OPINIONS

The tiger who wants to be a king

Fa Abdul

Published
Modified 27 Feb 2020, 1:11 am
17

Once upon a time ago, the Tiger who was the king of the hills decided to go on a vacation. In his absence, the Young Tiger proclaimed himself as the new king. Whoever refused to bow down would immediately become his next meal. Afraid, the other beasts in the hills began calling for their true king to return from his holiday.

One day, the lord of the entire kingdom – the Old Lion, ordered every animal in the jungle to look for the Tiger and send him back to the hills where he is needed by his loyal followers.

When the Tiger finally returned to the hills, the only animal he met was the Leopard.

"Where is everyone else?" asked the Tiger.

"They are hiding," said the Leopard. "They are afraid of the Young Tiger who has taken over as king of the hills in your absence.”

"Has he? We'll see about that! Send him to me!" ordered the Tiger.

A few days later, the Young Tiger and his counsellors, the Fox and the Wolf, made their way to meet the king of the hills. Their arrival was received by the king and his faithful followers. Seeing he was outnumbered, the Young Tiger knew he had to do something to show his power. He roared loudly and angrily just to show the Tiger who was king.

The Tiger laughed upon hearing the roar.

“Oh my! Your breath really stinks, my dear brother. Please, no more roars until you wash your mouth,” he said in between chuckles.

All other animals began laughing at the Young Tiger. This made him angrier, so he roared even louder. Watching this, the Tiger squinched up his nose – causing the animals to laugh even more.

The Young Tiger was furious but also quite embarrassed. He hoped to be the new king of the hills but ended up being ridiculed. Not knowing what to do, he called for his counsellors to attend to him.

“What should my next move be? I must become the king of the hills by hook or by crook!” the Young Tiger said.

“Your Majesty, you are more powerful than anyone in this kingdom. You should not be challenging only the king of the hills, instead, you should challenge the lord of the kingdom, the Old Lion!” the Young Tiger’s counsellors advised.

That afternoon, the Young Tiger and his counsellors went near the lion’s den and started roaring. The Old Lion who was fast asleep after a meal was woken up by the Young Tiger’s noise.

“Who is there?” the Old Lion shouted.

The Young Tiger roared louder.

The Old Lion walked out slowly from his den and stared into the Young Tiger’s eyes.

“Why are you disturbing me? You can go to any place in the jungle and shout as loudly as you can, but why are you shouting outside my den?”

The Young Tiger looked furiously at the Old Lion and said, “Look at you - you are an old lion, you can’t even run as fast as the rest of us. You are not capable of running this kingdom. I demand you step down and make me the lord!”

The Old Lion laughed.

“Stop! Why are you laughing?” the Young Tiger shouted.

“My apologies, it’s just that your breath really stinks. My God, in my 94 years of existence, I’ve never encountered anyone with such bad breath, haha!”

“Did you even hear what I said? I demand you step d—“

Before the Young Tiger could finish his sentence, the Old Lion walked back into his den, took two lumps of cotton, placed them into each of his ears and continued sleeping.

The Young Tiger, confused, turned to his counsellors for advice.

“The Old Lion is just afraid of you. But we advise you to not stay here too long because the other animals might feel that you are serving the Old Lion. Let’s assemble more followers from the hills. Together, we can threaten to eat them if they refuse to be a follower.”

“Yes, I shall follow your advice, my faithful counsellors,” said the Young Tiger. “But please do tell me, do you think my breath smells?”

Thinking he wanted to know the truth, the Fox bowed low before the Young Tiger and said, “Your Majesty, your breath does smell terrible. In fact, it smells so bad that it is making me feel quite ill.”

The Young Tiger growled. This was not what he wanted to hear. Roaring angrily, he pounced and bit the Fox’s head off.

Then he called the Wolf.

“Tell me, do you think my breath smells?”

The Wolf, having witnessed the murder of the Fox, had no plans to end up the same way. So, he bowed low before the Young Tiger and said, “Your Majesty, your breath smells as sweet as the flowers in spring!”

“Liar!” roared the Young Tiger, as he ripped the Wolf to pieces.

Later that afternoon, the Young Tiger made his way to the hills, alone. There, he met a group of animals who had learnt all about what had happened.

Sharpening his claws and yawning widely so the animals could see his long sharp teeth, the Young Tiger growled, “Do you think my breath smells?”

The animals were scared, of course, but they knew something must be done. They must protect the king of the hills and the lord of the kingdom.

“Well?” asked the Young Tiger, followed by a roar.

The monkeys suddenly coughed, the squirrels sneezed, the bears blew their noses and the deers began clearing their throats noisily.

“Forgive us. We have such nasty colds that we cannot smell a thing!” the animals said in a hoarse whisper.

“But, if you do have problems with your breath, we know just what you should do!” said one of the bears. “After all, it is not good for a king to have bad breath.”

The animals then took the Young Tiger to the highest cliff in the hills and advised him to roar as loudly as he could.

“The fresh air will help cleanse your breath,” said the monkeys.

“At the same time, your powerful roar can show everyone who the true king of the hills is,” said the squirrel.

The Young Tiger smiled proudly and stepped to the edge of the cliff, overseeing the entire kingdom. Just as he opened his mouth to roar, the group of deers kicked him as hard as they could, causing the Young Tiger to fall to his death.

As the animals in the kingdom rejoiced the death of the power-crazy Young Tiger, they sent a clear message to the old lion and the tiger, who were their current leaders, never to abuse the power entrusted to them by the ordinary animals.


FA ABDUL is a passionate storyteller, a media trainer, an aspiring playwright, a director, a struggling producer, a photographer, an expert Facebooker, a lazy blogger, a part-time queen and a full-time vainpot.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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