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August 6, 2017

Dhaval The Tiger

               Once upon a time, there was a young tiger cub that lived in the jungle. However,
unlike all of the other tigers who had bold orange coats, this cub’s fur was white as
snow. His coat earned him the name of Dhaval, a Hindi name meaning “white”, and
everyone who saw the cub was stricken with awe.
               One day Dhaval’s mother called him home and said, “Dhaval, take this bundle of
herbs and bring it to the streak’s tigress, she is sick and needs them to recover.” The
tigress was considered the wise woman of the streak and lived in a hut on the other side
of the river, not too far from Dhaval and his mother.

               “Mind yourself and watch that you are respectful and say hello when she sees you.
Do not stray from the path to her hut, and mind not to talk to any strangers. There are
many who travel these parts and not all of them intend to be your friend.” With that
warning, he set forth on his journey.
               Not long after Dhaval entered the jungle, he encountered a man dressed in a tan
shirt and hat that wrapped all the way around his head. The man was in awe at the site
of the cub’s fur and instantly wondered how valuable it might be. Dhaval had seen
humans before, but never one so closely nor had he ever had the chance to speak to
               “Hello there little cub, that’s quite a lot of herbs you have there. What do you
intend to do with all of them?”
               “I am going to the tigress’ hut. She is not feeling well and needs them to feel
               “Now this tigress, is she a tiger like you?”
               “Why of course she is a tiger! She is called tigress after all!” replied Dhaval with a
               The man began to think about how to handle the situation. Although the cub’s
snow white fur would fetch a hefty price, two tigers would prove to be even more
               “Little cub, where does the tigress’ live?”
               “Just across the river. Speaking of which, it has been nice talking with you, but I
really must go.”
               “Yes I understand,” replied the man, “But before you go, have this fishing rod. I
understand the bridge is just up ahead. Perhaps you could catch some fish for the
tigress. I’m sure she would more than appreciate some grilled fish for supper to go
along with her herbs.”
               Dhaval was hesitant to accept. His mother had warned him not to talk to
strangers, but this man did not seem to intend to cause any harm. If he caught some
fish and brought them to the tigress just like the man said, she would most certainly be
appreciative; surely his mother would understand.
               “I like that idea sir, thank you.” Dhaval then took the fishing rod and bid the man a
farewell. Once he reached the bridge, he hung his legs off the side and began to fish
just like the man had suggested. He looked around at all the fish; silver scales dancing
just beneath the surface of the water. Dhaval would be able to catch enough fish for the
tigress in no time at all. With him now distracted, the man made his way further down
the path to the tigress’ hut. Once he was sure no one else was around, he knocked.
               “Who is it?” replied the tigress.

               Not knowing what to do, the man knocked again.
               “Who is it?” repeated the tigress. “I’m sorry but I can’t get out of bed. The door is
unlocked, just let yourself in.
               The man then went inside and captured the seasoned tigress with a net, and
dragged her behind her hut. He then put on her clothes and hid in her hut with another
net as he waited for the young Tiger.
               When Dhaval was certain that he had more than enough fish to keep the tigress
well fed for the next few days, he continued his way along the path. As he reached her
hut, he noticed that the door was cracked open.
               “Hello? Is anyone home? It’s Dhaval.” Dhaval called inside. He had been here
many times, not once had tigress left her door ajar.
               “I’m in here Dhaval,” called the tigress from the kitchen. As Dhaval stood in the
door way, he noticed that the tigress did not look herself.
               “Oh tigress, you’ve grown shorter since last time I’ve seen you.”
               “Yes, with age one tends to get a bit smaller I suppose.” replied the tigress in a
hushed voice; Dhaval was barely able to hear her.
               “Oh tigress, you are ill. It seems that all your fur has fallen out!”
               “Nonsense my dear child, my coat is just as radiant as ever.”
               “Oh tigress, how dull your claws have gotten.”
               “No, No, they’re just the same as they’ve always been. Come take a closer look.”
               As Dhaval took a step forward, a net fell from the ceiling and trapped him. The
man then dragged him outside and put him behind the hut with the real tigress.
               Just as the man began dragging the two felines away, Dhaval’s mother appeared
and caught site of the commotion. Thinking fast, she pounced on the man and tore his
arm from his body, in turn releasing the net and freeing Dhaval and the tigress.
               The two tigers were free, and Dhaval never again talked to strangers as he
walked through the Jungle.

(Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash)

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