Deep in the jungle there was a tiger who hunted for his dinner day and night.
The rest of the animals lived in fear of the tiger because he was the biggest and most powerful animal of them all. Day and night they feared that they would be hunted down and gobbled up by the big, fierce tiger. The antelope were scared. The pigs were scared. Even the monkeys were scared. But nothing could be done about the fierce tiger.
The only animal who was not scared of the big tiger was the clever rabbit. He lived in a burrow beneath the ground and only came out for food when he was sure that the tiger was asleep and the jungle was safe. But the rabbit was also kind and generous and he felt sorry for the animals of the jungle that were forced to live in fear of the tiger.
One evening, all of the animals were gathered together at the meeting place. ‘What can we do about the tiger?’ asked the monkeys.
‘We are tired of being scared,’ said the pigs.
It was then that the clever rabbit stood up in front of the animals and said…
‘I shall deal with the tiger. You leave him to me and very soon we shall all be safe again!’
The animals were very grateful to the rabbit, but they did not believe that such a small creature could help them get rid of the big, fierce tiger.
‘You are only small,’ they said. ‘What can you do against such a big strong creature as the tiger?’
‘You just wait and see,’ said the clever rabbit. And he hopped off towards the tiger’s house deep in the jungle.
When the clever rabbit got to the tiger’s house he was very scared but also very determined that he would help the other animals.
‘I have come to tell you,’ the clever rabbit said in his bravest voice. ‘That there is a bigger and fiercer tiger than you in the jungle.’
‘That is impossible,’ roared the tiger. ‘I am the biggest and fiercest tiger of them all and I will gobble you up right now to prove it!’
‘But I am telling the truth,’ said the clever rabbit. ‘This tiger captured my brother and warned me that he would be back to challenge any animal who thought that they were bigger and stronger than he was.’
‘Show me where he is,’ demanded the tiger. ‘And we shall see who is the biggest and fiercest of them all!’
‘If I show you where the other tiger is,’ said the rabbit. ‘Do you promise not to gobble me or my brother up?’
‘I promise,’ said the tiger.
And so the rabbit and the tiger set off together, walking through the jungle.
After a while, the rabbit flopped to the ground and pretended that he was too tired to carry on. ‘I am very tired,’ he said. ‘Will you carry me please?’
The tiger agreed to carry the clever rabbit with his big paws so they carried on through the jungle.
It was not long before the tiger and the clever rabbit reached a small clearing in the jungle where there was a very deep well with water at the bottom.
‘The tiger that is bigger and fiercer than you you lives in the bottom of that well,’ said the clever rabbit.
‘And he has your brother?’ asked the tiger.
‘Yes he does. But you must not gobble us up because you promised.’
The tiger just smiled and crept slowly towards the edge of the deep well. When he reached the edge of the well he looked down into the water below and thought that he saw a tiger holding a rabbit in its paws.
‘Now you must keep your promise and rescue my brother,’ said the clever rabbit.
‘I shall do no such thing!’ roared the tiger. ‘I shall gobble you and your brother up and I shall fight the tiger that challenges me in my own jungle!’
But as soon as the big tiger had said this, the clever rabbit jumped off of the tiger’s paws. The tiger did not realise that he was only looking down at his own reflection in the water at the bottom of the well!
The fierce tiger jumped into the well thinking that he was attacking the other tiger. But instead of another tiger waiting at the bottom of the well, he found only cold water!
The big fierce tiger struggled and splashed in the water but could find no way out!
‘You may be big and strong,’ said the clever rabbit, ‘but I am the cleverest!’
When the rabbit returned to the meeting place he told the rest of the animals that he had trapped the fierce tiger down the well. ‘Now you can all live without being scared of being gobbled up,’ the clever rabbit said!
The animals were very happy and very grateful to the clever rabbit, and that night there was a big celebration because at last the jungle was safe from the big fierce tiger!