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|A man befirends a tiger in the wild.||
Today I went exploring some of the hillside near our encampment. I found a large cave, and inside; an absolutely gorgeous tiger cub. He had beautiful black stripes on chalk-white coat that would melt the hardest of hearts. He was resting near his father, who was fast asleep when I found him. This was rather odd, considering the mother does not normally allow any other tiger near her cubs. Perhaps this would indicate something very different about this cub. The tiger cub had apparently had an accident of some sort because his front left leg was out of joint. It looked a bit like the equivalent to a broken shoulder. You could not see much of the injury under the fur, but if you massaged the area you could feel the dislocation. I’m guessing that the cub was injured when he was playing with the others of his litter. He was a regular little trooper, he didn’t squirm or flinch when I tried to help him. That in itself is another odd point about this little tiger.
I was able to reset his shoulder and I began to play with him. Considering he has had that injury for some time, he was very much active. Shortly afterward, his father woke up, and with quite a surprise. He had been in such a deep sleep that he hadn’t seem to notice my entrance. This did not seem right at all. I am pretty sure that the father would have "acknowledged" my presence when I had entered the cave. Perhaps he felt, or somehow knew that I would not injure the cub nor himself.
About ten to twenty minutes had passed after the father’s awakening before the cub’s before the mother and siblings returned. Understandably, she was quite alarmed at my being there, but the father somehow managed to calm her. I remained there for several hours because I had developed a deep interest in the white tiger. It seems that he was the odd one of his mother’s litter. Not only was he a white tiger, but he was one of five tigers born of his mother. Generally, there would be a maximum of four. So far, I’ve named all of his family but him. I decided that the name "Mother" suits his mother. I named his father "Old One." His brothers, in no particular order, became Curly, Larry, Moe, and Little One.
I brought a friend of mine, Leo, with me when I went back to the cave today. He has been studying tigers for years, he even had raised a tiger, but that was long, long ago. He told me that the white tiger was most likely a stray from another litter and the mother had taken him as one of her own. I asked him if I could use the name of the tiger that he had raised, who unfortunately, had died a bit unexpectedly, due to an avalanche. He gave me his blessing. The white tiger is now Snowstalker. Looking into Snowstalker’s deep, blue, innocent eyes, I felt that he was going to become a great hunter. I feel that I have already bonded with him. It is going to be a great honor for me to teach him how to hunt. It may seem a bit odd for someone other than a cub’s mother to teach them the ‘finer points’ on how to hunt, but I felt that she would allow me to be with Snowstalker. I believe that I now know and feel the reasons behind why it's said that the tiger was the most majestic of all of the felines.
Snowstalker is now about one and a half years old and, unfortunately, both of his parents died about three weeks ago, apparently due to natural causes, my best guess is old age. I buried them close to where I found Snowstalker, but in a place slightly hidden, in the intent of not having the graves and markers disturbed. The night before their deaths, Snowstalker seemed very depressed and solemn. Almost as if a void had opened within him. The next day, I followed him to where I had my first encounter with him. There I found his parents had died in their sleep. He knew, somehow, when and where his parents had died. It's said that other creatures can sense things like that. Now I know for certain that it is true.
Luckily, Snowstalker’s brothers were about four months older than he and were able to adapt to their loss easier. Since they could cope in the wild easier and upon their leaving, Snowstalker seems to have gotten closer to me because of the death of his parents.
I have spent, at times, days on end playing with and teaching Snowstalker, and I have seen him slowly change into something bigger than I ever expected. I have spent most of my nights outside with Snowstalker sleeping right next to me. When he was younger, he would be up much earlier than I and would wake me up by sitting on my chest and staring at me. Now, when I go to sleep, he stretches out and allows me to use his abdomen as a pillow. His quirky way of waking me up about five to ten minutes after he stirs, is still with him, but now he just gently pats me on the head until I stir.
Snowstalker and I have been away from each other for quite some time. I suppose that he was finally ready to move on with his life. However, this morning he came back to the area where I had raised him. I was actually quite surprised on what I found. He looked completely different from the last time I saw him. He seemed older and very much wiser, and he possessed a peaceful aura. As it turns out, in the time that he was away, he had found a mate and had a litter of cubs with her. Four beautiful cubs, including one exquisite white tiger cub who looks exactly like her father. She has the same chalk-white coat and the same deep blue, innocent eyes. She also seems to have the same type of passionate flare as Snowstalker. I am sure that she will grow up to be much like her father. I affectionately named her Venus, in honor of a woman I have once had the grace of knowing.
She also seems to possess the same innocent curiosity as the Venus that I know. When I first met her, Venus, she gave me a feeling that I never had before. It was as she had this peace about her. As if she housed all the gentleness I have ever known. What I really liked about her was that she seemed to always have a sweet smile, a kind word to say, and a gentle hand. When I left she told me that if I ever needed a place to rest, I should come find her. She was of asian origin and was, at least to me, an expert at the martial arts. I tried to learn from her, but I could never bring myself to striking her every time we went sparring. What really fascinated me about Venus was that she always wore this one a power-blue robe. I never saw her without her wearing it. I must admit, the color of the robe really brought out the sapphire color of her eyes. She told me it was a reminder of her master who had taught her everything that she knows. "A symbol of his wisdom and grace," I believe was her exact statement. I will always think of her fondly.
I haven’t seen either Snowstalker or Venus for many months now, but earlier today I was greeted by Venus. She has grown into a fabulous adult. She is now as big as her father, and I’d wager just as vicious and deadly a hunter. She approached me with what I assumed to be her mate and ‘introduced’ me to him. Again this seems to be an unusual point. Quite often a male’s territory will overlap the territories of several females but it is rare that both the male and female are on freindly terms. This could be an indicator that there is something special in Snowstalker and his lineage, but I can only speculate about it. She still has her spry, almost playful, personality that I remember from when Snowstalker first brought her to meet me. Anyone who has seen Snowstalker will agree with me that she bears a striking resemblance to her father.
I was able to spend some more time with Snowstalker. He was much older, already a ‘senior citizen’ by tiger standards. This could be his final few weeks alive. I was able to stay with him six days and by day three he was barely able to move. I took the liberty of bringing him his meals. He still insisted that he kill the prey, so I merley tranquilized it and brought it to him so he could deliver the final blow. He had always been a creature of a strong and noble manner. I had seen him through much of his life and I felt very sympathetic towards him. I have not used his abdomen as a pillow as I normally did, for fear of suffocating him, but last night he died peacefully in his sleep. I woke up this morning and he was curled up so comfortably; he even had his head resting on my abdomen! My friend Leo (who advised me on when Snowstalker was a cub) was able to assist with Snowstalker’s burial. It seemed to hurt him as much as it did me, because he buried the first Snowstalker. For that, I share in his grief. Snowstalker’s burial was this morning and I placed a marker in his honor. The marker reads:
"HERE LIES SNOWSTALKER,
NOBLE WARRIOR AND
The mate of Venus found me a few days ago and brought me to her. She was old and dying. She still had those deep blue, innocent eyes of her youth. Apparently she had sent her mate to me so I could be with her during her final hours. Of course, why else would she have introduced me to him so many years ago? She was able to move around and eat with minimal difficulty. I seemed to ease her pain just by being there. During her last day, she was practically immobile, having to rely on me to hand feed her. No matter what her age, she was always a beautiful creature. When I awoke this morning I found that she had died peacefully in her sleep. Like her father, she had her head resting on my abdomen, and like her father, she had lived a long and fruitful life. She was, in every way, truly her father’s daughter. I placed her grave next to Snowstalker’s. Her marker reads as follows:
"HERE LIES VENUS,
DAUGHTER OF SNOWSTALKER,
MIGHTY HUNTRESS, AND
|Creation||The Caring Stepmother|