Tale by Nivedita Yohana, drawing by Nour Kayali
Once, there was an old ageing tiger who was the leader of the jungle. He was known not only for physical strength but also for possessing inner strength and wisdom. During the times of unrest, the tiger had solved the issue with wisdom and strength instead of just waging war. However, when waging war was inevitable, the kingdom had the strongest army. The kingdom flourished with peace, harmony and wealth. One day, when the tiger was resting on a high mountain, was suddenly accosted by a neighbouring clan leader, a young egoistic tiger.
The egoistic tiger challenged the old tiger for a duel. The old tiger, sensing danger, did not lose the presence of mind. With utter calmness and confidence, the old tiger questioned the credibility of the egoistic tiger. Knowing that the ego can be very malleable, manipulated and defeated the old tiger used this wisdom to its advantage and started questioning the young tiger.
The old tiger questioned:
“O! young thing, do you have the strongest army which has won hundreds of wars?”
The young tiger replied:
“Yes, my army has won thousands of wars, not just a hundred.”
The old tiger showed the expanse of the jungle:
“See the riches, the vegetation and all the animals. I did all these with my hard work and dedication. All other animals revere me and look at me with love and respect. We work as a community, where every animal gets to voice their opinion.”
The young tiger said beaming with pride:
“Pah! All animals in my kingdom look at me with fear and obey my orders. Arousing fear is the true mark of strength and leadership.”
Old tiger continued:
“Do you think you can reach for the sun, the moon and stars and conquer those too?”
Young tiger replied:
“I have youth by my side, many more years ahead of me and can achieve more than you have in your lifetime. Even the sun, the moon, stars and the universe should bow down to my strength. I am invincible, unconquerable and I am going to kill you and conquer your riches too.”
With that, the young tiger was ready to pounce on the old tiger.
The old tiger, still very calm, replied:
“O! My youthful, brave, invincible and unconquerable creature, I will offer you my kingdom without a fight, if you could swim across that river. I know it should not be a big thing for you, considering your youth, bravery and strength.”
The old tiger pointed to a river, known for its strong currents. No one had ever made it alive through that river.
The young arrogant tiger, overcome with pride, immediately agreed to swim across the river not having the patience to realize the wisdom,
“be careful while treading the uncharted waters”.
The young tiger was swept away immediately by the currents.