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Stories By Grandpa

TIGER AND THE WOODPECKER

from JATAKA


Narrated by: Kanai L Mukherjee (Grandpa), Edited by: David Thorndill
Courtesy: Association of Grandparents of Indian Immigrants (AGII)



One day as a tiger was devouring the game he had killed, a bone got stuck in his teeth. A woodpecker who lived in the branches above watched him eating the game but did not realize what had happened. The tiger tried and tried but could not get the bone out.

"I will not be able to eat anything unless I get this bone out" said the tiger. Days passed by and he was getting weaker and weaker. The woodpecker was wondering, what was wrong with the tiger?

"What is the matter with you? Why are you keeping your mouth open?" asked the woodpecker.

The tiger beckoned to the woodpecker to come near and he pointed to the bone in his teeth.

"Oh! you are in a lot of pain" said the woodpecker. "I can remove the bone only if you promise to give me a portion of the flesh of the animal you hunt." The tiger nodded his head as he could not speak.

The woodpecker flew into the tiger's mouth, caught the bone firmly with his strong beak and came out of the tiger's mouth at full speed. Then the woodpecker perched on a tree. He dropped the bone on the tiger's head.

"I better get myself some food, I am starving" said the tiger.

A few hours later the tiger killed an animal and began to eat. The woodpecker tried to remind the tiger of his promise to share his food. But the tiger looked at the woodpecker and pretended to have never seen him.

"Who are you? Why should I offer any part of this?" said the tiger.

The woodpecker was shocked. The tiger was so ungrateful. He came down from the branches and said, "Don't you remember me? I pulled the bone out from your teeth! How could you forget me?"

The tiger laughed and said, "You know I am a wild animal. I could have easily eaten you up when you entered my mouth. Be grateful that I let you free."

The woodpecker was furious. "That's it. I must teach him a lesson. He took advantage of me. He thinks I am weak. But I have my sharp beak. "
The woodpecker patiently waited for the tiger to dose off after a heavy meal.

"Now is the time," said the woodpecker.

The woodpecker swooped down and pecked at one of the tiger's eyes blinding it. The tiger roared with pain "You have pierced my eyes. How can you be so cruel?" roared the tiger in pain.

"You know, I have a sharp beak. I could have easily blinded both eyes but I didn't, be grateful for that and stop roaring."

 

Moral: "TIT FOR TAT."



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