The Plot

Sharmila Roy Ghosal

Rex the tiger looked around him, the lion had just declared him king.  Even though it was a temporary post since the lion was not well and had been advised rest, by the forest doctor Ted the giraffe, Rex knew that the lion would never recover at all, since he had lost a lot of blood due to a fall into the gorge.  ` ‘My throne is for keeps’ Rex thought smugly to himself.
The animals of the forest were surprised at Rex being made the king, since he was arrogant and unfriendly.   They however were shocked at the change in his behavior on becoming king.   Right from the beginning he ordered the animals to bow their heads, whenever they crossed his path and who so ever would disobey him ,that particular animal, would be banished by him forever from the forest.
As days passed Rex decided to give up hunting for food.  He ordered the animals to bring him meat every day.
The animals were alarmed but they had to comply with their king’s order.  Dina deer brought a dead rabbit which she had found at the end of the forest.
Another day a hare killed by a poacher’s random shot, was brought by Sammy the bear, for Rex the tiger.
Most of the days the animals came back empty handed.  Rex started to lose his temper, he declared he would kill any animal, that came to his den without food for him.
The animals were at their wits end, how could they kill their comrades and take them as food for the tiger?
They decided to get together and hatch a plot.
It was almost winter and getting quite dark when Bunny rabbit came and informed Rex the tiger that his victim was waiting for him, near the lake under the coconut tree..
Yelping in rage at the delay in getting his dinner, Rex rushed out of his den towards the lake.  At the distance he saw something against a rock, waiting for him.  Rex broke off the branch of a tree and lifted the animal.  He felt very hungry and couldn’t wait to take his dinner home.  Rex decided to have his meal there and then.  He brought the branch with his prey close to his mouth and swallowed it.  The animal was a dead porcupine.  The animals heard the agonized cry of the tiger as he leapt on his way back to his den.
Next day Rex was found dead in front of his den, the spines of the porcupine had pierced his intestine leading to his death.
The animals were all relieved.  In the meantime the lion had almost recovered, for unknown to the tiger the animals took turns to attend to the lion dressing his wounds and cleaning his den.  Food was brought in everyday by the inmates of Black forest sent by their king who was Leo the lion’s brother.
Very soon Leo took over as king of the jungle and everybody was happy again.


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