The Tiger Who Had No Manners

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Tiger growl

A Tale from Korea
Dedicated to Raphaela and Gideon,
Read by Richard Scott.
Proofed & audio edited by Jana Elizabeth.
Adapted by Bertie.

There was once a striped tiger that lived among the highlands of Kang Wen in Korea. Hunters called him ‘The Mountain Uncle’, but they rarely caught sight of him. He boasted to his fellow tigers that he had never been wounded by any bullet; while as for traps, he knew all about them and laughed at the tricks used by man to try and steal his wondrous skin.

In summer he kept among the high hills and lived on fat deer. In winter, when heavy snow, biting winds, and terrible cold kept human beings within doors, old Mountain Uncle would slink down to the villages. There he would prowl around the stables, the cattle enclosures, or the pig-pens, in hope of catching a tasty dinner. Too often he succeeded.

One day in autumn, Mountain Uncle was rambling among the lower hills. Though far from any village, he kept a sharp lookout for traps and hunters, but none seemed to be near. He was very hungry and hoped for game.

As he came around a great rock, Mountain Uncle suddenly saw a big tiger like himself - or so he thought.

He stopped, twitched his tail most ferociously, growled terribly, and got ready to spring. To his surprise the other tiger did exactly the same things. Mountain Uncle was sure that there would be a terrible struggle, but of course he expected to win.

But after a tremendous leap in the air, he landed in the bottom of a deep pit, bruised and disappointed. There was no tiger to be seen, but instead a heavy lid of logs had closed over his head with a crash and he lay in darkness. Old Mountain Uncle was caught at last.. Yes, the hunter had hidden the pit with sticks and leaves, vines and brushwood, and above it had hung a broken mirror to trick Old Mountain Uncle.

By and by, a Buddhist priest came along, who believed in being kind to all living creatures. When he heard an animal moaning, he opened the trap and saw old Mountain Uncle at the bottom licking his bruised paw.

"Oh, please, Mr. Man, let me get out. I'm hurt badly," said the tiger.

The priest lifted up one of the logs and slid it down, until it rested on the bottom of the pit. Then the tiger climbed up and out. Old Mountain Uncle expressed his thanks saying to the shaven headed priest:

"I am deeply grateful to you, sir, for helping me out of my trouble. Nevertheless, as I am very hungry, I must eat you up."

The priest, very much surprised, protested that this was no way to thank somebody for saving his life. To say the least, it was very bad manners and entirely against the law of the mountains. The tiger swished his tail, a sure sign that he meant to eat the priest in a moment. As a last hope, the man cried out to a big tree.

“Oh great oak tree. You are very wise and old. Be the judge of our quarrel.I have just saved the life of Mountain Uncle. Is it right that he should now eat me up? The tiger says he has a right to eat me because he is hungry. I say he has no right, because I have saved him.”

The spirit in the tree spoke through the rustling leaves and declared that the man should go free and that the tiger was both ungrateful and besides, had extremely bad manners.

Old Mountain Uncle was not satisfied yet, especially as the priest was unusually fat and would make a very good dinner. However, he allowed the man to appeal once more, this time to a big rock.

The spirit of the big rock said:

"The man is certainly right, honourable Mountain Uncle, and you are wholly wrong. Your master, the Mountain Spirit, will certainly punish you if you eat up this priest. You will be no fit messenger of the Mountain Lord if you are so ungrateful as to eat the man who saved you from starvation or death in the trap. It is shockingly bad manners even to think of such a thing."

The tiger felt ashamed, but his eyes glared with hunger Now he proposed to make a toad the final judge.

The toad, with his gold-rimmed eyes, looked very wise, and instead of answering quickly, as the tree and rock did, thought for a long time. The priest's heart sank, while the tiger licked his lips.

"I must go and see the trap before I can make up my mind," said the toad, who looked as solemn as a judge. So all three leaped, bopped, or walked to the trap. The tiger, moving fast, was there first.

Now while the toad and the tiger were studying the trap,the priest ran off and saved himself by reaching the monastery gates. It was only when at last the toad decided in favour of the man, that old Mountain Uncle noticed the priest was long gone. Before he could lash out in anger, the toad hopped into a crack between the rocks, and crawling far inside, defied the tiger.

“Croak! You rude and ungrateful beast. Learn some manners!” he called out.

Old Mountain Uncle was so mad with rage and hunger that his craftiness turned into stupidity. He clawed at the rock to pull it open to get at the toad and to tear him to pieces. But the toad, safe inside, only laughed. Unable to do any harm, the tiger flew into a passion of rage. The hotter his temper grew, the more he lost his good sense. Poking his nose inside the crack, he rubbed it hard on the rough rock until it bled. Finally he gave up, and returned to the mountains with an empty belly and a sore nose.

And from that day on, he was no longer known as the Honourable Mountain Uncle, but as the tiger who had no manners.
I'm delighted to dedicate this story to Raphaela ana Gideon, who support us on Patreon! They tell us they are huge Storynory fans!
Thank you, Raphaela and Gideon for all your help and support!
And here's Bertie with a short message for Storynory listeners.
Bertie - I just thought it'd be nice to read some of the reviews left by our listeners on iTunes. These are just some of the recent ones…
“It's so so good. I love the Astropup stories. They're great. Please make more!”
And here's one by Issy Sage, “I love Storynory and I love to listen to it when I go to sleep. I love horses. Will you make a story about horses? Thanks.”
And this one, I think she likes the story ‘Cretan Bull’. “My name is Julia. I love Storynory. I am 7 years old and I love to go out on my patio with my dad and listen to them. I hope you make more.”
Well, thank you very much for all those nice reviews. Unfortunately when you go on iTunes or the Apple podcast app, this is the first review you see.. “Not bad,” by Gabreviews.
Thanks Gabreviews.”Not bad I guess. The teller is pretty good. The stories are not very good. Well Richard that's pretty nice for you. Well done. But not so nice for me, the person who writes the stories. So look, this is what you, the audience could do to help us. Please go to ITunes or the Apple podcast app for us and mark some of the nice and flattering reviews as helpful. That will mean those are the reviews that people see first. Also if you can leave us your own thoughts, we would be delighted and we might even read them out.
Richard - Thanks Bertie.

Read for Storynory.com by me, Richard Scott. For now, goodbye.