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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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How Tiger Got His Roar

Another of my daughter's bedtime stories.  Telling kids stories you make up sure helps you to develop your skills at thinking on your feet!

Long ago when all the animals lived together they used to recognize each other by their voices. "Good morning Elephant," you'd hear, "Hello, Moose", "Afternoon Beaver" and so on. But then there came a time when there were too many animals and they began to live farther and farther apart so that they would have enough room to live. Then all the animals started to learn unique calls that would allow others to recognize them from far away. Lion was one of the first to learn a new call and it was a mighty roar that echoed through the hills and valleys. But soon all the animals learned new calls and everyone came to recognize them by their call. Moose bellowed, Loon called, Owl hooted, Mouse squeaked, Wolf howled, Dog barked, each learned a unique sound. Everyone but Tiger. While an animal could tell where Moose was from far away all Tiger could do was yell as loud as he could. He yelled until he got hoarse and still no one knew who he was. He'd yell and Elephant would trumpet back asking "Who's that?" After a while he realized that the other animals were starting to laugh and even worse pity him so he hid in his cave so he wouldn't have to face anyone. Well he'd still be there today but that rascal Squirrel decided to pay him a visit and see what was wrong. Squirrel found his cave and chattered a hello to Tiger. No answer. Squirrel chattered even louder and finally Tiger asked him what he wanted. "Why just to see you and pass some time with you friend Tiger. How are you today?" "Oh just wonderful friend Squirrel, just wonderful," said Tiger in an irritated voice. "Why what's wrong Tiger?" asked Squirrel. "Oh, nothing," replied Tiger, "It's just that every animal but me has a wonderful new sound or call that they can use to let others know where they are." "Oh Tiger that's not true, Rabbit has already given his voice to Lark and as for the fish, well..." "Squirrel no one cares about the fish and Rabbit is a nobody as well. But me, I am a great animal and I should make a great sound. But what can I do, just talk and even Man can do that," he said scornfully. "Well it is true that I heard Lion bragging about how great he was with his mighty roar and how long it had been since he has seen you..." "Why that braggart if I had a sound all my own I would show him who is the great one. I would give anything to have my own sound." Squirrel's eyes lit up and he asked, "Anything?" "Yes," said Tiger, "Anything." In those days it wasn't only Lion that had a great mane of shaggy hair on his head. Tiger too had a beautiful mane on his head and it was his pride and joy. Squirrel said, "I can teach you how to make a mighty sound if you give me..." "What," asked Tiger, "what do you want me to give you so that you will teach me how to make a mighty sound?" Squirrel smiled as this was the exact question he had wanted Tiger to ask. "Why, nothing much Tiger, just your mane." "My mane," shouted Tiger, "but I have the best mane in the world, it's much better than Lion's." "Well, that's true", said Squirrel, "but it doesn't do you much good if you won't come out of this cave where animals can see it. Soon everyone will think Lion has the best mane if no one ever sees your's." Tiger thought and thought. He truly loved his mane but he was getting tried of being cooped up in his cave. "Alright," he said, "you can have my mane but you must teach me how to make a mighty sound." "Oh, I'll teach you how to make a mighty sound Tiger, don't you worry," said Squirrel. So Squirrel took a magic black stone knife he had taken from Dark Man and shaved off all of Tiger's mane. He put the hair in his spirit bag along with the magic knife. "What are you going to do with my mane?" asked Tiger suspiciously. "Oh, I promise not to cause you any harm with this hair friend Tiger, don't you worry. Let's go to the place where I teach animals to make might sounds." Tiger and Squirrel travelled through valleys and forests and over mountains until they reached a dark glade. Squirrel said, "For my magic to work you must close your eyes and keep them closed until I tell you otherwise." "Okay," said Tiger, "but no tricks." Squirrel smiled and taking the Shiny Axe he had borrowed from Stone Man he spilt a springy tree in two. Grunting and straining he forced half of the tree down to the ground and tied it to another tree. He then made Tiger stand on his back legs right beside the other half. "Alright Tiger I am now going to make my magic, keep your eyes closed." He started making nonsense noises and told Tiger, "Now Tiger you must pass water for the magic to stick." Tiger said, "What strange magic is this Squirrel. Are you trying to trick me? For if you are..." "Oh Tiger I promise you that you indeed will make a mighty sound if you let me finish my magic." "Alright," said Tiger, "if you promise." So Tiger started to make water. Chop, down came the axe, swish up came the split trunk, snap right on Tiger's organ.

Oh yes, Tiger learned that he could make a mighty sound and Squirrel learned that he could run much faster than he had ever thought possible. Eventually Tiger stopped chasing Squirrel and had to settle for being without a mane. He consoled himself with the thought that he indeed could make a mighty sound for all he had to do was think about what Squirrel had done to him to bring a mighty bellow out of his lungs. And Squirrel what did he get out of his trick beside a great story? Well to this day when you see Squirrel you'll see that he has two jaunty tuffs of tiger coloured fur on the ends of his ears and his tail is much bushier than it once was. And if you're ever near a Tiger that hears a Squirrel you'll see his eyes narrow and he'll look like he's thinking of climbing that tree and getting that Squirrel.

April 10, 2000  

Last updated October 07, 2016

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