths,   all   the   way from   Darkest   Malaya.)      However,   eventually   the   Unhappy Tiger   listened   to   the   other   tigers   and   understood   the   wisdom of   their   words.      He   promised   that   he   would   try   to   ignore   the Nasty   People   and   the   Uncaring   People   and   the   Mischievous People   whenever   they   called   him   names   or   said   bad   things or   threw   stones   or   poked   him   with   sticks.      It   was   a   difficult time   for   the   Unhappy   Tiger,   but   he   tried   his   hardest   to   do   as he   had   promised.     And   sure   enough,   things   began   to   change.     The     Nasty     People     and     the     Uncaring     People     and     the Mischievous   People   continued   to   visit   the   Family   Zoo,   but something   had   indeed   changed;   the   tigers   were   no   fun.   Soon the   Unhappy   Tiger   noticed   a   difference.      The   Nasty   People and   the   Uncaring   People   and   the   Mischievous   People   still tormented   him,   calling   him   names   and   saying   bad   things   and throwing   stones   and   poking   him   with   sticks.      They   hurt   him; but   instead   of   flying   into   a   rage   he   just   turned   his   back,   and instead   of   roaring   he   just   growled   quietly,   and   instead   of hurling   himself   at   the   bars   of   his   cage   he   just   took   himself to   a   far   corner   of   his   cage,   which   was   closest   to   the   other tigers,   and   the   not   so   Unhappy   Tiger   went   to   sleep   and dreamed    a    dream    of    happy    days    playing    with    the    other tigers   in   the   distant   jungle   and   on   the   high   mountains   and on sandy beaches in far-off places. And   so,   dear   reader,   what   do   you   suppose   happened   to   the Nasty   People   and   the   Uncaring   People   and   the   Mischievous People?      Well,   they   very   soon   became   bored   with   the   tigers
because   they   were   no   fun.      Off   they   went   to   another   part   of the   Family   Zoo   where   there   were   different   animals   to   be tormented,   and   there   the   Nasty   People   and   the   Uncaring People   and   the   Mischievous   People   once   again   began   calling names   and   saying   bad   things   and   throwing   stones   and   poking with   sticks.      And   then   the   crocodiles   became   very   unhappy; and   then   they   became   very   cross;   and   then…      but   that’s another story! © Kit Thornton   12 December 2012
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