The Tiger King

As soon as Jilani Jung Bahadur was born, the astrologers predicted that the king’s death would come from a tiger. If he killed hundred of tigers, he would be saved; but he had to be particularly careful about the hundredth tiger. The Maharaja banned tiger hunting in the state. He started out on a frantic tiger hunt and killed seventy tigers in ten years. A high ranking English officer wanted to hunt tigers in the forest of Pratibandapuram. The Maharaja got rid of him by giving 50 gold rings to his wife.

The tiger population became extinct in his kingdom. The king married a girl from a state which had a large number of tigers. Every time he visited his father-in-law, he would kill five or six tigers. In this way, he succeeded in killing ninety-nine tigers. Now he was left with only one tiger. When the hundredth tiger was not found, the Diwan brought a tiger from the people’s park in Madras. The Maharaja took a careful aim. The tiger fell down on the ground in a heap. Later on, one of the hunters found that the tiger was not dead. They wanted to keep it a secret from the king. The king was elated at his prowess of killing the tigers and thus evading the prediction. But all his strategies and wise plans failed miserably.

It was the third birthday of the king’s son. As a special gift to his son, he brought a wooden tiger. One day, when he was playing with the wooden tiger, a needle-like sliver of wood pierced his right hand. Infection spread and it became a sore. Three surgeons operated upon the Maharaja, but they could not save him from dying. In this way, the prediction came out to be true.

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