A Tiger by the Tail Tale

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In a jungle far away a rogue gripped a tiger by its tail. The tail was wrapped tightly around his arm and his grip was firmly and securely about the tail's root. He wouldn't dare to loosen his hold. He certainly couldn't let go - but then he had no desire to let go. This very bad man had the tiger just where he wanted it and the tiger was angry but helpless in his power.

Meanwhile, in our part of the world, which is a long long way away from any jungle, where nobody ever meets a tiger but we do know what a tiger looks like (we think tigers look very lovely and cuddly), it became known that a tiger was being abused by a scoundrel in a jungle far away. There was outrage at this terrible injustice and some of our leaders thought they should send the courageous soldiers who are employed to defend us, on a mission to save the poor tiger from the dreadful tyrant.

In our part of the world the laws of the jungle do not hold sway and people here may imagine that all pussy cats everywhere are sweet, affectionate creatures who wouldn't hurt a fly (unless sorely provoked) so if some wicked person grabs a pussy cat's tail, they are likely to get a bit of a scratch - and serve them right. As for the monster that takes a firm hold on the tail of a tiger and yanks it painfully about, provoking and damaging the creature - well, the villain must be stopped and, of course, the tiger will be so eternally grateful that it will certainly roll over and let its rescuers tickle its tummy. Won't it?

In order to find out just how grateful the tiger would be, the brave soldiers were sent to rescue it. The tyrant was disengaged from the tiger's vulnerable rear end, where he had been safe from the creature's claws and teeth but, unfortunately, the tiger was badly hurt in the struggle to free it. The poor beast slumped on the ground before its liberators, exhausted and demoralised. The liberators took this to be a good sign and thought they detected the light of gratitude in the tiger's dull and tired eyes. It slept fitfully for a while, occasionally twitching violently in its sleep, dreaming of revenge and killing the odd member of the rescue party. So the rescue party was instructed to draw its teeth and claws before it could inadvertently do any more damage.

This further trauma to the already much bruised and abused body of the tiger woke the poor beast into a new and more violent frenzy. So the rescuers struggled to catch hold of the tiger's tail. The tail was thrashing angrily and the rescuers only managed to catch the end of it in a loose and ineffectual grip. They found themselves within easy reach of the tiger's lethal weapons. The teeth snapped at them and many were killed. The claws raked at them and many were injured. The tiger showed its disdain and resentment toward the new, weaker oppressors by defecating on them as well. The poor tiger was almost back to square one: in the power of a ring-master instead of a tyrant, trying to train it to be a sweet little pussy cat.

Tigers don't explain themselves, they just do what they do. When you live in a jungle, it's the only way to survive at the top of the food chain. When sweet little pussy cats step through their cat-flap, leaving the cosy security of the comfy lap, saucer of milk and bowl of Whiskers, they change their behaviour and become ruthless killers. They can tell the difference between the calm, civilised environment of their domestication and the 'jungle' outside the back door. Tigers have never been domesticated though. The jungle is all they know and they know they have to behave like tigers, not domesticated pussy cats, to survive in that environment. They don't explain this to the well-meaning, soft-hearted chumps who are incautious enough to step in and rescue them from an even bigger predator than themselves, they just eat the rescuer and take a nap, ready for the next day of blood sport and dripping flesh.

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