The Moon, Sun and Tiger

The tiger would slumber all day, sleeping just before dawn and waking up just past dusk. This was a habit as old as the tiger himself. The tiger enjoyed this routine. Every night, he would prowl through the darkness, the evening’s moistness cooling his fur and the savanna’s coolness keeping him alert, searching for food. His pastime was to stare at the black velvet sky watching the glittering stars and occasionally looking over his shoulder, to make sure the moon was still there.

The tiger loved to look up at the sky and see the stars glisten and dance. They were pretty. They were interesting. They provided enough light in the darkness for his keen sight. He could track their brilliance. He could watch them flicker.

Every once in awhile, a star would fall, a streak of light across the shadowy expanse. The tiger would run to where it fell and play until the star fizzled out. It’s light growing dim, the tiger pawed at cooling embers.

Pouncing on fallen stars entertained the tiger, but it just passed the time. To the tiger, wrestling a fallen star was mere fun, a diversion from his nightly prowl and his larger quest.

You see, the tiger was truly fascinated by the moon. The moon’s brilliance, over his shoulder, most every night, lessened the stars. The moon was the brightest body in the sky. No star could shine as bright as the moon. No star could compete. The tiger was happy to have the moon above him.

Of course, several times a year, for as long as he could remember, the moon would just not appear. No glow. No supporting presence. Those were the worse nights. The tiger did not have any light. The moistness was wetter. The coolness colder. The stars alone in the sky were never enough.

One day the tiger’s curiosity get the better of him. He wondered why the moon disappeared when he needed it? Where does it go? Does the moon follow on another when it’s not with me? He decided to get answers. Next time, he reasoned, when the moon didn’t appear, he would wait for it. The tiger decided to stay awake until the moon came back.

He waited and waited, growing more tired with every passing hour of every passing day. Arising from his slumber, he’d watch the stars come out. No moon. Rains drenched him. Evening coolness chilled him. The tiger didn’t move. He didn’t prowl. He didn’t chase fallen stars. He kept his eyes fixated to the heavens waiting for the the shadowy shell-white disk to take its place aloft as the sky dimmed to pink, garnet, purple and finally, black.

Then, something different happened.

The inky velvet above him started to change colors. The cool, heavy blues and purples that blanketed his his nightly patrols slowly washed away, to be replaced and filled with pinks and oranges. On the horizon, what looked like the moon steadily rose into the sky. The circle wasn’t satiny white. It was red. Orange. Like a mango rising above the plain.

Light pierced the sky and crashed over the land, filling every nook and cranny, illuminating shadows. A blanket of warmth covered the tiger. He could not believe his eyes. This new gem rose in the sky, shedding color, becoming blazing white. The tiger shaded his eyes with a paw. Oddly similar to the moon, this cosmic body twinkled like a star. Shadows disappeared. He could see across the valley, without even trying. No darkness. No coolness. No moistness.

Everything changes.

The tiger no longer was cold. He could see for miles. The world looked different to him. The Sun, as he started to call it, was the brightest and most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. It was so bright, he couldn’t see the stars anymore. He lay there basking in the sun for many hours, warming his white and black flur, his blue eyes glistening, and a smile across his muzzle.

The tiger would slumber all night, sleeping just before dusk and waking up just past dawn. This new habit let him prowl through the land, searching for food. Instead of the stars, his pastime was to enjoy the view of the land. All of the colors, activity, and life that he could see. He didn’t need to see the sun to be sure it was there. He could feel it’s warmth and see its light. The tiger, like the sun, now burned brighter.