Two little children had gone missing from the village since morning.
There was a rumour that a man-eating tiger was on the prowl in the forest. This tiger had attacked a woman who had gone to collect firewood. Her half eaten body was later found in a ravine.
But the man-eater was not the only animal that could have killed the missing children. There were bears, wolves and hyenas in the forest.
Search parties went in all directions but the children could not be found. The grief-stricken parents were losing hope with passing of each hour.
Twenty four hours had passed and everyone had, more or less, given up.
It was the day when village postman came to deliver the mail. He was leisurely walking through the forest. He had spent his childhood here and was familiar with almost every yard of the forest.
He heard strange, wild sounds coming from a deep ravine. He cautiously approached the ravine and what he saw left him stupefied.
Two kids were lying in the ravine, perhaps unconscious or dead. A group of hyenas was trying to sneak up to the kids. A ferocious tiger, standing near the kids, was growling at the hyenas.
Suddenly the tiger attacked the hyenas. The hyenas howled as loudly as they could and ran away.
With the hyenas gone, the tiger yawned and lay down near the kids.
The postman was carrying only a bamboo stick for his protection. Still he took courage and came down the ravine. The tiger sensed his presence. It looked at the postman and got up. The postman froze in fear. He cursed himself for his foolhardiness, “I should not have come down; the kids are perhaps already dead”.
For a few moments the tiger kept looking at the postman and then, slowly and majestically, walked away and vanished in the ravine.
The postman thanked his stars. The kids were unconscious but alive. He picked them up and came to the village.
Everyone was astonished to hear his story. No one could believe that a man-eating tiger had protected the children from wild animals.
(Inspired partially by an incident narrated by Jim Corbett in his autobiography)
A post for A to Z April (2015) Challenge.
M for Man-eater
You may like to read my earlier posts