The Tiger Who Fancied Himself As A Bridegroom
Once upon a time there lived a man in a village of Bengal whose patience was sorely tried by a clever fox. The fox made frequent raids on the man's home and carried away a number of his hens. At last the man hit upon a plan. He carefully laid a trap by the jungle near his home. Every day he went there to find out if the fox had fallen in the trap or not.
Illustration by A. Muqtadir
One day the fox was truly trapped. Now, a wedding was to take place in the man's home on that day. Everyone was busy with preparations for the occasion and no one came near the trap the whole day. Thus the day went by and dusk fell.
Every one made merry at the man's home on the occasion of the wedding.
There were fireworks and illumination. All the guests and the family members were engrossed in the festivities. Just then a tiger peeped out of the jungle and saw the trapped fox. The tiger looked at him for a moment and then said, “Hello, Pundit, why are you in such a state as this?” The fox promptly answered, “You know these people are so insistent! I said 'no' a hundred times but they're indeed a persuasive lot. At last I had to agree to marry the beautiful daughter of that home. But I really don't want to marry yet.”
The tiger saw that here was a golden opportunity that only a fool would let slip by. He said eagerly, “Well, Pundit, I've been thinking of marrying for quite some time. I would marry today if I found a nice girl.” The fox said slyly, “If that's the way you feel I really don't mind letting you be the bridegroom. I can then go and get busy with my studies."
The tiger could hardly wait a moment. The fox asked the tiger to open the door of the trap which was fastened from outside. The tiger unfastened the latch, then the fox stepped out and the tiger went in. The fox then shut the door of the trap securely.
The people after a while came to know that a tiger was trapped at the outskirt of the jungle. They came running with sticks and spears and shovels. The tiger asked the fox who was still waiting near by, “Pundit, why are those men rushing this way?”
The fox said, “They are coming to give the bridegroom the ceremonial bath.” Reassured, the tiger waited patiently for the men to come and give him the wedding bath. The men came and stood all around the trap. One of the men poked at the tiger with a pole. The tiger thought it was perhaps his brother-in-law joking with him. Then another thrust a spear at him. In a moment there fell another mighty blow on the tiger from a different corner. The tiger thought the in-laws were going too far with their horse-play. There ought to be a limit to such rough-housing. He shouted in pain and cried angrily, “If you carry on like this, I warn you, I'll go away and never marry your girl.”
The sly fox realised it was not a good spot for him to linger at any more and slinked off quietly.
(A Bangladeshi folktale retold)
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