THE TIGER AND THE BRAHMIN
Updated: Mar 15, 2020
Searching for food, a large tiger found itself caught in a cage when the gate crashed down behind it. Soon a kindly Brahmin came along. The tiger sobbed pathetically and pleaded with the Brahmin to release it. ‘If I do that, you’ll eat me,’ said the Brahmin. ‘No, I won’t,’ whined the tiger. ‘I’ll serve you forever.’ Moved to pity, the Brahmin unlocked the gate, whereupon the tiger emerged, licking its lips – and prepared to eat him. The Brahmin begged to be spared, and eventually got the tiger to agree to let him question four things to see if the tiger was being just. ‘Ask a peepal tree, a buffalo, a road and a jackal,’ said the tiger. The Brahmin set off. When he reached the place where he expected to find the peepal tree, he discovered it had been cut down for firewood. At the river, where the buffalo should have been turning the wheel, there was a wind turbine. The road couldn’t hear his question because there was too much traffic thundering along it, blowing horns. The jackal had been shot dead by a Bollywood star trying to impress his girlfriend. The Brahmin returned to the tiger, defeated. The tiger licked its lips, feeling very hungry by this point. ‘Give me five minutes, please,’ said the Brahmin, removing something from beneath his loin cloth. The tiger watched him make stabbing movements, then whisper into his hand. Strange people, these Brahmins, thought the tiger. For the next four and a half minutes he contemplated how much tastier he would be than an untouchable dalit. ‘Time’s up,’ he growled, just as he saw, rounding the corner, the circus lorry summoned by the Brahmin’s mobile phone.