Bedtime Stories For Kids - How the Bravest Man Was Discovered

 How the Bravest Man Was Discovered

There were some mountains on the outskirts of the village Lu, covered as well as surrounded by forests. Neither the mountains were very high, nor were the forests very thick. And, in the whole forest, there was only one tiger. It was not a big tiger and it did not remember how it came to live there. But it was there and the villagers knew that it was there. Sometimes the tiger chose the tallest mountain to stand upon so that the villagers could see it. It knew that everybody feared it. Well, he relished his position. If a villager saw that one of his sheep had not returned home, he did not go to look for it. "After all, the tiger is not known to attack any villager. Let him eat the sheep!" That is how people viewed the situation. Yes, the tiger had never tasted a man and that was its great regret. At least once in life, it must eat a human being! But it never got a chance for doing so. The fact is, it was also a bit uncertain about men.

Who knows how much strength a man possessed? Once it rained for four days, almost continuously. The tiger was not lucky enough to catch anything during the period. It was awfully hungry. As the rains stopped on the fifth day, the tiger climbed down the hill and headed towards the village, taking very careful steps. It was of course evening and the darkness was setting quite fast. The first house in the village, when one approached it from the forest, belonged to a man who was away in the town on business. His wife and his little son were there. It was a solitary house, cut off from the rest of the village. "I hope, I can drag someone from this house and fulfill my long-cherished desire!" the tiger thought as it inched towards the window of the house. Inside the house, the little boy was crying. "Be silent," said his mother, "don't you know that there is a jackal outside the door?" But the little one continued to cry. "There, this time a big wolf is there outside! You must stop crying." But the by did not pay any heed to her warning. "I am sure, there is a bear now!" said the mother. This too had no effect on the boy. "Look here, my child! The tiger, Yes, None other than the tiger, is there, just outside the window. You must stop wailing!" said the mother. Even then the boy went on wailing. The tiger who overheard the words felt both uncomfortable and offended, uncomfortable because the lady had already known about its presence, offended because the child did not show any sign of fear for it, the only tiger in the region.

It so happened that in the village there was a poor man called Ah and he too had gone without food, if not for four days, for a full day. He was awfully hungry. That evening the villagers had gathered before the shrine of the Buddha for witnessing a ritual dance. Ah thought that it was an opportune moment for him to enter some kitchen and steal some food. Which house to enter? He too had selected this solitary house. But he could not enter it because the door was locked from inside. He knew that the lady made delicious cakes and kept them in a pot hanging from the roof. He had climbed to the rooftop in order to dig through the thatch and pull out the hanging pot. While he was waiting atop the roof, the lady told her son, "You won't stop crying until I bring it down from the roof, is that so? All right, be silent!" As soon as the little boy was promised the cake, he fell silent! Now, this created problems for the two creatures, the tiger and Ah. The tiger wondered, "Who is that creature on the roof? It must be a terrible thing! The boy who did not stop crying even when his mother drew his attention to me, at once fell silent in fear of the thing from the roof!" Ah thought that the lady had already found him out! He was not a seasoned thief. He got terrified. At once he jumped down and fell on the tiger. He sat upon its back thinking that it was some domestic animal. The tiger got the shock of its life. "So, the terrible creature has descended from the roof!" It told itself and ran. Unfamiliar with the village, the nervous tiger ran straight towards the Buddha shrine and ran through the crowd which parted in panic. For the villagers, it was an unbelievable sight.

Who knew that the poor Ah would one day sit on a tiger and ride across the village? The crowd stood stupefied and when the tiger, along with Ah, was gone, it burst into cries of surprise. It did not take long for Ah to realize on what he sat! He knew that he would soon faint. However as the tiger came under a tree, Ah caught hold of its lower branch and remained hanging, while the tiger continued to run. It left the hills and the forests near the village Lu and stopped only after reaching a bigger forest. Never again it came back to its old habitation. After half an hour Ah was back in the village, to prolonged applause from the villagers. Soon he knew what the villagers thought of him! "Indeed, it is not easy to scare a tiger!" he said. "When I found the tiger and knew that it intended to eat up every one of our folks, I decided to teach it a lesson!" "You are the bravest man in Korea!" said the village chieftain. "But I am hungry," said Ah. At once a dozen dishes were brought for Ah from different households, portions from the most delicious items cooked in different kitchens. And every day he was invited by different families to eat and narrate to them the story of his encounter with the tiger. Soon the king was notified about the bravest man in Korea. Ah got a regular monthly allowance which enabled him to eat five meals a day!

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