Select the desired text size
How the tiger got his stripes.
Start of Story
The rabbit went away with the ox. After he had gone for some distance
he thought he would kill him. He heard a cock, however, crowing in
the distance and he knew that there must be a farm yard near. There
would be flies of course. He went on farther and again he thought that
he would kill the ox. The ground looked moist and damp and so did the
leaves on the bushes. Since the rabbit thought there would be
mosquitoes there he decided not to kill the ox. He went on and on and
finally he came to a high place where there was a strong breeze
blowing. "There are no mosquitoes here," he said to himself. "The
place is so far removed from any habitation that there are no flies,
either." He decided to kill the ox.
Just as he was ready to eat the ox, along came the tiger. "O, rabbit,
you have been such a good friend of mine," said the tiger, "and now I
am so very, very hungry that all my ribs show, as you yourself can
see. Will you not be a good kind rabbit and give me a piece of your
The rabbit gave the tiger a piece of the ox. The tiger devoured it in
the twinkling of an eye. Then he leaned back and said, "Is that all
you are going to give me to eat?"
The tiger looked so big and savage that the rabbit did not dare refuse
to give him any more of the ox. The tiger ate and ate and ate until he
had devoured that entire ox. The rabbit had been able to get only a
tiny morsel of it. He was very, very angry at the tiger.
One day not long after the rabbit went to a place not far from the
tiger's house and began cutting down big staves of wood. The tiger
soon happened along and asked him what he was doing.
"I'm getting ready to build a stockade around myself," replied the
rabbit. "Haven't you heard the orders?" The tiger said that he hadn't
heard any orders.
"That is very strange," said the rabbit. "The order has gone forth
that every beast shall fortify himself by building a stockade around
himself. All the beasts are doing it."
The tiger became very much alarmed. "O, dear! O, dear! What shall I
do," he cried. "I don't know how to build a stockade. I never could do
it in the world. O, good rabbit! O, kind rabbit! You are such, a very
good friend of mine. Couldn't you, as a great favour, because of our
long friendship, build a stockade about me before you build one
The rabbit replied that he could not think of risking his own life by
building the tiger's fortifications first. Finally, however, he
consented to do it.
The rabbit cut down great quantities of long sharp sticks. He set them
firmly in the ground about the tiger. He fastened others securely over
the top until the tiger was completely shut in by strong bars. Then he
went away and left the tiger.
The tiger waited and waited for something to happen to show him the
need of the fortifications. Nothing at all happened.
He got very hungry and thirsty. After a while the monkey passed that
The tiger called out, "O, monkey, has the danger passed?"
The monkey did not know what danger the tiger meant, but he replied,
Then the tiger said, "O, monkey, O, good, kind monkey, will you not
please be so kind as to help me out of my stockade?"
"Let the one who got you in there help you out," replied the monkey
and he went on his way.
Along came the goat and the tiger called out, "O, goat, has the danger
The goat did not know anything about any danger, but he replied,
Then the tiger said, "O, goat, O, good kind goat, please be so kind as
to help me out of my stockade."
"Let the one who got you in there help you out," replied the goat as
he went on his way.
Along came the armadillo and the tiger called out, "O, armadillo, has
the danger passed?"
The armadillo had not heard of any danger, but he replied that it had
Then the tiger said, "O, armadillo, O, good, kind armadillo, you have
always been such a good friend and neighbour. Please help me now to
get out of my stockade."
"Let the one who got you in there help you out," replied the armadillo
as he went on his way.
The tiger jumped and jumped with all his force at the top of the
stockade, but he could not break through. He jumped and jumped with
all his might at the front side of the stockade, but he could not
break through. He thought that never in the world would he be able to
break out. He rested for a little while and as he rested he thought.
He thought how bright the sun was shining outside. He thought what
good hunting there was in the jungle. He thought how cool the water
was at the spring. Once more he jumped and jumped with all his might
at the back side of the stockade. At last he broke through. He did not
get through, however, without getting bad cuts on both his sides from
the sharp edges of the staves. Until this day the tiger has stripes on
both his sides.