Digital Dimdima


The Tiger's whisker

An old hermit lived in the Lun Mountains of Korea. Many people sought his advice for he was a font of wisdom and was knowledgeable in the magical arts. One day, a woman came and pleaded with him to help her regain her husband's affection.
"He was so loving and caring before he left for the wars," she explained. "He has returned after three years but now he is cold and aloof."
"War does these things to men," said the hermit.
"They say you can make a potion that can kindle love in the person who consumes it," said the woman.
"I could make such a potion, it is true, but I lack one of the ingredients that go into its making."
"What is this ingredient?" asked the woman.
"It is a tiger's whisker."
The woman left promising to get what he wanted. The very next day she went in search of a tiger and finally saw one on the banks of a river. The tiger snarled when he saw her and she retreated.
She returned to the spot the next day. Again the tiger snarled and again she retreated. But she kept going to the place and gradually the animal got used to her presence and stopped snarling.
She began to bring him food. In course of time the tiger became so friendly that he would come right up to her to take the food.
One day she timidly reached out and patted his head.
A few days later she ran her hand down the side of his face.
And then one day she deftly pulled out one of his whiskers.
She rushed to the hermit's house with the whisker.
"I've got it!" she said, triumphantly.
"Good," said the hermit.
He took the whisker to the fireplace and dropped it into the fire.
"W-what have you done!" said the woman, aghast. "You promised to make me a magic potion!"
"You don't need one," said the hermit, softly. "Tell me, how did you win the tiger's affection? Through gentleness and a great deal of patience. Would a man be less responsive than a savage and blood thirsty beast? Go and win over your husband as you did the tiger."
The woman turned over what the hermit had said, in her mind as she slowly made her way home. When she saw her husband her first instinct was to turn away, then remembering the tiger and the hermit's words, she checked herself and moved forward, a smile on her face.

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