Friday, July 04, 2008

Acting According To Nature

"But let me introduce to you a new friend of mine, the Hungry Tiger."

"Oh! Are you hungry ?' she asked, turning to the other beast, who was just then yawning so widely that he displayed two rows of terrible teeth and
a mouth big enough to startle anyone.

"Dreadfully hungry," answered the Tiger, snapping his jaws together with a fierce click.

"Then why don't you eat something?" she asked.

"It's no use," said the Tiger sadly. "I've tried that, but I always get hungry again."

"Why, it is the same with me," said Dorothy. "Yet I keep on eating."

"But you eat harmless things, so it doesn't matter," replied the Tiger. " For my part, I'm a savage beast, and have an appetite for all sorts of poor
little living creatures, from a chipmonk to fat babies,

"How dreadful!" said Dorothy.

"Isn't it, though?" returned the Hungry Tiger, licking his lips with his long red tongue. " Fat babies! Don't they sound delicious? But I've
never eaten any, because my conscience tells me it is wrong. If I had no conscience I would probably
eat the babies and then get hungry again, which would mean that I had sacrificed the poor babies
for nothing. No; hungry I was born, and hungry I shall die. But I'll not have any cruel deeds on my
conscience to be sorry for."

"I think you are a very good tiger," said Dorothy, patting the huge head of the beast.

"In that you are mistaken," was the reply. "I am a good beast, perhaps, but a disgracefully bad
tiger. For it is the nature of tigers to be cruel and ferocious, and in refusing to eat harmless living
creatures I am acting as no good tiger has ever before acted. That is why I left the forest and joined
my friend the Cowardly Lion."

From "Ozma of Oz" by L Frank Baum


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