Long ago tigers did not have stripes, as they do now. Instead, they were bright orange all over. This, however, does not mean that tigers were same in those days. They were as fierce then as they are now.
One day a man named Tahtoh was cutting rattan in the forest. Suddenly he heard a loud roar. He looked up and saw a huge tiger standing near him.
“I am going to eat you,” said the tiger.
“oh, that doesn’t matter,” Tahtoh replied bravely.
This puzzled the tiger. He had never met a man who wanted to be eaten. “why doesn’t it matter?” he asked.
“Because you are going to die soon anyway,” said Tahtoh. “there is a flood coming. The water will cover the earth. It will reach up to the skies and the fish will nimble the stars. In fact, that’s why I am cutting rattan today. I am going to tie my friends to the tree-tops before it’s too late.”
“oh, dear.” Said the tiger. “I don’t want to die, let me be your friend. Tie me to a tree and I promise not to eat you, not even after the flood.”
Tahtoh thought about this. He pretended to be unwilling to do what the tiger wanted. This made the tiger want even more to be tied in a tree. At last Tahtoh agreed to save the tiger. He wrapped rattan round and round the tiger’s body.
Soon the tiger was tied firmly to the top of a tree. After several days, the tiger realized that he had been tricked. He turned this way and that trying to get loose, but the more he turned the more deeply the rattan cut him. At last, after the tree.. the cuts in his skin turned black and that is why tigers ever since have had stripes.