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How the tiger got his stripes.
Start of Story
Once upon a time, ages and ages ago, so long ago that the tiger had no
stripes upon his back and the rabbit still had his tail, there was a
tiger who had a farm. The farm was very much overgrown with underbrush
and the owner sought a workman to clear the ground for him to plant.
The tiger called all the beasts together and said to them when they
had assembled, "I need a good workman at once to clear my farm of the
underbrush. To the one of you who will do this work I offer an ox in
The monkey was the first one to step forward and apply for the
position. The tiger tried him for a little while but he was not a good
workman at all. He did not work steadily enough to accomplish
anything. The tiger discharged him very soon and he did not pay him.
Then the tiger hired the goat to do the work. The goat worked
faithfully enough but he did not have the brains to do the work well.
He would clear a little of the farm in one place and then he would go
away and work on another part of it. He never finished anything
neatly. The tiger discharged him very soon without paying him.
Next the tiger tried the armadillo. The armadillo was very strong and
he did the work well. The trouble with him was that he had such an
appetite. There were a great many ants about the place and the
armadillo could never pass by a sweet tender juicy ant without
stopping to eat it. It was lunch time all day long with him. The tiger
discharged him and sent him away without paying him anything.
At last the rabbit applied for the position. The tiger laughed at him
and said, "Why, little rabbit, you are too small to do the work. The
monkey, the goat, and the armadillo have all failed to give
satisfaction. Of course a little beast like you will fail too."
However, there were no other beasts who applied for the position so
the tiger sent for the rabbit and told him that he would try him for a
The rabbit worked faithfully and well, and soon he had cleared a
large portion of the ground. The next day he worked just as well. The
tiger thought that he had been very lucky to hire the rabbit. He got
tired staying around to watch the rabbit work. The rabbit seemed to
know just how to do the work anyway, without orders, so the tiger
decided to go away on a hunting trip. He left his son to watch the
After the tiger had gone away the rabbit said to the tiger's son, "The
ox which your father is going to give me is marked with a white spot
on his left ear and another on his right side, isn't he?"
"O, no," replied the tiger's son. "He is red all over with just a tiny
white spot on his right ear."
The rabbit worked for a while longer and then he said, "The ox which
your father is going to give me is kept by the river, isn't he?"
"Yes," replied the tiger's son.
The rabbit had made a plan to go and get the ox without waiting to
finish his work. Just as he started off he saw the tiger returning.
The tiger noticed that the rabbit had not worked so well when he was
away. After that he stayed and watched the rabbit until the whole farm
was cleared. Then the tiger gave the rabbit the ox as he had promised.
"You must kill this ox," he said to the rabbit, "in a place where
there are neither flies nor mosquitoes."