Manticore (mantlcore) wrote,

Tiger Tiger burning bright . . .

So, I have been naughty and not posted in a while with the holidays and everything I've been extremely busy, to boot I'm trying to get a new job right now cause my current one doesn't pay enough.  Since I didn’t want to post anything till I got a chance to finish the story I am working on, and I haven’t gotten a chance to even really work on the story I am working on this leaves me in a bit of a bind.  That said, I decided “screw it” and am going to post a kid’s story I wrote.  Now a lot of people won’t think this is a child’s story but it really is, it’s just an old style story where pain and death were the methods of teaching.  Think Grimm’s Fairy Tales before Disney got to them, or the myths and rhymes that ancient African cultures would tell around their camp fires explaining the world and the way it works to the whole tribe, but most especially to the children.  Anyway, hope you all enjoy it, this story is about why Tigers hate monkeys.



            Once there was a great big tiger, but not just any tiger, he was The Tiger.  The first tiger; the best tiger; fastest, strongest, and most beautiful of all tigers.  All the other animals of the jungle looked up to him; they loved him for his regal bearing, praised him for his strength, and marveled at his beautiful silver coat.  Yes a silver coat because you see when this tiger was alive he was completely different from the tigers of today.  He was larger, and his fur was bright glowing silver, he was completely stripe-less for this tiger did not sulk through the jungle but rather strolled proudly, confident in the knowledge that he was the jungles master.  Tigers, then, were nobler than Lions, faster than cheetahs and stronger than Panthers; and this tiger, he was noblest and fastest and strongest of them all.
            Now, in the same jungle in which the tiger lived there also lived a jealous monkey.  He had a brown coat, and slunk through the jungle like a thief.  No one feared him for his size, nor revered him for his courage, or were even impressed by his appearance.
The monkey hated the other animals of the jungle.  He loathed them as much as they loved the tiger.  But more than he disliked the other animals of the jungle he hated the tiger.  He hated it because he felt he was the smartest, and cleverest, of the animals and that he should be the one looked up to by all the other animals of the jungle, most especially the tiger.
Now despite the monkeys unwarranted pride, he was right about one thing, the monkey was certainly the cleverest of all the animals in the jungle.  The monkey spent all his time sneaking through the jungle coming up with a way to rid himself of the hated tiger, until one day, lost in a revere, he stumbled right into a coconut tree.  As he bumped the tree one of its coconuts fell down and landed near the monkey’s feat.  It hit the ground so hard it got stuck and it took the monkey’s entire might to pull it free.  He tugged and tugged and when it finally came out of the ground with a pop the monkey saw the nut was undamaged but the ground had a nice clean hole in it where the coconut had fallen.
The monkey pondered this for a time, holding the coconut in one hand and staring first at the hole in the ground, then at the tree, and again at the hole in the ground.  Finally he set the nut down carefully at the base of the tree and climbed up the tree.  He carefully tested each limb to see if it would hold his weight, and if yes how much more it would hold.  After that he counted the number of coconuts on the tree.
After he had fully explored the tree the monkey left the area to find his brothers and enlist their help.
Many of the monkeys were too afraid.  Others laughed at this monkey and his plan.  Of the apes almost all simply did not care enough to help the monkey.  One however, the great black furred gorilla, listened to the monkey and saw the monkeys plan as an opportunity to become the strongest creature in all the jungle.
Once the monkey had enlisted the help of the great black gorilla he went off and found a serpent.  The serpent, being a notorious liar and trickster, readily agreed to help the monkey just for the thrill of it.
Finally the players were assembled and the monkey set the stage.  He returned to the tree he had seen before and climbed to one of the highest branches that would support his weight.  The gorilla hid in near by bushes, and the serpent slithered off to find the tiger.
When the serpent reached where the tiger was lying he flattened himself against the ground as a mark of respect and said to the tiger “Oh mighty Tiger, you must come and help, the monkey is trapped on the highest branch of a nearby tree, it is breaking even as we speak and he needs your help to save him.”
The tiger pondered for a moment and then asked the serpent, “Why should I save one who has no respect for me slitherer?”
The serpent had expected such a question and quickly responded “So that he might learn to respect you by seeing how mighty and kind you are.  If you were to save him he would give you his respect, and then all the creatures of the jungle would treat you the way you deserve to be treated.”
“Very well serpent, lead on to the monkey and I shall save him,” responded the tiger.
The serpent flattened himself against the ground once more and, turning, slithered quickly to where the monkey lay in wait.  Upon reaching the tree he said “There, oh great tiger, it is up that tree that the monkey is trapped.”
The tiger looked up the tree the serpent had indicated and as soon as he did he was met with a fearsome surprise.  For you see the monkey wanted to try and slay the tiger in a single blow and so he waited patiently until the tiger’s face was directed towards him and then, with all his strength, he threw one of the big, heavy, hard coconuts at the tiger.  It hit right between the tiger’s eyes and the tiger stumbled back.
“Liar! Trickster! You shall pay for this insult,” roared the tiger.  He knew nothing but rage for the monkey at his foolish onslaught, and bounded quickly to the trunk of the tree and from their started to climb up it.  So focused on the monkey was the tiger that he did not notice the gorilla sneak out of the near by bushes behind the tiger.  Grabbing the tiger by the tail the gorilla yanked him to the ground and started to hit the surprised tiger.  The gorilla and tiger fought fiercely.  The tiger took huge bites out of the gorilla, and the gorilla ripped patches of fur off the tiger.  As the battle progressed the monkey stayed up in the tree and watched. 

            Finally, after much fighting, the tiger was able to push the gorilla away and turned back towards the tree.  The monkey, however had prepared for this, and he began to rain coconuts down on the tiger.  The tiger bent his head to the storm and ran to the tree.  As he began to climb it again the monkey moved to another, higher, branch. 
            The tiger followed up the trunk and moved one foot onto a nearby branch that seemed strong enough to support his weight.  Seeing that it was the tiger moved himself fully onto the branch and prepared to leap up to the next level, where the monkey was hiding.
            Even as the tiger prepared to pounce the monkey produced another coconut and threw it at the tiger.  The tiger, caught by surprise, lost his balance and fell.  He managed, however, to catch himself on a branch by his front claws.  The monkey, knowing that branch to be too weak to hold both animals, jumped down on the branch and started to bounce up and down.
            There was a crack, and the branch broke away from the tree.  The tiger fell, but the monkey, a better climber, grabbed hold of a near by branch and swung himself onto it for safety.
            The tiger fell a long way to the ground and although he was strong indeed after fighting the gorilla he was too weak to survive the drop and died.
            As the blood of the tiger pooled other animals came attracted by the noise, and saw the monkey jumping up and down in victory high above the tiger.  Many of them turned away from the monkey in disgust, and many others looked on the monkey as a hero, while some could not tear their eyes away from the tiger lying at the base of the tree.
            Presently, several other tigers arrived and began circling the tree threatening the monkey and demanding that he come down to the ground.  The monkey refused and threw coconuts at any of the tigers that he felt came to close.
            Then the gorillas arrived, many dozens of them, lead by a large gorilla with a silver fur pinned to his back like a cape.  It was the same gorilla that had aided the monkey.  He returned to his people as king and conqueror and then brought them to the place of the battle to protect the monkey for it was the monkey’s plan that made the gorillas the strongest creatures in all the jungle.
            The gorillas moved between the tree and the tigers as guards for the monkey.  Knowing they were out numbered the tigers gathered up their dead friend and walked away leaving the monkey in his victory.
            The tigers took their King to a private part of the jungle and there they laid him out for burial.  Looking on his mangled corpse the tigers noticed that he was no longer the great shining silver Tiger they had once known.  His mangled body seemed smaller and his fur was died orange from the blood staining him.
The tigers gave their friend a burial fit for heroes, burning him on a giant pyre.  In the reflection of the light all the tiger’s fur seemed to be orange as well and where the smoke brushed them black streaks appeared.  While their shadows grew with the setting sun their own bodies seemed to shrink.  The tigers watched the flames all night long and in the morning sun it was clear a change had came over them.  For, you see, in the night they swore an oath to never rest until their revenge was brought upon the monkey, and to seal this oath they promised that no tiger would shine as bright and as silver as their friend, their king, had.  As the sun rose and the fire died they saw that their fur was not just reflecting orange in the fire light but had changed to look always like the funeral pyre, orange in night and day with streaks of as black as smoke.
            The monkeys’ moved to the trees where they could be safe from the tigers.  The Gorillas, ever after claiming to be the ones to defeat the great silver tiger, all wore silver capes.  And the tigers still sneak through the jungle looking for the monkey, that their revenge may finally be satiated, and they may once more shine silver in the rising sun.


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