Once there was a tiger -
It was so fat and ugly -
Chasing the servant
It entered into a room
Where a mirror was hanging.
The servant fled away in fear
Leaving the tiger
To see its face in the mirror
In a rage it began to grumble,
'Why my body is covered
With so many spots and stripes?'
It came to the place
Where the maid Putu was grinding corn
Brandishing its moustache the tiger demanded
'Give me a glycerine soap.'
'What you said I never heard in my life,
I am a low caste lass
And never learnt a word of English'.
'Don't tell lies
Do you think I am blind?
Without using that soap
How could you remove your stripes?'
'I am as black as granite', said Putu,
'I never used that soap
Nor am I even distantly related
To any fair-skinned lady'.
The tiger told her, 'I shall eat you -
All your flesh and skin and bones.'
Putu hurried to warn it
'Fie, fie, what are you going to do?
Don't you know I am an untouchable,
A follower of Gandhi?
If you eat me you will lose your caste
Don't do any such thing
And don't get angry
I beg at your feet -'
'Keep away, keep away, don't touch me
What a shame!
If the Brahmins come to know it
I'll be damned
I have so many grown up girls
If I lose my caste
It will be difficult to find a single groom
I'll do without any glycerine soap.'