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KALULU AND THE TIGER

Life in the African jungle was not easy for Kalulu the rabbit, who had many enemies among the bigger, more powerful animals. They were just waiting for the opportunity to kill and eat him, and it was only by his nimble wits and agility that he managed to escape each time. One of the most dangerous of these enemies was Chuwi, the tiger. Many a time, Kalulu had had a narrow escape from his clutches, and he was now so furious that he had sworn to have Kalulu for lunch at the earliest opportunity.

For many days after this, Kalulu was careful to stay out of Chuwi's way. However, as time passed, he grew careless and let his guard slip.

One day, Kalulu happened to meet his old friend, Kima the monkey, at the foot of an old tamarind tree. He was so busy chatting that he failed to notice his dreaded foe creeping upon him. It was only when the light was blotted out by a wide shadow that the friends looked up to see the tiger standing within touching distance, glowering menacingly at them!

"At last I've got you, Kalulu!" The booming voice was so terrifying it sent a chill down Kalulu's spine. Giving a shriek of fright, Kima turned and scrambled up the nearby tamarind tree.

Kalulu knew he was trapped! He could not hope to run away – not when chuwi was this close. His mind worked at lightning speed he thought of a plan.

He turned to face his foe, and was hard put to suppress an involuntary shudder. Chuwi's eyes had a murderous glint in them, and he was displaying all his fierce-looking teeth in a triumphant grin.

Composing himself, Kalulu said calmly, "All right, Chuwi, you can eat me, if you like! What difference does it make, if we're all going to die anyway? Maybe it would be better this way – quicker and less painful!"

Chuwi paused, nonplussed. "What are you talking about?"

"Haven't you hard, then? A terrible hurricane is about to hit the jungle. It'll be here any moment now. If we're caught in it, we'll all perish, without a doubt!"

"What!" The predatory gleam died out of Chuwi's eyes, to be replaced by a look of terror. He knew all about hurricanes. They were terrible things – the crashing trees, the howling wind, the pouring rain! In his fright, he forgot himself so much as to appeal to his prey. "But…but what can we do, Kalulu?" he asked.

"Well," said Kalulu, "I intend to hide somewhere till the hurricane has gone. But in your case, it's going to be more difficult! Being so big, you'll not find a safe place to hide, where the wind can't get at you. Hmmm…Let me think!"

He pretended to be lost in thought, while Chuwi waited anxiously. Seconds later, he said, "I have it!"

"Tell me!" said chuwi eagerly.

Pointing to the tamarind tree, Kalulu said, "This tree is ancient and sturdy, and has withstood many storms. What you could do is to get yourself tied up to this, so that you don't get blown away."

Chuwi eagerly grasped at this straw. "Good idea! Would you tie me up, Kalulu, please?"

"Well…" said Kalulu pretending to hesitate, "I have to go and find a suitable hiding place for myself…"

"Please, Kalulu!"

Kalulu relented. "All right. Get some strong vines from yonder creeper, and I'll tie you."

The tiger obeyed his bidding. Taking the vines, Kalulu tied him up to the tree. "Tighter!" shouted Chuwi. "I don't want to be blown off!"

Hiding his laughter, Kalulu tightened the knots until Chuwi could hardly breathe. Then, with a "Good luck, Chuwi!" he hopped off.

Some time later, a few goats happened to come that way. "Hey, look at this!" they cried in delight. "The tiger is tied to a tree! Wonderful! Now we need fear him no more!"

"Foolish goats," said Chuwi sternly, "don't you know there's a horrible hurricane on the way? Run away and hide while you can!"

"A hurricane! Who told you about it?" asked one of the goats.

"Kalulu," answered chuwi. He was surprised to see all the goats burst into laughter.

"And you believed him?" asked one of them in between chuckles. Another added, "You've been nicely tricked! There are no signs of any hurricane. The sky is quite clear, and there is no wind."

Chuwi saw red! He now realized how Kalulu had made a fool of him, and was more determined than ever to get free and eat him.

The sight of the goats gamboling about made him drool with hunger. How he wished he could sink his teeth into their tender flesh! But Kalulu had tied him so tightly that it was impossible for him to free himself without assistance.

Taking care to keep his voice soft and pleasant, he asked the goats, "Could you untie me, please?"

But the goats took one look at the gleam in his eye and knew what he was up to. "No way!" they cried, and ran off, still laughing. On their way, they told all they met that it was celebration time because Chuwi was firmly tied to the tamarind tree.

Meanwhile Chuwi was in despair. Eventually he looked up and saw Kima, the monkey (who had leapt away at his approach) peering at him from between the leaves.

"Kima dear, won't you untie me?" he asked.

"Not I," answered Kima promptly. "If I do, you'll eat me!"

"No, no! I promise I won't. I'll even reward you with a bunch of ripe bananas; only untie me!"

Now Kima was a rather foolish monkey, and he believed the cunning tiger. Lured by the bait of bananas, he came down and began gnawing away at the rope. Before long, it broke and Chuwi was free!

The next moment, Chuwi grabbed Kima, smacked his lips and said, "Ah! My meal at last!" Poor Kima could only stare at him in terror.

It was fortunate for him that Kalulu returned to check on chuwi at that very moment, and saw what was going on! Kalulu thought fast. Just as Chuwi was lifting Kima to mouth, he called out – "Chuwi, shame on you! Is that any way to eat a monkey?"

"How else would one do it?" asked Chuwi, swinging the terrified Kima before his nose.

"It's much more appetizing to throw the monkey into the air and catch him in your open mouth. But not all can do it!"

As usual, Chuwi acted first and thought afterwards. Stung by the challenge, he declared, "Of course I can do it!"

He tossed the little monkey high in the air and waited for the tender delicacy to drop into his open mouth. As he floated up into thy branches, the agile Kima hooked his tail on a branch to break his fall and scampered higher into the tree!

Kalulu quickly shook the tamarind tree. The next moment, several! Large, tart pods dropped from the overhanging branch into Chuwi's open mouth!

Choking and coughing, poor Chuwi spat out the awful fruit. He then ran away into the jungle, swearing that he would make a meal of that rabbit the very next time he found him!

But can anyone ever catch clever Kalulu?

Moral: Quick wit solves many problems.

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