How the Deer Lost its Tail

Once, long ago on Lantau Island, an old couple lived near some woods. They were happy, gentle, contented people. Every morning the old woman loved to water the flowers in her garden. Every afternoon the old man loved to feed his goldfish.

15 HowTheDeerLostItsTail

“Our life would be perfect if it weren’t for Tiggy,” said the old woman one night.

Just outside, crouching against their front door listening to them, was a huge tiger. Tiggy? he thought. Who’s that? Surely he was the scariest in the forest. Not someone called Tiggy!Her husband nodded.

Crash! Something fell from the old couple’s roof into the garden bushes. It was a thief who had lost his footing.

The tiger ran back into the woods, accidentally knocking over a barking deer. “Did you see that Tiggy?” the tiger asked, as the deer scrambled to its feet.

“Tiggy? Isn’t that y-- ?”

“Shhhh,” said the tiger, looking over to the garden.

The deer almost laughed aloud. It had never seen a tiger looking so afraid.

As they tried to catch sight of whatever was climbing out of the bushes, the tiger caught a whiff of the deer’s delicious meat. “Let’s tie our tails together,” he said. “We’ll look more scary that way.”

The deer agreed, feeling much safer with the weighty tiger beside it.

Crash! “Help!” cried someone from the house. Another thief had fallen off the roof.

“It’s Tiggy!” roared the tiger and bounded off towards the trees.

Snap! The poor little deer’s tail broke right off. But it ran away too.

The front door opened. It was the old woman. “No dear, I can’t see anything,” she said to her husband. “That funny noise must have been the wind.”

This is a retelling of an ancient fable originally from Southeast China.

Illustrated by Bianca Lesaca

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