Gateway to the Classics: Indian Fables by Ramaswami Raju
Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju

The Tiger and the Giraffe

A tiger, named Old Guile, who had grown weak with age, was lying under a tree, by the side of a lake, in quest of some animal off which he could make a meal.

A giraffe, named Tall Stripes, who came to the lake to quench his thirst, attracted his attention, and Old Guile addressed him as follows?" Oh, what a happy day! I see there the son of my old friend Yellow Haunch, who lived in the great forest near that distant mountain."

Tall Stripes was astonished to hear the words of Old Guile, and asked him how he, a tiger, was the friend of his father, a giraffe.

"I am not surprised at your question," replied Old Guile?" it is a truth known to very few indeed that the tiger and the giraffe belong to the same family. Just look at your skin and my own: yours is of a pale yellow colour—mine is very nearly the same; you have stripes—I have them, too. What more proofs do you want?"

Tall Stripes, who was extremely simple and guileless, believed these words, and said, "I am very happy to know that my father was your friend, and that we are of the same family. Can I do anything for you?"

Old Guile replied, "No, thank you; old as I am, I make it a point of relying on myself. Further, a great part of my time is spent in prayer and meditation; for I consider it necessary, at this age, to devote all my attention to spiritual things. It will, however, be a great gratification to me to have your company whenever you should chance to pass by this lake."

Tall Stripes acceded to this request, and was about to go on his way, when Old Guile observed, "My dear Tall Stripes, you are well aware of the instability of all earthly things. I am old and infirm, and who knows what may happen to me tomorrow. Perhaps I may not see you again; so let me do myself the pleasure of embracing you before you leave me for the present."

"Certainly," said Tall Stripes. Thereupon Old Guile rose up slowly from his seat, like one devoid of all energy, and embracing him, plunged his deadly teeth into his long neck, and stretching him on the ground, made a hearty breakfast on him.

Beware of the crafty professions of the wicked.

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