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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns

The Spotted Deer and the Tiger (A Chinese Folk Tale)     by: Wheeler, Les

Lang, lang ago in the days fan fowk an beasts bade happily thegither, there wis a spotted deer caad Yu Yu fa bade aside a derk, bleck forest. He grazed aa the time in the fields, but nivver wint ayont the banyan trees that marked the edge o the wids. Ae day a local fermer’s dog wannert intae the grazin an began tae chase Yu Yu. The blate deer hid nivver bin threatened afore and got siccan a fleg that he ran, feart for his life, richt intae the derk, nesty wids. He breenged in throu, nae carin aboot the creepers an branches, duntin in-tae tree trunks an coupin heelster gowdie fan he steppit intae hidden ditches. He wis in sic a state that he’d nae notion far he wis gyan nor fit he wis deein. He jist winted tae get awa as far as he could fae the dog, but he wis rinnin deeper an deeper intae the derk, nesty wid.

Fan he finally cam tae a stop he’d nae idea far he wis nor did he ken fu he’d get oot o the wids. A porcupine shnuffled taewards him an, efter a bit sniff at his hooves an a lang look at the peer cratur said, “Fa are ye an fit are ye deein here?”

“I’m caad Yu Yu. I’m a spotted deer,” replied YuYu in as mainnerly a wye’s he could. He’d nae seener feenisht spickin fan a pheasant flew ower, brushin its wings on his antlers.

“Sae, yir a spotted deer. I’ve heard tell o them, but nivver seen een, Div they aa look like ye?”

“Och, aye. I’m a spotted deer an aa spotted deer look the same, near as maks nae difference. Hae neen o ye iver seen een afore?”

“Na, I canna say that wi hiv,” roared a wee goloch fae a pine needle abeen the deer’s heid. “They’ve nivver come intae the forest afore as far as I’ve heard tell.”

Yu Yu hid nivver seen sae mony craturs an he’d a gweed look at them aa afore he spak again. “Can ye nae gie me a haun? I’ll need somebody tae show me fu tae survive in the wids. I’ve jist nae notion at aa. I’m nae even that sure fit I kin ait.”

Weel, the ither beasts wir thrang wi aa sorts o ideas aboot far wid be the safest place tae bide, but they’d thir ain faimlies tae see till an seen left him tae fun oot for himsel the ferlies o the forest.

Yu Yu wis seen daunerin aboot an lookin at aathing fan he cam tae a clearin in the wids. He began tae ait some o the girss fan he heard a noise an raised up his heid. He foond himsel lookin richt intae the glistenin, green een o a tiger! Yu Yu wis petrified. Stuck fest an nae kennin fit tae dee an too feart tae mak a soond. He kent that the tiger wid kill him wi ae dunt o his muckle paas. But the tiger hid nivver seen a spotted deer afore an wis fair bumbazed wi its queer colour an shape.

“Fu are ye sae ugly?” spiert the tiger growlin oot the wirds.

Yu Yu wis shakkin wi fricht, but he gaithert aa his strength an said as proodly as he wis able, “I’m Yu Yu, the spotted deer.”

“Och, a spotted deer are ye?” growled the tiger. “Weel, tell me this, fit are they plants growin oot o the top o yir heid?”

File Yu Yu wis tryin as hard as he could tae think o a gweed answer the tiger wis crawlin nearer an nearer till him an lickin his lips as he wis deein it! Yu Yu near collapsed wi terror fan he hit on a rael stotter o an idea.

Wi as muckle scorn as he could muster Yu Yu said, “Yir nae a verra clivver kine o a cratur, are ye? Ye mean tae tell me ye dinna ken fit this things are on my heid? Did ye get nae edjication at aa? Seein that ye ken sae little, I’ll tell ye mysel. They are tiger chopsticks. Ye see, tiger maet is verra smooth an fine. I hiv tae ait it wi bent chopsticks tae stop the maet slippin oot o the bowl.”

The tiger teen twa steps back in shock! In aa his years o staakin an huntin he hid nivver heard o onybody fa daured ait tiger maet an he wis fair disgusted an mazed at the thocht o’t. He hid anither gweed look at the deer, sizin him up, wunnerin fu strang he raelly wis.

“Yir ower sma tae kill a tiger,” he said.

Yu Yu’s een lichted up. “Fit div ye mean, I’m ower sma tae kill a tiger?” spiert Yu Yu wi scorn. “Jist look at aa the spots on my back. Yir obviously nae acquaint wi fit they are. They staun for aa the tigers that I’ve killt an aiten. Three years syne I wint tae visit the Jade Emperor tae fine oot fu I could become immortal an he gaed me a task tae dee. He said it wid be a sair tchaave but I wis tae kill aa the tigers I could fine that hid aiten livin flesh an for ilk een that I killt he wad gie me a spot. Fan I’ve killt a thoosan tigers I’ll become immortal. Noo, see if ye kin wirk oot fu mony spots I hae.” As Yu Yu wis spikkin he began tae shak an shak mair an mair.

Eence again the tiger wis suspicious. “If ye kin kill an ait tigers fit wye are ye shakkin?"

“I’m nae shakkin,” gulpt the deer wi a shak in its voice. “Afore I ait a tiger I hiv tae wirk my wye up tillt. I’m shakkin wi force, nae wi fear.”

The tiger didna hing aboot tae hear ony mair an wis aff intae the thickest pairt o the wids withooten anither look. He ran an ran till he fell doon gaspin like a man wi a hoast.

“Weel, weel King Tiger,” cried a voice fae an owerhingin branch, “Fa ye rinnin fae? Fa are ye feart o?

The tiger lookit up an saa a monkey grinnin doon at him. The monkey wis fair taen wi the tiger’s story an jumpit doon fae the tree tae an sattled himsel at the tiger’s paas. The tiger wis that feart that his shakkin made him soond like a man wi a mant, but he got throwe the tale an the monkey wis fair bumbazed at the en o it. He wis determined tae see this wunnerfu cratur fa could fleg a tiger tae sic an affect an he priggit wi the tiger tae tak him tae see the spotted deer.
“Na, na. I’m nae gyan back,” said the tiger. “Fit if he attacks me? I’d hae nae wye tae rin. Ye can aye clim a tree tae get awa.”

But the monkey widna listen an priggit an priggit till, in the hinner en, the tiger agreed, but only on ae condition. The monkey hid tae be strappit tae the tiger’s back sae that fan the monkey escaped by climmin up a tree he wid tak the tiger up wi him. As seen as the monkey wis lashed tae the tiger’s back by creepers they made thir wye tae the clearin.

Yu Yu liftit his heid fan he heard them comin throwe the wid an he saa the tiger’s strippit pelt fan teen by a shaft o sunlicht. Yu Yu loupit back wi surprise an the tiger wis that fleggit that he froze tae the spot. He thocht Yu Yu wis wirkin himsel up for an attack an wid kill him, sae eence mair he turnt an ran aff like the verra hoonds o hell wir efter him. He wis rinnin an duntin aathing he passed an still the monkey wis strappit tae his back. The monkey got sic a fleg that he wint intae a dwam lang afore the tiger foonert on the forest fleer. Fan the tiger finally got his breath back he said tae the monkey, “I tellt ye….I tellt ye fit a coorse, cyaard o a cratur yon deer wis an ye widna believe me!”

Fae that day on the monkey bade in the tapmaist branches o the trees an the tiger verra seldom left the derkest, oot-o-the-wye pairts o the forest in case they met up wi the tiger-aitin spotted deer!



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