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Oban's Myths & Legends

The Ungrateful Tiger
A Korean tale retold by Oban


Oban the Knowledge Keeper

A long time ago, high in the mountains, the people of a small village came together to decide what to do about tigers wandering near their home.

"We have to do something! With all these tigers wandering around we're too scared to go out of the village" said one man.

"Yes! we have to do something. Last week a tiger ate one of my legs" said another, pointing to his leg that was not there.

After much talking the villagers decided the best thing to do was to dig deep holes to trap the tigers. Everyone helped, including the bigger children and the man whose leg was not there. They dug deep holes near all the tracks leading to the village.

A few days later a young man came to visit his uncle and heard loud howling sounds as he walked along a track to the village.

"What's making all that noise?" he asked. "Whatever it is it doesn't sound very happy."

The young man followed the howling sounds until he saw a deep hole with a tiger in it. The tiger tried to jump out and each time he fell back and howled.

"Hello Mr. Tiger" said the young man. "How did you get down there?"

"I don't know" cried the tiger. "I was walking along in the forest as tigers do, looking for something to eat, when suddenly I fell into this deep hole."

The tiger pleaded with the young man to help him. "Please, please help me get out of here. My wife and children will be worried about me. If you help me I'll be very grateful."  continue