Once upon a time in the jungle in Guyana, all the tigers were black. Although they were black, they were happy because their prey could not see them, especially at night. One by one the animals were eaten.
In the corner of the jungle lived a wicked, greedy, black tiger, feared by all the animals. His cruelty was well known since many animals both large and small had suffered. He could kill an animal with one swipe of his sharp claws. He prowled at night and the other animals were too afraid to venture out for fear of being eaten. Because of him, their fat was melting like butter in the sun. They got skinnier and skinnier.
One day, the leader of the animals called a meeting to deal with the problem. Everyone had grand ideas. “Set a trap”, “Poison him”, “Shoot him”, were some of the suggestions to get rid of the evil beast.
The leader said, “Another one will come back and we still will not be able to see him at night. Sorry to say by then we will be all eaten.”
Out of nowhere a little voice said, “Stop! I have the perfect plan.”
“Quiet!” said the leader. “Let’s hear the plan.”
Everyone turned and looked in the direction of the little voice which came from the Spotted Puffbird, perched on a branch above the gathering.
“The tigers usually sleep very hard especially after a hunt and their bellies are full, so we should paint bright colour stripes on them while they are asleep,” he suggested. “In that way we will see the stripes at night while they are hunting and it will give us enough time to run away from the danger.”
“Who will do such a thing?” asked the leader.
“We will,” said the centipedes. “There is a tree in this jungle that produces a bright, glowing orange sap. We can roll in it and use our long body to paint the stripes all over the tigers’ body. They will not even feel a thing.”
And they did just that. When the tigers woke up how surprised they were to find bright orange stripes all over their bodies. Their mighty roar could be heard throughout the jungle. They rolled in mud, washed in the river but the stripes could not come off.
As you would also expect, the animals were not afraid to feed anymore, so they began to gain weight.
That, my friends, is how the tigers got stripes.
BIO: Chammaiah Ambrose is an eight-year-old, fourth grade student at the Sunnyside Tutorial School. Her story, How Tigers got Stripes, earned her the third placed prize in the 12 and younger category of the 2013 Wadadli Pen Challenge. Chammaiah says she loves to write stories based on what she reads. Her story How Tiger got Stripes is a new twist on an old mythical story. Her favourite subjects are language-related – reading, spelling, grammar, dictation. She also likes Spanish and wants to be a professor language arts when she grows up.
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