Vishnu Tiger and the Crocodile

Once upon a time, in a deep forest, there lived a big, brave, ferocious tiger called Vishnu Tiger. Vishnu Tiger had a wife called Kamakshi Tigress, and 6 little baby tigers. They were called Appulu, Bappulu, Chappulu, Dappulu, Eppulu and Fluffy. Appulu, Bappulu, Chappulu, Dappulu and Eppulu were serious and fierce like their parents. But Fluffy was the naughtiest tiger cub in the world. She would play with her food during dinner-time. She would pull her brothers’ and sisters’ tails when they were taking a nap in the afternoon sun. She would cry and splash water all over Kamakshi Tigress when her mother was giving her a bath. She would stay awake till late in the night and pester her parents to play with her. She was very, very naughty.

Every day, Vishnu Tiger took his children out, two by two, to teach them how to hunt. One day he took Appulu and Dappulu with him. When they were deep in the jungle, Appulu and Dappulu decided to go off on their own to catch some prey that would impress their father. They searched high and low and up and down, and finally, Dappulu lifted her paws to the air and caught a dragonfly.

“Oh Appulu! Oh Dappulu!,” said the dragonfly. “What kind of prey is a dragonfly to the children of Vishnu Tiger? Let me go and find some bigger animal. I promise that I will be of some help to you and your family some day.”

So they let the dragonfly go and they went back to Vishnu Tiger.

The next day, Vishnu Tiger took Bappulu and Chappulu with him to hunt. As they followed their father, Chappulu suddenly smelled the fresh scent of an animal and dived into the undergrowth. In a few minutes, he was back with a water rat in his mouth, that was shivering with fear. “Oh Bappulu! Oh Chappulu! Please let me go! A water rat is too small a prey for the children of Vishnu Tiger! I promise you that if you let me go, I will help you and your family some day.”

So they let the water rat go, and ran ahead and joined Vishnu Tiger.

The next day, Vishnu Tiger took Eppulu and Fluffy with him to hunt. Now Eppulu hated going out with Fluffy because she always got him into trouble. But all the other tiger cubs had had their turn, so he was forced to go along.

Soon enough, Fluffy decided that she and Eppulu would catch something really big and impress their father. So they slunk away into the undergrowth and came to a clearing near a water hole.

Eppulu suddenly paused, smelled the air around him, and with a sudden leap, jumped up and caught a mosquito. But Fluffy made him release it. She said, “No, no! We must find a bigger animal!” So Eppulu let go of the mosquito.

Then a little while further, Eppulu paused, then pounced, and came back with a hare in his mouth. Fluffly wasn’t impressed. “We need to find a much bigger animal!” she said. Eppulu was very irritated, but he let the hare go.

Then suddenly Eppulu caught a whiff in the air. Wild boar! There was a single boar standing in the moonlight near the water hole, grazing. “Let’s get that boar,” whispered Eppulu to Fluffy. “He should be big enough.”

But Fluffy had noticed something else. Resting near the water hole was another animal, that looked like a giant log of wood. It was Karthik the crocodile. He was the biggest, meanest crocodile in the entire jungle. He had just trapped and eaten an enormous deer all by himself, and was having a pleasant nap after all the exercise and the feasting.

“I’m going to hunt that animal!” whispered Fluffy to Eppulu, and before the startled Eppulu could make so much as a whimper, she bared her fangs, jumped on Karthik the crocodile, and gave him a sharp bite on the top of his nose.

Karthik the crocodile jumped up, very cross to have his sleep disturbed. And with a single thrust of his massive jaws, he caught both the tiger cubs firmly in his giant mouth and, shaking them from side to side, slowly made his way back into the water.

Eppulu and Fluffy were scared out of their wits and started yelling and screaming for someone to save them. But Vishnu tiger was far away in the jungle!

Just then, who should see them but the water rat. When it saw the predicament that the tiger cubs were in, it ran and it ran till it came to the edge of the clearing. There it saw the dragonfly, and panted out, “Vishnu Tiger’s children are in danger! Tell Vishnu Tiger!”. Then the dragonfly flew and flew until it found Vishnu Tiger, and it told him the news.

In one bound, Vishnu Tiger leaped over the undergrowth and ran all the way to the water hole, where Karthik the crocodile was just entering the water. With a roar, he jumped into the water and attacked Karthik the crocodile. The water churned as the two giant animals fought tooth and nail. Finally, Vishnu Tiger raised his mighty paw and gave Karthik the crocodile a huge slash across the nose. Karthik the Crocodile dropped Eppulu and Fluffly and slipped away into the water.

Vishnu Tiger carried the wet and squealing tiger cubs home to Kamakshi Tigress. Then he took Fluffy by the scruff of her neck and gave her a nice little beating – spank, spank, spank!

It didn’t have the slightest effect on Fluffy and she remained as naughty as ever. But at least she never went near a sleeping crocodile again.

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