I am a hunter. I hunt tigers for their beautiful skin. I hunt alone. I don’t trust anyone else. I have a rifle. I can shoot from 500 meters on my jeep. It is good to have a partner, but I don’t have such a trustworthy friend. Even if there was, they would not hunt tiger like me. Unless they were mating or bringing up a child, the tigers always appeared alone. I am also a lonely man. When I meet a tiger, it was a one-to-one fight, no one took advantage. But I have a rifle with a range of 500 meters. Is it fair? It has claws and teeth, I have a rifle. But I will shoot it in the dark, because I am afraid of it. Forget it, I am a hunter, not a hero. If I was, I will use a knife to kill it, face to face.
I believed that always until one day….
I was unlucky. I didn’t find its footprints or shits all the morning. The woods were very clean, the autumn was a bit cool, and the leaves began to turn yellow. I felt a little hungry. I just wanted to sit down and eat.
I suddenly heard the rustling. I immediately took the rifle, saw that it was a deer, a male, a newborn, pulling its neck and eating the leaves on the tree.
All right, don’t waste a bullet!
Sitting down, the deer suddenly ran, I stood up and saw a tiger rushing after it!
I quickly took my rifle, it was too late, I jumped on the jeep and chased them.
The jeep was bumping in the woods, how could it be faster than the animals that were in life and death. Out of the woods, and I had already lost them. I stopped, lifted the rifle, lightly pressed the trigger.
Because it is a single-shot, I have to be very careful, and I must hit it at once. Otherwise, I will be finished.
I watched and waited. There was no movement for a long time, and it was boundless in the wilderness. Why could they disappear? Suddenly there was a shadow behind a big tree, a tiger. I immediately raised the rifle, but it was strange that this tiger was small and dull. It stupidly climbed up to catch the leaves on the tree. I have never seen this tedious thing that a tiger did.
Don’t bother! Raise the rifle, aim and shoot it.
But suddenly jumped out of another tiger. This one was not the same, although it was young, it has grown substantially. It was just the one who chased the deer before.
As soon as it appeared, it roared at me. It was far away from me, exceeded 500 meters. I hesitated, because it has already known my existence. If it attacked me, it would only take it a moment to come, but I definitely could have not enough time to backup and drive.
Could I shoot that small one? But it seems won’t work. It is not a luck to meet two tigers at the same time.
Finally, I decided to give up.
After a few days, I came to this field again, with a mentality of waiting for the tiger to be appeared again, I laughed. In recent years, many friends changed to farming. They often urged me to do so, said that the farming is good and stable. But I don’t love farming, I love hunting.
I came to the tree where I found two tigers on that day. I saw that there was no more tiger today. Nothing was there. Only this big tree was left. It couldn’t move. Its roots were so deep. If it was hit by a thunder, it fell and dried here. Then, thousands of years passed, it would be still here.
At noon, the ground was hot and steaming. I climbed up to the tree and sat on a trunk. I could only see my tattered jeep. I knew that if I couldn’t hunt a tiger today, I might have to sell my jeep.
Tigers are getting fewer and fewer. This kind of animal is called an endangered animal. They needed to be protected. It is necessary to ban hunting, that is why worthy for a piece of tiger skin. One is enough for me to spend a year. Don’t hunt, how can I live? To protect, why not protect me first? There are only a few tiger hunters like me remains.
While I was thinking, the two tigers came under my feet. I knew them. I remembered all the tigers I have seen. They all have their own character, and their fur, their eyes were different. Seeing them, I didn’t take action right away. I was on the high place. They didn’t know me here. I was not so nervous. I rather watched first.
They also looked quite comfortable. They were just fed perhaps. They were lying in the shade of the tree. The big one embraced the small one and kept licking its face. The little one was shy as a big girl. I looked at it and felt funny, so I forgot to hunt them.
Suddenly, I heard someone talked, I was shocked. I looked up, but there was on one above. I was sitting high up on the tree. I could see far away in the wild. There were only two young tigers under my feet, who was the one talking? I was Just wondered, the voice said: “I am not a tiger! Don’t do this again!”
“You are not a tiger, what are you?”
“I am… a deer.”
“What?” I shouted as the same time with the tiger.
My goodness! Am I crazy, how could I hear the tiger talking? And speaking like people? I have been hunting tigers for a lifetime, knowing their habits of eating and drinking. I have seen them exposed in the nature and do that shameful things. I have seen the tigers producing tiger babies. I have seen the male tigers fighting for the reign and the females. But, I have never heard them speaking like people.
“You are a deer?”
“Yes, I am the deer you chased that day.”
“How come you become a tiger?”
They talked again. I heard it clearly. I calmed down first, because I was also curious. I really wanted to know why this deer would become a tiger ultimately.
The deer said: “On that day, I was chased by you to nowhere, I fell into a wolf hole. When I fell in, I fell on a tiger skin, and the tiger skin immediately wrapped me up. I was so scared so that I climbed back to the ground desperately. I didn’t know that my appearance had changed. I saw you wasn’t there, I was just eating the leaves under the tree as usual, until you reappeared, and roared, to scare away the hunter who thought I was a tiger…”
After the tiger listened, he just said: “That is how it turned out to be like this.” Then he did not speak any more.
But I knew what it was thinking. This young tiger has not yet fully grown up, and he has to hunt alone. Its mother must be dead, and its brothers must be also dissipated, so, when it saw the deer wrapped in tiger skin. He Just thought that it was his own kind. He protected it and wanted to be nice to it.
That is normal for the tigers! Although the tigers are ferocious, they still care and love for their own kind. Particularly this tiger, has lost its mother since childhood…
While I was thinking about that, the young tiger dashed to the deer, but did not intent to hurt it. It just licked its face. The deer pushed it away and said irately: “I have told you that I am not a tiger. Why are you still doing this?”
The tiger stopped and stunned: “I don’t care what is you under your skin, I will still see you as a tiger.”
“No! I can’t live a life like you. I can’t watch you killing my kind, and eating them in front of me. One day, you will also eat me.” The deer affirmed.
I know very well that the things the deer was worrying about would indeed happen one day. When the young tiger grown up one day, it would forget all the childhood memories. This is the tiger. If it was not, it could not survive.
The tiger said: “You can go! But if you still worn a tiger skin, how can you go back to your deer society? You looked like a tiger, but you don’t know how to hunt, you are a deer, you can’t live without a society, how could you live in the future?”
Although the tiger is young, it makes much sense. The deer is indeed in a dilemma. I couldn’t make up my mind either for a while.
The deer insisted: “I must have a way to get rid of this tiger skin. You don’t have to worry about me.” So, it left.
The young tiger watched it leaving silently. His eyes were looked sad to me.
It turned out that only one tiger was real, the other was just covered with a tiger skin. I was encouraged. I immediately raised the rifle and pointed at the real tiger under the tree, but I couldn’t press the trigger. I was hesitant, am I dreaming? Does it make sense? How would I understand the dialogue between a tiger and a deer? I must be daydreaming. How could I take such a nonsense seriously?
I closed my eyes to test. When I reopened them, looked down from the tree, it was nothing there anymore. Ah! it was really a dream. Hence, I went back as if nothing was happened.
However, soon after I went home, I was ill badly. I must have been spelled. I went to the temple to ask for the god tea. I drank it and laid on bed for a month. By that time, the fall had passed and the first snow of winter fell for the village.
Another day, I took a rifle and went up the mountain. I was walking to the woods. The jeep has been sold. If I did not hunt a tiger before the winter, I have to beg for food next year.
The snow has been falling in the mountains for several days. Thus, all the traces left by the tigers were buried. Even the smell was dispersed. I was afraid that I would be going back empty hand again, but the hunters were optimistic, and I always believed that there should be unexpected surprise. Animals were about the same as people. They would hide when it was cold. I walked into the woods. Although the leaves have fallen, it was still shaded than the plains, and the wind was not too strong here.
There was no trace of the tiger, but I saw a group of deer digging grasses from snow. They were very focused and have not noticed me. Perhaps, they have already knew that I was a tiger hunter. I was not interested in them!
Suddenly, a leading deer raised its neck and ears. It was a watch deer in the group. It was sensitive and clever. It could hear sounds that even our hunters could not hear. I brought up the rifle and got nervous. It must have found the terrible predator, the king in this forest, their natural enemy.
It must be a tiger, I pulled the trigger and waited. Certainly, the tiger appeared. It jumped out from the bush and rushed to the group of deer.
How could a tiger be reckless like this? This was not the correct way of hunting deer. It should have squatted on the snow, and extremely patient, step by step getting closer to the deer. So that it would not be discovered too early. This tiger was senseless and foolish. The deer have long been alert. They ran away before they have seen its shadow.
This tiger was not big. It was a young tiger and was not far away from me that within five hundred meters. When it saw the deer hovering away, it stopped. It seemed overlooked my existent at all. That was a great opportunity. I did not hesitate to press the trigger and shot my first fire of this winter.
I hit it and it fell.
I was inexplicably excited. My hand that hold the rifle was a little shaky.
I went up and then walked closer. I saw that it fell to the ground and dying. Blood was gushing from its chest. It looked at me mournfully. I raised the rifle, pointed at it, waited quietly, until it died, slowly.
Finally, it closed its eyes and unmoved. I dared not to put down my rifle until I was sure that it was dead, then I took out my hunting knife to peel off its skin.
Its fur was very fluffy, soft and bright. It was an excellent tiger skin. Although it was a little small, it should still be able to sell at a good price. When I was peeling, I was thinking about these things.
However, when I pulled the skin from behind its ears, I was stupefied. How could there be a pair of horns sticking out? How could a tiger have horns? I didn’t believe my eyes. I immediately peeled the skin down with one snap, God! This tiger was under covered with a deer!
I fell back, found that a deer hiding under a tiger’s skin. It was a male, a newborn, eyes closed and dead. I was suddenly awakened that what I have seen a month ago was true. Or, my dream has not been awakening?
I looked at my bloody hands which still holding the knife. I didn’t know if it was the blood of the tiger, or the blood of the deer. Anyway, I killed it.
I have been killing tigers for a lifetime, but I have never been so scared.
Unexpectedly, I heard a roar. I instinctively picked up my rifle from the ground, instantly pulled the trigger, turned around and looked. It was a tiger, a just grown up tiger. It looked so dignified and imposing. It stared at me intensively.
Within 500 meters, but I could only silently look back.