Forging bonds.


The lynx cub examined Clarence’s huge forepaws with his tiny ones.

    “No wonder mum was frightened of him,”  the cub thought as he explored the lion’s huge left forepaw, “Clarence has got massive paws, although he’s gentle with them.  Clarence relaxed all four paws, having told the lynx cub he could examine all four of them.  Closing his eyes, Clarence let his paws tell him what was happening.  The lynx cub was very gentle when massaging each paw.  Clarence was soon finding it hard not to fall asleep.  The cub massaged Clarence’s pads, the lion purring with contentment.  The cub moved to Clarence’s hind paws, stroking them also.  Clarence gave in to sleep.  The lynx cub, massaging Clarence’s left hind paw, felt the lion drifting into sleep.  Stroking the pads of the lion’s paw, the cub felt the paw relax totally.  The cub tried taking hold of Clarence’s paw and slightly curling the lion’s toes to see if he would resist.  There was no resistance, the huge lion seemed to have forgotten his paw existed.  The lynx cub knew however that if he put a paw wrong and caused Clarence discomfort, the lion would soon remember his paw, and use it to deadly affect.  The cub realised Clarence had been soothed to sleep by the paw massage, and although the lion had said the cub could tickle his paws, he couldn’t bring himself to wake the huge lion.  Finishing the paw massage, the lynx cub settled down beside Clarence, taking one of his massive forepaws in both of his tiny ones.  The lion shifted slightly, working his forepaw into those of the lynx cub.


The cubs mother watched anxiously as her cub stroked Clarence’s paws.  She’d not wanted him to associate with the lion in any way what so ever, let alone stroke the brute’s paws!  Now she had no control at all, for the cub’s fait was out of her paws, due to some agreement made between Tigger, Clarence and her cub.


Clarence woke after a long time.  Taking his time, he lay still, his eyes still closed, exploring the sensations his body was feeding to his brain.  Clarence could feel the lynx cub’s paws holding his right forepaw, and he also knew the cub had stroked all four of his paws.  Smiling to himself, Clarence opened his eyes and looked at the lynx cub, who held tightly onto his right forepaw.  The cub was asleep, his grip not lessening on Clarence’s paw.

      “Sleep well little one,”  Clarence whispered, the sight bringing tears to his eyes.  The cub had a tight hold on Clarence’s paw, and his paw was soon numb from a long period of immobility.  Clarence knew he must move his paw to get circulation back into it.  Wiggling the toes of the paw the lynx cub held, Clarence felt the paw throbbing as blood coursed back into it.  Clarence had always hated having dead paws, and now he tried not to show his discomfort and fear of the pain as his paw came back to life.  The lynx cub felt Clarence wiggling the toes of the paw he held and relaxed his grip.  Clarence took the opportunity to flex his entire paw, feeling the throbbing pain increase as the blood flow was restored.  The pain dying, Clarence watched as the lynx cub crawled away to find his mother, who was overjoyed to have her cub back safe and sound.

       “I don’t want you stroking that lion’s paws ever again!”  She yelled at her cub, clouting him hard with her paw!  Clarence growled deep in his throat, signalling he didn’t like what the adult lynx was doing.

     “Wan’a fight me Clarence?”  The adult lynx challenged.  Clarence shook his head:

     “I don’t want to fight you,”  he said, “I wish you’d stop hitting your cub for no reason, that’s all.”  The adult lynx spat at the lion.

      “How I discipline my cub is up to me!”  she yelled.

      “What did he do wrong?”  Bruin asked.

     “He stroked that dam lion’s paws when I strictly forbad it!”  the adult lynx screamed, “I don’t want him getting in with a lion, or any animal who likes that kind of stuff!  It’s all wrong!”

      “Paw Massage is wrong?”  Amber asked, “I quite like it.”

     “You would!”  the capybara snapped, “you’re a sissy!”  Amber turned on the Capybara and slapped him with one very large and well padded forepaw.

      “Want the other one?”  She asked calmly.  The capybara, his head singing from the impact of the snow leopard’s paw, didn’t reply.

      “Paw massage is all very well,”  Brydy, one of the Shetland ponies whinnied, “what happens if we horses want some of that?  We haven’t got paws, and we don’t like giving up our hooves to the control of an animal who has long claws and sharp teeth.”

      “We wouldn’t hurt you,”  Isaac replied.

      “I’ve heard a horse likes having their ears stroked,”  Tigger said, “maybe that’s an idea.”

     “Brydy’s huge!”  Whitie mewed, “I can’t even reach her shoulder, so how on earth am I going to massage her ears?”

     “We’re not lying down either,”  Brydy said, “that way you lot with your big paws and long claws can get us.”

     “I don’t know,”  Amber said, “you want some of the massage Brydy, but you won’t give up a hoof, nor will you lie down so we can stroke your ears, so how on earth are we going to include you in this?”

      “I’ll lower my head so you can stroke my muzzle,”  Brydy replied, “that’s all I’m prepared to do.”

     “I’m not even prepared to do that!”  Domino, the black and white Shetland pony said.  Brydy looked at her  sister.

      “You always were the more nervous one,”  she said.  Domino looked away.


Later that day, Everyone had returned to their homes.  Arki, and the rest of the animals who slept on, or under  the quilt were back in their places.  Amber, under the quilt and lying beside Tigger, rolled onto her side.  Whitie, who usually slept between Amber’s forepaws, cuddled up to her mother, Amber embracing Whitie in her forepaws.  Tigger watched, thinking how much he loved Amber and her cubs.  They’d made him feel whole again after the death of his first mate and her cubs.  Amber looked at Tigger.

      “You were wonderful earlier,”  Amber said.  Tigger grinned and touched Amber’s paw with his.

      “Ben and Tarker must learn they can’t get away with insulting our cubs,”  he said.  Amber smiled at Tigger.  Whitie placed her tiny paw in Tigger’s massive one and the Bengal tiger looked down at the cub’s tiny paw, and then at her face.

      “You okay Whitie love?”  he said gently.  Whitie could hear the tiger’s love for her.  She knew Tigger loved her, Blanche and their mother.

     “do you love my mum?”  Whitie asked.  Tigger smiled:

      “That I do, and she does me Whitie cub,”  he said gently.  Whitie smiled:

     “I know,”  she said, “mum doesn’t stop talking about you.  She hardly talks about anyone else!  That’s fine by me and Blanche, for we’re crazy about you too.”  Amber looked anxiously at Tigger’s face as her cub blew her most private conversations with her wide open to the Bengal tiger.

       “You two are crazy about me?”  Tigger asked.

      “We are,”  Whitie replied, “in fact all three of us are, mum, Blanche and me.”  Tigger looked into Amber’s eyes.  The female snow leopard saw a kindness and gentility in the large tiger’s eyes which she loved.  Tigger was so kind and considerate too, and best of all for Amber, as well as loving her, he adored her cubs.


“I love you all, You Amber, You Whitie cub, and Blanche.”  Blanche seldom left Stifftail’s side, and this upset Amber a great deal.  Blanche didn’t much take note of what her sister or mother were doing either.  Blanche was content with her own company, whereas Whitie couldn’t stand being alone.  That was why it was always Whitie who had the adventures, and Blanche lost out.  Blanche and Whitie played, but even that was becoming a struggle, for blanche seldom did that much either.

       “You okay Whitie cub?”  Tigger asked, enfolding the snow leopard’s tiny paw in his huge one.  Whitie gulped hard, trying not to cry.

      “It’s nothing,”  Whitie sniffed, trying to remain in control, “nothing at all.

      “Something must be upsetting you,”  Tigger said, “you look so upset Whitie cub.” Whitie suddenly clung to Tigger, burying her face in his shoulder.

       “Have I said something I shouldn’t?”  Tigger asked Whitie, “please Whitie, tell me what’s wrong,”  Tigger pleaded, now as upset as the snow leopard cub.

       “I’m not angry,”  Whitie sobbed, “it’s something you’ve said, several times now, which might not seem a lot to you, but means a lot to me.”

      “What’s that Whitie?”  Tigger asked gently.

      “You called me, called me Whitie cub, and I love that,”  Whitie whispered, her voice cracking with emotion.  Tigger hugged Whitie tightly.

      “You are my Whitie cub,”  he said, “and it means a lot to me to hear you say that you like it Whitie.  My dear, precious Whitie cub.”  Whitie smiled at Tigger.

      “I’m sorry,”  she said, “for getting all silly I mean.”

       “that wasn’t silly,”  Tigger replied, “it was great to hear your thoughts and now I know that you three love me, you know that I love all three of you, and to cap it all, one of my cubs likes my pet name for her.”  Whitie smiled.


Blanche, though she was the first to meet Tigger, and by all accounts had named the Bengal tiger such on account she mispronounced Tiger once and the name stuck, did not totally agree with the way her mother and sister had thrown in their lot with Tigger.  Feeling loyalty to Stifftail, despite everything he said about wanting her and Whitie to be left to die, Blanche did not quite feel she could throw her paws round Tigger’s neck and hug him as her elder sister had.  Blanche had always been closer to her sire, and though She couldn’t see it at the time, her closeness to Stifftail would, in time, lead her into danger.




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