Tiger falls in a pit. A carver, who chops down small Oak trees for totem poles to scare away demons and for worship in celebrations in mountain villages, helps Tiger out because Tiger is Guard of the West and King of the Beasts honored by God Shiva. Tiger wants to eat the man. The Carver asks judges: the Pine tree, a buck, and Cousin Rabbit, who tricks Tiger back into the pit.
Carefully, Tiger sneaks through the jungle; he was humiliated by his smaller Cousins. He searches for the Heavenly Prince. He notices there are many men and fewer animals and no bears in this kingdom. He steps quietly; not as arrogant but as swift, strong, and powerful Tiger contains the Brahmin's magic.
While chasing a butterfly through the forest with a crash, bang the Forest's floor breaks. Tiger falls into a long, deep, dark PIT.
With anguished and in horror Tiger throws a fit, howling, growling, and clawing which shake the Forest. He stretches as long he can and finds escape impossible, trapped. He sniffs and discovers the smells of another beast, who is not there. BOARS! Oh yes, wild boars that roam the forest, that run from men. They are delicious to eat. He smells the struggle and death. Tiger whines in the pit and again loudly growls and hollers until morning, tired, exhausted, and scared.
He hears footsteps. Then staring at him is a man, who says," King of the Beasts and Guard the West honored by God Shiva, Tiger! What is a tiger doing in the boar's pit?"
A man with a face and voice of the Heavenly Prince and talk to animals. Tiger says, "Heavenly Prince, what are you doing in the forests?"
The man answers, "The Heavenly Prince was my Grandfather, I am a shaman of the Forests, I am to protect these lands. I'm Carver totems using the trunks of Oak trees. I take the totems to the villages to celebrate the mountain and the special animals. Tiger, you are one of the honored beasts of our forest."
Tiger carefully looks at the man, who is not the Heavenly Prince, who seems sincere and honest, and does not smell of the hunt. "Would you, honest man get me out of this pit? I promise, I sincerely promise, although I am hungry I will not eat you."
The man does honor tigers and knows there are few tigers left in the forests as there are few animals due to hunting. "Because, Tiger, you are the noblest of all beasts, Guard of the West and King of the Forest, honored by God Shiva. I will get you out of this pit."
Tiger hears a grinding like slow snoring, and then dragging, more snoring and more dragging. Then a small Oak trunk positioned on the edge of the pit is slowly lowered down to where Tiger sits watching and wondering. Then the next Oak slides carefully down into the pit, and then one more poll slides down.
The Carver yells to Tiger, "Climb the poles. You're strong. You're capable. With those find sharp claws, you can do it."
Tiger growls. "I know I can." Slowly ever so slowly Tiger pulls himself climbing the polls. Reaching the top, Tiger pulls himself out The Carver hunches over the pit pulling the poles out. This man is too long and thin for the Heavenly Prince. Tiger shakes with hunger. He approached the Carver, who turns around and stares into Tiger's eyes not afraid at all.
YOU ARE READING
ASIAN STORIESHistorical Fiction
Daily in April will be posted a written story: 'How Dragons Shaped China'; the Hindu Ramayana from SITA's point of view; and from Korea, 'Taming of Tiger'; from my days of telling verbal stories at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. These tradi...