“Look, you have just time to join Thatha Natesan’s story telling”. Raman’s uncle pointed out.
Raman shifted feet uneasily.”Tonight I am not going,” he answered and added hastily, “I am tired”.
“Aha so?” His uncle’s eyebrows lifted in surprise.”Well then, hurry home, before Yellow Eye – the tiger catches sight of you! “Oh aren’t you afraid of Yellow Eye anymore?”There was teasing in his voice.
“ Munnusawamy the school master says that Yellow Eye does not exist, “Raman answered, and then could have bitten back the words.
“Ah if your schoolmaster says he does not exist, and then all the stories that have been told for so many years must be false, is that it?”
“How can they be true?” Raman pointed out.” No tiger could live for so many years, and with just one eye, too. And besides, only a week ago .......”
One story went, Yellow Eye the tiger roamed, waiting to take revenge upon the hunter who had blinded his eye, or failing that, upon anyone who dared to enter his kingdom.
“So in your school they teach you to scoff years of stories as well as to read and write, his uncle observed, some of the teasing gone from his voice.
“It is not scoffing ", Ramaman said quickly. It is only finding what is true and what is not”.
“Yet not a few days ago there was word of a tiger that carried off a goat from a farm down on the slope”.
“A tiger, yes, but not Yellow Eye. There may be a few tigers in the jungles and they may have when hungry taken a goat. Thatha Natesan says that when he was young there were many tigers around here......”
“ Thatha Natesan also says that Yellow Eye still roams the slopes of the mountains, seeking revenge. One thing you believe, and the other you do not?”His uncle said forcefully.
“They are not the same thing”, Raman insisted. ´Every one knows that there were many animals in the hills long ago. But who can really believe that a tiger, like a man, will go on seeking revenge for an injury done no one knows how many years ago? And besides if all that happened when Thatha Natesan was a young boy, then Yellow Eye would be almost a hundred years old by now. What tiger could [possibly live so long?”
“Your Munnuswamy the schoolmaster has taught you well, I see”, Raman’s uncle observed dryly.” Well, run along now. Yellow Eye or no Yellow Eye, you should hurry home....”
Raman bade him good night and set off down the path. Yellow Eye indeed! Was it possible that his uncle actually believed the legend, the myth of the vengeful tiger? He did not say that he believed, and yet he did not seem pleased that Raman should deny the truth of the story.
Courtesy- Tiger on the mountain