THE TIGER AND ANTEATER – (An ancient rainforest tale)

by Peter Halder

     Tiger had finished eating a deer he had captured and decided to go to a nearby stream for water to digest his meal. Filled, he found a nearby mora tree and rested in its shade on the ground. Some time after, he continued roaming in the rainforest.

He had not walked far when he encountered an anteater. He was amused at the ugly shape of the animal, especially its long funny proboscis and its clumsy toes.

He laughed aloud and shouted, “Ha! Ha1 Ha! what a funny looking creature you are. You are ugly like sin.”
The anteater replied, “I am not amused. You also look funny to me. Those stripes on your skin look like a woman’s dress. And your fangs are so crazy looking you ought to go and see a dentist.”  

Tiger grew angry. “If I was not hungry, I would seize you, kill and eat you but I don’t know how your flesh will taste. I like rich meat. You on the other hand eat only ants. Ant is not meat.”

“I also eat meat and as to seizing, killing and eating me, that is impossible. I can eat more meat than you and I am stronger than you,” replied anteater.

“Aw go on with you. Are you kidding me you poor specimen of an animal!”

Anteater told tiger that after he had had his fill of deer, he anteater came across the carcass and ate all the remaining meat which was far more that tiger had eaten.

Tiger was aghast. “I do not believe you,” he said.

Anteater replied, “Well then lets make a deal. Let us go and visit the carcass of the deer. You can judge for yourself how much you ate and if what you left was not more than what you ate.”

“Agreed,” shouted tiger, “let us go and see.”

Anteater inveigled a promise out of tiger that when they reached near the spot where the carcass was, they both would face each other and close their eyes tightly. He would then call for all eyes to open and then they would walk right up to the carcass and examine it.

And so it was agreed so it was done.

When they neared the carcass, they faced each other and shut their eyes tightly.

After a few seconds, anteater slowly opened his eyes and saw that tiger’s were shut. He gazed steadily into the closed eyes and slowly but surely, transferred tiger’s eyes into his head while simultaneously transferring his eyes to tiger.

“Open all eyes,” shouted anteater.

When tiger opened his eyes he was puzzled. Everything around him looked different.

“Now let’s go and examine the carcass,” said anteater.

They did and tiger’s eyes which were really the anteater’s told him through the latter’s instigation that anteater had indeed eaten more meat than him.

“I do not believe what I am seeing. This cannot be true and since I am stronger than you and now feeling a bit hungry after all this nonsense, I will seize you and eat you,” screamed an irate tiger.

“Wishful thinking. I am stronger than you tiger.”

The striped beast, still not being able to see properly, leaped at the anteater. The latter ducked and grabbed the tiger around the body with his forelegs. Tried as he might, tiger was unable to use his fangs or the claws.

A smiling anteater squeezed the body of tiger between his forelegs like a vise, tighter and tighter until he crushed the hapless beast to death.


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