How the Tiger Cub Came to Clemson
Far, far away in a deep, thick jungle lived a family of Bengal tigers. The father tiger worked all day gathering food. He hunted and fished and harvested wild vegetation. At night he rested from his hard day’s work. He was a very good father. The mother tiger spent all day preparing the food that the father gathered. And at night, when the moon was bright enough and when she didn’t get interrupted too much, she worked on her book — Jungle Tales of a Bengal Tigress. They had one cub, a fine, strong young tiger with unusually bright orange stripes. When he was just a baby, he was very frisky. All the neighbors would say, “He is such a fine cub. His parents must be very proud.” And they were.
As the tiger cub grew, he became even more frisky, climbing trees to the shaky tiptop, bungee-jumping from waterfalls, plucking feathers of jungle fowl. And at night while his father tried to sleep and mother tried to write, the cub ran up and down banks and hills in the jungle, practicing his roar. He began to worry his parents. Finally, one night when the stars were brighter than usual and the cub was louder than usual, his father said to his mother, “We simply must do something with our son. He needs a challenge, some discipline, and this jungle just isn’t large enough to hold him. “His mother was trying to write at the time. “He’s just spirited,” she answered without looking up from her notebook. “Just spirited’ like your brother!” the father said rather angrily, jerking his tail with every word. This got the mother’s attention. She dropped her pencil and said, “What’s wrong with my brother? He’s smart and brave and well educated,” she said. “And, I might add, he’s very famous.”
The father didn’t reply for a minute or two and the mother was suddenly afraid she had hurt his feelings. She softly ruffled his whiskers. “Perhaps you’re right. Maybe our son is too spirited for the jungle, just like my brother was.” The father tiger nodded. “I think we should do what your parents did.” “Send him to college,” the mother tiger said, suddenly missing her son.
“He would get a very good education,” the father tiger said.
The mother did not reply. “And he could come home on the holidays,” he added.
The mother tiger still said nothing. Finally, the father tiger said, “You could finish your book, uninterrupted.”
The mother tiger thought for a minute. “He does need a good education,” she said, picking up her pencil again, “and I suppose they could use another tiger at Clemson.”
When the cub’s parents told him, the cub could not hide his joy. His plan had worked. He would soon be in college and working out with his favorite uncle, The Clemson Tiger. He brushed his orange stripes, turned on his Tiger Rag CD, and began practicing pushups.
October 23, 2021