The Frog who fooled the Tiger

There once lived two friends, a tiger and a frog. The tiger would always make the frog pick fleas from his hair. The frog was tired of doing this. So he planned to play a prank on the tiger.

One day, when they were basking in the sun on a meadow, the tiger asked the frog to help out again with the fleas.

“Friend, do you mind cleaning the fleas off my hair?” the tiger asked. “These fleas have been bothering me a lot!”

“Sure, I can do that!” replied the frog, but he had other things in his mind.


Pretending to pick fleas off the tiger’s hair, he plucked a bunch of hair. The frog squeezed few strands of tiger hair between his teeth and quickly swallowed a few strands.

After a while, the tiger asked, “What do you normally eat?”

“When available, I eat tigers for a meal and when I don’t, I eat grass and insects,” replied the frog.

The tiger couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Don’t lie. Let me see your teeth!”

The frog flashed his teeth. The tiger was astonished to find some tiger’s hair in between the frog’s teeth.

“I see but still I cannot believe you. Let me check your stool.”

When the frog pooped, some tiger hair came out. The tiger was convinced but he wanted to test the frog one more time.

He planned to have a jumping contest with the frog, who happily agreed. They were to jump all the way to the summit of a mountain.

“If I get there ahead of you, I will eat you and if you can really jump faster than me, I will surrender myself to you,” the tiger told the frog.

“But mind you, if I win, I will have to eat you, my friend. I didn’t eat you so far since you are my only friend,” warned the frog.

A day was fixed for the contest.

From the next day onwards, the frog began his work. He went to other frogs and asked one hundred and five of them to help him out. On an estimated distance of a tiger’s jump, he kept a frog each so that the frog would appear to jump ahead of the tiger.

On the day of the contest, the two friends came prepared. They began the race.

“Come on, friend, keep up with me,” the frogs urged the tiger, on every jump.

The tiger was shocked to see the frog jumping faster than him. The tiger tried harder but soon he was exhausted. The tiger could barely jump.

When the tiger was almost at the summit, the frog was already there. “So friend, who won the race? I must now eat you! A deal is a deal”

The tiger was terrified.

“I don’t want to be your friend anymore,” said the tiger and ran away.

On the way, the tiger met a wolf. “Why are you running? It seems you are trying to run away from something, what happened?” the wolf asked.

“A frog is trying to eat me up. I am running away for my life,” said the tiger.

“Don’t be a fool! A frog cannot harm a powerful tiger like you. I will help you defeat him, come with me.”

The really frightened tiger did not want to go back. The wolf persuaded him.

“I will go with you. If you think I am trying to cheat you, let’s tie one end of a rope on me and the other end on you.”

The tiger finally agreed. The two of them went back to the mountain.

Seeing the tiger and the wolf returning, the frog laughed aloud.

“Thank you wolf, you have brought my tiger back. I am hungry now and I haven’t eaten anything for days!”

On hearing this, the tiger was so frightened that he ran as fast he could, dragging the wolf behind him.

The frog laughed, having taught the tiger a lesson.

Ngawang Phuntsho

He is the author of ‘The Cuckoo and the Pigeon, and Other stories’ a collection of folktales from Bhutan, and ‘Thus, I heard’. His books can be found in bookstores in Thimphu.