A traditional Tao story re-told by Andrew Wright
There was a young woman. She was lying under a tree and she was sleeping. Suddenly, she heard the roar of a tiger! She woke up! She saw it! The tiger, a huge tiger, its eyes burning bright, its teeth gleaming, was running towards her!
She couldn’t climb the tree. There was nowhere to hide! She ran! She ran away from the tiger. And she ran like the wind! She was fast but the tiger was faster and on great silent feet it came nearer and nearer!
What could she do?
She saw a cliff in front of her. It was the side of a deep gorge. The tiger was just behind her. She half jumped, half fell over the cliff. She caught a vine. She held on to the vine.
The tiger was above her, its burning eyes staring at her, its claws opening and closing on the edge of the cliff.
She climbed down the vine, a little bit further.
She looked up. The tiger was silent. Its eyes were closed. Its head was on its paws. It was sleeping.
Then she heard another tiger roar below her! At the bottom of the cliff was another tiger, with burning eyes. Its roarings echoing in the gorge.
Then she heard a scratching and a gnawing. It was a little mouse above her. It was in its hole and it was gnawing at the vine; eating the vine slowly, slowly, eating the vine. But it was a thick vine and it was a little mouse. And the young woman felt the warm sun on her back. She felt the warm sun on the cliff. She smelled warm, rich smells coming from the little rock flowers and then she saw there were some bunches of dark blue grapes on the vines! Rich and ripe! Fat and succulent!
She reached for a bunch of grapes. She pressed the fat grapes into her mouth. She lived the moment and forgot about the two tigers and the mouse. The mouse was still gnawing at the vine.
What a wonderful story! Gosh! This story is no good for frisky young teenagers…they will probably tease you as you tell it. But it does appeal to a lot of young adults and adults. They are more likely to accept that the story is clearly a metaphor and so they are less likely to start arguing about where the tiger came from.