Tigger’s story, or the rescue of Kodiak.

 

 

Tigger crossed his forepaws and rested his chin on them.

    “That’s better,”  he said, “now I will begin my tale.”

      “About time too!”  Tarker scoffed.

     “shut it pup,”  Arki said.  Arki, hearing of another rescue, had brought all the animals who usually lived upstairs down to hear how Tigger had rescued the brown bear.

 

“Well,”  Tigger began, feeling Portia snuggle up to him and take his right forepaw in both of her tiny ones, “I will begin my tale now if everyone is settled.”  Theo grinned at Portia.

     “Not everyone’s settled Tigger,”  he said, “Portia isn’t.  Tigger purred as Portia settled herself, his paw still in hers.  Settling down, Portia rested her head on Tigger’s shoulder.

      “Are you settled now Portia dear?”  Tigger asked.  Portia mewed that she was settled.

     “Right,”  Tigger said to everyone, “I’m not a good story teller, but I will do my best, so bear with me.”  Tigger recounted the whole story of the brown bear’s arrival, the other animals listening without interruption, keeping their questions till he’d finished.  Once Tigger’s tale had ended, Arki reached forward and touched the Bengal tiger’s paw.

     “Tigger,”  she said, “you said you thought the bear was a log!  Did you really think this?  Or were you dramatising what was a mundane sighting.”

     “I genuinely thought he was a log,”  Tigger replied, “for I couldn’t see him that well.”

       “What do you mean you can’t see him?”  Tarker snapped, “he’s plenty big enough to see!”

      “My sight is failing fast Tarker,”  Tigger said, unashamed to mention his problems.

     “Tigger is so kind and gentle,”  the brown bear said, “he helped me wash my fur and paws.  He can really massage a paw you know.”  Arki smiled, for she knew how good Tigger’s paw massages were.

       “What’s your name?”  She asked the brown bear.  The bear looked at her.

      “my name’s Kodiak,”  he said.

     “what a strange name for a bear!”  Tarker yinnied.

     “No it isn’t,”  Kalahari replied, “look it up in a book you lazy good for nothing otter!”

     “I like that name,”  Arki said gently to the brown bear, who grinned at her.  Tigger smiled at Kodiak and the huge bear gave him his paw.

      “You saved my life Tigger,”  the bear said.  Tigger looked at Kodiak, the brown bear a blurry shadow, even though he was only inches away.

      “Don’t speak of it any more,”  he said.  Kodiak looked into Tigger’s near sightless eyes.

     “You can’t see me can you,”  he said gently.  Tigger shook his head.

     “My sight is failing fast now,”  Tigger replied, “I’m losing my sight with every passing second.”  Everyone was hushed by Tigger’s words.  Kodiak stroked Tigger’s paw, the Bengal tiger grateful for physical contact with the bear.  Closing his eyes, Tigger waited for a few minutes before opening them.  As he’d been told when he was a cub, in the end he wouldn’t be able to see anything at all.

      “I’m at peace now,”  Tigger said.

     “How the hell can you be at peace when you’ve just lost your sight!”  Elsa snapped, very upset.

      “there’s no more conflict between my eyes and my paws now,”  Tigger replied, “things will be easier now my eyes don’t tell me anything.  Getting inaccurate information is worse than none at all.”

      I know the feeling,”  Tembo said, “when I’ve been at the cat nip, wow! Then I see all kinds of things!”

      “Shut it you horrid creature!”  Theo growled, “you don’t know the half of this, come to think of it, none of us other than Whitie, Blanche, Pipin and Tigger really know what it’s like.”

      “Is there anything we can do?”  Portia asked, trying not to cry.

     “Nothing Portia love,”  Tigger replied, gently licking her ear.  Tigger felt Portia’s body trembling beside his.

      “”don’t cry Portia dear,”  Tigger mewed.  Portia buried her face in his fur, weeping pitifully.

      “it’s not that bad Portia,”  Tigger said.  Portia walloped him!

     “not that bad?”  the little lioness sobbed, “it’s worse Tigger, you’ve just lost your sight and you don’t care?  You think you can carry on like you always have?  You can’t!  It’s not bad Tiggie love, it’s worse!”

      “No Portia dear,”  Tigger replied, “it’s not worse.  For now I can concentrate on what my paws are telling me.  They’ve always been better at telling me about my surroundings than my eyes ever were.  Portia, please dear, don’t cry.  If you can, be happy for me that it’s the end of years of problems.  I now have one problem to deal with rather than a multitude.”

     “How can you ever hope to find a mate  Tigger?”  Tembo asked, “for all you know, the lioness you choose might look like a scruffy old moggie!”

       “you are horrible Tembo!”  Whitie yelled.

    “Oh yeah?”  Tembo scoffed, “and what are you gonna do about it blind one? Hit me?  I’d like to see you,,,”  Tembo got no further, for he felt claws digging into his shoulder and teeth ripping at his ear!  Whitie had forgotten one of the rules of the house in her rage.  Tembo screamed as Whitie’s claws dug into his fur.

       “You want to know what I’m going to do do you cub?”  Whitie snarled, “how about this!”  With that she cuffed Tembo hard about his head with her paw.  Tembo collapsed on the carpet.

      “You’ve killed him!”  Elsa yelled.

     “Just knocked him out,”  Whitie replied, dusting off her paws.

     “Mangy moggie!”  Whitie spat, “disgusting animal!  He’s got fleas!”  Tembo lay on the carpet, gradually coming round.

     “He needs no more punishment Whitie,”  Tigger said, “that’s all.”  Whitie stamped back to her place, angry and upset.

      “how would you find a mate Tigger?”  snowy asked.

      “I’ve already found one,” Tigger replied, “though she doesn’t know that I’ve never actually seen her.”  Tigger drew Portia close to him and hugged her.

       “Now you know why I told you to close your eyes Portia love,”  Tigger said, “for that way you learned how to show physical love for me in the only way I could understand.  I had to show you the way I did things, or it would never have worked between us.”

       “Oh Tigger!”  Portia sobbed, “I don’t know what to say!”

     “Say nothing if you don’t want to,”  the tiger replied.  Portia looked Tigger over from nose to tail.  She loved him, but it wasn’t his looks which excited her.  Closing her eyes, she touched Tigger’s paw with hers.

      “This is how I know you best,”  she said.  Tigger embraced Portia tenderly.

      “Please Portia,”  Tigger whispered, “Try and be happy for me love.”  Portia touched Tigger’s whiskers with her nose, the hard whiskers tickling her.

      “Tiggie,”  Portia replied, “I should have realised what was happening.  I forgot you can’t see me. So when you told me a few minutes back that now you really couldn’t see me at all, I lost it.  Now I come to think of it, touching each other with our noses and paws is the way we’ve always expressed ourselves.  It seemed natural to me to do it that way, for it’s all I’ve known.  It was the reminder of why we do things that way which upset me most of all.  Now we’re here, together Tigger, you and me, , with your whiskers tickling my nose.”  Tigger stroked Portia’s paw.

      “I love you Portia,”  Tigger said.  Portia snuggled up to the huge Bengal tiger.

       “I Love you too Tiggie,”  she said.  Tigger’s purr of contentment would have rattled the windows.

 

 

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Martin Wilsher © 2005

 

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