The Beautiful Tiger
The Beautiful Tiger
Story

There once was a beautiful and powerful tiger.

One day she was captured by a mean and cruel man who put her into a cage. The man kept the cage in the jungle not far from his house. Everyday he would bring out a bowl of water and some food for the lonely tiger.

Sometimes the tiger would see her own reflection in the bowl of water and she would say, “My, I must be a beautiful tiger.”

When the man heard her say this he would lie and tell her, “No, you are not a beautiful tiger. You’re very ugly. You’re a pitiful creature.”

Sadly, the tiger would believe the man.

Some days, after she ate her food, she would walk back and forth in her small cage and feel energy and power moving through her body, and she would say, “My, I must be a powerful tiger.”

When the man heard her say this, he would lie and tell her, “No, you are weak and puny. You’re a pitiful creature.”

Sadly, the tiger would believe the man.

Then one day, when the man was nowhere around, a lion happened to walk by the cage. The lion saw the tiger inside and spoke to her, “Beautiful and powerful tiger, what are you doing lying about in that cage?”

“Do not make fun of me,” replied the tiger. “I know that I am neither beautiful nor powerful.”

“I’m not making fun of you,” said the lion. “You are surely the most beautiful and powerful tiger I have ever seen. I am only surprised to see you lying here when you are clearly strong enough to break out of that cage.”

“You really think I could break out of here?” asked the tiger.

“Quite easily, I should think,” replied the lion

The tiger was not so sure at first. She had been told so many times that she was a weak and pitiful creature.

But suddenly it seemed that she could feel energy and strength moving through her body. She began to pace back and forth in her cage and then, almost without thought, she leapt against the cage door and it flew open without any resistance.

Once outside she seemed dazed. “That cage didn’t even have a lock on it,” she said. “I spent so much of my life stuck in there and the door wasn’t even locked.

The lion looked at her with soft brown eyes and said, “Those kinds of traps don’t need locks, for it is the lies we believe in that keep us in our cages...and it is the truth that sets us free.”

About the Author

  • The Rev. Chris Buice is minister of the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tenn.

For more information contact worshipweb@uua.org.

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