The Ticklish Tiger
Like every other tiger, Tom, the Ticklish Tiger should have lived in a rain-forest in India.
The other tigers thought the Ticklish Tiger was just like any other tiger. They would ask him to catch animals that tigers like to eat and share their food with him.
But, the Ticklish Tiger had two secrets….
He didn’t live in India, and when he went to sleep, he slept in wooden pyjamas, in a bare, wooden room, in a wooden bed with a wooden duvet and wooden pillows.
The Ticklish Tiger didn’t like to be tickled so he had a sign inside his room, which read, “NO feathers, NO deedly-weedly fingers and NO TICKLING.”
One day, the Ticklish Tiger was out looking for some food and he came across a Laughing Hyena.
The Hyena said, “Look, I know one of us is in the wrong country, but that’s only because I can read and you are most definitely in the wrong country.”
The Ticklish Tiger said, “Well I can read, too, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find something to eat in Africa when I should be in India. I came here by Jumbo, I have a passport and I creep up on my victims just as tigers are supposed to.”
The Laughing Hyena said, “That’s all very well, but how do I know you can read?”
“When you have a moment,” said the Ticklish Tiger, “why not drop by for dinner and I’ll show you my sign?”
The next day the Laughing Hyena had laughed so much at all of the attempts of the lions in Africa to catch him that he thought, “I am a bit hungry now. I will go and have dinner with the Ticklish Tiger.”
When he got to the clearing in the forest, the Laughing Hyena saw the Ticklish Tiger’s house and knocked on the door.
“Come in,” said Tom, the Ticklish Tiger, “I’m just about to have dinner.”
“Oh, thank you,” said the Laughing Hyena. “What are you going to have for dinner?”
“YOU,” said the Ticklish Tiger.
“But I’m no good at being eaten,” said the Laughing Hyena “and in any case,” he said, looking around the Ticklish Tiger’s room, “I just laugh at everything and that wouldn’t be much good for a Ticklish Tiger.”
“Why not?” said Tom, the Ticklish Tiger.
“Well, I can read, as well,” said the Laughing Hyena, looking at the wooden sign, the wooden bed, the wooden pyjamas, the wooden duvet and the wooden pillows, “and I can see that you don’t like to be tickled.”
“I eat whatever I want”, said the Ticklish Tiger, “even though I don’t like to be tickled and so you will be my dinner.”
“Even if I had a feather and deedly-weedly fingers?” said the Laughing Hyena.
“Obviously not,” said the Ticklish Tiger.
“Well, here’s my feather,” said the Laughing Hyena, “and my deedly-weedly fingers and I’m going to tickle you.”
“No, no,” said the Ticklish Tiger. “You are supposed to let me eat you. That’s how being a tiger works.”
The Laughing Hyena thought this was very funny and started to tickle the Ticklish Tiger.
“Oh, no, oh no, no, no…,” said the Ticklish Tiger. “Stop, stop! I can’t eat you if you tickle me.”
“And I can’t stop laughing,” said the Laughing Hyena, as he tickled the Ticklish Tiger more and more.
The tiger carried on laughing and he laughed so much that he got the hiccups.
So the Laughing Hyena stopped tickling the Ticklish Tiger while the tiger tried to get rid of his hiccups.
Tom, the Ticklish Tiger stood on one paw upside down for an hour, but this didn’t work.
So he chased his tail round and around for a whole day – but this didn’t work either.
The Ticklish Tiger was getting desperate, so he tried balancing a pillow on his head for a whole week, but this was no good. The Ticklish Tiger just carried on having the hiccups.
“Hic,” said the Ticklish Tiger to the Laughing Hyena, “I, hic, need to stop, hic, these horrible hiccups. Hye, hic, na, do you, hic, know what might, hic, work, hic?”
“I only know how to tickle Ticklish Tigers,” said the Laughing Hyena, so he started tickling the Ticklish Tiger again. “Oh, no,” said the Ticklish Tiger, “I, hic, don’t, hic, like to be tickled – it’s not very nice when you are being tickled and I’m tired out, but, wait a minute, my hiccups have gone. My hiccups have GONE! Being tickled stopped my hiccups. Maybe being tickled isn’t so bad, after all. In fact, now my hiccups have stopped, I really like being tickled.”
So Tom, the No Longer Ticklish Tiger took down the sign inside his room, and put up a new sign that said:
“Tom, the No Longer Ticklish Tiger that likes to be tickled” – “FEATHERS, DEEDLY-WEEDLY FINGERS and TICKLING WELCOME”
And so Tom and all the other animals in Africa (and India) lived happily ever after…… but only until somebody started to tickle them again….