On the outskirts of a bustling city near the sea coast was a zoo named Kananvan. It was famous all over the world for its magnificent white tigers, exotic birds and several other rare species.
However, there was one special quality that made the zoo different and about which no human knew. The animals of Kananvan practiced a democracy that is quite rare even in the so-called civilised world. A democracy in a zoo? I’ll explain....
A tiger was caught in a storm, he had wandered into the fields looking for something to eat. He huddled close to the wall of Naini’s hut for shelter. Naini was an ill-tempered old woman who lived on the outskirts of the village. She was feeling especially ill-tempered that day, because her roof leaked badly.
“This drip-drip!” she muttered, pushing her tin trunks and bed from place to place to keep them dry. “Is there no escape?...
There was once a small and sleepy village, surrounded by mountains on all sides.
A tiger lived on the mountain behind the village. Whenever he climbed to the top of the mountain and roared, the people in the village trembled with fright.
On a winter night, when all the world seemed to be covered with snow, the tiger climbed down. He had not eaten for several days and was very, very, very hungry.
The Tiger and the Dried Persimmons [Illustrations: Kusum Chamoli] As he was desperately looking for food, he came near the window of a house....
“Once upon a time… Stories start like that don’t they? Our story, too, starts like that as my grandma didn’t know when it happened." Once upon a time, there lived a boy called Rahul in a village. One day, he was walking down a path when he came upon a large tiger trapped in a wooden cage. The villagers had caught him for stealing lambs.
“Hey mister!” cried the tiger as soon as he saw Rahul, “I am so thirsty....
This happened a long long time ago. In a small village in southern Orissa, there lived an old woodcutter.
One day, when he was going to the forest to cut wood, he met the tiger. The woodcutter stopped in his tracks on seeing the king of the jungle. But, strangely enough, the tiger did not roar on seeing the woodcutter. He remained silent. The woodcutter was baffled. How was he to know that the tiger was blind?...
One day a priest was walking along a country road when he came upon a tiger, shut up in a strong iron cage. The villagers had caught him and shut him up there because he had started preying on their fowl and cattle.
As soon as the tiger saw the priest, he pleaded, “Oh, Brother Brahmin, please let me out to get a little drink! I am so thirsty, and there is no water here.”...
There they were – two little pups crying for their mother. She had just been killed by Deer. They sobbed so much and for so long that they got tired and lay down for a while. It was then that they decided to take revenge on Deer for killing their mother. Once they had decided what they were going to do, they felt better.
Soon, they realised they were too small to be able to catch Deer....
“ROAR!” growled the lion. “Everyone is scared of me!”
“HRMPHH!” trumpeted the elephant. “Everyone is scared of me!”
“What about me?” purred the panther. “I, too, frighten everyone!”
The Jungle Contest [Illustrations by Shiju George] “No one can run faster than me!” snarled the cheetah. “Everyone is scared of
“GROWL!” growled the tiger, baring his teeth. “I dare any one to cross my
path! I’ll gobble them up!”
“HA! HA! HA!...
Oh tiger, you’re so regal
Majestic and tall
With your bright and stripe-y coat
You look the king of all!
Oh tiger, you’re so handsome
Your cubs are lovely too
They say, the cat’s an aunt of yours-
Do tell me, is this true?
Tiger King [Illustration by Anup Singh] (C) Swapna Dutta
Santhals are a tribe found in rural Orissa and West Bengal. They believe that every individual born on earth comes destined to die by some specific stroke of fate. How the individual dies is determined at birth and this is called Dana or move (like the moves of a chess game). This move determines the kind of death the person would get – at the hands of a tiger, snake, a fall from a tree or just from old age....
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