Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

Little Tigers

A Character story about trust.

Years ago in the jungles of Africa, a small boy named Simba played happily with the other children of his village. Life at that age was free from worry or responsibility. But this did not always make Simba happy. He wanted so to go with his father on a wild animal hunt. That would be much more exciting than playing here, he told himself.
Almost as if his father read his mind, that very night Simba was invited to go with the older men to hunt a tiger which had killed a tribesman in the next village. "How exciting!" he said aloud.
"You can have it," his sister said with a shiver.
The next morning Simba was up early, spear in hand, to stalk the tiger. By mid morning they had it surrounded and moved in for the kill. The men then skinned it, for a tiger skin was a symbol of bravery and success. But just as they began their triumphal procession homeward, Simba heard something in the trees. He told his father and they went to investigate. As Simba's father pulled back the thick brush, there, hidden in the grass was a tiger cub.
"This must have been his mother we killed this morning," his father said. "Now her baby will no doubt be killed by other animals."
"Can I take him home and keep him, Father? Please?" Simba begged.
"It's not a good idea," his father said. "You see, little tigers become big tigers, and big tigers kill."
"But he's so small and gentle. I will teach him to be kind."
After much begging and pleading, Simba's father finally agreed to let Simba have the cub. . . for a while.
How excited all the children were to play with the little tiger cub. They would romp and play as we would with a kitten, and feed him scraps of food from their lunches. What could be dangerous about such a gentle little cub?
Time passed. The little cub grew bigger and bigger. Now he was no longer tiny. The children could not pick him up and carry him around any longer. In fact, no one could pick him up. But the tiger was still as gentle as before. Simba had trained him well.
One day the chief came to Simba's father. "I must talk with you," he said. The two men sat on logs under a tree in front of the chief's house. "I am worried about the tiger your boy has brought to the village. You said he would keep him only a short while. Now the cub is nearly grown."
"Yes, it's surprising how quickly he has grown up. But he is gentle. Simba has trained him well," his father interrupted.
"Agreed. But little tigers grow up to be big tigers. And big tigers kill. You cannot change the nature of a tiger by changing the way he is raised."
"You are right, chief. I understand what you are saying. I will get rid of the tiger today."
When his father told Simba he must get rid of the tiger, Simba was hurt and angry. "He is gentle. He wouldn't hurt anyone."
"He is gentle now," his father agreed. "But the chief is right. Little tigers become big tigers, and big tigers kill."
"Reluctantly, Simba took the tiger's rope and led him deep into the jungle. He hugged his friend and cried a while. Then he told the tiger to go find other tigers, that he could not come back to the village.
But a short time after Simba had returned to the village, there was his pet tiger back at the door again. Simba and the other children were so glad, but his father, and the chief were not. "If he will not leave, we must kill him," the chief said. "He is too dangerous. Little tigers become big tigers, and big tigers kill."
Simba couldn't bear to think of his pet being killed for no reason. He began frantically to think of a way to save him as he stroked the main of his friend.
A few minutes later, an older boy came by, clutching his arm. "I cut my arm," he said indifferently. "Do you have a bandage, Simba?"
"Just a minute," he replied, dashing off to his hut. When he returned, he found his pet licking the blood from the arm as the boy looked on, terrified.
"Don't worry," Simba assured him. "He's very gentle. Come on boy. Get away." He pulled on the cat's neck but jumped back as the tiger showed his teeth and growled deeply. Both boys stood frozen, not knowing what to do. Suddenly a shot rang out behind them and they both jumped. There stood his father with the gun, the chief by his side. The tiger lay dead beside them in the dirt.
Simba ran into his father's armed, gasping and crying. "I don't know what happened. Just suddenly he turned mean."
"No, Simba," said the chief. "He did not turn mean. He smelled the blood. His real nature was hidden no longer. Little tigers become big tigers, and big tigers kill."
A tiger's nature is never changed by his surroundings. Neither is yours and mine. Many think that if they are around good people they will become good. Yet the Bible tells us that we are by nature sinners (Eph. 2:3). Environment cannot change that. Little sins become big sins, and sin leads to death (Rom. 6:23). We must come to the Lord and accept the free gift of eternal life He offers in Jesus Christ. As an added blessing He has promised to give us, with that life, His new nature (II Peter 1:4).