Table of Contents
Written by Ruskin Bond, this chapter tells the story of the tiger of the narrator’s grandfather. It tells about the time the tiger spent at the house of the narrator’s grandfather. At the end, the narrator recounts a funny but dangerous misunderstanding that left the grandfather scared and shocked.
The narrator’s grandfather once found a tiger cub in the Terai jungle near Dehra. He saw the eighteen inches long animal hiding under a Banyan tree and brought him home. The grandmother named him Timothy. Beginning with milk, the animal’s diet was then changed to raw mutton and cod-liver oil, which too was later replaced by a diet of pigeons and rabbits.
Timothy’s two companions at home were Toto, the monkey and a small puppy. The monkey often teased Timothy by pulling his tail and the puppy also loved to climb on the tiger’s back. The three animals thus developed a playful bond. Besides Toto and the puppy, Timothy also played with the narrator.
Timothy was brought up like a human child and he developed good habits of cleanliness. He often scrubbed his face with his paws, rested on the sofa during the day and slept in cook’s quarters at night. Though Timothy was well-mannered, he was nonetheless an animal. At the age of six months, Timothy’s behaviour changed and he became less friendly and more violent. It was decided that Timothy needed a new home.
The Grandfather took Timothy to the zoo in Lucknow, where he was kept like the other animals. After about six month, the Grandfather visited the zoo to see Timothy. In the zoo, the Grandfather spent much time with the tiger which was now a grown up animal in the cage. He tickled the animal who seemed to be reciprocating the attention by licking the Grandfather.
Noticing that Timothy was scared of a leopard that was encaged next to his cage, the grandfather expressed his wish to request a different cage for the tiger. It was after much time had passed that the Keeper of the zoo walked up to the grandfather to inform him that the animal in the cage was not Timothy but a different tiger.
On being informed that Timothy had died, the Grandfather realised that the tiger who was licking his hands was a wild tiger. Realising the danger of the situation, the narrator’s grandfather slowly withdrew his hands from the cage and walked out of the zoo, terrified.