A tiger cub finds a permanent home.
Tigger watched over the tiny tiger cub, the rest of the animals in the room watching Tigger. Smiling at him, Leo crawled over to Tigger and looked closely at the tiger cub. Purring gently, the huge lion embraced the tiny cub. Tigger grinned at Leo.
“I see you’ve taken a liking to the tiny chap too,” he said. Leo took the sleeping cub in his paws and embraced him. The tiny cub snuggled up, ignoring the age old doctrine that Tigers never mixed with lions. Working his paws into Leo’s mane, the tiger cub snuggled up to him.
“You’re safe here,” Leo purred. The tiny tiger cub cuddled up tightly to Leo, the lion’s eyes filling with tears.
“I never thought I’d be able to love a tiger cub,” Leo sobbed. Tigger smiled at the huge lion, taking his paw.
“We’re all cats,” he purred, “tigers and lions need not be enemies, for we have enough as it is.” Leo knew what it was to be harassed. In his old home, a dingy cage, he and Theodore had been constantly plagued by a tiger who would bang on the door of his cage with both forepaws, screaming that he would go mad if he spent a moment longer in that place. Leo and Theodore had endured this for years, and themselves had gone slightly mad, but they’d kept it together, Leo telling Theodore they were safe and that nothing would happen to them. Nothing did, but at the same time they got no stimulation. Theodore had become more and more anxious, and Leo himself fared little better. One day they’d both been lying in their cage as usual, when they’d both felt an uncontrollable urge to sleep. Settling down, they’d both dropped off, or so Leo supposed, for minutes later, or so it had seemed to them, they were in the place they now called home. Leo wondered how much longer they’d be at the place though, and were they really safe? He’d told Theo they were safe, but his stock with his brother was low on that score.
“I hope we’re safe here,” Leo said. Tigger gently hugged Leo, the huge lion automatically burying his head in the tiger’s shoulder.
“You are safe here Leo,” Tigger purred, “I promise you are safe here.” Leo felt tears pricking the backs of his eyes. Sniffing slightly, he fought to remain in control.
“it’s okay to cry Leo,” Tigger said gently.
“That’s cub stuff,” Leo replied.
“No it isn’t,” Tigger said. Tigger pulled Leo closer, ruffling his mane and massaging the huge lion’s ears and paws. Leo let himself go, crying into Tigger’s fur. Tigger said nothing, letting Leo get it out of his system. His tears drying, Leo looked at Tigger.
“Thank you Tigger,” he sniffed, “thank you very much. I, I might have guessed how you’d be, what with you being friendly with Clarence n’all. But I never knew how, how understanding of a lion a tiger could be.
“Any time you want to talk,” Tigger replied, “I’m only upstairs.” Leo smiled, stroking Tigger’s paws.
The tiny tiger cub watched all, knowing that what was taking place was highly unusual, even so, he knew what it was to be lonely and in danger, and to be rescued by those who, by tradition or indoctrination, should have no interest in saving his life.
“I think you’d better concentrate on looking after your cub Tigger,” Leo said, “he’s probably wondering what we’re up to.” Tigger squeezed Leo’s paw.
“My cub?” Tigger asked, “well, I suppose he is, for he can be noone else’s round here, Tinka and Hop along have already got five cubs, so it falls to me to look after him.” Tigger looked down at the tiny cub.
“Do you want to stay with me little one?” he asked. For answer, the cub took Tigger’s forepaw in both his tiny ones.
Let’s go upstairs then little one,” Tigger said, “there is where I live, and I have a place for you up there as Snowy’s cub has decided to make amends with his mother and go back to live with her. Tigger took the scruff of the cub’s neck in his teeth and crawled out the door and up the stairs with him. Reaching the quilt, Tigger worked his way beneath it and dropped the tiny cub into the quilt’s soft embrace. Snuggling down beneath the quilt as Tigger had done, the cub felt the warmth enveloping him from his nose to his tail.
“My paws are warmer than they’ve ever been!” the tiger cub mewed. Tigger smiled:
“It’s lovely up here little’n,” he said. Tigger worked his paws beneath the quilt.
“Now we both have nice warm paws,” he said, taking hold of the cub’s left forepaw beneath the quilt and stroking it. The cub snuggled into Tigger’s fur, the adult Bengal tiger purring with contentment. Amber looked across at her friend.
“You have rescued another cub then Tigger?” She asked. Tigger relayed the story of the cub’s arrival and extrication from the bag.
“Poor chap,” Amber said, “Well, he’s safe here now.” Tigger smiled:
“he is,” he replied, “He is indeed safe here. I won’t throw him out.”
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Martin Wilsher © 2010
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